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Mercy

Chapter Text

Disclaimer: This story is my own personal headcanon of Underfell, which is A COMMUNITY MADE ALTERNATE UNIVERSE. There is no "100% accurate" version of Underfell since it does not belong to one individual, unlike some Alternate Universes like Underverse, ReaperTale, Handplates, GasterTale, OuterTale, etc.

Fighting is normal and encouraged, everyone is edgy, but killing for fun isn't okay in the monster community and neither is torture/rape/kidnapping. Monsters are tsundere punks/emos/goths/alternatives who just wanna listen to their rock music and get matching tattoos with their besties. 

Oh, and the reader isn't perfect.

But hey, maybe give this story a chance. I put a lot of backbone into it. :)

-Misty

Chapter Text

"ow ow H-HEY!" Sans yells, jerking his forearm out of your grasp. He protectively holds it against his torn red t-shirt and glares at you. Part of his forearm--up to the carpals of his wrist bones, to be exact--is covered in a tan bandage. The other half is loosely hanging off of his bones, tumbling down and flying with every movement. His gold tooth sparkles as his bony lips curl into a snarl. "that frickin' hurt."

"We've gone through this before, Sans," you sigh slightly annoyed by how sensitive and immature he's acting. After all, this is something he could certainly do by himself. If he didn't want your help, then you weren't gonna beg for him to accept it.

"Stars," you mumble, pursing your lips as you take another look at the cracks that were peeking out of the bandage. You and Sans wince when his finger accidentally brushes against one, resulting in a few flecks of dust falling onto your counter. "I know it hurts, Bones--"

"don't frickin' call me that," he growles. "it's a stupid name."

"--But I'm trying to make sure the bandages are tight so that your bones will heal properly."

The skeleton rolls his eyes. He slumps deeper into his jacket, refusing to make eye contact with you as he once again tenderly runs a few fingers down the faint gray cracks on his radius and ulna. You lean forward and slowly reach out for him with your gloved hand, but Sans grunts and swats it away before you can touch him.

"i don't care. it hurts, damn it," he growls. " i'll frickin' do it myself."

Oh my stars.

You pinch the bridge of your nose and lean back into your trusty black doctor chair. A few squeaks emit from it, which only increases the intensity of a migraine you were about to get. Sighing, you roll up your white doctor's jacket and check the time on your grey Apple Watch. The screen dimly lits up when you tap a fingernail against it.

10:32 P.M.

Your clinic should've closed thirty-two minutes ago. You've been working your butt off since you started your twelve-hour shift. Unfortunately, after-hours seemed to be the time when your non-human patients wandered in, and since you seemed to be the only human who was willing to offer medical attention to them, you couldn't exactly find it in your to say no. It was too bad your other staff members of doctors and nurses seemed to mysteriously disappear whenever they came in, but you couldn't really blame them. They just finished twelve-hour shifts and wanted to go home to their families. You didn't have that, but that didn't mean you didn't like stripping off your work clothes and trading them in for a pair of sweatpants. Why did you have to have such a big heart?

This skeleton though...

Monsters had been free for only a month, and you had practically seen him almost every night for the past two weeks. It was like he just couldn't avoid getting into trouble. You were honestly kind of worried about him. His brother told you in secret that he only had one HP, after all. 

"Fine, Bones," you huff, slumping your shoulders in defeat. "I legally cannot force you to accept treatment, so if you want to do this yourself, then we have no further business to discuss. Have a good night."

The skeleton bit his bottom lip at your remark and frowned. Instead of protesting, however, he stares at his arm, refusing to look at you. After a few seconds of uncomfortable squirming under your unamused face, he starts fidgeting with his bandage, trying to get it to wrap around the bones. Unfortunately, he wasn't having that much luck. Not only were your fingers a lot thinner than his, but you were also a lot more patient than he was. Instead of trying to gently secure the bandage around his radius and ulna, the Sans was trying to force it through its thin opening, which only resulted in more dust falling off. He let out a small yelp and flinched, but just as quickly brushed it off as he saw you move towards him.

"Do you—"

"NO!" He yells, inching away from you and pressing his back against the cabinet. "go away."

"Sans—"

"I SAID SCREW OFF!"

"Alright, alright!"

You stand up from your black office chair and gently kick it back, giving it just the right amount of momentum needed to push it back into its place under your desk, which was covered in medical books about the anatomy and physiology of humans and monsters. The books, of course, were courtesy of Queen Toriel and Alphys, who were currently the only other monsters who were willing and able to treat monsters.

Out of the corner of your eye, you briefly see a flash of red, indicating that Sans was now staring at you as you walked over to a nearby metallic trash can, which was filled with your scratched-out, sloppy notes. You begin stripping off your plastic white gloves, but while doing so you allow yourself one glance at the skeleton.

Sans the skeleton--along with his younger brother, Papyrus--was about to become a regular at your clinic. Actually, you could say that about all of the monsters. The Queen of Monsters didn't exactly have the time to deal with medical emergencies and political meetings with your government. Plus, she had a human kid to raise. There was always the royal scientist, Dr. Alphys, but for some reason, monsters seemed to be rather... Distrustful around her and only went to her as a last resort.

You frown. You were becoming quite good friends with Alphys and her girlfriend, Undyne. You knew why everyone was terrified of Undyne--you were, too, when she broke down the door to your clinic and held an icy blue spear against your throat when she learned that you had agreed to start treating monsters and demanded to know what your true intentions were--but Alphys was a total sweetheart. A bit of a scatterbrain, yes, and you suspected that she had some form of anxiety, but other than that she didn't seem to be a threat in any form or fashion.

"how do ya--frickin'--get this thing ta--DAMN IT!" Sans yells, snapping you out of your thoughts.

The skeleton looked pretty silly, slumped down on your office countertop's black surface (despite your insistence on taking him into one of your many treating rooms). His back rested against the white concrete walls, and his untied black sneakers loosely hung down, occasionally kicking another dent into the metal cabinets below (which pissed you off). The red pinpricks in his eyes flickered back and forth from your now glove-free hands and your, most likely, annoyed yet slightly amused face. You've literally treated children who behaved better than he did.

You grab your chair and slide it back over to the counter where the skeleton was sitting. Maybe if you got him to relax a bit he would let you help him. Small talk sometimes worked with him. It was worth a shot.

"Did you win?" you ask, placing your elbows on the counter and leaning into your palm. Oh, already the feeling of letting yourself relax a bit was enough for you to be able to close your eyes and fall asleep right there. However, now wasn't the time. You had a patient.

Sans snorts. "'course i won. them humans just don't get it. ya don't get ta pick a fight with me 'n my buddies 'less ya wanna walk away with a couple of holes in yer body."

Your eyes widen when very gruesome images pass through your mind. You blink as fear began coursing through your veins, which instantly kicked on your fight or flight senses. "You... you didn't--"

Sans held out his hands and shook frantically shook them. His face was pulled tight into a frown. "no no. they're alive, doc. just cuts and bruises. sheesh, stop giving me that look. 'dem bastards had it comin,' and they frickin' started it."

You close your eyes and take in a deep breath. You want to believe that monsters and humans would never go so far as to... to try and kill each other, but everyone knew it was only a matter of time before these fights turn into something bigger.

Feeling mentally and physically exhausted, you lean back into your palm. "Damn it, I need a drink."

You didn't even need to open your eyes to see what happened next. You mentally scolded yourself for giving such a flirtatious guy the opportunity. You could practically sense his cocky smile as he inched his ways towards the edge of the counter.

You open your eyes. Yep, that was exactly what had happened.

"welllll, lucky for you, sweetheart" he purrs, getting a little too close to your face. One eye socket was closed. "i'd be happy to take ya out and help ya wine down at whatever bar ya want. my treat."

A smirk forms on your face. With one hand, you push the cocky skeleton's head to the side. You're a bit surprised to feel his bones give in to your touch with a sinking feeling instead of cold hard bone, but you don't dwell on it.

"Thanks, but once again, Bones, I'm really not interested," you hum. "I don't really have any time for that sort of stuff."

His grin drops a little bit, but you knew he wasn't surprised. You had been turning down his offers to 'hang out' for quite some time now. You were way too busy for any sort of distractions. Besides, dating isn't really your thing. 

Unfortunately, Sans's grin returns just as fast as it left.

"it's alright. i guess al-cohol you later?"

Your shoulders bounce as you stifle back a small laugh at his terrible and desperate pun.

"see!" he grins, leaning over the counter. "i knew ya liked my puns."

"I don't like them. Your jokes aren't funny. That was a pity laugh."

"call 'em what you want. i got thick skin."

"Alright, you can stop now."

"c'mon, that one was a real rib-tickler."

 "I'm warning you!"  

"Ya know I'm quite the humerus skeleton."

"Oh my gosh, nooooo." You smack your forehead and groan. "You've been using that joke since I met you! It's not funny, it's never been funny, it's overused, and it's time to stop." 

"don't worry doc." He winks. "i got a skele-ton of 'em if ya tired of that one."

Unfortunately, your smile betrays you, and when Sans started laughing, well, you join in, too. He keeps the puns going for a few more minutes, but they slow when you start yawning. 

You stretch your arms up over your shoulders, causing a comforting rush to flow through your body. As you rub the sand out of your eyes you suddenly felt a little self-conscious. You look up to see Sans giving you a worried look. His eyes are soft red dots, which kind of catches you off guard. The tough, edgy skeleton isn't known for looking... well, concerned.

"ya look like crap," he mutters, frowning. His gold tooth stuck out over his bottom lip.

You shoot him a glare. "And you wonder why a charmer like yourself is still single."

Sans closes his eyes and shakes his head. "shit. ya know that ain't what i meant. seriously. when was the last time ya took a day off fer yerself?"

You cough. "A day off? Seriously? Other than about two monsters that I can name off the top of my head, I'm one of the few people here who are willing to offer medical treatment to monsters and humans. I don't even have time to sleep, Sans. Much less take a day off. Even when the clinic is closed, I still have plenty of things I need to do."

His expression hardens, and his face twists into a scowl. "damn it, (Y/N). ya just one person. tell 'em to screw off. everyone needs a break now and then--"

"No," you say in a low voice, startling Sans. You raise your head and stare into his eye sockets. "As long as I can move, I will always be there for those who need help. Always."

He snorts and rolls his pin-pricked eyes. A mocking grin forms on his face. "yagonna get yourself killed one day if ya keep that up. this world eats up people like ya and leaves nothin' but ta dust behind. the sooner ya 'n the kid realize that, ta better."

"Then it's a good thing that there are at least two sane people living on this planet," you snap, holding his glare. "Because an attitude like that is part of why the world hates people like me and monsters like you."

Sans's posture straightens as he tried to size you up, which wasn't hard considering the fact that he's sitting on top of your office counter. A shadow looms over your body. His hands, which were previously stuffed into his jacket, were now clenched. With another snort, he glares you down.

"that ain't what i'm--"

"I haven't slept in thirty-six hours, Sans," you say, unfazed by the skeleton's threatening look. After all, it certainly took a lot to scare someone like you. 

You held out your hand. "I'm giving you two options, Bones, since you obviously can't do it yourself. You can swallow your pride and let me help you, or if you absolutely refuse to leave then I am calling Papyrus to help patch you up. Either way, I'm going home to shower and hopefully sleep for a reasonable amount of time before I have to get up for work tomorrow."

"tch!" He spat, though his confidence wavered. "like pap is gonna take orders from a lil human girl."

Your stare was cold, and you tilted your head up slightly in order to meet his gaze. "You and I both know that if I call him right now he will be here before I can even put my phone down. In addition, you know that Pap considered me a friend before you did. So I know for a fact that he will listen to every word I say. It's your choice, Sans." You huff, crossing your arms. "Choose wisely."

You were right. You knew you were right, and so did Sans. Messing with a friend of the Great and Terrible Papyrus was something very few monsters dared to do, including his brother. Oh, and let's not forget the current time. Papyrus made sure everyone he gave his number to knew that he was always in bed at 8:00 P.M. sharp so that they wouldn't call him unless it was an absolute emergency. Disturbing his beauty sleep was incredibly dangerous. If someone called him and they weren't dying, well, they would be by the time he left.

You had to resist smirking as you watched the red lights in Sans's sockets disappear, leaving nothing but two wide gaping holes that were staring straight at you. Every single drop of pride had drained from the skeleton's face. After a few seconds of silence, he grumbles and plops back down onto the counter. The lights in his eye sockets were still missing as he held out his forearm to you with a dry, yet somewhat threatening smile. 

You mumble a small thanks and reach under the counter for a new pair of gloves. After putting them on, you pick up the end of the bandage hanging off of his forearm and twist the fabric around your fingers. 

Sans was still staring at you. You suck in a breath.

"I'll try to make this as painless as possible," you mumble. "Just hold still, okay?"

The sound of your voice brought the skeleton out of his thoughts. He blinked, and his pupils returned.  

"whatever," he snorts, averting your gaze. "just get it over with so i can get the hell outta here."

As you carefully wrap the cloth around his radius and ulna, you can't help but notice a particularly deep, gray crack. Wait, no. You narrowed your eyes and made out the unmistakable impression of a small yet deep cut, no bigger than the size of about half your pinky. You suck in a breath.

This was a blade mark. Sans had gotten into a knife fight. 

Not again...

You open your mouth to ask him about it, but quickly closd it when you see his threatening look. Once again, his pupils were dark, but this time he was frowning as he leaned over to make sure you got the message. You knew that expression; it was something you had been very accustomed to since you started treating monsters. It was a don't bother asking cause I won't tell yafrickin' jack look.

You exhale and shake your head, which made Sans relax once he realized you weren't gonna protest. You weren't legally obligated to know why your patients needed help, anyway. 

You carefully move the bandage up and under each bone, continuing your work. 

"I'm... I'm glad you're okay," you mutter, trying to break the uncomfortable silence. "But I would really like to see you less frequently in my clinic. Not saying that I don't like seeing you. Just... gosh, Sans. Just take care of yourself." You finish wrapping up his forearm and place your hand on top of his. You move your head up to meet his eyes. "Please?"

For once the skeleton is neither smiling nor frowning. His mouth is slightly open as he stares at you with black eye sockets. You squirm in your seat and feel your face heat up from his unwavering gaze. Maybe... maybe you shouldn't have said anything. Monsters are pretty big on their secrets, after all. Especially Sans. 

You're about to try to break the silence when Sans suddenly speaks, startling you.

"damn it, doc," he whispers, sucking in a breath through his clenched teeth. "ya can't keep going around 'n being nice to everyone ya meet. sooner or later, someone's gonna break ya, and when that happens, ain't no human or monster laws gonna be able to stop 'em."

You pat his hand. "I told you that I can take care of myself. You don't need to worry about me." WIth little effort, you slide his hand back into his lap. "I'm finished with your arm. You can move it around, now."

He flashes you an annoyed look. Uh oh. "(Y/N)..." he starts.

You shake your head. You need to change the subject, and fast. What could you say that could make him forget this conversation? 

Suddenly, an idea blossoms in your brain, and you slowly smile. 

"But before you leave, I have a few questions for you, Sans. I've heard you have quite the reputation of being a bad boy among the ladies, Bones. Care to elaborate more on that?"

Sans's eyesocket twitches, and a small red hue appears on his cheekbones. He drops his eyes and starts fidgeting with the silver zipper of his black jacket. He suddenly looked very uncomfortable. 

"s-shit," he mutters. "who told--"

"Undyne. Alphys. Papyrus." You pause as you mentally went down the line of names in your head of all the monsters who warned you about Sans's flirtatious advances, especially when he was drunk. "Grillby had a bunch of stories--"

"seriously?!" he growls, burying his head in the yellow fur of his hoodie. "does ta whole damn underground know?!"

"Pretty much," you said in an amused tone as you watched the fuming skeleton sink further and further into the fluff of his jacket. 

"uuuuuggggghhhhh."

You stand up and pat his head in an attempt to offer some form of comfort, but to be honest comforting others wasn't your thing. Nevertheless, that didn't stop you from trying. 

"There there, Bones. They didn't say anything other than the fact that you had quite a flirtatious personality, especially when you're drunk, which doesn't exactly surprise me."

"that doesn't help me feel any frickin' better," he grumbles. "nowya probably think i'm some sort of jerk."

"You don't need to worry about that," you said, reaching over his head to open a cabinet, specifically the one that contained medications for monsters.

In all honesty, the only difference between monster and human medications was the fact that one had magic and the other didn't. Normally, you would write a prescription for either race to pick up their medications at the pharmacy a few streets over, but you always kept a few things laying around just in case someone wandered in during the late hours of the night when the pharmacy was closed. This was one of those times.

You shiver as you remember the amount of paperwork and interviews you had to complete in order to get that type of license.

"The fact that you're a playboy doesn't change my opinion about you."

His head shot up. "what? i ain't no frickin' playboy!" he snarls. "just what kinda sick rumors are ya hearing?!"

You raise an eyebrow. "Sick rumors? Sans, we're adults. I'm not judging you. Lots of people have flings. You don't need to look so flustered! Unless... wait a second." You placed a hand on your hip and tilt your head to the side. "There's no way. Don't tell me that a handsome and flirty guy like yourself is still a virgin?"

Sans's eyes burn bright with magic as he jumps off of the counter and onto the floor. A red blush began to form across his cheekbones.

"THE HELL?!" he yells, shaking his fists. "Y-YA CAN'T JUST ASK PEOPLE T-THAT SORT OF STUFF! AND IT'S NONE OF YA FRICKIN' BUSINESS!"

You couldn't help but giggle. Sans went from a cocky, tough guy to a flustered mess in about a minute. His face was cherry-red, and you were pretty sure that his blush was actually glowing. It was funny how such tsundere such as himself was hidden under so many edgy layers. He reminded you of an onion.

Wow. Bad analogy. 

"I'm just messing with you, Sans," you laugh. "Your personal life is your personal life. I don't really care what--or who--you do in your spare time."

Before the skeleton could have another meltdown, you shoved a white paper bag in front of his face. It made a crinkling sound as the pill bottle inside moved.

"Take two of these before you go to bed, and every night after that for about three days. That cut looks pretty painful--"

"it's not!"

"--and since I know that you'll never actually admit it, I'm giving you a strong dosage to make sure that you sleep well tonight. Seriously. It's gonna knock you out as soon as you take it." Your professional mode switched on. "Monsters heal rather quickly, so if you don't get into any more fights for the next two, maybe three days then you should be able to take off the bandages. It might be a few more days for the scars to fade, though." You let out another yawn. "Do... do you have any questions?"

"yeah," Sans says, snatching the bag out of your hand and stuffing it in his pocket. His red eyes looked down at you, and he was so close that you could feel his hot breath on your face. "are you gonna actually frickin' sleep tonight?"

You shrugged, unsure why he was trying to look so intimidating for a silly question like that. "Dunno. Depends."

"what do ya mean it depends?" he asked, bewildered at your statement. "what could possibly be keeping ya from sleeping right now?!"

You flashed your eyes upward and watched as the color drained from his face. 

"o-oh. yeah. forgot 'bout that," he mumbles, scratching the back of his head. He sheepishly looked down at the ground and slumped his shoulders. "'m sorry."

"Don't be." You placed a hand on Sans's shoulder. "We're friends, Bones, and even if we weren't, I would still keep the clinic open for you. I was serious about what I said earlier. I decided a long time ago that my purpose in life was to help others. Although I lack in the emotional and psychological department, I'm very educated in the medical, physical, and physiological aspects of life."

"damn it. thereya go again with them big fancy words," he grumbled, shaking your hand off of him. "at least let me take ya home. just give me an address. i probably know a shortcut."

You shook your head. "Sorry. I drove here. Someone's gotta take my car back to my house so I can get to work in the morning, and I'm pretty sure your 'shortcut' won't do that."

"i can--"

"Nope." You stood your ground. "Believe me, Bones. I've done this sort of stuff before. I graduated with a Ph. D about a decade before people usually get theirs. I know my limits, okay? So don't worry."

"tch! i frickin' ain't worried!" he grumbled, shoving his hands into his pockets. "it ain't my fault if ya get dusted along the way back to your stupid home."

"That's true. It wouldn't be your fault."

"i just said that!"

"So since that's settled, and you obviously don't care, then why are you still here?"

His eye twitched and sweat began to form on his skull.  His tough-guy appearance has  once again been torn down by you putting him on the spot like this. "i just... y-ya can't... i m-mean--GAHHH!!!" He stomped his foot on the ground. "whatever! i'm leaving!" 

"Bye Bones." You waved as he stormed off towards the back of the room, presumably to teleport back home. "Have a good night!"

"don't tell me what ta do!"

You turned back to grab your keys that were on your wooden desk. They made a clinking sound as you pulled them up and stuffed them into your pocket. When you turned back around, you were surprised to find two red eyes nervously watching you from the dark corner of your office. It would've spooked you if you weren't use to this sort of thing. You really needed to fix that light in the back, though. 

"...You're still here," you said, more like a question instead of a statement. You paused, and pursed your lips. "Sans, is there something bothering you?" 

Sans shuffled his feet. He looked at you, and then at the open door to your office. The lights in the hallway leading out to the main entrance were off since Sans had literally teleported into your office when you were about to pack up for the night. An uneasy expression crossed his face as stared out into the ominous hallway. 

"j-just text me when ya get home, okay?" he mumbles. "it ain't safe for a lady to be wanderin' around the city by herself this late. 'specially with all of ta fighting 'n stuff." After a few seconds of uncomfortable silence, he adds, "and tori n' the others would kill me if something happened to ya, since our uh, medical staff 'n stuff is, uh." He shifted his feet. "...small." 

The feminist inside of you wanted to argue back, but the rationalist inside of you knew that was true. With all of the gang activity going on, it really wasn't safe for anyone of any gender or age to be alone in the dark alleys of Ebott City at night. Sure, your little "gift" kept you safe, but that could only take you so far before someone caught on to what you were doing, and that was a can of stress that you weren't really eager to open.

Plus, you really wanted him to go home. Gosh, when was the last time you even showered or ate? Whatever; if agreeing to text him would help keep him sane, then, by all means, you were fine with that.

"Okay. Sure. Whatever." You held your hands up to your chest and tugged the collar of your black dress shirt. "Just please leave."

"f-fine!"

"Have a good night."

Pop!

You blink, and the skeleton was no longer there. You snapped your fingers as you mentally scolded yourself for blinking. One of these days you were gonna see what it looks like when he uses his 'shortcut.' However, it seemed to always happen whenever you blinked. Maybe it was a weird side effect of magic, or maybe it just caused you're a human who had to blink every now and then. Who knew. You had a degree in medical science, not magic.

Well... that was technically true, anyway. It's not like there was an ancient castle somewhere in the United Kingdom that provided degrees in magic. Oh, you wished that was true, but then again, what would such a school be able to teach you that you didn't already know?

You sighed and fidgeted with the keys. After giving a quick tug on the door to make sure it was locked, you let out a satisfied hum as you began walking down the dark corridor. Your sneakers squeaked against the clean tile floor, echoing every step you made until it was eaten up by the darkness behind you. 

+++

If it wasn't for the fact that you only lived about fifteen minutes away from your work, you probably wouldn't have been able to safely drive home with so little energy. However, after slamming the door on your car shut and walking out of the neighborhood parking deck, you were about ready to crash. You even debated on sleeping on the sidewalk. 

Was it too early to text Sans? You weren't exactly at home yet, but he didn't need to know that. After some consideration, you pulled out your Apple watch and clumsily typed a message. 

You 11:27 P.M. home.///!;1

Well, that was good enough. You hit send. 

The night air was warm from the summer heat, but it wasn't an uncomfortable temperature. Since you were a bit out of the city, you could make out the faint stars. From every direction, you could hear crickets and cicadas singing their nightly tune from their safe havens in the neatly-trimmed bushes and blooming flower beds.

You absent-mindedly flashed your plastic ID card to the guard posted outside of your neighborhood's gate. To be honest, this action wasn't necessary. He already knew your face by heart since you were one of the few residents who actually took the time to get to know the guards. The dark man nodded; unlike you, he seemed to be alert and prepared to stay up all night. His black eyes seem to smile as you approach him.

"Long day, doc?" he asks, tilting his navy night guard cap at you. The shiny silver badge on top gleamed under the white light that hung over his head.

You flash him a weary smile. "Do you even have to ask, Mr. Schmidt?"

His white teeth peeked out from his dark lips as he returned the smile. He rested a hairy arm on the counter and leaned over. "I already told you to call me by my first name. You've even had dinner with my wife and kids before."

"If you insist, Mike. Speaking of your family, how are your wife and kids? I haven't seen them in ages."

You and Mike continued this conversation for a few more minutes, exchanging the latest events going on in your lives (his wife was pregnant with their third child; how exciting!). He asked you a few questions about monsters, and you grimaced. It was well-known around the neighborhood--city actually--that you were working with and treating them in your clinic. 

"Aren't you even a little scared, doc? How are you even helping them?" he asks, studying you. "Don't get me wrong. I don't mean any offense. It's just that, you know... they aren't exactly the friendliest-looking creatures."

You held up your hand. "No need to apologize. I'm happy to answer any questions regarding the monsters' behavior, but you must also keep in mind that my patients' medical history is confidential."

Mike sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck. "'Course, doc. I had to be putting you on the spot like this, but... yeah."

"Lots of people are curious about them, Mike. And since you have a baby on the way, I understand your concern about the sudden change." You stuffed your hands in your white doctor's coat. "But let me ask you this: how long have we known each other?"

"Dunno... since you moved in about three, four years ago?" he blinked. "Hell, I forgot. You were like, what, eighteen, nineteen when that happened? Sorry. Just blows my mind that someone as smart as you is barely an adult. Betcha parents are pretty proud."

You felt your fists clench slightly, but you quickly calmed yourself. He didn't mean any harm by that comment, and you knew that. Heck, to a forty-something-year-old man like him, you probably looked a lot like a kid to him. Still, it was kind of annoying that you kept hearing stuff like this almost on the daily. But did he really have to bring up your parents? That was a sore spot. 

Calm down, (Y/N). He doesn't know. 

"Yeah. And you trust me, right?"

"'Course. You were there when my wife had that stroke in the middle of the night and the ambulance was taking too long, and then you watched after the kids when they finally showed up. Not only that, but you're one of the smartest people I know."

That flattery made you relax a little bit. You felt your cheeks involuntarily heat up a bit. Okay, maybe you would forgive his ignorance. 

For now. 

"Right. So trust me when I say this, Mike: monsters aren't any more dangerous than human beings. I've met with the 'fearsome'--" You made quotation gestures with your fingers when you said that word.  "--King and Queen themselves on frequent occasions, and I've even helped Toriel make pies for the Monster Ambassador's elementary school's bake sale. Yeah, they look kind of scary, but you can't judge someone based off of their appearance." With one hand, you picked up the end of your doctor's jacket. "I'm a walking example of that, Mike."

Mike bit his bottom lip. "Huh... Maybe you're right, doc. Sorry for putting you on the spot there. Here." He pressed his finger against a red button on the side of the wall. There was a small buzzing sound, which was followed by the brown gates swinging open. "You must be pretty tired, especially after hearing me rant for the past twenty minutes. Go on and get some sleep, doc."

"I always enjoy talking to you," you hum. You walk towards the gate. "Maybe I'll come over some day for dinner again, if you'll have me. I miss your wife's cooking."

Mike chuckles. "She'd like to see you again."

Before you passed through the gate, you stopped. Your hand rested against it's cold metal bar as you looked over your shoulder. 

"Mike?" 

"Mhm?" he leaned over the counter and stuck his head out, casting a shadow onto the concrete floor.

"If you want to learn more about monsters... then try talking to some of them. They're really nice, even if they don't open up to you at first," you chuckle. "But once they do, it might take a while to get them to shut up."

He scratched his beard. "I pass by a cranky old turtle monster on my way here sometimes. He works at the thrift store over on Main Street. Maybe I'll drop by there tomorrow and say hi."

"That's a wonderful idea!" you waved at Mike. "See you later."

"Have a good night."

+++

The walk two-minute walk to your house from the gate had absorbed what remained of your energy and will to live. Your sneakers tapped against the sidewalk as you made your way to the red-bricked house at the end of the driveway. It wasn't the biggest house in the neighborhood, but it was certainly more than one person needed. It was a good thing that the cleaning crew you hired made sure everything was tidy and in order (except for your library; that was off limits and always kept locked) or you would go insane trying to keep everything clean. 

Sometimes people asked why you owned such a house. Honestly, you just liked the space and the privacy that came with it. There were very few lunatics out there who were willing to try to break into such a secured neighborhood. And, well, the fewer people you had to see outside of work, the better. 

You slide your keys into the lock on your front door and swung it open. Your hands ran against the sides of the cream-colored walls until you found a light switch. After clicking on the lights, you took a quick look around your home.

One one side of your living room was a red-bricked fireplace that had black metal bars guarding its ashy pit. Above it was a flat screen TV that you honestly rarely used for anything over than Netflix or--when you had time--video games. Across from that was a large, leather L-shaped couch. Two tan pillows and a white throw blanket were the only things on top of it. The couch sank into a dark rug that you were pretty sure came with the house. Under that was a glossy wooden floor. 

You eye the dark blue curtains and debated about throwing them open, but since there weren't any stars out and you were about to fall asleep, there wasn't really a reason to open them. 

You barely had time to take off your jacket and toss it to the side before you collapsed on your living room couch. The soft leather was so nice and inviting; if it wasn't for a needy paw patting your cheek, you probably would've fallen asleep right then and there.

You cracked one eye open to find an insane amount of black fluff blocking your view. There was another pat on your cheek.

You sluggishly sit up, pulling your cat into your lap and snuggling him under your chin. 

"Hiya Milo~!" You cooed, rubbing your cheek against his fur. You smiled as your cat purred under your touch. You were about to lay back down when you felt something slam into your lap.

"Avery!" you squealed as you eyed the gray cat who was know glaring at you with a face that demanded attention. The white fur under his stomach was jiggled as he climbed up your stomach and joined his brother, who was happily curled up around your neck. You obliged by scooping him up and placing him on top of your chest. 

"Hello, my sweet fluffy babies. I'm sorry for leaving you both for so long. How have you two been? Did you have a good day?"

At this point, Milo was either already asleep or too comfortable in the crook of your neck to respond. Avery, however, blinked his blue eyes at you. His gray tail swished back and forth with amusement. 

"Meow," he said. He was, after all, the most talkative of your cats. 

"That's nice. Did you and your brother tear up anything while I was gone?"

"Meow."

"Do you think I'm going crazy for talking to my cats more than I talk to actual people?"

"Meow."

"Yeah. I didn't think so, either." You grinned as you watched his ear twitch under your touch. His black nose wiggled as he sniffed your finger. "Besides, it seems like you and Milo are the only ones who really understand me, anyway."

"...Meow."

You closed your eyes and absent-mindedly continued stroking Avery's head. You weren't in a position that was comfortable, but since you had two cats on top of you, you couldn't really move. Also, the fact that you hadn't in slept in thirty-something hours certainly made it easy for you to ignore this factor. 

"Exactly," you yawned, leaning back into the couch. "I'm perfectly content with being a single cat lady for the rest of my life. I've been by myself for... for thousands of years. Who... who needs friends... or family... or kids... or... or significant othersss..." Your head fell on top of Milo's warm body, who didn't even flinch under the sudden weight. 

After a few moments of listening to the soft breathing from you cats, you fall asleep.

 

 

Chapter Text

You stepped into the monster convenience store, and the cold breeze from the A/C immediately slapped you in the face.

Ah yes, nothing like the bitter smell of the cleaning supplies, angsty teens, and wet dogs. The typical atmosphere for a public area. 

Already, your introvert senses were tingling. Why did you come here again?

Your thoughts were interrupted by a low grow from your stomach. You glanced down and eyed the foul beast hidden under your green scrubs. 

Oh yeah. Because iced coffee can only take you so far in life. You learned that in college a long, long time ago. Actually, you had learned that several times in several colleges. Wasn't your fault that your degree from the late 1800s wasn't exactly "acceptable" to the national board of medicine.  

Then again, you would be skeptical too, if someone presented you with a medical license from such a time. Well, unless you knew that they were a mage. Too bad that wasn't something you could put on a resume.

You reached for a plastic shopping basket and forced a grin on your face as a family of monster bunnies walked past you. The children whispered to one another, but their mother, a very elegant looking bunny with a pearl necklace, returned your smile before disappearing behind the glass sliding doors. 

Well, you thought, staring at the long aisles of appliances and food, time to pretend I'm a non-magical human being who doesn't survive solely on snacks and loathes all forms of social contact outside of work.

And with that happy thought, you began your quest for food.

+++

Your eyes glared at the red box of granola bars. Sweet, fulfilling protein neatly packed in individual wrappers; an absolute favorite among those who barely had time to eat, much less time (or the desire) to cook. It was your favorite kind, too, and there was only one box left. Unfortunately, that single box was on top of the highest shelf. Even on your tip toes, the tips of your fingers barely brushed against the cold metal countertop that was three shelves below it. Bummer. That's what you get for shopping in a monster convenient store. How did the little guys get up here though? 

You puffed out your cheeks. Oh, right.

Magic was a thing. A thing widely used by monsters.

You eyed the little box and frowned. This would be quite the challenge, but you weren't giving up just yet. 

You uneasily looked over both sides of your shoulder and rubbed your sweaty hands together. No one else was in sight, but were you, an adult, really going to do this?

You question was answered when you realized that one sneaker was already placed on top of the bottom shelf. You grinned as you dropped the basket from your arm and reached for the next shelf. In way weird and perhaps childish way, this was kind of fun. 

You pulled yourself onto another shelf and glanced up. Only three more to go, but why did they have to make these shelves so tall and cold? 

You directed your attention back to your prize. You were so close now. Your fingers brushed against the box, sliding it a bit further back and out of your view. Damn. You need to go higher. 

You took another step to the next level of shelves, and then another. Determination coursed through your veins, and your eyes widened as the red box came into view. You eagerly snatched it up with one hand and turned it over, inspecting its perfect condition. Mission accomplished! Looks like you weren't going to starve tonight after all. Now, all you needed to do was make it down before anyone saw--

"ya havin' fun up there?" an all-too-familiar voice chuckled.

"Wha--" was all you could say before you lost your grip on the counter. Oops. 

The world turned into a blur as you fell backward, desperately reaching for something, anything to grab onto. You slammed your eyes shut and prepared for impact, but instead of landing on the floor, you fell into a pair of bony arms.

"Oof," you groaned as you looked up into the amused red eyes of your 'hero.'

"geez doc," he chuckled, an amused grin on his face. "we've only known each other fer a few weeks and yer already fallin' for me."

You blew a piece of hair out of your face. You still had the box in your hands, which was good, but you were also still being held by Sans, which wasn't so good.

"Hello Bones," you mumbled, annoyed. Of all of the monsters to catch you, it had to be this one. "I would say thanks for catching me, but it was your fault that I fell in the first place."

"eh? my fault? what'd i do?"

"You scared me, idiot!" 

"thought 'cha didn't get scared easily. howta hell am i supposed to know ya get spooked by that?"

"Well, yeah, but... Sometimes there are moments, and--wait a second."

Your mind focused on the position you were in and, more importantly, the position Sans's hands were on your body. He was holding you bridal-style, except in a less graceful version with one of your legs hanging off of his shoulder. One arm was hooked under your knees, and the other was wrapped around your back. The only problem was that his hand was dangerously close to your butt, and you weren't sure if you'd believe that this was an "accident."  

You met his eyes, and Sans's grin widened. Oh yeah. Definitely not an accident.

"Bones."

"eh?"

"Are you going to put me down?"

He pretended to think for a moment. "dunno."

"What the--put me down!"

"ya sure that's what ya want?" he chuckled.

"Put me down right no--"

Before you could finish, Sans's arms slipped from right under you, dropping you to the floor. You fell back and landed on your butt.

"Why?" you hissed, pulling yourself up. "Why are you like this?

"hey now, no need to look so down," Chuckling, he wiped a red tear from his eye socket. "you're the one who doesn't seem to understand the gravity of the situation."

"I'm going to bust your kneecaps if you make one more joke."

"alright, alright. i'll stop, heh heh." He held a hand out to you. 

You raised an eyebrow. "Seriously? You can't fool me with that stupid joy buzzer trick again."

"eh?" he snickered, eyeing his hand. Sans bent his knees so he could meet your level. In this position, you were able to clearly see the red rings under his eyes. You've been meaning to ask him about that. Was it insomnia or makeup, you wondered? And why red? Maybe he was born with it, or maybe it's... nah. 

"i would never, ever, ever," he shook his head with every word, exaggerating his sarcasm even though his  revealed everything. "try anything funny with such a well-respected and lovely young lady like yerself."

"Screw you!"

When it finally clicked in his skull that you were absolutely serious about not accepting his hand, Sans gave a half-hearted shrug. 

"so doc," he said, plopping down on the floor next to you, like this was a normal thing for adults to do in a grocery store. "whatcha doin' over on the monster side of town? pretty dangerous for a lil human lady ta be wonderin' around these parts. thought that damn government of yers told humans to stay outta monster territory."

Okay, now you were really getting mad.

"It's not a law. It's just a stupid suggestion." You huffed. "Monsters and humans aren't ever going to get along if they keep trying to enforce this stupid segregation crap."

"wait a second." Sans leaned forward, inspecting your face. "are ya sayin' that you came all the way over here, by yerself, just to passively fight the legal system?" he chuckled. "heh. hate to break it to ya, doc, but one lil lady walkin' over here to buy milk 'n bread ain't gonna change yer government's mind, nor any other racists'."

"I never said it would."

"then why the--"

"A social experiment? A small attempt to break what society considers normal and acceptable by applying and testing the Butterfly Effect theory? If humans saw that a young woman managed to walk into a supposedly spooky scary monster store, and then left, unharmed, don't you think that would encourage others to do the same out of curiosity, and maybe raise their expectations of monsters?" 

"I don't mean any offense, Bones." Your voice was quiet. "But we didn't even know that monsters existed until about a month ago, much less why you guys were locked Underground in the first place. Everything's still so new. To be honest, I'm actually surprised you guys got rights and stuff..." Your mind drifted back in time, and scenes of protesters marching through streets and holding up signs flashed through your eyes. "It took a lot longer for that to happen during the major last equal rights movement."

You shook your head. "My point is that these things take time, damn it. There are bad people out there, but there are good ones, too. And humans are stubborn, but they can change; we do it all of the time."

Throughout your entire rant, Sans was very quiet. You suddenly felt very sheepish as you realized that there were at least three other monsters nearby, too, who were watching you with unreadable expressions. You felt your face grow hot from all of the sudden attention. 

Oh stars. They hated you now. You shouldn't have said any of that. And you were doing so well with making friends with the monsters! Why did you have to open your mouth and ruin things? Maybe coming here was a mistake after all. You knew you shouldn't have left the clinic. 

A loud static sound interrupted your self-loathing, and a very annoyed voice sighed through the speakers.

"Attention all MTT shoppers," he said bitterly. "Can the sappy pep-talk group in aisle three take their meeting somewhere else? Like off of a cliff? Thanks." 

The announcer's voice snapped Sans out of whatever trance he was in. The next thing you knew, he was on his feet, blocking their gazes with hsi chubby body. 

"ey!" he growled, baring his teeth. "what are ya, deaf? show's over, assholes. scram!" 

With wide eyes and a couple of mumbled threats, the monsters practically stumble over each other in an effort to leave. Grabbing your things, you decide that it's probably best to head out, too. That was way too much attention. You really needed to control your tongue next time. After all, who were you to make such a bold statement? A nobody, at least, to them. 

A harsh grip on your arm jerked you back and pulled you against a hard rib cage. When you looked up, you saw two red, fuming pinpricks staring you down.

"hurry up 'n get yer shit," he grumbled, taking the basket away. "we're leavin'."

"We?" 

"ya ain't stayin' here any longer. i'm gettin' ya outta this place."

You dug your heels into the ground and jerked your arm back. 

"Whoa whoa, chill. Look, I'm sorry if I made you upset, and I know it really wasn't my place to start something, but you don't need to do that."

"upset?" he chuckled darkly. "i ain't upset, doc. i'm pissed off 'n mad as hell."

"What? Why?"

"all of that crap ya just said 'bout equality 'n shit. are ya really that stupid?"

"No? I'm pretty smart. You know this."

"then why the--" he studied your confused expression, and then cursed. "shit. ya really don't know, do ya?"

"What?"

"the gang fights! all the shit that's been goin' down since we got up here!" he yelled, sizing you up. His fists were balled at his sides. "yer fuckin' government decided that they ain't gonna do anythin' ta stop it. said it ain't their fuckin' problem. 'n then you show up here, talkin' about how things are gonna eventually be peachy, and we'll all be holdin' hands and singin' soon if we just stay positive. why the hell do ya think they were starin'? yer bringing up their damn hopes fer nothin'!" 

"asgore 'n tori have been walkin' on thin ice since that fight broke out yesterday." He was sweating, and his red eyes were nervously scanning the room, like he was expecting something bad to happen. In a lower voice, he continued. "someone screwed up real bad 'n almost killed a human. it's been all over yer stupid news. a monster nearly died, too, fightin' the same bastard, but does anyone care? fuck no!" 

"A... a fight? Yesterday?" You narrowed your eyes at Sans's arms. It was still covered in your bandage. Something clicked in your head, and you eyes shot back up to meet his. "Bones."

"shit," he exhaled, clenching his arm. He stumbled back and tugged on his black sleeve until it covered the bandage as if you didn't already know it was there. "d-don't ask, alright? it's... it's easier fer all of us if ya don't ask" His scowl reappeared. "and it ain't none of yer fuckin' business anyway!"

You held your hands up. "Easy, Bones."

"fer the last time, stop callin' me that!"

"Okay, Bones. I think I get it."

"no, ya don't!" he shouted, causing a couple of heads to turn. Beads of sweat dripped down his skull. "none of ya stupid humans get it! ya didn't spend yer entire life in a crowded shithole! ya didn't have to constantly look over ya shoulder to make sure no one was out ta dust ya just 'cause yer bro was doin' his job! ya weren't there when we finally breathed actual clean air fer the first time 'n most of our lives! 'n we get here fer what? ta have yer damn government tell us that monsters gettin' the shit beat outta 'em ain't their problem!"

Sans smashed his fist against a counter, startling you. A few green bags of something called chisps flew to the floor, and in their place was a large dent against the silver metal. He stomped against one of the bags, causing it to explode with chisps. One of them harmlessly thumped against your leg. 

"none of ya damn humans know anythin' about us!" he roared, his face flushed red with rage. Something flickered in one of his eyes as he swung his arm back, preparing to create a new dent. "stop pretending like 'cha care! just die already!" 

Uh oh. This was really getting out of hand now. 

"Bones," you said, slowly walking towards him. "You need to calm down." 

"i am fuckin' CALM!"

"Hey." You squeezed his shoulder, and he smacked your hand away. "You're yelling right now, your breathing is really ragged, and I don't even want to know what that smoke coming out of one of your eye sockets is."

He flinched. A hand immediately shot up to cover his eye socket, but the red smoke kept pouring out between the cracks. "f-fuck."

"Look at me." You gently turned his head until two nervous black holes met you. "I need you to calm down. Just focus on my voice, okay? Slowly breathe in and breathe out. I'll do it with you." You inhaled. "One, two..."

For the next few seconds, you and Sans did breathing exercises. Your hand was firmly placed on his back, rubbing small circles every now and then in order to help him stay grounded. The skeleton's eyes were slammed shut, and you watched as his scowl slowly relaxed. 

After a few more seconds, his eye sockets opened, and you watched as two red pinpricks grew before he gently shoved you away. 

"t-tch!" he mumbled, pulling his hood up and shoving his hands into his pockets. "d-do ya have to be so clingy? sheesh."

You fought back a laugh and covered your mouth with one hand. After everything the two of you've been through, why was this skeleton still so against you helping him? 

"You're welcome. But uh..." You exhaled and rubbed your elbow. "I wasn't joking about what I said earlier, Bones. I really do think that government will come around soon, and these gang fights won't last forever. Like I said, the fact that some humans are hiring monsters and paying them the same amount as humans is a really, really good sign." You smiled. "There's still hope."

Sans stuffed his hands inside of his pockets. His eyes stared at your feet. "i... i hate it when ya do that."

You tilted your head. "Do what?" 

"act like ya know everythin'. don't matter if it's with me, or alphys, or whoever, ya always seem ta have some stupid answer ta whatever the stupid problem is." Sans sunk further into his jacket. "it's fuckin' annoyin', just like everything else about ya."

"Well..." You pursed your lips. "Am I ever wrong?"

A smug grin crossed his face. He opened his mouth to reply, but when no words came out, he quickly shut it. A deep red blush crept across his skull, and he stuffed his hands into his pockets.

"Bones?" you grinned, leaning forward. 

"s-shut up," he grumbled, averting his gaze anywhere near you.

You patted his shoulder, causing him to shy away from you. 

"Well," you said, picking up your basket and glancing at the mess from his tantrum. "It's been nice seeing you, but I need to finish shopping, and I'm sure you need to go do... whatever it is skeletal monsters do."

You turned to leave, but a hand shot out and grabbed your arm, forcing you to once again stumble back. This time, however, when you backed into Sans, his arms looped under you and picked you up, similar to how he was holding you earlier. The basket helplessly clanged against the floor, spilling its contents and adding more damage to the messy aisle.

"hold on, doc. what part of 'we're leaving' ain't clear?" Sans snorted, his grip tightening as your struggle. 

"You can't be serious," you snapped, returning his glare. "You're ridiculous! We're not doing this again. I've got a shift at the clinic in half an hour, and if you make me late, there will be hell to pay."

Your threat made Sans chuckle, and his arm shook with every laugh. A wicked grin formed on his face as he leaned down, pressing his smooth forehead against yours.

"then we better get goin', doc," he said with finality. 

You watched in horror as red sparks quickly worked their way up Sans's body, and when they got to his hands they covered yours, too. Electricity began to crackle and pop against your skin, leaving a weird tingling in their places. It was kind of like a numbing sensation, except with a sea of pop rocks.

He was trying to teleport you out of the store!

Rage replaced your annoyed expression as your eyes narrowed. Your body sensed danger, and your fight-or-flight senses kicked on. Determination rushed through you, sending hot sensations throughout your body as it eagerly waited for your command to strike, like a ticking bomb. 

To say you're pissed off is an understatement. 

In a flash, you grabbed the scratchy collar of Sans's shirt, jerking him forward. He tried to jerk his neck back, but you held your grip and sunk your nails into the fabric. You glared into his dark eye sockets. The two of you were wearing matching threatening grins.

"you ain't stayin' here. it ain't safe."

"Not safe for me or you?" You hissed at his stubbornness.

"is that a threat?"

"Depends on whether or not you put me down in the next ten seconds."

"(Y/N), don't make me--"

"SANS!" a voice boomed from somewhere behind you, and judging by the way the skeleton's red eyes shrunk, and the shape of the tall shadow looming over you, you had a pretty good guess as to who he was.

"...h-hey, uh, b-boss," Sans gulped, his previous threatening demeanor completely gone. A weak smile formed on his face. "did... didya find everything in the--"

You felt a strong set of hands reach under your arms, and in one powerful tug, you were free from Sans's grasp and dangling in the air like a piece of meat. Your feet almost touched the ground. 

Keyword: almost. 

You closed your eyes and sighed, trying to force your anger to subside. When you opened them again, Sans was staring up at his brother, who was still holding you, with a very hollow grin and black eye sockets. He was still sweating, but not for the same reason.

"HUMAN," Papyrus boomed from behind you, making you flinch from how loud he was. His hands repositioned themselves to where only one of them was holding you up by a bundle of the back of your shirt. When he turned you to face his eye sockets, you saw that his other hand was confidently resting on his hip. "DID MY BROTHER HARM YOU?"

"b-boss," Sans starts, regaining a bit of confidence. "ya know i would never hurt (y/n)--"

"SILENCE!" Papyrus yells. He moves you over to the side so that he could get a better look at his (significantly) shorter brother. "THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE PAPYRUS WAS NOT TALKING TO YOU."

"but boss--"

"YOU WILL PAY FOR WHATEVER CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS YOU HAVE DONE, SANS. I'VE HAD ENOUGH OF YOUR CANOODLING AND HORSEPLAY WITH THE HUMANS! YOU ARE RUINING THE SKELETON NAME. THIS IS THE ONE HUMAN OTHER THAN FRISK THAT I SPECIFICALLY TOLD YOU NOT TO BOTHER, MUCH LESS PUBLICLY SHAME WITH YOUR USELESS AND DISGUSTING FLIRTATIOUS ADVANCES. SHE'S A HUMAN DOCTOR, SANS!"

"i wasn't--"

"INTERRUPT ME ONE MORE TIME, BROTHER," Papyrus roared as he swung your body to the side. "AND YOU WILL NOT LEAVE THIS STORE IN ONE PIECE."

The shorter skeleton opened his mouth, but then quickly slammed it shut with his hand. Satisfied, Papyrus cleared his throat and continued.

"AS WEAK AS SHE IS, THE ROYAL FAMILY AND GUARD HAVE DEEMED HER AS AN IMPORTANT MEDICAL AND POLITICAL ACCESSORY THAT WILL BENEFIT MONSTERS. HER DEATH OR INJURY WILL SURELY CAUSE A BURDEN UPON OUT RACE, ESPECIALLY DURING SUCH A SENSITIVE MOMENT IN HISTORY!"

"Gee," you mumbled bitterly, not even bothering to pretend you weren't offended by being called an 'accessory.' "Love you too, Papyrus."

Luckily, Papyrus didn't hear, but the shorter skeleton definitely did. He flashed you a warning glare. You didn't even flinch; you just rolled your eyes in response. To be honest, you were done with being threatened by monsters. It was a thing that they did constantly, and it was starting to get annoying. It took a lot to scare someone like you. A whole lot. You lived through four centuries and saw and went through some pretty scary moments. The idea of skeleton brothers kicking you out of a store and slashing your tires was more comical than threatening.

"listen," Sans started, looking back at his younger brother. "boss, i just--"

"SILENCE, BROTHER!" Papyrus stomped his foot into the ground, shaking the whole building. The ceiling lights dangerously swung side, and a couple of boxes of cereal fell off of the shelves. 

You winced. A few monsters were watching with interest, but no one made any effort to tell the skeleton bros. to chill. Either this was considered normal, or no one had to guts to confront them.

Judging by the looks on their faces, you had a feeling that it was the former.

"NOT ONLY HAVE YOU INSULTED AN IMPORTANT ALLY TO MONSTERKIND, BUT YOU HAVE ALSO OFFENDED A FRIEND OF THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE PAPYRUS'S BY... UH...." Papyrus coughed. He once again swung you to face him. "HUMAN, WHAT CRIME HAS MY BROTHER COMMITTED? ARE YOU INJURED OR DEAD?"

"Only my pride," you sighed, rubbing your temples. "And Bones was just being a butt. Also, you can, uh, put me down, Pap." You swung your feet around to emphasize your request. "Please."

"IF YOU INSIST." 

Unlike Sans, Papyrus actually set you down gently on the ground, but his hands didn't retreat without awkwardly patting your head. 

Oof. You forgot that was a thing he did with humans. Someone really needs to help him with his socializing skills. And by someone, you meant literally anyone that wasn't you. You didn't feel like suffering from the wrath of the Great and Terrible Papyrus anytime soon.

You quickly pulled down your top, which had been rising up a bit since you had been held by two different monsters for quite some time. Satisfied, you raised your head and smirked at the smaller skeleton, who was wearing a very, very tight grin. You were pretty sure you saw red smoke fuming out of his eye sockets, but you still turned your back on him to properly thank Papyrus.

Papyrus was, unsurprisingly, wearing his "battle body" armor: a black (crop???) armor top that stretched into ragged spikes on his shoulders, tight black leather jeans, a dark red belt with a golden skull on its buckle, matching boots, and, of course, his trademark red scarf, which was torn at the end. A deep scar stretched across one of his eye sockets, causing a permanent squint, but he didn't seem it mind it.

"I really appreciate the help, Papyrus," you said, offering him a small smile. "But don't be so hard on your brother. He was just being annoying. You know..." You glanced back at him and smirked. "One of the few things he's good at doing."

Suck it, Sans. 

"NYEH HEH HEH!" Papyrus laughed. "YOU ARE MOST CERTAINLY CORRECT ABOUT THAT. HOWEVER, PER YOUR REQUEST, I WILL LEAVE HIM OFF THE HOOK THIS ONE TIME AND NOT REPORT HIM TO THE ROYAL FAMILY FOR DISTURBING THEIR ALLY." 

Your grin faltered. Royal family? "Wait, what--"

"BUT NEVER MIND ALL OF THAT!" Papyrus waved his red-gloved hand, signaling that he was done with this topic.

Meanwhile, a certain edgy skeleton had made his way over to you, his shoulder just barely brushing against yours. His red pinpricks bore into the side of your head. You could practically feel the anger radiating off of him in degrees, slowly growing hotter by the second.

Whoops. 

"HUMAN!" This time, Papyrus pointed a gloved finger at you. "I CANNOT HELP BUT NOTICE YOUR CLOTHING AND THE DISCARDED SNACKS ON THE FLOOR. DID YOU TAKE WORK OFF FOR THE AFTERNOON?"

You shook your head and eyed your dark green scrubs, feeling a little self-conscious by how unappealing you looked. "Nah. I just got off for lunch, actually.." You felt your cheeks flush. 

"And these aren't snacks..." You picked up a frozen TV dinner box. "It's my dinner. Well, my dinner, and, I guess, my babies' dinners, too, since I can't go anywhere near them without those nosy little animals jumping on my plate."

"WHAT?!"

"what?!"

The two skeletons stared at you with gaping mouths. 

"ya have kids?!"

"YOU CALL THIS PIECE OF ICE AND CHEMICALS A MEAL?!"

You scratched your neck. "Heh, uh, yeah. It's uh... a quick and easy meal."

"ya... have like, actual children?" Sans asked again, bewildered.

Papyrus scoffed at the box in his hand. "THAT IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. FOOD THAT IS NOT FRESHLY-PREPARED WOULD NEVER BE EATEN BY THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE PAPYRUS. ARE YOU SO LAZY THAT YOU CANNOT EVEN MANAGE TO COOK YOURSELF A PROPER MEAL? BY ASGORE'S BEARD! EVEN MY PATHETIC BROTHER EATS FOOD THAT HAS BEEN PREPARED FRESH, DESPITE THE FACT THAT IT'S COVERED IN GREASE AND BARELY EDIBLE."

"human kids. like small, annoying little brats. about this tall..." Sans held his hand to his stomach. "'n they cry a lot. 'specially when they get hurt."

"I-I can, uh, kind of cook, actually, I just don't... want to. Like, ever." You clapped your hands together and forced a smile. "It's fine, though! I'm not picky. As long as I eat something, I can get by."

"like a midget-sized human--wait." Sans narrowed his eyes sockets at you. 
"hang on. are ya sayin' ya just live off of these snacks?"

"MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY, BROTHER! HUMAN! I DEMAND TO KNOW WHY ARE YOU UNABLE TO PREPARE YOURSELF A DECENT MEAL!? DON'T HUMANS HAVE SOME SORT OF NUTRIENT FOOD PYRAMID TO FOLLOW?"

Oh gosh. Human nutrition was not a conversation you wanted to have with a couple of monsters that you barely knew. This was just going to lead to more trouble. Actually, you've had nothing but trouble since Sans caught you. And now his loud brother was here. You mentally groaned and braced yourself for whatever came next.

"First of all, Sans, you can stop looking at me like that. My babies are cats. Second, like I said, I can cook. And third, it's really not that big of a deal. I just don't ever have time to cook and uh..." You pretended to check the time on your Apple Watch. "Oh wow, would you look at that. My next shift starts soon. I better--"

The sound of cardboard and ice breaking caused you to squeak in surprise. You looked up to find the frozen dinner box torn and broken in Papyrus's fist. He pointed at you with a gloved hand.

"HUMAN!" he bellowed, throwing down the box and stepping on it with one foot. "I, THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE PAPYRUS, HAVE DECIDED TO HAVE PITY ON YOU. SINCE YOU ARE MY FRIEND, AND FRIENDS PARTICIPATE IN SOCIAL BONDING ACTIVITIES, YOU ARE INVITED TO ATTEND MY DINNER PARTY THIS FRIDAY NIGHT! GAMES WILL BE PLAYED, JAPES WILL BE SHARED, SPAGHETTI WILL BE SERVED, AND PUZZLES SHALL BE COMPLETED! NYEH HEH HEH!"

Sans snickered, and you felt your heart drop. You've heard stories about Papyrus's cooking, and you weren't eager to see if those rumors were true. Besides, today was Wednesday, and an introvert like yourself needed at least 3-5 business days to even consider leaving the comfort of your house. Not to mention the fact you weren't even sure if you would survive a dinner party with these two.  

"Hah... hah.." You started to slowly back away. A bead of cold sweat ran down your neck. "M-maybe later, Pap."

"goin' somewhere?" a deep voice said behind you. 

You winced. Teleporting. You forgot that was a thing Sans could do. 

"NONSENSE, HUMAN!" Papyrus placed his hands on his hips. "I CANNOT LET YOU SIT BACK AND STARVE, FOR TORI SHALL HAVE MY HEAD IF THAT HAPPENS!"

"I'm not--"

"YOU WILL ATTEND MY DINNER PARTY THIS FRIDAY NIGHT." He patted your head again, a little too harshly, causing your hair to obstruct your vision. "END OF DISCUSSION. NYEH HEH HEH! WE WILL BE LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR VISIT, WON'T WE, SANS?"

"hell no."

"SANS!" 

"okay. fine. sure. whatever! just keep her away from me."

"Ey boneheads!" Someone called, causing your group to turn in their direction. "You're gonna have to pay for that crap, destroyed or not." 

Across the aisle was a white and blue check out counter. Behind it was an irritated monster that you had never seen before. He was some sort of orange cat with black gauges and several piercings in his ears, one of which had a bite taken out of it. He wore a wrinkled black and gray uniform with the words MTT stitched in cursive black on a pocket over his left breast. Dark, gloomy bags loomed under his eyes, and a lollipop stick stuck out from his mouth. Behind his pink lips were sharp yellow teeth, some of which appeared to be broken.

This was the first time you've ever seen a real furry--scratch that (no pun intended), monster like this one. You watched in awe as his ear twitched from Papyrus's bantering, which was now directed towards the cat monster. 

You balled your fists and fought back the sudden urge to scratch behind his ears. Must... Resist... It would be really weird... 

"EXCUSE ME?" Papyrus yelled, facing the monster with his hands on his hips. "HOW DARE YOU SPEAK IN MY PRESENCE! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO I AM, YOU IMBECILE?"

The cat snorted. His stubby orange fingers drummed along the cash register. "Yeah. I heard you refer to yourself in third person about ten times in the past two minutes. Pretty sure everyone in this damn city knows who you are. It's too bad that we can't sell you an inside-voice, buddy. 'Cause you sure could use one." 

Sans snickered, and you elbowed him in the side, shutting him up. His brother, however, wasn't as amused.

Papyrus crossed his arms. "I SEE YOU ARE TRYING TO EMBARRASS ME IN FRONT OF ONE OF MY MANY HUMAN ADMIRERS AND BROTHER. I REGRET TO INFORM YOU, THOUGH, THAT IT IS VERY HARD TO BE OFFENDED BY SOMEONE WITH SUCH A LOW STATUS." 

He smirked. "THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE PAPYRUS HAS NO FURTHER BUSINESS WITH YOU. IF A BATTLE IS WHAT YOU DESIRE, THEN RETURN TO ME WHEN YOU HAVE A BETTER TITLE THAT DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND YOUR MISTAKES, BURGERPANTS."

The room erupted with collective shrieks and yells of "OOOOOOOOOOH" from a couple monster spectators, which had at least doubled from earlier. Sans was on the ground, clenching his stomach and laughing his bony butt off while Papyrus stood there, smirking at his opponent, his tattered red scarf flying in the non-existent wind. 

It seemed like everyone in this room, except for you, knew what the inside joke meant. So you just stood there, looking puzzled in the middle of the remains of aisle three.

Meanwhile, Burgerpants underwent three shades of pink as he tried to hide under the counter, embarrassed from the judgmental stares of the group. He was so busy keeping his eyes down that he didn't even notice your presence until you dropped your bag onto the table, startling him.

"NONONO PLEASE DON'T--" He shrieked, covering his head with his hands.

"Uh..." You looked down at the cowering cat monster. "Do you guys take credit?"

"bah ha!" Sans chuckled. "I always knew burgerpants was a pussy."

You rolled your eyes as the monster group behind you snickered with amusement.

"SANS!" Papyrus yelled, and judging by the way the floor shook, you were pretty sure he was stomping his foot again. "I TOLD YOU TO STOP MAKING THOSE PUNS!"

"what's the matter, boss? cat take my jokes?"

"YOU HAVE FIVE SECONDS TO RUN BEFORE I THROW YOU BACK INTO THE UNDERGROUND!"

"nah. i know yer just kitten with me."

"RUN. NOW."

You didn't bother turning around when shouts and cheers broke out across the store as more monster spectators gathered to watch whatever the heck was going on between those two. Instead, you just handed a frightened-looking Burgerpants a blue card.

"Don't mind them," you sighed as he rung up your total. "They tease and threaten me all the time, too. I'm sure they don't actually hate you or anything."

He gritted his teeth. "No, I'm pretty sure they hate me."

"How come?"

His eyes flickered up. "So uh, you're a human?"

"Yup," you replied, feeling a little peeved that he ignored your question. Then again, it wasn't your business anyway. 

"Why?" he asked, raising an eyebrow. "Why and how are you here?"

"Well," you bit your lip. "You see, when two humans love each other very much--"

"EW EW ew okay no." Burgerpants shivered and shoved your card back into your hands. "Please stop talking. That's not what I meant. Oh gosh. Just leave already!"

You giggled as he handed you your groceries.

"To answer your question," you said, "I'm here because I like monsters. I want to support your businesses and communities." 

Burgerpants took the lollipop out of his mouth. "Well, toots, that makes you one of two humans that do. And the other one is a seven-year-old that only talks in sign language."

"Oh, come on. There are plenty of monster supporters!"

"They must be hiding behind all of the segregation laws, then," he grumbled, leaning into the palm of his hand.

"Things will get better," you winked. "Just wait."

Before you left, you took one last look at the group. Sans and Papyrus were standing in the middle of a pile of discarded food from the former's earlier breakdown. At least a dozen monsters were circled around them, cheering the two on as they fought. Papyrus was summoning bones and aiming them at Sans, but the shorter skeleton always sidestepped at the last second, retorting back with a lazy grin and a pun, making his brother angrier and angrier. They were so caught up in their fight that they didn't even see you slip out the automatic doors.

  You pinched the bridge of your nose. "These damn skeletons..." 

+++ 

You exhaled as you stepped out of your clinic and into the dark streets. You were completely and utterly exhausted. In addition to the chaos that went down while you were grocery shopping, the last few hours of your shift had been pretty stressful. Your feet hurt from standing and walking around all day, your head hurt from getting yelled at by an old couple when you told them that they would have to wait until their blood work came back before you knew what was wrong, your back was killing you from sitting in a chair, and you were pretty sure there was still some vomit left on your shoes from that poor kid with food poisoning. 

Yeah. Today was just terrible and... Weird. You weren't sure if you needed two shots of espresso or two shots of vodka. Or both, although the result would be pretty bad. 

Luckily, no monsters barged in while you were closing up this time, even after you purposely stayed open for an extra half hour just to file some paperwork Looks like you were gonna get some sleep tonight after all, and by sleep, you meant all of those chores and experiments that you had been neglecting for quite some time now. Those potions weren't gonna make and sell themselves, after all.

Tall buildings with dozens of bright windows seemed to stretch endlessly into the pitch-black sky. A long, dark highway stretched out before you, it's yellow lines gleaming under the restless city's light. On both sides were slightly-crumbled sidewalks filled with old street lamps that lit up their paths. A few bugs buzzed around them, occasionally stumbling and bumping against the light's glass.

You carefully looked both ways before crossing the street to the next set of sidewalks. 

Your hands shifted into your pockets, and one of them gripped your pocket knife. It was quiet. Way, way too quiet, especially for the city life. Other than the faint sound of an ambulance somewhere far away, there were no cars, no buses, no drunks, no prostitutes, or homeless people out tonight. Everywhere you looked, your eyes found nothing but emptiness. 

Years of staying on guard and watching your surroundings had made you learn to hate the quite. You knew what this was; it was the calm before the storm.

+++

You were right, you decided, after listening for about a minute. 

Those were footsteps, and even after your twists and turns, they were following you further and further into the alley.

Warm puddles of water and disgusting liquids scattered around the asphalt. Trash littered the floor, faded posters and colorful graffiti covered the red-bricked walls, and a gut-wrenching scent lingered in the air. 

As you turned the corner, you found yourself out of the maze of the alleyways. Another highway stretched across the ground, leading to the parking deck where your car was located. A single wooden bench loomed under the fading light of a street lamp. Behind that was a small patch of green and yellow grass, covered in more trash. 

The footsteps were louder now. You flipped open the pocket knife in your white doctor's coat. If you could get out of this without using magic, then you were going to; however, that didn't stop the determination from rushing through your arteries and into every single area of your body, impatiently waiting for your command to strike at whoever dared to challenge a mage. 

You felt your eyes grow warm and quickly squeezed them shut in an attempt to calm down. It was gonna be really hard to explain why your irises were red if you didn't. 

Suddenly, there was a familiar dash of orange and before you could react, a furry hand cupped over your mouth.

"H-hey buddy, listen," Burgerpants wheezed. His lips quivered as he whispered. "I k-know I barely know you, b-but I've heard things about you helpin' monsters, and I could sure use some of that good 'ol help. You h-haven to hide me before it's--"

"Oi Jim! I think that monster went over here!" A male voice yelled.

"BAHA! We're comin' for you, you piece of shit!" Another said. There was a loud crash from somewhere behind you. It sounded like a metal rod being smashed against a wall. 

Burgerpants froze, his eyes wide in fear. You removed his hand and looked over your shoulder. Three, maybe four shadows could be seen from behind the corner. And they were quickly growing bigger and bigger by the second. All of them were holding weapons. 

"I-I-I don't wanna d-die," Burgerpants weakly whispered. He had a death grip on your shoulders. "P-please don't let them k-kill me." 

The shadows of the group were even bigger now. One of them had something that looked like a baseball bat swung over their shoulders. Well, so much for your pocket knife. Now you had two choices: run or fight.

Your head spun around as you looked for a hiding spot or a possible escape route, but everything was too far, and there was no way you guys wouldn't look suspicious behind a worn-out wooden bench and a skinny lamp.

Wait. The bench.

An idea popped out. It was desperate, pathetic, and risky, but it would have to do. 

But it worked in the movies, right?

You tugged on Burgerpant's arm and forced him to look at you. "No matter what happens, you have to trust me, okay? And I'm sorry in advance."

Burgerpants nodded his head. His eyes were watery, and his whole body was shaking. 

You quickly shoved him against a park bench and climbed into his lap, causing all sorts of expressions to form on his face. Once you were straddling him, you pulled down his gray hoodie as far as it would go, covering most of his face.

"W-whoa whoa," he nervously yelped with wide eyes. "Are y-you sure--"

"Unless you want to fight them. I don't have any other ideas."

He swallowed. "O-okay. I trust you."

You pressed your lips against his and threw your arms around his neck, trying your best to cover his face with yours. The monster under you immediately tensed up and awkwardly tried to return the gesture, although it was more like he was just pushing his face against yours. 

Oh gosh, this had to be the worst kiss in your entire life. It was like kissing a brick wall, except that wall had sharp teeth under layers of orange fur that was scratching your face. And it was very, very, sweaty.

"You have to relax, dude."

"I-I'm re-re-relaxed." He pushed harder against your face, causing your lips to hurt. Memories of a similar experience flooded your head. Oh yeah. Definitely a first kiss. Crap.

"No, you're not," you mumbled.

The sound of the group approaching caused your pulse to quicken. You really didn't wanna do this, but you needed to get Burgerpants to calm down so that the two of you would look more believable. If the two of you just sat motionless on the park bench, someone was bound to be suspicious. 

Magic hummed through you as you pressed your body against him, making sure that your skin touched his. A warm sensation erupted in your chest and quickly traveled up your neck and through your lips.

Throughout the years, you've been told that your healing magic was very comforting. Hopefully, it would be enough to get Burgerpants to calm down, maybe enough to the point where he wouldn't notice that your irises were now glowing red with determination. 

"A-aah..." Burgerpants moaned, relaxing into your hold and, finally, returning the kiss. His arms slowly but surely wrapped around your waist. His mouth opened, and you quickly took the opportunity to deepen it. And just in time, too.

"What's that over there?"

"It's just some horny college kids. What does it look like, dumbass?"

"Are you sure, Jim? That hoodie looks like the one that pussy was wearing."

You pushed your hair back and revealed a small part of your face before pressing further into the inside of Burgerpant's hoodie, causing him to let out another moan. In response, one of his hands tangled itself in your hair, and you felt his other hand rest against the dip in your back, slowly making its way down.

"Watch it," you quietly hissed.

His hand shot back up.

"You sayin' I got bad eyesight or something?"

"N-no boss, I--"

"There ain't no way in hell that any monster would be able to get a chic like that practically throwing herself at him. Only a real man can get 'em hot n' beggin' like that."

There were some snickering and murmurs of agreement.

"Damn, I need a freak like that in my life."

"What? Your mom isn't satisfying you anymore, Vic?" 

"Why you little--"

"Will the two of you shut the fuck up?! Let's get going. That pussy couldn't have gone far." The men laughed as one of them shouted. "We're comin' for you, you piece of shit! Heard y'all turn to dust when y'all die, and we ain't backing down 'till we know whether or not that's true."

After a few seconds of listening to their footsteps, and the sound of a bat being dragged across the pavement fading away, you shoved yourself off of Burgerpants. You stood up and adjusted your clothes back to their normal positions before carefully checking to make sure that the coast was clear. When you saw nothing but dark alleys and empty streets, you let out a sigh of relief. 

"That was way too close." You bowed your head. "I'm so sorry. I panicked and that sort of stuff works in movies, so I figured that I would give it a try. I'm really, really, really sorry!" 

You waited for a few seconds in silence. He didn't respond.

Oh gosh, he's mad. You don't blame him. You would be mad, too. After all, what You did was totally not okay and against all of your morals. But you didn't know what else to do!

"Burgerpants...?" you asked, raising your head. 

A dazed-looking Burgerpants was still leaning back against the park bench with his arms and legs spread out. His eyes were glazed over, and a blush was quickly changing his orange fur to red. 

Shoot. You might've overdone it with the healing magic, but then again you've never used it for the sole purpose of making someone relax. You hoped you didn't accidentally anesthetize him. That would make things ten times worse if you had to drag his sleepy butt to his place. And oh boy, you would have to answer so many questions.

"Uh... dude?" you asked again, waving a hand in front of his face. 

"Oh... ohhhhh... that was.. hah..." he responded, sinking back into the park bench. "That was some... some sweet... hot damn!" he swooned, suddenly leaping forward, narrowly missing knocking his head against yours. "If I go call those guys back, can you kiss me like again?"

Your eye twitched. Okay, your healing magic was not behind his reaction, which made you feel slightly better.

Slightly.

"Dude, no!" You yelled, horrified. "What I did was not okay--"

"Not okay? I thought it was GREAT!" A dreamy looked crossed his face as he grabbed your arms. "You tasted an awful lot like some sort of dessert, though. Chocolate? Vanilla? Cinnamon maybe? And your lips were so HOT!" He waved his hand. "Whatever. It was weird, but I ain't complaining!" 

"That's not the--" You sighed and ran a hand through your hair. "I didn't mean to put you on the spot like that. I just... I just panicked, and I really didn't want those jerks to hurt you... I'm really sorry--"

"What? No no no." Burgerpants shook his head. "Apology accepted, I guess, but you just totally saved my life back there. Seriously. And--" His yellow eyes widened. A wicked grin replaced his blush. "We... I kissed a human. I kissed the cute human doctor lady that the other won't shut up about." He grabbed a fistful of hair on his head. "Oh boy. Oh ohohohooH BOY! Wait until the other shopkeepers hear this! I'm probably the first monster to ever do such a scandalous thing. Wait, no. Aaron was, that stupid flexing slut. But that means I'm a close second!"

Oh no. Oh no no no. No no. No. 

"Uh, I would really appreciate it if you didn't tell anyone about this," you said, pushing yourself out of his grasp. "It's... kind of embarrassing."

"Embarrassing?" His tone was defensive. "What, is it 'cause I'm a monster? You think you're too hot for me? Or is it cause I'm nineteen and you're--uh, how old are you?" His eyes scanned your body. "You're not that much older than me. Like what, twenty?"

More like twenty times twenty. 

"Something like that. And no, it's not because you're a monster. It's just cause... uh..."

Because I had used magic during the kiss to get you to relax and not act like I'm kissing a wall, and your sudden desire to brag about a flimsy and terrible make-out session is really embarrassing and making me question your self-esteem and lack of a dating life. 

"I'm... kind of trying to keep a low profile," You mumbled. "I'm not a fan of attention, Burgerpants and--"

"Felix," he interrupted.

"I... What?"

"It's Felix," he said again, shifting his side to rest against the brick wall. "Bugerpants is... a really, really embarrassing name from a really, really REALLY embarrasing part of my life." He shook his head. "Alright, toots. How's this: I'll respect your request if you respect mine, which is to be the second human to in this entire world to call me by my real name."

You grinned as you held out your hand. "Deal. And It's nice to meet you, Felix. I'm Dr. (Y/N). I run the clinic across the street." 

He gave you a flimsy handshake. "Gotcha. Already knew that much, though. There ain't that many humans that the boss monsters put up with." His ear twitched, and he grimaced. "Much less humans who are actually willing to help us out during this shitty gang war."

"Boss monsters?" That was a term you haven't heard before. 

Felix froze. A furry hand slammed over his mouth. "Dang it." He mumbled between his fingers. "Wasn't supposed to say that. Forget it."

Now you were curious. "Oh, come on!"

"Nope nope nope nope." His free hand tugged on an ear. "A thousand times nope, toots."

"But I just saved your life!" 

"And if I tell you, it's gonna end pretty quickly once word gets around. Contrary to popular belief, I ain't ready to die. Besides, I got work in the morning, and I'm alllllllll out of vacation days."

"But--"

"I said no." His tone was harsh. "You asked me to respect your request, and I'm asking you to respect mine. Some secrets are meant to stay secrets. Fair enough, toots?"

You bit your lip. It wasn't like you had that much of a choice. Dang it! Why were monsters so mysterious? But then again... You have plenty of secrets, too.

"Alright alright, fine. You got me there."

Felix let out a sigh of relief. His tail twirled behind him as he looked at the dark street ahead. He turned back to you and started fidgeting with his hands. 

"I know this is kind of stupid, coming from a guy you just saved," he said, rubbing the back of his neck. "But uh, it's kind of late, and a girl shouldn't be by herself in a place like this. You mind if I walk you to your car or whatever?"

Seriously? Why were all of these monsters so concerned about your safety? If anything, you were the most dangerous thing lurking around at night. Well, then again... There were other things out, too, but Fables mostly kept to themselves... at least, you did, anyway.  

After some consideration, you shoulders slumped in defeat.

"Sure, but only if I can drive you home," you mumbled, pulling out your keys. "It's a win-win situation. You get to protect a pretty helpless girl, and I get to make sure you don't start any more fights with the big bad humans."

He snickered as he walked beside you. "Never been the type of guy to turn down a free ride, much less from a chic who just gave me the hottest make out session I've ever had."

You flashed him a sweet smile. "I will run you over and grind your body to dust if you bring that up one more time."

Felix was quiet the rest of the way to your car.

+++

You were finally safe at home, in your kitchen, sipping a long-overdue glass of red wine. Make that two glasses, actually. And half a packet of your favorite cookies.

It was kind of funny; even though you didn't use that much magic, your stomach was still growling on the way home after dropping Felix off at his apartment. 

Perks of being a mage: constant hunger after magic usage. 

It was either eat or take a nap to refuel your energy, but doctors didn't have time for that luxury. It was fine; you stopped caring about your looks a long, long time ago. 

You lowered the glass to find two pairs of eyes, green and yellow, watching you. Avery and Milo were sitting on the floor, wearing matching looks of disappointment.

You sighed. You had low-key been avoiding them since you got home from your little incident with Felix. It was just too weird. His moans and sloppy wet kisses were going to haunt you until you died, which would (probably) never happen. 

"You know what I did tonight, don't you?" you asked, mumbling as you pressed the cold glass against your lips. 

Their only reply was a stare. 

"It's not like I wanted to kiss him! I panicked! There wasn't anything else I could do other than basically attack those guys, but you two know I hate fighting. It's messy, it's hard to explain to the cops, you have to hunt down the witnesses, destroy the evidence, cover up your lies, I always feel really tired and hungry after, and it's just wrong in general. I'm a pacifist for a reason."

More stares. Avery flicked his gray tail. 

"Alright, selective pacifist. Sometimes there are moments here and there. Whatever. I'm thousands of years old. I served in, like, three wars. I clean your litter box. Get off my back." You drained the glass and carefully disposed it into the dishwasher before slipping into your library. 

You were stressed. Way too much happened today. Another twelve hour shift, shopping, falling, Sans's weird mix flirts and threats, your speech about equality on the floor in a grocery store, Papyrus's (forced) dinner plans, saving a monster's life from a gang, and making out with an angsty and sexually-frustrated furry weren't exactly on your list of agendas when you left for work today.

Luckily, your frown soon changed into a content smile when your hands were filled with all sorts of colorful bubbling and fizzling potions in various glass bottles. Soon, the room was filled with the sweet aromas of science and magic combining together. If your hands weren't mixing and measuring, then they were writing down detailed notes or flicking through dusty old books.

The potions were nothing too complicated; just some things that boosted stats, like HP, speed, and other things. Your doctor job only covered non-magic, human bills, after all. Plus, if the monster and human fights got worse, well, you needed to be prepared for all of those injuries. 

Oh, but which side were you even on? 

You still weren't sure if you belonged on either side. Picking sides wasn't something mages did anymore, at least, not since the last magic war. That being said... Your parents might've been two of the seven mages responsible for locking the monsters Underground...

But monsters weren't the ones who killed your parents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Please don't forget to leave kudos/favorites/bookmarks/comments! You guys have no idea how special they make me feel.

*Edit: Reader's age has changed from 217 to 417.

+++

A loud 'thump' woke you up.

"Milooo," you groaned, sitting up in bed and sliding your sleeping mask over until it covered your forehead. You squinted at the black cat, watching him as he innocently groomed his leg. "I told you to stop knocking my knocking my... my..." You yawned, stretching your arms over your head. "Alarms off like that."

"Meowww."

Milo's expression remained neutral as he placed a paw on your phone and slowly slid it towards the edge. His black tail curiously twisted behind him, like he was truly unsure of what would happen if this strange device was no longer on his (not your) nightstand.

"Don't--"

CRASH!

"Milo no!" You snapped, now fully awake. You pointed to a sleepy Avery, who was curled up on his favorite lilypad-shaped pillow right next to your feet, happily snoozing away. "Why can't you be more like your brother? He never wakes me up."

The black cat tilted his head as he inspected the fluffy gray and white mass, hidden under the mounds of your blue comforter.

"Meow." Milo sang, cocking his head back in place. He quickly glanced back towards the floor, admiring his redecorating skills. "Meow..."

With a reluctant groan, you leaned over your bed and fished out your phone from the floor. You blinked back the pain as the brightness blinded you and forced yourself to check the time.

6:17 A.M.

"Oh crap!" You sprung out of bed, kicking back the tangle of sheets and ignoring the angry cries from both of your cats as you sprinted and threw open the doors to your closet. "I'm gonna be late! I can't be late! I OWN THE CLINIC!"

Technically, it didn't open until eight, but you, the owner, boss, and one of three doctors who worked there always made sure to be there at seven so that you could unlock the doors, start the coffee, file some papers, greet your coworkers as they clocked in, and so on.

You literally couldn't afford to be anything less than perfect. It was already hard trying to get some of your patients to trust that you were, indeed, a doctor and not a student since you barely looked any older than twenty. Heck, even your interns, who were still in med or nursing school, used to question your license until they saw you in action. It took years to make it this far under society's harsh gaze. And you weren't going down without a fight.

You hastily tugged on your clinic's iconic color of green scrubs. With one foot in a pair of pants, your top clenched between your teeth, and the rest of your body naked, you hopped over to the kitchen, mentally going over your morning checklist.

*Coffee!!!

*Clothes!

*Shoes? Well duh.

*Some breakfast...? Heh... Uh...

*Hair? Do it in the car.

*Makeup? Hah! Never for work.

*Backpack.

*Laptop.

While you busied yourself with the instant coffee maker, a certain gray kitty scratched your arm as he tried to play with the ends of your top by jumping and clawing in the air with his fat paws. You quickly appeased Avery by scratching behind his ear, but while you were doing so an empty set of silver bowls conveniently placed behind Avery caught your attention.

Right.

*Cat food and water.

*Lock your library--VERY IMPORTANT!

*Protein/Granola/Whatever bar. Just grab something for lunch!

*Phone.

*Car Keys.

After completing all of these tasks, and giving each of your cats one last pat on the head, you threw your white lanyard (along with your keys) over your neck and sprinted towards the door.

"Goodbye, my loves! I'll see you tonight!"

As you left, your cats stood in front of your door, watching it lock from the other side and listening to the sound of your footsteps tapping against the sidewalk as you ran. They both shared a look, almost as if they knew that a certain black and white cat had saved you from being late.

And with that thought, they both quietly strolled into the living room, determined to catch some more Z's before you came back.

+++

6:48 A.M.

The sight of those white numbers on your Apple Watch caused you let out a sigh of relief. Looks like you weren't going to be late after all. Hurray for saving your reputation!

WIth your (F/C) backpack in hand and lanyard still around your neck, you stepped out of 12th Street's parking deck and into the same streets you were in last night with the furry.

The sun was still rising; it's rays emitting pastel shades of baby blue and peach across the seemingly endless sky. Birds high up in some of the city's rare tree sang their sweet morning songs back and forth to each other, ignoring the few honks and blares from the incoming morning rush. The morning dew glistened against a few scattered patches of grass and on the signs of some neighboring businesses. The smell of pancakes, French toast, and other goods lingered in the air, coming from a small purple lolita shop titled 'Muffet's Bakery and Cafe.'

You eyed the shop with curiosity and then shook your head before continuing your walk down the slightly cracked sidewalk. If you recalled correctly, Muffet was a spider monster, and one of the few monsters that you haven't met yet. Maybe you'd visit someday.

But then again, knowing your antisocial butt, that probably wouldn't happen.

As the familiar sight of your white building came into view, peeking over the swing set of a nearby park, you stopped in your tracks. Your eyes narrowed, and you cocked your head in the direction of a nearby thrift store, or more importantly, the source of all of the yelling.

When you squinted, you caught the sight of a blur of blue dash in front of glass display windows as she angrily pointed to something.

Is that...?

+++

"Undyne?" You asked, perplexed at the sight of the blue fish warrior. Her black eye patch was the only part of her face you could make out from the way her body was turned. You took another step inside the store, and your eyes traveled down to find a familiar mess of chocolate-brown hair. "Frisk?"

Undyne spun around, her red ponytail sailing behind her. "YEAH? WHO THE HELL--" Her yellow eye landed on you. "Oh. It's you."

Today, she was wearing a pair of black jeans, combat boots, and a black crop top with a broken red heart print over her chest.

"Uh..." You raised an eyebrow. "Nice to see you too?"

"Yeah, whatever." She rubbed her forehead. "Listen, can you help me get this guy off my back? He won't let us leave."

The man in question appeared to be around his late thirties, and, judging by the way his beady black eyes were casting not-so-subtle-looks towards your chest when you bent down to hug a smiling Frisk, a bit of a pervert. In addition to lovely balding head, he was wearing thick horned-rimmed 90's glasses, a very faded and greasy plaid orange shirt, and worn out khakis.

When you glared at him for obnoxiously staring, he responded slowly, first with a smug grin and then a wink.

You already hated him, to say the least.

"What's going on?" you asked, pulling away from the kid's embrace.

That question was directed towards Undyne, but the man answered before she could.

"Listen, baby girl," he said in an annoyed tone. His stubby fingers impatiently thumped against the counter. "I already told this spiky fish bitch that this kid's actions have consequences."

"What the HELL did you call me?!" Undyne snapped, her fists clenched by her side.

"I said that you," he thumped his index finger against Undyne chest. "Are a spiky. Fish. Bitch."

Undyne swung her arm back.

"Alright, okay!" You exclaimed, stepping in between those two. Undyne's fist hovered around an inch away from your face. It was so close to you, in fact, that you could actually make out the shiny blue scales on her skin. If it wasn't for her impressive reflexes, you were pretty sure your face would've caved into your skull.

Which was a problem, because the moment that your automatic self-healing kicked in and popped your nose back into place, well... that would've certainly given away your big secret.

"I'm gonna have to ask both of you to calm down." Your eyes glanced up at Undyne as you pleaded. "Please. Let me handle this."

The warrior chomped down on her black lips and painfully forced her fist away from your face. However, her expression softened a bit more when Frisk took her hand and gave it a light squeeze.

"Let's settle this like adults, okay?" you said, clearing your throat.

"There ain't nothing to settle, baby girl," the man chuckled, his eyes half-lidded. He jabbed a greasy thumb in Frisk's direction.

"The kid here stole somethin' from me--"

"No, they did NOT!" Undyne growled.

"--And if this freak here doesn't pay up, then I'm callin' the cops," he snorted, crossing his thick hairy arms over his chest. "Plain and simple."

You eyed the man once more before turning away and facing a rather shy Frisk, who was nervously playing with the ends of their red and black striped sweater. With a hand on their shoulder, you bent down on your knees, matching their height.

"Frisk, sweetie," you whispered, tucking a dark strand of hair behind their ear. "Did you steal anything from this man?"

Frisk shook their head, sending their bangs flying. They released Undyne's hand and, taking in a small breath, began to sign.

'No,' they said, their clear blue eyes cautiously watching you. 'I didn't. I was only looking at a pretty locket, but I didn't touch it. I promise.' They paused for a moment and looked up at Undye, who was still glaring the half-asleep man down.

'Please don't let Undyne get in trouble.' They held their hands out in front of their chest, and then sadly cupped them together. 'Mom and dad have a lot going on already, and I don't want them to be sad.'

With a small smile, you pointed to your head and began signing back two words.

'Don't worry.'

You stood up and brushed the folds out of your clothes before making eye contact with the man, who was half-asleep in his chair. A small drop of drool lingered in the corner of his mouth as he watched your body stroll towards him.

"Listen, Mr..." you peered at his named tag. "Johnson."

The man cocked a grin. "You can call me Johnny."

"Johnson," you stated again, ignoring the scowl on his face. "Frisk said they didn't steal anything."

"Bullshit!" Johnson yelled. "The kid stole a locket up in the front!"

"If you would clean the sand out of your eyes," you calmly hummed and gestured towards the table up front. "You would see that the locket is still up there, and, judging by the layer of dust on top, it hasn't been moved for quite some time."

The man fidgeted in his seat as he followed your gaze to the front of the shop. "Whatever," he snorted. "I'm still callin' the cops."

"WHAT!" Undyne roared, pushing you aside and slamming her scaly fists down on the desk. "On what charges?! The kid is seven!"

"Harassment, theft, and disturbing the peace with all your screaming," Johnson spat, returning Undyne's glare. "And if you don't sit your ass back down, I'm gonna throw in threatening a civilian as well."

"I NEVER touched you!!"

"Doesn't matter. I'm a living human, and you're a big-mouthed fish with some weird deaf kid that can't even talk. The whole city is sick of y'all, anyway. Stealing our jobs and causing nothing but trouble," he shrugged, chuckling. "Who do you think they're gonna believe?"

"Frisk isn't deaf!" Undyne hissed. The muscles in her neck bulged out as she spoke. Blue and white sparks began spiral down her arms. "You stupid, ignorant, and racist moTHER FU--"

"Call them."

Both parties turned towards you with various expressions. Undyne's was a look of pure betrayal; her mouth was gaped open, and her yellow eye was wide. As for Johnson, though, his original confusion quickly morphed into giddiness.

"I knew ya would come around soon, baby," he purred, licking his lips as he leaned back in his chair. "Us humans have to stick together, after all."

"(Y-Y/N)?" Undyne whispered.

"Oh, I completely agree." You brushed past her attempt to reach towards you and instead waltzed closer to Johnson. From there, you slid a leg over his desk, causing the man to grin even more, especially when you lightly trailed your hand over his cheek. "This is a rather serious predicament. We should definitely get the authorities involved." You chuckled. "Drugs are not anything to joke about, after all."

"Welllll, we could--wait." His black eyes widened, and he stiffened as you sentence finally sunk in. "D... drugs?"

Johnson tried to pull away, but you held your grip as you inspected him. "Bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, rapid heartbeat, lethargic responses..." You sniffed the air. "Hm. Your shop smells unusually sweet. Reminds me of my old college roommate..."

With the same hand, you tilted his head up.

"Isn't it a little early to be high, Johnny?" you hummed, gripping his cheek a little tighter as the very stoned man whimpered. Your automatic boss voice clicked on. "Marijuana usage for non-medical purposes is illegal here. I saw the zip-locked bag under your desk when I walked in."

You raised an eyebrow. "Call the cops. Go on; I actually want you to. Tell them your story, and I'll tell them mine. I'm a respected doctor in this city, and you're a nobody. We'll see who they believe, you racist bastard." You released your grip and calmly slid off his desk, rejoining an even more shocked Undyne, and a cheering Frisk who was giving you two thumbs up.

You made small U-turn with your heels and clapped your hands. "Well, I believe everything is settled, then! Unless..." You tilted your head. "You have something else to say, Mr. Johnson?"

The man behind the counter shook his head, silently pleading for you to leave. He was slowly sliding out of his chair like he wanted to hide under his desk. His beady eyes were watching you with such intensity that they looked like they were gonna pop out at any second.

"N-no," he croaked before ducking his head down.

"Have a good day!" You said, pushing the others out the door.

Once you were outside, Frisk jumped into your arms and Undyne slapped a hand against your back.

"What the HELL was that all about!?" Undyne yelled, throwing her free hand into the air..

You shrugged as you watched Frisk rapidly sign something lke 'you were so calm!'

"I agree with the punk," Undyne grumbled, scratching her neck. "I didn't know you had that in you. I always figured you were some sort of pansy, (Y/N)."

Your shoulders bounced as you laughed. "Me? No way. Besides, that guy was just stoned out of his mind and angry at the world. He wasn't the type to actually do anything other than threaten you guys into paying."

Frisk tilted their head in confusion. 'What does stoned mean?' they signed.

"Oh WHOOPS!" Undyne quickly snatched Frisk out of your arms and broke out into a run. "We're gonna be late for school, punk! Better hurry! Say goodbye to the nerd!"

'See you later'! Frisk signed from Undyne's shoulder, giggling as the warrior jumped over a stop sign.

"Goodbye!" You waved.

And with that, you turned back and walked in the direction of your clinic.

+++

It was once again after hours in your clinic. Outside, the city was buzzing with its nightly activities. However, right when you were about to lock the doors, two very familiar monsters walked out from the shadows, waving and yelling for you to let them in as they proudly showed off their injuries from another brawl.

Currently, you were in your office, listening to the two monsters bicker back and forth.

"Is this not getting old for you two?" you asked, unconsciously swatting away Papyrus's hand as he tried to touch the crack on the temporal part of his skull. With a pair of tweezers and a cotton ball, you carefully dabbed on a bright orange paste onto his injury. "'Cause I'm pretty sure I see you guys more than I see my neighbors."

"Hah hah hah." Undyne faked a laugh, and then immediately winced. She was holding up a plastic blue ice pack under her eyepatch, which was covering up her swollen cheek and a cut that you haven't treated yet. Papyrus had insisted that he should be treated first since he was the most important person in the room.

You had originally intended the ice pack to just settle down the swelling, but every now and then you caught her using the tip of her tongue to lick up little drops of water that rushed down her cheek.

Which was kind of weird, but hey, you were getting paid either way. So lick on, Undyne. Lick on.

"IT SERVES YOU RIGHT." Papyrus shot his gaze towards Undyne, earning a small "Hold still!" from you.

"Papyrus..." Undyne groaned, rubbing her head. "Can you keep it down, you energetic edgy goofball?"

He ignored her request and crossed his legs. "I TOLD YOU TO NOT GO IN ALONE, BUT YOU DID IT ANYWAY!"

"Ughhhh." Undyne rolled her eye. "The mission was a success either way, nerd. The humans lived, and we didn't lose anyone. No one got hurt--"

"YOU AND I DID!"

"WHATEVER! No one got seriously hurt!"

"THAT DOESN'T MATTER. YOU SHOULD'VE WAITED FOR ME OR THE OTHERS."

"I knew I could take them, and I easily did!" Undyne pointed to her cheek with a black fingernail. "This cut is just from them blowing that shit up. Besides they had a hostage, damn it! Did you not hear that Snowdrake screaming?"

"AS MUCH AS IT PAINS ME TO SAY IT," Papyrus's face darkened. "WE CAN AFFORD TO LOSE A SNOWDRAKE. WE CAN'T AFFORD TO LOSE A BOSS MONSTER, AND YOU KNOW THAT!"

You grimaced. There was that term again. 'Boss monster.' What exactly did that mean? Was Unydne a boss monster? What about Papyrus? In video games, a boss monster was a hard character you had to fight against for loot or lots of EXP. To you, the EXP thing was a myth, but what about the other stuff? You wanted to ask, but there was a nagging voice in the back of your head that said you shouldn't. For now, at least.

"Damn it, Papyrus!" Undyne hissed through gritted teeth. "For the last time, keep your voice down! I feel like my head's gonna explode, and you aren't helping!"

"Speaking of head injuries," You took out a clipboard and started jotting down some notes. "I need to know exactly what happened to you two."

"We can't talk about--"

"I know." You cut Undyne off with a wave. "I don't need to know why, or who, or any other details like that. I just need to know how and where you were hit. If there's a chance that either of you might have some sort of injury that isn't visible, then now's the time to talk. That being said..." You scribbled down on your clipboard. "I'm still new to healing monsters, but I think I can safely say that Papyrus's scratch is, well, just a scratch. Which is a miracle." You pointed your pen in his direction. "If a human being got a cracked skull, then they would need lots of luck and a hasty trip to the ER. You skeletons are tougher than you look. If you keep that paste on you and don't mess with your bandage, then you should be good as new, maybe by tomorrow, if you're as fast as a healer as you say you are."

"OF COURSE!" Papyrus exclaimed, causing Undyne to facepalm. "THE TERRIBLE AND GREAT PAPYRUS HAS TAKEN WORSE HITS THAN THIS MEASLY WOUND. ALTHOUGH," he stroked his chin. "I MUST ADMIT THAT YOUR METHODS OF HEALING ARE... MILDLY SOOTHING."

For a few seconds, you just stood there, staring at Papyrus.

Did... did he just compliment you?

He did! Stars. He... he actually complimented you. Oooh. This was new. Maybe he's not as immature as you originally thought.

Before you could react with anything more than a smile, though, there was a flash of red, followed by a few low grunts.

"Shit..." Sans said, clutching the arm you had just set two days ago. His eyes were directed down towards his arm, and his whole body shook as he spoke.

"Doc, I hope you're not busy, heh..." Teeth clenched, he slowly pulled his head up to face you. "Because you aren't gonna beli--Undyne?" He narrowed his eyes. "w-what are you--OH CRAP PAPYRUS I MEAN B-B-B-BOSS HI!" he yelped.

"SANS?!" Papyrus looked shocked as he eyed his brother. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?"

"OH MY GOSH, PAPYRUS," Undyne groaned, leaning away as you tried to peel back the ice pack to get a good look at her wound. "I'M NOT GONNA ASK YOU AGAIN. INSIDE. VOICE. NOW."

Papyrus sneered. "YOU WILL, AS THE COOL HUMANS SAY, 'SUCK IT UP,' WOMAN!"

"NGAHH!!!"

"NYEHH!!"

"Uh, I hate to interrupt this wonderful shouting match," you muttered, picking up some gauze. "But Undyne, I need you to hold still while I clean your wound. If you both keep yelling, then you might end up reopening it."

Undyne sent Papyrus another death glare before rolling her eyes and tilting her head to the side so that you could get a better angle.

Before you started dressing her cut, though, you turned to face Sans, who looked like he was a mix of shock, pain, and embarrassment. He was still clutching his arm, and although you couldn't see most of the damage due to his black hoodie, you could make out the torn beige end of the bandage dangling near his wrist. Beads of sweat dripped down his skull and onto his clothes, causing you to frown. Either he was in a lot of pain, or the sight of the other two monsters were making him feel very uncomfortable.

A sinking pit in your stomach told you it was a mix of both.

"Sans," you said softly. "Do you mind waiting on the counter, next to your brother? I'll be with you in just a moment." You turned back to Undyne and gently coated her cheek with some antibiotics and disinfectant. "She doesn't need stitches, so this won't take long."

"uh..." Sans's eyes flickered from you to his brother. "s-sure. it ain't that... bad."

"Can you give me stitches anyway?!" Undyne asked, ignoring Sans. "Fuhuhu! That would make me look so cool!!!"

You let out a soft laugh. "No. I can't do that. All you really need is just a gauze... and something to hold it in place... and we're done!"

The warrior's cheek was now covered by a piece of fluffy white gauze and two clear strips of surgical tape.

Undyne started to reach for her cheek, but you quickly slapped her hand away.

"No touching!" you ordered. "Leave it alone for the night. You can remove it in the morning so that the cut can air out. If it starts to swell, rest some ice on it."

"Is it gonna scar!?" Undyne asked, her yellow eye wide with hope.

You shrugged, but that was apparently enough of an answer for her to fist pump.

"Hell YEAH!" she exclaimed.

"Alright Bones," you called over your shoulder as you stripped off your gloves and threw on a new pair. You walked up to the skeleton, who was seated on the counter alone since Papyrus had left him to talk to Undyne.

The first red flag was that Sans was still sweating a lot. The second was the fact that when you asked to see his arm, he made sure you two were at an angle where the others wouldn't see.

When you pulled up his sleeve, you gasped.

The bit of the bandage that was hanging off at his wrist was the only part left. The remains of it were torn to so many pieces that it looked more like burnt confetti.

Burnt...?

But that wasn't the worst part. His forearm, which previously covered in cracks, was now in... shambles. Other than a few new scratches, his radius looked fine...

But his ulna was completely broken in half.

Jagged marks lined its edges, and tiny hairline fractures snaked up and down his arm from whatever had hit him. It was just... shattered. If it wasn't for the fact that his magic kept him from falling apart and somehow holding it in place, he would be missing his ulna.

You were thrown out of your thoughts by quiet growling. Your eyes shot up to find Sans staring at you with two empty black eye sockets that silently spoke three words.

'Don't say anything.'

You blinked back at him, once again unfazed by his threat. Meanwhile, your thoughts fought with each other. This injury looked pretty serious. Very, very serious. Should you tell the others? Surely Papyrus would want to know, right? Maybe possibly even help? They were brothers, after all. But there had to be a reason Sans didn't want you to say anything. It took so long to gain his trust; were you really willing to lose it, and possibly never gain it back? He did come to you, after all. And if you chose to keep quiet...

Could you even heal him without using magic?

With a deep, heavy sigh, you stood up. Sans's growl immediately grew, and you were pretty sure you saw another flicker of red smoke in one of his eyes. Before he could jump off of the counter and pounce on you, you rested a hand on his shoulder. Without another word, you gently pushed him back down on the counter and squeezed his shoulder. When he shot you a warning look, you gave him a small smile.

And with that, you moved until you were standing in front of the skeleton, shielding him from the others.

"Papyrus, Undyne," you called towards the bickering monsters. "I need you two to please leave us alone for a moment. There's a TV in the waiting room, and a couple of MTT magazines. Help yourselves to those."

"What?" Undyne asked, raising an eyebrow. "The hell are you kicking us out for? We were here first!"

"I AGREE WITH UNDYNE. HUMAN!" Papyrus jabbed a finger in your direction. "I DEMAND TO KNOW WHY YOU REQUIRE TO BE ALONE WITH MY PATHETIC BROTHER! WHAT ARE HIS INJURIES? AND..." Papyrus tried to peer over your shoulder, but the shorter skeleton was carefully hidden behind your flowy white doctor's jacket. "WHERE EVEN WERE YOU, SANS? I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU WEREN'T GOING OUT TONIGHT?"

You replied before Sans could. "You don't have to worry about him. I need you two to leave though because this skeleton..." The corners of your mouth twisted up into a grin. "Is gonna strip for me."

"what?!"

"WHAT?!"

"NYEH?!!?!?!?!?"

You bit down on your lip and held back a laugh. You didn't even need to turn around to see Sans's blushing reaction. Standing next to him was like standing next to a heater. Papyrus had his hands in the air, screaming about how there was no need to ruin your eyes by the sight of Sans. On the other hand, Undyne was wearing a big toothy grin as she furiously smashed her fingers along the screen of her phone. Every now and then her eyes would flicker up, and she would snicker before glancing back down at her phone.

"Oh MAN!" Undyne whistled, her headache seemingly cured by her lust for shipping. "Wait until Alphys hears about this!"

"DO NOT GET HER INVOLVED IN THIS!" Papyrus screeched, trying to grab Undyne's phone. "I KNOW HOW YOU TWO ARE WITH YOUR FANFICTIONS! I'M STILL TRYING TO TELL EVERYONE THAT METTA AND I ARE NOT--NO! STOP! DO NOT NOOGIE THE SKELETON!"

"Fuhuhuhu!"

You crossed your arms but still kept your smile. "Don't get too excited, guys. I just need to inspect his injuries. Nothing more." And with a chuckle, you added, "That ship won't be sailing anytime soon."

"Suuuuureee," Unydne teased. She wrapped her arm around Papyrus's shoulders and pulled him towards the door. "We'll be waiting. And Sanssss." She poked her head out and flashed him another big smile. "You don't need to look so stiff, nerd. We're leaving you in some VERY good hands!" She wiggled her eyebrows before ducking back behind the door. Half a second later, a box of tissues was slammed against the spot her head was.

You frowned. "Was that necessar--oh."

You were standing face-to-face with a very flustered, very pissed skeleton. His sweating from earlier was nothing compared to how it was now. Sans's usual smile was pulled tight into a frown. Both of his blazing red pinpricks were staring you down.

"the HELL did ya have to say all that shit for?!" He yelled, causing you to stumble back from shock.

"It's not a big deal!"

"not a BIG DEAL!? do ya have any idea what they think we're gonna do now?!"

"Fix your injuries? What else--oh. HAHA!" You laughed, rubbing your sides as you stood back up and gently tugged Sans's hoodie off. "They were only joking, Sans!"

"no, they weren't!"

You raised an eyebrow. "Do you seriously believe that they think I'm gonna have sex with you in my office?"

Sans clenched his teeth, averting your eyes. "n-not pap. but undyne definitely wants it ta happen now." His eyes flickered towards your face. "ya don't get it. her 'n alphys are freaks for that sort of shit."

You snickered. "I know. I follow both of their Tumblrs."

"what!? then why would ya--?"

"Bones." The seriousness in your voice caused his eyes to snap up to you. "Don't worry about that stuff. Let's focus on your arm, okay? It looks... really, really bad."

Sans snorted, frowning as he inspected his broken ulna. "don't remind me."

You sighed. "I know it's none of my business, but--"

"no."

"Can you just--"

"nope."

"I'm trying to--"

"stop askin'. stop being so damn nosy about monsters period, alright?" he sniffed, his eyes glazing over as his typical 'tough guy' act dropped since the two of you were alone. "it ain't like ya can do anythin' about it, so just stop."

"Sans." He flinched when you said his real name. You rarely did that. "If I showed up at your house in the middle of the night with a broken arm, and crying from all of the pain..." You took this moment to brush a glistening tear off of his cheek. "What would you do?"

You watched as his face twisted from a painful grimace to anger as he pondered the thought. His empty eye sockets narrowed. He slowly reached up and pulled your hand away from his cheek, but instead of pushing you off of him, he held it with a firm grip, completely encasing your hand in his.

"if you showed up at my house..." he growled, staring down at the floor. "'n you were hurt, then i would get tori or alphys to heal you up, 'n get pap to guard the house while i hunted down the bastards who fuckin' touched you and beat 'em into the ground for havin' the damn NERVE TO HURT--."

"OKAY okay," you yelped, pulling your hand out of his and rubbing it. The lack of your touch against his bones snapped Sans out of dark thoughts. He blinked once, twice, and then his red pinpricks were back. With a slightly flushed face and a tight frown, he directed his attention back to the floor.

Meanwhile, you were speechless. You just wanted Sans to see that you cared for him, but his reaction was way more emotional than you thought. Half of the time you two were together, you were both practically at each other's throats. But the way he was gripping your hand was just... desperate.

You knew he was protective, sure. But to you, the two of you were barely even friends! However, his reaction... was he...?

...P-probably not.

As the awkward silence grew, you took a moment to turn around and pop open the small cylinder case of the orange paste you were originally applying to Papyrus's skull, trying to busy yourself with work instead of focusing on weird flutter in your stomach.

You eyed the cream with a small frown. You had gotten this from the monster pharmacy, meaning that it was infused with monster magic. Its current condition was perfectly fine for small scrapes and cuts, but in Sans's case... it just wasn't strong enough.

A hot, tingling sensation rushed from your heart and down to your fingertips as you slowly deposited some of your magic, watching as small, silent bubbles popped on the cream's surface before turning the whole thing red, matching the color of your SOUL.

When you finished, you squeezed your eyes shut and tried to force your irises to turn back to their normal (e/c). When the fuzzy feeling of your magic returned to your chest, you sighed.

"Hold still," you said, turning back around to face Sans.

The sound of your voice snapped him back to reality. He silently cursed as you tried to gently move his arm towards you. When he saw you dab a cotton swab into the ruby-red cream, he rolled his eyes.

"that stuff ain't gonna cut it, doc," he grimaced. "it ain't that strong."

"It's..." You tried to think of a good excuse. "A prescription, so it's better than the over the counter stuff." You chose your next few words very carefully. "This might be a bit... warm."

Sans's eye sockets narrowed. "warm?"

"It's just the medicine setting into your bones," you quickly added. "Don't worry about it. It's completely safe."

He raised an eyebrow. "you're not makin' much sense. that ain't how magic work-nghhh."

As soon as the paste touched his bones, Sans's shoulders slumped, and he melted further into the counter. A look of pure bliss quickly replaced his skeptical expression, and his red eyes dilated.

"hah..." he panted, watching the paste disappear as his bones quickly absorbed it. "t-that's not warm. that's really... really.. h.. hot."

Meanwhile, you were busy trying to set his ulna in place with some more bandages, ignoring very distracting Sans's hot breath against your neck.

There was no doubt about it this time. You DEFINITELY used wayyyy too much magic.

Luckily, the skeleton was too occupied to even notice as the bone began to magnetically repair itself. The alchemist in you couldn't help but watch with curiosity. The two jagged edges burned a bright red whenever it came in contact with its missing piece, restoring it back to normal; the same applied to the other tiny broken fragments as well, making Sans's ulna look like some weird type of jigsaw puzzle. The bandage you were applying now was just an extra precaution to make sure they stayed in place for the rest of the night, and also a cover-up for the fact that your healing powers were almost instant. Lots of things could happen in thirty seconds, sure, but setting a broken bone back in place was pretty much impossible to do without using magic.

Something heavy fell against your shoulder, nearly knocking you back. When you looked down, you saw that Sans's eyes were half-lidded, and his face was now flushed as he watched you with a very... odd (longing!?) expression.

"hah... hah..." he mumbled, nuzzling into your sleeve. "t-that was... hah... n-nice. y... ya should do t-that more often when i v-vist."

And with that final comment, he fell asleep, leaving you alone, in your office, with two other monsters outside who were going to barge in at any minute asking what the hell just happened.

There was no doubt that you could think of a good excuse, but...

That was hard to do with the sound of your blood roaring in your ears.

Why were you so flustered?!

Chapter Text

Phone update complete. You have 9 unread text messages and one missed call from "River Colville."

 

Papyrus: HUMAN! I AM TEXTING YOU BECAUSE YOU ASKED ME TO INFORM YOU OF MY SKULL'S CONDITION IN THE MORNING.

Papyrus: THAT IS THE ONLY REASON I AM WASTING MY TIME WRITING THIS MESSAGE.

Papyrus: CERTAINLY NOT BECAUSE I ENJOY TALKING TO YOU!

Papyrus: TRUTH BE TOLD, IT NO LONGER HURTS, BUT IT SEEMS THAT IT WILL BE A PERMANENT SCAR NOW.

Papyrus: WHICH IS WONDERFUL NEWS! I CANNOT WAIT TO SHOW UNDYNE! THIS MEANS I AM CURRENTLY WINNING 29:28 IN OUR SCAR CONTEST!!!!

Papyrus: NYEH HEH HEH!

Papyrus: WE SHALL BE AWAITING YOUR ARRIVAL TONIGHT.

Papyrus: DO NOT BE LATE!

sans: what ta fuck did ya give me last night

+++

Your cats were sitting in your lap, taking turns to slap the back of your phone out of your hands. You ignored their angry cries for attention and instead sunk back deeper into the couch cushions, inhaling their lavender scent that your housekeeper loved to use on everything you owned.

Tongue-clicking, you once again strolled through the messages, unconsciously taking turns to stroke each of your cats, who responded with purring and sinking their claws into your jeans, making sure that you knew who was in charge of this house and you. If they wanted attention, then you better be prepared to clear your schedule for them.

Unfortunately, using your cats as an excuse to cancel dinner with the skeleton bros. wasn't really an option.

You grimaced. You didn't even agree to go. Papyrus just said you were, and you just couldn't find the heart to tell him that dinner parties weren't your thing. Actually, anything that involved you putting on pants and talking to others usually emitted an automatic "no thanks, I'm busy" response. On your nights off, you would much rather cuddle with your cats on the couch and binge-watch some 'Let's Plays' on Youtube.

Although part of you kind of wanted to go. You would be lying if you said you weren't curious about what their house looked like. You've never seen a monster house before, much less been inside of one. Was it also made of bones? Could it be a mansion? Were they rich? Poor? Did they live in the ghetto? Log cabin? Trailer? Treehouse?

With a sigh, you checked the time on your Apple Watch. You had exactly three hours before you needed to leave. Those three hours were gonna be used to peel off your morning shift scrubs, shower, get dressed (makeup??? ehhh), and mentally prepare a few conversation topics just to make sure you didn't come off as boring to the monsters.

It was just Pap and Sans, right? Since their expectations of you were never really high (the shopping incident still haunted you), then it shouldn't be too bad.

Right?

Avery climbed your shoulder and snuggled into the crook of your neck, his whiskers brushing against your skin. Milo was staring at your arm, curiously watching his red scratches from earlier slowly fade away as your self-healing magic kicked in. You calmed him down by rubbing the side of his smooth black butt, earning another purr.

You sink back into the couch. Any minute now, you were gonna get up. And do things. Responsible, adult things like... like putting on pants! And socializing!

And-drinking-wine-in-the-corner-when-your-social-anxiety-starts-acting-up-but-you-can't-leave-because-that-would-rude.

Any. Damn. Minute. Now.

+++

Well, one three-hour nap and a hasty ten-minute shower later, you were here, standing outside of the skeleton's bros' house. Before you could even knock on their front door, Papyrus was already there, looking down at you with disapproval.

"YOU ARE LATE."

With your fist still in it's knocking position, you blinked at the skeleton. Instead of wearing his usual body armor, Papyrus had on a gray crop top, black jeans, and a plain red apron. A large spatula rested on his hip, along with his clenched fists. It was kind of weird seeing him appear so... domesticated and non-threatening.

"Uh..." He was waiting for you to respond. You lowered your hand and frowned. "...Sorry?"

The skeleton narrowed his eye sockets, studying your sincerity before turning away with a "TCH!" and muttering something about you being worse than his brother.

"VERY WELL. I SHALL FORGIVE YOU THIS TIME, HUMAN. BUT!" He quickly spun around and pressed a gloved finger against your nose, causing you to flinch. "I WILL NOT BE AS LENIENT THE NEXT TIME YOU DISOBEY MY ORDERS. IF YOUR LAZINESS AND EXCUSES CONTINUE, THERE WILL. BE. WAR."

Papyrus thumped your nose with every word before walking back into the house, his apron somehow loose and flying behind him like a cape. You took this moment to properly close your gaping mouth and wonder what the heck just happened.

Were you just threatened? Did he seriously boop you, a four-hundred-year-old mage and doctor's, nose?

Shaking your head, you took a quick step back to check out the Skeleton Bros. house. It wasn't anything like you expected it to be. Instead of some sort of castle, it was just a normal medium-sized house with a rickety wooden porch. The lawn was green and freshly cut, and the neighborhood was, of course, filled with monsters. A small garden bed filled with poppies and lilies outlined the sidewalk leading up to their door.

The corners of your mouth hitched up. You never knew Papyrus had a green thumb, much less a soft spot for dainty little flowers.

The sound of pounding footsteps, combined with the porch shaking, snapped you out of your thoughts. You turned around just in time to see two pairs of arms, one made of bones and the other covered in blue scales shoot out from the dark and grab you by the shoulders. With a rough jerk and a squeak from your mouth, you were pulled backward, and your vision blurred as the scenery quickly changed from green to black.

"HUMAN! YOU ARE TAKING TOO LONG ADMIRING MY HOUSE!"

"Fuhuhu! Long time no see, nerd!"

The door slammed shut in front of you. Your heels scraped against the carpet as Papyrus and Undyne dragged you into the living room. Once there, they both gave your head a firm pat (you were starting to see where Papyrus got that from) and ruffled your hair, causing you to flinch.

"WELCOME TO MY HOME, HUMAN!" Papyrus said, gesturing towards the couch. "MAKE YOURSELF COMFORTABLE."

His statement wasn't really an offer. As soon as he saw your hesitation, he frowned and pushed you back into his old black couch.

You were starting to get really annoyed with monsters. Why were they so touchy?

Oh well. At least he sort of helped your social anxiety.

You inhaled, and then your face lit up. "What's that smell?"

Papyrus's face twisted into a proud grin. "THAT, HUMAN, IS MY INFAMOUS SPAGHETTI!"

All signs of discomfort immediately left your body at the mention of food. You took in another breath, deeper this time, savoring the scent of tomato sauce and.... oh stars, were those MEATBALLS? They smelled heavenly.

The taller skeleton and fish warrior must've seen the longing look on your face because they quickly shared an amused look.

"FUHUHU! It's not ready yet, punk!" Undyne laughed.

"INDEED! ALTHOUGH I CANNOT BLAME YOU FOR YOUR EAGERNESS," Papyrus said. "ESPECIALLY SINCE YOU DAILY NUTRIENTS CONSIST ONLY OF FROZEN AND PREPACKAGED FOOD!"

"The hell's wrong with that?" Undyne asked, her yellow eye studying Papyrus. "Alphy lives off of instant ramen. Ya got a problem with that?!"

Papyrus scoffed. "LET US SETTLE THIS IN LATER, UNDYNE. YOUR SALT IS GOING TO RUIN MY SPAGHETTI."

Undyne made a face like she wanted to argue some more, but she quickly dismissed it when her girlfriend stumbled into the room.

"Alphy!!" Undyne squealed. "Look who's here!!!"

"(Y-Y/N)?" The monster asked, nervously fiddling with the ends of her dress.

You turned and a smile immediately broke out on your face.

"Alphys!" you said, pulling the monster in for a hug. "Oh man. It's been too long since I've talked to you!"

"W-we talk to each other a-all of the time on Tumblr," she stuttered, returning your hug.

"Alright. Talking to you in person, then. How have you been? Is the university treating you well? You look stunning, by the way." You pulled away and admired her.

Alphys was a short yellow dinosaur monster who's mind could compete against some of the well-known geniuses living on the surface. Big circular and slightly cracked glasses rested on the bridge of her nose. Instead of wearing her usual white lab coat, she was wearing a heavy red and black striped sweater dress that hugged her curves in the right places. It was the middle of June, but if Alphys wasn't bothered by the heat, then you weren't gonna bring it up.

She was the first monster you befriended after the barrier broke. The two of you accidentally bumped into each other at Ebott University. You had been lecturing in a human cadaver lab to undergraduate nursing majors, and Alphys had just left a job interview to be a TA for the biology lab. She was smart enough to teach the whole lecture as a professor, but since some monster laws were still under review, she had to settle for this position instead. You were both stuttering apologies one after another for quite some time until her ringtone went off, and the two of you froze. When you asked her if that was the theme song for your favorite childhood anime, Mew Mew Kissy Cutie, her face had lit up like a lightbulb.

The two of you had instantly clicked and been besties ever since that day.

She blushed and shyly looked away. "T-thanks. Y-you look great too."

Papyrus and Undyne returned to the kitchen, leaving you and Alphys some time to catch up.

"Wait. They're sending you where?" you asked.

"H-Hawaii. Where... wherever that is, heh." She fiddled with her claws. "I'm going to be part of an expedition f-filled with other biologists who are going to s-study the island's e-ecosystems. I'm p-pretty sure they o-only want me because smoke inhalation doesn't b-bother me, nor does the volcanic heat, but..." She looked up at you with a twinkle in her eyes. "It's s-still pretty exciting t-to be w-wanted, right?"

Your heart melted as you pulled her in for another hug. "That's amazing! I'm so happy for you. You're going to blow them out of the water with your brains. Oh, please take lots of pictures and post them on the UnderNet!"

Alphys melted into a flustered mess in your arms. "T-t-t-thanks," she squeaked.

"HUMAN!" Papyrus yelled, sticking his skull out from the kitchen door. "DINNER IS ALMOST READY. GO WAKE MY LAZY BROTHER. HIS ROOM IS THE SECOND DOOR ON THE RIGHT. I LEFT A STICKY NOTE ON THERE EARLIER FOR HIM, BUT HE HASN'T LEFT HIS DISGUSTING ROOM ALL DAY."

"You got it, Pap!" You slid off the couch and began walking down the short hallway, stopping only when you found the cluster of sticky notes stuck on one of the doors.

You eyed the yellow sticky notes and read them from the top to the bottom.

'CLEAN YOUR ROOM.'

'no'

'WE HAVE VISITORS TODAY. CLEAN YOUR ROOM!'

'no'

'WE HAVE TWO HOURS BEFORE THEY ARRIVE. IS YOUR ROOM CLEAN?'

'no'

'SANS! OPEN THE DOOR!'

'no'

You held a hand over your mouth in an attempt to stop laughing. Not only did the skeleton bros. have fonts as names, but they also wrote in them as well. That was hilarious! Were these two even real?

After taking a few moments to calm down, you held your hand up to Sans's bedroom door and knocked twice.

"who's there?" you heard a gruff voice ask. Did he just wake up?

"It's (Y/N)-"

"nope," he snickered. Some shuffling noises followed as he walked closer to the door. "if ya want me to come out, then we gotta do this right."

You rolled your eyes and mentally ran through a list of cheesy knock-knock jokes in your head. "Fine. Let's start over. Knock knock."

"who's there?"

"Honeybee."

Sans must've heard this one before because he was already chuckling. "honeybee who?"

"Honey, be a dear and open the damn door."

"aww, c'mon, doc," he teased, opening the door. He was wearing the same basketball shorts and black hoodie from yesterday. Sans lazily leaned against its frame, cocking a mischevious grin in your direction. Either your magic from yesterday was still making him blush, or...

"ya don't gotta be like that. 'sides, ya ain't ever gonna get a certain big strong 'n handsome monster to take care of ya until ya learn some manners."

"Huh." You huffed, returning his grin. "Too bad I haven't met one of those yet."

Sans's grin fell and his face scrunched up. You giggled at his reaction and quickly sidestepped his attempt to grab your arm, causing him to stumble forward. Instead of helping him up, you turned and looked over your shoulder.

"Alright, Mr. Grabby Arms," you teased. "I was already late getting here, and I don't really want to sit through another lecture about how I'm just like you."

Sans caught up with you, and the hallway into the kitchen quickly filled with the sounds of his cheesy jokes and your laughs.

Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all.

+++

Okay, so you were very wrong.

Appetite long gone, you played began aimlessly stabbing at your spaghetti with your fork. You kept your chin tucked down and your head low, silently wishing that you could turn invisible or teleport somewhere--ANYWHERE that wasn't within earshot of this conversation.

"Ngah!" Undyne yelled, slamming her hands on the table and slightly cracking it. "Why won't that damned government come clean and admit it?! Human mages are totally REAL!"

"Asgore has t-tried to inform them of monster history." Alphys paused to clean her glasses with the ends of her sweater dress. "E-even going so far to inform t-them that he was one of the monsters fought in the w-war before the barrier was set up, and naming and describing the mages who were responsible for it."

You took a very long sip of your soda.

"AND?" Papyrus piped up, setting down a fresh plate of spaghetti.

Alphys nervously clicked her claws together. "They don't b-believe him."

"WHAT?!" Undyne yelled.

"that's bullshit," Sans growled. He was sitting a bit too close to you, but at least his large, big-boned body hid you from the rest of the group. You introvert senses silently thanked him, but the independent woman in you wanted him to back up and let you breathe. Why was he so touchy with you all of the sudden?

"the king ain't got any reason ta lie," he continued, snorting. "how ta hell do they think we got trapped down there in ta first place?"

"N-no, guys. You got it all wrong," Alphys sighed. "It's n-not that they think mages never existed. Actually, to humans, magic and monsters a-are just f-folklore. They're denying that mages still e-exist, claiming that they haven't had any magical encounters in hundreds of years. A-and... uh... they refuse to o-offer any sort of r-reconciliation in return for our imprisonment." She turned away. "In o-other words, they... the government sort of just patted Asgore on the back and said good luck to all of the monsters trying to live on the surface."

Undyne gritted her teeth. "So... the gang fights. The monster kidnappings and threats. Housing. Safe havens. Jobs. Monster racism. And all of the damn gold we have shoved back Underground that they refuse to accept." She twisted her neck to the side, glaring down at the floor. "They're just gonna sit back and watch us rot."

"WE HAVE FREEDOM AND SOME RIGHTS..." Papyrus bitterly added. "BUT NOT THEIR SUPPORT."

The room went quiet.

You were so deep in your thoughts and discomfort that you nearly jumped out of your skin when Alphys brushed her hand against your arm. You spun around and stared at her with wild eyes.

"S-sorry! I w-was j-j-just c-curious... u-uh... h-heh." She readjusted her glasses. "Do uh... to other humans, that is.. uh.... do m-mages still exist?"

You raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean, to other humans?"

"humans that ain't in your shitty racist government," Sans grumbled, leaning into his arms on the table.

"EXACTLY!" Papyrus pointed his fork at you. "WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON MAGICAL HUMANS, (Y/N)?"

All eyes turned to face you.

On the inside, you were screaming and cringing from not only being put on the spot like this but for being asked the one thing, the ONE thing you never wanted monsters to ask about you. You considered these guys as friends, and you would do a lot to help them. However, one sentence about who you really were would change everything.

You couldn't exactly say, 'Hey! I'm a mage! I watched my parents build the barrier when I was a kid! Oh! And I can also do magic! Wha bam! LOOK AT ME GO!'

Nope. You just couldn't say that out loud. Go away, pesky intrusive thoughts.

Just play it cool, (Y/N). Nerd out a little, maybe, but play it cool.

You maintained your fake slightly-bored expression and looked up from your plate, meeting their gazes, including Sans's, who was watching you with one eye socket popped open. With a shrug, you spoke.

"Well... that stuff has a pretty complicated history with humans," You explained. "It was more of a big deal in the past, but before you guys showed up, most people had accepted that magic and monsters were nothing more than just legends and rumors."

"As for magical humans," you continued. "There's never been just one type. They vary from culture to culture. Sirens, nymphs, fairies, pixies, gnomes, hobbits, vampires, zombies, werewolves, mermaids..." You took in a breath, trying to push back the memories of your encounters with each of these creatures. "The list goes on. But yeah. Mages used to be a thing. In some places, people call them witches or wizards. It doesn't really matter, though. They're the same thing."

"Wha-REALLY?!" Unydne's eye widened. "You mean you guys have different types of magical humans?"

"My fanfictions and Tumblr surfing life have prepared me for this moment..." Alphys whispered. There was a slight gleam in her eyes. Oh boy.

"Uh, yes?" you replied, cautiously leaning away from the dinosaur woman.

"ARE THEY STRONG? WHAT KIND OF MAGIC DO THEY ALL HAVE?" Papyrus asked. "WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM?"

"No one knows," you mumbled. "They just stopped... existing."

Which was entirely untrue. They never died off. They just went incognito since... since your parents died in that... uh... incident and humans scared everyone with any common sense off into hiding. Nevertheless, they were definitely still out there. You knew at least one other mage living in this city (you really needed to return that jackass's call soon). In addition, one of your old friends from the 1600's was an enchantress who was currently living comfortably in a luxurious penthouse in New York City. All expenses were paid by her billion dollar sugar daddy, of course. Perks of being an enchantress: everyone loves you, and you constantly look good. Literally.

Gosh, it's been decades since you've last spoke to either of them and even longer since your trio was last together. Last time was, what, during your bootlegging and mobster days in the 1920s? And now it was 20XX? Wow. Time was really hard to keep up with among the immortals.

"great," Sans's sharp tone snapped you out of your thoughts. "i hope they all fuckin' died."

"H-huh?" Alphys squeaked. "Why?"

"I gotta agree with Sans on this one," Undyne muttered through gritted teeth. "What they did was unforgivable. If I ever had the chance to meet one..." She dragged a sharp fingernail across her scaly blue throat.

You swallowed.

"UNDYNE NO!" Papyrus huffed, crossing his arms. "YOU WILL NOT DO SUCH A THING. AT LEAST..." Papyrus smirked in his brother's direction. "NOT UNTIL SANS AND I TEAR THEM INTO BLOODY PIECES. RIGHT, BROTHER?"

Sans let out a dark, humorless chuckle, which sent shivers down your spine. "ya got it, boss."

"NYEH HEH HEH!"

"The food's pretty good!" You said, cringing at how overly excited, loud, and random your statement was. You couldn't help it. Social situations like these were not your forte. Every fiber in your body screamed for you to do something, anything to change the subject. Luckily, no one seemed to think twice about your sudden outburst.

"OF COURSE IT IS!" Papyrus yelled, melting away the tension. "THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE PAPYRUS'S COOKING IS NEVER ANYTHING LESS THAN PERFECTION."

"pffft," Sans laughed, lazily leaning into the palm of his hand. He jabbed a thumb in Undyne's direction. "it wasn't when ya took cooking lessons from this fish bait."

"What did you say about me, punk!?" Undyne snapped. Her red and blue fins that acted as ears flared up. "I'm a great cook!!!"

"No, sweetie, y-you're not," Alphys added, giggling as her angry girlfriend. "You burnt my instant noodles--"

"That was an accident!!!"

"--and blew up our microwave while trying to make popcorn--"

"Also an accident!!!"

"AN ACCIDENT, EH? THEN I MUST SAY, YOUR COOKING RESEMBLES NOT ONLY YOUR FIERY PASSION BUT YOUR FACE AS WELL!" Papyrus smirked. He cracked knuckles threw off his apron as he prepared for what was coming next.

"NGAHH!" In a flash, Undyne had sprung up and flung herself at Papyrus, crashing against the table and splitting it in half as they landed on top of it.

You yelped as a pair of arms seized your waist and pulled you back, just in time to watch the table clatter to the floor in wooden pieces. Undyne and Papyrus wrestled on top of it, occassionally rolling around and barking obscenities at each other while a certain monster stood back, recording the whole thing on her phone.

"YOU FIGHT LIKE A GIRL!" Papyrus shouted, quickly rolling over on his stomach just in time to miss Undyne's fist, which left a dent in the floor.

"I AM A GIRL!!!" She tilted her head to the side and cracked her neck. Her black lips curled upward, revealing her sharp yellow teeth. "Oh, now it is ON!"

Meanwhile, before you could turn around to give Sans a proper 'thank you,' you were quickly shoved forward, nearly falling over in the process. With a scowl on your face and half a mind to tell Sans off, you spun around on your heels...

...Just in time to see a very flustered and angry Sans glaring down at you. His hands were stuffed into his pockets, and beads of sweat dripped down his skull as his unsteady red eyes flickered from your body to your face.

"frickin' idiot," he snarled, frowning. "ya need to be more aware of yer surroundings. i ain't always gonna be there to save yer ass."

He opened his mouth to say something else, but then his red eyes flashed upward. Sans balled his fists and shook them in the air. "ey alphys! don't think i don't see ya smilin' ova there like an idiot. take a damn picture! it'll fuckin' last longer."

You turned around just in time to see a white light, followed by high-pitched squealing.

"THE HELL!?" Sans roared, pushing you behind him so that he could properly threaten the dinosaur monster. "what ta hell do ya think yer doin?!"

"Shipping my new OTP!" Alphys sang, her mouth practically drooling with delight. She eagerly turned back to her girlfriend, who currently had Papyrus's skull in a headlock with her biceps.

"S-sweetie!" she called to Undyne, cupping her hands over her mouth. "Y-you were right! I-it's so obvious! I'm... I-I'm..." Alphys exhaled. "I'm WHEEZING THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN ANIME I HAVE TO START THE FANFICTION IMMEDIATELY AND THE TUMBLR BLOGS AND THE FANART AND THE COMICSANDTHEPORN AND AND AND AND-!" She continued to babble on, incoherently, no longer caring who saw her fangirl.

Sans made a beeline for her. "give me that fuckin' PHONE!"

"Never! I have the power of a-anime on my side!" She stuck her tongue out. "You can't touch me!"

A large crash caused you to jump. Papyrus had successfully flipped Undyne over, emitting a small "oof" from her. Instead of getting angry, she just laughed.

"Eh? This is new! I see you've been practicing!!!" she shouted, practically spitting in Papyrus's face. "And I just--wait. Is thAT A NEW SCAR ON YOUR SKULL?!"

"WHY YES, IT IS!"

"IT LOOKS SO RAD!" Undyne struck Papyrus's cheekbone, forcing his head to the side so that she could get a better look. "Ngah! NO FAIR! I want my wound to scar but it's still healing!!"

"DO NOT FRET, UNDYNE!" Papyrus's headbutted her forehead, causing both of them to stumble back. "YOUR CUT IS STILL SOMEWHAT FRESH. IF YOU TAKE CARE OF IT, THEN I'M SURE IT WILL SCAR TOO!"

"Aw, Pap, you frickin' dork!" She roundhouse kicked him in the chest and sent crashing against the wall, shaking the house in the process. "You always say the sweetest things!"

Throughout this entire time, you had been awkwardly standing in the corner of the room, right where Sans left you.

An all-too-familiar sickening feeling pooled at the bottom of your stomach. It wasn't jealousy. It wasn't anger. It was just... discomfort. This was why you tried to avoid big groups like this. Your friends were nice, but... they were obviously so much closer to each other than you were. Seriously. Papyrus and Undyne were beating the crap out of each other with smiles on their faces. On the other hand, you could tell from the beginning that Sans and Alphys had some sort of history together (science-based was your current headcanon), especially considering how, instead of actually hurting each other, the two seemed to be pretty content with just yelling while Sans tried to teleport behind her every now and then in an attempt to grab her phone.

And you were just... standing in a corner. Watching. Alone.

You shook your head, mentally scolding yourself. What are you, nine? You're being way too sensitive here.

And yet, you couldn't help the sinking feeling in your stomach.

You racked your brain for ideas. What do you usually do in uncomfortable social situations?

You turned towards the kitchen.

+++

"what... are ya doin'?"

Sans appeared behind you, nearly causing you to choke on a spoonful of chocolate cake in your mouth.

"Wha--PLAH!" You coughed and blinked back the tears in your eyes. "S-stop doing that!"

His red eyes flickered back and forth between you, the cake, and the chocolate frosting coating your lips. He raised an amused eyebrow.

"I eat when I'm stressed, alright?" you said, shoving another bite of cake into your mouth. "Anf sayh whath yah wanth. I'mh noth stopth."

He snorted. "i can tell, sweets."

"Sweets?" you asked, swallowing.

"yep." He took a seat next to you. "'s a new nickname. 'doc' is great, but this is better."

"Why 'Sweets' though?"

He snickered. "are ya kiddin'? this cake wasn't half gone last time i checked." Another chuckle. "never knew ya had a thing for sugar."

You suddenly dropped the spoon, letting it clatter against your plate as your stared down in horror. Damn. You didn't mean to eat half of the cake. That thing was about the size of your head! Were you that upset?

"Sorry, I didn't--"

"ain't a big deal." He waved his hand, cutting you off. "the girls aren't big fans for this sort of stuff, 'n i've never had much of a sweet tooth. heh." Sans reached across the table and grabbed a bottle of mustard. "'sides, boss'll be happy ta see ya enjoyed his cookin'. he won't admit it, but he worked really hard on makin' dinner tonight."

You brushed a few crumbs out of the corner of your mouth. "I wasn't lying when I said it was amazing. It felt like a four-star meal. Did he really used to suck at cooking?"

"dunno. most of ta time it wasn't even edible," he said, scratching his chin. "never got around to actually tastin' it back then. actually, i'm pretty sure the only person who ever tried it and lived is the kid." He chuckled. "man, i'll never get their expression outta my head. as soon as Pap's back was turned, they spat it back onto the plate 'n their face turned green. took everythin' in me to not just burst out laughin'."

"It couldn't have been that bad," you mumbled, slightly unsure.

"ya kiddin'? pap used ta pack his pasta with sprinkles, jalapenos, hot sauce, 'n black 'n red confetti. ONLY black 'n red," Sans rolled his eyes. "i accidentally bought him black 'n white once. i ended up sleepin' outside that night on a snow poof on top of our roof."

"He locked you out?"

"hah! i wish. more like he was waitin' for me to come home so he could shove confetti down my eye sockets."

You shuddered at the thought and Sans cringed.

"yeah. don't think about it," he added, taking a swing of his mustard. "saves me ta trouble of explainin' skeleton biology to ya."

You cut yourself another piece of cake, ignoring Sans's smirk.

"aw. still feelin' stressed, sweets?" he teased.

"I'll have you know that I also eat when I'm happy," you said, taking a bite. "But whatever. Did you get Alphys's phone back?"

"pfft," he grumbled. "that freak had an iron grip on her phone the entire time."

"I could've warned you about that. She's very passionate when it comes to shipping."

Sans eyed you. "how are ya so calm about this?"

You stopped eating. "About what?"

"this." With his bottle of mustard, he gestured towards the door, where the other party goers seemed to be having a blast doing... whatever it was they were doing. Probably still fighting.

"this whole party. ya know..." he looked back at you. "us. monsters. most people would've run outta here screamin' after watching those two fight like that."

You leaned back in your chair. "It's not really my place to judge. Besides, everyone one seems to be having a great time."

"everyone 'cept you," he snorted, but there wasn't any anger behind it. "don't think i didn't see ya earlier at the table, sweets."

More silence.

You shifted in your chair. "It's... not that I don't like you guys. I'm just afraid of disappointing everyone."

"eh?" His eyes studied you. "what'cha mean by that?"

"Well," you huffed. "Monsters are just so interesting. For crying out loud, you guys have magic, and the bonds between your friendships are stronger than most human marriages. And I've seen a lot of those."

"so what? ya don't think we'll like ya if ya loosen up 'n stop actin' so proper all of the time?"

Ouch. He struck a nail, and judging by the way his frown deepened, he knew it.

You looked away, but Sans's hand on your shoulders pulled you back.

"listen, (y/n)," he growled, forcing you to look at him. "i can't tell ya how often i hear your name out in ta monster community. ya've helped a lotta monsters. 'n don't get me started on these nutjobs out here." He jabbed his thumb towards the door. "i heard about yer little incident at that thrift store with undyne 'n the kid. 'n as annoying as you are..." he scratched his neck. "our lives up here would suck a lot more if you weren't helpin' us out 'n stuff."

Your vision blurred as tears welled up, and something in your chest gave a sharp tug. "That's... the first time you've ever truly complimented me."

His face flushed red. "h-hey!" he barked, retreating into his gray hoodie. "sheesh. that's the last time i ever try ta cheer ya up, ya fuckin' crybaby. seriously. for the love of--hey! s-stop cryin'!"

"But they're happy tears!"

"i don't care what kind of frickin' tears they are. just cut that shit out!"

"I can't," you laughed, ignoring the hot streams of tears down your face. "I literally can't stop, haha. Y-you did this to me."

"shit shit shit," Sans hastily pressed a napkin against your face. "don't cha know that ya look stupid when ya cry? 'n what ta hell am i gonna tell the boss when he sees you--HEY! i said STOP!"

"i-i'm trying!" you wheezed, laughing while the skeleton kept poking your cheeks with the napkin.

"heh. well maybe ya should--"

Just then, the door swung open.

"SANS, WHERE ARE THE--"

You and Sans both jumped back, trying to add as much space as possible between the two of you.

"BROOM AND DUST PAN?" Papyrus raised an eyebrow as he tried to figure out why both of you looked so... nervous.

"i-in the closet, b-boss," Sans wheezed, stuffing the napkin into his pocket and out of sight. "uh, on second thought, lemme get those for you."

"I can h-help, too!" you added, following Sans out of the kitchen.

For the rest of the party, you and Sans cleaned the remains of the table, silently agreeing to never speak of anything that happened in the kitchen.

Meanwhile, Papyrus was still standing in place, his mouth gaped open at the fact that, for the first time in maybe ten years, his lazy brother was cleaning.

He was shocked. What could have possibly gotten into him!?

+++

You were in bed, half asleep when it happened.

Buzz... buzz... buzz...

You squinted at the flashing white numbers on your phone.

The caller ID read Sans. It was midnight.

Why the hell was Sans calling you at midnight?

You sluggishly slide your finger over your phone's screen.

"Hello?" your voice cracked.

"h-hey," Sans wheezed into the phone. "u-uh... where are ya?"

You looked down at your cats, who were asleep in your lap. "Home...?"

Sans let out a sigh of relief. "okay. okay. that mean yer safe. good."

You straightened up. "Is something wrong?"

"well, uh..." Sans hesitated. "after you 'n the girls left, boss and i--shit. hang on." There was some shuffling, and then Sans's muffled voice followed by Papyrus's yelling. "yeah, boss. i'm--WHOA! calm down, pap. shit. she's fine 'n so are the others. i'm on the phone with her right now. it's alright." More shuffling. "anyway, uh, after you 'n the others left, some stupid humans showed up and..." Sans took in a shaky breath."it's gone."

"What's gone?"

"everything," his voice was tight. "every single damn thing we owned. it's all... heh... gone up in smoke." His laugh was humorless.

You didn't like this. He sounded so stressed, and was that... was that Papyrus screaming in the background?! What the hell happened?!

You really, really, really didn't like this.

Before you could voice your thoughts, though, Sans's voice once more croaked into the phone, making your blood run cold from how dark his tone was.

"they burned down our house."

Chapter Text

Mouth hanging open from shock, you asked the skeleton on the other end of the call to repeat himself. Maybe you misheard? 

"the house is gone," he mumbled bitterly. "there ain't nothing left but ashes, now. it's just... gone."

That one sentence was all you needed before you threw your feet and bare legs to the side of the bed. Warm determination mixed with anger pumped through your veins and flooded your irises in a frenzy of heat, causing the room to illuminate in the same shade of red as your eyes. 

Whoever caused that fire better hope they didn't cross you tonight. You might be a bit on the shy side, but nobody messed with your friends. 

"I'm coming," you started, quickly grabbing a (f/c) robe and tying it around your waist. "I can be there in about ten--"

"n o."

Sans's deep voice growled into the phone, causing the hairs on the back of your neck to stand. In the past month you've known him, he had never used such a dark tone towards you. He must've noticed how threatening he sounded because he took in a deep breath before continuing. 

"no offense, sweets, but we don't need yer help. i only called to make sure that them assholes didn't try any funny business with ya. besides..." he trailed off. "there ain't much ta do anyway 'cept scout the rest of the ashes for any--" 

BOOOOOMMM!

Your house shook from the intensity of the thunder, which was followed by a bright flash of lightning and Sans's yell.

"SHIT!" He roared as rain began to pour down, battering against your roof like a million gunshots going off. "first the fire, 'n now this bullshit? this is just great. just FUCKIN--" 

Click. 

You stared down at the faint text of Sans's name on your phone and the red glow reflecting off of its screen. 

Did... did he seriously just hang up on you?

"Damn it, Bones." You ran a hand down your face, slightly shaking. But whether it was from fear or anger, you weren't sure. "I wasn't asking." 

You stomped past your (still) sleeping cats on your bed and marched into the kitchen, sliding your keys off the counter before stuffing them into your robe. There was another roar of thunder and crack of lighting, but you barely noticed. 

Blood boiling, you threw open your front door and almost welcomed the harsh pour of rain splattering onto your face, helping you cool off. Past your door was an abyss of dark blue and purple and a storm so thick that the faint circular glow of the streetlights barely offered any sort of comfort. 

As an afterthought, you reached over to the side and forced your bare feet into a pair of rainboots before grabbing and throwing on a clear poncho.

After locking the door behind you, you quickly sprinted down the puddle-filled sidewalk until you reached the neighborhood's parking garage. From there, you ran to your car and stabbed your keys into the ignition. The car jerked forward as you slammed on the gas. 

"Hope you guys are okay," you mumbled, staring at the dark road ahead of you while listening to the wipers slide across the windshield. 

Swish... swoosh... swish...

+++

You smelled the fire before you saw it. 

Sure enough, the house you were previously in a few hours ago was no longer there. Instead, a pile of ashes, some blackened unintelligible pieces of furniture, and a few heavily-burned walls stood in its place. Red and orange veins of ember snaked through the remains, acting as mementos for the great fiery beast that had destroyed the house. 

You painfully unclenched your hands from the steering wheel and forced the door open before running out, slamming it shut behind you. The rush of cold rain and wind bitterly greeted you.

Where are they?

You jogged up to the ashes and spun madly around in a circle, taking in every single detail of the streets, lawns, cars, bushes, flowers, smoke, rain, and houses. Years of constantly staying on guard had more than refined your attention to detail. Not a single thing in your immediate surroundings escaped your attentive gaze. But when you failed to find your friends, a new found fear coursed through your body and up your throat. 

Where are they!?

They couldn't have gone far, could they? You got here too fast for that to happen. Did they go to a friend's house? Did they call the cops? Did the police take them to their station for the night?

Or...

Did someone come back to finish the job?

"Sans!" you croaked out, panicking. "Papyrus! Please answer me!" 

Only the rain replied. 

Your fingernails dug into your skin as your clenched your fists, forcing yourself to stay grounded. You needed to calm down. That sort of thinking wouldn't get you anywhere. You had a job, and you needed to do it. 

But there was no way you would be able to find anyone in this storm. It was so dark that you could barely manage to see the outline of your car, even though it was only a yard away from where you stood. Although the wind had died down, the harsh rain was battering against your backside, and the electric tension in the air told you that the storm was far from over. To put it simply, this whole area reeked of danger. 

Any rational human being would assume the best before turning around and seeking shelter. After all, it's not like there was much anyone could do is this situation. Flashlights would be useless and sirens would be dulled out by the storm. 

But you weren't like those people. Mages had large, abnormal amounts of determination that constantly pumped through their bodies, forcing them to always keep searching, keep trying until they got what they wanted. That sort of mindset kept them alive for centuries because mages simply refused to quit. 

There was no stopping you now. You knew what needed to be done. 

The familiar rush of heat began to spread from your chest to the rest of your body. You took a few steps away from the pile of soot you were standing on and didn't stop until your shoes squished against the muddy remains of Papyrus's once perfect lawn. Good. This grass was still alive. That was important; after all, your magic doesn't work on inorganic material. 

With one hand, you gripped the ends of your soaked rainboot and gave it a hard tug, freeing your bare foot. From there, you gave it a quick glance before closing your eyes and shoving your foot down into the cold, soggy, and mushy mixture of grass and mud. Your magic burned as it pooled down your leg and out your toes, silently forming a bond with the grass. 

And then you saw. 

The black canvas before you slowly began to change as white lines hastily sketched out the area, starting first with the ground before stretching up higher. Everything that touched the grass was shown to you, from as high up as the trees to as low as the family of bunnies snoozing away in their underground nest.  Even the houses, roads, and cars were somewhat sketched out in white, but since these things weren't organic, your fellow plants were only able to provide the parts that it touched. Anything above their bases, like past the tires of your car, blurred until it disappeared altogether.

The only downside was that this phase made you almost completely deaf. All noises outside of your little sketchbook world were heavily muffled and incoherent, that is, if the noises were even loud enough to be audible in the first place. Your vision was useful, but it came at a hefty price. The more you gave to the earth, the more it took from you. 

You sunk your foot deeper into the ground, embracing it with more magic before turning back around in a small circle, once again examining the area. You could see a rough pile of white patches in front of you, mimicking the remains of the house. Past that, though, was a small wooded area that you hadn't noticed before. You furrowed your brow and impatiently urged the grass to show you more, and it complied by expanding your view of vision.  

Your heart pounded in your chest as you scanned the area. You had no idea if monsters would even show up on your radar, but if you just got so much as a hint, like the slightest depression of something heavy sitting on top of the grass, you would be good to go. You just needed one sign. Just one, tiny, hint!

And just like that, you wishes were answered. 

Out in the distance, about half a mile past the remains of the house was the shape of two very familiar white figures huddled against the base of a large oak tree. You couldn't make our their expressions, much less their eye sockets, but just the sight of them in such a vulnerable position caused your heart to ache. 

Your head swarmed with a million questions that demanded answers, and your lungs burned from the heavy desire to do a mixture of crying and screaming out their names, but now wasn't the time for that. 

With your destination in sight, you recklessly jerked free from the ground and immediately doubled over as your senses overwhelmed you. The roars of the storm and your own heartbeat were so strong that they were practically earsplitting. Cold rain dripped down your cheeks, and you clutched your stomach and tried to focus on your breathing.

Crap. It's been so long since you've done that. You forgot about the side effects. 

You bit down hard on your lip and forced the whimper and nausea creeping up in your throat to stay back. You could feel sorry for yourself later. Right now, they needed you. 

With a grunt, you shoved your foot back into your boot. Your poncho flew behind you as you broke out into a sprint, splashing and sliding along the mushy ground. There was a loud crackle as harsh lightning once again pierced through the dark clouds, displaying the ominous trees before you. The sky's grim warning was loud and clear, but your goal was in sight. Nothing could stop you now.  

The desire to help your friends fills you with DETERMINATION. 

+++

The sloppy puddles of mud and grass stabilized as the scenery changed. Your feet slid and tripped over roots and harsh rocks, causing you to stumble more than once, but you continued forward. Besides, nature was your magic's home territory, after all. 

To your displeasure, the rain didn't relent as much as you thought it would've when you entered the woods. Still, the little bit of protection that the leaves did offer you was mildly comforting. 

It was still terribly dark, so in order to regain your sense of direction, every now and then you had to brush your fingers against the rough bark of a tree, allowing a slimmer of your magic to seep through in return for a quick, chalky sketch of your surroundings. Switching back and forth between your senses left you with a throbbing headache, but since anxiety was something you constantly dealt with, this was not an unusual feeling. Uncomfortable, yes, but certainly manageable. 

It had to be manageable.

Once again, you were leaning against a tree, directing your magic through its roots and into the ground, revealing your black-and-white sketchbook world. You scanned the area, and your heart skipped a beat when you spotted them. About a yard away, was Sans and Papyrus. The two figures were still huddled against a hollowed-out portion of a tree, shielding them from the rain. 

A sob crept up your throat as relief washed over you. They were so close! You almost screamed for them right then and there, but the words died in your throat as you squinted your eyes.

The taller of the figures was seated on the ground, clutching his head between his knees while he rocked back and forth, following a steady tempo. Next to him, the shorter one had one knee propped up and a hand cupped to the other's ear like he was whispering. 

Your heart sunk as you recognized Papyrus's body language. 

Fear.

He was scared. The Great and Terrible Papyrus, who had once thrown himself into the path of an oncoming metro just to catch up with the Ice Scream guy, was shaking. Whether it was from the storm or the fire, though, was a mystery. 

You slowly pulled your fingers back from the tree, concentrating on the rush of magic returning to your chest, and took in a deep breath as nature's colors and sounds returned. 

Over the years, you've dealt with and helped people through all sorts of tragedies. You knew that someone in this state would be very scared and probably irrational. Considering how independent and arrogant Papyrus was, you were almost certain that he would lash out at any attempt to assist him, possibly hurting someone in the process. 

And you absolutely had no idea how his older brother would react, which was unnerving, to say the least. 

No matter what happens, though, you have to stay calm and professional. You're a doctor, for crying out loud! And a mage who specialized in healing magic. Helping those in need is your job, and it's a job that you do well. 

Besides, no matter what happens tonight, you wouldn't be leaving empty-handed. 

You had a plan, and that plan consisted of calming Papyrus (maybe Sans, too) down, calling the police, and getting these two out of the rain and into your car. Whatever happened after that wasn't your call. Maybe they would insist you drive them to Undyne and Alphys's place, or a hotel until they could contact their insurance agency. 

Yeah... that was it. Things were certainly bad right now, but they would be okay after filing a police report and taking a trip to the bank. 

After collecting your thoughts, you sucked in another deep breath and took a step forward in their direction, snapping a small twig on the way. 

The next thing you knew, something sharp, long, and white shot towards your head, grazing your cheek until slamming into the tree next to you with a loud, sickening crack. 

And you screamed. 

 

Chapter Text

You clamped a hand over your mouth and ducked, narrowly missing another set of sharp bones as they swooped over your head. In the distance, you saw a single, bright red dot staring straight in your direction. It spun madly in his eye socket, and a familiar plume of red smoke snaked out of it. You watched in horror as the dark figure raised an arm. 

Screw staying calm! If you didn't do something soon, you were going to walk out of here with more than just a few cuts. 

"STOP!" You cried, throwing your hands up. "It's just me! Dr.(Y/N)!"

A wave of pure relief washed over you as Sans yelled, "SHIT!!" which was followed by a "WHAT TA HELL ARE YA DOING HERE!?" 

Your shoulders slumped as you exhaled, forcing the warm rush of determination in you to retreat. Okay. At least he was talking to you. That was a good sign. 

The red light in his left eye socket disappeared, and you took this opportunity to sprint towards him, splashing puddle after puddle with each step. Your cheek stung and something warm was dripping out of it, but you didn't care. Your magic would take care of it before you got out of the dark and into some decent lighting, hopefully. Maybe even sooner. 

"Bones--" you started. 

You're not sure why, but when you got within arm's reach of the short skeleton you had to sudden urge to pull him into a hug. Actually, that was exactly what you were in the process of doing, but you froze when you saw his face.

Both eye sockets were lit (thankfully), but the two red pinpricks inside of them were glaring you down. Hard. His entire body was drenched in water, and you watched as the clear drops rained on his hood before slipping down his white cheekbones. 

You quickly tried to pull your arms back, but before you could, Sans seized your hand in an iron grip. A yell escaped your throat as he jerked you towards his chest. 

With a scowl, he forced your arms up and over, twisting and inspecting them along with the rest of your body. You caught on to what he was doing and tried to pull your poncho's hoodie up a bit more to cover your cheek, but nothing escaped Sans's watchful eyes. 

His eye sockets narrowed at you, and with his bony fingers he reached inside of your hood and shoved it to the side, causing you to flinch with fear at what he might find. You sucked in a shaky breath, preparing for it. His questions. Your lies. The 'I know you didn't mean to hurt me so it's fine' sentence followed by comforting pats and some bullshit excuse for why your cut was healing right before the monster's eyes. 

Any second now. 

"geez, can ya chill, doc?" Sans grumbled, finally breaking the silence before pushing you away with a growl. "'n stop lookin' at me like that! yer frickin' fine!"

Your mouth slammed shut. If your cut was healed, then it was healed. Done. There wasn't anything else to say about it. No sense in arguing over something that wasn't there. 

You must've been worked up more than you thought, though, if it healed that fast. Or maybe the skeleton wasn't as perceptive as he thought he was. 

You let out a sigh of relief, and Sans furrowed his brow. 

"so..." he said, flashing you one of his infamous fake grins. 

Uh oh. You knew that look. He was angry. Here you go again. 

"mind tellin' me what ta fuck yer doin' here?" Sans continued, not really asking as he glared you down.

You crossed your arms. "I could as you the same thing." 

"i told ya not to come." He towered over you, and the dots in his eyes flashed dangerously. "you can't be this stupid, doc. ya could've gotten hurt or killed."

"You're the one who called and  hung up on me."

"i didn't hang up! ta frickin' phone died!" he hissed, his hands digging inside of his pocket before producing two crushed pieces of a former flip phone. "see?! 'n stop changin' ta subject. i told ya not to come, but, like an idiot, ya did anyway!"

"What?" you thumped a finger against his chest, earning a growl in response. "Was I suppose to just stay up all night wondering if you and Papyrus were okay?!" 

"ya shouldn't be worried in ta first place! i said we didn't need yer help!" 

"I can see that," you spat, flicking soaked leaf off of his shoulder.

Wrong move, apparently. Sans snatched the neckline of your poncho and once again pulled you under his glare. 

"'n what ta hell is that suppose ta mean!?" he demanded. 

"It means that you can't swallow your damn pride and accept the fact that you can't do this alone! Open your eyes, Bones!" You gestured towards the woods. "Your house just got burned down by a hate gang. It's pouring down rain. You're hiding in the woods, for goodness's sake! Did it ever occur to you to call the police and go look for help, or are you just that  stupid!?" 

Eyes flashing red, Sans opened his mouth to respond but was quickly shut down as the sky exploded with blinding light. 

BOOOOOOOMMM!!!

Caught off-guard, both of you squeezed your eyes shut and stumbled forward, knocking into each other. You gasped as Sans's large body clashed against your frame, which caused your feet to slip out from under you. Before you could fall, though, a steady hand quickly snaked behind the small of your back, holding you in place. The harsh rain increased its pressure tenfold as thunder responded to its mate with a loud, deafening cry before dying out. 

For a moment, both of you just stood there, barely aware of anything but the other's presence. This was one of the loudest storms you've ever heard, and Sans, still adjusting to the surface life, was convinced that the world was ending. The two of you briefly locked eyes, and you watched as Sans's red eye lights dilated while his grip on your tightened. 

Before either of you could comment on the situation, a small whimper snapped you back to reality. Argument long forgotten, both of you quickly shoved each other away, refusing to make any form of eye contact. With an annoyed huff, you brushed past Sans's shoulder before walking up to the tall figure huddling under the tree's hollow.

"Papyrus...?" you whispered, leaning down. 

The younger skeleton brother was on the ground, curled up into a tight, defensive ball. His head was tucked between his knees, and his hands were braced on top of his head, almost as if he was shielding his skull from something. Every now and then, his body would shudder and another whimper would soon follow. And, just like his older brother, the poor skeleton was also completely drenched in a combination of rain, mud, and leaves. The faint smell of smoke loomed in the air, but whether it was from Papyrus, the former house, or the strangely-burned inside of the tree, you didn't know.

You cautiously reached out and ran a thumb down the side of Papyrus's smooth, cold skull in an attempt to comfort him. However, your actions were in vain. He made no move nor sound to acknowledge your presence. 

The usually-confident, bossy, and arrogant skeleton just looked so... small. Fragile. Scared. 

And that absolutely broke your heart. 

"ain't no use trying to talk to him when he's like that," Sans mumbled into your ear. "storms remind him of earthquakes. we used to get 'em back underground. not a pretty sight to see when they crush your neighbor's kid ta dust." 

You shivered. 

Sans placed a hand on your shoulder and forced you to meet his eyes. 

"what do ya want?"

The question caught you off guard, but you quickly stammered out something pathetic like "I want to help." 

Sans sighed and shook his head, gripping your shoulder a little tighter. "that ain't what i meant, (y/n). hate to break it to ya, but if ya want money or somethin', then you've come to the wrong place. that pile of ashes back there had everything we owned..." his eyes dimmed. "so ya might as well turn back 'round."

Now, it was your turn to hold Sans's shoulder. He stiffened at the contact but made no move to retaliate against it.

"Do you remember what I told you earlier this week?" you asked softly. 

He was silent, so you continued. 

"You asked me why I stayed open late to treat monsters when no one else would even blink at them. I told you it was because I would never rest when someone needed help, and I meant that. I decided a long time ago that this is my whole purpose in life. My reason for getting out of bed in the mornings and helping monsters, even though I was swimming in threatening letters from gangs and such."

His face scrunched up. "ya were threatened?"

"Does it matter?" you laughed bitterly. "It's worth it. But as for you..." you squeezed his shoulder. "We're friends, you bonehead. I don't care how or if you two ever pay me back. Friends help each other. So let me help you."  

His red eyes studied you, looking for any signs of bad intent. When he finally found none, he sighed. 

"alright... fine. whatever. i'll trust you for now. but if ya one wrong move against us..." Both eye sockets went dark. "then i'll be forced to show ya a great time."

Unfazed, you swatted his hand away. "Back at it with the threats again, I see. And here I thought we were having a moment." You turned away, ignoring Sans's bewildered expression. "C'mon, help me get Pap up and in my car."

"i already told ya. he ain't gonna move when he's like that."

"Then what do we do?"

Sans rolled his eyes and snapped his fingers. Immediately, his younger brother was engulfed in a red haze. With one hand stuffed inside of his hoodie, and the other outstretched, Sans slowly raised his brother up from the ground. Normally, the boss would have his head if he ever tried anything like this, but Papyrus didn't even flinch. 

He snickered when he saw your expression. The smirking skeleton sauntered over and pressed a free hand against your jaw, closing your gaping mouth. 

"the rain was fillin' up yer mouth, sweets," he joked. "it was drippin' everywhere. ya looked like a water fountain."

"S-sorry!" you squeaked, suddenly feeling very small and flustered. You tugged on the ends of your poncho. "I just... forgot how cool monsters are."

And with that, you turned on your heels and led the group out of the woods, completely missing the red hue on Sans's face as he watched you move.

+++

After another short argument, you reluctantly agreed to let the skeleton bros. stay the night at your house. Apparently, Alphys and Undyne's living arrangements were limited since they stayed in Ebott University's housing, and the idea of asking the King and Queen of the Underground for a place to stay was also shut down by Sans's yelling. In addition, your attempts to call the police resulted in not only an extra shouting match but also with Sans immediately snatching up your phone. When you tried to push him on it, he just shot you a dark look. With a heavy sigh, you gave in.  

Fortunately, the rain had finally lent up as you pulled into your neighborhood's parking garage. It was early in the morning, but not early enough for the sun to rise. You shut the engine off of your car and pulled your keys out. As your trio walked along the sidewalk, you briefly tried to engage some small talk, but Papyrus (who, at this point, looked more tired than scared) still wasn't talking to you, much less acknowledging you with anything more than a few glances here and there. 

You didn't blame him. After all, you hated crying in front of people, too. Much less having a mental breakdown in public. And with an ego the size of his, you wouldn't be surprised if he gave you the silent treatment for the next few days. 

At least Sans was somewhat talking to you.

"where ta hell are we?" Sans snarled, shoving his hands inside of his soaked hoodie. Water dripped down your little group as the three of you walked up to the security checkpoint. 

"Sterling Hills, aka, my neighborhood," you mumbled. You missed the confused look the two bothers exchanged when they saw you casually walk through the fancy large gate.  

Lucky for you, Mike was on guard duty tonight. When the dark man spotted you he leaned out of his sentry station and waved with energy that no one should ever possess at two in the morning. He eyed the group behind you for a second, but other than shooting them a curious glance he didn't say anything. 

Thanks, Mike, you mouthed back with a smile. 

Mike tipped his navy guard hat at you before sinking back into his metallic station. 

The short walk to your house was uneventful. You kept your eyes steady on the sidewalk, while the brothers stared at the small manors and elegant houses with unreadable expressions. Neither of you spoke until you were on your porch, searching for your keys in your  poncho. 

"You're welcome to any food or drinks in the house," you said, fiddling with the lock. "I'll show you around tomorrow if you want. For now, I'll just lead you to your rooms."

Neither of them said anything. You sighed and swung open the door. 

Your house was just as you left it. The lights were still on, but your cats were nowhere in sight. You slugged through the house, throwing off your poncho and disposing it in the trash can. Mud streaks were left on the floor as your trio walked through, but you were too tired to care. 

You lead them upstairs and down the hallway opposite of yours before stopping in front of two white doors.

"Both rooms are almost identical, so it doesn't really matter which one you pick. Same goes for the individual bathrooms. Towels and sheets are already in place..." You trailed off as you eyed them. "If you leave your clothes outside while you shower, I can go ahead and throw them in the washer and dryer. Shouldn't be too hard to get some of the stains out."

Especially if they go to sleep so that you can use magic to wash and dry them. 

Papyrus brushed past your shoulder as he entered his room, quickly slamming the door behind him, making you flinch. Okay, okay. He's still upset. That's fine. 

Sans, on the other hand...

"yer really gonna wash our clothes?" he snorted, eyeing you as he reached for his door. 

You huffed. When was it gonna click in his brain that you really just wanted to help them, no strings attached?

"Yeah."

"at two in the morning?"   

"I don't feel like sleeping. Besides, the clinic's closed on the weekends, so I can just take nap tomorrow."

Another snort. "that ain't healthy."

You shrugged, trying to ignore his gaze as you walked away. Your brain and vocal cords really didn't wanna go for another round of a shouting match with him. 

You were really expecting him to put up another fight, so you were really surprised at what he said next. 

"let me help."

You stopped and looked over your shoulder. Sans was fiddling with the ends of his hoodie, refusing to make eye contact with you. 

"...What?" 

"i said ya should lemme help ya with the laundry," he mumbled, his gaze on the ground. "'s not fair for you to do all that for us, 'specially when we can't pay ya back." 

Well, this certainly put you in a predicament. If you let Sans help, then washing his clothes in their current state might take all night while magic would only take an hour. Then again, if you didn't let him help, you might break whatever's left of his macho, which would result with two  silent skeletons.

Your head started to hurt. Decisions, decisions. All choices had consequences. 

An idea popped up in your head, and with a bitter sigh, you spoke.

"I appreciate it Sans, but you really need to shower first, and I don't have any clothes that will fit you two while we wait for them to dry..." You watched as his smile dropped and quickly finished your sentence. "But I'm gonna need your help with something in the morning."

His eyes flashed up. "with what?" 

You smiled and pointed down to the dirty floor. "Cleaning."

+++

After making sure both brothers were comfortable, you took a quick shower before changing into some PJs, ignoring the annoyed meows of your cats. The pair rested on top of your bed. Apparently, the storm wasn't loud enough to wake them up, but rummaging for clothes in your closet certainly did. 

After ransacking a cabinet in your study, you pulled out a small pink bottle. You read the cursive writing bottle once more before depositing the boys' laundry in the washer. 

Bessy B's Washing and Drying Potion. When Life gets Busy, You Can Always Count on B! 

The title always made you smile for some reason. Maybe it was because the "B" sounded like "Me," or maybe it was cause it reminded you of that time you ran into sweet old 'Grandma' Bessy B when you were a kid a few hundred years ago. 

You dumped the bottle into the washer and watched as it's purple contents disappeared into foam before closing the washer and hitting start. This stuff not only got rid of stains in one go, but it also kept the clothes' colors vibrant, washed and dried everything in under an hour. 

With a grimace, you dropped the glass into a trash can before sliding onto the floor. Damn. That was your last one, which meant you either needed to visit the magic community or try to do laundry the hard and normal way.

...Nah, a trip to Belbourne could wait. Too much was going on right now, anyway. Besides, last you heard, River was still lurking around your city. Maybe that hippie could sell you something out of that weird coat he loves. 

But back to the issue at hand...

You facepalmed. Sans and Papyrus were under your care now. They both just had a really traumatic experience, and, according to Sans, they lost everything in the fire. You didn't ask what he meant by that, but a sinking feeling in your stomach told you that it had something to do with why he was silent when you questioned his insurance. 

Two aggressive, edgy, cocky, broke, and powerful monsters vs. one mage. 

Oh man. What have you gotten yourself into now?

You tiredly leaned back against the washer and listened to its hums. Maybe you just needed to just close your eyes and rest for a bit...

 

Chapter Text

Sans was on the verge of losing his mind. 

First, there was the dumb dinner party that he didn't even want to happen, and then he noticed that she obviously didn't want to be at his house! Not only that, but she was giving Sans all sorts of weird vibes throughout the night. He had to admit; Sweets had one hell of a poker face, but Asgore didn't make him 'The Judge' of the Underground for nothing. Sans could tell when she was lying--a thing that she did often, he noticed--but he just didn't understand why. (Y/N)'s seen as a more than decent human in the monster community, especially since she's befriended a majority of the boss monsters (and by a majority, he meant everyone except that flashy toaster oven. That guy could screw off, though). Hell, she's got THE KING AND QUEEN'S all-clear to babysit their kid! That alone told everyone that you weren't to be messed with, but the fact that you've been helping them in the medical department was a biggie, too. 

So what was the problem?  Why was she so uncomfortable around them? 

Maybe... maybe she was just really uncomfortable to be around him? 

Sans rolled around on the covers and sunk his claws into his pillow, inhaling its weird lavender scent. 

Shit. He knew he wasn't a great host, considering that he had teased and pushed her around a lot last night, but that didn't mean he didn't enjoy her company!

And then that stupid fire just had to happen. 

He remembered the order exactly. The faint, odd smell of gasoline, a muffled cheer, and then everything went white. When he finally managed to pry open his eyes again, the living room was engulfed in flames, and his nostrils were filled with black smoke. Papyrus was tugging on his older brother's jacket and jerking the skeleton off of the couch and over his shoulder. He was yelling--screaming, actually--but Sans was barely listening. All he could hear was the loud crackles of the yellow and white flames as they crawled up the couch he was previously laying on. The last thing he saw was a picture sitting on top of a table. It was the first one he and his friends took when they got to the Surface.  

The glass cracked when the flames touched it, and he watched as serpents of ember enveloped it right before Papyrus threw him out the door and into the dark. The front door collapsed into a pile of burnt wood shortly after his brother ran out, but thanks to Papyrus, they were safe.  

And then it just had to storm.

He wasn't even sure why he called (Y/N). It was kind of just a heat of a moment thing. Calling and checking up on Undyne and Alphys was intentional, but contacting her was just... something he felt like he needed to do. 

He growled and buried his face in the pillow. 

Tch! Whatever. It was a mistake. Sure, you guys were friends, but you weren't that close. Besides, (Y/N) had secrets she wasn't telling, and he wasn't okay with that. 

Well, some of those secrets, anyway. Like glossing over your age, and where she was from, or questions about her family were fine. Hell, he had some things about his past that Pap barely knew about. So Sans knew when to pry and when not to. 

But then there were things that (Y/N) just shouldn't lie about. Like how she seemed to always know how to treat monsters. It wasn't a bad thing, just... weird for a human to know so much.

Or how she managed to find him and his brother half a mile away from their house in the middle of the night. The gang couldn't see them when they came back for round two, so how did she?

He wasn't an idiot. It was pitch black out there and raining. She didn't stumble upon him, no. She found them. 

Yeah. THOSE were the questions that he couldn't ignore. 

Lie after lie after lie. 

Another groan escaped his mouth as he rolled over and eyed the stupid electronic clock on his nightstand. 

3:17 A.M.

Sans threw off the blankets and slid out of bed. Screw sleep. She said she'd be awake, right? Good. Because he wasn't gonna rest until she gave him some answers that weren't made-up stories. 

A sudden breeze cut through his ribcage, and Sans looked down at his naked body. 

...Maybe he should grab a bathrobe or something. Rich people had those, right? 

Sans shuffled through the bathroom cabinets and pulled out a neatly-folded white robe that he hastily put on. A little tight on his big bones, but the material was a bit stretchy, so it was fine.

He clicked his tongue. See, that was another thing he didn't like. (Y/N)'s a RICH, YOUNG,  FEMALE, ATTRACTIVE DOCTOR. How the hell was he suppose to pay her back when this chic basically had it made?! Ugh. It wasn't fair for her to have all of this and be... well, nice.  

Screw it! He's had enough of this crap.  

Fists balled at his side, Sans pushed open his door and stared down the dark staircase before him. The whole house was covered in shadows, but he was able to see a faint light creeping out from under a doorway on the first floor. 

Yeah, she had to be in there. Sans guessed that was the laundry room. 

Something heavy tugged at his soul as he studied the light. Was she really washing their clothes this late at night? Just for them?

He smacked his skull. Argh! Stay focused, idiot! As nice as she seemed, this was a human! A human with obvious secrets! Who cares if she volunteered to play maid for the night? (Y/N) could dust him and his brother at any minute! 

And yet, here they were, staying in the fanciest place they've ever been in with a girl doing their laundry while they slept. 

Another smack. Harder this time. Focus focus focus FOCUS, DAMN IT! Seriously, what the hell was wrong with him?! 

With a grumble and (now) sore cheek, Sans made his way down the stairs and into the laundry room. The sudden light caused him to stumble and blink, but that didn't stop him from putting on an intimidating face. It was time to be judged. 

"hey doc," he growled, stretching his face into a threatening grin. "how's about we--oh."

Dumbfounded, he stopped in his tracks.

(Y/N) was on the floor, leaning against the rumbling washing machine. Her chest rose in a slow, steady rhythm as she slept. Part of her face was covered by her (h/c) hair, but the other half stood up unevenly. Instead of wearing silk pajamas like Sans was expecting, the girl had on a pair of red Nike shorts, mismatched cat socks, and an oversized black t-shirt that probably could've fit Sans. 

...

He hated how creepy that last comment sounded, but it was true! 

Even so, his previous frustrations were calmed as he stared at her peaceful sleeping form. For the first time tonight, he noticed the dark circles under her eyes, and he couldn't help but recall how messed up the doc's sleeping schedule was. 

Sans ran a hand down his face and clenched his teeth. Damn it. Sweets is asleep. On the dirty floor, of all places! How was he suppose to...

And before he even fully realized it, Sans had scooped up her body in his arms and was halfway into the living room. 

Okay. His creep meter was definitely going through the roof at this point, but what was he suppose to do? Wake her up and threaten her into talking? Sans may be an asshole, but he was an asshole with standards. Plus, the ground was cold. If she got sick, then he and the boss would have to play nurse or leave her to dust on her own time. 

Arrghh!!! Why did he care so much? Why did his chest feel weird? Why did he want to trust you so badly? He didn't like it. 

More questions and no answers. Damn it! Was this chic even human? 

He settled onto the couch and looked down at her face, which was half pressed up against his bathrobe. Her eyelids fluttered slightly as she dreamed, but instead of waking up, she just clung to him like a sloth. 

...Definitely human, he thought, averting his eyes while his cheeks burned. Alright, so one questioned was answered. But as for the lies...

Suddenly, an idea bloomed in his head. Her soul! Touching someone's soul was the best way to test a person's truthfulness. Since it was the culmination of the host's being, whoever touched it would be able to relive their memories. If he could just see inside of her head, then he would be able to decide whether or not (Y/N) is worthy of his trust. 

Yeah! That was a great idea. Except...

That was way, way, way too personal. Touching someone's soul was something that was reserved for monster investigators and criminals who refused to confess, or super best friends, or... uh... serious couples. It wasn't intimate in the sexual sense, but it was equivalent to seeing inside of a person's head. Hell, when Gaster fell into the Core and everything was chaotic, the other lab assistants were trying to touch Sans's soul to find out what happened. 

He grinned at that thought. It was a good thing that the Core's reaction to Gaster's magic erased almost everyone's memories, or a few monsters with a couple of broken arms would've been seriously pissed with him. 

He chuckled bitterly. That wasn't a happy memory. 

But touching her soul... was just something Sans couldn't do. Even though the doc was obviously hiding some things, he just couldn't put her through that kind of trauma, especially since she would be forced to relieve her entire life with him. And if he did touch her soul and saw that her past was clean, then he would still risk losing (Y/N).

Maybe he was overthinking this... but a nagging feeling told him he wasn't. 

He closed his eyes, leaned back into the sofa, and sighed. 

And when he opened them and saw you, he screamed. 

+++

You were running. 

No, you were being carried. She was running, though. 

It was sunset. The red hues of the sky still lingered in the air, dancing with the orange flames of the torches that the dark men carried. Someone was yelling. Were you yelling? Were they yelling? Was she yelling?

...

No. She was crying. Quietly. She had to. 

The tall trees blurred as she ran. She was always fast. Always. You used to race her in these woods. She always won. 

Always. She had to win again. She had to. 

Something snapped, and then something stung. Not you, though. No. Her. 

Red. Sticky. Warm. 

She dropped you. There were bushes now, bushes that clung to your dress, but you saw her. She screamed. Cried. Ordered you to run. You needed to. You had to. 

You couldn't.

The dark figures didn't see you, but they saw her. They laughed. One of them raised his bow again and smiled as the honey-colored liquid dripped down from it and the men cheered and then he aimed and then she cried when you couldn't move and then the sound--

You screamed. 

Your eyes shot open as you screamed. You screamed, and screamed, and cried, and shook. You felt them holding you. They got you. They weren't supposed to. Why was it dark? Where was the light? Where were you? Where was she? 

"(Y/N)."

Where was she where was she where was she where wAS MOM--

"(Y/N)!"

"H-huh?" you choked, blinking away the tears. Your vision adjusted, and you saw...

"Sans?" You shifted around in his lap and peered up at him. 

Wait. Why were you in his lap?

He must've noticed your expression, because his hands, which were previously wiping away your tears, were now displayed out in the air. 

"i-i... uh..." he stammered, studying you. Sweat began to roll down his skull. "y-you... uh, fell asleep on the floor. and... s-screamed, and scared the shit outta... uh..." He let out a shaky breath and gently lowered his hands as slow as possible, like you were a fragile bomb that could go off at any moment. "are you okay?"

You took a moment to look around and eyed the light seeping through the crack under the laundry room's door before answering. You were home. Not in the woods back in... there. No, you were home. She was gone, but you were okay. Safe. In the present. 

"Yeah," you said, clumsily sliding out of his lap and onto the sofa. "I'm fine."

He relaxed and carefully placed his hand on your arm. "bad dream?"

You hummed and picked at the ends of your shirt. 

He grunted. "been there, buddy. it sucks, especially if it was... a memory or somethin' like that."

Another hum. You knew what he was trying to do, and this was a conversation you weren't ready to have. Still...

"So," you began, wanting to get to the point. "Any reason why you're here, or did you just miss me that much?"

The tension in the air melted away when Sans chuckled. "pfft. you wish. but uh, yeah. there were some things that i wanted to ask ya."

You pulled your knees up to your chest. The nightmare was still fresh on your mind, and your hands were shaking. "Can it wait until morning?"

He took a moment to look you over and frowned. "i don't think so, sweets," he said softly.

"Alright." You had been expecting this. "Let's get this over with, then." 

A guilty look crossed his face as he spoke. "so last night, how did you--"

"SANS!" a voice upstairs boomed. "HUMAN!" 

The two of you froze. Was that...?

"yeah, boss?" Sans yelled back, not missing a beat. 

"YOU WOKE ME UP."

"sorry, boss."

"I HEARD SCREAMING. IS EVERYTHING... OKAY?"

"yeah, boss." 

A pause. "I... CANNOT FALL ASLEEP. I REQUIRE A STORY."

Sans sighed and began to stand up. "alright, boss." 

"BRING HER, TOO." 

You and the monster shared a confused look. He hesitated before replying. 

"ya sure, boss?"

"DID I STUTTER?"

"n-no, boss."

"IS SHE AWAKE?"

"yeah."

"THEN WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?"

Sans's red eyes scanned you first and then he looked back up the stairs. He stuffed his hands into his robe and bit down on his bony lip. 

"are ya... uh..." he quietly coughed and stared at the floor. "believe it or not, i always read him a story before bed..." His eyes flashed back up. "ya okay with goin' up there?"

You nodded but still felt unsure about the situation. "Sure, but I'm kind of surprised he's talking to me."

Sans bitterly chuckled. "heh. me too, doc."

The two of you quietly shuffled up the stairs, stopping only to knock on Papyrus's door. 

"ENTER," he said in a tired voice. 

You looked once more at Sans, who gave shrugged. With that, you opened the door. 

To you, the guest rooms weren't anything special. But to the boys, it was luxury. Your feet quietly stepped onto the soft gray rug. The dark red curtains were drawn tight, but a sliver of moonlight still managed to peek through and rest on the succulent laying on the windowsill.  In the center of the room was Papyrus, wearing a matching bathrobe like Sans. He was resting on top of the modern queen-sized bed, laying under its white covers. About eight fluffy pillows were placed neatly behind his head, although you specifically remembered there only being two in each guest room. 

"SANS." He greeted, and then, more quietly. "Human."

Your words stuck in your throat, so you simply offered him a small smile in acknowledgment. 

He motioned for the two of you to come closer, so you did. Sans took a seat on the bed, but you didn't feel comfortable doing that. Instead, you stood. 

Apparently, your shyness wasn't cutting it with Papyrus. He frowned at you and huffed. 

"HUMAN,"  he said with a little more energy. "COME HERE."

You obliged, and the covers shifted as Papyrus sat up in bed. He fumbled with his fingers for a second before facing you with a conflicted expression. 

"I... HAVE NOT FULLY EXPRESSED MY GRATEFULNESS TOWARDS YOUR, ER, HOSPITALITY," he said, taking your hand and pulling you closer. "SO... HERE IT IS."

Pat... Pat...

Bewildered, you stared at him as he repeatedly dropped his hand on your head, ruffling your hair in the process. 

"THANK YOU FOR LETTING US STAY IN THIS RATHER ADEQUATE HOUSEHOLD OF YOURS SINCE OURS OBVIOUSLY BURNED DOWN. EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE AWKWARD, YOU'RE STILL ONE OF MY FIRST SURFACE FRIENDS, SO I CAN OVERLOOK SOME OF YOUR FLAWS."

And with that, he gave your head one last final pat. A little harder this time, causing you to flinch. 

Oooh boy. If he was going to stay here, then you really needed to help him with his social skills. 

You heard Sans snickering and shot him a look before facing Papyrus, who was watching you. 

"Uh... you're welcome?" you replied, not sure of what else to say. 

Papyrus grinned and settled back into his bed. 

"NOW THEN, BROTHER... THE STORY." 

Sans scratched his neck. "uh, yeah. about that boss... i ain't got one."

Papyrus snorted and flicked his brother in the head, causing him to stumble back. 

"THEN MAKE ONE UP, YOU FOOL!" 

Sans rubbed his forehead. "aw geez. ya know i ain't good with that creative crap."

"I'LL BE THE JUDGE OF THAT. START THE STORY!"

"uh... there was once a kid who fell into the underground--"

"SANS!" 

"the hell did ya expect, boss? i'm tryin'!"

"Can I help?" 

Both monsters turned to you. Sans mouthed a small 'thanks' while Papyrus eyed you with suspicion. 

"HMM..." he said, stroking his chin as he contemplated your offer. "VERY WELL. BUT! IF YOUR STORY LACKS PASSION, THEN YOU WILL NEVER TASTE MY COOKING EVER AGAIN!" 

Alright, so the stakes were high on this one. That was fine, though. One of the perks of being thousands of years old meant that you had plenty of adventures, especially back in the day when you and River were kind of... uh... reckless. But which one would Papyrus like? Probably something violent, daring, maybe a bit medieval... got it!

Papyrus shifted his legs as you sat down on the edge of the bed. You cleared your throat and began.

"A long time ago, in a faraway land, there was a kingdom. And in that kingdom, there were two very important families that were constantly sought out by the king for advice, resources..."

Magic, you thought bitterly. 

"...and other things. Each family had one child, a boy and a girl, and the two often got into mischief, especially when they knew they could get away with it."

Papyrus and Sans cracked a small smile at each other, like they were sharing an inside joke, but neither said anything. You continued. 

"One day, a ceremony was to be held in the castle, for the king's beloved and beautiful daughter was to be wedded off to a prince. Everyone, from the high aristocrats to the peasants were celebrating in the streets and in the castle, getting drunk, eating, dancing, and just having the time of their lives. Everyone, that is, except for the two kids. 

Bored out of their minds, the kids devised a plan to sneak away from their parents during the wedding in an attempt to steal a few slices of cake, which was safely tucked away in the ballroom. 

With their little heels eagerly kicking against the ground, they successfully ran off and hid behind a pillar. In front of them was the biggest cake they've ever seen, and their mouths watered with anticipation. They both moved to step out of the shadows, but something caught their attention." 

Papyrus leaned in, and Sans rolled his eyes. 

"In the corner of the room was a trio of men in dark tunics. All of them were armed with swords. To the kids' horror, they learned that these men were devising a plan to kidnap the princess and hold her for ransom against both kingdoms.

They were running out of time, and it was too late for both of them to run and get help, so they did the only thing they could think of. With a mighty shout, the boy attacked the men with his twin swords, distracting them while the girl quickly alerted the guards and the royal family. The princess and her prince were safely hidden away, but the fight came with a hefty price. As experienced at the boy was, he was no match for three grown men. He was able to take down two men, but the leader of the group remained. The next thing he knew, one of his swords was missing along with his pinky."

"ouch," the short skeleton chuckled. "talk about gettin' yer hands dirty."

"SANS!" Papyrus swatted his brother's arm and then eagerly returned his attention to you. "CONTINUE!!"

"The boy screamed in pain, but he managed to stab the man in his thigh, keeping him from escaping. The guards took him and the others away, and then the castle erupted in cheers..." Your voice trailed off, but then you shook your head. "Nevertheless, the day was saved. Both kids were honored with jewels and titles, and so were their families. The end." 

"WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BAD GUYS?" Papyrus asked.

You scratched your head and tried to remember. "Uh... they were publicly beheaded, like, immediately after the wedding." 

You shivered at that memory, but Papyrus seemed thrilled. 

"EXCELLENT!" he exclaimed, stretching his arms over his head. And with that, Papyrus turned over on his side. 

"STORY TIME IS OVER," he yawned, shoving you and Sans off the bed. "LEAVE MY ROOM. NOW!" 

You giggled, happy to see that the skeleton was back to his normal self. 

"Good night, Papyrus."

"night, pap."

"NYEH!" he snorted, pulling the covers up higher. 

You and Sans quietly exited the room while wearing matching grins. 

Oh Papyrus, you thought as Sans closed the door behind you. Never change.

+++

"still not sleepin' tonight?" Sans asked. His fingers strummed against the marble kitchen counter as he watched you brew some chamomile tea.

You handed him a cup. "We're about half an hour away from sunrise, Bones. I don't really feel like I can. Do you?"

He took a sip. "nah. i'm way past catching some z's, doc."

You made a face and pushed the honey and sugar container over to him, but Sans just waved you off. 

"no thanks. never had much of a sweet tooth." 

You shrugged and began fixing your cup. "suit yourself." 

You took a sip of your tea and smiled contently as the warm golden liquid touched your lips. You forgot to eat after using magic earlier, and since you didn't really want Sans to see you raid the cabinets for food, tea would have to do until it was late enough for breakfast. 

Still, there was no sense in starving yourself. A late night snack wouldn't hurt.

As you reached for your cookie, you noticed a set of red eyes watching you. With a sigh, you twirled your treat in your hand and inspected it. 

"Still wanna have that talk, Bones?" you asked. 

Sans leaned back into his hands and blinked at you.

"what gave it away?"

"Well... you've been watching me ever since we got off that couch. So either you have a thing for cute doctors, or you're trying to figure out the best way to interrogate me without hurting my feelings."

He chuckled and raised his cup to you. "heh. straight to the point, are we?"

"Never been a fan of small talk. Besides, it saves time."

"alright, alright. i'll admit, i do have a few questions for ya."

"Wait," you said, refilling your glass. Sans raised an eyebrow as you motioned for him to get up, but he still followed. You led him back into the living room and grabbed two blankets before heading towards the large window straight across from it. In front of it was a seat that stretched from side to side, attaching to the wall. You and Sans climbed on top of it. From there, you set your cup down just long enough for you to push back the heavy curtains. 

"This is my favorite view in the house," you said, taking a seat on the soft blue cushions and motioning for Sans to do the same. He complied. 

For a moment, the two of you just sat there and watched the fireflies move around your neighborhood. It was still cloudy, so no stars were out, but peaceful nonetheless. 

"Now you can ask," you mumbled. "But understand that I have some things that I just can't talk about."

"...ya know i'll be able to tell if you're lying, don't ya?"

"I've heard stories about your interrogations, Judge." He nearly dropped his glass when you brought up his nickname. "So yeah, I'm aware."

Sans shifted in his seat. He looked kind of uncomfortable, and he wouldn't meet your eyes. The monsters kind of threw that nickname around in your clinic like it was no big deal, but the skeleton's body language told you otherwise.

Somewhere in the background, a clocked ticked as a few seconds of silence passed. 

"how come you seem to always know how to help monsters?" 

Ah, you had been expecting this question for some time. Unfortunately, you knew that Sans was really good at reading poker faces and picking out the truths from the lies. With every word you chose, you were risking losing his trust. There wasn't a way to lie your way out of this. You could always just knock him out with magic and then call him insane, but something inside of you really wanted him to stay. 

This was a tough game you were playing, and you had to carefully choose your words. After all, the cards were not in your favor.

"In addition to being a doctor, I have several degrees in other things, such as a master in organic chemistry and a master in mythology. And I am a genius."

He raised an amused eyebrow, and you continued. 

"When needed, I mix monsters' magical medications with regular human ones in order to get the best treatment. It's something I know how to do, and I do it well. Alphys and Queen Toriel have both helped me with learning how to treat monsters by providing me books and teaching me a few things here and there."

You also relied heavily on your own magic, but nevertheless, your vague statement was correct, and, according to Sans's pleased expression, you passed. 

"alright. i'll buy it," he huffed, crossing his arms as he leaned back against the wall. "i got one more, though. explain how the hell ya a lil women like yerself found us out in the middle of the woods when that shitty gang couldn't?"

This... was a harder question to answer. What could you possibly say that was inexplicit enough to pass as the truth? 

Sans was waiting for your answer. You bit the inside of your mouth and forced yourself to meet his gaze.

"I kind of grew up in the woods," you said, carefully choosing your words. Images of your childhood popped up in your head, and you had to look away for a moment. "It... wasn't a happy time. But basically, I had to learn a survival few tricks to help me stay safe. Soryy, but I'm just gonna leave it at that."

"do your tricks have anything to do with that nightmare ya just had?" he asked, studying you with a blank expression.

"...Yes."

Sans mumbled something under his breath as he looked back out the window. 

"i'm sorry, sweets." 

You waved off his apology. "Don't. The past is the past, and it made the person that I am today." 

He moved forward in his seat, brushing his thumb against your arm. 

"do ya... uh..."

You shook your head before he could finish. "No."

"o-oh..." Sans let out a shaky breath. "good. i suck at those kinds of talks."

You snorted. "Me too, Bones. But uh..." You set down your cup and faced him. "Now that you've got your questions out of the way, I guess it's my turn to interrogate you. Right?"

The skeleton frowned but didn't protest. "didn't know we were taking turns, but fair enough, i guess." 

"So why did you throw a fit when I tried to call the police earlier?"

"Ah, I should've known ya wouldn't be lettin' that go anytime soon. we tried that already. twice. they didn't wanna get involved in monster business 'n said to handle it myself."

"What the--like hell they won't! Ugh, just wait until I get--"

"nope." He grabbed your phone out of your hands and tossed it to the couch. "we already had this talk before, doc. i ain't gonna cause any more trouble with tori 'n asgore. at least..." His eye sockets blackened. "stuff that they're gonna find out about, heh."

"But--"

"(Y/N)." His red eyes returned as he faced you, frowning. "trust me, alright? i'd be doin' more harm than good. 'n the next time ya push me ain't gonna be pretty for either of us. drop it."

Feeling slightly agitated, you crossed your arms and scooted back against the wall.  "Fine. What about your insurance and bank accounts?" 

Sans whistled and sunk back into his seat. "ain't got those beauties, either. monster racism sure does wonders to yer shitty kind, sweets."

"But I thought you guys had equal rights?!"

He snorted and faced the window. The morning dew fogged the glass, and with his bony finger, Sans was drawing out two cartoon-shaped hearts, except one was upside down. You recognized that those were souls. "yeah, but that don't mean people ain't gotta provide us service if they don't wanna. didn't ya hear the news? yer government ain't standing up for us anymore. said they're done with picking sides." With a grim smile, he crossed out the monster soul with a large X. "basically signed our fucking death certificates."

You sucked in a breath. "So when you said you had nothing left..."

His chuckle was humorless. "seems like ya got a couple of monster squatters now, (Y/N). what'cha gonna do 'bout that?" 

"I... shit, Bones. I honestly don't know." You ran a hand through your hair and tried to think of something comforting to say, but the ache in your chest wasn't letting you think clearly. "I wish I could make all of these problems go away. It's just... not right for you guys to have to go through this, especially since it's our fault that monsters were locked Underground in the first place. I guess the least I can do is make sure that you and Papyrus are comfortable while you both stay here."

Sans grumbled and gently slapped your shoulder. "there ya go again with all of yer sappy talkin'. makes me wanna barf."

"Can't help it. I've always known that people can be pretty terrible, but... I just didn't fully realize how bad this situation was until now." You gave him a weak smile. "It's a wonder we're friends, huh?" 

"hey now, that was just me bein' bitter. not all humans are bad. i-i mean... uh..." He scratched his neck as red dusted across his cheekbones. "y-you're pretty great."

You flashed him a mischevious grin and playfully poked at his sides. "Aw, look at you. Who's the sappy one now?"

Sans tried to pull up hit hoodie, but when he realized that his bathrobe didn't have one, he settled for throwing your blanket over your head, muffling your squeals and giggles. 

"s-shut up!" 

+++

After an hour of mindless chatter and jokes passed, Sans watched as she dozed off against the window, wearing a content look on her face. The sun was out now, and its golden hues rested on her hair, making her look almost angelic.

Something in his stomach flipped. 

(Y/N) hadn't done anything to hurt or threaten them. She gave them a place to stay even though she knew they wouldn't be able to pay her back, did their laundry, treated their wounds, and even made up a dumb story to help his lil bro sleep. Yeah, she had secrets that she couldn't share just yet, but he caught the sincerity behind her words. 

So for now... Sans would trust her. And he and the boss would defend her and the house from anyone who tried to start something. As long as they were here, they would make sure to stay out of trouble, maybe help around the house, or even offer to teleport (Y/N) to work so she wouldn't have to roam around the dangerous streets at night. 

Yeah... he could do just that. Sans had a plan now. 

And maybe... maybe living with her wouldn't be so bad after all. 

 

 

Chapter Text

Your eyes pop open, and you're wide awake. All other senses were drowned out by one single, powerful desire.

H u n g e r. 


Your stomach was churning and squeezing itself. The pain started in your abdomen and mercilessly spread to your other limbs, weakening you as you stumbled out of your little nest in the window seat, over a sleeping Sans's bony legs before crumbling onto the floor on all fours. 

H u n g e r.


See, what people don't realize is that mages don't exactly have an endless pool of magic that they can use willy-nilly. Magic is pure hot energy. It feeds off of its host, sure, but human bodies could only naturally provide so much before crashing out of exhaustion. In other words, mages, just like regular people, had two choices when it came to replenishing their energy; eat or sleep. And since you weren't much of a sleeper... Well...

H U N G E R.

A low growl escaped your stomach. It didn't care that you only used a little magic yesterday. You knew the rules very well. You used magic and didn't take care of yourself, and now you're paying for your debt. 

With a small whimper, you stood and limped your weak body over to the kitchen, bit your tongue and began your morning routine. Turn the coffee maker on. Check. Put the bagels in the toaster. Check. Feed the curious cats that were watching you from the counter (when did they get there?). Check. Now all you had to do was wait for your food. 

...

You couldn't do it. In a blur, you hopped up on the counter and slammed open all of the cabinets. Your cats hissed in annoyance (they never said you were allowed up here with them!), but they were used to this, so they didn't bother moving. Your needy fingers tore into a plastic bag of cookies, and you shoved two of them into your mouth before grabbing a handful of cereal and doing the same.

Oooh, this was good. Happy tears formed in the corners of your eyes as you munched. Sugar. Sugar was good. Energy. Carbohydrates. Sweet, sweet monosaccharides made you a very pleased mage. 

You were so busy gorging yourself with another handful of sweets that you didn't even notice the gaping skeleton in your kitchen doorway. 

"WHAT ARE YOU, AN WILD ANIMAL?!" Papyrus shrieked, jumping back a step when you whirled your body around to face him, accidentally knocking over an empty cereal box in the process. 

Normally, you would've been embarrassed, but the hungry beast inside wasn't having it. With crumbs stuck to your hands, you shoved your fourth cookie into your mouth and flashed him a smile. 

"Gwoofdmornifming."

Papyrus's eye twitched. "OH MY--DON'T TALK WITH YOUR MOUTH FULL, YOU DISGUSTING BARBIAN!" 

His comment made you laugh, and you nearly choked on your final cookie as you swallowed. You had enough food in you to keep you sane until your, uh, actual breakfast was ready. Shaking your head, you brushed off the remaining crumbs and jumped down from the counter. 

"Sorry you had to see that, Pap," you said casually, not feeling sorry as you opened the fridge and scanned for milk and creamer. "Didn't think anyone else was awake yet."

He scoffed. "IT'S SEVEN-THIRTY, HUMAN. ONLY THE LAZY AND FOOLISH DARE TO SLEEP THE DAY AWAY!" 

Oh. In that case, you slept for maybe three hours last night. No wonder you're so hungry. This was almost as bad as finals week back in school. Well, schools, but whatever. 

"SPEAKING OF LAZY..." Papyrus continued, his white robe swishing as he walked over to your side. "HAVE YOU SEEN MY BROTHER?"

"Yeah, we slept together last night. He's over by the window--"

"WHAT!?"

His sudden yell made you drop your coffee cup. It danced in your hands as you tried to catch it, and when you did, you sighed. 

"Dude!" you scold, placing your hands on your hips. "Stars, don't scare me like that! You almost made me break my favorite mug." 

Papyrus ignored you. Instead, he played with his fingers, and you watched as light pink began to stretch across his cheekbones. "I CANNOT FATHOM... J-JUST... I MEAN, OUT OF THE B-BOTH OF US, I AM CERTAINLY THE M-MOST ATTRACTIVE, BUT... Y-YOUR, ER, ADVANCES TOWARDS MY BROTHER ARE R-RATHER SUDDEN... T-TCH! I EXPECTED YOU TO DEMAND A P-PRICE IN RETURN FOR YOUR HOSPITALITY... BUT OF ALL MONSTERS... O-O-OR METHODS OF P-PAYMENT... I... I DID NOT..."

You raised an amused eyebrow as you watched his cheeks change from pink to red. Blushing skeletons were slowly becoming your new favorite thing. Papyrus coughed and continued fidgeting with his hands, looking everywhere but where you were. 

What was he... Oh. OH!

"Pfftt--ahaha!" you giggle, covering your mouth with your hands. "Ah geez, man, no. A million times no! It wasn't like that, ha-ha... We just fell asleep talking. That's all." You waved and turned back to the coffee maker, inhaling its bitter scent. "You don't have to worry about me taking away your big bro's virginity."

"SO YOU... DIDN'T... WAIT, WHAT!? NO! I-I-I WASN'T... IT'S JUST... GAH!!" Frustrated, he stomped his foot. "FORGET IT! AND STOP TALKING LIKE THAT! IT'S UNETHICAL, RUDE, AND DISGUSTING!" 

Another giggle escaped your throat. "Okay, I'll stop. Sorry and good morning, Papyrus. Want some coffee?" 

The skeleton monster grumbled something about how humans were gross and dirty-minded, but accepted the mug from your hand nonetheless. He leaned back against the counter with you and moved to take a sip, but stopped when his eye sockets landed on the two fuzzy black and gray balls by your feet. 

"HUMAN..." he said cautiously. "WHAT ARE THESE... CREATURES?"

"Eh?" You frown and follow his gaze. "Oh. Those are my cats."

Ever so slowly, Papyrus leans down to your height and (sort of) whispers, "ARE THEY DANGEROUS?"

You fight back another smile and scoop up a needy Milo, who had been purring against your leg for the past few seconds. The happy baby in your arms flicks his tail appreciatively as he brushes his whiskers across your cheeks. Papyrus curiously watches you stroke his head.

"No, they're not dangerous. These little guys have been around with me for a long time. Here." You hold the cat in your hands out to Papyrus. "This is Milo. Do you wanna hold him?"

He hesitates for a moment before cautiously accepting your offer. At first, Milo was glaring at you like you were a dirty traitor, but when Papyrus copied your actions and pressed him against the soft fabric of his robe, the kitty swished his tail and relaxed. The little black munchkin's anger was no match for the Great and Terrible Papyrus. 

You had to resist cooing over how gentle Papyrus was holding the cat. The skeleton was barely moving, and his eyes apprehensively switched back and forth between you and Milo. To ease his nerves, you picked up Avery (who, at this point, was ready to pounce on your shoulder from the lack of attention) and began to show him how to properly pet and scratch your cats. After a few minutes, the monster finally got the hang of it, and you laughed while Avery decided you weren't good enough anymore and pounced into Papyrus's arms. You weren't even mad. It was adorable!

"Aw, they like you!" 

"O-OF COURSE!" Papyrus stammered as he struggled to keep the cats from climbing up on his shoulders. "THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE PAPYRUS IS BELOVED AND FEARED BY ALL!" 

"sure, boss." 

You smile as a tired Sans drags his boney butt into the kitchen. His robe is disheveled, and the dark maroon bags under his eyes are a lot more profound than they usually are. He grabs a bar stool and takes a seat next to counter before plopping his head down against it with a loud thump. 

"Good morning, sleeping beauty." You slid a mug over to him and watched as it harmlessly banged against his skull. Without raising his head, he flashed you the bird. Uh oh, someone was in a bad mood.

"BROTHER!" Papyrus yells as he eyes the shorter skeleton in confusion. "WHY ARE YOU AWAKE? IT'S NOT NOON YET, AND IT'S THE WEEKEND! YOU'VE NEVER BEEN UP THIS EARLY BEFORE, NOT EVEN FOR SENTRY DUTY!"

With a muffled voice, Sans spoke. "how ta fu--"

"LANGUAGE, SANS!" Papyrus warns, trying to look threatening even though he had two furry babies climbing on top of his skull. "WE ARE GUESTS HERE! YOU WILL WATCH YOU MOUTH!"

"she doesn't even--whatever!" Sans grumbles, forcing his head up. He looked really mad. "how ta frick am i supposed to sleep with all this yellin'?"

"THAT'S NEVER STOPPED YOU BEFORE! I DEMAND TO KNOW WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU?"

"get off 'm back 'n drop it, alright? 'm just tired."

"I AM NOT 'DROPPING IT.' I KNOW YOU DIDN'T SLEEP LAST NIGHT. YOU'RE NOT GOING TO FOOL ME. YOU SHOULD GO BACK TO BED."

"hard ta do in this noisy house. look, it ain't a big deal, boss. just shut up about it."

"WELL, EXCUSE ME FOR QUESTIONING YOUR SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR, BROTHER." 

"Yer excused, brother."

"Boys," you called, placing your hands on your hips. The was a lot of magical tension in the air, and given how violently expressive monsters were, you didn't like where this was going. "No fighting in the kitchen."

"BUT--"

"he was--"

You shot them a look, and both brothers withered under your gaze. "My house, my rules. No fighting in the kitchen, or this damn early in the morning. Okay?" 

They both locked eyes for a split second before looking away. With a groan, Sans placed his head back against the table, and Papyrus went back to his coffee cup. You sighed and finished spreading cream cheese on your bagel. Maybe you were being a bitch to them, but the hunger was slowly coming back, and that put you a little bit on edge. 

Mouthwatering, you eagerly held the bagel up to your mouth...

...Only to have to swatted out of your hands. Immediately, your cats jumped down and curiously began to inspect and nibble it on the ground. 

"My bagel!" you cry. Before you can reach for it, the taller skeleton grabs and tosses it into the trash. Now you and your cats are glaring at him. "Papyrus..." 

He matched your gaze. "FOR AS LONG AS I AM HERE, YOU WILL NOT BE EATING PRE-PACKAGED GARBAGE NOR ANYTHING ELSE THAT ONLY TAKES A FEW MINUTES TO MAKE. I WILL HANDLE ALL KITCHEN AFFAIRS. THAT SHOULD BE MORE THAN ENOUGH PAYMENT FOR YOUR PATHETIC BUT SOMEWHAT USEFUL GENEROSITY."

"But--"

Now it was his turn to silence you, and he did it by grabbing your arm and dragging you back to the counter to join a sleeping Sans. 

"WAIT HERE," he commands. "I WILL PREPARE US AN ACTUAL BREAKFAST THAT'S WORTHY TO FULFILL THE TITLE AS THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY." 

You want to protest. You really, really do. He's a guest, after all, and the poor guy just lost everything a few hours ago. But at the same time... You knew your cooking skills were nowhere near his, and you would be lying if you said you weren't looking forward to actually eat some good food. Plus, maybe cooking was therapeutic to the big guy? 

"O-okay, if you insist, pap."

The taller skeleton smirked before turning on his heels. From there, he began scavenging through your pantry and fridge. 

You smiled, too, but for a different reason. Next to you was a certain snoozing skeleton. Red drool dripped out of his mouth and onto the table, but you didn't mind too much. How he managed to fall asleep in the span of three minutes was a mystery. His face was towards you, and his arm was stretched out across the table, inches away from his undisturbed coffee cup. It was like he fell asleep reaching for it. 

Heh. That's adorable. 

With a light chuckle, you stood up and exited the kitchen, only to return with a blanket. You quickly threw that over Sans's shoulders. Papyrus eyed you curiously but said nothing as he continued cooking. From there, you scooped up your cats and made your way back into your bedroom in order to prepare for the day.

You exhaled as the door's locked softly clicked behind you. Avery and Milo hopped out of your arms and gracefully landed on the floor, slowly strutting over to the bed.

Finally alone with your thoughts, you sunk down onto the floor and face palmed. Stars, were you doing the right thing? You thought you were, but after watching their reactions... 

Money wasn't the issue at hand here. Owning a clinic and working as a very well-respected doctor gave you a pretty hefty salary, a lot more than you got from working in the Emergency Room back at the hospital. Plus, selling your healing and statistic potions in Belbourne produced a hefty sum of gold, too. With that being said, you're four hundred. It was nearly impossible to name all the jobs that a workaholic like yourself has kept. And you've always been very, very frugal with your money, so there was a lot. Most mages and other Fables were ridiculously wealthy, after all. 

Ugh. It was a good thing that mages were secret, or you would have a huge headache from constantly explaining why you stopped aging almost a thousand years ago. 

With a slight grunt, you pushed yourself off the floor drug your feet to the closet. Since the clinic was closed on the weekends, you had the day off. Which really meant that your would be spending hours huddled over a desk in your library, so you should probably go with something comfortable.

And just when you threw the clothes down on the bed, Papyrus's voice boomed all the way up to second floor, calling you and his brother down for breakfast.

The door creaked open wide enough for you and your cats to leave, and then locked back in place. 

+++

"YOU NEED TO SLOW DOWN!"

"she's worse than the kid."

"WHAT? ...NO! THAT IS YOUR THIRD OMLETTE, HUMAN. I AM NOT MAKING YOU ANOTHER ONE!"

"guess doc thought yer food was egg-cellent."

"OH MY GOSH, SANS! YOU ARE NOT HELP--HUMAN, STOP! I SAID NO MORE!" 

"aw, 'course i am. yer just yolking with me."

"CONGRATULATIONS. MY BREAKFAST IS OFFICALLY RUINED THANKS TO YOU TWO."

"nah. we couldn't ruin yer food do that even if we fried."

"GAHHH!"

In summary, breakfast was absolutely wonderful. As soon as Papyrus set down his latest creations, Sans immediately woke up. 

And, apparently, so did your stomach. 

Before you knew it, you had consumed three cheesy omelets, five strips of bacon, two glasses of your favorite juice, and two pancakes. Another perk of being a mage: being able to out eat literally anyone, no matter what your size is, and still look like the sexy beast you are. 

Needless to say, your magic was practically overflowing at this point. Hot damn, Papyrus could COOK!

After some more mindless chatter--featuring Sans's terrible puns, Papyrus's yelling and triumphant laughing when your cats hissed at his brother after he tried to pet them ("THEY LIKE ME BETTER THAN YOU!")--things had finally settled down enough that you could get down to business. 

"So," you said, setting down your mug and grabbing the brothers' attention. "I think I can safely say that we all need to have a little talk."

"ABOUT WHAT?" 

"This." You waved your hand in the air. "Like I said before, you guys are welcome to stay as long as you need to, which I'm guessing is going to take maybe about a month. But we're gonna have to sort out some boring yet important stuff. Clothes, furniture, transportation... the list kind of goes on." You cringed. "Err, sorry. Didn't mean to sound so nonchalant about it." 

"it's fine," Sans grumbled. "ain't the first time ya've done it, 'n pap left his car at Alphy's for some tune-ups so that last bit ain't a problem."

"...Um, okay." You reached under the table and retrieved your purse. "I wanted to do this with you guys, but even on my free days my schedule's pretty tight with my, um, side jobs."

Sans raised an eyebrow. "yer what now?" 

"My side... oh, yeah. That reminds me." You stopped digging through your checkbook and locked eyes with the brothers. "You guys are welcomed in anywhere in the house except for my bedroom and library. I know I haven't really shown you two around yet, but basically, if you encounter a locked door, just leave it alone. Alright?"

Papyrus audibly agrees and slowly nods. His older brother, on the other hand, just rolls his eyes. Well, that wouldn't do. 

You furrowed your brow. "...Bones." 

Papyrus frowned and slapped the back of his brother's head, causing him to cough. You wince. 

"ANSWER HER!"

"a... a-alright," Sans wheezed through gritted teeth. "i won't go near yer secret shitty rooms."

Another slap occurs, and the two brothers are, once again, glaring each other down. Before they have the chance to throw your dining table against the wall, you shove two plastic silver cards in front of their skulls, startling them. 

"I hate to interrupt this sibling bonding moment," you sigh, feeling annoyed. "But there's still a pretty big issue here. Take one, and I'll explain what you two will be doing today."

Reluctantly, they accepted your offer. You leaned back in your chair and start fumbling with your hands. "Like I was saying, you guys are missing some pretty important things, and I want to make sure both of you are as comfortable as possible during your stay. So, I'm giving you both two thousand dollars to spend on whatever you want or need for today. You can decorate your rooms and buy some clothes. All you have to do in return is give back the cards and the receipts when you both get home tonight. Fair enough?"

You stared down at your hands and waited for them to argue or... Well, actually, arguing seemed to be their go-to response for any situation. Which is why you were really, really surprised to find them both staring at you like you'd just grown another head. 

You frown. "What? Do you guys need more? I can--"

"NO!" they both shout, looking uncomfortable. 

"Then what's the problem?" 

"THERE ISN'T... UH..." Papyrus stole a glance in your direction. He looked away, huffed, and angrily punched his brother's shoulder. "YOU ANSWER HER!" 

Sans hissed at him. "stop doin' that!" He scooted his chair away before locking eyes with you. Sans snorted. "alright, i'll be honest. weain't comfortable with spending yer cash. happy, boss?"

"THAT IS NOT TRUE!" his brother yells. "I AM MORE THAN OKAY WITH BEING SHOWERED THE HUMAN'S MONEY, ESPECIALLY SINCE I AM CERTAINLY WORTH WAY MORE THAN HER PATHETIC PAPER OFFERINGS! I JUST... ERM... DON'T FULLY UNDERSTAND HER MOTIVES AND SCHEMES YET." 

You shook your head. "I'm not planning anything, pap. This is your money now. Consider it a gift from your bestie."

Papyrus's eye socket twitched. He carefully twirled the card in his fingers, inspecting its front and back. 

"TCH... I S-SUPPOSE THAT SINCE WE ARE INDEED BEST FRIENDS... AND THAT FRIENDS USUALLY GIVE EACH OTHER GIFTS IN ORDER TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT NEITHER OF THEM HAVE DIED YET..." He narrowed his eye sockets and slammed his fist down on the table, making the dishes shake. "HUMAN! AFTER MUCH CONSIDERATION, I HAVE DECIDED TO ACCEPT YOUR OFFERING IN THE NAME OF FRIENDSHIP!"

"Thanks, pap," you hummed.

"Y-YOU'RE, ER, WELCOME?!" Papyrus's eyes narrowed. "YES. YOU'RE WELCOME, HUMAN!" 

Sans snorted, but kept his mouth shut. You guessed that since his brother was okay with it, then so was he. 

After a few moments of small talk, such as where the brothers would go, and what they would buy, you and Papyrus began to clean up while the shorter skeleton snoozed away in his bedroom. You returned their clean clothes, and although Papyrus didn't say thanks, he did pat your head in acknowledgment, which was good enough. They weren't going to leave until after lunch, aka, when Sans would be up again, but you really couldn't use those hours to spend time with Papyrus. So while he entertained himself with various MTT movies, you and your cats quietly slipped away into your library. Those healing potions weren't going to make themselves, after all. 

+++

Sans didn't like this one bit. 

After the initial shock wore off, his little brother was having a blast with the biggest shopping spree of their life as they went from store to store. Now, they're at the mall, and Papyrus standing on top of a mannequin display, holding thirty shopping in his arms as he yelled out orders to the busy monster and human employees. The plastic card gleamed in his hand, and a pair of dark red sunglasses was taped to his skull. 

Meanwhile, Sans was standing back on the sidelines, snarling at anyone who got a little too close to them. He hated being in public; years of constantly being on guard made his social anxiety drag nearly him up the wall. Small gatherings were okay, but big crowds full of strangers made him very uncomfortable. If his little brother wasn't here, Sans would probably stick to the walls and sulk away somewhere in a corner.

After a group of curious teenagers dashed away, he looked down at his single shopping bag and frowned, pulling the fluff of his freshly-cleaned hood up. Don't get him wrong; after last night, he trusted (Y/N) a lot now, but something just didn't feel right. Before any of this, it was always just him and the boss, but now that she was here, legitimately trying her best to make them feel welcomed made Sans feel... Happy? Uncomfortable? Frustrated? Gahhh! Whatever it was, he didn't like it when she looked at him. Made his chest feel weird and gross. He started to sweat and griped the front of his shirt with a shaking hand. 

Okay, okay. Calm down, Sans. He trusted her. They were friends, and he trusted her. He decided all of this yesterday. That's good enough, for now. 

"NO! I ASKED FOR THIS SHIRT TO BE IN OBSIDIAN, NOT JET-BLACK! YES, YES, JUST HURRY UP PUT IT ON THE CARD! THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE PAPYRUS HAS PLACES TO BE, YOU WORTHLESS BOTTOM FEEDERS!"

Papyrus's annoying voice snapped him out of his thoughts and helped him relax a bit. Like a proud brother, Sans cocked a grin and leaned back against the counter, stealing a glance at the store's manager only so he could flip him off as he ran by. His gaze returned to the screaming monsters. Heh. It was nice seeing the boss back to his normal self.

"IF YOU MESS UP MY COLOR ORDER ONE MORE TIME, I WILL DESTROY YOU ALL!"

He was so focused on his brother that Sans didn't notice the manager was now talking to a man in a dark blue uniform. It wasn't until he started walking over to the brother that he caught the gleam of his silver badge, and his eye socket twitched.

Well, shit.

+++  

"What... " Sans watched as (Y/N) ran a hand through her hair. In disbelief, she looked at him, his brother, and then finally the policeman that was holding both of the brothers by their shoulders.

Sans held back a growl. Oh man, was this guy lucky that they were trying to stick to Asgore's good side... 

"Ma'am, do these two live here with you?" he repeated, raising an eyebrow. 

Sans watched from the his safety of his hoodie as your serious (e/c) eyes peered down him. For some reason, the mature and oh-so-rich little doctor inside of you was covered up by a gray guitar shirt and a pair of washed out jeans. The sight of you looking so casual made his stomach feel weird, and as soon as his face started to feel warm, he looked away in a huff.

Your gaze flickered over to his brother, who hasn't shut up since they were arrested. 

"I TOLD YOU ALREADY, THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE!" Papyrus yelled, pulling at the cuffs around his hands. 

The officer rolled the cigar in his mouth and glanced back, all the while keeping his grip on the skeleton bros.' shoulders. "Looks pretty fancy for a bunch of mischievous rascals like you."


Alright, he had enough! Sans yanked his hood down and prepared to chew out the police officer, but he froze when he caught your warning look. His brother, on the other hand, didn't.

"EXCUSE ME?! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO I AM? I'LL HAVE YOU KNOW THAT THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE PAPYRUS HAS VERY HIGH STANDARDS, AND MY STANDARDS CONSIDER THIS PLACE TO BE BARELY ACCEPTABLE! BY ASGORE'S BEARD, I WOULD NEVER STOOP MYSELF DOWN ENOUGH TO THE POINT WHERE I WOULD BE FORCED TO LIVE IN A PLACE WITH SUCH POOR LIGHTING AND LACK OF PAVED STREETS OF GOLD! AND DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE LACK OF SECURITY! I HAVE YET TO FIND ANY PROPERLY-MADE TRAPS OR PUZZLES! NAY! WE ARE SIMPLY STAYING HERE WITH THIS HUMAN WHILE LOOKING FOR OUR NEW AND COMPLETELY BETTER HOUSE! AND SINCE WE'RE HERE, I DEMAND THAT YOU TAKE THESE CUFFS OFF, NOW!" 

Sans snickered as he watched your pretty mouth drop open. He bet you didn't fully realize how much the boss could say when he was worked up, heh. 

The police officer, however, wasn't as amused. During the rant, he was holding the bridge of his nose and squinting his tiny eyes shut, like he was fighting back a headache. 

"Uh..." Looking unsure, you shuffled your feet and caught the officer's attention. "Why were they arrested?"

He sighs. "Not arrested, just escorted out of the mall for disturbing the peace. But since the owner is dating a monster, and he kind of gets their, uh, behavior..."

Sans's eye sockets went black as he glared up at the man and silently dared him to continue that sentence. 

"... And since both of them apologized to him, they're welcomed back after their month's suspension is over," he finished softly. His grip on the brothers was softer now. Good. 

Sans watched as confusion replaced your uneasiness. Your brow furrowed. "Is that all?"

The officer scratched his neck beard. "Uh, yeah. Like I said, the owner's a big monster sympathizer, so he let them off with a warning."

"Oh, well, if that's the case..." You pointed to their cuffs, and in an overly kind voice, continued. "You can kindly take those off. Thank you for bringing them back home, and I'm terribly sorry for the trouble, sir. "

Bewildered by how casual you took the news, the man blinked. He rolled the cigar in his mouth for a few more seconds before slumping his shoulders in defeat. "...Er, alright." 

With little effort, both skeletons were free. You stepped out of the doorway as they stepped inside, and quickly bid the officer a good night. 

Sans released a breath he didn't realize he was holding. Wow. He thought you were gonna be really upset with them, but it looked like you were more interested in getting the police off your back. 

And just when they both thought they were home free, you slammed the door, quickly locked it, and turned to the brothers wearing a smile that Sans found ridiculously intimidating and hot at the same time. 

"Boys," you called in the same sweet voice, placing your hands on your hips. Your gaze landed on him, and for a second he thought they were blood red, which brought back some very bad memories, and his anxiety immediately returned. When he looked back, though, they were normal. Nonetheless, the damage was done. Something in his stomach flipped, and the monster suddenly wished he was back in the police car. 

"Living room," you hissed. "Now."

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Slamming the door behind you, you slowly turned around and shot a nervous Sans a very wicked smile. 

You were very angry, and rightfully so. The sudden visit from the policeman forced you to stop your alchemy at a very crucial timing moment, which resulted in disposing of a ruined batch of healing potions that you spent four agonizing hours on. Four, painstaking, delicate hours of you double checking your mom's recipes in the family's journals, measuring and remeasuring, heating, cooling, stirring, shaking, and doing every single specific thing needed to make some of the world's most complicated and rare medical potions for NOTHING! 

Those ingredients costed so much gold, too. So unless you made another trip to the magic city of Belbourne for ingredients, you were gonna have to hunt down and illegally purchase some things from River. Then again... he did owe you a few favors... Stars, you really needed to return his call sometime. 

You shook your head and eyed the brothers. The worst part was that, as much as you wanted to, you couldn't be mad at them for that. It wasn't their fault that they ruined all of your work. No, they had no idea what you were doing while they were gone. 

But that didn't mean they were completely off the hook. 

Something sparked inside your chest, and for a split second, you felt your magic rush to your face as it reacted with your anger. Sans's expression changed from slightly nervous to downright scared. 

Whoa, Bones, what's up with the... oh. OH!

You blinked, and the magic quickly subsided. You watched as Sans's expression relaxed and silently thanked him for not commenting on it. Hopefully, he would just brush the sight of your red eyes off as a trick of the light. 

You wanted to believe that, but at the same time you knew how observant Sans is. You're lying skills weren't that great, and you could only dance around the truth for so long before 'The Judge' started catching on, if he hadn't already. Great. Just great. This whole thing was giving you a headache. When did you life become so complicated?

 "Living room," you hissed, marching past him. "Now!"  

Sans stumbled on his untied black sneakers as he tried to catch up with you. You shot a glance in his direction to find that his hands were guiltily stuffed into his pockets, and he was staring down at the ground. 

It was a rather odd sight; this large, scary monster with a gold tooth looked like a kicked puppy. You bitterly wondered if it was because you were angry, or if it was because he saw your eyes. 

For his sake and yours, you hoped it was the former. 

Sans slowly drug his body up on the couch and continued to stare at the floor. Papyrus, on the other hand, was already seated comfortably on your couch with his arms and legs crossed. Forty shopping bags (where did those come from? he didn't have them earlier!) were now displayed across the floor. Papyrus arched an eyebrow when you entered.

"WHAT," he stated, not even slightly reacting under your glare, unlike his brother. 

"What happened?" You demanded, and then, on second thought, raised your hand before Papyrus could reply. "You know what, it doesn't matter. I'm just gonna guess that you guys started harassing people and got kicked out."

Papyrus tilted his head. "HOW DID YOU KNOW?"

He couldn't be serious. You had half a mind right now to tell him off, but considering how Sans appeared to be on the verge of sinking into the couch, you decided against it. There was enough stress going on already.

"Lucky guess," you replied sarcastically. 

"IF ANYONE WAS BEING HARRASSED, IT WAS ME. THOSE IMBECILES COULDN'T TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OBSIDIAN AND JET BLACK." He scoffed. "I DO NOT LIKE IT WHEN MY SHADES OF BLACK DON'T MATCH! IT LOOKS SO TACKY, AND I HAVE VERY HIGH STANDARDS, HUMAN!"

"That doesn't mean you can bully people. Retail workers make minimum wage to pay for bills and school or whatever. They're trying, Papyrus. You have to be a little patient with them."

"NO, I DON'T!" 

"Yes, you do."

"IT'S NOT MY FAULT THAT THEY CAN'T DO THEIR JOB!" 

"But it is your fault for getting kicked out." You tilted your head to the side and raised an eyebrow at Sans, who was tugging on his hood. "And I don't even what to know what you did." 

You almost smiled in relief when his nervous expression grew agitated. Now, that was the angry Sans you knew. He narrowed his eyes at you. "They had it comin'."

"I'm sure they didn't..." You rubbed your forehead and stopped yourself from continuing that sentence. "Look, I've been busy all day, I have a headache, and I really don't feel like starting a fight. Today was supposed to be relaxing and fun." For them, you thought. 

"don't see what ta big deal is," Sans scoffed. "it ain't like we killed anyone."

"EXACTLY MY THOUGHTS, BROTHER." 

Dumbfounded, you eyed both of the monsters. "Really. You don't see anything wrong with being kicked out of the mall?"

"NO."

"nope."

"Then let me explain this to you." You marched over to the couch. "Monsters have been above ground for a month, and the tension is so thick you can slice it with a knife. While Asgore and Toriel are trying to convince the government monsters aren't dangerous, you two are going around shouting and threatening people in a public area full of humans and their kids. How do you think that looks?" 

"but--"

You cut Sans off. "And in addition to being kicked out, both of you were escorted back here in cuffs! To my house! Do you have any idea how many celebrities, politicians, and rich people live here? Did you even think how that looks on me? How that looks on you?! On your species?!"

"WE WERE--"

"we just--"

"I DON'T CARE!" you screamed, startling them and yourself. Feeling a bit embarrassed, you lowered your voice. "I really. Really. Don't care. It's already happened; I don't want to hear any excuses. We can't change the past. The damage is done."

A few moments of silence passed before Papyrus spoke.

"WELL..." he said, standing up. "I GUESS WE'LL GO CALL UNDYNE AND ASK IF HER FLOOR IS STILL AVAILABLE FOR SLEEPING PURPOSES. SANS, PUT MY BAGS BY THE DOOR."

"alright."

"What?" you asked, puzzled. 

Sans stopped sliding off the couch and tilted his head in your direction. His red eyes were dimmed, and his usual smile was pulled into a tight frown. "yer kickin' us out, right?"

"Wha--No! Oh my stars, no! Listen, I don't care about the mall thing. I don't even go outside if I can help it." You rapidly shook your head. "I wasn't... you don't...  listen, I... damn." You huffed. How were you going to explain this? "Alright, I'm gonna be real with you guys. I suck at emotions and confrontations like this, so bear with me, okay?"

Sans looked puzzled but nonetheless stopped in his tracks. "okay...?"

"I don't have a lot of friends," you said bitterly. "Didn't really have any until monsters showed up, and... ah, you guys are my friends..." Why was this so hard to say? You tugged on your shirt and gritted your teeth. Your next words rushed out. "And it would really suck if you both got arrested or killed or something, so just try not to do that."

You were very surprised when both monsters started laughing. Your shoulders slumped. Why were they laughing? 

Your thoughts were interrupted when a firm hand suddenly began to pat your head. Confused, you looked up at Papyrus and lightly winced when he began ruffling your hair. Not again.

"NYEH HEH HEH!" he laughed. "DID YOU HEAR THAT, SANS? THE WEAK HUMAN IS CONCERNED FOR OUR SAFETY." He looked down at you with a smug grin. "AND HERE I THOUGHT YOU KNEW BETTER THAN TO UNDERESTIMATE US, ESPECIALLY THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE PAPYRUS!" 

"seriously, doc," Sans said, suddenly appearing behind you. He cocked a smile and placed a hand on your shoulder. "did'ja really have to make a huge scene just ta tell us ta be careful?"

You brushed his hand off and bit your lip. "I wasn't trying to start anything, really. I'm just a little pissed since that stupid cop made me mess up on my--"

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Your eyes widened, and you mentally thanked the stranger for interrupting you. Seriously, what had gotten into you? You almost blew your cover. Gosh, feelings were complicated. They made you feel weird. 

You furrowed your brow and began to fiddle with its lock, wondering who in the world could that be. 

Your question was answered when the door swung open, revealing a very tall and familiar goat woman. Her fur was pure white, and behind her heavy black makeup were ruby-red eyes that gleamed with wisdom, love, and a hint of sadness. A pristine black sundress clung to her body. When her eyes found on you, the corner's of the Queen's mouth tilted up. 

"Hello, Doctor (Y/N)," she softly spoke. "I trust you've been fairing well since we last met?" 

"H-hi, your highness," you replied, losing your voice at the end. Oh gosh, why was the Queen of all Monsters on your front porch? Even though you've met her a few times, the regal and motherly way she held herself made you wanna do bow and hug her every time you two crossed paths. However, instead of acting out these thoughts, you swallowed and shoved your sweaty hands into your pockets. 

She helpd up a paw and shook her head. "Please, just call me Tori."

Just then, a brown blur ran past her body and slammed into yours, pushing the air out of your lungs. You gasped and looked down at the kid, who was grinning from ear to ear as their arms tightened around your waist.

"Hey Frisk!" you cooed, ruffling the kid's hair with your free hand. After another tight hug, they released you and began to sign.

'Hi Miss (Y/N),' they said. 'How are you? I missed your hugs! Where are Sans and Papyrus?'

"Whoa, slow down," you giggled. "I'm fine, and the brothers are in the living--"

Before you could finish your sentence, Frisk had dashed into your house. A muffled 'THWOMP' echoed from the living room, and you asumed they had jumped on one of the brothers.

"NYEH?! WHO DARES--OH! HELLO, HUMAN! IT'S BEEN EXACTLY THREE DAYS, TWO HOURS, AND FORTY-TWO MINUTES SINCE YOU HAVE LAST CALLED ME. WHY DON'T YOU CALL MORE?! ...WHAT? OF COURSE YOU'VE MISSED ME. I'M YOUR BEST FRIEND! ALSO, I'VE BEEN WORKING ON OUR NEXT PUZZLE. YOU'LL LIKE IT, EVEN THOUGH IT LACKS SPIKES. YOUR MOTHER MADE ME GET RID OF THOSE. YES, YES, I KNOW YOU'RE DISAPPOINTED. YOU DON'T HAVE TO WEAR THAT FAKE SMILE." 

"heya kid. how's school? ya still flirtin' will the bullies? heh, 'course ya are, ya little squirt." 

A warm hand rested on your shoulder. You looked up to see Toriel sadly smile at the trio before resting her gaze on you. With a squeeze, she spoke. 

"Doctor, do you mind stepping outside for a moment? I would like to have a chat with you. Privately, if you will."

Still feeling a little shy, you gulped but nodded anyway. With that, the two of you stepped back onto the porch and closed the door behind you. You and Toriel took a seat on the swinging bench that was attached to the ceiling by a few gold chains. It moved as you adjusted your weight. You couldn't help but notice how gloomy the goat mother looked under the moonlight.  

"How have those two been since last night?" she asked. "I called them earlier, and to be honest, I was upset that I heard the news from Undyne instead of them first. Papyrus said they were staying with you, and that they were fine, but Sans just simply dodged the question..." She pinched the bridge of her snout. "Like he does with all of their problems, I suppose."

"It was a rough night for them, Toriel." You said, watching the summer fireflies glow as they drifted across the neighborhood. "I found them huddled up under a tree. Papyrus wouldn't talk to me at first, and Sans was kind of having a mental breakdown. But I'm surprised at how quickly they've been recovering."

She nodded. "Misfortunes were quite common back Underground, and as loved as those two are they certainly saw the worst of it. Papyrus was a very well-respected and hated soldier in the Royal Guard. He and Undyne both were; they always sought to do what was right, bringing criminals to justice. I'm sure you know that not all monsters were... nice."

"The same applies to humans, Tori," you added.

A far-away looked clouded her eyes. "But working with the law made him many enemies, and I'm sure his brother heard lots of the snarky comments and threats behind his back, and that he took them a lot more to heart than Papyrus did. So, in a sense, I'm not surprised at how fast Papyrus recovered as much as I am for his brother." She leaned closer to your ear. "You know he has... little hope about life on the Surface, don't you? He won't ever admit it, but he's not as tough as he looks, especially when no one is watching."

You nodded, and the queen made a humming sound. Nothing more needed to be said about that. You've had suspicions over Sans's mental health for some time now. Anxiety for sure, and maybe depression, too. As much as you cared for him, you selfishly hoped he wouldn't have a meltdown in front of you. Not because you didn't care for him! No, you just didn't know how to be helpful. You're great at healing people physically, but your social skills were definitely lacking. You didn't even take time for your thoughts and feelings anymore. They sort of just got bottled up and forgotten since everyone always needed your help. Needed you to be strong. It's always been like that. 

Toriel's motherly voice brought you back to reality. She took your hands in her paws and placed them on her lap. Her head was down as she spoke. "I know I've said this time and time again, but I sincerely cannot thank you enough for all of the times you've helped my monsters, (Y/N). Not only have you provided medical attention to those in need, but you've also kindly taken in two brothers who are very dear to me." She looked up at you with watery eyes. "Out of the  countless humans I've met, I believe I can sincerely say that you and Frisk are the only ones that I and Asgore truly trust."

You felt your heart melt. "Toriel, that's so sweet of you to say. I'm glad we're friends, and you know I'll always be around to help those in need. That's kind of my whole job." 

She let out a light chuckle and wiped her tears away. "My goodness, where are my manners. Please forgive me for being emotional. A Queen should never cry in public, especially during a such a sensitive moment."

"Everyone needs a good cry every now and then. I won't judge. But what do you mean by a sensitive moment?"

Her face grew serious, but you caught the gleam in her eyes. Like an eager school girl, the Queen clasped her hands together. "I suppose there's no harm in telling you, but..." She glanced over her shoulders before leaning down to your level. "Can you keep a secret?" 

You nodded.

"Currently, my ex and I are in the middle of a negotiation with your human leader, the Mayor of Ebott City. Although there are several who are reluctant to reach an immediate conclusion, protests of peace have been breaking out across the city, and he has been pushing for enforcement of equal rights and treatment towards monsters." She gripped your shoulders. "Do you understand? If nothing major happens within the next few months, there's a chance that things will get better, (Y/N). There's hope to end the racism and prejudice in the city, and once everything settles down, equality might spread to the other states, and monsters might finally be able to leave the city."

"That's wonderful news, Toriel!" You hugged her and embraced the softness of her white fur. "I'm so happy for you."

"We're so close to fixing this mess, (Y/N)," she sniffed, tightening her grip. "So close to providing a better future for monsters. For my family. For Frisk." 

The gravity of her words weighed heavy on your shoulders. You couldn't think of anything nice to say, so you just stayed quiet and held the embrace. She was so soft and loving; a perfect mom for Frisk, even if she didn't always think so. But that was a story for another day. 

Finally, after a few more seconds of Toriel's quiet tears of joy, she let you go. You looked around and noticed that the streetlights had kicked on, even though the sunset was still setting in the distance.

"Will you be staying for dinner?" you asked in a hopeful tone. The goat momma was known for her butterscotch cinnamon pies. 

She let out a heavy sigh and closed her eyes. "No; I'm afraid I cannot. My ex and I have an important meeting with the mayor about some of the city's violence in the morning. Which leads me to my question for you."

You bit your lip. You already knew what she might be asking for, but gave her the chance to speak anyway. "Go on."

"Do you mind babysitting for the next two days?" 

"Tori--"

"I know you're busy," she blurted, clenching her dress. "I know you have your hands full already..." 

A crashing sound came from somewhere inside the house, which was followed by Frisk's giggles and Papyrus's loud scolding. It seemed like he was reminding them about the rules for 'The Floor is Lava' game. Toriel winced.

"...Especially with those two," she sighed. "But I really don't have anyone else that I can trust."

"My goodness," you laughed. "Of course I'll watch over Frisk! Or, well, Sans and Papyrus will, I guess, since I have work tomorrow... but I'm sure they won't mind. Stars, I love the little kid." You rubbed your neck. "Still can't believe a seven-year-old saved the entire monster species, though."

A warm smile grew on her face. She leaned back and looked fondly at the door. "Thank you. And yes, Frisk certainly is something special. Always showing mercy, even to those who didn't deserve or want it. Somehow, they always seem to know what the next step was in a battle." She chuckled. "They are quite the determined child, aren't they?" 

Something clicked in your head; that was your first hint. 

+++

Before the Queen left, she called the brothers into the living room and proceeded to scold them for A) Getting in Trouble in the Mall, B) Getting Kicked Out of the Mall, C) Causing You Trouble, and D) For Not Telling Her or Asgore about Their House Getting Burned Down. During that time, both skeleton brothers were silent and very uncomfortable, and rightly so. The amount of authority in her voice was enough to make you and Frisk shrink back into the kitchen, even though neither of you had anything to do with this situation. 

After everyone said their goodbyes to Toriel, dinner was served by the Great and Terrible Papyrus. Tales of the Underground were told amongst the trio, and you couldn't help but smile at the sight; they all obviously had a very long history together, and healthy friendships are your aesthetic. 

But their stories were kind of... hard to comprehend. No matter how hard you tried to picture Frisk standing up to the Monster King, you just couldn't see them dodging every attack without getting hit, not unless they were...

It finally clicked. Realization slowly began to creep up your skin, leaving goosebumps in their trails. 

No way.

Caught off-guard, your plate full of lasagna slipped out of your hands and crashed onto the floor, causing everyone in the kitchen jumped.  

You tuned out Papyrus's yelling and focused on the calming the pounding going on in your chest, recalling your freshly-triggered magic back into your SOUL before it had the chance to show in your eyes. Damn, you really needed to be more--

Wait a second... eyes... EYES! Your magic was sometimes triggered by emotions, like fear, and if your theory was correct, and if Frisk was also startled by the plate breaking, then...?

Your gaze shot up, and for a split second, you caught a glance at Frisk before they scrambled onto the floor and quickly offered to help you clean up. 

Their eyes were red. 

WIth a strained smile, you thanked them before faking a stomach ache and racing up to the second floor. 

You didn't see the curious look Sans gave you when you disappeared into your library. 

Now, here you were, hours later, sitting alone in the kitchen. You set the half-empty mug onto the table and listened as the old grandfather clock struck, signaling that it was midnight. A low sigh escaped your lips as you began to fumble with your freshly-wet hair that soaked through your pajamas. Other than the faint yellow light over your head, the whole house was dark and quiet. You knew you really should be sleeping, especially since you had work in the morning, but your mind was going a hundred miles an hour and refused to let you rest. 

Frisk is a mage. 

All of the signs and observations led up to this conclusion; they ate an abnormal amount of food, they fought all of the monsters and saved the entire monster population when six other kids failed to do so, and their blue eyes changed to red when they were startled.

Wait a second. Were they really even seven? If your suspicion was right, then that couldn't be true since mages aged differently than the average human... and Frisk acted like a normal child, didn't they?

...

Your mouth dropped open as you recalled all of your previous conversations. They were child-like, sure, but Frisk certainly had a much wider vocabulary than most normal kids their age. THIS CHILD WAS THE FREAKING MONSTER AMBASSADOR! How did you not see this before? How did anyone not notice how abnormally mature Frisk is?!

You rubbed your forehead; another headache was quickly approaching, probably due to all of the things you've been thinking about. But stars! The kid's being raised by Toriel, a monster who's only views on mages are strongly negative. What would you do? What could you do? Should you even do anything? Surely, as the years went by, Toriel would notice that they weren't aging, right? You didn't even know what the kid's magic abilities were, and the possibilities were almost endless. 

Maybe... maybe it was best to take this slow. Watch the kid before confronting them about their magic. Heck, if Frisk really was an orphan before they fell down, there was a chance that they didn't even know that they were a mage. 

Your heart softened at that thought. An orphaned mage, just like you and River. Well, sort of like River. Regardless, that was something you could use to relate to the kid with. Yeah... you just needed to be patient with them and wait for the right moment, which would definitely be hard, considering that monsters were always around Frisk. 

The staircase creaked, and you twisted back in your chair to see who it was. Speaking of monsters...

"Welcome back to the no-sleep club," you sarcastically cheered, raising your mug up in the air as Sans walked in. With an amused grin, you took in his appearance. His baggy shirt was wrinkled up and halfway stuffed inside of his sweatpants, and he was wearing only one sock. You whistled at the sight, which caused Sans to stiffen before running up to you, red in the face.

"what ta hell are ya doin' up so late, sweets?" he mumbled, snatching the cup out of your hands. "ta kid 'n pap are fast asleep. ya should be, too, idiot."

You smirked as he took a sip from your cup, and grinned even wider when you saw his eyes soften and inspected the contents of your cup. Hah! The edgy skeleton seemed to have a weakness for chamomile. You made a mental note of that. 

"Eh? It's only midnight. And I could ask you the same thing, Bones. You have a bad dream?"

His eye sockets blackened, and, surprisingly, he gently set the cup down on the table before taking a seat and shoving his hands inside of his sweatpants. 

"...maybe," he mumbled, his voice barely above a whisper. 

"..Oh." Feeling uncomfortable (and kind of like a huge jerk) you shifted in your seat. "Sorry. I was just trying to joke about last night. I didn't think about your insomni--"

"whatever," he interrupted, picking up your mug again. "just drop it. i ain't mad."

A cool wave of relief washed over you, and before you could stop yourself, you decided to push your luck. "Eh? But I thought you were always mad."

He snorted and rolled his eyes. "that's 'cause yer always tryin' ta get on my nerves with yer shitty human rules."

"What? No, I don't."

"uh yeah, ya do." He started to count on his fingers. "ya did it at that monster store, ya did it at yer clinic, ya did it at the boss's party, and ya did it this mornin'."

"Hmm..." You tapped your chin before happily shrugging with a, "I don't recall."

"yer doin' it right now!" 

"What do you mean? We're just two friends, having a normal conversation in the middle of the night."

"(Y/N)!" 

"Shh!" you said, raising a finger to your lips. "Don't be so loud, Bones. Some people are trying to sleep. Also, you've been kind of a hovercraft around me lately.  Always getting on to me whenever I don't take care of myself." He took a sip from your mug, and you leaned down to where his ear would be. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you have a crush on me."

"PFFFFFTTT!!!" Sans spat, covering the table with a mix of tea and his red saliva, which drooled out of his mouth. "hack! cough! wha ta--COUGH!" he wheezed, watching you with black eye sockets and a face so red it could rival a tomato. "ta hell?! i ain't got no--HACK! w-where did that come from?!"

During this time, you had fallen out of the chair and onto the floor, doubled over as you laughed. When you opened your eyes, you saw that Sans was staring at you with a conflicting expression of anger, frustration, and... something that you couldn't place your finger on. Before you could ask him what was up, Sans had you tackled onto the floor, knocking the air out of your lungs. In one swoop, he effortlessly managed to pick you up. The next thing you knew, he was walking up the stairs. 

Confused, you looked up at him. He was sweating. Why was he sweating? 

"Uh..." You raised an eyebrow. "Any reason you like to pick me up in the middle of the night without my consent?" And, feeling unusually cocky, you added, "Or is this just your attempt to sweep me off my feet."

Sans growled, and despite his intense glare the red on his cheekbones deepened. "ya ask stupid questions when yer tired, not sleepin' ain't healthy, and i'm fuckin' done puttin' up with yer bullshit. yer ass is goin' ta bed whether ya like it or not."

"Aw, already taking me to bed? Are you gonna tuck me in? Or am I gonna get punished for being such a bad girl to you," you snickered. Something hard flicked against your forehead, and you flinched. "Ow!" 

"see? that's exactly what i was fuckin' talkin' about!" 

You tilted your head back in his arms. He wasn't going to put you down, so you might as well enjoy the ride, right? "Oh come on. Lighten up. You know you love me." 

"i fuckin' hate you," he snorted, walking down the hall to your bedroom.

"Aw, you're really breaking my heart here, Bones."

"STOP CALLIN' ME THAT!"

Your laughs echoed throughout the house, and although he would never admit it, Sans was grinning, too. 

+++

It's cold. And dark. So very, very dark. But you keep going. The Determination urges you onward, so you keep walking. You were looking for something. Something forgotten, but not lost. What was it again? 

Tap... Tap... Tap..

You hold your arms close to your body as you continue down the dark corridor, listening to the taps of your boots (boots?) against the black, glassy floor. Your SOUL, a small, red, cartoon-shaped heart, floats in front of your chest; the SOUL color of a mage. It doesn't twirl; no, it's still and alert, just like it would be if you were in a battle against a monster.

But that hadn't happened in so long. Mom made sure you weren't alone during those monster meetings with Dad and... someone forgotten. 

But everyone makes mistakes. 

Despite your uneasiness, your SOUL urges you forward, and you almost jump when something cloth-like and heavy falls over your eyes. With a muffled squeak, you quickly tug your hood back until you could see. Gosh, although you loved its privacy, you hated when that happened. It always got in the way during a fight--

Wait a second.

You stopped in your tracks and looked down at your clothes and ran your hands against your elven-like tunic, stopping only when you reached the woven leather belt firmly wrapped around your waist. Your fingers brushed against the colorful glass vials and bottles attached to it. These were... W..why...

Your eyes widened, and in shock, you stumbled back and landed on your butt with a loud thump that echoed endlessly throughout the dark corridor. 

Why were you back in your old warrior clothes?! You hadn't worn these since... since--

A mix of several strangle, gargled sounds snapped you out of your thoughts. It... It sounded like it was calling out to someone.     

At the sound of something approaching, your SOUL immediately dulled and retreated back into your chest, leaving you alone in the pitch-black. Or, well, it would be pitch black, if two very faint white dots weren't watching you in the distance. With every step he took, something dripped down onto the glassy floor with a splash. As the sound grew closer, so did his eyes. 

"Wha...?" you croaked, squinting at the creature. "W-who... who's there? Hello?"

Instead of immediately replying, the man continued to sluggishly approach you with a lop-sided, creepy smile. His face was strikingly white like bleached bones. Single cracks ran through his eye sockets, one going up and the other going down. His body wasn't solid; the black cloak he wore constantly shifted and churned like it refused to stay in one place. Matching ooze dripped out of one of his eye sockets, and when he saw you, the white dots in his sockets widened with confusion. Despite his creepypasta-like appearance, something tugged in your heart. 

He... he didn't always look like this. He used to be... different. But you couldn't remember. It was so hard to remember the forgotten. 

The man croaked out another string of nonsense static, peering down at you. Two hollow, detached white hands slowly signed as he spoke, and with every movement, more black gloop splattered down onto the floor.

His voice made you flinch; it was electronic and coated with static, and it made you feel very uncomfortable. Whatever memory that was bubbling away in your mind quickly dove deeper, refusing to surface when something unpleasant as his voice was threatening you. Without thinking, you cupped your hands over your ears. It was painful to listen to, and the man seemed to notice your discomfort because his mouth dropped to a frown as his eye lights dimmed to a dull gray.

You started to back up, but you didn't drop your hands. "I'm sorry, but I don't understand--h-hey!" 

You yelped as the man reached a dripping arm towards you. You kicked the ground and tried to scoot away, but your attempts to escape were in vain. He sloppily grabbed your arm with his gooey one, making you cry out. It was so... cold. So very, very cold that his touch caused your arm to ache and burn before its pins and needles numbed completely numbed it. And the texture of the liquid was disgustingly rubbery and greasy, and your eyes widened in horror as it began to snake up your arm in little streams until it reached your chest, where it quickly began to coat the rest of your body in black. Your screams were muffled when the sludge crawled up your face and sealed your mouth permanently shut. The last thing you saw was the man's sad, gooey face. His hand loomed over your eyes as he spoke, and for some reason, you understood what he said this time.

"DO NOT COME BACK."

Something covered your eyes, and then everything stopped. The dripping and smacking sounds stopped. The man's static voice stopped. The sound of blood and determination pounding in your head stopped. Your muffled cries and struggle ceased. 

It was just quiet. Terribly, terribly, unnaturally quiet. 

And then the fragile glass floor broke, shattering into a million sparkling pieces, crashing down on you as you fell. 

+++

You shot up from your bed covered in a cold sweat. Red illuminated your bedroom, and it took you a few seconds to realize that your eyes were practically flashlights under the intensity of your determination. With deep, unsteady breaths, you placed a hand over your heart--your Soul--to calm down and watched as the red hue slowly fainted away, all the while replaying the same question over and over in your head. 

What the hell just happened!?

 

 

 

Chapter Text

"Aye, mi vieja amiga," the old man chuckled, his black eyes twinkling at you from the fuzzy burrow of his salt and pepper hair. "I told you our paths would cross again." 

A small smile formed on your face as you wheeled your new patient down the hall, past the nurses' stations and into one of the clinic's many rooms. Once the door was shut, you examined his faded dress shirt, old navy jeans, and boots that were attached to his shaky legs, which stopped supporting his body about a decade or two ago. Around his neck was a golden chain; a symbol of his past life. An oxygen machine was hooked to the back of his wheelchair, and a clear cord connected to the machine ran up until it rested near his nostrils, every now and then emitting a faint whistle of air. With both hands, you gently pushed up his sleeves, revealing his tanned leather skin and faded scars from the golden days.

"I didn't think I would see you again, Miguel," you said, watching his heart monitor beep by a little too slow. "Last time we spoke, you were speeding down Ebott with a broken hand on the steering wheel, a cigar between your busted lips and a gun out the window."

"No, mija," he snorted, waving his hand. "That wasn't me. The fool had the broken hand."

"You mean River?" you asked, writing down his vitals. "If so, then I can see that. He's always getting into trouble."

"Si. River." Miguel continued. "It served him right for trying to, eh, how you say, swindle our nice guests out of their well-earned money with a couple of boxes full of rocks instead of wine."

"If memory serves me right, I believe you told him to do that since you knew they were undercover cops. You made him dress up like a woman, too. He had to borrow one of my dancing uniforms."

The man's shoulders shook as he laughed. "And the damn fool listened! That's what he gets for trying to sleep with my wife, aye, may she rest in peace." 

A few seconds of silence passed while you busied yourself with the machines and continued his checkup.

"I'm a little more than a hundred years old now," he mumbled, tilting his head in your direction. "I was so young when we met all those years ago, back in that alley." He nodded in your direction. "Since I left the, eh, business and moved out, I started a family with Sophia, settled down near the beach, watched my kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids grow old and move out to find themselves in this world. And after all this time, you still don't look a day older from when I found you outside that saloon with those flappers. And now look at you. The same shy girl from nearly eighty years ago is now in front of me. The only difference is your clothes."

You stopped writing and looked up from your clipboard. "Aging is a blessing and a curse, I suppose." 

"Don't have to tell me twice," he cleared his dry throat, and, after a few seconds of silence, added, "I'm dying."

"Miguel..."

He cut you off with another shaky wave and cough. "No, don't bother sugar-coating it. I didn't come here for a pity talk, especially not from my own mob's former bootlegger." With a little effort, he unsteadily leaned back in his wheelchair, all the while wearing a fond smile on his face as his mind drifted back. "This city made me who I am back in the day, and I decided that it would be where I died. Death isn't scary, amiga. It's nature." A bitter chuckled escaped his throat. "Though, I suppose you've seen your fair share of death, too, mage."

Before you could respond, one of your nurses yelled some obscurities, which was followed by the hurried sound of footsteps. 

"No, sir, you can't go in there--"

The door clicked open, and a very familiar skull poked out from behind it. His brow furrowed as he looked across the room, stopping for a second on your former boss before finally resting on you.

"hey sweets," he said, flashing you one of his famous grins. 

The door opened wider, revealing one of the nurses who was glaring down hard at Sans. 

"For the last time, sir, you're not allowed in here." The nurse withered under your gaze. "I'm so sorry, doctor. I told him he would have to wait until you finished, but he just wouldn't listen."

You pinched the bridge of your nose. "Bones, we talked about this. This is an invasion of privacy. You can't just wander around the clinic. I'm trying to work!"

"eh? keep workin'. i ain't stopping ya. besides, yer clinic closes in ten minutes, 'n i'm takin' ya home."

"I drove to work today, Bones. And I can drive myself home."

"kind of hard ta do without a car, don't 'cha think?"

Puzzled, but already angry by what you suspected he had done, you started to stand up from your chair. "Sans-"

"Friend of yours?" Miguel pipped up, giving the skeletal monster a quick one over before looking back at you with his dark eyes. 

Your shoulders slumped as you sighed. "Housemate, yeah. He's not supposed to be here. Sorry, Miguel."

"Aye, why didn't you say so earlier?" Miguel held out an unsteady hand to Sans. "Miguel Cortez. Encantada de conocerte, monster. Any friend of (Y/N)'s is a friend of mine."

Brow raised, Sans eyed the monster's hand while keeping his own firmly secured in the pockets of his black jacket. When he caught onto the look you were giving him, though, he rolled his hands and returned Miguel's gesture with a flimsy and quick handshake and muttered out his name before scurrying off to your side. From there, he plopped onto the counter and leaned back against the wall, arms crossed over his chest and a frown on his face. When you cleared your throat in an effort to try to hint for him to leave, he snorted and shot you a 'try me' look. 

"It's alright, doctor," the man softly chuckled. "He can stay. These old bones don't mind."

Sans straightened, as if he were about to say something, but withered under your gaze. 

With another heavy sigh (You seem to be doing that a lot whenever Sans was around), you pushed your chair back and started to fumble with the paperwork. "I guess that's fine. I'm about to discharge you, anyway. Your heart rate is concerning, Miguel." You handed him a clipboard and a pen. "I recommend you go to the ER for the night and let them monitor you, maybe even for a few days after that."

With shaky, unsteady hands, the old man took the clipboard from you and sighed his name in black cursive. "I appreciate it, (Y/N), but I didn't come here to be told what I already knew. I have no intentions of going to the hospital tonight, nor any other night. No." The uneven corners of his mouth twitched upward, adding more wrinkles to his kind face. "I just wanted to see one of my best bootleggers, old friend, and employee one last time before I left this world."

"bootlegger?" Sans snorted, raising an eyebrow at the man before giving you a one over. "sweets? a mobster? yer crazy, old man. she freaked out ta other day when me 'n my bro got kicked out from a mall. went on a rant about her status..." He waved his hand back and rolled his eyes. "blah blah blah."

"Bones!" you exclaimed, placing your hands on your hips. "That is not what happened."

"Oh yes. (Y/N) was one of my best." Miguel wheeled his chair forward and leaned up to a skeptical Sans. His volume dropped a few levels, but he wore a bright grin as he recalled his memories. "She used to be flapper gal. Una bailarina. Caught her walking alone at night, all dressed up in that short dress, flashy pearls, busty feathers, and red in the face. 'Course, my naive young ass thought I could jump her and take her money for a couple of bucks. One of the biggest mistakes in my life." With an unsteady, wrinkled hand, your old boss pointed at you, his old yet wise black eyes regarding you darkly. "Mark my words, monster. That little mujera can be scary when she needs to be."

Sans eyes flickered over you, carefully taking in your messy hair, sleep-deprived face, chapped lips, neatly pressed doctor's jacket, green scrubs and slightly worn-out sneakers. With an unamused frown (and an eye-roll in your direction) Sans replied with, "uh huh. sure."

You covered the small smile on your face with a free hand. Just as you suspected, Sans didn't believe a single word your old mob boss was preaching. Still, at the very least, it was amusing to watch them interact and recall your, uh, more aggressive days. 

Miguel knew you were a mage after you sealed up his wife when another mob shot her seventeen times in the chest, but that didn't mean you were okay with Sans knowing, your, uh, gift, so it was a very, very good thing he wasn't buying his story. 

"Well, I think that's enough chatting for today," you said, walking over to Miguel and using both hands to gently push against his wheelchair. "Alright, Mr. Cortez. The nurse out front is going to help you check out. I'm gonna write you a few prescriptions to make sure that you're comfortable, and if something happens, I highly recommend you got to the ER. Get your bodyguard to drive you, or call 911." 

"bodyguard?" Sans asked, raising a brow. 

Instead of replying, Miguel signed for you to lean down. He cupped both of your hands together and gave you a fond smile. 

"To think I used to be jealous of who you really are..." he shook his head. "I'll be fine, mi amiga. Death and I have been playing this game for over a century now. I'm more than ready," he whispered. His expression shifted to a more serious one. "But you must remember to take care of yourself. I know how you are, and how you put others before yourself. But mija, sooner or later you will burn out and wither away like a dead flower. Time may not faze you like it does with me, but it won't leave you unharmed, either. Remember that you are still human." With a gentle squeeze, he beamed at you. "It was nice to see you again, Doctor (Y/N). Hasta luego." 

And with that, you hugged Miguel before escorting him back into the waiting room where a large white man wearing a neat, expensive suit and black sunglasses stood next to your obviously-uncomfortable nurse. Sans shuffled out of the room just in time to see the bodyguard wheel Miguel off towards a limo, which was parked illegally outside the clinic's glass windows. 

He was too busy wondering who the hell that guy was that he failed to notice your quiet tears as you watched your old friend's limo drive off into the sunset, probably never to return.

 +++

Your theory about earlier was right; Sans did, indeed, steal your car while you were at work so that he would have to bring you home. However, his plan to 'shortcut' you safely home wasn't exactly happening anytime soon. At least, not without getting dinner first. 

You thought you were being nice, saying that you didn't want to go home and rummage through the kitchen, risking the possibility of waking Frisk or Papyrus. After all, it was pretty late; Frisk had school, and Papyrus had work. Sans, though, didn't see it like that. He thought you were being stupid. You won the argument when you stomped off without him. 

The cool summer night air tossed and turned an abandoned newspaper across the alley that you and Sans were walking down. A few odd-smelling puddles lingered here and there, reflecting the city's soft orange and yellow light as if they contained a city of their own. Hands shoved into your infamous white doctor's coat, you both continued down the long sidewalk path between the buildings in search of a nearby place for food. 

"What do you want to eat?" you asked, carefully avoiding a puddle.

"nothin'," he snorted, still obviously mad about being out here in the first place. The skeletal monster pulled up his hood and shoved his hands into his pockets. He kept his eyes mostly on the ground, but every now and then glanced back at the park behind you two with uneasy red eyes. 

You ignored his bitchy attitude and gazed at some graffiti decorating a brick wall. After all, you were the one who was paying, and you didn't exactly force him to join you to get take-out. So if he wanted to be paranoid and angry, then by all means, let him. You just finished a twelve-hour shift, met an old friend who was probably gonna die soon, and had your call stolen by Sans. It was a good thing you were tired and wanted nothing more than to fill the empty void in your heart with food, otherwise Sans would probably be searching for a park bench to crash on for the night. 

"I was thinking breakfast," you said, tapping your chin. "But I can't decide what I want or from where."

"just hurry up 'n pick somethin' so i can shortcut us there," he snorted. "besides, it's like eleven. who ta hell eats breakfast this late at night?"

"Do we have to shortcut?" You twirled a strand of your hair. "It's a nice night. How about we just walk instead?"

"there ain't nothin' nice about it," he huffed, sinking deeper into the fluff of his hood. "the city stinks 'n so do ta people livin' in it."

"That's part of its charm, though."

"it sucks."

"Says the guy with the Brooklyn accent."

"what ta hell is brooklyn?"

After locking eyes with the skeletal monster for a second, you realized that he wasn't joking. With another heavy sigh, you mumbled "Nevermind" and returned to the previous and more important topic: where were you guys gonna eat?

 "Maybe we could go to IHOP? Shoot, but that's on the other side of town." You kicked away an empty can, startling Sans as its metal frame scraped against the cracks on the sidewalk. "Hm, what are you in the mood for?"

"i don't want anythin'."

"There's a Sonic over on Fifth Street, but if we go there, I'm gonna get a milkshake, and I really don't need sugar this late at night. Of course, Mcdonald's is an option, but I'm in the mood for some good food, not fast food."

"i don't care. just pick somethin'." 

"Huddle House? Dennys?" You snapped your fingers. "How about Waffle House? I'm in the mood for some pancakes, and the place is affordable and delicious. Plus, it's just a street down from here. Yeah, I think that's what I want. What about you?" 

"sure. whatever." 

THWOMP.

Sans was too busy looking back that he didn't even see you had stopped walking, which resulted in him crashing against your front. You both staggered forward a bit, but you dug your heels in and stood your ground. 

"wha--hey!" he barked, quickly jumping back and pushing you off of him. "ta hell?!" 

"Can we just go one night without fighting?" you asked, feeling more disappointed than angry. "We've known each other for, what, a month, and we haven't gone a single day without having petty arguments over literally anything. I thought they were just, you know, friendly fights between us, but now I'm not so sure."

Sans blinked at you and narrowed his eye sockets. "what are ya talkin' about? we don't fight all ta time."

"Yes. We do."

"name one."

"Oh, I can name more than one." You held out your hand and as you named off the places, you pulled a finger down. "The day we met at the clinic. The day I met and patched up your brother in the alleys after a fight, and the morning after where you threatened me if I tried anything funny with him. The grocery store incident. The night your house burned down, last night when you and Papyrus got arrested, this morning when I refused to let you take me to work, and literally ten minutes ago when I found out you stole my car so you could shortcut me back home." You held up all of your fingers. "And if right now counts as a fight, then I'm gonna need some more fingers to add up all of this bullshit."

He watched you with little interest. "what's yer point?"

"My point? It's simple, Sans." You tilted your head up. "Are we friends or not? 'Cause I thought we were, but now I'm not so sure." 

His red eyes flickered to both of your outstretched, open palms for a moment before locking his gaze onto yours. His face scrunched up, and he opened his mouth to speak, but then slammed it shut and tugged on the fluff of his hoodie, burying his face deeper into it. 

"s'not like i hate ya, sweets," he mumbled, casting his dim eyes on the ground. 

"I never said you did."

"it's just..." He ran a clawed hand down his face. "...c-complicated."

"What's that suppose to mean?"

"it means what i just said! it's complicated! drop it, 'n let's go." 

"No. I'm not gonna drop it. We're gonna talk about this."

"i ain't in ta mood, (Y/N)."

You crossed your arms. "Are we friends, or not, Bones? It's a simple question."

"ya already know ta answer to that." He started to sweat. 

"Do I?" you challenged.

"i ain't playin' this game with 'cha in the middle of the street."

"Answer the question, and we can go."

"fine. pancakes sound great. let's go get 'em."

"Sans." 

Your eye twitched with rage, but you didn't move an inch, not even when Sans started walking towards you and tried to size you up. Down the street, a single man was staggering towards your two, probably drunk out of his mind, but you paid more attention to the skeletal monster in front of you. Both of you were glaring each other down, faces so close together that your noses were nearly touching and you could feel his hot breath on your face. For a few seconds, you thought that this was it. You thought that the two of you were actually going to throw down in the alley. But then something cold and sour bubbled in your chest, and your head drooped. 

"Do I really mean so little to you?" you mumbled, staring at your feet. "I can handle rejection. I'm not a child. If you're just putting up with me to keep me out of trouble so that the monsters won't lose an ally, then you can just say so instead of pretending to be my friend. Did the other monsters assign you to protect me or something? I've been wondering that for a while, you know. After all, there's a reason I don't have any friends, Sans. Silly me for thinking that you guys actually liked having me around. " A bitter smile formed on your lips. "You won't be the first, nor the last ones who tried to use me."

"doc..."

"No," you sniffed, mentally cursing yourself for feeling so pathetic and childish. Years of rejection and deceit were bubbling up, and you didn't want to show Sans any of this. You forced your face to remain neutral and apathetic. "Forget it. Just..." you held out your hand. "Just take us home, okay? I don't even care anymore."

"(y/n)--"

"Sorry for dragging you out here, and sorry for being such a burden, I guess. I was actually kind of hoping we could just take a break from all of the chaos and just chill at a Waffle House for the night. It sounds stupid, now that I've said it out loud."

"ya ain't a damn burden, sweetheart!" he yelled, causing you to jump. You opened your mouth to retaliate, but before you could, Sans rushed over to your side and grabbed your shoulders. 

"yer my frien', alright? i hate to say this, but yer the only human i know i can trust with my life. happy?!"

Your eyes widened. "Sans--"

"no!" he slammed a hand over your mouth. "shut up fer a second 'n listen, will ya? i'm shit with emotions, 'n i ain't gonna repeat this, so listen real good." He watched as you nodded. Face flushed, he took in a deep breath. "i... i care about 'cha a lot. yer a smart, really, really, smart, stubborn, mysterious pretty lil lady with a billion shady secrets that i wanna know about but won't ask since your whole being practically bursts with kindness to ta point where i literally can't bring myself to hate 'cha, no matter how badly i want ta. i don't trust many people, 'n the fact that i care for ya makes it hard as hell fer me ta sit still when i know ya might get hurt on yer own, 'specially since i know i can keep ya safe."

"as fer the others..." his smile dropped. "pap considers you his, ugh, bestie, undyne would've killed ya on ta spot if she didn't like ya, alphys would've never given ya her tumblr, much less talk to ya, 'n asgore 'n tori probably would've never let the kid anywhere near ya if they didn't consider you a frien'." He narrowed his eyes at you. "so it would be really, really, really nice if ya minded yer own damn business about our fights 'n tried a lil harder ta not get killed. 'cause if somethin' did happen to ya, 'n i found whoever did it..." His eye sockets went black. 

"they'd be dead where they stand."

You shivered, and Sans blinked. He still had his bony hand on your mouth, and with a small "sorry" he slowly released you before shoving his hands back into his pockets. 

"so how do you feel about that?" he asked in a low voice, tilting his head down. 

You brushed a hand against your face and beamed at him. "You really think I'm pretty?"

Sans let out a strangled sound, and, with blazing cheeks, threw his hands out. "seriously? after pouring my heart 'n soul out to ya, that's what 'cha get outta that?!" he huffed. "screw it. i take it back. fuck you. fuck yer waffle house. i'm goin' ta grillby's."

"No no no nonono, don't go!" you wheezed, trying to contain your laughter. "I'm sorry, okay? Hahaha. You--" another wheeze. "C-can't leave yet, haha. We still have to get food!"

"And besides," you caught his arm, and Sans hesitated before looking at you. "I feel the same, Sans. I care for you a lot, too." 

His eyes softened, and in a huff, he looked away.

"uh..." He coughed. "w-whatever." 

Your grin turned mischevious. "Which is why I'm paying for your meal."

The skeletal monster blinked several times before barking out a laugh. In one, swift move, he slid your hand down his arm until it safely rested in his large, bony one. "nu uh, sweets. if we're goin', then i'm payin'." He winked. "gotta repay my debt ta ya somehow."

Cheeks burning, you let out an embarrassed giggle. "Sans the Skeleton? Repaying his debt? Don't tell Grillby that. He might just die from a stroke."

"a heat-stroke?" he snickered, tugging your arm forward until your chests were touching. 

Something fluttered in your chest, and your smile betrayed your frustration towards his bad pun. You pressed your fingertips against his chest, and he looped an arm around your waist, pulling you in closer. 

"Don't push your luck," you hummed, gazing at him with a smirk. "Your jokes are still terrible."

Instead of retaliating with another witty comment, though, Sans's grin fell as he focused on something behind you. Without another word, his arms grabbed your shoulders and quickly pushed you behind him. Confused, you tried to move back to see what was going on, but his hand was still firmly enclosing yours, keeping you in place. So instead, you stood on your platforms and peered over Sans's shoulder. To your surprise, it was the drunk man from earlier. His black jeans and shirt were covered in dirt, like he had been falling a lot. 

"Excuse meeee," the man slurred, his face partially hidden under his baseball cap. "Do youuuu happen to have the timeeee?"

"kind of in the middle of a moment here, bud," Sans growled, pushing you farther behind him. "scram."

Click.

The blood drained from your face as you watched the man snap out a .45 caliber and aim it towards Sans's skull. 

"I wasn't asking, bud,"  he hissed.

The air immediately dropped several degrees as the tension in the air thickened, reeking with the electrifying hum of magic. 

You squeaked as a rough, warm hand suddenly jerked your arm, causing you to stumble until your back was pressed up against another man's chest. 

"Is this monster giving you a problem, little lady?" the bearded man breathed, exhaling his tobacco-infused, hot breath into your ear. 

"No, he isn't," you mumbled, keeping your voice steady. "Thanks for your concern, but you can let me go now."

You twisted your arm around and broke free, only to be roughly snatched up by the armpits this time. Sans turned his body to the side, his red eyes flickering back and forth between the men.

"we ain't askin' for trouble," he hissed. corners of his mouth tugged upward, revealing his gold tooth as he grinned. "so if ya fellows value yer, heh, limbs, then let the lady go, and we'll be on our way. easy-peasy."

"Oh, but we are." Another man appeared out of the shadows, wearing the same black clothing like the others, except he was sporting a ski mask over his balding head. "We don't like monsters all up in our territory, now, do we, boys?"

"We especially don't like seeing them with our women," the bearded man added, poking at your face with a greasy finger. You twitched at the contact, and the man roared with laughter. 

"Come on, missy~! We just saved your pretty little life. Show some gratuity for your heroes. How about a kiss in return?"  

Firey-hot determination boiled in your chest, eagerly begging you to let it out and show them exactly what four hundred years of magic could do to a person. Oh, you hated, hated, hated playing damsel in distress. This happened a lot back in the day when women didn't have rights, and you made sure that those who dared to cross your path dropped the second they touched you.

But at the same time... you were a different person then. A different person in a different century living a different life. You're less bitter now. Calmer. Kinder. 

...Okay, mostly calmer.

Plus Sans was here, and boy howdy was that bridge you weren't willing to cross with him like, ever. 

Biting down hard on your lip, you swallowed your pride and made up your mind to play it safe. Maybe you could talk or fight your way out of this using none to very little magic. But if things got out of hand, like if they tried to get a little 'fresh' with you, or if Sans got hurt, then these men would be lucky if you decided to make this a quick fight.

Meanwhile, Sans stood his ground, carefully eyeing the gun, the men, and you with an unreadable expression. 

"i'm not gonna ask you boys again," Sans growled in a low voice, cracking his knuckles. "let her go. turn around, 'n walk away."

"Dunno what your thinkin', bonehead," ski guy said. "but you're outnumbered, and the boss said he didn't mind us comin' back a little dusty tonight, especially since his last plan failed." He let out a cold chuckle and slugged a baseball bat over his head. "Did you enjoy our little house-warming gift the other night? Came straight from our boss, too."

The air dropped a few more degrees as Sans's smile twitched. 

"sure did," he growled. "can't wait to return his, heh, generosity."

Ski guy narrowed his eyes. "You don't scare us, monster," he sneered. 

Something cold pressed against your throat, causing your breath to hitch. Another wave of hot air exhaled into your ear as the man spoke. 

"Don't try anythin' funny, freak," he spat in Sans's direction, causing you to shiver. "Or the girl gets it." 

Oh crap. Don't use magic. Don't use magic. Stay calm. Stay calm. 

Sans's smile dropped for a split second as he eyed the blade. "threatenin' a lady? heh heh..." He blinked and glared up at the man with black eye sockets. "ya must really have a death wish."

"Enough of the small talk!" Ski guy hissed to the other man. "Shoot him."

"Sayanora, monster." He cocked the gun. 

That's it, you thought, releasing the hot determination as it fluttered through your veins. You kicked a leg back. 

And just when you were about to pounce, Sans locked eyes with you. 

"welp," he winked, shaking his head and shrugging. "i tried ta warn ya. sorry ya have to see this, doc." 

BAM!

In an instant, Sans's smile changed to something devious as his right eye socket went out, leaving one large, blazing red and yellow one behind. The second the gun went off he was gone, leaving the stray bullet to ram straight into a wall, sending cloudy smoke and rocky specks of broken concrete everywhere. Your eyes widened when Sans suddenly appeared behind the confused gunman, wearing a menacing grin that made your blood run cold. He shot his hand forward, and out popped the men's souls, revealing three dazzling colors that consisted of two oranges and one yellow. Sans snapped his fingers, and there was a light "ping!" sound as all three souls changed into a deep blue. 

"Shit!" bearded man yelped, dropping you onto your knees while he straightened to an uncomfortable position. "Shit shit shit!"

"I can't move!" 

"What are you doing?! Shoot him!" 

"I'm t-trying!" 

Slightly dazed from hitting the ground, you looked up to Sans grinning up at the men. 

"yer blue now," he mused. A dark look crossed his face, and he raised his hand. "but i always preferred red." 

SNAP! 

You ducked your head as one of the men's bodies whirled past your head before slamming into a brick wall, face first with a sickening crack, causing you to wince. You whirled your head around and discovered that the same fate occurred to the other two as well. Each man slowly slid off of the walls with a grown before crashing down on their hands and knees, leaving bright, fresh, glistening streaks of red on their respected walls. 

One of the men--the baseball guy with the bravery soul--sluggishly cupped a hand between his eyes, which widened as the liquid ran between his fingers. 

"You... you...." he crashed down onto his butt, accidentally releasing the gun in his hands which skirted across the sidewalk until it rested under Sans's untied sneaker.

Sans barked out a laugh and took a step back from the weapon.  

"eh? ya won't be needin' this old thing anymore." With another snap of his fingers, something materialized behind him. It was a large, animal skull, whirling with smoke and hissing behind its master while eyeing everything--including you--with pure hate. Exactly what it was designed to feel.

"A Gaster Blaster..." you mumbled incoherently, then frowned. How did you know that? You never... 

Your thoughts were cut short when Sans snapped his fingers, and a beam of white-hot energy shot out of the skull's mouth, striking the gun until it became a red hot pool of melted metal. Fear coursed through the gunman, and when he tried to get up and run, he accidentally slammed into the same wall, once again sliding down it. This time, though, he didn't move.

Sans shoved his hands back inside of pockets, and the weapon behind him vanished. He let out a sigh as he stared down at the wreckage before resting his eyes on you. For a few moments, neither of you made any effort to move, or speak. 

"so uh..." he shifted his feet, breaking the silence. He leaned down to your level and offered you a hand. "what'cha... think about that?"

You looked at the stains on the wall, the unconscious men, the pool of metal, and then Sans, whose skull was covered in sweat. He tried to give you a reassuring smile, but he was obviously very unsure of how you were going to react to the situation, so it was a lot more uneasy than comforting. 

Maybe if you were new to magic, you would've been scared, of skeptical. Maybe if you were just a regular human, you would've high-tailed it outta here, not looking back even once. Maybe if you weren't very experienced with violence, you would've been screaming and crying.

But you weren't normal. You were a mage, a mage with incredible power and unsteady amounts of determination.

You bit down on the bottom of your lip, hesitated...

....and then accepted his hand. He pulled you back onto your feet, but when he tried to move away, you held your grip.  

"I trust you," you mumbled, locking eyes with him.

Those three words took away a lot of emotional baggage from him. Disbelief crossed his face as his eye sockets widened, and for a second you thought you could see tiny red hearts in them. But just as quickly as they appeared, they were gone. He pulled you in for a hug and rested his head on your shoulder. 

"...thanks," he breathed against your neck. 

You hummed in response, and then pulled away. You walked back towards the bravery soul, who had apparently passed out like the others. 

"I imagine that these guys will have some pretty nasty headaches in the mornings." You hummed, checking out their wounds. "You know, in addition to the broken noses you gave them."

"heh." There was no humor in his voice. 

Your head snapped toward at the sound of sirens whirling in the distance. 

"We should probably leave," you said, dusting yourself off. 

"yeah."

Sans held his hand out, and you took it. 

Once again, electrifying pops danced across your body as his magic worked. The ground disappeared under your feet, and by the time you blinked, it was back again. You were expecting to find your wooden living room floor, except it wasn't there. No, instead your eyes met tanned, somewhat clean, tiled floor. The smell of breakfast and light chatter lingered in the air, and you glanced around the restaurant in confusion before giving Sans a look.

He shifted his hand out of yours. A light maroon color began to spread across his cheeks. 

"you wanted pancakes, right?" he mumbled, staring at his feet.

You blinked, closed your eyes, and exhaled with disbelief. "Yeah," you chuckled. 

"okay." 

The two of you took a small booth with a window in the back of the room and watched as an ambulance and a few police cars zoomed by on the streets, blaring sirens and flashing lights of blue and red that quickly disappeared as they turned a corner.

You drummed your fingers against the sticky table. Neither of you said anything for a while, at least, not until a waiter came by and took your drink order. Finally, after a few moments of silence, you spoke up. 

"Hey Bones?" you asked.

He raised an eyebrow. 

"Thank you. For everything."

"...don't mention it, sweetheart," he mumbled, grabbing a menu.

 

Chapter Text

Clothes. 

An inconvenient unfortunate necessity in modern-day society. Articles of clothing represented a person's social status: who they are, where they come from, what they do... Sort of similar to a book's cover. One isn't supposed to judge it, but oh boy, people do. 

You stared down at the messy display of clothing covering your king-sized bed, featuring old, faded shirts from various international political rallies and charity marathons, sundresses, ballgowns, skirts, jeans, shorts, a ton of black band t-shirts depicting rock 'n roll or alternative bands dating all the way back to the 1960s, and a few jumpsuits. 

You frowned at the mountain of black clothing sitting on your bed, covered in gray, black, and white cat hair. You thought you owned more black than this. Huh. Looks like you needed to do some shopping. Online shopping, that is. 

Next to it was, of course, about fifteen different pairs of scrubs, most of them sporting your clinic's infamous green shade, though there were a few faded blues in there from your last job at the emergency room. 

You watched as your sleepy cat, Avery, sneezed on one of them before nuzzling his gray fur into it. Next to him was Milo, who was busy as he tried to fit a small black paw into its pocket, then pulling it out and repeating the same action in amazement as he watched his paw disappear and reappear. You cocked your head and smiled at your babies. Cute. 

Well, you thought, taking a step back to admire the mess on your bed, it's official: I have nothing to wear. 

Wearing nothing but your bra, socks, and panties, you flopped down onto the bed, startling Milo who hissed but didn't move. Regardless, you absentmindedly started to stroke his fuzzy gray fur, but since he was still mad he jumped away, leaving you with one less furry baby on your bed. 

As much as you loved the little goober, when you agreed to watch Frisk, you thought that would only include the basic necessities for children to function. Food, shelter, a warm bed (Papyrus was, surprisingly, fine with squeezing a sleeping bag into his room for the kid), rides to school, and entertainment, which was mostly done by sticking them in front of the TV when that show about magical gem warriors from outer space was on.

What you weren't expecting was finding out that the Monster Ambassador is a young mage with unknown magical powers who just so happened to be having a school play. Tonight. You didn't even know they were in a play until about an hour ago when they jumped into your arms holding three tickets in their chubby hands for Pine Tree Elementary School. Usually, a child's parents would escort them to the theater, cheer them on and rub elbows with the school staff while not-so-subtley bragging about their kid. But since Toriel and Asgore were still out on business... that left you and the skeleton bros. Well, one of them, because Papyrus had some royal guard business to attend to. So it was just you and Sans. 

And when you opened your mouth to politely decline the offer, they caught your reluctance gave you the puppy eyes and signed, 'please?' 

You gave in right then and there. 

And now here you were, laying in bed almost completely naked, surrounded by the remains of the wreckage you caused farming for some decent clothes to wear to a play about 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears.' Frisk was staring as the very important and elaborate role of Dancing Daisy #2 and had a full minute and a half of stage time during the thirty-minute play. Thrilling. Not even Mettaton could compete with that. 

And seriously. Goldilocks?! You met that snobby, childish bitch once when you and River ran into her in London back in the mid-1800s. She was on the run from the Fable police for trespassing, destruction of property, and evading arrest. Goldilocks would've gotten away, too, if River hadn't stolen her wallet, prompting her to stay back and kick his ass to the curb. Man, she was lucky River was already on parole and couldn't use magic in public, or else that immortal little girl would've had the fight of a lifetime...

With a frown, you shook that memory away. If the seven-year-old was excited for it, then damn it you were going to support this small soft child. Which brings you back to the issue at hand...

What should you even wear to this? You're a mage who looked twenty-ish, and you've been a doctor for who knows how many years. Elementary schools weren't even a thing when you were a kid. Your parents either taught you or hired tutors in the safety of that dumb castle. Do you wear a dress? A suit? Scrubs? A lucky red flannel? A penguin suit? Or should you keep it casual since you were going to be sitting in a corner in the dark working really hard to not make any eye contact with any of the parents? If that was the case, then something black should definitely be--

Someone knocked on your door, and you stirred from your bed. Looking down at your mostly-naked figure, you quickly shot up. 

"Don't come in, I'm not--"

Squeeeakkk.

Of all the days to forget to lock your door, it had to be today. 

You were halfway out of bed when the door swung open, revealing a grumpy and chubby skeleton whose pale face was quickly lighting up with red. You watched as his mouth dropped open, and two wide eye lights slowly moved up your socks, pausing for a few seconds on your chest (his blush intensified here) before locking onto your gaze and sputtering and shrinking out of existence, leaving twin black holes in their places. 

"Bones--"

The sound of your voice snapped Sans out of whatever thoughts he was having. In a flash, he teleported back into the hallway, located the doorknob and slammed it shut with such force that your entire room shook. Tiny, hairline cracks now raced up and down its frame. 

Puzzled, laughing, and slightly embarrassed, you ran a hand down your face. Great. Now you had to deal with that for the rest of the night. 

Not fair. You weren't even mad. Still... 

"Hope you enjoyed the show!" you confidently shouted at the door, even though your face felt strangely warm.

"S-SHUT UP 'N PUT SOME FUCKIN' ASS C-CLOTHES ON!" he screeched back. 

"It's not a big deal," you yelled, cupping your hands over your mouth. "I'm not mad!" 

"I SAID SHUT TA HELL UP!"  

The sound of bones scurrying down the hall made you snort. With a giggle you turned back to your bed, said, "Screw it," and just grabbed a couple of clothes, gently pushing your cats off of one of them in the process.

At the end of the day, you went with a simple white long-sleeved blouse with a black tied ribbon drooping around its baby-doll collar. A neat pair of your favorite black skinny jeans clung to your legs, and the outfit was finished off with some black faux leather combat boots, since you had an image to maintain. 

Black and white. A classic, right?

At least, you hoped so. 

You topped off the look with a little makeup since you can't let the kiddos and parents question your sleep-deprived face and life choices. At least, not any more than usual, haha.  

And with that, you walked out of your bedroom. 

+++

After navigating through the public school's long and confusing hallways in search of the auditorium, you and Sans finally found a long line of parents dressed in a weird mix of business suits, messy work clothes, and tank tops. It made you feel a little better that these parents, just like you, had no idea what to wear to Pine Tree Elementary School's Goldilocks and the Three Bears play. 

Frisk was dressed up in their daisy costume, which included a green jumpsuit and six white cardboard 'petals' glued to their face. They happily skipped along as you and Sans begrudgingly joined the ticket line, right behind two parents who were chirping away on their phones while their own flower child picked her nose. The two of them eyed Sans, but when he shot them a look and crossed his arms over his black leather jacket, they jumped back around. 

'There's gonna be a part where all of the flowers come on stage,' Frisk signed. 'We're supposed to greet Goldilocks as she walks into the woods.' They puffed out their chest. 'I'm gonna be the best daisy!' 

Sans ruffled the kid's chocolate hair. Despite the fact that the skeletal monster didn't want to be here any more than you did (and was still having a hard time looking at you without becoming a stammering, blushing mess), the look of affection he gave Frisk made you smile. 

"can't wait, kiddo," he said. 

Frisk nodded their head, still beaming at you, although their smile dipped down just a bit. 'It's too bad mom, dad, alphys, undyne, mettaton, and Papyrus and all of my other friends couldn't come, but at least you guys did!' 

Without warning, they pulled the two of you in for a hug, sandwiching the kid between you and Sans. 

You let out a laugh while Sans's raging red face returned when his chest pressed up against yours. His hands awkwardly stood by his sides, stiff as a board. When he caught your smug grin and hooded eyes, his eye sockets twitched and he quickly averted his gaze. 

"alright, alright. e-enough of the hugs," Sans stammered, trying to back out of their tight grip to no avail. "c'mon, k-kid. let go."

You snickered.

Frisk, oblivious to everything due to their excitement, held the hug for a few more tight seconds before releasing you. Sans stumbled back and wheezed out a breath he was holding, while you did your best to cover up your laugh. Tanned hands rapidly caught your attention as Frisk continued to energetically sign. 

'I have to go join the others backstage, but thank you thank you thank you so much for being there for me!' 

"Of course, sweetie." You bent down and placed a small kiss on their forehead. "Wouldn't miss it for the world."

Not entirely true, but you can't exactly tell a seven-year-old you low-key thought about faking a stomach bug before agreeing to go watch their performance. You were a lot of things, but flat-out mean wasn't one of them. A bitch with morals, one might say. 

And with that, Frisk quickly dove into the crowd, ran past the ticket counter and out of your view, leaving just you and...

"Sans."

"don't fuckin' talk to me right now," he huffed, crossing his arms and looking the other way with a tight frown. 

"Saaans."

"not in the mood, (Y/N)."

You knew he was being serious when he used your real name instead of a nickname, and although it felt a little strange hearing it come out of his mouth, you brushed it off by straightening up and meeting his pissed-off gaze with your amused one.

"I'm not mad at you about earlier." You titled your head to the side. "Come on; I want you to talk to me."

"i don't care."

"You can't keep this up all night." You poked his side.

"yes, i fuckin' can and will." He moved away. 

The ticket counter got closer, and you presented both of your tickets with little issue. The teen's eyes grew wide when he saw Sans (who looked even more menacing since he was pouting like the man baby he is), and shakily mumbled a "E-enjoy the s-show." 

The auditorium wasn't anything special. It was just your average public school, maybe a bit larger than usual since Ebott City was, well, huge, but other than that this place was exactly what you expected it to be. Freezing cold, packed, dark, loud, and the only seats were the foldable movie-theatre-like cushioned kind that slapped your butt with a firm how-do-you-do if you sat up too fast. Up ahead was a neatly-polished stage containing a single dark red curtain. Faint cries and screams of children echoed somewhere behind it, but nothing out of the ordinary. Just kids being kids, really. 

With Sans at your heels, you quickly located your seats at the back of the auditorium. You took your seat and elegantly crossed your legs while your skeleton friend slumped down into his, bringing his leather jacket's collar up until it buried half his face, leaving two annoyed, burning eyes as the only part of his face that was visible. His legs were comfortably spread apart, and he looked onto the stage with complete and utter boredom. Still... something was off. Why are his cheekbones tinted red like that?

His voice interrupted your thoughts. 

"hey... sweets?" he grumbled, not moving nor looking at you.

You hummed in acknowledgment. 

"are ya... are ya really not mad?" 

Seriously?

"Pfft," you snorted, playfully slapping his elbow off of your armrest. "Are you still worried about that?"

"just answer ta fuckin' question!" he snapped.

Rolling your eyes, you let out a small chuckle. "No. I'm not mad. Accidents happen, dude. And I wasn't even completely naked."

"but... i saw yer body." He nervously looked over at you, but then quickly retreated his gaze to the floor. "a, uh... a lot of it."

"I'm not mad, Sans." You waved your hand. 

"yer sure?"

"I'm sure."

"one hundred percent not pissed?"

"One hundred percent."

"not even a little--"

"Saaaaans."

"okay, okay," he let out a nervous chuckle, and the color from his face slowly reverted back to its normal white. 

You started mindlessly tapping your nails against your armrest. Now relaxed, Sans had one elbow propped up on it, but after everything that had happened today, you didn't really mind. For now, you'd let it slide. 

For now.

"so... what time does the kid's thing start?" he grumbled.

"Six."

"and what time is it?"

"Five fifteen." 

"what?!" he yelled, sitting up and leaning over to give you a bewildered look. "then why ta hell are we here so early?!"

"Shush!" You held a finger up to your lips and glanced at the couple in front of you, who had been whispering to each other watching you and Sans for the past few minutes with displeased expressions. "You're yelling, Bones."

"I DON'T--" You glared at him, and he closed his mouth and eye sockets with a grimace before opening them again. "i don't give a shit. asgore needed me out last night, 'n i'm tired. i could've shortcutted us here if it was about ta parkin', sweets."

"I know, Bones. I kept the clinic open until three in the morning for the Guard Dogs, and then I had to come in again at seven."

Sans frowned. "not sleepin' ain't good fer ya, sweetheart. ya need to take care of yerself before ya crash 'n my lazy ass ain't gonna put up with ya when ya do."

You smirked and thumped his nose, causing him to scowl. "Take your own advice, hypocrite. And you really wouldn't take care of me if I got sick? Because I would." You winked at him. "I'd be a good little nurse to you, Bones."

"y-ya... ta me... i... s-shit, it's not like i... i mean..." Red started to reappear on his cheekbones, and Sans clenched his teeth and hissed while you giggled. "j-just stop being a fuckin' idiot, okay!?"

"Excuse me."

You and Sans locked gazes before directing them to the couple in front of you. More specifically, the woman. Her cold stare bore into you while her husband watched on, keeping an arm around her shoulders.

"Yes?" you replied, not missing a beat.

The woman before you was about middle-aged. A few gray strands stained her rusty black hair, but it was combed and packed neatly away in a short bob. Her eyes were a sickly pale green, and behind her blood-red thin lips were a perfect set of white teeth. Crows feet wrinkles formed in the corner of her eyes as she flashed the two of you a cold smile. Next to her was a man with a similar neat appearance, except he was balding and had glasses over his dead black eyes. 

"Hi. My name is Susan Miller, and this is my husband, Ricky."

Ricky said nothing. Susan continued.

"Our little angel Cynthia--she's on the Honor Roll, by the way--is performing today as the star of tonight's show, and we would really appreciate it if your edgy monster friend could either keep it down or take his frustrations outside." 

You felt Sans tense next to you, but you laid a hand on his arm and rubbed your thumb into his sleeve, calming him. 

"We'll keep it down," you said, forcing a smile. "Sorry for disturbing you."

You really weren't sorry, but you hoped that she would just drop it from there. However, once the words left your mouth, the woman's eyes widened.

"Oh honey, no no. You aren't the problem here. It's just him." She pointed a manicured nail in Sans direction. "Or, well, monsters in general. They can be so loud and obnoxious at times. And they're living off of our tax money, too!" She waved her hand. "Can you believe that the Monster Ambassador goes here? In the same grade as my little Cindy? Who knows what the goat woman has been teaching him."

"Them," you corrected, feeling your blood begin to boil. "Frisk prefers gender-neutral pronouns." 

The lady didn't heed the warning in your tone and just laughed. "You know Frisk? Honey, he doesn't know what he prefers. He's just a confused child."

"they're a kid who literally liberated an entire species who had been living underground, saving thousands of lives on their own and representing them internationally," Sans growled, gripping the end of his arm rest. "ta least ya can do is respect their preferred pronouns. what exactly has yer fuckin' kid done, susan?"

Susan's mouth gaped open for a split second before she slammed it shut and snapped her gaze back in your direction. 

"Is that walking bag of bones bothering you, hun? I can call security if he is. Honestly, he shouldn't be here in the first place. There aren't any skeletons in this performance, so it's not like he has any kids."

"He's not--"

"Nope!" She cut you off. "I've had enough. Ricky, go get security and see if you can get him banned from campus for harassing me and this young lady. Is your mother around, honey? You're too young to have kids, so I assume you're here with family. Are you watching your sibling perform--"

"Oh my GOSH. Would you shut up?!" you snapped, standing up. Sans copied your actions and started rolling up his sleeves, but you grabbed his hand and kept him behind you. "Sans is not the problem, you are. I'm literally in my twenties, Frisk's the kindest person you'll ever meet, I don't care about your daughter, and exactly who do you think you are to kick him out for, quote and quote, bothering you? If anything, you're bothering us with your racism. News flash: at the end of the day, monsters and humans all just a bunch of souls. We're here to watch our kid, not watch your mouth flap like a fish out of water." You huffed. "So turn your nosy ass around and enjoy the damn show."

A look of pure rage crossed Susan's face. In an instant, she was up on her feet, too. Ricky was nowhere to be found, and people were starting to stare. Uh oh.

"Excuse me?!" She shouted. "What you do mean, your kid? You..." An idea crossed her mind as she glanced down at your hands, and a look of disgust slowly rooted itself in the wrinkles on her face. "Oh, sugar. Don't tell me that the two of you are a couple. That should be illegal. He's hideous!"

Sans started to growl. "i'm gettin' really tired of ya--"

"Yes. We are."

All three of them looked at you like you had just grown a second head and started doing the Macarena. Sans yelped when you released his hand and threw it around your waist. His breath hitched when you pressed your own chest against his and started nuzzling your cheek into his jacket. 

"We've been together for about a month, actually," you hummed, maintaining eye contact with Susan. 

Her eye twitched. "A month? That's not enough time to have kids."

"Adoption," you retorted. "It was love at first sight, and we wanted to start a family immediately. Didn't we, Sansy?"

If you thought Sans was blushing before, it was nothing compared to now. His entire face was red, and his eye lights were the size of pinpricks. His warm, sweaty hand nervously lingered an inch above your waist, shaking. 

Of all the times to get flustered...

And just when you thought Sans wasn't going to answer, his hand firmly secured itself on your waist. You looked back up to find a very smug grin implanted between his blazing cheekbones.

"hell yeah, sweetheart," he chuckled, sending weird vibrations through your body. "i ain't usually one fer settlin' down, but my wife has uh..." His grin widened. "an interestin' way ta get me into doin' what she wants, and i am a very submissive husband."

Oh. OH.

Something fluttered in your chest, and you were so busy toning down the sirens going off in your head that you almost missed Susan's hilarious bug-eyed expression.

"W-wha..." She stuttered, but Sans wasn't done.

"so..." he tapped a finger deviously against his chin. "unless ya wanna, heh, have a bad time, i suggest ya sit back down 'n shut yer mouth."

Susan's eyes narrowed. "Are you threatening me?!" she hissed. 

Sans winked and pointed to someone behind her. "nope. but they're 'bout ta." 

"Mike?" you asked, bewildered. 

Behind Ricky was your neighborhood security guard, Mike Schmidt. When his gaze landed on you, he parted his black lips and tipped his navy blue hat. "Fancy seeing you here, Doc. Are you here to watch Frisk? My twins, Bonnie and Freddy, are perfomin' here tonight, too."

Before you could reply, Susan spoke up.

"Oh, Ricky, you finally got security." She pointed at you and Sans. "These two have been harassing and threatening me all night. Take them away, officer!"

"No, Susan. Mike's here for you." Ricky ran a hand down his tired face. "I'm tired of putting up with you and your attitude. I literally can't take you anywhere without you starting a fight. I love Cindy, and I love you, but your attitude has been out of control since I caught you in bed with my coworker. In our bed. I just... I just can't do this anymore, Susan. It's not healthy for us to keep faking a perfect marriage. Mike is gonna escort you out, and Cindy's going to stay at a friend's house tonight. The next time you hear from me will be in the divorce attorney's office."

"This way, ma'am," Mike said, gently grabbing Susan's arm. 

"No! Ricky, please!" She yanked her arm away and grabbed her husband's collar. "Please don't do this. We can fix this. We can fix us. The monsters are doing this to you, aren't they!?"

WIth a sad frown, Ricky carefully grabbed his wife's wrists. "They're not the problem. You are."

"You need to leave, now." Mike tugged on Susan's arm once more. 

This time she complied, and with one last hateful, withering glare in your direction, she disappeared into the crowd with Mike, leaving you and Sans with your mouths hanging open.

"And now ladies and gentlemen,"  A teacher on the stage said. "Please find your seats and silence your phones. The show's about to begin!" 

+++

After putting Frisk and Papyrus to bed with a bedtime story, you and Sans made your way down to the living room. A bottle of wine was popped open, and two semi-full glasses sat on the coffee table, in front of the couch both of you were sitting on. Hushed laughter filled and rapid whispers of tonight's event filled the room. The clock struck midnight, but neither of you made any attempt to move from your places. 

"Can you believe the nerve of that lady?" you said, leaning against the couch. 

"susan?" Sans snorted, reaching for his glass. "can ya believe her husband? ta hell did we just watch back there?!"

"It felt like we were watching some sort of TV show."

"watchin'? ya mean performin', right?" 

"I guess so. Man, if only someone got that on video! But then again, I feel bad for my outburst." You frowned. "Not very mature of me, I guess."

"heh heh. i still ain't over what ya said ta her," Sans snickered. His shoulder was touching yours. 

"What said? What about what you said to her?"

A laugh was shared between you two.

"But yeah. She had it coming. I feel bad for cussing her out, but she doesn't get to talk to you guys like that." You huffed. "Like monsters aren't sentient beings, just like humans are."

A few seconds of silence passed before Sans spoke up.

"so... ya really believe what ya said earlier?" he asked, shifting in his seat.

"About...?"

"'bout monsters 'n humans being ta same," he mumbled, his voice barely above a whisper. "that at ta end of ta day, we're just a bunch of souls. that monsters 'n humans are gonna inevitably gonna get together 'n stuff."

"Hell yeah I do," you said. "I mean, it's already happened, hasn't it? I can name a few monster and human couples."

"uh... w-would you be against that?"

"Against what?" You took a sip of your wine. 

"a... a d-date."

"HAHha," you coughed, stifling your laugh before giving Sans a half-smile. "Uuh... whatdidyousay?"

"okay, hear me out. i've been playin' with the idea for a little bit, but uh... it didn't really click until earlier, back at the auditorium." He gently grabbed your hand. "back when ya told off that lady. about monsters and humans being together, 'n how there was nothing wrong with it since we're all just a bunch of souls in bodies."

Puzzled and slightly buzzed, you blinked and glanced down at your hands, which were still being held by his. "I don't understand? Where are you going with this?"

"a... well, like, ya know, a monster like--wait, no. that is, uh... shit" He shook his head. Small beads of sweat rolled down his chin, but he didn't seem to notice. "i'm... i'm just gonna say it." He nervously cupped your hands in his large claws. Two red eyes carefully flickering over your face, analyzing your expression with great care, like you were a time bomb he was trying to defuse. 

"i'm... i'm askin' if ya'd like ta go on a date with me, (Y/N)."

 

Chapter Text

Your eyes widened, and it felt like everything in the world got a little darker while your eyes focused on Sans and only Sans. Like a surprised fish out of water, your mouth gaped open ever so slightly, but no words could form for your mind had taken a hard swerve off of the train of thought in favor of jumping and crashing into the mess of confusing feelings that Sans has ever made you feel.

Did... did he really ask you this question?

Discomfort swirled inside you, especially as the seconds ticked by.

"I..." 

Sans must've noticed your hesitation because he gently ran a thumb down your palm. 

"i get it might be kinda sudden, sweets..." he said, the smallest hint of anxiety in his rough voice."but uh... believe it or not, things have been... pretty okay recently."

"so, ya know, i figured that maybe..." Sans took in a deep breath.  "f-fer once in my shitty fuckin' life... i-i'd throw caution in the wind. fer you."

He was still holding your hand, and patiently watching you with those hopeful eye light they were slowly morphing into hearts as your face's temperature increased to a level that could rival a lava pit. He was nervous, oh gosh, you knew by the way he was fidgeting that he was nervous. 

For the month you've known him, you knew Sans had casual flings and never actually caught feelings, but the way he was gingerly holding your hand told you two things: either he was really good at being a lying flirt, or... he was being serious about this. About you.

And suddenly, you forgot how to function. It was like your mind just shut down, and you were on autopilot as your brain dove into the box of puzzles that was your emotions, scrambling as it tried to put two and two together.

"I..."

You were just so... so confused. 

Flashbacks of previous relationships over the years flooded your mind, previous human spouses you watched grow old and die, or moved away, only to be replaced by another. And another. And another.  

He doesn't know anything about you. 

But... that being said...

How... how did you feel about him?

"I..." you swallowed the lump in your throat. "I think, that, uh, maybe we..."

You never got to finish that sentence. Somewhere upstairs was a sharp little ping; barely noticeable, like a ding of a button clicking in a video game. Sans must've heard it, too, because a dark look crossed his face as he swore. 

"no no no! fuck, not now!" he shouted, enraged. "I'M GOIN' TA KILL--"

And then everything went black. It wasn't like a gradual, fade-to-black kind of transition. No. It was more sudden; harsh, even, like reality itself revoked everything all at once. 

You weren't scared, or angry, or tired. You just... existed. For now, stored away in the darkness, not moving, not breathing, not the least bit concerned about anything.

You just existed. 

And then--!

Beep... beep... bee--

Click.

You woke up with a groan and slapped a palm over your nightstand until you clumsily found your alarm, shutting it off. Slowly, you sat up in the bed and rubbed the sand out of your eyes. Looks like your evening nap was over, which meant it was time to mentally prepare yourself to socialize. Great. 

Tonight was Frisk's school play, and since Papyrus was at work, it was just going to be you and Sans. 

Knock knock knock.

The sound of someone at your door caused you to quickly to cover yourself, but then you remembered that you were still in bed, wearing pajamas.

Weird... why were you so sure you were naked?

Another knock, followed by a hasty, nervous curse that caused you to raise an eyebrow. You quickly moved towards the door and opened it. A nervous skull covered with sweat greeted you.

"Hey Bones," you said, casually leaning against the frame. "Can I help you?"

The skeleton before you took a moment to carefully search your face. His expression was... hopeful? Uneasy?

"h-hey, sweets..." he stuttered. "listen, uh... do... do ya remember what i asked you? a-about two minutes ago."

Puzzled, your knitted your eyebrows together. "Two minutes...? I was asleep, Sans. Did you text me or something?" 

As soon as those words left your mouth, the hopeful, burning red lights in his eye sockets died out. 

"..." Sans slowly closed his eyes, clenched his fists, and let out a small hiss. "o h."

The unnatural, chilling tone in his voice made you shudder, reminding you of exactly how scary monsters found their 'Judge' to be, but you quickly recovered when he started rambling.

"of course," he muttered, talking more to himself. "of course, just when i fucking...!" he started cursing again.

Confused by his sudden anger, you softly asked, "You okay, dude?"

"peachy," he chuckled, running a hand down his face while grinding his teeth. "just... peachy." 

"Uh..." you shifted your feet. "I don't believe you, but... okay. Was it something important?"

Although you had good intentions, your question made him even more irritated. Before he could slam his fist against a wall, he froze for a split second, gaped at you, slowly reached towards you...

And then pulled away at the last second, scowling. 

"no." he finally said, clenching his teeth and staring at the floor. "it wasn't."

"...Welllll." You clapped your hands together and offered him a small smile. "This was a fun chat, but I think we should hurry up and get dressed for Frisk--"

"i' m  n o t  g o i n g."

Once again, there was such finality and bitterness in his tone that you found yourself at a loss for words. Without even noticing, you had taken another step back. 

Sans, however, did notice. His previously black eye sockets were now occupied by two red pinpricks, which watched you with remorse.

"s-shit," he mumbled. "shit, sweets, i didn't m-mean it."

"What?" you demanded in a hushed tone, snapping him out of his thoughts. "Bones, you can't back out now. We literally told Frisk that--"

The anger returned as he violently shook his head, cutting you off. "i said i ain't--"

"Can you let me finish, Sans?!" you snapped. "I get that you're an asshole when you're upset, but at least let me talk, dammit!"

You thought he was going to argue back with you, but instead, Sans's shoulders slumped over as guilt washed over him. His eye lights dimmed.

"...i'm goin' to grillby's," he whispered, shuffling out of your doorway.

You sprinted after him. "Wait, Bones!" 

But your eyes met an empty hall. 

Chapter Text

Edit: Reader's age has changed once again, this time to an undefined number that's greater than her previous one for the story's purpose. Edits to the story will begin shortly. Sorry for the inconvenience.

+++

(56) Missed Calls from "River Ontario" and (1) New Voicemail from "City Hall" recorded at 08/13/20XX at 2:34 P.M.

Voicemail Begin:

"Good afternoon, fellow Ebott Citizen! I am sending out an important message to invite everyone to the city's annual Fall Festival! As always, free food, games, and live entertainment will be provided to those who attend, but this year we will be hosting several 'Back-to-School' charity organizations to help support the important education of our beloved children. Also, as an added bonus, I am pleased to announce that we will be officially welcoming our Monsters as not only our partners but also friends and equals. King Asgore, Queen Toriel, and several other monsters will be among the crowd, so don't be afraid to say hi to your new neighbors!"

"This is your Mayor, Joseph O. Sanders wishing you a wonderful and spectacular day." 

Voicemail End. No remaining new messages. 

+++

After Frisk's play (that you went to, and sat by yourself for an agonizingly long, boring time) you drove the kid home. For the first few minutes, they were a little chatterbox, rapidly signing about how they nailed their dance better this time. 

You weren't sure what they meant by 'this time,' since the play only happened once, but you went along with it, anyway. 

However, as excited as the kid was, they must've noticed you zoning out, especially since they'd wait a few moments for you to respond to something that they said, only to find you staring at the road through the windshield. 

Light rain dripped and splattered against the windows, and in two quick, graceful swoops, the windshield wipers cleared your vision. It was late in the evening, so the normal warm summer air was now somewhat cool, reminding everyone that fall was just around the corner. Hazing yellow streetlights blurred by, along with the endless sea of red whenever cars in front of you pressed their breaks on the busy road. A soft, acoustic guitar tune played from the radio, but you were too busy being lost in thought to recognize the song.  

Tanned, small fingers snapped in front of your vision. 

"Wha..." you muttered, turning your head to face a frowning Frisk. "Hey kiddo, don't do that while I'm driving, please." 

Frisk huffed and rubbed a spot on their cheek where the glue from a petal they took off still stuck before signing. 

'Are you okay?' they asked, slowly. 

You blew a piece of hair out of your face and glanced back at the road. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just worried about Sans."

'How come?'

"It's..." you hesitated. Frisk had been beaming all night after their performance, and you didn't want to ruin their mood with something that may or may not be a big deal. 

"It's adult stuff," you admitted, hoping that would be enough to satisfy their curiosity. "Don't worry about it. Let's just get you home and in bed. Tori is picking you up in the morning, right?" 

Frisk slumped back in their seat and began to pout. 

'Yeah,' they signed. 'It's too bad. It'd be nice to relive everything again, since I really enjoyed staying with you, Papyrus, and Sans. Although, I guess that wouldn't be really fair to Sans... especially since I think he's mad at me.' Frisk's movements slowed. 'Really wished he came with us again... Poor Cindy...'

"Who's Cindy?" You asked, wondering why that name sounded vaguely... familiar. "And why do you think Sans is mad at you?"

Frisk flinched and dropped their gaze. 'Doesn't matter,' they signed, turning to rest their forehead on the window.

You bit the inside of your cheek.

The rest of the car ride and walk to your house is filled with uncomfortable silence. Actually, even inside, everything was still unnaturally quiet. Neither of the skeleton bros. are home, and as soon as you unlock the front door, Frisk sprints up the stairs and closes Papyrus's door, presumably to get ready for bed. 

Leaving you alone. 

Not even your cats could be found at the moment. 

With a heavy sigh, you head towards your bathroom, locking the door behind you. The tile floor is cold under your bare feet. Your clothes slide off your body and hit the ground with a faint thump, leaving you completely exposed in the very white, very bright bathroom. 

Psssshhhhh...

You gently twist the silver shower faucet and watch as shiny, clear water pours out before disappearing down the drain. 

While the water warms up, you turn towards the mirror, allowing your eyes to blankly stare at your bare reflection.

Stars. 

You felt... awful. 

But not in the sense that something bad happened, or that you messed up on something. No. It was... duller than that. Something simple but complicated at the same time, as silly as that sounds. It was like your body didn't even know how to comprehend anything right now. 

And it wasn't a sudden thing. Ever since you got out of bed from your nap earlier, you felt like you had been missing something. Little things were predictable, like where your keys were, and when the traffic lights would change. Heck, you even figured out what you were gonna wear today in less than five minutes and that never happened. That was the small stuff. 

The big stuff was more... difficult. Throughout your evening, you kept glancing over at the empty seat next to you, like you were expecting--no, like you knew--something was different. Someone was supposed to sit next to you in the audience. Someone important was supposed to talk to you, but no one ever occupied that seat, and it drove you insane. Nothing made sense; it was like deja vu, but how could that be deja vu when it never happened?

And then there was that odd couple with the miserable man and obnoxious woman. Something in your gut told you that you were supposed to talk to them, but every time you opened your mouth to act on that thought, you were at a loss for words and quickly closed it before making yourself look like a fool. 

Sans was right, you thought, sliding down a hand on the foggy mirror until it revealed half of your face. I really need to sleep more.

Your shower was brief. One minute you were standing still, watching the warm water rush down your body, and the next you were in bed, wearing nothing more than an oversized sea green hoodie that almost reached your knees, underwear, and fuzzy socks. On one side of you was your cats, happily snoozing away (a real shocker), and on the other was your phone, glowing with harsh white words from when you checked the time. 

2:27 A.M.

Neither of the brothers were home yet, and it was really, really starting to bug you. You had been dozing in and out, tossing and turning, all the while assuring yourself every five minutes that they would be home soon to no avail. 

With a defeated sigh, you buried your face into your pillow. Honestly, why were you so worried in the first place? They're grown adults and, according to the small talk your monster patients made in the waiting room area of your clinic, they were two of the strongest monsters in the Underground. Papyrus is Co-Captain of the Royal Guard, and Sans is the infamous 'Judge,' for crying out loud! The deadly, merciless, skeleton duo and all that jazz. Surely, they'll be fine. 

But then flashbacks of their house burning down, followed by Sans's panic attack and Papyrus's mental shutdown made your stomach uneasily flip. Those two might be some of the toughest monsters in the Underground, but everyone has its limits. 

You flipped the pillow over your head. "Damn it."

Stay up and wait until they come home, part of you argued. 

No. Those two literally fight hate gangs on a nightly basis. They probably got caught up in work. Go to sleep. Besides, who are you to dictate their nightly curfews? 

Feeling a bit more reassured, you relaxed a little until another idea crossed your mind. 

They could be hurt.

They have monster food. It heals them.

 It only heals minor injuries. Go look for them!

But you have work tomorrow!

Wait for them. 

Go back to sleep. 

"Ahhh!" you yelled, sitting up in bed before remembering your slumbering cats. With an apologetic wince, your eyes quickly scanned over the bed, only to discover that two bodies of black and gray fur were still missing. 

Where did they go?  You wondered, sluggishly reaching for your phone to check the time again.

2:29 A.M.

Had it only been two minutes?!

Frustrated, you kicked back the covers and stormed out of your room before making a harsh turn towards the study. Once outside its door, you paused. 

The lock was magic based; it only opened for you, by you, when you specifically wanted it to. A simple spell that all mages knew, really. 

The things you kept in that room were priceless. Some dated thousands of years back. Some held irreplaceable memories. Some were worth more than all of the gold in the world. And others were just down-right dangerous. 

With a grimace, you waved your hand over it and watched as your magic contacted it, making the knob glow in a vibrant red before unlocking. Without a moment to spare, you were inside the dark room. 

Fresh, earthly scents immediately filled your senses. Your bare feet had to step over a mass of vines and leaves from a particularly aggressive Virginia Creeper that encircled the door's frame, and you swatted away the vibrant green leaf of a nearby White Bird of Paradise. Soft, brown patches of dirt and littered your wooden floor. Desks and shelves were filled with books, ancient artifacts, watering cans, shovels, flower pots, flowers, plants, and strange buzzing and glowing devices filled every available space. Something was ticking, something was humming, and something was whistling somewhere in the room, but given the amount of glittering and magically-moving knickknacks buzzing around the room, it was kind of impossible to specifically locate all of the soft sounds. The tall windows where the brick walls ended stretched up from floor to ceiling, revealing that the previous storm had passed and been replaced by twinkling stars.

Your study was a torn between being a library, a storage room, and a greenhouse, but damn it you loved it. It was your safe haven. A place that stored many memories.

Speaking of memories...

Next to the window, half concealed by a partially opened wardrobe was a very familiar green tunic and cape. A woven belt with strips of gold dept across the closet's doorway. All of these items had been untouched for so many years, and to be honest, you hadn't thought about them since your dream...

You didn't spare more than a glance and instead focused on rummaging through the messy draws of an old oak desk practically bursting with papers. The glass vials and flasks filled with multicolor liquids shook and chimed together, but thankfully none of them broke. 

After finding what you were searching for, you instinctively pushed the narrow, long wooden object up one of your dominant hand's sleeve, concealing it from the outside world. It was a habit all mages had since the barrier went up and magic usage was forbidden from the human government, and although it's been quite some time since you've done this, the compulsion was second nature. 

With your back pressed up against it, the door behind you closed with a faint click. Once again, the knob turned a soft red hue before locking back into place, patiently waiting for the familiar hum of your magic to return. 

You quietly raced down the stairs and didn't stop until you were facing the front door. Arm outstretched, you were halfway to opening it when your breath caught in your throat, and you hesitated. Slowly, you pulled out your wand and gave it one hard, long look. 

Although wands weren't a necessity (River, for example, preferred his dual blades when he used magic and flat-out refused a 'pixie stick' from his father, and your mother preferred using her hands, like you), a majority of mages used them or some other tool as a way to direct their magic. They were highly recommended for beginners and still widely used and encouraged in battles.

Your thumb ran down mahogany wand, carefully brushing over your dad's faint gold carvings of proud trees and swirling leaves. It was less than a foot long and fitted perfectly into your dominant hand. Magic hummed through your body and laced into it, but the wand's borrowed power remained dormant as it patiently awaited your commands. Commands to do good or like last time, to... uh... fight...

You grimaced at the memory and didn't finish that thought. There was a reason you hadn't touched your wand in so long, and your mind wasn't ready to address those repressed images just yet. 

But now, here you were, once again not wearing pants and full on preparing to charge into the unknown in order to find your friends who may or may not be in trouble, all the while waving a wand over your head and giving away your secret to the same species that vowed to kill any remaining mages.

...It sounded braver in your head and, admittedly, less stupid. 

You lowered your hand. What were you thinking? Other than being home late, you had no reason to be suspicious! Sans was really, really pissed earlier and wanted to be alone (something everyone, even you, could relate to), while Papyrus was probably working for Asgore on some top-secret mission. 

Seriously, who do you think you are, demanding to be the hero?

And why are you never wearing pants in these situations?!

  ...Damn. When did you let yourself get so attached? Before the barrier broke, you didn't really have friends. Except for (maybe) River, whose calls you really needed to return soon. Not in the dead of night, though. 

You slipped your wand back up your sleeve and walked away from the door in favor of the kitchen. You're tired, stressed, and not thinking straight. It was time to accept the fact that they were probably fine, and you needed to go back to bed. And probably put on some pants.

But first, some tea. Maybe a bit of magic, too, if insomnia kept being a bitch. 

Sometimes you wished you could be more like River. Shadow mages weren't nearly as empathetic as Earth ones. 

And just as you held up your mug for a sip, the front door crashed open.

"NYEH!" 

It took every fiber in your being to not drop your tea as the Co-Captian of the Royal Guard confidently paraded in before slamming the door shut, not at all caring that your wall now had a suspicious doorknob-shaped hole in it now. 

"P-Papyrus?" you squeaked, surprised. 

The monster stopped dead in his tracks and shot you glare.

"YOU!" Papyrus boomed, marching towards you. "YOU DID THIS!" 

"What?" 

He didn't stop until he had you backed against the counter, with both of your hands holding onto its edges. It was then that you caught the smell of strong booze in the air, which bewildered you since Papyrus appeared to be very sober. Before you could ask, though, he spoke. 

"I DO NOT KNOW HOW, BUT YOU DID THIS, SO NOW YOU'RE GOING TO FIX HIM BEFORE HE RUINS THE SKELETON NAME!" 

"Fix who?" You asked.

Papyrus threw a hand behind him. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN, WHO?! DO YOU NOT SEE THE PATHETIC STATE MY SAD EXCUSE OF AN OLDER BROTHER IS IN?"

"Uh... there's no one behind you, Pap."

Papyrus's head snapped back and glared at the empty hallway. "WHAT THE..." He clenched his fists and immediately stomped over to the door, once again swinging it open before disappearing out the door and onto the porch. There was a sound some shuffling and protesting before Papyrus marched back in, this time carrying short, slobbering and babbling skeleton under his arm. The sour smell of alcohol from earlier was nothing compared to how strong it was now, and that scent only increased with every firm step Papyrus took towards you. 

"ninety-nine bottlesss of beer on ta *hic* w-wall," Sans sang, drunk out of his mind. 

Red drool dripped out of his mouth and splashed onto the neat kitchen floor as he turned in his brother's grip. His gray shirt was stained on the collar with sweat, booze, and mustard, and his jacket was threatening to roll off of one of his arms. 

"ninety-nine *hic* bottlezz offff...!" A goofy, lopsided smile formed on his face as Sans raised an imaginary cup. "BEARZ! w-wait. heh heh. beers not bears... heh."

Before you could ask any questions, Papyrus shoved his brother into your arms. Immediately, he started to fall backward, and you stumbled as you uneasily caught him with your hands on his shoulders. With hazy red eyes that didn't even register who you are or the position he's in, and a sluggish grin, his head rolled to the side. 

"mnf..."

"Whoa now!" you yelped, tightening your grip on his shoulders so he wouldn't fall. Unfortunately, you severely underestimated Sans's body weight, so gravity was really kicking your butt every time Sans swayed. If he fell on the floor, there wasn't any doubt that you wouldn't be able to pick him up without help. 

Luckily, Papyrus kept a hand on his older brother's back, but judging by the scowl on his face, he wasn't happy about it. 

"SANS, YOU WILL STOP THIS BEHAVIOR AT ONCE!" he demanded. 

Sans opened his mouth to reply, but instead of words coming out, it was sticky, gooey, red saliva that flew out in specks. 

"fwepmt," was all he could muster. 

The younger brother's scowl deepened. "AND JUST WHEN I THOUGHT YOU HAD FINALLY RESIGNED FROM YOUR STUPID, LOW-LIFE DRINKING DAYS, YOU HAD TO GO AND DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS," he spat. "DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH GOLD I OWE UNDYNE NOW? WE'RE ALREADY ON A STRICT BUDGET, SANS. HOW COULD YOU DO MAKE ME LOSE A BET?!"

"Aw, bones," you said, scrunching your nose. "You're completely wasted. Where did you even go?"

"THAT GREASE HOLE, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS GRILLBY'S, WHO, BY THE WAY, HAD TO INTERRUPT ME AT THE END OF MY SHIFT WITH ASGORE JUST TO TELL ME THAT MY IDIOT BROTHER HAD THE AUDACITY TO NOT ONLY START SEVERAL FIGHTS WITH SOME OF THE PATRONS BUT ALSO ENGAGE IN SEVERAL ROUNDS OF KARAOKE. EXCEPT IT WASN'T KARAOKE NIGHT! I ARRIVED JUST IN TIME TO SEE SANS STANDING ON THE EDGE OF A TABLE, PERFORMING A DUET OF WONDERWALL WITH JERRY! JERRY, SANS!" Papyrus boomed. "WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?! AT LEAST YOU HAD THE DECENCY TO PUMMEL HIS FACE INTO THE GROUND AFTERWARDS! BUT STILL! I THOUGHT... I..." his gaze dropped as he clenched a fist. "I Thought You Were Finally Past This Behavior. You Had Been Doing So Much Better Since We Broke Free.

"I Don't Even Know Why You Do This," he muttered. "If You Could Just Talk To Me... BAH! FORGET IT! THANKS FOR REMINDING ME THAT YOU WON'T EVER  CHANGE!" 

You flinched at Papyrus's cussing and low voice. As edgy as the monster was, such words from him sounded very, very wrong. 

It was then you noticed how tired Papyrus looked. His usual upright, perfect ninety-degree angled posture was now slumped over. Dark, red bags--similar to the ones Sans always had--were starting to peek out from under his eye sockets. The maroon, tattered scarf around his neck had a few more holes than you thought it originally had. In addition, he was missing a glove, and you could spy the other one sticking out of the front pocket of his black jeans. 

You frowned. You knew Papyrus's image was something that he took very seriously, so to see him in such a state made you do a double take. Whatever Asgore's mission for him tonight surely took a lot out of him, not to mention coming home to see his brother like this.

Your heart tugged. However, before you could sympathize with him, Papyrus's gaze shifted off of his brother and onto you. 

"HUMAN!" he bellowed, jabbing a bony finger at you. "I DON'T KNOW NOR CARE WHAT YOU DID TO MY BROTHER, BUT HE'S BEEN BABBLING NONSTOP ABOUT YOU!" 

"Me?" 

"WELL, MOSTLY YOU. HE SAID OTHER THINGS... THINGS THAT DON'T MAKE A LOT OF SENSE, WHICH IS TO BE EXPECTED FROM MY BROTHER WHENEVER HE GETS LIKE THIS," he shook his head. "BUT REGARDLESS, YOU'RE A DOCTOR. THIS YOUR HOUSE. HE WOULDN'T SHUT UP ABOUT YOU, SO I BROUGHT HIM TO YOU, SO MY PART OF BEING A DECENT BROTHER IS DONE. NOW, THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE PAPYRUS DEMANDS THAT YOU FIX HIM! I'M GOING TO BED." 

And with that, Papyrus gave his brother one harsh, final shove, colliding his body against yours with your back pressed against the counter. Without another word, he disappeared upstairs. Instead of slamming his door shut, though, you heard it quietly click open and close, which made you smile. Even angry, tired Papyrus still cared for the sleeping child who had school in a few hours.

Speaking of sleep...

 Something warm and wet was quickly soaking through your hoodie, and when you looked down your whole face quickly lit up like a flame.

In his drunk, sleepy, delusional state, Sans had half of his face pressed against your chest, nuzzling into it and making your breath hitch. His half-lidded eye sockets were fluttering as he started to doze off, but since his mouth was half open, a sticky pool of red drool was quickly pouring out and onto your green hoodie. And, since you didn't have to body strength to support him, his arms were tight around your waist while he rested on unsteady knees, clinging to you to hold him up. 

You sucked in a breath.

Don't slap him don't slap him don't slap him don't slap him...

And you exhaled. 

"Bones," you said, nudging his face. "Wake up."

He didn't move. 

"Bones," you said again, more firmly this time. "Move. Now."

"mnf..." he turned and pressed his face between your breasts, shifting them up and to the sides. "five more minutes, sweetheart..."

"Sans-I'm-not-wearing-a-bra-stop-making-this-weird!"  you squeaked, very much aware of the hot sensation forming on your cheeks.

Immediately his eye sockets shot open, revealing two fuzzy red dots that quickly shrank to the size of pinpricks as they traveled up your shirt and to your flushing and uncomfortable face. His eye socket twitched. 

"what... ta... HELL!?" 

Well, that was one way to sober him up.

Red in the face, he quickly jumped up and skirted across the room at an unbelievably fast pace, and he didn't stop until his lost his footing and stumbled onto the linoleum, banging the side of his head against the top of the dining table when he scrambled to stand up again. With a heaving chest and sweaty palms, static electricity started to pop and fizzle as he tried to teleport out of the kitchen, but since he was so out of it, the magic did nothing but sap more of his already low supply energy, thus making him more and more exhausted and uneasy.

"s-shit," he stammered, frantically rubbing where he hit his head. "shit shit shit FUCK!" 

"Uh..." 

Your voice made him flinch, causing his eye sockets to blacken in panic. 

"ah s-shit sweet--i mean, (y-y/n)! i d-didn't fuckin' mean ta...!" He ran a shaking hand down his sweating, flustered skull. "fuck. oh FUCK! i messed up real bad this time. s-shit, where's a fuckin' reset when ya need one!?"

"Um?"

"l-look," he gasped, a hand over his face. "i-i'm sorry for bailing on ya, okay? i know that i was bein' an ass, but i just couldn't... couldn't be around you or ta kid fer a bit. 'n then my dumb ass had ta go 'n get piss drunk like i always do whenever they...! hah... aha..." Through his fingers, you could see the sad smile forming on his face. 

"i'll never... hah... never be free from this, w-will i?" he said, wipping the sweat away from his forehead. "it's just gonna keep resetting, ain't it? 'n just when i finally, finally let my guard down for one minute. one fuckin,' selfish minute." He clenched his eyes shut. "nothin' matters. i can't believe i fuckin' thought any different."

You slowly got down on your knees and inched closer to him. 

"What do you mean by reset?"

"i'm not supposed ta..." He hesitated before snapping his gaze up, revealing two burning lights. "ya know what, screw it! nothin' matters anymore, so i'm done protectin' ta little shit. if they get into trouble, then they can deal with it on their own." Sans turned his head towards the stairs and shouted, "yer on yer fuckin' own, ya little shit! ya hear me?!  i'm done! i'm fuckin' done! delete the whole world fer all i care!"

"Hey!" You grabbed a fistful of his shirt and forced him to stop glaring at the stairs in favor of matching your gaze. "Keep your voice down, Bones. What are you talking about?"

"remember how i said i hated mages? well, news flash, doc: ta kid's a mage," Sans growled, ignoring your shocked expression in favor of shooting another dark look up at the stairs. "a shitty, fuckin' time mage with ta power ta reset everythin' at will without givin' a single damn 'bout anythin.' 'n just when i started ta think that not all mages--or humans--were bad, they had ta go 'n do somethin' like this." He barked out a bitter laugh. "tch! don't matter if they saved us. that's what i get fer trustin' a fuckin' mage!"

You stiffened as alarms started going off in your head. How did he know? Did the kid tell him? Or... if he somehow figured it out from just being around the kid...

The wand up your sleeve suddenly felt very cold, but Sans was too busy ranting to notice that your grip on him had loosened. 

"do you have any idea how many times that kid got close ta breakin' the barrier?" he hissed. "do ya have any idea how many times i watched them roll with the same dialogue durin' their fights?! go ahead 'n ask! i can quote every single monster they met in the underground. it's been carved into ta back of my skull, 'n no matter what i do, i can't forget how many times i've watched them die!" 

Suddenly, his voice dropped to a painful whisper. "...i can't forget how many times i watched them walk out of those ruins covered in dust. or how many times i w-watched them walk into the judgment hall ta face me... but never w-walk out. i don't... i don't think that timeline was their fault, though... they weren't actin' right, b-but what was i supposed ta do?"

The sweat on his skull was coming down full force now. 

"'n then we finally get to ta surface," he said, breathing heavy as memories flashed through his head in brilliant waves. "we finally see ta sun. breathe fresh air 'n all that good shit. 'n what's the first thing that happens ta us? we get detained by yer stupid military 'n slapped in ta face by a bunch of racists tellin' us that we aren't good enough to be considered alive. monsters gettin' beat left 'n right just fer steppin' outta buy groceries or take their kids ta school. everyone's goin' crazy trying to make sure everythin's not gonna fuckin' fall apart, 'n boss is doin' his best ta keep ta streets safe fer us, but i just... i just--" A single, luminescent red tear fell down his cheekbone as he choked out a sob. "ta first few weeks were hell. life was hell. we didn't think anyone would actually try to help us. no one cared. monsters food wouldn't heal fast enough, 'n asgore had half a mind to go back underground, but hell would've froze over before tori ever'd agree ta that... but h-he was just doin' h-his best. no one has any idea how much the big guy's gone through... how much all of us went through down there..."  

"'n one night after a tough fight..." His bottom lip trembled as he held back a sob. "w-when things were just fallin' apart, 'n i thought this was it. i was covered in blood that wasn't mine 'n stumblin' around ta streets with boss, barely holding on but then ya ran out in front of us 'n asked then and there if we were okay... 'n patched us up without blinkin' an eye... 'n i just... a-and you... you..."

He finally stopped and slowly turned his head in your direction, as if he had just now realized you were still in the room, watching him with an alarmed expression and one hand not-so-casually up your sleeve.

"you... f-fuck..." he mumbled through his tears, slumping down onto one of the table's legs in an attempt to stay away from you. "s-shit. it was ta alcohol, i s-swear! i didn't mean ta... look, i-i... i know this doesn't make any sense to ya, but i ain't crazy, okay? please, please don't think i'm crazy. i don't give a shit if ta whole world thinks i'm crazy, but ta idea of you  thinkin' anythin' less of me..." His eyes fizzled out into nothing while he sobbed. "i-it just h-hurts," he whispered. "it just... hurts."

You didn't say a word throughout his entire story, watching and listening to him as his anger slowly morphed into apathy and then complete and utter sadness. Out of fear from being discovered and possibly being killed on the spot, you had subtly been moving away from him, all the while reaching for your wand as your heart pounded in your chest, almost overwhelming  Sans's cries. 

He was crying over humans. He was crying over mages. 

And then he cried over the idea that you, a person he was finally honest with, would think he was crazy and probably take advantage of his vulnerability and kick him to the curve. 

You've never seen a monster cry before, especially not one with such a dangerous kill streak. 

The grip on the end of your wand tightened. There wasn't an easy way to rationalize this out, and you hated that. Things were always better when they were black and white, but empathy filled everything in with gray. You suck at comforting. It just wasn't your thing. Besides therapy, Sans clearly needed something right now... but what, and from whom? 

You? You? A mage who survived thousands of years after the barrier was formed? A mage who's parents were responsible for the very demise of this guy's entire species? A human who's own people patrolled the streets at night, striking down any monsters just for looking different? Not to mention the fact that all mages and Fables were strickly forbidden by the High Elite of Belbourne to not pick any sides when it came to monsters. 

Monsters...

You saw the way monsters' eyes flashed at the mere mention of mages. They weren't idiots. Humans' biological components made them more durable with monsters and harder to kill. Depending on the situation, though, monsters still had an upper advantage with their magic. A human with magic, however, could easily flip the tables without the slightest hesitation. Just like your parents did in the war. 

They had every reason in the world to kill you, to seek revenge for their own shared hell that was the Underground. As much as a pushover the guy was, Asgore himself saw it fit that the human children who fell into the Underground would be slaughtered without question in order to free his people. 

Why would they make an exception for you?

Could... could you even say that you would make an exception for them? If the time came for you to make a choice--pick a side--where would you stand? Or would you even stand? 

A loud, broken whine from Sans snapped you out of your thoughts. He was curled up into a ball, hugging his knees to his chest while babbling out sloppy words of "i'm sorry" over and over again, all the while shaking as he breaths came out shallow and uneven. The yellow fur of his jacket was matted with red tears and sticky mucus, mixing with the discolored alcohol and mustard stains. To put it simply, the big guy looked terrible. 

You bit your lip and ran your thumb over the bottom of your wand once more. Throwing caution in the wind, you pulled your hand out of your sleeve...

...And slowly but surely placed an arm around Sans shoulder. He tensed and shot his head up, staring at you with confused wide sockets. 

"w-wha..." he croaked. 

You offered him a small smile and softly whispered, "I don't think you're crazy." 

Your only warning was another low whine from him before Sans's body collided against yours in a full-on bear hug, reminding you of how big he is before burying his sobs and warm tears in the crook of your neck where your hoodie absorbed it. Two firm arms latched around your waist and pulled you into his shaking form. His cries were still consistent, but his breathing had finally leveled to something that wasn't alarming. 

Okay, okay. You could do this. The respectful distance you had in mind had already been thrown out the window, but damn it if Sans needed you to hug him then you were gonna do your best. 

You gently lowered your hands and wrapped them around his neck before resting your head on his shoulder. 

"i'm s-sorry," he croaked into your neck.

"It's okay."

"i didn't m-mean..."

"It's okay."

"but--"

"It's okay."

You did your best and continued to mumble comforting words into his ear every time he tried to apologize until his sobs ceased to nothing more than quiet whimpers. 

Suddenly, he stiffened and roughly shoved you away before lurching over to the side to violently vomit. A sour stench quickly filled the air as it drifted off of the puddle on the linoleum. Sans coughed and used his sleeve to wipe the remaining spit off of his mouth. 

"s-sorry," he coughed, not meeting your eyes.

Unfazed, your gaze shifted from the vomit to his uncomfortable face. 

"I'm a doctor. This literally happens to me on a daily basis, Bones. Don't worry about it, okay? I'll clean it up."

However, he didn't look convinced and shook his head. "i'm sorry. i didn't m-mean ta ruin yer floor with my weird g-gross magic puke."

"It's okay. Nausea can't be helped, and I bet getting it all out made you feel a little better, right?"

"...y-yeah."

"Then that's all that really matters to me. Come on." You stood up and offered him a hand. "Let's get you up to bed." 

Sans looked like he wanted to protest, but another wave of nausea forced him to throw up the remains of his pride, deepening the pool of chunky and goopy mix of red and brown. Defeated, tired, and beyond mortified, he accepted your offer with an unsteady hand. You carefully pulled him up, making sure that his knees didn't give out.

"a-ain't gonna make it up the stairs," he mumbled as you tried to help carry his weight by shifting his arm around your shoulder. 

"Don't... have to," you panted, struggling. "Just... gotta... make it to the living room."

And somehow, you did. 

After helping him strip off his gross and rancid jacket, you gently lowered Sans onto the couch, nearly pulling yourself down with him. 

"Oh gosh..." You rubbed the sweat off your forehead. "Why are you so heavy? You're just bones, Bones."

Much to your relief, the corner's of Sans's mouth hitched up into a half smile.

"screw y-you," he croaked, leaning back into the couch until he was laying down on his side. Already, his eyes started to droop. "ya ain't gotta be such an ass."

"Well." You grabbed a nearby blue blanket and gently tucked him in. "At least I have one."

He half sobbed and half chuckled as he flipped you the bird. Ah, good. Now, that was the skeleton you knew and... uh... liked.

Suddenly, his smile shifted. "can't believe ya put up with all of this," he mumbled, half asleep.

Your face dropped. No no no. You didn't like how defeated he sounded. That wasn't a good tone for him.

"Why wouldn't I?" you asked, bewildered.

"i just told ya the kid's a time mage, 'n what i had ta go through back in ta underground." He looked up. "why would ya stick around after all of that?"

You barely stopped yourself from giving away the fact that you're a mage who used to be bitter for all the crap humans put you through when they murdered your parents. That bit of information wouldn't help anyone. Instead, you reminded yourself that he although he was drunk, you needed to choose your words carefully, especially considering how fast he seemed to be sobering up. Still, you needed to be somewhat honest so he wouldn't suspect anything. He may be your friend, but he isn't naive. 

With little hesitation, you carefully lowered yourself to his level and took up one of his hands. His eyes fluttered open in confusion, and a red tint slowly began to form on his face. As long as he was looking at you, you couldn't use magic, although that wouldn't really be necessary in this situation.

"Let's just say that I know plenty of people who've had it rough, including myself," you said. "And although we have vastly different circumstances, the pain's still something we've experienced. When I look at you, I don't see your past or a gross monster. I see a suffering soul who needs help but is too scared to ask for it. I see a good friend with cheesy jokes, a dark sense of humor, a strange, crippling mustard addiction..." You gently touched his cheek with your free hand and wiped away a tear with your thumb. "And a guy with a big heart who can't fully bring himself to give up on the world he so desperately wants to believe in."

Sans's breathing hitched, and his red eyes stared at you with a look of pure adoration. 

"(Y/N)..." he breathed.

With another smile, and a rush of warmth, you bent down and pressed a kiss against his forehead, initiating just enough contact to make sure a tiny amount of your relaxing magic traveled over to him in an attempt to make sure he got the rest he needed.

"Good night, Bones." 

Before the magic could run its course, his cheekbones flushed with red as his eyelids slid closed and a small, soft grin that made your heart tug formed on his face.

"g'night... sweetheart."

And just like that, he was out like a light, with your hand still enclosed in his. You slowly pulled away and walked over to the supply closet. Eyeing the puddle of vomit and not willing to risk enchanting the cleaning equipment to do their work for you with Sans in the room, you decided to simply grab another bottle of good 'ol Bessie B's all-purpose cleaning powder. With a simple flick of your wand, a bucket of water and mop bounced over next to you as you got down on your hands and knees and poured the powder over the vomit.

Too busy caught up in your own work, and the replaying image of how Sans looked at you when you kissed him, you didn't notice the child upstairs, curiously watching you with bright red eyes, just like your own. 

 

Chapter Text

You glanced around the familiar, empty black place known as the Void. A mix of confusion and amusement was written on your face as you studied the area, wondering not only why you kept coming here in your dreams, but also why such a place like this existed in the first place.

It was a lot colder than you remembered. 

Your soul--a small red heart about the size of your hand--was once again a foot away from your body, seemingly leading you deeper and deeper into the empty black space that was the Void. However, whether or not it was leading you to your salvation or demise still remained undetermined. 

Red hues from your soul reflected off of the strange black, glassy floor, but only the floor. There were no walls, nor doors, nor windows. 

Just. The. Floor. 

And a dark canvas of shadows and deceit that was and is and forever will be the Void.

To be honest, you were unnaturally calm about this whole situation. Despite the fact that your soul was alert and positioned like it would be during a magic battle, it's appearance and magical warmth provided some sort of sense of security, as irrational as that thought may be. 

Regardless, you were still prepared for anything.

Determination churned and coiled within every inch of your body as your magic prepared itself for wherever your soul was leading you. The cool hood of your green cape--the Color of an Earth Mage--was down, but you didn't bother tucking it away. While the rest of your cape nearly dragged along the floor, you tunic and a pair of earthy-brown leggings clung to your body. For once in nearly five hundred years, your mage clothes weren't uncomfortable. In fact, they felt necessary. 

After all, one doesn't charge into battle without their uniform on.

Hm. Although your wand was drawn out to your side in a fighting stance, you didn't feel threatened in the slightest. No, you felt like your soul wanted you to... to do something, but you weren't sure what. A strange urge in your chest kept telling you to push on into the darkness while you searched for... well, whatever that something is. 

You shook your head in retaliation to the theories than ran through your mind. You knew you were in the Void; that was a no-brainer. After all, there wasn't a single mage who didn't have some idea of this place. But honestly, were you even dreaming right now, or was your soul (or something else) actually forcing you into having an outer body experience like a lot of people do in cheesy fanfictions, like the kind Alphys read?

You hoped it was the former. 

A light flicker of warm magic coiled in your chest, and you frowned. Whatever was going on was making your determination go off the charts. You felt calm, yes, but the need to do something in the Void was growing with every step you took. 

And as someone who was in the medical field and one of the "bad guys" for thousands of years, this feeling was something you were more than familiar with.

It was the calm before the storm. 

You soul brought you here for a reason, and sooner or later you were going to find out why. 

You frowned and forced your eyes up to focus on the only source of light in the room, all the while barely registering that your grip on your wand tightened.

You weren't, however, expecting the flashback that sparked from its red hues. 

"Your soul is the culmination of your being," a familiar voice once said. In your memory, though, his voice was scratchy, and his face was nothing more than a white blur resting on top of a long black coat. Using an old, feathered quill pen, a bony hand quickly sketched out a heart on a  scroll. "It defines what you are, but not who you will be."

A child version of you curiously watched as he drew six more hearts that encircled the first red one. Your chubby hands tried to reach for the quill, but he pulled it away at the last second. You immediately crossed your arms over the stupid pink, frilly dress your mother made you wear whenever you visited the human king during their magic meetings and pouted.

The monster chuckled, and a bony hand patted your head, but you looked away and stuck out your bottom lip. 

"Now now, tiny, fleshy skeleton that I'm pretending to like." He shook a finger in a 'tut-tut' motion, but the humor in his voice made you smile. "Your human father said you couldn't draw until you finished your lesson on souls while they're at that boring meeting with King Edgy Buns. I may not have the slightest idea about childcare or the basic means of survival for humans like yourself, but I do know science pretty damn fucking well, so we--and by that I really mean you--are going to learn some science shit. I'm not getting paid to tutor the Royal Mages' only daughter for nothing, you know."

"Dad says you shouldn't say bad words," you blurted, giggling behind your hands. 

He snorted. "Yeah, well he also said that you shouldn't have eaten that cake for dinner, but since he's not back yet, we're just gonna act like it didn't happen."

The monster folded his bony hands and glanced out the window, towards the castle and the orange hues of setting sun behind it. "Although I have to confess," he mumbled, voice soft. "This so-called peace treaty between monsters and humans is taking longer than it should've. It's been hours. Where could your parents have gone?" 

He sighed. "I was expecting fireworks from the monster village at this point, but everything's... quiet."

 

 

It took a couple of blinks before you returned to the present. Whether or not you had been walking during your sudden trip down memory lane was unknown, but the tugging feeling from your soul was stronger now. 

Huh. Flashbacks. That was new.

As you continue your journey, you can't help but think about your strange memory. You remembered the village you grew up in, and you remembered that a monster used to babysit you when your parents were off on meetings, but you couldn't picture his face, much less recall his name. 

He was a skeletal monster, though... Could it have been Sans or Papyrus? 

You bit back a smile. Hah! The idea of those two babysitting you was weird. Besides, to your knowledge, those two didn't even exist back then, and the guy in your memories sounded different from Sans's rough voice or Papyrus's commanding tone. The monster from your memory was more... curious. Friendly, even, despite the harsh language. And those two were far from friendly. 

You ended up walking for a few more minutes in the dark, all the while not particularly looking at anything other than your soul. At one point, you thought you saw the shadow of a childlike figure standing a few feet in front of you, but when you blinked they were gone. You played it off as one of the Void's tricks, or maybe even the paranoia that was often associated with those who spent long periods of time in dark places. 

Nevertheless, your soul urged your forward, and you compiled and quietly followed along for about another half hour. 

And then, when you heard the soft pitter-patters of something dripping onto the glass floor, your eyes shot up, and you took in a sharp breath.

It was him. 

The monster was just standing a few feet away from you, watching you with two white eyes while black globs ran down not only his face but his entire body, like a candle near a flame. 

Before you could manage a word out, something clicked, and the brilliant flash of red that accompanied it were your only warnings before your soul slammed into your chest and forced you back. 

It was like a light that had previously buzzed out suddenly flickered before roaring to life, starting first in your chest and then rushing straight for your mind in the form of a headache. Memories of your childhood and the days of old flooded your mind. Your breath staggered as several colorful snippets of your time around this monster were unveiled.

Castles. Knights. Forests. Horses.

An open field. 

A human king. A monster king. A battlefield. Swords drawn, flags raised. 

A horn. A scream. A red trident. 

Fire.

The burning in your chest suddenly flared up your spine and into your skull, Your knees banged against the cold glassy floor as you fell, clutching your head and biting down on your lip while your head began to threatened to split apart. Too many blank spaces in your memories were being filled all at once. 

An empty plate with cake crumbs. An abandoned drawing of seven human souls.

A monster speaking in hands.

Snowy mounds in the middle of a hot summer day. Strawberry jam on the grass.

Ashes.

Seven mages, guarding the exit of a cage. A man in blue standing between your parents, ordering for their wands to be raised up to the heavens. 

A shadow over the mountain.

You. 

You, watching everything from a tree, despite being told not to come. A dark boy in purple by your side, slamming a blade into the trunk. 

"It's not fair!" he cried, glaring at the leader through his dreadlocks. "They don't deserve this!" 

They never did.

 

 

 

You blinked back tears and stared at the monster holding his hollow hand on top of your skull. A thick line of black sludge dripped down his sleeves and onto your arm. It was cold. 

You stared at him. "I... I know you, don't I?"

His head tilted to a perfect right angle. The lights of his eye sockets were out, but the unstable, sketchy black grin etched into his skull grew.

"You do."

It wasn't a question, and that tone carried a sad undertone.

Eyes feeling dull and heavy, you let out a shaky breath. 

"Yeah," you chuckled bitterly. "Thousands of years ago, monsters were buried alive. And I..." Your voice broke. "I watched it happen." 

Something flickered in his sockets. "You did." 

The weak nod you gave him was all you could manage before you crumpled down onto all fours. Your wand clattered helplessly against the ground. A whimper escaped your throat. Everything burned, and the blood pumping in your head felt like a time ticking time bomb. 

It was so hot. 

You barely registered the sweat racing down your trembling form. No; you were too concerned with how hard it was to breathe right now. Every second that passed brought you closer to something. Something tapping away in your chest, growing and growing and growing as your lungs expanded with air and your mind made you watch, no, made you relive every second of your forgotten memories concerning the monster before you. You remembered every little detail about him except for his name. What was his name?!

And the worst part?

You had no idea what was happening to you.

And that was terrifying.

"W-what's..." You choked back a painful sob. "Ugh."

Still keeping his hand on your body, he slowly knelt down and gave you a long, hard look, like he was searching for something. His voice was soft and melancholic when he spoke.

"Mages blessed with Earth magic are far more empathetic than their brethren," he whispered, in a dry voice. "They can sense life in places where no others dare to look, including a place where those who dare to find the place that was forgotten and lost end up forgotten and lost themselves."

You tried to use your magic to heal the pain, but directly summoning it only made things worse. Now, you could actually see the red determination running through your bulging veins up and down your arms as the heat increased tenfold.

"Make it s-stop..." you hissed. "It hurts."

Suddenly, you were flipped over onto your back, and the monster was hovering over you in an unnatural angle. More beads of black and white dripped down his melted skull. 

"Listen to me, (Y/N)," he growled. "You're in pain because you're trying to remember the past. Specifically me. Your soul is one that desires to help others, which is why it keeps bringing you back here. But you can't help me. Time magic isn't you magic, but your soul wants to help, which is why it hurts. For your sake and mine, you need to fight it."

"But--" Something bubbled in your chest. 

"N o." He grabbed your shoulders and shook you. "Stop it. You need to stop it right now. You don't get it. There's something else trapped in here that feeds off of determination." A dark look crossed his face. "It briefly got out once when the time anomaly made some bad decisions, but it's back now. And it's hungry. The only thing keeping us locked back here is the lack of determination in the Void, and you reek of it. They're awake now because of you, and they're hungry. The Void and I can only do so much to hold them back. But the second you remember my name, (Y/N), will be our demise because the Void can't contain those who aren't forgotten. So don't fuck up like your parents did." 

 He leaned down to your level, his melting white skull hovering inches above your own. When he spoke, his voice sounded far away and very, very tired, like a bitter old man who had been fighting for eons. 

"Listen carefully," he whispered, gripping your shoulders. "I've been in the Void for a long time now, and I've learned some things. I can't tell you much because of space and time rules. However..." He grimaced. "I will tell you this."

"If you keep going down this path, then there will be a day where the earth will be uprooted, and history will repeat itself. And on that day, those with a heart of ice and flashing swords will meet on a bed of bones to take back time from the One who failed to die."

When he saw your mortified face, he barked out a dry laugh, causing more globs of black to run down his cheeks. "Wish I could say you grew up well, (Y/N), and tell you more about this place, but if you stay here for another minute then I'm going to fucking die."

You stared at him. "You're insane."

He wasn't fazed. "Yeah. I get that a lot. Time for you to go, though. Specimen 01 and the time anomaly have been arguing over your sleeping body for the past ten minutes."

He roughly pushed you away from him, breaking all contact the two of you held during your conversation. With a snap of his fingers, your vision started to blacken as your senses grew dull. You tried to call out to the monster again, but he kept his back towards you as he walked away. 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

The morning sun peaked out through the living room curtains and onto Sans's face, waking him up and thus putting him in a foul mood. The hangover that immediately followed made his skull pound from the inside, and Sans once again swore of Fireball Whiskey. He tried to roll over and pull the bed covers over him, only to realize that he wasn't in his bed. 

Irritated and tired, he groggily cracked open one eye socket until his mind registered the leather couch and blanket over him. His jacket was nowhere to be found, but puke and alcohol stains littered his shirt. He wiped away a thick line of drool that had been dripping down his chin and studied it.

Huh. He must've fallen asleep on the couch. 

He inhaled and immediately cringed. Shit. He smelled and felt like shit. 

If it was anyone else, Sans's would've just rolled over and freely drooled into the couch's cushions with a second thought until the owner either called his brother to come pick him up or tried to pry off the grumpy skeleton with a shovel. The former usually resulted in someone losing a limb. 

But this wasn't just anyone's couch. It was your couch, and Sans cringed at the idea of how much drama he'd already put you through. You didn't deserve that, and frankly, he was sick of it. Why couldn't things just go how they were supposed to? Why couldn't he get a break? 

He needed to get up before he ruined the couch with his gross skeletal body.

With a low, tired groan and little motivation, Sans shifted his weight and blinked, mentally preparing himself to haul his bony ass out of the soft cushions and up the stairs, but when he started to stand he froze. Something in his chest thumped as his eyes gazed upon something precious. 

There, on the loveseat directly across from him was you. Your hair was tousled and sticking up from pressing your face into a pillow, but the thin rays of sunlight peering through the blinds made it glow. You had your knees tucked into your chest, but the green hoodie wasn't doing much to cover your smooth, bare thighs (heh). However. that wasn't what made Sans's soul start doing flips. 

No. It was the fact that you stayed here. With him. Despite all of the gross and terrible things he told you last night, you gave up sleeping in your bed in favor of sleeping down here, just so you could check on him.

Sans clutched the front of his shirt. There was no doubt about it now.

He's in love with you.

Immediately, thoughts of self-hatred filled his skull, and Sans grimaced as he recalled the last time he tried to ask you out. He remembered how unsure you looked. He remembered the pain he felt when the reset happened and the hopeless feeling that came after it. 

And then the anger.

And then the regret. 

You didn't even know how badly he wanted to kiss you. Hold you, protect you, love you. Hard. Slow. Soft. In every way possible, physical and emotional. 

He fell for you bad when he first met you, but the more he tried to push you away, the more he couldn't bring himself to let you go. How could he? Everything about you was beautiful. 

And your smartass personality that sparked whenever someone tried to argue or mess with you, only to realize that they messed with the wrong person?  Damn, did it get Sans going. His dirty mind briefly wondered if you were that assertive in the bedroom...

Sans quietly coughed and tugged on the edge of his shirt, and cringed when he once again saw the stains, immediately dispelling his arousal. 

You... you deserved better. Someone who didn't grow up in the shitty Underground with a "Kill or be Killed" motto stitched into everyone's minds, or have unresolved issues, especially since mental health wasn't exactly a priority in the Underground. After all, monsters who showed any signs of weakness didn't last long. Gaster learned that the hard way when he tried to argue with the king. 

He grimaced and clutched his claws into his blanket, balling it up. He couldn't help it; not only did the fucker have the audacity to argue with King Asgore, who, at the time, just lost two of his kids in one day, but he had the nerve to claim that war wasn't the right answer. He didn't just defend humans. Sans could wrap his head around the idea that not all humans were bad (just look at you, for example) but no, he refused to believe that mages were evil, that mages were the true monsters. Said that the war, no, that burying an entire species alive was just "a big misunderstanding."

Unsurprisingly, when no one backed Gaster up on that claim, and when the king ordered him to either plead guilty to treason or to create something to hunt humans who fell into the Underground...

The crazy bastard had the nerve to pass on his troubles, his sins to his latest creations. His killing machines.

And then left him and little brother to rot in the lab when he realized they were useless.

Fists clenched by his side, Sans let out a long, shaky breath and tried to blink away those dark memories. The less he remembered about that guy, the better. His soul couldn't take much more trama. Damn it, he was tired of this.

Which was why the more walls he built, and the more apathetic he became, the easier it was to live, to smile, to breathe.

...And that was another reason why he needed to let you go. He already tried to throw caution in the wind and let you in once, but the load--not reset, Sans learned--slapped him back into his place. He was the Judge, the Comedian, the Prankster, and the 'Great and Terrible Papyrus's older brother.'

He was just... here. Doing shit. While you were out living life to its fullest, saving lives and helping people, being rich and beautiful and kind and sweet just like the sugar you were addicted to--

You let out a small hum, and Sans watched as your brow crinkled while you pulled the pillow in closer to your chest. Huh. Must be a nightmare.  

Probably about waking up to see that I'm still here, he thought before he could stop himself. Agh, get those thoughts outta here. He needed a shower. A cold one. 

But as he stood up and walked over to the stairs, something behind him stumbled into his back before crashing against the floor with a squeak. Sans immediately recognized the soul's presence, and, wearing the biggest, most menacing grin he could manage, slowly turned around to face the shaking kid. 

"f r i s k."

 

 

Chapter Text

Warning: Some innuendos, some sex jokes, and mentions of anxiety/depression. Nothing really heavy, though. 

 

 

 

 

 

The kid's in their purple pajama onesie, looking more and more like an innocent child who got framed for being a bully at the school's playground.

But Sans was no fool, and he knew that past those wide blue eyes that stared into his sockets, this kid, like most mages, was older than they would ever admit. Hell, they even talked like an adult, and they had a wider vocabulary and cognitive sense that no seven-year-old possessed.

They knew things. They did things. They've done things.

He felt his smile widen at the thought of those particular things.

Frisk was still on the ground, flat on their back, gaping at Sans with an expression that reeked of fear and guilt. An empty mug laid beside them; its clear contents formed a puddle on the floor.

They gulped, and slowly--and with shaky hands--began to sign.

'Sans,' they said. 'Listen, I'm so sor--'

"save it," he spat, his grin twitching downward. "i don't care what it is. i don't wanna hear any more half-assed apologies outta yer mouth. i only got one question fer ya, 'n yer gonna answer it whether ya want to or not. capiche?"

Frisk nervously gulped and nodded their head ever so slightly, peering up at him through their unruly chocolate bangs. Huh. They were terrified of him; they knew they were about to be judged.

Good.

And just like that, Sans's usual, casual self-was back. He shoved his fists into his pockets and leaned against the stair's railing. Frisk didn't move; after all, numerous timelines in the Underground taught them that Sans's demeanor was a facade, and they carefully watched him through their bangs.

Sans cracked open an eye socket. "so..." he began, "why'd ya do it? the load."

Frisk hesitated before they signed, not once taking their eyes off of Sans. Their movements were slow and cautious.

'I messed up on my dance at the play. the other kids teased me for ruining the show, and the teacher already hates me, so she thought i screwed up the performance on purpose. i knew i could have done better if i didn't trip at the end, and I was just so embarrassed and frustrated that I didn't think, and I just thought that... maybe...' they paused. 'maybe i could've gotten a better ending if i did something different.'

Sans didn't let any of his feelings show. He closed his eyes and leaned further back against the rails. "so..." he hummed. "ya reloaded half a day just ta save yer little dance."

It was a loaded question; the kid knew that, and they're previous scared face shifted into the one that Sans's hated: a neutral one, where no one could ever tell what the kid was thinking.

Except for Sans, that is, but even the skeleton sometimes struggled to, heh, judge the kid's thoughts.

Right now was one of those times, which meant the kid was hiding something.

'No,' they signed, not once blinking or displaying the slightest hint of discomfort or ill will. 'I also wanted to stay a little longer with you, Papyrus, and Miss (Y/N). And Sans...'

He opened an eye socket, just in time to see Frisk's blue eyes hardened.

'You never vocally opposed to resets, loads, or any use of my magic once we reached the surface last month. I'm not hurting anyone. Besides me and you, no one remembers a thing. So why the sudden interest in--'

Ping!

Frisk blinked as their soul--the striking red color of a mage--flew out of their chest. Before they could react, it changed to blue, and the kid was pulled towards Sans at an alarming rate, stopping only about a foot away. However, the skeletal monster made no movement to release his magical grip on them and instead continued to let their feet dangle in the air. Sans grabbed their chin and forced their ever-so-neutral expression eyes to meet his.

"kid," Sans chuckled darkly. "my hearin' might be terrible, since, ya know, i don't have ears, but..." His grip tightened. "are ya tellin' me that there's a chance you'll reset and bring us back underground?"

Sans knew he was walking on ice here. The was just so much hate, so much suffering he, his brother, and all of the monsters Underground went through, and the previous dulled anger from last night was starting to ignite once more. The thin ice holding him back and keeping him calm was cracking, and Frisk's seemingly lack of empathy about the situation was the sledgehammer. This was their chance--their only chance--to end his worst fears. To let things go back to normal.

But Frisk hesitated.

'I'm sorry,' they began. 'It's not a simple yes or no question. You don't get it. It's complicated. I can't just stop using magic, Sans. There has to be a reason for me to still have this power, even after freeing everyone from the Underground--'

But Sans stopped listening. He didn't even here when the kid stopped talking. All he heard was the sound of the thin ice finally cracking.

Oh, wait.

No.

That wasn't ice.

That was the sound of his teeth starting to crack from the intense pressure of his jaw.

With his long-past extinguished, Sans turned away from the kid, closed his eyes, took in a deep breath, and counted to five, hoping that he could force himself to calm down before either of them did something they would regret later.

But the kid raised their little hands and just kept talking.

One.

'I know that's not the answer you want to hear.'

Two.

'And honestly, it's not something that I ever want to do.'

Three.

"But tensions are high right now between humans and monsters. We just don't know what's going to happen in terms of securing our future. Plus, trust me when I say that there's something else going on right now..."

Four.

'...And I don't know what that is yet, but I'm determined to figure things out, and make sure that everyone's safe and happy in the end.'

Five.

"you're l y i n g."

The kid, wearing their ever-so neutral expression, tilted their head up and met Sans's glare. For the briefest of moments, Sans saw a hint of red flash in their eyes.

"There are some things I just can't tell you about, Sans," Frisk said softly, with a bit of melancholy in their voice.

The magic in his bones boiled. "kid, what did--"

"Um?"

Sans immediately released his hold on Frisk's soul, letting it briefly turn from blue to red before slamming back into their chest. The kid landed on their butt with an "oomph." The two of them turned around to meet your puzzled yet wary look. Your messy hair curled around your head as you folded your arms and watched them from your chair.

Despite the fact that you just woke up, Sans saw that you were just as observant as usual, and he couldn't muffle the little spark in his soul.

"Care to explain why I woke up to Frisk hovering in the air with their soul out, Sans?" you said, narrowing your eyes at him.

Annnd the spark was gone.

Crap. This looked really bad.

Sans ignored the sweat running down his back in favor of turning to the kid, who was still rubbing their backside while throwing Sans another stupid, blank look.

Think of something. Quick!

"g'mornin', sweets," Sans said, forcing himself to relax by shoving his hands inside of his sticky, smelly jacket. His confidence wavered at this realization, but he continued. "i was just showin' ta kid some magic tricks."

"Magic tricks?" You raised an eyebrow.

'He was showing me how to check my stats.'

You and Sans both turned to Frisk, who had picked up the fallen mug from the floor and was now cradling it in their small arms.

Frisk's signing didn't falter as they lied. 'Yeah. I had some questions about what my stats' message said, and Sans offered to read it for me since I can't it myself.'

Not a bad lie, Sans thought to himself. However, the skeletal monster was so good at reading souls that he really didn't need to take out a person's soul to do so. Plus, he never really bothered checking the kid's soul. It always said the same thing.

*Frisk. They're determined to do what's right.

Nothing really interesting about that. In fact, Sans briefly wondered if all mages' souls said the same thing. Too bad he didn't know any other mages.

He smirked. Then again, if he did ever cross another one, they certainly wouldn't be alive for long.

Sans's mind was pulled away from his dark thoughts by the sound of your voice.

"Wait, stats?" you asked, rubbing the sleep out of your eye in a way that Sans found utterly adorable.

Not now, damn it. He was stronger than this!

Luckily (or unluckily), the kid covered for him once again.

'Your statistics show the state of your soul.'

Your brow furrowed. "I don't understand."

"never heard of stats before, sweets?" Sans asked, plopping down on the couch as you shifted in your chair. "it's a basic soul thing every monster learns about as a kid."

You huffed. "Well, I'm not a monster, so I don't know anything about that."

Sans opened one eye socket. "ya never fought a monster before?"

"No." There was no hesitation in your voice. You were telling the truth. That made him feel a little better. Once less thing to wonder about you and your secrets. 

"welp, when yer in an encounter," he began, "yer soul gets pulled out by the monster yer fightin.' likewise, you can 'check' their stats and get a nice read on their soul. stuff like HP, attack, defense, and their little soul message."

You made a face. "Sounds like a video game."

Sans shrugged. "yup. sure does." Then, an idea sprung up in his head, and he sat up with eagerness. "actually, if ya want, i could check yer soul 'n--"

Bzzt! Bzzt! Bzzt!

With a (relieved?) look, Sans watched as you dug a phone out of your green hoodie.

"Dr. (Y/N) speaking," you said, then frowned. "Uh, no. It's Saturday. The clinic's closed on... shit!"

In a flash, you were out of your chair and racing up the stairs, leaving your phone to clatter out of your seat and onto the floor, where the screen lit up. Sans briefly saw that your home screen was filled with a bunch of weird plants.

'Whoa,' Frisk said, whistling. 'Is she okay?'

Sans held up both of his hands. "how ta hell should i know?"

'i don't know! you're dating, aren't you? shouldn't you go--'

"WE ARE NOT FUCKIN' DATING!" Sans growled, his face covered in red as he jumped out of the couch. "who ta hell told ya we were? eh!? was it undyne or alphys!?"

'Heck, Sans!' Frisk signed, taking a step back from Sans, who had practically teleported in front of their face. 'No one said anything! I just assumed that--'

"yeah?!" Sans clenched his fists. "well, assumin' is a dangerous thing ta do! i don't need some weak ass human kid goin' around and tellin' everyone a bunch of rumors!"

Frisk hesitated and tilted their head to the side. 'But... You do like her, don't you?'

I love her.

"like?!" Sans spat. "i don't like anyone, kid. except for ta boss, even though he's an asshole sometimes."

"I HEARD THAT!" A muffled voice boomed somewhere upstairs, and Sans shot the ceiling two birds before looking back at the kid.

'That's not true!' the kid huffed. 'You like our friends! You like mom, dad, Undyne, Alphys, Grillby, and Dr. (Y/N)!'

Sans chuckled and placed his hand over the kid's mouth, silencing them. With a cocky grin, he clicked his tongue and shook his head. "nah. like i said, i don't care fer any of 'em. not you, not tori, not grillby, and especially not little miss (y/n)--"

"I'M LATE!" You shouted as you ran down the stairs in your fresh scrubs. "Oh gosh, I'm so late. I'm never late. I can't be late. I own the clinic--" You bare feet slipped out from under you, and you started to fall.

"FUCK!" Sans said, quickly teleporting over to catch your arm before you landed. "f-fuck, sweets! what ta hell do ya think yer doin'? tryin' to find out if a skeleton can get a heart attack?!"

"I'm sorry!" you squeaked, clutching Sans's arm as his free one moved to support your back and pull you to him. "I just--I have to go and meet with my patient before I miss their appointment!"

"ta hell with yer appointments! ya almost slipped 'n died!"

"I'm fine!"

"where ta hell are ya shoes? why are you running down the stairs in socks?!"

"T-they're over by the counter! Just let me go, and I'll go grab them--"

"'n let ya fall 'n split yer head open again? no way in hell! c'mon, hold on to me."

"Bones, I don't think you need to teleport me off of the stairs--Oh. We're already here."

"go put yer damn shoes on!"

"Okay, okay!"

"'n yer phone's by the couch."

"Okay, thank you!"

"ya gonna eat?"

"There's no time!"

"what ta--there's always time ta eat!"

"I don't need to--Hey! Did you just throw a granola bar at me?!"

"eat that on the way ta work! here, actually, i'll just take ya ta work, 'n ya can eat when ya get there."

"Bones, you don't have to--"

"hurry up and get yer shit!"

"Okay! Sheesh!"

In less than thirty seconds, Sans was back in your living room after successfully bringing you to work. He sighed and rubbed his skull.

"shit," he muttered, staring at his hands as he remembered how it felt to hold you close. "she's gonna actually kill me." A memory of your flushed face against his chest as he caught you from falling flashed through his head, and Sans couldn't help his chuckle. "heh. cute."

And with that thought, he turned around...

To face an awfully smugged Frisk. This time, an orange juice carton rested in their hands, and their blue eyes flashed wickedly as realization dawned Sans.

Oh shit.

'You like her,' Frisk signed, not once dropping their smirk as Sans glared at them.

"i do fuckin' not!" he screeched as he tried (and failed) to step around Frisk. Damn this kid and their dodgin' skills!

'Yes, you do!'

"move!"

'I bet you wanna hug her."

"damn it--i said move!"

'I bet you wanna take her out on a date, and see her all dressed up.'

"f-fuckin' MOVE!"

'I bet you wanna smooch her.'

"f r i s k."

Their smile dropped.

"'n what if i did, huh?!" Sans snarled as he loomed over the kid. "what if i wanted to do alllll of those things ya just mentioned? huh?! are ya gonna take her away from me again ta moment i ask her out? huh?! are ya gonna sit back 'n enjoy yer sick resetting game, watchin' my soul break over 'n over every time she forgets who i am?! huh?!"

Frisk set down their drink and slowly started signing. 'Sans... what are you talking about?'

"what am i talkin' about, ta kid asks..." Sans let out a bitter chuckle. "i'm talkin' about yer last little load, buddy. she 'n i were in this room, drinkin' wine and talkin,' 'n when i finally worked up ta courage ta... ta... tell her..." His eyes darkened. "ya took it away."

He said it. He finally admitted, verbally admitted why the load bothered him so much. Hell, he didn't give two shits if the kid wanted to reset time until his head spun. Going back to the Underground would've sucked, and he probably would've spent his nights at Grillby's and his days in bed for a while, but that wasn't anything new. No. The part that killed him was the fact that he just couldn't stop loving you and wanting to see you. Yeah, you hesitated when Sans flat-out confessed, but at the same time, you didn't say no, which gave him hope.

But when the kid loaded the save file, and Sans ran to you, hoping for an answer...

You didn't remember a thing.

And he felt his soul break.

Something tapped his shoulder, and Sans wiped away his tears (tears?) with his sleeve.

Oh. It was the kid. He kind of... forgot they were still here, heh.

'Sans...' Frisk wore a guilty look. 'I didn't know. I'm sorry.'

"forget it," Sans mumbled, looking away. "s'not like i got much of a chance anyway. guess i'll always stay bonely, heh heh."

'Don't say that.' Frisk reached over to a nearby bookcase and returned with a box of tissues. Both of them sat on the couch. Frisk had their legs crisscrossed, and Sans had his head buried in between his hands.

"i... i know fer ta most part, ya mean well, kiddo," he mumbled. "but it's different with me. alphys 'n undyne get ta fall in love all over again every time ya reset or load, but..." His voice broke.

Frisk once again tapped his shoulder, and Sans cracked an eye socket open to see their serious yet melancholic expression.

'I usually only reset when I die, but... what I did was selfish, Sans. I wanted a better outcome, a better ending for a stupid play so that I could impress some stupid people, and I just...' Frisk lowered their head. 'Only thought about myself.'

Sans said nothing.

'But you're one of my closest friends. You, Papyrus, and the others helped me get through the Underground. You gave me a reason to break the barrier. You guys gave me a home, a reason to stay determined. A family.' They placed a hand on their chest. 'A reason to keep trying to find the good in people, even though they've hated mages like me long before I was even born and abandoned me time after time at the adoption center.'

"kid..." Sans began, but Frisk shook their head.

'The monsters aren't the only ones who haven't been this happy in a long time.' Frisk turned towards Sans and offered them their hand with a smile. 'And I think that it's time for you to join them. So, my skeletal, puny friend, I promise you that I will only use my reset power for emergency situations. No more selfish resets or loads.'

For a moment, Sans didn't stir. He just sat there, staring into the kid's serious, determined and old blue eyes.

"Yer serious?" Sans mumbled in disbelief.

'Yes,' they replied. It was the truth.

"So this is..." He uneasily waved his hand. "This is really it?"

'Yes. But you have to promise to try, Sans. You have to promise to try to be happy. No more drunken ramblings at Grillby's. No more insomniac nights or panic attacks by yourself. You have to trust your friends to be there for you when you need them. This isn't something you can do alone.' 

For a minute, Sans couldn't do anything other than stare at the kid. This offer was just... too good to be true, right? Things never went his way, so this was gonna come back and bite him in the ass later. Humans and monsters always go back on their words. You can't trust them. You can't trust that things will be okay in the end.

Right?

And he... he didn't deserve it. He wasn't a human, like you, and he was barely even a monster. He was a test subject. A broken, discarded test subject.

He didn't deserve you.

And just when Sans took a step back and started planning a 'shortcut' to his bedroom upstairs, he locked eyes with Frisk's pleading face, and your words from last rang through his skull.

When I look at you, I don't see your past or a gross monster. I see a suffering soul who needs help but is too afraid to ask for it. I see a good friend with cheesy jokes, a dark sense of humor, a strange, crippling mustard addiction...

His chest ached.

And a guy with a big heart who can't fully bring himself to give up on the world he so desperately wants to believe in.

Sans took in a deep breath...

And exhaled.

Despite the fact that no words were exchanged, Sans carefully held out his hand to Frisk, who quickly shook it.

The deal was made.

'Thank you for trusting me,' Frisk signed.

Sans let out a soft chuckle before ruffling the kid's hair. "heh heh. thanks, kid. But uh..." he coughed. "now what?"

Frisk's grin turned mischievous. 'You tell me, Sans.'

'kid, i don't really do this romance stuff,' Sans sheepishly admitted. 'dunno if you noticed, but uh, i ain't exactly ta best lookin' monster."

'Aw, don't say that! Let's start with the basics, then!' Frisk eagerly clapped their hands, and Sans once again saw the return of their energetic behavior. After all, despite the fact that they were probably older than Sans, Frisk was still a child at heart.

Maybe that's why they were selectively mute. Frisk didn't exactly have the limited vocabulary for a kid their age.

But that was a theory for another time.

Frisk jumped up and down. 'What do you like about her?'

Sans scratched his neck. "uh, well, she's... nice. and... smart."

Frisk made a face. 'Come on. You have to give me more than that, Sans.'

"sheesh, kid, alright." He grumbled. "sut me some slack. i'm not good at words. that's more of Papyrus's thing."

"I HEARD MY NAME AGAIN!" Papyrus boomed from somewhere upstairs. The ceiling shook as his brother quickly ran over to the staircase. When he saw Frisk and Sans standing there, he scowled. "WHAT'S GOING ON? WHY ISN'T THE HUMAN AT SCHOOL? AND BROTHER, WHY IN ASGORE'S NAME ARE YOU STILL WEARING THE SAME DISGUSTING CLOTHES FROM LAST NIGHT? I CAN SMELL YOU FROM UP HERE. STARS, SANS! DO YOU NOT HAVE ANY STANDARDS?!"

"i just woke up, pap!" Sans barked. "i haven't had time ta shower yet!"

"THAT'S NO EXCUSE! HYGIENE IS VERY IMPORTANT TO THE SKELETAL NAME--"

Frisk quickly bounced in front of Sans. 'Papyrus! We need your help!'

"MY HELP? FOR WHAT!?"

'Sans is gonna ask Miss (Y/N) on a date!'

In the span of two seconds, Sans felt his entire skull light up.

"w-what ta hell, Frisk!?" He shrieked, stumbling back. "d-don't tell ta boss--"

"SERIOUSLY, BROTHER?!" In a flash, Papyrus ran down the stairs, grabbed Sans by his shoulders, and glared at him. "YOU'RE DOING THIS NOW?! YOU COULDN'T WAIT ANOTHER FIVE DAYS, THIRTEEN HOURS, AND THIRTY-TWO MINUTES TO CONFESS YOUR LOVE!?"

"boss, i don't fuckin--wait." Sans raised an eyebrow. "uh, any why ya want me ta wait, bro?"

Bewildered, Sans watched as a pink hue slowly crept up his little brother's face. Instead of answering, Papyrus dropped him.

"YOU-YOU--I NEVER SAID THAT!" He snapped, crossing his arms and looking away.

"what's in five days, pap?"

"I DON'T KNOW BECAUSE I DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE CITY'S FALL FESTIVAL BEING IN FIVE DAYS."

'Yes, you did, Papyrus!' Frisk said. 'And I can't believe I forgot about that!'

"I don't fuckin' believe this," Sans mumbled.

"IT--IT WAS A MISSPOKE! A TYPO!"

'That's not how typos work!'

'I don't fuckin' believe this,' Sans repeated.

"WELL, THAT'S HOW THEY WORK NOW!"

"P a p y r u s," Sans called, and his younger brother flinched as he slowly looked down at Sans's black eye sockets. He looked a little scared, which was expected. After all, Sans rarely addressed his brother by his full name.

"UH... YES, BROTHER?" he nervously asked.

"did ya make a shipping bet with undyne and alphys about me and doc's relationship?"

"W-WELL, I--"

"Papyrus."

"DON'T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT!" His younger brother screeched. He pointed at Sans. "THE FANFICTION COMPELLED ME, BROTHER! IT WAS EXCELLENTLY AND ACCURATELY WRITTEN FROM THE DAY YOU TWO MET ALL THE WAY TO THE END WHERE YOU HAVE TWO KIDS AND OWN A COFFEE SHOP! Although I Still Don't Know Why They Wouldn't Let Me Read Chapter Eighty-Nine. It Was The Longest Chapter In The Whole Story, After All..." He rubbed his chin.

From his position on the floor, Sans dropped his burning face into his hands.

"i'm gonna kill them," Sans groaned. "i'm gonna kill them, and then i'm gonna jump into the void."

"AND TELL ME, SANS, HOW EXACTLY WILL THAT HELP YOU SUCCESSFULLY WOO (Y/N)'S HEART?"

Sans let out an even louder groan.

"does everyone know?!" he yelled.

"PRETTY MUCH!"

'For a while now, actually.'

"YOU GIVE HER THE GOO-GOO EYES WHENEVER SHE'S IN THE ROOM!"

'You throw a fit when she tries to go out alone at night.'

"YOU STARTED SOBBING HER NAME THAT ONE NIGHT--"

"OKAY!" Sans barked, shooting up. "alright, alright. I get it. Sheesh."

'It's okay, Sans!' Frisk signed. 'I think she likes you, too. Even if she doesn't realize it yet.'

"AND IF SHE DOESN'T, THEN WE'LL JUST THREATEN HER! NYEH HEH HEH!"

'No, we won't.' Frisk huffed, squinting at Papyrus in disapproval. 'That's not how we flirt on the surface. Or in general, really.'

Papyrus, however, was unfazed. He reached down and picked his brother up before dropping him onto his feet again.

"REGARDLESS OF HOW HER HEART IS WOOED, YOU CAN REST ASSURE THAT THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE PAPYRUS WILL HAVE YOUR BACK. AFTER ALL, I AM A DATING EXPERT."

"Sure, boss." Sans rolled his eyes.

"WHAT WAS THAT?!" Papyrus loomed over Sans.

"I m-mean, yeah, boss!" Sans coughed, his smile twitching.

Pleased, Papyrus stood straighter and smirked. "THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT."

'Well, all threats, um, aside...' Frisk rocked back and forth on their feet. 'We need a plan.'

"I COULDN'T AGREE MORE, HUMAN!" Papyrus boasted. "WHICH IS EXACTLY WHY I HAVE ALREADY FORMED THE PERFECT PLAN. FIRST, BROTHER, YOU WILL PUT ON A TUX AND BRING HER FLOWERS. THEN, YOU DRAG HER INTO THE WOODS."

'Wait, no--' Frisk tried to interrupt, but Papyrus was on a roll.

"AFTER YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY CAPTURED HER, YOU WILL SHOW HER ALL OF YOUR PUZZLES IN ORDER FROM HARD TO IMPOSSIBLE!"

'Papyrus--'

"AND THEN, ONCE SHE IS COMPLETELY IN LOVE WITH YOU, SHE WILL SHOWER YOU WITH KISSES--ACK!"

At this point, Frisk had given up on signing. Instead, they chose to jump up on Papyrus's back, nearly sending them both crashing down.

"FRISK!" Papyrus yelled, spinning around to grab to giggling child. He quickly grabbed the kid's arms and pulled them away before setting them down on the ground with a huff. "WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING!? I WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF--SLOW DOWN! I CAN'T UNDERSTAND ANYTHING WHEN YOUR SIGNING IS NOTHING MORE THAN GIBBERISH!"

"I think the kid is tryin' ta say that i should just be myself, and not try anythin' fancy or, uh, puzzle-ly," Sans mumbled, looking at Frisk, who was nodding.

"HMM..." Papyrus rubbed his chin in thought. "AH, I SEE YOUR POINT. WE SHOULDN'T TRY TO TURN SANS INTO SOMETHING HE ISN'T. AFTER ALL, IF SHE'S ALREADY SEEN YOU AT YOUR LOW, SANS, AND STILL KEPT YOU IN HER HOUSE, THEN HER STANDARDS MUST NOT BE VERY HIGH."

"Thanks, boss," Sans grumbled.

"ANYTIME, BROTHER."

'You have to pick her up later tonight, right?' Frisk signed, and Sans nodded. 'Great! Then why don't you surprise her with something?'

"LIKE WHAT?" Papyrus asked.

Frisk tapped their chin. 'Well... What does she like?'

+++

Sans had been standing alone in the dark hallway outside your office for the past five minutes. In one hand, he held your favorite Starbuck's espresso drink, and in the other was a spider donut he got from Muffet's new shop. You liked sweets and magic, right? Maybe one day he'll take you over there on a date. That is, assuming that the crazy spider bitch was in a good mood and wouldn't trick you into selling your house in exchange for a pasty. 

The clock hanging on the wall read 10:25 P.M., meaning that your clinic closed exactly twenty-five minutes ago. All of the lights were turned off. The only comforting glow came from the rectangular white outline of your closed office door. 

Just go up and knock on the door, he told himself. Give her the coffee, and maybe a pickup line. Something like... something like... He wracked his skull for a good joke. Hey, baby. Can I get your number? Because I like you a-latte.

No, no. He shouldn't say it like that. How about...

This coffee's really hot, but you're hotter. 

He cringed. Okay, maybe something not coffee related. Maybe...

You might not be able to do magic, but you can do me!

Is that a cell phone in your back pocket? Cause that ass is calling me!

They call me the cat whisperer. Wanna find out why?

...None of these were good or, uh, appropriate. 

Shit. Why was he like this? 

He looked down at your coffee. If he stayed out here any longer, then it won't be hot when you get it. 

Maybe... maybe he should just go inside and take the kid's advice. Be 'himself' and all that sentimental crap. After all, the worst case scenario was that you wouldn't reciprocate, kick him and his brother out, and never speak to either of them ever again. 

And... And it would be hard, but... he would respect your decision. 

Sans took in a deep breath. He can do this. It's gonna be okay.

He knocked on your door. 

"hey doc," he said, trying his best to sound confident. "open up. i brought ya somethin'."

He waited.

...

No answer.

"sweets?" he knocked again, louder this time. "ya in there?"

But nobody came. 

Where were you?

"c'mon, sweetheart!" He twisted the doorknob. Locked. "it's late. open the door, please. or at least lemme know if yer in there."

Oh, but he knew you were in there. He could sense the hums of your soul on the other side of the door. It lured him like a fly attracted to sickeningly sweet honey. Intoxicating. Beautiful. 

"(y/n)?" he asked again. "yer worrying me. i'm comin' in there, alright?" 

But nobody came. 

Sans wasted no time teleporting inside your office. He quickly followed the familiar beat of your soul and spun around to find...

A mess.

Your desk was covered head to toe with pale-yellow files and black and white papers filled with all sorts of information about your patients. A box of paper clips laid knocked-over on the edge of the table, spilling its contents onto the floor. At least two empty water bottles and five granola bar wrappers rested on the floor under your desk. And on top of everything was you. 

You were... asleep. 

You were still wearing your white doctor's jacket, and two pens were sloppily enclosed in the strands of your messy hair. Your face was carefully tucked into the make-shift pillow of your arms, and every now and then your eyelids fluttered as you dreamed. 

For a moment, Sans just stood there, watching your back rise and fall with every breath you took.

He spent twenty minutes planning your coffee surprise with Papyrus and Frisk, and five minutes wallowing in self-pity and terrible pick-up lines for nothing. He did all of that worrying for nothing since you had fallen asleep at work.

"heh..." Sans's shoulders bounced as he laughed. "heh heh heh heh...hah!" 

Stars, you were cute. Despite the fact that it would be wasted money, he didn't have the heart to wake you up. You stayed up most of the night with him, and you didn't sleep much anyway. 

That's okay, though. You took care of him, so now it was time for him to take care of you.

With little effort, he turned off the lights in your office, stacked the papers into a somewhat neat pile, and placed the coffee and donut into the interdimensional box on his phone. Then, he carefully wrapped one arm around your waist and one under your knees before hoisting you up. 

"sweet dreams, sweetheart," he hummed, pressing his cheek against yours. 

 There was a small flash of magic, and then your office was empty once more. 

 

Chapter Text

21 Missed Calls from "River Colville," and One New Voice Message. 

Voice Mail Begins:

"Hey (Y/N), my old friend, flower girl, partner in crime.." the tenor voice snickers. In the background, the roaring sound of a metro can be heard as it runs in and out of the tunnels. A few muffled voices of other passengers are also heard, but no words can be clearly made out. 

The voice continues. "It's ya boy River, AKA the Riddler, AKA the Wife Stealer." Another cackle is heard from the phone, but it quickly fades at the end. 

"How have you been, you nature freak? I bet you're sitting up in some big fancy greenhouse, chillin' with your exotic plants and those weird immortal cats you have, not giving a care about all of this political bullshit going on in Ebott." He exhaled harshly. "Nah, who am I kidding? You're probably still a doctor, right? Geez, woman. Pick a new profession. The same routine gets boring, especially if it's about helping gross humans. I mean, even I expanded my choice of trade. I sell a little bit of everything now. Maybe if I see you, I'll offer you a discount on Dragon Eggs. Freshly stolen by yours truly, straight from the nest, and they're guaranteed to destroy everything straight after hatching!" 

River pauses to clear his throat.  

"Man, I haven't spoken to you since Miguel's family quit The Business, and you, me, and Victoire all went our separate ways. Can you believe it's been seventy, almost eighty years since then?"

His tone changed to something more bitter, yet the streak of humor still remained. "Oh, speaking of Victoire, you were right. It didn't work out. We broke up after shit hit the fan. She wanted me to be serious and buy us a nice penthouse, and I wanted to get us a small apartment. She started cheating on me with rich guys in New York, and I got drunk and slept with her sister. She wanted me to stop sleeping with her sister, so I slept with her new sugar daddy instead. Oh, and I stole his wallet and got him arrested for tax evasion the morning after, leaving her penniless. Forgot about that." River's tongue clicked. "Mild disagreements, really. Could never understand what she wanted from me. But hey, that's what I get for dating an enchantress. Heh, one time, she--wait, hold up. Buying a hot dog. Shit, I'm starving." 

The phone shifts and two men are briefly heard conversing before River's voice returns.

"I uh, noticed you haven't been returning my calls," he says with a guilty undertone. "At uh... at all. I don't know if it's cause you've been busy, or if, uh, you're mad... mad at me?" he exhales. "Look, I know I haven't been the best guy these past few centuries, but of all people, you're the only one that gets me, (Y/N). Since day one, we've both grown up fighting this world, just to stay alive. We were kids! We didn't have anyone else except for ourselves since that fucking Barrier got put up a millennium ago. Then those ungrateful humans revolted against mages, banned magic like we can just somehow stop it, and then my stupid old man--" 

River cursed, and then cut himself off. "Whatever. I'm not calling you to complain about the past. The High Elite of Belbourne, humans, and monsters can suck my fat left nut for all I care. Oh, but speaking of monsters..." River chuckled. "I've heard a thing or two about you from them. Those big bad, scary Royal Guards sure do talk a lot when they think they're alone in the alleyways. They sing praises of this human doctor that patches them up in the dead of night. They whisper to each other about how she's so close to the boss monsters, and how she's apparently guarded by the Captain and the Judge. New friends of yours, I'm guessing?" 

WIcked humor traced his next words, which were masked in harsh whispers. "An Earth Mage helping monsters, of all things? Assuming that they don't already know, if the monsters find out what you are, they'll try to kill you and steal your soul. If the High Elite catches you, they'll brainwash you and force you to talk before sowing your mouth shut. And if the humans find out that they didn't kill all of the mages like they desperately hoped they did after the Barrier War, then you'll send the world into bloodthirsty chaos, and doom every single remaining mage and Fable over a crime we never committed. Or, well, got caught committing, anyway." 

He hummed. "Regardless of who catches who, another war will start. I know you have a big heart, but you're playing a dangerous game, (Y/N). And the game pieces are people's lives. Yours and mine included."

"But then again, maybe I'm wrong," he mused. "Maybe you just really like being the side healer, an unimportant character for a story you're trying to be a part of. Maybe you don't have a side like those monsters like to think... Maybe you're just curious."

"Or maybe you just don't care."

There's another roaring sound as a metro runs by before River speaks again in a light voice. 

"Well, I don't give two shits about what you're doing, as long as you're happy. However, I am interested in watching how all of this goes down. But until then, you can consider my message as a way of me telling you that I'm paying you an unexpected visit. I've been stalking monsters in the shadows for a while now, trying to figure out where you live. My next stop is actually a place called Grillby's. You ever been there? I heard he has good burgers, and I kind of remember him from before the Barrier got set up. He wasn't a cook then, though. He was a... what do you call it... a general? Or was that his wife? I can't remember. Which one was the purple fire elemental?"

The sound of brakes squeaking against the tracks blares against the speakers, and River huffs. "My ride's here, but that's probably for the best. I've been talking too much, haven't I? Haha, sorry. I'll stop spamming your phone now, but if you get around to it, call me back sometime, okay? Or at least tell me if you're mad. But until then, I'll see you soon, Flower Girl."

Voicemail End. No remaining new messages. 

+++

It had been almost a week since Sans's drunken episode, but in a weird way, you felt like you were closer to him now. Not only did he open up to you, but he also confessed his fears about Frisk being a mage, the future, and the fate of monsters. 

And although you sucked at comforting people, you listened to him, and that was exactly what he needed. Just someone to listen, and believe him.

Since then, Sans had been a little more, well, clingy than usual. Not in like a controlling way. He was just... touchier? Is that even a word? Well, regardless, he was a lot more comfortable around you. 

And... you guys had started to fall asleep on the couch together. It started out as an accident: one night, you both shared a few too many glasses of wine, and then you woke up with your face resting on his chest, and his hand cupping your butt.

Long story short, you not-so-subtley tried to move it but little did you know, Sans was a very light sleeper. He freaked, you shrugged it off, he freaked about you just shrugging it off, and then Papyrus stomped down the stairs to tell both of you to either, "TAKE YOUR BLATANT CANOODLING UPSTAIRS OR CUT IT OUT!"

Sans immediately teleported away and didn't talk to you for the rest of the day, but in his defense, you locked yourself up in your library and busied yourself with potions for the next twelve hours. 

It's not that you were avoiding him! It's just that you were... you needed to... 

Yeah. You were definitely avoiding him that day. But it wasn't your fault! For some reason, Papyrus's comment hit you kind of hard, and your chest started to do this weird... flutter thing? Not like an atrial flutter involving the actual heart. It was more complex than that. In addition, your stomach had recently been acting up as well, too, almost as if you had some sort of parasite inside, which would've been an easy fix with some medication, except a foreign body in your abdomen didn't explain why you only got these symptoms whenever Sans gave you that stupid smug grin.

Oh. Who were you kidding? You knew exactly what this feeling was, and unfortunately, there wasn't a cure for it. 

At least, not one that you were quite willing to test. 

Surprisingly, Sans was the one who approached you first after the awkward incident. You had just finished closing up the clinic again when he showed up in your office. For a moment, the two of you couldn't even hold eye contact for longer than five seconds, but after a witty pun the tension seemed to drop, and you and Sans were once more pals again. 

Just pals. 

And now here you were, chilling on the same couch as your pal. 

You looked up from your book about mythological beings and watched as Sans dozed through the House M.D. show on the living room's flatscreen. Two empty cups of coffee sat on the table in front of you. Your feet were propped up in his lap (you don't even remember putting them there), and Sans had one hand resting on your ankle. 

A purple blanket covered your bodies. The blinds were pulled shut, but a thin stream of the orange haze from the sunset poked through.

It was... nice. This domestic stuff. You liked it. A little too much, to be honest. After all, the two of you falling asleep on the couch was starting to become a normal thing. He had been living with you for, what, two weeks now, nearly a month since the Barrier was broken and monsters were freed, and a majority of his freedom was spent with you or in your clinic. 

Your eyes flickered over to Sans, and you watched as a small line of drool dripped out of the corner of his mouth, and your mind drifted off to your previous discoveries.

Sans was friends with Frisk, even though they were a mage. Was it possible that, maybe, if you told him who you really were, would he...?

You bit your lip. Stars, he was so honest with you, and all you've ever told him was lies masked by vague truths. But it wasn't really your fault. You wanted to tell him that you were a mage. In fact, you wanted to tell all of the monsters who you really are and then publicly apologize to them for the sins your people, your parents committed against them. 

But... you couldn't. There would be too much to risk, and you had spent so much time with Sans, Papyrus, Undyne, Alphys, and the other monsters that you just... you just didn't know if you would be okay with being alone again. 

You couldn't afford to be selfish, even if it meant lying to your new friends for the rest of your life, or well, more likely their lives since it was extremely hard to kill a mage. 

Just like a majority of those you grew to know and befriend, one way or another, they always left in the end. 

In all honesty, that's part of why you stopped trying to befriend anyone for longer than five, maybe ten years. As more time flew by, it got harder to explain why they were getting older and you weren't. 

Miguel's funeral last week reminded you of that. 

Reminded you of what you had that they didn't. Reminded you of your place here as a mage. 

Reminded you that no matter how hard you tried, you would always end up alone.  

Something warm shifted in your lap, and you reached down and ran your finger through Milo's smooth fur, who purred in reply while Avery jumped up on the armrest and nuzzled your forearm. 

You smiled. That's right. You wouldn't be alone. You had your cats, and your cats had you. Right from the start, when you were just a tiny, homeless girl crying in the dark streets of some cold, dreary village and two stray cats walked up and comforted you, and in return, you gave them your protection. You gave them a home. 

Even River liked your cats. And River doesn't like anyone. 

Speaking of River...

You looked over to your phone, which had been charging since you checked his voicemail over an hour ago. 

...You really needed to return his call soon, but you just... didn't want to. Not yet, anyway. For the first time since the Barrier was made, you and River were separated from each other, and seeing him again after all these years would bring up Besides, he said he was going to visit soon, and although you knew that he had no idea where you lived, you had no doubt that he would be able to find you. 

Another perk of being a mage: magic made a lot of things easier. 

Regardless, you had more pressing things to worry about at the moment, and the sudden door slam from upstairs reminded you that Papyrus was not a very patient monster.

You inhaled. 

And three... two... one...

"LET'S GO ALREADY!"

Sans jolted right up from his slumber. Already wide awake, he frantically looked around the room for any sign of a threat, but when his pinprick red eyes landed on you, you gave him a soft smile, and his shoulders dropped as he exhaled. 

You closed your book and nudged his femur with your toe. "You alright, Bones?" 

He ran a hand down his face. "yeah," he grumbled, but there was no mirth in his tone. "boss just nearly scared me outta my skin, though."

You rolled your eyes. "I've heard that one before already."

"but you're smiling."

You were, and you hated it. Before you could retort with a witty reply, though, Papyrus jumped over the railing and landed directly in front of the couch you and Sans were on, causing both of you to flinch. 

"seriously?" Sans asked. 

"LET'S. GO!" Papyrus replied, impatiently tapping his black combat boot against the ground. "WE NEED TO LEAVE. RIGHT NOW!"

You and Sans locked eyes, and ever so slightly, your mouth twitched upward in a grin.

"What's the rush, Pap?" you said, snuggling back into the couch. "The store isn't closing anytime soon."

"eh, sweets has a point," Sans agreed. "we got tons of time to kill. a skele-ton."

You and Papyrus both glared at him for that overused pun, but Sans smiled as if it was the first time he ever told it.

"IT DOESN'T MATTER! THE FESTIVAL IS TOMORROW, AND IF WE DON'T HURRY, THE HALLOWEED'S WON'T HAVE ANY GOOD COSTUMES!" 

"Halloween." you corrected. "Although, since this Fall Festival is pretty popular among the youth, you're not that far from the truth."

"why are you so pumped up, anyway?" Sans asked. "just yesterday ya were saying that it was a stupid, racist holiday ya refused ta join 'n. 'n now, yer more excited about this than ya were when undyne told ya ya had more scars than her."

"I-I'M NOT EXCITED ABOUT THIS!" Papyrus fumed through pink cheekbones. "I JUST BELIEVE T-THAT AS AN IMPORTANT MASCOT TO MONSTERKIND, I SHOULD PARTAKE IN THE HUMAN RITUALS!"

"That's actually not a bad idea. Lots of monsters and humans will be there, and I know that the mayor plans on officially welcoming monsters tomorrow." Your eyes brightened. "Monsters walking around in costumes might help with some of the tension, too, since people will see it as an effort to interact with them more and mingle cultures. It's perfect!"

Sans wasn't buying it. With an amused grin, he leaned over and chuckled. "frisk told ya that ya can dress up as a pirate for ta event, didn't they?"

"SANS!" Papyrus shrieked before throwing a glance in your direction. "YOU SAID WOULD NOT TELL ANYONE!"

"sweets ain't gonna care that ya think pirates are cool, bro."

"T-THAT'S NOT THE POINT!"

"Hey, no need to be embarrassed," you said, sitting up and placing your hand on Papyrus's forearm. "I used to be a pirate, and although cool isn't a word I would use to define them, I'd say they were pretty interesting."

"ya were a pirate once fer halloween?" Sans asked.

"Uh..." A mental image of your and River loading up a canon flashed through your head, but you shook it away. "Yeah."

A mischevious glint flashed in his eyes as he looked at you. "was it one of those sexy costumes? 'cause if ya still have it, i wouldn't mind helpin' goin' treasure hunting if it meant i could dig around in yer chest, sweetheart."

You weren't sure who moved faster. You, who jumped off of the couch with a flushed face, or Papyrus, who sprinted off towards the door.

"I'LL BE IN THE CAR! COME FIND ME WHEN YOU'VE LEARNED SOME MANNERS, SANS!"

The front door slammed shut, leaving you alone with Sans.

"uh, hey..." he said, shifting around on the couch. "i didn't mean anythin' by that. i was just tryin' ta mess with ya like i always do."

"Hah... yeah," you mumbled as your fidgeted with your hands. "I know that. I was just caught off guard, you know? I mean, for a moment, I thought you were..."

Sans's brows knitted together, and he suddenly looked a little nervous. "(y/n), doc, i uh, i've been meaning to ask if--"

"W-we better get going, Bones," you stammered. "I don't really want Papyrus wrecking my car over a costume."

Sans's red eyes studied your face for a moment before he sighed. "ya. yer right. come on." 

You grabbed your keys, and Sans hoisted himself up from the couch. As you opened the door for him to leave, Sans cleared his throat and spoke. 

"are ya gonna dress up, too?"

You exhaled, thankful for the change in topic, although it was rather abrupt. 

"Yeah, but I already have my costume."

"eh? what is it?"

You couldn't help the small chuckle in your throat.

"A witch, believe it or not."

 

 

 

Chapter Text

To put it simply, you loved Halloween.

And how could you not? After all, it was the only time of the year that Fables and Mages freely wandered outside the magical city of Belbourne and into the human populated areas without any disguises or fears of getting caught.

Did it fall within the human's thousand-year-old banishment and attempted slaughter of all magical beings? No. Was it dangerous? Incredibly so. Did everyone, including most of the members of the High Elite, break the rule anyway? Yeah, pretty much.

Regardless, the chances of getting caught on this day were low since this was the one day a year where humans embraced anything unnatural. Costume stores were completely raided from eager hands of all ages. Things like cheaply-made outfits, gruesome masks, flimsy weapons, and special effect makeup turned people into things that they weren't.

And that made it so easy for Mages and Fables to blend in with the crowd. After all, the most convincing lies are often the simplest. 

Which was why you were going as a witch. 

You did another twirl in the mirror and watched as the slightly puffy black skirt move with your body before stopping right above you ankle boots. A dark purple corset rose from your hips and to your chest, carefully exposing just a tad bit of cleavage. The sleeves of the gown exposed your shoulders (scandalous) before drooping down to your hands. In addition to the stereotypical black hat you adored on your head, a thick black choker was strung around your neck, along with a silver cat pendant. 

You locked eyes with your reflection and smiled. For someone who woke up and did her makeup and bought her costume an hour ago, you really didn't look too shabby. Kind of nice, actually. 

Plus the cat pendant you got at the Dollar Store was adorable and very much something you were going to keep.

You were in the process of readjusting some eyeliner when there was a knock at the door. With a grin, you tiptoed quietly past the snoozing black cat by your feet and pressed a hand against the door. 

"Who's there?" you asked. 

"ben," a rough voice replied.

"...Really, Bones?" you deadpanned. 

Sans chuckled. "come on, sweets. just play along. it's a good one, i swear. knock knock."

"Nooo. You've done this one already!" 

"pretty please?"

...Damn it. 

With an exaggerated sigh and a smile that you would never show him, you opened the door.

"Ben who?" 

"you ready yet? boss has ben waiting all day for this... event..." Sans's voice trailed off, and his red eyes dilated. "uh..."

You placed a hand on your hip and looked up at him. "Har de har. I told you I've heard this one before."

Sans wasn't looking at you. Or, well, at least not your eyes. 

"...Bones?"

A bead of sweat rolled down his forehead, and you watched his eye socket twitch. 

"Bones!" you clicked your fingers in front of his face. 

His head snapped up, eyes wide with shock, and when you opened your mouth to ask him if he was alright, he just... Disappeared. 

Like, poof. A big poof. Completely gone. 

Uh oh. Did the costume make it obvious you were a mage or something? You didn't think it would, but still... 

No, wait. 

His face didn't look disgusted at all. He looked... bashful? Awkward? But why would he--

Oh.

Your face suddenly grew very, very hot. 

Sans teleported away from you because you made him blush. 

Oh sweet mercy.

You covered your mouth and tried to walk away, but your feet wouldn't move. You shouldn't be smiling like this. Why are you smiling?!

You're a mage he's a monster you're a mage he's a monster you're a mage he's a monster--

But I think he likes me, too. 

It took you a few seconds to process the situation and regain your composure, and it wasn't until Milo brushed against you ankle in attempt to get your attention that you actually moved. Just when you got enough sense to pick up your wining cat and return to your bedroom, a loud shout from downstairs made you jump.

"You dID WHAT?!"

Milo tried to squirm out of your arms at the sound of Papyrus's boisterous voice, but you pulled him back. 

"Don't leave me alone when my feelings are like this! I feed you, now give me emotional support!" you whispered to him before directing your attention back to the brothers.

"k-keep your voice down! boss, it wasn't like--"

"IT WASN'T LIKE WHAT, SANS?! IT WASN'T LIKE YOU TOTALLY CHICKENED OUT IN FRONT OF HER AND RAN OUT OF THERE WITH YOUR TAIL BETWEEN YOUR LEGS LIKE THE SCARED MUTT YOU ARE?!"

"boss--"

"ASGORE'S BEARD! HOW HARD CAN IT BE TO TELL SOMEONE HOW THEY LOOK? I TELL YOU YOU LOOK LIKE TRASH ALL THE TIME! AND YOU DON'T SEE ME ACTING LIKE A FOOL ABOUT IT!"

"papyrus--"

"NO. SAVE IT. YOU'RE RUINING OUR PLAN. NOW, I HAVE TO CONSULT THE DATING MANUAL FOR INFORMATION ON HOW TO SCAVENGE THIS SINKING SHIP! NOW, WHERE'S MY..."

"bro--"

"NYEH HEH HEH! I FOUND IT! AND IT SAYS WE HAVE TO GO GET THESE, SANS! RIGHT NOW!" 

"b-but i can just--oof!"

You flinched at the sound of a door being kicked open, which was quickly followed by loud stomping before it slammed shut. Even from outside, the brothers' faint bickering could still be heard. 

You released a breath you didn't realize you had been holding and quietly entered your bedroom, ignoring Milo's claws pawing against your arm.

+++

About two minutes later, you ran into Sans again. 

Like, you literally ran into him. He teleported into your kitchen right when you were about to turn around with a glass of water in your hands. 

"SHIT!" you screamed, caught off guard.

The water spilled onto the floor and the glass shattered, and when both of you reached down to get it, you bonked heads. 

"fuck, i'm so sorry--"

"No no. I didn't see you--"

"but ya didn't--"

"But I did--"

Both of you stopped muttering apologies and took a moment to gather your breaths. When you finished, you looked up at Sans, who strangely had a hand behind his back. 

You cocked your head. "Uh, what do you have there?" 

Sans looked at his other hand and held up a MTT plastic cup. Then, with the biggest shit-eating grin, said, "a smoothie."

The sound that came out of your throat was not human.  

"Oh my gosh," you wheezed, wiping away a tear. "I cannot believe you just said that to me. In MY house!"

"imagine the look on papyrus's face when i pulled that meme on him the first time we got to the surface."

"Bones, nooo. What did he do?"

"welp, the smoothie ended up down my shirt, and i ended up in a really..." he winked. "sticky situation."

You fought really hard not to snort. You really did. But Sans saw right through you, and when he waggled his eye bones, well, you broke. 

"Okay, okay. Seriously," you waved you hand. "Jokes aside, what do you have behind your back?"

Sans's grin suddenly looked a lot less relaxed, and a faint hue of pink crept up his cheekbones as he rubbed his neck. 

"uh... it's an apology and somethin'... somethin' else i want to say."

"Apology for...?"

"fer leavin' ya like i did earlier," he coughed and averted your gaze in favor of staring at the floor. "my uh, bro told me that wasn't..."

"Cool?"

"y-yeah," he swallowed. "so uh, i went out and uh, see there ain't many stores open this late at night so i just... uh... fuck. here, just t-take it."

Suddenly, something pink was thrown into your hands, and for a moment all you could see was a blanket of pink. However, when you moved the item away from your hands, you discovered that it was a bouquet. A bouquet of pink, dainty flowers. 

You felt something warm swarm inside you. "Oh... you didn't have to--wait a second." You pulled your hand away from their stems and looked down at the dirt crumbs that were now coating your hands. "These look strangely like the Dianthus caryophyllus I have growing in the backyard."

A bead of sweat ran down his skull. "the die in the what now?"

"My pink carnations. And there's fresh mud on these roots, just like there would be if they were freshly picked..." You leveled with the skeleton. "You picked these from my garden, didn't you?"

A beat of silence passed.

"...okay, (y/n)," he stammered, his eyes darting over your body as you slowly approached. "i-i meant it when i said there weren't any stores open, a-and now that i think about it it was a really shitty idea but paps said that t-these would be the best thing to give you to tell ya how i feel since i think yer really great and that's why i panicked and left ya earlier because you look really good and i was worried i was gonna go out and say that i lov--"

With a final step, you gently pulled him into a hug, and his shaking form happily rested against yours and he let out a sigh of relief. 

You're a mage he's a monster you're a mage he's a monster you're a mage he's a monster.

But I'm starting not to care. 

"They're beautiful," you hummed before pulling away. "Thank you."

"okay!" he squeaked, fumbling with his hood. "uh, i meant, great? i, fuck... uh..." He took in a deep breath. "so as i was saying--"

HONK HONK!

Sans flinched and quickly turned to you with a wobbly smile. 

"uh, i think that's boss tellin' us ta hurry it up... heh, he's really excited for this fall festival, even if he won't admit it."

"You two spent hours on his costume," you said, your back turned towards Sans as you searched for a vase in the cabinets. "I've never seen him put so much focus into something before."

"heh, yeah, my bro's pretty big on appearances. i mean, look at me." Sans gestured to his outfit, which consisted of a black leather jacket, a gray sweater, torn black jeans, and a gold chain around his neck that not only matched with the glittering rings on his fingers, but his tooth as well. "he even made me dress up fer tonight, 'n he isn't even gonna see me much."

"Then why did he make you do it?" You looked up from the flowers to see Sans staring at the floor again. When he caught your gaze, he blushed and adjusted his jacket. 

"h-he's uh, pretty big on that l-line in the dating book where it says ya gotta... ya k-know." Sans buried his face farther into his jacket. 

"I'm not following?"

His eye twitched. "ya know, the uh... date book t-thing. wear nice c-clothes and all that, uh... stuff."

"Wear nice clothing... for the Fall Festival?"

Sans ran a hand down his face. "fuck. the kid was right. i suck at this."

"I mean, you do look good, if that's what you're trying to ask me."

The skeleton groaned. "i can't do this right now."

"What? I'm not lying."

"sweetheart, that's not it." He turned towards you with a serious face. "i'm tryin' ta say that i--"

HONK HONK!!

 "CAN YA FUCK OFF FER TWO SECONDS!?" Sans roared as he glared at Papyrus through the window, who was sitting in the car, watching you two. His reply was another honk, which was followed by him shooting the bird, which Sans returned as well. 

You shook your head. "Come on, Bones. Let's go before Papyrus decides to ram his car into the kitchen wall. Again."

Sans grumbled and shoved his hands into his jeans. "yeah, sure, whatever."

"Oh wait. I forgot something," you said, quickly walking over to him.

He raised an eyebrow. "what?"

"This." With a slight bounce in your step, you stood on your tiptoes, grabbed his shirt, and placed a tiny, lingering kiss on his cheek. Sans stiffened and immediately looked at you with wide eyes. You giggled.  

"Pink's great, but you know..." You trailed your fingers over the collar of his leather jacket and all the way up to his chin, which you cupped. 

"I think I prefer red."

Your smile widened when you pulled away and watched Sans's face quickly fill with your new favorite shade. 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

You wished you could say that Ebott's Fall Festival was some sort of extravagant event filled with only the finest of foods and rides, but this wasn't so. It was basically your typical, cheap carnival filled with greasy corn dogs and roller coasters that squeaked way more often than they should.

Still, it was a fun activity for the kids and a good sneak away spot for the teenagers who wanted to vape in the nearby woods. However, unlike the previous years, this time it would be more of a informative gathering since the mayor wanted to officially welcome Monsters into the city, as well as raise some cash to fund the local schools. A great idea, but a boring thing to listen to.

But that didn't mean the night wouldn't be magical. After all, this was the one night Fables broke the rules.

Some, apparently, more than others.

Which was why you sent Papyrus and Sans off to buy tickets the moment you spotted the tiny, fluttering orange thing stuck in a piece of electric blue bubble gum on a nearby crumbled-up sidewalk, right next to the parking lot you were in. As soon as the brothers' backs were turned, you made sure no one was watching and quickly made a bee-line for him.

He was a pixie, about the size of your pinkie, and everything from his skin to his clothing was in a brilliant shade of lilac. The boy's curly wisps of hair jumped with every move he made in an attempt to free his boot from the gum, but unfortunately, it held fast. A string of curses flew out of his mouth while his sharp wings twitched, and every now and then he frantically whirled his head around to both sides, as if checking to see no one was watching. It wasn't until the two of you locked eyes did he stop.

"Uh oh," he said, his wings wilting before snapping up with new energy. "Err, back off, human! I mean, wait, uh, you don't see anything...?"

You stifled a laugh and knelt beside him.

"And what's a Fable like yourself doing out in the open for all of the humans to see?" you asked, smoothing out your dress.

The pixie's face paled. "F-f-fable?!" he squeaked. "U-um... listen, this is j-just a prank gone wrong. I know my rights! A-and it's Halloween, so Fable Law says you can't arrest me!"

You snorted. "Relax, pixie. I'm not with the High Elite. You're safe."

The boy's wings relaxed. "Oh. Phew! I thought I was a goner for a second. So wait, you're not human either, are you?"

"Uh, technically speaking, no."

"Huh..." His wings perked. "Listen, whatever you are, please, just do me a favor and help a guy out of this mess, okay?" He pointed to his gum-covered boot. "Then we can both go on our separate ways and pretend we don't know each other. Deal?"

You pretended to thinkfor a moment and tapped your chin. "Sure."

He brightened. "Really?"

"Mhm."

The boy cracked a weak grin and held out his arms. "O-okay, great, well in that case you can--whoa!"

Ever so gently, you stretched out your palm and raised it, causing magic to flood your eyes and veins as the pixie's body was lifted from the gum. A string of electric blue connected his shoe to the ground, but when you curled your fingers the gum quickly recoiled.

The boy's bright wings fluttered behind him while his mouth stood agape, watching as the red hue left your eyes and returned to their normal color.

"M-m-mage..." he stuttered.

You smiled. "In this world, I'm known as Dr. (Y/N) (L/N). It's nice to meet you."

Before you could blink, a flash of lilac flew up to your face with an eager grin.

"Wow! An actual mage! Mom said you guys were really rare and that there's only one kind of you around at a time! What type are you? How old are you? Where do you live? Can you show me some more magic?"

"Shhh. Not so loud," you whispered, holding up a finger to your lips. You quickly looked over your shoulder and sighed with relief when no one else was paying attention. However, over by the gate, you could see Papyrus pulling out his wallet while Sans stood beside him, looking bored, meaning that your time was limited.

"I don't know how you managed to get stuck in that gum, but knowing you mischievous creatures I bet it involved either a prank you were trying to pull or someone pranked you." He fluttered down to your level and nodded, and you chuckled. "You need to be more careful next time, though. Don't do anything that might get you or any of us in trouble, especially not in front of the Monsters."

"Do they really eat humans?" he asked, standing on your shoulders and with a hand pressed to your cheek. "I heard that they eat their souls. Like, in a soup. Soul soup! Tasty!"

"Of course not!" You gently grabbed the pixie and held him up. "Listen, as much as I'd love to exchange pleasantries, it's not safe for me and you to be seen out like this. Someone could sneak out any minute!"

"Like a monster!"

"Exactly! Or a human!"

The boy jumped out of your hand and threw up his arms. "But you're a mage. You can just banish the monsters again or brainwash the humans! You guys can do that, right?"

Frustrated, you tried to grab him again, but the little guy was too quick. He zipped around your fingertips, leaving a glowing lilac trail behind him.

"Hold still!" you growled.

"You could also kill them, if that's what you fancy," he hummed with delight. "It shouldn't be hard to do! Your SOUL shows that you've killed before, hehe! Say, what happens if a mage steals a monster's soul? You could start a collection!"

"What? No! I don't want to do that. They're my friends, and I promise that they're nice people if you just gave them a chan—"

"boo," a voice growled in your ear.

Caught off-guard and still having fresh magic in your veins, you shrieked and fell, and a streak of red snaked down your veins and into the ground.

Then there was as strong crack, like a baseball bat shattering in two.

"(y/n)!"

Faster than you could blink, a pair of strong arms wrapped around your middle yanked you away--

Just in time to watch a large pine tree slam down on the spot you and Sans once stood, landing with a sickening boom.

You only caught a quick glimpse of something lilac zipping deeper into the forest before you were turned around. With concerned eye lights, Sans quickly searched you for any injuries while people gathered around to survey the damage done to the parking lot and began murmuring among one another. A handful of them started to run up to you, but after seeing the big, scary monster holding you like a teddy bear, they quickly stumbled back.

"are you okay?" he asked, cupping your cheeks.

"Yeah," you breathed, more rattled by your slip up than by the crash itself. "I'm fine."

He didn't seem to buy it. His frown deepened. "sweets, (y/n), we can go home. pap can keep the car and drive himself home if he wants to stay, but we can leave."

"No no," you shook your head. "I'm fine, I just--what are you doing?"

You held still as the skeleton leaned over you and pulled something from your hair. When he moved his hand back, there was a tiny bunch of bright orange flowers with half of its delicate petals pointing up while the others pointed down.

Oh.

You must've be more high-strung than you thought if your magic was not only knocking trees over but sprouting plants out of you as well. Maybe you really did need to sleep more.

Your eyes scanned over the crowd of monsters and humans that were eyeing you two curiously. You couldn't pull a stunt like that again tonight.

Sans made a face. "ta hell...?" He twirled the cluster of orange flowers. "where did this come from?"

"It's an Asclepias tuberosa," you said automatically.

He blinked. "a... what?"

"Oh. Uh, they're called butterfly weeds, cause, they're, you know, supposed to attract butterflies," you inhaled. "But they have a second meaning that a lot of people don't know about."

"i don't...? doc, you nearly die and you wanna talk about fuckin' flowers?!"

You actually... wince at that, and you quickly drop your gaze. "Ah, sorry. I guess you could say I'm really into Botany--"

Understatement of the century.

"--and I tend to rant about things that, um... that I like."The corner of your lip tugged up. "I guess that's why Alphys and I are pretty good friends."

Sans's eye lights softened, and the frustration on his face was quickly gone and replaced with guilt. In a small voice, he asked you what the flower meant. You quickly perked up.

"It's caution. A warning."

How fitting...

He frowned at the orange petals once more and then turned to squint at the fallen tree. "fuckin' weird... how in the hell did that thing even fall over... s'a pretty big ass tree. 'n where in ta hell did this flower even come from?"

You plucked it out of Sans's hand and crushed it in your own, letting its crumbled body melt back into your skin.

"Can we just... go on with the festival, and forget about this, please?" you pleaded, reaching for his arm.

Sans returned your heavy gaze with one of skepticism. "i mean, sweets, don't get me wrong, we can, but are you okay? you're actin' kinda... weird."

You tried to brush off his concern. "No no, I'm fine. I just don't wanna ruin this night with some bizarre accident."

Sans, however, wasn't taking the situation as lightly as you hoped. "Ruin ta--sweetheart, you almost got hurt! ya ain't ruining anythin! 'n yer still shakin' like a leaf! did somethin' else happen while me 'n boss were gone? i can--"

"Sans," you exhaled, gently squeezing his arm. "Please."

He was quiet for a few moments, his red eyes scanning your face for some deeper meaning to your question. With a sharp inhale, he gave in.

"ok... ok, sweets, just for you, i'll go on and assume that some bastard didn't try to hurt you or anythin', and that yer really okay." He turned to look at you with burning embers. "but when we get home, we're gonna talk about this. if someone tried ta hurt ya, or if somethin' scared ya, i wanna know."

You quickly nodded, the tension in your body finally leaving. Sans, however, looked like he was going to say more, but an idea struck.

"Oh, hey," you said, pulling away. "I forgot to thank you for saving me. That was really heroic of you."

Annnnd there it was again. Your new favorite color, dusting a certain skeleton's cheekbones.

"...s'no big deal," he mumbled, looking at the ground.

"It is a big deal," you pushed, trying to give him credit while you stood and offered your hand. "You saved my life, Bones. I'm really grateful for someone like you helping me out. Thank you."

He snorted, but still refused to meet your gaze while he tried to maintain his 'tough guy' facade in public. However, the deepening hue on his cheeks told you everything.

"...yer too good to me, sweetheart," he exhaled slowly before standing and taking your hand,

"Funny," you hummed. "I could say the same thing about you, too."

Past the swarming humans and up ahead at the gate, you could see Papyrus in his pirate costume, motioning the two of you over while wearing a very impatient look on his face. However, he froze when he saw you and his brother's hands locked together, and, after pausing for a few minutes, gave the two of you the biggest smirk you've ever seen before turning on his heels and entering the festival by himself.

The monster next to you seemed to panic for a moment, and you felt his hand loosen. With a gentle squeeze and a soft voice, you called out to him.

"Sans," you said, and he turned to look at you, his eyes the size of pinpricks at the sound of his real name. You offered a small yet reassuring smile. "I don't mind holding your hand a little longer, if that's okay with you."

You meant it. There was just something right about having him this close to you. Something you had never noticed before.

...It was nice.

He paused, stared at you with a weird expression, and then released your hand. For a second you were worried that maybe he was just too shy or if you were getting the signs wrong, but then you felt something warm snake around your back before resting on your hip, pulling you close to his body. Sans's hot breath tickled your ear as he leaned in and pressed a bony kiss to your temple.

"i'm not gonna lie, (y/n)," he whispered.. "but i think i'd prefer holdin' ya instead of yer hand."

A smile grew on your face as Sans let out a chuckle, and you felt his hand gently press against your hip, guiding you through the crowds and towards the park's huge metal gate, where laughter and music could be heard.

Before you entered, though, you turned your head and watched as a tiny ball of lilac seemed to wave good-bye to you before dancing over to a tree filled with what looked like Christmas lights, but you knew better.

"But you're a mage," The pixie's voice had said. "You can just banish the monsters again or brainwash the humans! You guys can do that, right?"

+++

It was about a quarter past nine. Warm, buttery popcorn and sweet cotton candy scents drifted in the cool wind, luring customers into those red-and-white stripped tents that seemed to lurk around every corner, each with a line longer than the last. The sky was a deep blue, and strings of orange lights were webbed between the branches, forming graceful curves above the crowds' heads while connecting each tree to the one across and next to it. Monsters and humans were all dressed in various costumes, but the two species seemed to ignore each other as best as they could. Nevertheless, at least the children didn't seem to mind that some of their non-human friends had fur or scales, and the Fables you spotted had no trouble fitting in.

It was truly a magical night where three different races from three different worlds could come together, whether they realized it or not.

The only thing that ruined it was the amount of security.

Men and women in blue police uniforms stalked nearly every corner of the fairgrounds, each of them keeping a close eye on the crowd while their handguns were fastened proudly on their belts. Police cars occupied a majority of the parking spaces, and you could've sworn you saw one out in the woods behind the fairgrounds, poorly hidden behind a bush.

Sans seemed to also notice your observation, because when you looked at him, his face was scrunched up.

"seriously?" he spat, his red eyes burning into a nearby cop who was watching a monster family with disgust. "what in the hell do these humans think--"

"That we need all of these absolutely wonderful boys in blues for, hmm?" a chirpy voice chuckled. "Well, my son, they're here for your protection form all of that nasty gang business. Isn't that right, Mr. Asgore?"

You and Sans froze at the sound of that name, and before you managed to turn around, already monsters were already quickly clearing the path for their King.

You've met the King of all Monsters before. Several times, actually, considering that you often babysat for Frisk and, um, offered your medical services to monsters after their fights against racist human gangs. He always looked the same: matted white fur, greasy black, uncombed hair, cold eyes, and the same black and red attire that all of these monsters seemed to be obsessed with.

To most people, he was a being to never mess with. A murderer. A tyrant. A monster with a long line of destruction.

But to you...

"Ah, the good doctor," the king smiled, reaching for your hand. "It's been too long, my dear."

He was an old friend and a father.

"Your majesty," you said, causing Asgore's brow to wrinkle.

"How many times do Tori and I have to tell you, doctor? After all of the things you have done for my monsters, you have far exceeded from succumbing to these formal titles."

"aw, asgore, you big sap," Sans chuckled.

The king's eyes sharpened as he looked at the skeleton. "I didn't say that extended to you, Sans. I know that Papyrus has been picking up a majority of your shifts around the monster neighborhoods. Which is why I expect you to be at your station tomorrow night at ten sharp, or I'll personally deal with you."

A bead of sweat ran down Sans's skull as he stammered out a, "yes sir."

A sudden weight slammed into your stomach, and if it wasn't for the king's strong grip on your arm, you would've fallen over. Your surprise yelp quickly turned into a greeting when you saw the familiar mess of chocolate-brown hair.

"Frisk!" Toriel yelled, her robes flying behind her as she quickly ran to meet your group. "Don't scare (Y/N) like that! You nearly broke the poor woman's neck!"

"Hi Toriel. It's all good," you giggled. "And nice costume, Frisk. You're a zombie, I take it?"

The child grinned through their green face makeup and fake stitches, happy that you guessed correctly.

"Aw, isn't that just splendid!" The previously-forgotten chirpy voice said. All eyes in your group turned to the man who stepped out of Asgore's shadow. His polished white teeth seemed to glow as he grinned. "I love family reunions. Especially on a special night like this!"

Asgore, seeming a little annoyed, turned to welcome this man into your small group.

The king cleared his throat. "Everyone, I would like you to meet the man responsible for Monsters being welcomed into the city."

The man beamed and tugged on his black bolo tie. "Why, it's an honor to meet all of you! I'm the mayor of this here city, and I go by Joseph O. Sanders! However, folks around here just call me Joseph. Ain't that right, Mr. Asgore and Mrs. Toriel?"

Your mind tuned out the conversation that followed as you inspected the familiar man before you. He had pale milk, wrinkled skin, salt and pepper hair that matched his neatly-combed beard, a black suit, and violet eyes above his all-too-friendly smile.

It wasn't his demeanor that made you take a tiny, tiny step back...

No. It was the fact that you knew all of the members of the High Elite, especially the ones who personally played a role in creating the Barrier nearly a thousand years ago.

You remembered him standing in those light-blue, dust-covered robes next to your parents around the entrance of the cave while you and River hid in a nearby tree, watching.

He wasn't the actual mayor. The other one was grumpy and older, and disappeared after the Monsters surfaced as the High Elite took over the city in order to watch them like cowards. A quick forgetting spell was all that was needed to erase that old man and replace him with Joseph O. Sanders.

You remembered this man. You remembered his hate for the Monsters, his hate for the monarchy you ruled under, and his hate for River.

And, judging by the way his bright eyes lingered on your for a second longer than everyone else, he remembered you, too.

Your sudden tension didn't go unnoticed, because Sans's grip on your waist tightened just a hair, but his casual smile didn't give away any sign of concern.

"What a delight to see a familiar face," Joseph smiled. The silver medallion under his chin twinkled in the light as he made his way over to you, past the bewildered faces on your monsters friends. "It's been a while, Miss (Y/N). Or, should I say, Dr. (Y/N). I would ask how the clinic life has been treating you, but judging by the high praises I hear from monsters and humans, I figured it's been pretty good for y'all."

"What can I say," you said in a quiet voice. "You know how much I like helping others."

That made him chuckle, and he patted you on the shoulder like a parent does with a child who made an A on an exam. It was something he had often done when you were younger. Now, it was a derogating gesture to do to one as old as yourself.

Asgore cleared his throat.

"I didn't know you two knew each other," he said, looking a little confused. "But I suppose that makes sense with both of your respectful reputations in this town."

Joseph chuckled. "Well, I guess you could say that. But now that we've all been introduced, I think it'd be best to go on ahead and make sure that all of the events for tonight are running smoothly. But first!" He clapped his hands. "Would you all mind if I had a moment with dear (Y/N)? In private, if you would--"

"no."

All eyes turned towards Sans, who was still holding on to your waist with an easygoing smile.

"sorry, buddy," he said. "but doc and i have a pretty busy schedule tonight. feel free to make an appointment later, though, and we'll get back to you in three to five business days."

"Sans!" Toriel and Asgore said before pausing and looking away.

Asgore cleared his throat. "Sans, that's no way to talk to the man who offered monsters a safe haven on the surface."

"And protection under the law," Toriel added softly.

"Aw shucks," Joseph said, rubbing his head. "It's really no problem. After all, my home is your home. And uh, Sans was it?" he asked, looking up with a cheeky grin. "As much as I appreciate you looking after your friends, I think the little lady would rather have a say in this. Ain't that right, (Y/N)?"

Once again, everyone looked at you with various expressions, waiting for a response.

But in the end, it wasn't as if you really had a choice.

"...I suppose I can spare a few minutes," you said calmly, ignoring Sans's narrowed eye sockets. "Meanwhile, how about you guys go and enjoy the festival? I'm sure Mayor Joseph can find you later when it's time to do... whatever you guys need to do."

You shot Sans a pleading look, and he reluctantly sighed.

"heh, alright, sweets," he said, shoving his hands into his pockets. "but remember i'm here if ya need anythin', ok?"

You gave him a tiny smile and pulled away from him before joining Joseph's side as he lead you off to some nearby tent.

Looking back, though, you noticed that Toriel, Asgore, and even Frisk still seemed confused about Sans's demeanor towards the mayor, but you were too far to hear any of their soft voices.

+++

The tent, as you expected, was a lot bigger on the inside.

Especially since it wasn't a tent after all.

It was a teleporter to a small, dainty cafe. And, judging by the warm sunlight outside instead of your hazy dark sky, you were very far from Ebott.

"A favorite of yours, I presume?" you asked, looking up from the fancy menu that a waiter had handed you earlier.

Joseph chuckled and pulled out a Cuban cigar.

"One of the best places to get a coffee, missy," he said, snapping his fingers to light the cigar with a bright blue flame. "Plus, their grits and shrimp ain't too bad, either."

"I imagine so." You turned your eyes away from the deep green bayous that you could see through the windows. "After all, Louisiana is known for them."

"My, my. I'm happy to see you're still the same bright girl you were a thousand years ago." He leaned back in his chair. "Your parents would be proud."

You held your tongue.

From the corner of your vision, you watched as the waiter from before frown. Soon, he was scurrying back over to your table.

"I'm sorry, sir," he said, eyeing the cigar with mild distaste. "But there is a strict no smoking policy in our establishment."

Joseph calmly closed his eyes and puffed out a cloud of smoke, forming a single ring. When he opened them again, his usual violet irises were blood red.

He tipped his cigar at the waiter. "Your policy doesn't apply to us."

The man straightened, and his mouth gaped open like a fish for a moment before the command took effect. "O-our... policy doesn't apply to... to you." He blinked. "Um... what can I get you?"

Joseph flashed him a smile as his eyes returned to their normal color. "I'm in a hurry, so just a black coffee for now, young man. What about you, (Y/N)?"

"A macchiato with soy milk, please."

As soon as the waiter was gone with your orders, you turned to Joseph.

"Mind control?" you asked, raising an eyebrow with distaste. "That's impressive. I didn't know you were capable of performing basic elementary magic. What's next? Are you going to read my thoughts?"

Joseph let out another puff of smoke. "It ain't basic magic to those who aren't nearly as skilled as we are. As someone like yourself who's the daughter of two of the seven former High Elite members, I know you're not just some regular mage. You're the literal embodiment of nature, and the only one alive who knows shit about Earth magic. Besides..." The corners of his mouth tugged upward. "Ain't gotta read your thoughts to know that you don't like me."

"I wonder why."

"That stuff happened years ago. Times were different. We had different rules. Different governments."

"Bullshit."

"You know we had orders from that dumb human king, orders that we as mages were destined to follow."

"The only orders I know of came from you."

"You know that the Laws of Old command our kind to obey and serve the humans, and everything in this world in order to maintain peace."

"I also recall them saying that humans were selfish at times, and orders could be rebuked if a majority of the High Elite saw to it."

"And the High Elite didn't see to rebuke it."

"One of the members didn't get to vote because the last Earth mage died years before, and then when I was born to take his place, I was too young to even write my name when the war started. Two of the High Elite members, my parents, did vote against it. Another went missing, and her body was never found. And the final two were so devoted to you that they'd kiss the filthy ground you walked on if you desired it."

"That's still a two against three vote."

"Not the seven that the Laws of Old required."

"The humans were terrified of the monsters' powers! Something had to be done!"

"But it didn't have to be a war filled with blood and dust, much less burying them alive!"

A single cup of a steaming liquid was placed in front of you. You watched as the waiter did the same with Joseph's drink before quietly walking away, pretending that the two of the most powerful mages in the world weren't standing up in their seats as they shouted.

You huffed, and took your seat. Joseph soon followed, and both of you sat in silence for a few moments. At least your espresso was good.

He took a sip of his black coffee, and spoke in a low voice. "You know, I didn't think that the humans would turn against all forms of magic, turn against us, after the war. I'm... I'm really sorry about what they did to your parents, and if I had known that you were all alone after that for all those years, I would've--"

"What do you want?" you hissed. "What are you hoping to gain out pretending to be major and helping the monsters? What are you planning on getting out of your flimsy apology?"

Joseph looked up at you with tired eyes and let out sigh. "I'm hoping to make up for my past mistakes, (Y/N). The monsters deserve better than what we've done, and if they find out who I really am, that mages and Fables still exist, there will be another war. But if I can show them that times have changed, that I--" he held a hand to his chest "--have changed, then maybe Mages, Fables, Monsters, and Humans can all live together in peace, just like we did all those years ago."

"And what exactly do you want from me?"

"There are only three members of the High Elite, (Y/N)," he said. "We used to have seven. I want you to take on the role you were born for."

 

Chapter Text

You stepped out of the tent and returned to the cool night air of Ebott City. The sky was now several shades of blue darker, meaning you had been gone for quite a while. However, the festival was still just as lively, and the lights that hung on the tree limbs emitted a hazy orange glow. 

Unfortunately, you couldn't find a single familiar face, monster nor human. Although that didn't matter much in the end, because the mayor was only a few steps behind you. 

"I have to admit," you said, looking at him over your shoulder. "I'm pretty surprised Asgore and Toriel didn't recognize you."

"You know our magic is stronger than theirs," he hummed. "Besides, you of all people should know the wonders that a simple forgetting spell can do to a mind."

You scoffed. "Using magic on those you want peace with?"

"It's for the greater good."

"I beg to differ."

He tugged on the silver medallion that hung on his bolo tie. "Regardless, I hope you'll consider my offer, (Y/N). The High Elite stands as not only the government for Belbourne, but maintains all legal and magical jurisdiction over Fables and Mages. You won't ever have to answer to anyone for your actions, and you'll be considered my equal in all official matters as well."

"Yes, and grass is green, Mr. Joseph," you huffed as you continued to scan the crowds for your friends. "Thank you for stating the obvious."

The cold hand that grabbed your forearm was your only warning before you were jerked back. 

"Let go!"

"(Y/N)," the mayor said in a serious tone, maintaining his iron grip as his freezing magic snaked up your arm and kept you in place. "Please. I know you don't like me, and you have every reason in the world to do so, but understand where I'm coming from. I'm the only guy that's keeping Fables, Humans, and our kind from running around waving weapons, hootin' and hollerin' about another dad gum war with the Monsters. The other two members of the High Elite are great, but they don't trust them, and I can only do so much on my own."

"The Monsters trust you," he continued. "I  trust you. You're the key that I need in order to help make sure things run smoothly. I know that you're history has been rough around the edges, but you can make a difference here." He coughed. "And I, uh, wasn't joking about the extra security around these here parts. The gang stuff is pretty bad. Mr. Asgore's got his work cut out for him, though, I can tell you that much. But with your help, we can make sure the streets are safe again. For everyone."

He finally paused to breathe and awaited your response. You, however, simply stared in reply, watching as his violet eyes searched yours for any sign of emotion, but you displayed none. 

No, instead, you held his gaze. 

"I was seven," you said in a low voice. "Not seven hundred, just seven, when I watched my mother being shot down in front of me. A day later, I found the corpse of my father, tossed into a field with a sword through his side and golden liquid oozing out of his throat. A week later, I pulled River's half-starved and beaten body out of a bank and nursed him back to health with Nature's gift to me."

His eyes widened. "I... I can't make up for past transgressions--"

"Where were you when the Humans learned our one weakness and turned against us?" You pushed. "Where were you when Mages and Fables were cowering in fear because the gates to our supposed safe-haven of Belbourne were sealed tight with magic, forcing those who didn't make it inside to fend for themselves?!"

"W-we had to! We had to keep the city safe somehow--"

"Where were you,"  you hissed, your magic practically boiling as determination flooded your system and overrode the specks of white frost that had formed on your arm. "When two children were forced to learn that in this world, it's kill or be killed?"

"I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO'S MADE MISTAKES, DAMN IT!" he roared, pushing you away. You quickly stepped back as well and slipped a hand up your sleeve, resting your fingertips on your wand. You knew your eyes were red, and even though you still wanted to keep your pacifist streak going, the longer this man talked, the harder it was to do so. 

Joseph's body shook as he struggled to breathe and eyed your movements, but made no attempt to copy your gesture. Instead, he took in a deep breath, and leveled his gaze with yours.

"Don't think I haven't spent several nights awake in bed, thinkin' about 'what if's' and how things could've been done differently." He pointed a shaky finger. "You, however, are in no position to judge me. I know exactly how you got your revenge, missy. You heals diseases and injuries that you are just as capable of causing, and that river of blood runs deep," he exhaled. "But if you can change, then so can I." 

"No," you said coldly. "You of all people know that Mages aren't supposed to choose sides. Especially not with the amount of gang activity wrecking the city, and the racism that a majority of the Humans feel for the Monsters. I applaud you for playing human and making an effort towards equal treatment through a festival and welcoming ceremony, but that's as far as you should take it."

"But it would be so much easier if we could help tip the scales in the Monsters' favor!" 

"And how would we do that?"

"We can work along them as equals, help out with magic as often as we can, and once we gain their trust, we can expose our kind and offer an apology in the form of equal treatment! They'll finally be able to travel outside of Ebott!"

"And what about the humans who catch us using magic?"

"Well, again, a little forgetting spell can do wonders with the--"

"No," you repeated. "You don't get it. This isn't between us and them; it's between Monsters and Humans. As far as both sides know, we're dead and forgotten. The second we step in, we tip the scales too far, and fear rises up on both sides. The last time we picked a side, a war started."

"But don't you want everyone to stop hiding?" he asked, looking at you curiously. "Don't you want things to go back how they were before Monsters were ever banished? Don't you want your friends to love and respect you for who you really are, not for who you want to be?!"

"It's not about what I want! With the Monsters returning, the natural order of the world is already screwed up. The War was originally a battle between Monsters and Humans, and that's how it will end."

"It doesn't have to be like that anymore, though," he pleaded. "Times have changed."

"The answer is no, Joseph," you growled. The grass around your feet slowly curled up your boots and latched onto your bare skin. "Don't make me say it again."

His violet eyes lost their softness as betrayal took their place. "You're making a mistake, (Y/N). A big mistake."

"It won't be the first," you said bitterly, lowering your hand. You yanked your boots out of the grass and started to walk away, but a voice held you back.

"One final thing before you leave, missy."

You turned to watched the mayor light his cigar with a icy blue flame that hovered over his fingers, casting a dark shadow over his face. 

"I've heard rumors from my own men and the Royal Guard of a dark figure following them late at night, but when they turn around, nothin's there. They think they're going crazy, especially when they suddenly can't find their wallets or booze." He placed the cigar on his lips and inhaled. When he spoke again, a cloud of smoke poured out of his mouth.

"So when my bastard of a son finds you, tell him I said hi."

 

 

Chapter Text

In all honesty, you didn't really plan to get into a shouting match with the man who could throw you in jail and have your tongue cut-out for rebellious behavior. Hell, you didn't expect to run into him at all tonight. 

 

But what happened happened, and if it weren't for the fact that the Mayor's tent was placed farther away from the rest of the festival, you or someone else probably would've had to perform some forgetting spells on unlucky eavesdroppers. 

 

Regardless, you tried not to let this bitter encounter ruin your favorite holiday, despite the fact that you were shaking with anger and stress. No, you refused to let that... that coward ruin your night out, and you knew just the Monsters who would help make this night go down in history. 

 

Problem was, though, you couldn't find any of them. 

 

In all of the years you've attended this festival, tonight's crowd was the biggest, and you had no doubt it was because Fables and Humans alike wanted to get a personal look at the Monsters. 

 

Your ankle-length witch's dress swayed as you tried to maneuver through the maze of games, attractions, and striped tents. While doing so, you did your best to keep your head down and avoided bumping into anyone. Some Fables lived just about as long as Mages, and you had no doubt that some of them had your face etched into their memories. Some of which were probably not so good.  

 

You soon entered an open clearing. The trampled, neatly-cut dead grass served as a makeshift dance floor, and it was being bordered by various speakers and lamp posts. A steady, fast beat pulsed through the dancing crowd, and past all of the various shadows and resting on top of a hill, you vaguely made out the angry black ghost that was currently playing the part of the festival's DJ. 

 

You clapped your hands together in excitement. Perfect! Napstablook was known for being a bit of a gossiper and having a say in everyone's business, and from his position, he might've caught sight of your friends.  

 

Besides, even though the two of you weren't technically friends (ghosts don't exactly need to go to the doctor or anything), you got along well enough with his narcissistic cousin, so you were pretty sure he'd at least give you a general direction of where you friends might be. 

 

Feeling more upbeat about the situation, you stepped onto the open field--

 

Just to get whisked away by two pairs of flabby arms that pulled you deeper into the swarm of bodies, knocking the breath out of you in the process. 

 

"Oi! Tweedle dee!" a male's voice said. "I think you nabbed the wrong girl."

 

"Huh?" the other voice asked. "I didn't, did I? Tis gots be Alice! She said she was wearin' a black dress!" 

 

"That she did, that she did..." The other voice pondered. "Or was it blue?"

 

"No, I believed she said black!"

 

"I think she said blue!"

 

"She did not!"

 

"She did to!"

 

"Excuse me?" you said, tilting you head back so you could get a better look at your, er, captors. "Hate to break it to you, boys, but I'm not Alice."

 

The men holding you were none other than two of the most well-known Fables, Tweedle dee and Tweedle dum. Their heads were just as abnormally round and plump as their bodies, and their thick overalls and striped shirts threatened to snap under the extreme stress of the men's weights. Two beady-black eyes peered down at you, and once they realized you weren't indeed Alice, they shared a quick look of "Oh shit" before releasing you. 

 

"Our apologies miss--"

 

"Our deepest apologies--"

 

"But we thought you was a friend of ours." 

 

"Now that I think about it, Tweedle dum, Alice doesn't look anything like this miss."

 

"Oh, bloody hell! It's your eye sight, Tweedle dee. You need to gets them checked before you go as mad as the Hatter."

 

"Do not."

 

"Do to!"

 

"It's all good, boys!" you said, interrupting them by grabbing both of their shoulders. "Mistakes happen. But while we're talking, have either of you happened to see two skeleton brothers, or a fish warrior, or a yellow dinosaur... lizard-lady scientist?" 

 

With an eager face, Tweedle dum held up a fat finger as he started to speak, but he was quickly silenced by his brother's hand on his mouth. 

 

"Nu uh uh!" Tweedle dee said. With his free hand, he rubbed his index finger against his thumb. "We'd love to help you, miss, but our services come at a price."

 

"Yeah, a price!" Tweedle dum's muffled voice agreed.

 

You deadpanned. They couldn't be serious, right?

 

"Guys. It's me. (Y/N)."

 

They both blinked.

 

"Dr. (Y/N) (L/N)," you stressed, feeling rather annoyed. "In, like, the 70s, You guys broke Alice out of jail when she got arrested for smuggling drugs into Belbourne, and I patched all of you up after the fight with the police."

 

Another blink.

 

You let out a deep, heavy sigh as the last shred of dignity in you left your soul. With no effort, you held out your hand as magic swirled down your arm, producing a single blood-red rose in your palm. "I'm the flower girl."

 

"OOOOOH!!!" They said in unison as the one brain cell those two idiots shared finally clicked on. 

 

"You're the Earth mage!"

 

"Blimey! It's been so long, mate! Sorry we didn't recognize you. S'kind of hard to without all of those dainty daisies ya used to keep in your hair. How the hell have you been?"

 

"Say, is The Riddler with you? Damn bloke owes me twenty gold from nearly a century ago."

 

"Oi, you fool, I keep tellin' ya. You're not gonna get it back, especially since the bastard was legless and stumblin' around that old tavern when he made it."

 

"Don't care. I was runnin' skinless at the time without a dime to me name, and that fancy gold would've saved me from pulling a few favors."

 

 "Oh, let it go, will ya? Besides, you're missing the point. We still need to find wherever Alice and the Hatter are off snogging at, but now you've gone and nabbed a mage!"

 

"Well, don't look at me like that! I told you before she wasn't Alice."

 

"You did not."

 

"I did too!"

 

"Did not!"

 

"Did too!!"

 

"GUYS!" you shouted again, a little angrier this time. "Listen, as much as I'd love to catch up on old times, I'm looking for some Monsters. They're close friends of mine, and I--"

 

"You're friends with Monsters?" Tweedle dum asked, his gray lips drooping down while he cocked an eyebrow. "Huh. Did you hear that, brother?"

 

"I dids!" He scratched his greasy neck rolls. "A Mage's gone and befriended a couple of Monsters!"

 

"How unusual."

 

"How peculiar!"

 

"Oh, just wait until Alice and the Hatter hear this. They'll get a real kick out of it!"

 

"Do you think that skeleton that was going around earlier was looking for our flower girl?"

 

"Why, that certainly does make sense! Scary fellow, wasn't he?" 

 

"Sharp teeth!"

 

"Angry eyes!"

 

"Wonder what he was lookin' for lil miss flowery girl, eh?"

 

"A soft and delicate lady and a razor-sharp spooky fellow"

 

"A Mage and a Monster! A Mage and a Monster!"

 

"But our flower girl can be scary too! Can't she, Tweedle dee?"

 

"She certainly can, Tweedle dum! Especially when she's angry--"

 

"THAT'S ENOUGH!"

 

Fear flashed on the brothers' faces as you grabbed both of their arms and jerked them down to your level. As you spoke, your grip on them dangerously tightened, causing both of them to wince as bruises formed.

 

"Which," you hissed. "Direction. Did the skeleton. Go in."

 

"Way to piss the lass off, dumbass," Tweedle dum choked out. 

 

"Quiet!" his brother slapped his cheek before looking at you. "Sorry (Y/N). My brother can be quite the chatter box at times, especially on wild nights like this. Here." He pointed past a few trees and towards a balloon game, where a familiar blue fish lady with striking red hair was standing, her back to you. "Dunno if the skeleton guy from earlier is with them, but the others you mentioned have been raiding the prizes at that game for a while now."

 

You released the brothers, and they both stumbled back before quickly rubbing at their bruises. 

 

"Thanks," you said, mumbling under your breath.

 

"Wait!" 

 

At the sound of Tweedle dum's voice, you stopped and shot them a glare, and he faltered. "Listen. I've had a really bad night, I'm starving, and I might actually kill the next thing that tries to cross me. So choose your next words very. Fucking. Carefully."

 

The brothers' failed to hide their  flinch, but after locking eyes with each other, they shared a similar thought before looking at you with curious expressions. 

 

"These Monsters... they're not as bad as everyone says they are, are they?" Tweedle dee asked in a soft voice. "I mean... nobody's died yet, so I guess that's a good sign."

 

"Plus the ghostie's music is pretty good," Tweedle dum added, jabbing a fat thumb in Napstablook's direction. 

 

The bitterness you had quickly died as you watched the brothers eagerly wait for your reply. With a sigh, you looked back up at them and gave them a tired nod. 

 

"They aren't, but if you don't believe me..." You gestured towards the dance floor filled with Monsters. "Then you should go find out for yourself."

 

+++

 

Undyne grabbed you before you could even get a word out.

 

"FOUND HER!" she yelled, proudly holding you over her head as she displayed her strength. 

 

You felt your face grow red from all of the attention as your other friends turned away from marveling at the prize racks in favor of crowding around you. Your previous annoyance was long forgotten as your shyness kicked in.  "U-uh, ok. Yeah, you found me. Congrats. You can put me down--"

 

"WHERE YOU'VE BEEN, NERD!?" She shouted, drawing even more attention, much to your horror. "WE'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR YOU ALL NIGHT!"

 

"i-i-it's been a-an hour since t-the festival started, d-dear," Alphys said, her smaller form cautiously walking over. She adjusted her spiral glasses and gave you a soft smile. "H-hi. I-it's been a w-while since I've seen y-you, (Y/N). H-how have you b-been?"

 

"I'm fine!" you squealed as Undyne tossed you up in the air before catching you bridal-style. Your eyes seemed to shake as they tried to re-adjust their focus. "Just a little light-headed. Hungry. And terrified."

 

"Well, SUCK it the fuck UP!" the Undyne shouted. "NGAH! We've got a lot of grinding to do tonight, punk!"

 

Alphys hid her snort with a clawed hand. "S-she's talking a-about the games, (Y/N)."

 

"FUHUHU! Hell yeah I am!! Alphys and I have been doing GREAT so far, but we'd do even BETTER if we had THE BOYS!" With little effort, Undyne held you close while she broke off into a sprint, ignoring your protests in favor of bouncing on the flimsy roof of a striped tent before landing on top of a vendor's cart, scaring away all of the customers. Her yellow eye squinted as she scanned the crowd. 

 

"Now..." she said, turning her head. "If I were a skeleton and my waifu was missing--" you let out a strangled sound at that "--where would I be?"

 

"probably with the fuckin' dumbass holdin' my girl captive," a familiar voice said from below.

 

Before Undyne could react to Sans's voice, there was a loud "NYEHEHE!" and a very tall skeleton in a pirate costume jumped out from behind the cart and slammed into Undyne's side, causing her scrambling hands to let go of you as she tumbled down to the ground. You screamed as the floor started rapidly approaching because there was no way you would be able to land without breaking something, but the crash never came. Instead, two strong arms quickly caught you and held you close. When you looked up, you found two bright red eyes smugly looking down at  you.

 

"hi," Sans exhaled, his warm breath tickling your ear and sending goosebumps down your spine.  

 

"H-hi," you stammered.

 

CRASH!

 

"HOW COULD YOU DROP THE HUMAN!?" Papyrus asked as he swiftly dodged Undyne's fist. "SHE COULD'VE GOTTEN HURT!"

 

"Well she DIDN'T, DID SHE?!" Undyne yelled back, her fist colliding with a wooden pole and snapping it in two. "Besides, you're the one who surprised me with your attack!!"

 

"I'M JUST SAYING, YOU'RE LUCKY SANS IS INFATUATED WITH HER, OR SHE WOULD'VE BROKEN HER NECK!" 

 

"Tell me something I DON'T ALREADY KNOW!"

 

"Guys please!" You said, clambering out of Sans's grip and all but running towards the two short-tempered Captains of the Royal Guard. Your face was still burning, and your witch's hat was long gone since Undyne's latest episode, but you were determined to make sure the night at least ended on good terms at least where the law could be involved. 

 

“Please don't break anymore stuff! The Mayor and the Royal Family worked really hard on tonight's festival, and I don't think the vendors like you two ruining their merchandise." 

 

Plus they really didn't wanna piss off a member of the High Elite, you thought, but you kept that last bit to yourself. 

 

The two captains looked like they were going to consider arguing, but when Sans calmly walked to your side, they paused. Then, they locked eyes with each other and held a silent agreement before turning back to you with matching mischievous looks. 

 

"VERY WELL!" Papyrus said, crossing his arms. "I SUPPOSE WE CAN FINISH OUR FIGHT LATER TONIGHT, AT YOUR HOUSE."

 

"Hell yeah!!" Undyne slapped his shoulders and flashed him a toothy grin. "Sleepover!!!"

 

"wha?" Sans asked, cocking a brow in his younger brother's direction. "since when were ya goin' ta undyne's, pap?"

 

"SINCE NOW!" Papyrus replied. "LUCKY FOR UNDYNE, THE TERRIBLE PAPYRUS IS ALWAYS PREPARED FOR SLEEPOVERS! AFTER ALL, YOU CAN'T SPELL 'PREPARED' WITHOUT USING SEVERAL LETTERS FROM MY NAME!"

 

"Fuhuhu! Lucky indeed!!!"

 

You held up a hand to argue with that logic, but quickly faltered. "I... I guess you're not wrong?" 

 

"I NEVER AM!" He proudly declared before spinning on his heels. "NOW COME, UNDYNE AND ONLY UNDYNE, WE HAVE GAMES TO PLAY AND WIN!" 

 

"Hell YEA--wait, hold up! I need to get my fiance!" 

 

"THEN I SUGGEST YOU RUN FAST, UNDYNE, BECAUSE IM GONNA WIN ALL OF THE PRIZES BEFORE YOU GET BACK!"

 

"Oh, it is ON!"

 

The two monsters broke off into a sprint in opposite directions, leaving actual clouds of dust in their tracks. 

 

Leaving you and Sans alone. 

 

Oh. 

 

The two of you were, like, alone alone. At a festival. Which, since the two of you were literally alone, late at night, at a place where couples typically went on dates together, and you both obviously had feelings for each other, did that mean that this was... was a...?

 

Your face flushed hard.

 

oh my gosh is this a DATE YOU DIDN'T PLAN THIS AND YOU HAVEN'T BEEN ON A DATE IN TWO HUNDRED YEARS WHAT DO—

 

"hey." 

 

You blinked at Sans as he gently took a hold of your hand. He wasn't looking at you, and his voice sounded just as grumpy as usual, but the red hue on his face gave away his feelings.

 

He... he seemed to be just as inwardly flustered about this as you were.

 

That... that helped you relax a bit. 

 

"Hey," you repeated. 

 

"do ya wanna... um," he coughed. "go do somethin'? I m-mean, there's somethin' i uh, wanted ta show ya."

 

"Yeah. Yeah! I mean," you gestured to the angry monster and human vendors who were trying to undo the damage the two Captains caused. "It's better than standing around here and watching the mob go after Pap and Undyne." 

 

Sans let out a chuckle. "heh, hard ta beat that. but ya might enjoy what I found here."

 

"Lead the way." 

 

When Sans's pulled your hand as you walked, you paused. "No shortcuts?" 

 

"nah," he said. "i thought we'd take the scenic route." 

 

"The laziest guy alive wants to actually walk?" You joked, your confidence coming back. "Who are you, and what have you done with my skeleton?" 

 

He cracked a grin, but you didn't miss the way his cheeks glowed when you called him yours. "heh heh, don't worry, sweetheart. I'm still ta same old bag of bones. Just felt like showin' off ta everyone ta finest thing on ta surface." He winked. 

 

"Hmm, that's funny," you giggled, causing him to raise an eyebrow. "Cause the only fine thing that I see is you."

 

Sans's reaction once again reminded you why red was now your favorite color. 

 

"so," he started, clearing his throat. "how was yer meetin' with the cowboy?" 

 

That actually made you snort. "Oh gosh, please don't call him that."

 

"i'll call him whateva' ta hell i want," Sans snorted. He paused to kick over a rock and sent it flying into the dark woods in the back, and under his breath he mumbled, "I don't like him."

 

"Huh? How come?" 

 

Sans's only reply was another snort. Instead of answering, he just continued guiding you through the maze of tents. 

 

"I'm pretty good at readin' people's souls, sweets," he said darkly. "His gave me bad vibes. Let's just keep it at that." 

 

Did that mean...?

 

No, no. He couldn't have been able to see his soul. You and everyone else would've watched him pull it out. 

 

And if he really did see the bright red determination of a mage's soul, he would've gone straight to Asgore, and everyone would be panicking, and then a new war would start—

 

No. It didn't happen. Everything was fine. He's probably meant what he said—the guy just gave him bad vibes. 

 

Right? 

 

...right. Yeah, absolutely. 

 

You let out a breath you didn't know you were holding, and subtly tugged on the small cluster of flowers that had started growing out of your messy hair. 

 

Damn it. You really needed to get a grip on your emotions or your magic was gonna keep fluctuating like this. 

 

"so anyway," he started, snapping out of your thoughts. "What did ta guy want with ya? He acted like ta two of ya were old friends or somethin.'"

 

Your mood darkened. "Yeah, ‘something’ is right. I've known him since I was young. He made some bad decisions in the past and ran away from his mistakes, which kind of left me and his son alone when we were kids. I guess he's trying to make up for it now by offering me a government position, but—"

 

You were quickly cut off when you slammed into Sans's chest, who had stopped and turned around without warning. 

 

"Hey, are you—?"

 

"ya were an orphan?" He asked, his two red eyes staring wide with surprise. You were so caught-off by his gaze that you hardly registered his arms carefully moving to rest in the dip on your back. 

 

You smiled weakly. "Parents were murdered when I was about seven. Didn't have anyone else to turn to, so the Mayor's son and I kind of lived off the streets for a while." 

 

"But... but you were just a child. And yet tellin' me that fuckin' cowboy just—" he cursed. 

 

"True, but..." you looked down and twiddled with a lose string on his shirt. "I still made it. It was hard, yeah, but... I'm still here." You held his gaze. "I'm here, despite everything, just like... just like you."

 

Sans was quiet for a while, and you just... kind of let him process this. After all, it wasn't often you told him much about yourself... especially without fabricating an underlying lie. 

 

Something inside of you... died a little bit at that thought. You really weren't that truthful to him, were you? 

 

...it wasn't like you had much of a choice, though. 

 

When he finally spoke again, he hesitated. 

 

"I... you don't have to answer, but... how did your parents, um..."

 

You tensed. "Please," you said in a soft voice. "Don't ask me that." 

 

"Right, right, uh, o-okay," he stammered. "I just... I'm sorry, sweetheart." 

 

"Can we talk about something else?" You asked, quickly pulling away so that Sans wouldn't see you yank at the colony of clovers that were starting to stick out from your sleeves as they got dangerously close to your hands. 

 

“Tonight hasn't been that great, but... I still want to make the best out of it." 

 

"yeah. Yeah, of course." His hand slide up your back until it rested in your hand again, but more securely this time. You looked back up at him curiously as he started to pull you in the same direction again. "I, uh, was actually gonna take you some place I found here that I thought you'd like." 

 

“Oh? And what would that be?" 

 

"Well, it was gonna be a surprise, but since we're already here, I guess the surprise is over." Still holding you hand, the skeleton took a left at the next tent and walked up to the entrance. Instantly, the sweet and savory aromas in the air caused you mouth to water, and the hungry, magic-starved beast inside you took over as you gazed upon the purple and black food cart. 

 

"Heh, uh, I wasn't sure if you'd appreciate it," he began. "i knew you had a sweet tooth, but  when I found out that the crazy spider bitch was gonna be here, I thought that maybe you'd—WHOA!" 

 

Before Sans could finish, you tightened your grip on his hand and nearly tore it off as you broke off into a sprint, literally dragging him along with you as you frantically ran up to the counter. 

 

Although it was a small, dainty cart with black spider webs and lace hanging from every corner. A dark purple curtain hung from the cart's entrance and acted like a makeshift door. However, it's glass shelves were absolutely packed with neatly-decorated pastries. 

 

"Eeeee!" you cooed, completely enraptured by the desserts as you pressed your hand against the display's glass. "These all look so good! Oh my gosh, look at that one! And that one! Aaah! I haven't seen cakes with this much attention to detail since Queen Marie Antoinette's wedding in France!" 

 

"Who in where now?" Sans asked, peering over you shoulder. 

 

At the sound of his voice, you eagerly spun around with a huge grin that caught the skeleton off-guard. 

 

"I can't believe you remembered my one sugary weakness! That's so.. so...!"

 

"Sweet?" He chuckled, wagging his eyebrows while gently holding your shoulders as you bounced on your heels. 

 

"Yes!!!" You squealed, throwing your arms around his neck and nuzzling his cheek. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!!"

 

Sans's bright eyes watched you with fondness as he nuzzled back. "Well, pick out what ya want, sweetheart. I'll pay for it." 

 

Your eyes widened. "Oh... Bones, you don't have to do that. I can pay—"

 

His warm hand cupped your cheek. "Doc, you've done a lot fer me 'n boss. I can't tell ya how much ya mean ta us, ta me, so although it ain't that much, just lemme spoil ya tonight."

 

Your heart swelled. "Sans..."

 

His thumb trailed down your bottom lip. "fuck. (y/n), sweetheart, ya don't know what ya do to me when you give me that look." 

 

"I... I think I do," you mumbled as you leaned in to close the gap. 

 

Sans began to do the same, and his breath ever so gently grazed your lips as you closed your eyes. 

 

"Who's out there? Ahuhu. Do I have customers?" 

 

You weren't sure who pulled away first, but before the monster could emerge from behind the heavy curtains, you and Sans were standing far apart from each other. 

 

"My my! Welcome to Muffet's bakery—oh. It's just you, Sans. And you... brought a human. Great." 

 

The monster in front of you was maybe a foot taller than you, but she had three times as many arms. Her skin was light purple, and her eyes were black and filled with greed. The spider's dark purple hair was pulled back into pigtails that were securely held by two pink ribbons that matched her dress. Two pairs of her arms were crossed across her chest, but the last pair was holding an icing bag and a very sharp knife. 

 

You liked her already. 

 

"hey, muffet!" Sans greeted, all flustered signs of your, uh, attempt to kiss him gone from his face and replaced with his usual grin. "how's it going? oh, have you met (y/n)—"

 

CLING!

 

You and Sans both flinched when the knife suddenly whirled between both of your heads before slamming into a nearby tree. 

 

You spun back around and looked at this monster with a grin. "That was impressive! I barely had time to step out of the way!" 

 

Sans stared at you. "You—-did she actually—"

 

"Don't get cocky, dearie," Muffet sneered through her fangs. "If I wanted you dead, you'd be dead." 

 

"Oh, I believe that! In my entire life, I've only met one other guy who could throw knives like that!" 

 

"'muffet," Sans growled as he stepped in front of you and yanked you behind him. "what the actual fuck is wrong with ya?!" 

 

"Oh please, Sans!" She scowled, dismissing him with a few waves. ”I wasn't actually aiming for her."

 

"That doesn't fucking excuse—"

 

"King Asgore said I was allowed to protect myself and my business against violent humans with malicious intents," she stated. 

 

"malicious—muffet, (y/n) is ta doctor that's been helpin' us! she ain't got any fuckin' malicious intents! she babysits frisk, fer fuck's sake!" 

 

"She might be nice to you," Muffet stated, looking bored. "But that doesn't mean she's nice to my people." 

 

"YER A MOTHERFUCKIN' MONSTER, BITCH! what fuckin' people are ya—"

 

"Say, (Y/N), was it?" Muffet asked, blinking all five of her eyes at you. "How do you feel about spiders?" 

 

"I mean, I think they're pretty cool?" You answered, not sure where this was going. 

 

"Hm," Muffet held out a hand and clicked her slim fingers. "We'll see about that."

 

"Muffet, don't ya fuckin' dare—"

 

Before Sans could finish, a wave of black peaked over the glass countertop and began making its way towards you. It wasn't until the tiny creatures began climbing up your boots and legs did you register what they were. 

 

Spiders. 

 

Thousand of tiny, black spiders who's legs were skirting up your dress, arms, and face. 

 

For a moment, all you could do was just stand there, processing just how many legs were walking on your body. 

 

Muffet ignored Sans's demands to call off her army by silencing him with a shot of web from one of her many hands. With a smug look, she leaned over her counter and eyed you. 

 

"So?" She hummed. "Do you still think they're pretty cool, dearie?" 

 

Your body finally finished registering what was crawling up your neck and down your twitching eyelid. When you managed to look back at Muffet and a fuming Sans, you started laughing. 

 

"Hehe, are you kidding?!" You giggled, causing the thousands of spiders  on your body to bounce with you. "This is amazing! I mean, honestly! I haven't seen or had this many spiders on my body since the annual spider migrations in Australia!" 

 

You lifted your arm and cheerfully watched as the spiders began to run under your sleeves and into the valley of clovers that you failed to completely tug out earlier. You were absolutely elated to listen to all of their tiny souls hum with delight as they registered that not only that you were the literal embodiment of nature, but also that they had a tiny hiding place in your sleeves, right next to your wand!

 

"Oh! Some of these are babies!" You cried happily as you watched the tiniest dots creep over your outstretched palm. "Hello there, little ones! My my, you came a long way for such a tiny thing!" 

 

The spiders waved, and you beamed. 

 

"Uh..." 

 

Muffet's voice broke you out of your cuteness trance. You looked up to find both monsters looking at you with absolute shock. Muffet's mouth was hanging open, and Sans had long stopped tugging on his binding in favor of watching you with wide eye sockets. 

 

"What?" You asked, raising your hand to your hair so that the baby spiders can find their mother, who was happily whispering sweet messages of gratitude to you through your soul. 

 

"Oh! I get it. This was the part where I was supposed to freak out, and you threw another knife at me or something," you said. "Uh, hate to burst your bubble, but I'm really into nature and stuff, so... spiders don't freak me out in the slightest."

 

Muffet's black eyes blinked together before she snapped her fingers once again. Immediately, thousands of silent farewells were sent to your soul as tiny legs began crawling down your body, into the dead grass, and back up Muffet's counter, who was still watching you warily. It wasn't until a particularly large spider—the mother of the bunch, you recognized—had crawled up Muffet's shoulder did the monster look away from you in favor of leaning down to listen. When the mom finished whatever she was saying, all five of Muffet's eyes shot open in disbelief, and you were once again under her intense gaze as she stared at you.

 

Feeling pretty awkward from the duration of the attention being placed on you, you took a step back. 

 

Your movement seemed to snap Muffet out of her trance. Immediately, she leaned over the counter and ripped the gag of of Sans's mouth, causing him to shoot out a string of cuss words while his left eye let out a dangerous cloud of smoke. Once again, though, Muffet ignored him. 

 

"Wait wait! Don't leave just yet!" She frantically yelled, beckoning you over to her counter once more with her many arms. 

 

Hesitantly, you walked back over. Before you could reach the counter, though, a wall of bones shot out in front of Muffet's cart. Immediately, Sans once again ran out in front of you. 

 

"Oh no, oh FUCK no, Muffet!" Sans snapped. "I don't care how much slack Asgore gives you, but you do NOT threaten (Y/N) like that—"

 

"Pipe down before I turn you into bone meal and bake your dust in a muffin tin!" Muffet yelled through the bars. "I'm not going to hurt her. I was going to apologize, you idiot." 

 

"oh I'll give you somethin' ta fuckin" apologize fer—"

 

"I forgive you."

 

Once again, both parties looked at you. 

 

"sweets," Sans began, reaching for you. "ya don't have to—"

 

"Bones, it's okay. Humans are... pretty mean to spiders, so I get what she was trying to do. It was a little extreme, actually it was really extreme, but the message was clear." 

 

"but... but she was gonna hurt ya!" 

 

You shook your head. "No. She wasn't." 

 

"how can ya say that—"

 

"Bones, those spiders aren't harmless. They're black widows," you said calmly, gesturing towards the red hourglass on the back of the spider resting on Muffet's shoulder. You held the monster's gaze. "It's like she said: If she wanted me dead, I'd be dead." 

 

"Since the Barrier broke, I lost a lot of spiders," Muffet began. "I've had actual customers slam their hands on my lovelies in front of me, on my counter." Her face scrunched up. "Frankly, I don't appreciate being forced to use their dust in my next batch of goods. It's inconvenient, I lose money, and I miss their company sometimes, especially the young ones." 

 

Muffet looked back at you. "So yes, I did decide to test you. I'm not a particular fan of humans, especially since I can't find a single human  willing to let me open up my establishment in the city, as you can see, but Asgore asked me to help out tonight with my little cart, so I did." She let out a sigh. "You're my first human customer of the night, though, so I guess I'm not doing as well as he thought I would with this whole 'bring monsters and humans together' festival." 

 

"geez, I fuckin' wonder why," Sans grumbled. 

 

Muffet snorted. "Your lucky my spiders like your girlfriend, Sans. Or else I'd send you home with them crawling inside your skull."

 

Sans frowned. "wait. What do ya mean they like—"

 

"Anyway!" Muffet shouted, clapping her hands together. "As my way of saying sorry for trying to scare you away and messing up your date night, please let me make up for it with a free pastry and appropriate silverware, on the house!" 

 

"now wait just a—"

 

"Huh? You don't have to give me free food," you said, eyeing her display of goodies. "You put a lot of hard work into these, and as someone who's literally toured the entire world countless times, these are some of the best-looking desserts I've ever seen. I would hate to take these for free." You perked up and placed your palms against the bars. "And that's coming from a girl who used to steal from the local Krispy Kreme." 

 

"ya did what?!" Sans asked.

 

Muffet giggled. "Fuhuhu! Oh, Sans, you've really got yourself a keeper." 

 

"b-but we aren't on a date!!" 

 

"You aren't?" 

 

"We aren't?" You asked. “But we were flirting pretty hard now, and we almost kissed, too." 

 

Sans stared at you and Muffet like you two were the craziest women he had ever seen. A raging blush ran across his face as his mouth taped open and close like a fish. Finally, he slumped down against the cart, shaking it and earning a "Hey!" from Muffet, but she stopped scolding him when he dismissed the bones sticking up from the front of her cart. 

 

"i-i need ta s-sit down," he exhaled, holding his flustered skull in his hands. "just get whatever you want, sweet—(y-y/n)." 

 

You smiled softly at your grumpy skeleton, and gently pressed a reassuring hand on his shoulder while he took some time to cool down. After that, you turned your attention back to Muffet, who was quickly becoming a new friend.

 

"Okay, okay, so I'll accept your apology offer and get a box of these—" you pointed towards the display and directed your finger to a purple donut coated in a soft pink glaze and oozing red jelly out of one side. 

 

"Excellent choice!" Muffet said, reaching down to get you a box of donuts. "And, as a new customer, I'm required to inform you that my treats are made by spiders, for spiders, and with spiders! Out of their dust once they pass naturally, specifically." 

 

"Cool," you said, reaching for the neat white box. "By the way, do you take delivery orders?" 

 

"Of course!" 

 

"Fantastic!" You said, leaning down to hand a still grumpy/flustered Sans your donuts before reaching into your dress (IT HAS POCKETS) and pulling out a checkbook. Muffet watched you as you ripped out a page and signed it before handing it to her.

 

"Here's a blank check," you said. "When the festival's over, I want you to sell me everything that was leftover for full price, no discount, please. Just write the amount on the check and take it to the bank. Oh, and while we're at it—" You reached back into your convenient pockets and pulled out two crumpled hundred-dollar bills, as well as your business card. "Here's your tip, and here's my work number. When you and I both have a day off, we're going to find a place for you to start your business." 

 

Muffet took the papers with trembling hands. "But... oh dearie, this is—this is too much! And I'm sorry to tell you this, but very few monsters can find humans who are willing to sit down and help them legally establish a business, much less sell then a building! And humans really don't like the fact that I have actual spider dust in my goods. I just—I just can't take this." 

 

She tried to hand you back your money and card, but you enclosed her hand with yours. 

 

"Take the money and the check. Deliver the goods to my house later—oh shoot, lemme write down my address real quick—here. And then contact me," you said. "Don't worry about racist humans. Trust me when I say that people usually have a really hard time telling Dr. (Y/N) no." 

 

You watched as Muffet pondered at this thought. With her bottom lip shaking, she clutched the money and leaned over the cart. 

 

"SANS THE SKELETON!" She shouted, causing him to flinch. When he begrudgingly looked up, she poked his forehead. "YOU BETTER TAKE CARE OF THIS ONE, or I'm sending my pet after you!" 

 

"get off my back, Muffet!!" He growled, slapping his many hands away from his face as he scrambled to his feet. 

 

Your muffled laughter caused him to stop, and he grumbled under his breath as he shoved his hands into his pockets. 

 

"TCH! It's not like I wasn't going ta, anyway," he said. 

 

"So Muffet," you said, holding out your hand. "Do we have a deal?" 

 

Beaming, Muffet held out all eight hands for you to shake, which you happily did. 

 

+++

 

 

"a dozen." 

 

"Yep." 

 

"in the span of twenty minutes, ya ate an actual dozen of spider donuts by yerself." 

 

"I tried offering you some." 

 

"they were yours, and I'm not much of a sweets guy," Sans said, leaning against your shoulder as he rested his head against the tree's trunk. "I just can't believe yer an actual chick who just ate a dozen donuts." 

 

"Well, what can I say?" You said, looking at the festival's lights and noise, which were far away from the tree you and Sans were sitting under. "I'm a girl of many talents that few can compete with." 

 

"ain't that the truth," Sans puffed out his cheeks, and the hand that was holding yours gave you a gentle squeeze. 

 

"so lemme get this straight," he said. "ya were an orphan who lived on the streets, ‘n ya did some shady things to get by.”

 

"Yup."

 

"Yer now a doctor with, like, a bunch of other degrees that revolve around history, medicine, and plant stuff." 

 

"Yup."

 

"Because of that, yer super rich." 

 

"I suppose so." 

 

"Ya like helping others and all that jazz." 

 

"Yup." 

 

"yer friends with some of the most powerful monsters in this world."

 

"Yup." 

 

"ya have an great personality, yer smart, and yer gorgeous." 

 

"Yu—I, well, I'm not, like, that pretty, i suppose, but..." 

 

"are ya kiddin'?" Sans said, moving so that he was sitting directly in front of you. "yer beautiful, sweets." 

 

"..." You started tugging against the grass. "I'm not saying I'm not, I'm just saying that... I'm not usually associated with world's idea of beauty. But that's okay!" You said, holding out your hands when he opened his mouth to protest. "Human beauty standards change constantly. Ugly becomes pretty, and pretty becomes ugly, my weight goes up and down, acne, blah blah blah, and I just couldn't keep up with the trends anymore. But because of that, I learned that... well," you bit your lip. "It doesn't really matter what others think, because my body is my body. There's only one of it, and it's mine and mine alone. If I'm happy with it, that's all that matters. I just wish more people thought that way, too." 

 

Sans listened quietly while you talked, and when you finished, he pulled off his jacket and gently placed it in your lap. His bones were now on full display for you to see, including some that were peeking through the neckline of his shirt. 

 

All of them were covered with scars. 

 

...you knew this already, though. You were his doctor and friend, after all. 

 

...so why was he showing you this?

 

Curious, you looked up from his bones and watched him take in a deep breath. 

 

"I... I never really cared much fer how I looked," Sans said, flexing his fingers. "kind of accepted that I was a piece of garbage, with or without ta scars. ta underground wasn't... a happy place. i got into a lot of fights after my old man kicked the can, and..." he made a fist. "I did a lot of things I'm not proud of." 

 

"Bones—"

 

"I've killed monsters who tried to hurt me  'n pap. so has my bro, n' he's got more scars than I do. ya had ta act tough down there. we were on our own until asgore called us in, ‘n offered us actual jobs that helped promote some form of peace, if you can even call it that. it was still kill or be killed, and we ended up makin’ a lot of enemies with me bein’ a judge and boss bein’ a captain. we had a lot of close calls, ‘n and lot of sleepless nights, but we made friends, too, ‘n in the end, we made it here.” He let out a shaky sigh. “we made it ta the surface. I’m... I’m here, now.” 

 

His voice cracked, but he still managed to look at you with a smile. “I-I hate ta admit it, but ya were right. that time I got drunk and tried ta convince myself that I wasn’t affected by anything anymore, ya just... ya just saw right through me and pulled me out. ya were right. i can’t give up on a world I desperately wanna believe in, especially not one where everyone I care about lives in.” His watery eyes gazed into yours. “and I learned the hard way that I’m not always gonna have the repeating chances ta show people that I care about them.” 

 

“What... what do you mean?” 

 

“this.” 

 

Sans cupped both side of your cheeks as he gave you the sweetest, most gentle kiss and loving you had ever had. Despite the tears dripping down both of your faces, you leaned into him. When you tried to move your arms to his neck, he gently pushed away. 

 

“n-no,” he stammered, wiping his face with his arms. “not yet. i... I need ta do this right.” 

 

He inhaled and closed his eyes, and when he opened them, the red hue in his eye sockets were so bright that they could’ve rivaled stars.

 

“i love you,” he said, brushing a finger against your cheek. “I’m not sure when I realized it, or when it happened, but... I just felt drawn ta ya ever since I met ya. I love you. I’m in love with you, and I don’t care who knows it because fuck, I’ll protect ya from anyone that tries to stand in our way because you are the best fuckin’ thing that has happened ta me and whether or not ya feel the same I want ya to know that I’ll still be by yer side if you want me to. you’re amazing. you’ve done so much fer me ‘n pap and I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able ta make up fer it but I’ll damn well do my fuckin’ best ta make sure ya know how special ya are. 

 

He hesitated with the next part. “i know im not... all that much ta look at, and I don’t have any money, much less rights leave ta city or anythin’, but my soul’s been callin’ fer yers fer so long that I just couldn’t keep quiet about it anymore, and I wanted tonight ya be so special but things happened one after another and I just—“

 

“Sans,” you said, sitting up. 

 

“y-yeah?” He asked, his eye lights trembling with anxiety. 

 

You slowly moved to him and gently placed a hand against his cheek, which he instantly leaned into. 

 

In a soft, hazy voice, you spoke. 

 

“You’re beautiful. And I love you, too. I have for a while, but... I didn’t recognize the feeling as soon as I should’ve.” You carefully placed a hand against your chest, right over your heart, your soul, and Sans’s breath hitched. “You mean a lot to me. You’re my best friend, and despite how unsure the future seems, my life has changed for the better with you in it. I will gladly, lovingly, be yours, if you want to be mine in return.” 

 

A low whine was your only warning before Sans slammed into your body, holding you tight against him as he let out a few choked sobs. 

 

“yes,” he cried. “boyfriend, datemate—whatever ya call it up here, I’ll be yers.” 

 

...You hesitated at his quick response. 

 

“Sans, I feel the same but...” Your fingers dig into the back of his shirt. “there’s a lot you don’t know about me.” 

 

“I don’t care,” he growled. “I don’t care. my past is about as fucked up as it gets, and I’m covered in proof of it, but I love you. I love you so much, and I’ve been wanting to hold you like this for so, so fuckin’ long. Nothing can change that.” 

 

You nuzzled into his neck. “I love you, too, big guy.” 

 

But as he hugged you, your mind was racing, racing because he didn’t fully realize the extent behind what you tried to say. What you tried to warn him about. 

 

You could just... say it. Four words that would reveal your true colors. 

 

You could tell him right now.

 

You could tell him who you are.

 

You could tell him everything you've ever lied about. Your age, your background, your job...

 

Your past. Your magic. Your merciless revenge against humankind after they stole everything from you, so you took everything from them in return. 

 

You could tell him.

 

Just four words. 

 

I am a mage. 

 

But...

 

But you don't. You don't say a word. You won't. You can't. As terrible as it sounds, you just... can't. 

 

Because you didn't want to think about the consequences of telling the truth. The only thing the truth would bring is pain. 

 

You just... 

 

You just wanted him. You didn't want to hurt him. You just wanted the two of you to be happy. You wanted him to be happy. 

 

You wanted to be happy. It’s been so long since you’ve felt this happy...

 

For the next few seconds, you stay quiet, overcome with guilt, mulling over your selfish, final decision. However, your mouth doesn't open again until Sans's is once more on yours, coaxing another warm, needy kiss out of you, and suddenly nothing in you wanted anything more than him because you’ve both wanted this for so long. By the time something wet slipped past your lips, and a slow, nervous, yet desperate hand gently slid up your stomach and cupped your breast, you pushed your old sins out of your head in favor of I new ones.

 

And you didn't think to tell him the next day, either, when you woke up in your bed to the sound of his heavy snores in your ear and the feeling of his arm wrapped around your bare stomach, holding you close.

 

Holding you to the point to where if you didn't know any better, you would've thought he was scared of losing you in his sleep.

Chapter Text

You were the first to wake up.

Hairline beams of the early sunlight peeked through the cracks of your navy curtains, casting an almost mystical look upon the blue haze that seemed to linger upon your bedroom. From your position on the bed, you could vaguely make out the dark outlines of your clothing mixed with your lover's on the floor, serving as a reminder of the events that took place only a few hours before. 

You actually felt great, despite the fact that you didn't sleep all that much. Sans had a lot more stamina than your previous human partners, which was a pleasant surprise for you. Another surprise was, well, you knew that mages were stronger than monsters in nearly every way, but you didn't take that quite literally until last night. The big, scary monster was nothing more than a panting, begging, and easily-pleased mess under you and your bold touches that have had centuries of experience in the art of love-making.

It was honestly a wonder that, with how your magic kept fluctuating yesterday, you somehow managed to keep your room from turning into a rose garden during the night. 

Sans let out a loud snore, and for a brief moment you recalled a time where you and River didn't have a home yet since you were both still young and on the run from the Human Mage Hunters, so you often slept in the woods or in caves with bears. In a way, Sans's snoring resembled a bear's, and you couldn't help but smile at that comparison. It was oddly comforting; in a way, you had your own personal teddy bear now. 

With little effort, you snuggled your back deeper into Sans's warm embrace, which was easy to do since he was playing the part of the bigger spoon. You felt him sleepily exhale into your ear as he pulled you in a little closer, tucking you under his head like you were a precious, fragile doll who needed to be protected. 

Considering everything, though, maybe you both rushed this moment. After all, you both had your first kiss only hours before Sans teleported you to your bedroom, which was rather scandalous. But at the same time, you felt like you waited too long for this to happen, and a part of your soul believed that Sans felt the same way you did about that. 

It wasn't just a one night stand. It wasn't just another one of the countless relationships you've been in. It was more meaningful than that. You just... didn't know how to explain it past being a small, happy hum in your soul. 

You were happy and so was Sans, so that's... that's all you wanted right now. And you hoped he felt the same. 

You laid there for a few more minutes, not really dozing or sleeping, but you just... stayed there, with your messy hair against a pillow, his arm slung over your waist and resting on your stomach, and with a warm feeling in your soul.

It was nice. That is, until...

Beep... beep...

Click!

Your alarm went off. 

This time, when you tried to move, your felt two strong arms wrap around your middle, pulling you in closer to the warmth radiating behind your back as Sans let out a tired groan. 

"not now," he playfully grumbled, his husky voice heavy with sleep. "ya can't go just yet, sweets. i waited too fuckin' long for ya to be in my arms like this."

"Bones," you teased, turning around to cup his face and ignoring the fluttering of your heart at the sight of his half-lidded eyes. "I have to go to work. You know that."

"mmm," he said. His red eyes drooped down as he began lightly tracing his fingers over your exposed shoulder and down your arm before stopping right where the thin white sheet kept the rest of your body covered. He let out a pleased purr before gently moving his fingers back up to your face, where he tucked a strand of hair behind your ear. "ya can't blame me for wantin' ya to stay here a little longer. especially when you're like this, looking at me like that."

The loving gaze he was giving you sent tingles down your spine, and you flushed as you pulled the sheet up higher under it touched your neck, ignoring Sans's soft whines of protest. 

"Sorry, big guy," you said, placing a small kiss to his jawbone. "But I didn't go through medical school for nothing. Oh, and I think you have work today, too, don't you?"

He snorted. "yeah, but that patrol fer asgore isn't until later tonight. you were there when he said that."

"I meant your other jobs, smartass."

He blinked. "other jobs...?"

You huffed. "C'mon, Sans, you didn't really think you could keep that a secret from me, did you? I know you work a bunch of odd jobs in addition to what you do for Asgore. Papyrus told me that forever ago."

"i mean... it's not like it's a secret, sweets. i just didn't think you'd be interested in boring stuff like that." He scratched his chin. "'n besides, i don't really have ta work today or anything."

"Of course I'd be interested," you huffed. "I love you, damn it. I want to know about the things you do and what you like and dislike and so on."

"heh heh," he laughed in a low voice, still giving you heavy bedroom eyes. "speaking of things that i like..."

The two of you both moved in for a kiss. And another. The bed shifted, and Sans gently rolled over on top of you and slowly began peppering light kisses all over your face, each one lasting a little longer. You started giggling when he moved down your neck, and you half-heartedly tried to get him to stop, only to have him grab both of your hands and gently kiss them, all the while maintaining eye contact with you. 

Your heart swelled as you gave him a flustered smile. "You big, soft goofball."

The mischievous glint in his eye clued you in with his next sentence. "give me a few more minutes of this and ya won't be callin' me 'soft' anymore, sweetheart."

"Bones!" you squealed, laughing. "Nooo. You're terrible!"

He leaned down to your lips and smirked, and your breath hitched when he grabbed one of your hands and pressed it into the pillow, right beside your head. "that's not what you were screaming last night, (y/n). especially when i--"

BEEP! BEEP!

You held a finger to his teeth right before they connected with your lips. With your free hand, you reached over and turned off your back-up alarm. 

"It's time for me to get up, Bones," you said in a soft voice. 

He blinked once, and then let out a sigh before turning back to you with a smile. "ya sure i can't convince ya to be at least a few hours late?"

"You already know the answer to that." You leaned up to kiss him one final time and held it. For a few seconds, the two of you just stayed there, enjoying each other's company and warmth. But eventually, you had to pull away, and Sans gave you a quick peck on the cheek before rolling off of you. 

He whistled when you slipped out of bed, and with a warm face you picked up a pillow and threw it at him. Although both of you knew that he could've easily dodged it, Sans didn't move, and he grinned at you when the pillow harmlessly bounced off of his face. 

"Shut up and wipe that smile off your face, you jerk," you said, but there was humor in your voice. 

You stuck your tongue out, and Sans chuckled at the sight. "ey, can ya really blame me, doc? who wouldn't be happy ta watch a pretty lady like you? mmm, but i have to admit," he purred as his eyes once again drifted downward. "i think i liked it better when you were squirming under the sheets with me."

You walked over to your bathroom to start getting ready for the day, but before you shut the door, you looked back at your lazy boyfriend and huffed. "Do me a favor and stop acting like you're a top. We both know who your ass belongs to, but in case you forgot, I might have to remind you when I get back from work. And if you try anything funny, big guy, you might find yourself chained to the bed during your treatment." You winked. "Doctor's orders, Bones."

If you had waited just a second longer before closing the door, you would've seen the tiny red hearts in Sans's eyes. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

The dark, run-down street was empty when Sans turned a corner and continued walking while the harsh rain pounded against his skull. As usual, his hands were stuffed into his jacket's pockets, and his eyes were trained straight ahead. Despite his laid-back demeanor, the skeleton was on high alert, and everyone who knew of the Judge knew better than to dismiss his appearance.

Even on the surface, it seemed that Sans spent every one of his legally-required patrol breaks at Grillby's. The only difference was that he didn't spend nearly as much time downing shot after shot with the bar's patrons like he did back underground.

Why would he need to when he could just go home, sober and safe, and then drink with you and boss?

Speaking of you...

He couldn't help but grin as his mind  for the millionth time replayed last night's events. You in your (dare he say, cute?) witch's outfit, proudly holding his hand as you both strolled through the crowd's without a care in the world. You, usually serious and reclusive, offering Muffet another chance to set up a shop on the surface world and then happily munching on a dozen donuts. You, saying you loved him and looking at him with such warmth and sincerity that made his soul quake.

His grin grew as a fresher memory started to resurface.

...You, huddled against his chest and whispering sweet nothings to him while his back was pressed against the mattress, rocking him and the bed with a passionate, constant beat until he-

A splash of cold water struck him right between the eye sockets, and Sans shook his head. For the first time today, he was grateful for the icy November rain.

But by stars above, he loved you. He loved you so much, and although he's reminded you that several times in the past few hours, he knew that you didn't fully realize how deep his love for you ran. Not yet, anyway.

The skeleton glanced down at his phone and checked the time. It was getting late, but he knew that you'd be busy healing up your non-human patients well into the night, especially since the gang activity from the monster haters was starting to get worse for some reason. Your desire to put the well-being of others above your own used to frustrate him--it still sometimes did--but he'd be lying if he said that watching you help his own kind didn't warm his soul. 

Sans frowned. For as long as he can help it, he didn't plan on telling you about the extent of the dangers behind patrolling the streets, watching and making sure that all monsters followed Asgore's strict curfew hours, nor would he mention exactly how many times he and boss had been called away to some abandoned warehouse in the middle of the night while you slept, completely oblivious and, most importantly, safe.

Safe from that human gang, safe from their hidden weapons that they uncovered weekly in warehouses, and safe from the growing frustration on the monsters' side to teach the humans a lesson from trying to steal their freedom again.

Don't get him wrong: Sans was fine with you being involved in promoting monster equality and all that jazz as long as you kept your pretty face on the sidelines of this upcoming war. You were good at your job, but if Asgore ever tried to convince you to use you as a decoy or some sort of spy for them, then there would be words exchanged between him and the King of all Monsters.

It'd be over his dead body before you truly got to see just how bad things were for monsters. You didn't need to know about the kidnappings and daily threats.

In a way, maybe it was bad for him to hide things like that from you, but there was a very small part of his soul that truly felt guilty for doing something like this. He wanted to protect you. Not hurt you.

Besides, it wasn't like you weren't still hiding a few things from him, either.

Sans stopped outside the pub and watched as the rain poured from the night sky before landing in the growing puddle that was formed from one of the street's many holes. The puddle reflected the glowing, vibrant purple sign that hung above it, displaying the words Grillby's. If he shifted his gaze a little to the bottom center, he could see himself, staring into the puddle with black eye sockets that were deep in thought.

...

Nobody had died yet.

Which was weird.

There were random drive-by shootings in monster neighborhoods, ransoms, arson (his house, specifically), and fights with plenty of close calls on both sides, but nobody had died.

Everyone knew that once a life was taken on either side, there would be no going back. Tensions were so high right now that the only thing holding everyone back was a reason to start a new war.

They just... had to play it safe until things calmed down, or so that mayor guy said to Asgore.

Sans grinded his teeth. He couldn't even remember his name, but he certainly remembered the look of disgust and shock on your face when you saw him last night.

With you there, Sans didn't have to read the guy's soul to know that there was more to him than meets the eye. You had a good judge of character, and he knew you enough to be able to tell from your body language that this guy was bad news.

And his theory was confirmed later, as you reluctantly followed the Southern gentleman back to his tent, giving Sans the opportunity to get a good idea on the man's persona. It wasn't hard to do. It only took a second for his magic to flicker in his eye socket, giving him a perfect view of the man's soul that only he could see, similar to an x-ray but in color.

This was why he was called the Judge. It was a skill that only he and his brother possessed, since nearly all monsters needed to pull out a person's soul in order to know their traits.

But Sans didn't. After all, he was specifically designed by his creator to be a murder weapon against that type of soul, possessing magic that very few could compare to.

With a heavy feeling in his chest and his nostrils reeking from the rotting garbage that littered the street, Sans took one last look at himself before walking into Grillby's, stepping on the puddle in the process and sending ripples through his reflection.

+++

It was warm inside, which was what you'd expect from entering a bar owned by a fire monster. The old wooden floors were somehow spotless despite the oncoming rain. A few monsters were sitting on the booths against the wall, and one of the few tables in the center of the room had contained an abandoned poker game. A single, yellow light bulb managed to light up the entire room that was called Grillby's.

Alright, Sans, he thought as he looked around the pub. You know the drill.

The skeleton mustered up his usual grin as he strolled through the crowd, occasionally giving a nod or a handshake to the pub's usuals who he knew by name.

"Ey, look, boys! Sans is back!"

"Where ya been, mate?"

"Old Asgore's finally been putting your boney ass to work, huh?"

"It's been too long, Sans! Next round on me!"

A loud chorus of cheers responded back, and glasses were clinked against each other as everyone toasted to the return of one of Grillby's regulars.

Sans replied his usual way with a pun that easily came to him, a wink and a shrug here and there, and everyone laughed.

Well, not everyone. Half of the customers did, at least.

The other half was crowded around the bar, listening closely as Burgerpants, who was pretending he was older than nineteen and that what he was sipping wasn't just water-down Sprite.

Sans huffed as he eyed the crowd gathered around him, and wondered why in the world everyone seemed so invested in his story. Burgerpants wasn't a bad guy, but he was usually grouchy, bitter, and a sleaze who would lie his way out of any situation. The guy's reputation used to hold some level of respect in the monster community, but everything went down the drain the day he tried to steal from Mettaton in an attempt to impress some girls.

The skeletal monster was fully prepared to just push past the crowd and flag Grillby down at the bar when something that wasn't supposed to be there caught his eye.

There, sitting right next to Burgerpants and holding a glass of what looked like whiskey on the rocks was a man. A human man, who looked like he was in his early fifties. He had short gray hair that stopped right above his shoulders, a matching beard, and a worn-out tan jacket that covered his stripped dress shirt. The guy practically reeked that he was a cop or detective of some sort, but that wasn't what made Sans stop.

No. It was the fact that the only human in the bar was an old man who was carefully listening and sitting next to a cat monster whose nickname was Burgerpants.

As Sans stopped to eye the stranger, the old man caught his sharp gaze and held it just long enough to smirk before returning his attention to Mettaton's employer.

The skeletal monster narrowed his eyes and decided to lay low among the bubbling crowd as they fired off questions to Burgerpants.

"Alright, dude. You got everyone's attention."

"Yeah! And start from the beginning, Felix!"

Sans rolled his eyes. Oh stars. He couldn't fucking believe that they were starting to call him by his real name. He thought everyone lost all respect for the guy, but apparently whatever happened apparently brought his dignity back on a silver platter.

"It was crazy!" Burgerpants said, throwing his water-down soda in the air for dramatic effect. "It wasn't even past curfew yet. I was just walking back to my car after my shift, minding my own business, when all of the sudden three guys came out of nowhere and started yelling insults like 'DIE YOU MONSTERS SCUM' and then started running towards me! I noticed one of them had a metal pipe of some sort, so I panicked and accidentally dropped my keys somewhere in the dark, but I didn't have time to stop and look for them. I just broke off into a sprint!"

"You were outnumbered," the man next to Burgerpants said in a gruff voice as he held his glass to his lips. "Smart choice."

"I know, right?!" the cat monster yelled.

"Then what?" Someone asked.

"I ran, and ran, and ran until I ended up in the middle of the city, but those guys knew the alleyways better than I did, and they kept chasing me. And you guys know that I spend most of my time just sitting behind a counter for my motherfuckin' boss, so I'm not exactly in the best shape," Burgerpants lifted his drink to take a sip, but right before the glass reached his mouth, he paled and set it down. "Um. D-don't tell Mettaton I said that."

"Get on with it already!"

"Let the guy speak, dammit," the old man grumbled, shooting a cold gaze at the monster who shouted.

"Right. So, eventually, I had to turn a corner and catch my breath. And just when I thought that I was gonna be forced to test whether or not cats really had nine lives, I saw this human lady in a white doctor's coat walking around late at night in the alleyways by herself! At first I was really surprised, but then I realized that I remembered seeing her face at work earlier, and how she went on a rant in the middle of the pasta aisle about equal rights for monsters and some shit like that."

The old man's thin lips twitched at the corner as he fought back another smile while Sans facepalmed at that memory. For some reason, he felt like that event happened a long time ago, despite the fact that it's literally only been a month since then.

"Who was she?" someone asked.

"What do you mean, 'who was she,' Doggo? How many human doctors do you know that are willing to help us out in the dead of night?"

"Or humans that help us at all."

"A smart cookie, I'd say. Especially since she's smart enough to heal both monsters and humans. The only other person I can think of who can do that is the Queen and that crazy Royal Scientist!"

"Aw, she's a good human, too. Bless that woman. She helped calm my son down the other day when he got sick, and even offered to pay for his medication when she realized I couldn't afford insurance!"

"Dr. (Y/N) is the best!"

"What was she doin' by herself, though? I mean, hell, if the little lady needed someone to escort her to her car or something, I'm sure any of us would've been willing to do it at the tip of the hat. Am I right, guys?"

"YEAH!"

"Hello? HELLO! Uh, everyoneeee, I'm still talking!" Burgerpants shouted as he realized everyone, including the old man next to him, were no longer paying him any attention since they were too busy talking about the infamous Doctor (Y/N). With his chest puffed out, the cat monster started to climb up onto the counter top, but as soon as he put his foot on it, a flurry of purple flames snaked down the glossy surface and tried to ignite him. Burgerpants yelped and pulled up his foot and hopped around as he tried to smack the flames out, causing everyone except the old man to burst out laughing.

"Sqwack! Grillby says if you try to climb his shop again, you'll be leaving this place as a pile of ashes!" a bird monster with green feathers said.

"S-sorry," Burgerpants said, looking up just in time to see the top of Grillby's purple flames disappear as he walked into the back, seemingly having better things to do than listen to this.

"Well? Don't keep us waiting!"

"Finish the story!"

"R-right, uh..." Still a little shaken from Grillby's magic, he took in a deep breath before continuing. "W-well, the gang members were starting to catch up, so, out of options, I decided to take a risk and ran up to the lady, and I practically tackled her to the ground. I was hoping that she could help me, but then the guys were getting closer, and I... I realized... that... that I, uh..."

Something in Burgerpant's face shifted, and suddenly, his ego was renewed. With newfound energy, he slammed his drink down and jumped to his feet, causing everyone expect Sans and the old man to flinch.

"But then I realized that she was terrified, even more than I was!" he roared. "I mean, the poor lady was in tears as she started shaking and clinging to me, begging me to use my magic or something cool like that to throw those guys off and keep her safe, but as all of you know, tensions are already pretty high out there, so I wasn't about to go off and start another war right after we just got to the surface!"

Some of the monsters in the crowd shifted and shared looks to one another as they all recalled that magic usage was legal as long as it was in self-defense, but nobody dared to speak just yet.

He threw his arms back as he continued, nearly knocking his drink over in the process. "I was in a bit of a dilemma! On one hand, there was a racist gang after me, and on another, I had to figure out some way to keep me and the doctor safe without using any magic. I had to get creative, and I had to do it quick! So, in the span of a second, no no, a nanosecond," he emphasized as a wad of spit shot out of his mouth and landed on the floor. "I picked up the human, set her down on a bench, and when those eyes blinked at me I grabbed her cheek and whispered, 'do you trust me?' and she nodded. Then, I tugged up my hoodie and tried to cover my face before leaning in to kiss her."

No one said anything, and Burgerpants was too busy stroking his ego to realize that the Judge was literally starring daggers at him as the corners of his usual grin dangerously dipped down.

"I mean, don't get me wrong, the kiss wasn't that great for me, personally, but she basically melted into putty in my hands, and at one point I had to actually break the kiss and tell her to stop when she tried to get a little too handsy for me! I mean, I just wanted to use her to keep us both hidden from the bad guys, not start anything serious, right? But I guess she didn't get the message, because a few hours after I escorted her shaking body back to her home, she was calling me up, asking when I was free, and and going on and on about how brave I was. I was flattered at first, but eventually I had to block her when she started sending me some very suggestive pictures." His orange lips curled. "Like, sorry lady, but I'm dedicated to only one mistress, and that's work, but I mean, hah!" He sloshed his drink around and held it up for a toast. "Humans, amiright?"

Complete silence. Nobody dared to move their glasses up to join Burgerpants as he spun in a circle, eyeing someone, anyone who was willing to bask in his glory. After a few seconds of gazing at an emotionless crowd, a confused Burgerpants started to questioningly lower his glass as his tiny brain clicked on. As soon as his mouth opened, though, a dry chuckle from the man sitting next to him cut him off.

"Well, I'll give you this, boy," the old man said, looking up at Burgerpants with gray eyes and an amused smirk. "That's one hell of a story. Too bad it's a shitty lie."

Burgerpants's tail spiked up as he stormed over to the man, his ego brewing from whatever liquid courage his watered-down sprite provided. "What? L-lie? No! It wasn't a lie! That actually happened, and if you know your place on this side of town, human," he hissed, his whiskers scratching the man's face. "Then you'll keep your mouth shut, Hank!"

The man only replied with an amused snort before shaking his head and downing the rest of his drink. "Your funeral."

The cat monster bristled. "What do you--"

"Are you sure you're talking about the same doctor?" someone piped up.

"Miss (Y/N) doesn't sound like that type of person..." another said, and soon, the entire bar started pilling in their complaints as they moved closer to the bar.

"I don't think he's telling the truth..."

"She's too damn uptight to do something like that!"

"I smell a fight coming... and it's a good scent."

Suddenly, the crowd parted as a monster with short arms and legs and a single, angry eyeball pushed forward.

"You fucking, lying cat!" Burgerpants flinched as an Astigmatism, a monster that used to live in the CORE, grabbed him by his collar. The creature blinked, and the piercing eye disappeared and was replaced by two beady dots and a menacing snarl that was dripping with foam. "That doctor saved my cousin's vision after some humans smashed a glass bottle against his face, and she didn't show us anything other than kindness when we stopped at the clinic! So you got another thing coming if you think I'm just gonna sit and listen to you talk shit about her!"

"Wow. He's still a bad liar, even on the Surface," a Whimsalot tsked as he fluttered over the cat monster's head. "Bratty and Catty were right when they said you're still the same attention whore."

"SHUT UP!" Burgerpants cried to the oncoming crowd. His nails tried to claw their way out of the other monster's grip, but Astigmatism wasn't having it.

"Kick his ass! >:D" Aaron yelled, his muscles wickedly flexing with power.

"Oooh, someone tell Mettaton that his employee is bashing the human doctor!" a bunny monster squealed as she pulled out her phone to start recording. "This is totally going on the Undernet."

"On it!" a literal hand monster said as she pressed a cell phone to her index finger. "Hi Stevie, can you forward me to our boss? Yes, I'll hold."

"No no no no no, please!" the cat monster begged as he broke free from the Astigmatism's grip, only to have his back pinned down on the bar by Dogamy and Dogaressa.

"When we first reached the surface, we didn't have access to any forms of healthcare since no doctors were willing to meet with monsters," Dogamy said, ignoring Burgerpant's whimpers.

"Dr. (Y/N) was the only one who had the proper knowledge and willingness to treat monsters." Dogaressa pushed Burgerpants into her husband's arms, who quickly secured his free limb and held them both behind the cat monster's back.

Dogaressa rolled up her sleeves. "Because of her, my husband and I had access to not only basic and affordable healthcare, but she also provided us information on monster family planning and birth control in case we ever decide to settle down and start a family. Isn't that right, snookums?"

"It is, my love," Dogamy tilted Burgerpant's head to the right as his wife swung her fist back, which proudly displayed her wedding ring. "So don't take this personally, weird smelly cat. We're just gonna teach you a lesson about respect, especially for a woman who's done so much for our kind."

"Be a good cat, now, and hold still! This will only hurt a lot."

"N-no PLEASE I'M SO--"

CRACK!

"Ow!" Dogressa cried out in pain as she started pulled her swollen hand out of a certain skeleton's iron grip, who had appeared between the two at the last second and caught her fist before it collided against Burgerpant's face. Instead of calling off his magic, Sans's one blazing eye focused on the crowd. With the flick of his wrist, all of the cell phones that had been pulled out to record were flung out of the hands of their owners and sent flying to the nearby wall.

"Hey!" the bunny woman from earlier cried, but her pierced ears quickly flattened when she saw the big, scary skeleton glaring her down with black sockets.

"It's the Judge..."

"When did he get here?"

"He's been standing next to Shyren the entire time, dumbass!"

"alright, alright, everyone, you can all calm do--HEY! I SAID SHUT TA FUCK UP!" Sans huffed as he addressed the now silent crowd. "we're not in ta fuckin' underground anymore, so put yer damn weapons away before grillbz over here reminds ya why there's a 'no fightin'' rule in his joint."

As if on cue, Grillby reappeared from the kitchen with a plate filled two burgers and fries that he set down in front of the old man, who mumbled out a thanks. When he raised his head he saw Dogressa clutching her swollen hand, Dogamy holding a terrified Burgerpants, and everyone else standing in a defensive manner around the bar with their weapons drawn.

Grillby's white eyes narrowed at the crowd, and his purple flames dangerously crackled like hot embers burning into wood.

"Squack!" The same bird monster from earlier straightened his scrawny neck as he faced the crowd with a warning expression. "Grillby says you've all got five seconds to either buy something or get out before he turns this place into a second Hotland!"

All at once, every soul present in the crowd cleared the bar area. A majority of the patrons downed the rest of their drinks before scrambling out through the entrance, but those who were regulars at the bar back in the Underground simply staggered towards their usual seats. A few of them threw uneasy looks towards Grillby as they grumbled under their breaths, but none dared to speak louder than a whisper.

With the crowd gone and the pub returning to its normal laid-back atmosphere, only four individuals remained present at the bar: Grillby, Sans, the old man, and Burgerpants, who tried to flee with the rest of the monsters, only to be held back by his very own soul, which was floating right in front of his chest, giving off a blue hue as Sans's magic kept him in place.

With a twirl of two bony fingers, Sans forced the shaking monster to face him.

"Y-you--" Burgerpants uneasily swallowed, and Sans watched as his quivering yellow eyes lowered to his sharp teeth. "There's a n-no fighting rule here, r-remember? Y-you... you c-can't--"

"i can do what i want, when i want." Sans's grin grew, and he turned his head to face the fire elemental, who was well on his way over here to tell Sans off.

"besides..." Sans continued, eyeing the fire elemental. "grillbz tends to make exceptions when it comes ta people disrespecting a guy's girlfriend, especially when they're sprouting out nothing but lies."

Sans watched as Grillby halted and blinked at him, shock written all over his face. A questioning crackle came from him as he tilted his head, and Sans couldn't help the giddy feeling in his soul.

"Sqwack! Grillby says--"

"yeah yeah, i know what he fuckin' said, so can it, bert!" Sans snapped at the bird monster before turning back to Grillby. "and yeah, heh, i know it's a bit of a surprise ta ya, grill, but it's been a long time comin' for us," Sans chuckled and shyly scratched the back of his neck. "if ya don't believe me, just ask undyne 'n alphys next time they come round here for karaoke night. hell, maybe i'll bring sweets along, too."

Grillby's purple flames crackled louder as he leaned over the bar, shaking his head.

"yeah yeah, i know," Sans rolled his eyes. "some friend i am ta not even introduce ya ta my girl yet. like i said, i'll let meet ya meet her the next time she's got a free night. s'kind of funny, though. yer one of the few boss monsters who haven't met her."

Another crackle came from Grillby, but this one was followed by a cocky hiss. 

"pfft, get yer head out of yer ass, grillbz," Sans laughed and wiped away an invisible tear. "just cause ya haven't gotten a proper beatin' since ya've been on ta surface doesn't mean i can't give you one right now. but i don't think misses will be happy with me takin' ya home ta patch us both up."

The fire elemental raised a sarcastic eyebrow and blew out a puff of smoke in the shape of a heart, and Sans flushed a little. 

"geez, bud. can ya mind yer own fuckin' business? sheesh... so what if we live together? i ain't gotta tell ya nuthin' about us, ya old fashion piece of charcoal. if yer gonna ask questions like that, then i ain't gonna let ta two of ya meet." 

Grillby fumed and Sans rolled his eyes. 

"eh, quit yer whining 'n grab me my usual while i take care of this bastard, will ya?" Sans jabbed a finger in Burgerpants's direction, who gulped when the attention was placed on him once more. The bartender paused for a moment to glare at the cat monster, but just when the heat of his flames started to rise, he quickly shook his head ans disappeared once more into the back. 

"now then." Sans cracked his knuckles as his blazing eye roared to life. "back ta business."

"S-sans's, pl-please." Burgerpants held up his shaking hands. "I-I didn't know she was your m-mate. I-I-I didn't mean a-any h-harm-m!!" 

"aw, buddy, of course ya didn't," Sans winked and leaned against the bar. "nobody truly realizes how harmful they're action are until they fuck it up. 'n you, pal," he chuckled darkly. "bought a one-way ticket ta finding out what yer own dust tastes like."

"n-no PLEASE--"

"that," Sans raised a hand, and the cat monster flinched before swallowing his words. "is somethin' that i would've said if we were still underground. if (Y/N) was an actual member of ta royal court and held an important position, 'n ya were trash talkin' and spreading rumors, well, i'm not gonna lie, buddy. by order of the old law, that would've be a pretty bad situation fer ya."

"i-i didn't--"

"s t o p."

Burgerpants bit his tongue, and Sans's eye lights blinked back to life as he smiled. 

"have ya ever heard that, if ya didn't have anything nice ta say, don't say anythin' at all? 'cause sometimes, buddy, ya might actually end up ruinin' someone's reputation." The skeleton snapped his fingers, and Burgerpants's back slammed against the floor with a grunt. Before he could try to get up, Sans appeared on the other side of him, and leaned down to where his skull hovering inches above Burgerpant's face.

"like i said, pal. we ain't in the underground anymore, 'n things are different up here, includin' me. so..." he lowered his hand, and Burgerpant's blue soul faded to white before merging back into his body. "i'mma let ya off with a warnin'. hell, we've all told a lie here 'n there, after all. but if i catch word of ya doin' something that's disrespectin' my datemate again, well... heh..." 

In the blink of an eye, Sans had pulled Burgerpants up by the collar and forced his teary eyes to look into the skeleton's eye sockets, which were filled with pitch-black magic that seemed dark, darker, yet darker still, like some cunning and powerful beast was hiding behind a veil, watching with a predatory smile. 

"you'll have a b a d  t i m e," he growled, his grin wide and menacing. "capiche?"

Burgerpants looked like he was on the verge of passing out, but managed to give a shaky nod. 

"good." Sans's red eye lights popped back into life, and he dropped the monster to the floor. "now get out." 

Without needing to be told twice, Burgerpants quickly pushed himself up, stumbled through the chairs and tables and ran out the door, letting it close on its own in favor of getting the hell away form this place. 

Sans rolled his eyes at the thought of the guy thinking he would actually get away with spreading lies like that about you. He meant what he said: if they were still Underground, and if you were granted protection of some sort under the crown, anyone who messed with you would've gone straight to the royal guard for their judgement. But alas, that wasn't the case, so Burgerpant's got away with a slap on the wrist and a warning.

A very, very clear warning.

Somewhere in the back of his head, Sans wondered if you would've been proud at him for not smashing the guy's face into the floor. 

Well, more than he already did, that is. Heh. 

With a long, pleased sigh, Sans pulled out a stool and took his seat, watching as the man just one chair away chew on a burger while stuffing the other one into his worn-down jacket. 

...Odd, but hey, he's done stranger before. But what was more interesting, though, was that even after everything that had happened in the pub, this old man still stayed. So either he was crazy or hella stupid. Only one way to find out, he supposed. 

"hey!" Sans grumbled as he grabbed the man's attention with the nod of his head. "are ya crazy, or just hella stupid?" 

The man blinked his gray eyes at Sans before dropping his gaze back down at his food, but Sans still managed to see the small smirk that played on his thin lips. 

"There's a lot of gray area in that question," he hummed in a dry voice. "I'm gonna need some context." 

"yer kiddin', right?" Sans whistled and switched seats so he was closer to the man, who didn't bothered in the slightest when he teleported right next to him. "yer the only damn human i've ever known whose spent longer than ten seconds in this bar."

"Does that mean I get a medal?" the old man said, avoiding eye contact with Sans in favor of staring at something in the corner.

He chuckled and followed the man's gaze. "nah, but if it'll make ya happy, i'll put on a song on that ol' jukebox ya've been starin' at."

The old man blinked in surprise. "Damn, you've read me like a book."

"a book ain't complete without a name, though."

He smirked and held out a hand. "Hank Anderson."

"sans the skeleton," he shook his hand. 

"Go figure. And here I thought you were a dog."

"har de har har. yer a cop, ain't cha?"

"Lieutenant's more like it. Are you a fellow boy in blue, son?"

"somethin' like that." Sans fished out a golden coin from his pocket and held it up. "ya got a song request, hank?"

"Ain't No Rest for the Wicked, if you don't mind."

"pfffttt," Sans tossed the coin in his hand as he laughed. "heh heh, hate ta tell ya this, old man, but that jukebox over there came from the fuckin' underground, and it's probably as old as yer ass. i know the playlist like ta back of my hand, 'n i'm tellin' ya, yer song ain't gonna be up there."

Sans smirked and closed his eyes , waiting for the coin to fall into his other hand, but nothing happened. It wasn't until he opened them did he see Hank, holding the coin up to the skeleton's face. 

"It's up there, son." Hank said, and something behind his eyes glinted mischievously. "Just trust me."

Sans's eye sockets narrowed at the man as he snatched his coin back. With a huff, he took a shortcut over to the jukebox and began searching through the songs, already preparing a smartass speech for what he was going to say to the Lieutenant when he couldn't find the--

Oh wait. There is was, hand-written in the same fading black marker like the other songs were. 

Mister Sandman// The Chordettes, 1954

Jailhouse Rock// Elvis Presley, 1957

Tutti Frutti// Little Richard, 1957

Ain't No Rest for the Wicked// Cage the Elephant, 2008

Huh...

A small light went on in his head, but Sans didn't feel the need to comment on it just yet. Instead, he swallowed his pride and suspicion and hit the play button before teleporting back to his seat, just in time to hear the first line of the song.

"I was walking down the street, when out the corner of my eye, I saw a pretty little thing approaching me..." 

"Thanks." Hank munched on a fry. "You saved me from getting up."

"don't get used ta it," Sans huffed, his spirits immediately lifting when Grillby dropped a plate with a steaming hamburger on it, complete with his bottle of mustard and a shot glass filled with scotch whiskey. A drop of drool dripped out of his mouth as he grabbed the burger. "oooh yeah, come ta daddy." He took a bit and growled. "fuck, that's good." 

"Carefully, skelly man," Hank said, raising an eyebrow. "You're little mama at home might be jealous if she hears you talking like that."

Irritation pricked Sans's bones, but he managed to swallow before speaking. "oh yeah? 'n what's it ta ya if she does, pal?"

Hank reached across the bar and began stuffing his remaining french fries into his jacket. "Eh, no need to look at me like that, son. (Y/N)'s an old friend of mind, so I don't mean you any bad will or anything."

"an old friend, huh..." Sans licked his fingers and eyed Hank as he shoved yet another handful of fries into his pockets. "okay, seriously, what ta hell are ya doin'?"

"Preparing."

"fer...?"

"I travel a lot, so I don't always have food ready when I need to eat. It's better to be safe than sorry, and I'm not the type of guy who let's good food go to waste."

"uh huh..." Sans took another bite of his burger, this time not botherin' to chew his food first before speaking. "so how do ya know sweets?"

"Who?"

"yer friend, dammit. (Y/N)!"

"Ah, well." Hank tugged on his jacket. "We grew up together, and we used to be pretty close." 

"you both grew up together," Sans repeated as he eyed Hank's gray hair and wrinkles.

"Sure did. So how do you know her?"

"she's my girlfriend."

"Oh yeah. You did say that, didn't you." Hanks eyes studied Sans for a moment before he shook his head. "And... the two of you live together."

Sans didn't like his sudden change in tone.

"ya got a problem, buddy?" the skeleton growled. 

"Nope. If anything, that's great for me, I guess." Hank pulled out a wad of cash and dropped it on the table. "Cause that lady owes me favor, and I've been trying to talk to her for a while. Also, she's kind of angry at me right now, but who holds a grudge for eighty years?"

Sans really didn't like that. 

"'n what sort of favor does she owe ya?"

"It's a simple one, really," Hank leveled with Sans, and once again the Judge saw that mischievous glint in the man's gray eyes. "I want her. To look. At my dick."

In the next second, the old man was frozen to his seat, staring as Sans's magic pulled out Hank's soul, confirming his suspicion as soon as he peeked at the ruby-red color of Determination that was quickly being enveloped by his blue magic.

*River Colville. Mage, type: Dark Magic. 

EXP: N/A 

AT: N/A

DEF: N/A

*River knows what you're doing right now, and he's happy to play a part in your game. 

Hank isn't his real name, Sans thought. 

After giving the room a quick glance to make sure no one else was watching, the skeleton leaned down to whisper into the old man's ear.

"listen," Sans growled in a warning tone. "if ya value yer life, ya'll get up right now, walk out, and never come back."

"That's some bold talk, Skelly man." he whispered in a mocking tone. "So what happens if I don't?" 

"do not test me, mage."

"Oh, thank the gods that it finally clicked!" River chuckled in a new voice that was too young for him, and Sans's magic flared to life as he turned both their bodies to the bar once more, just to make sure no one would suspect anything. 

The old man continued speaking in the new voice, louder this time, which gathered a few looks from the other bar patrons. "I was wondering how long you were going to pretend you didn't know what I was. For a second there, you were actually making me question (Y/N)'s taste in men."

"keep yer voice down!" Sans hissed and tightened his magic, but whatever grip he held quickly loosened as the old man's head snapped in his direction and stared at him from an unnatural angle with red eyes and a terrible, terrible smile that stretched unnaturally to his cheekbones.

Sans paled. He... he shouldn't have been able to break his blue magic's grip. And that face...

A chill ran down Sans's spine as he quickly realized that he was no longer in control of this situation. He never was. 

"See, here's the thing, Skelly Man," River hummed, spinning in his seat to realign his body with his head. "I've spent centuries hiding who I was from this world. But now that you Monsters have broke out, I think it's time everyone drops their facades." 

Sans watched in horror as the man's pale, wrinkly skin started to melt and slough off into long, gooey droplets that turned into purple sludge as soon as they hit the floor. 

Drip... drop...

"I'll have to admit, though. This dreadful costume I'm wearing isn't appropriate for a proper meet and greet. So how about we all take a moment to make ourselves presentable before we get to know each other." With a hand that was missing a pinky finger, the mage reached into his jacket and pulled out a card before quickly flipping over to Sans's direction, revealing it to be a Joker. 

"Huh. Must be your lucky day," the man said, completely unbothered by the fact that half his mouth was missing now and only containing a dark void in place. "I found a card that fits your personality."

"My turn!" River swung his arm holding the card back, slinging more globs of loose skin everywhere as he eyed the single light bulb in the room. 

"wait--"

But Sans's voice was quickly drowned out by the sound of glass shattering, and then the room went pitch black. 

Immediately, screams filled the air and were quickly silenced by some invisible force. Sans tried to teleport out, but his magic quickly fizzled and died. Suddenly, a hand shot out from behind, quickly grabbing his ankle and slamming him against the ground and tugging him back while his claws dug into the floor. Two, three, four more hands reached out to grab his free limbs, and soon all of them had managed to pick him up and slam him into something. When Sans tried to call for help, two new hands smacked against his teeth, shutting him up. 

Before he could try fighting again, a red light flickered on, and Sans realized that he, along with the other patrons, were now tied down to chairs that were arranged in a circle, facing a single table. On that table stood a man with coffee colored skin, ebony dreadlocks that fell past his shoulders, and a black suit with a purple sash that matched his bow tie. When the mage lifted his head, his top hat casted a shadow over his face, but Sans could see the piercing violet eyes that seemed to look right through him.

River flicked another playing card into the air, and in a puff of purple smoke, it quickly was replaced by a microphone that the mage caught in his white gloves. He thumped against it once, twice, and then cleared his throat. 

"I'd thank you all for coming out here for tonight's performance, but," he eyed the ropes that held every monster in place and grinned. "But uh, it's not like anyone had much of a choice."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Mercy

 

 

 

Hi! First off, I just wanted to say thank you for supporting me and my work! This story is officially one year old, and I honestly wouldn't have been able to make it this far in my work without you guys. I was really worried when I first starting writing because my fanfiction's purpose of merging Fable lore with undertale monsters is something that I had never seen done before. I was worried that you guys would be bored of it or if I was inserting too many OC's and not enough undertale related stuff, but you guys have dispelled my fears and I cannot thank any of you enough for it. So, to celebrate, I decided to post a couple of doodles of the reader and Sans. This is just my personal interpretation of how I think that reader looks (thick with curly hair) but that's just me! You are not required to see the reader like this at all. Think of it as fanart for my own fanfiction. 

If you want to see a better view of my drawing, please consider checking out my new tumblr! 

Also, I ended up having to split this chapter in half again since it was getting too long, so the next chapter should be out sometime soon!

 

Chapter Text

The room was quiet, and all eyes were upon the magician as he stood on his makeshift stage and addressed the crowd. Sans's arms were helplessly pinned to his side and every time he tried to use his magic, something cold grasped his chest, like a coil of icy chains that, tightened, and he found himself unable summon anything more than a tiny spark. 

The tightening iron around his soul felt strangely familiar, but whenever his mind raced to pinpoint exactly what that feeling was, another wave of coldness sent him flying back to square one, a mental state of... something. Something dark.

A clap from the center of the room brought his attention back to the mage, who was watching Sans with a knowing look that just sent him even more over the edge. 

"Now that I have everyone's attention," River said cooly into his microphone, straightening up as he spoke. "I'd like to go ahead and say that I'm not just some wandering mage who happened to park his ass at this rundown joint. I'm a man on a mission."

"so what're ya gonna do?" Sans barked, his temper rising despite his better judgment. "kill us?"

"Me? Kill you? Why, I'm insulted, to say the least!" River pushed his top hat back and pointed a white glove at Sans. "Don't get me wrong. I could, but I learned a very long time ago that everyone's much more interesting when they're alive. So don't worry, skelly man. All of you safe."

"Then what the hell do you want?" Astigmatism hissed. 

River spun on his heels and strolled over to the monster while the red light above followed him, acting as a spotlight. The monster emitted a growl when River got too close, and surprisingly, the mage stopped in his tracks with his hands folded behind him, each one of them holding a purple card. 

"You know, this is a little off-topic, but I actually meant to be here days earlier. Unfortunately, I got caught up attending a beautiful wedding for my dear friend Mr. Ratburn and his lovely fiance, Patrick, who, by the way, makes the best chocolate souffle in the universe. And I don't say things like that too often, everyone," River chuckled and leaned down, his hat casting a shadow over half his face. 

"That doesn't answer my fuckin' question!"

River cocked his head to the side. "You know, patience has never been a monster's strongest virtues, and it's not a big one for me, either. So it makes me wonder." River walked back to the stage with his arms stretched out by his sides and spun on one heel. "Out of everyone in this room, who's the real monster? Eh? Get my play on words? Ah, I suppose it doesn't matter if you did or didn't or slightly did or didn't at all," River laughed. "I thought it was a fun play on words, and my opinion is all that really matters in the end."

"He's crazy..." a bunny monster whispered to Aaron, who replied with ">:O"

River swung and card over his head, pointing it directly at the bunny monster, who squeaked in surprise. 

"Crazy is such a strong, hurtful word..." River said in a low voice. Holding eye contact with the bunny, he slowly brought the card up to his chin. "I prefer the idea that I just have a hard time staying focused on one thing at a time. My mind's like a train that jumps from rail to rail, never slowing down as the train zips through each station and field. But if you ask me, I'm the train that's never truly left the station, and the blurry view through the glass-paned windows is the one actually moving."

"I'm getting a headache from all of this metaphorical shit," Sans grumbled. 

"Ah, I hear that a lot as well," River tsked, looking at the skeleton from the corner of his eye. "That's where my other nickname comes in handy. Although my true name is River, I often get referred to as The Riddler. Feel free to call me whatever, though! I'm always open to suggestions."

"bitch-ass motherfuckin' mage."

River narrowed his eyes at Sans. "Tsk. That was a little uncalled for."

Sans tugged on the ropes and glared back. 

River waved him off. "Okay, well, regardless, if you're just gonna be rude, then we'll just be on our way."

"we? ta hell? ya ain't takin' me--"

Suddenly, the door in the back of the room opened, and a bright, purple light clashed against the red spotlight. Sans had to turn his head to the side in order to see, but he already knew who it was.

Grillby stood, staring dumbfounded at the scene of his fellow patrons tied up against their will while a single man stood on top of a table, looking surprised. 

"My gods..." River said, his jaw going slack. "Grillby? Is that really you?" 

The fire elemental's flames crackled as he shot a fireball towards the center of the room at lightning speed. To Sans's horror, the mage didn't even try to dodge it. Instead, he stood there, still in shock, as the attack barreled towards him, and before he realized what he was doing, Sans had yelled out a warning.

"kid, watch it--" 

But when the flames his chest, they simply phased through while the center of his body reduced to wisps of curling, plum-colored smoke that gave off a somewhat exciting aroma, like the calm before a storm. Just as soon as the attack left his body did the smoke return back to the solid state that made up his chest. The only difference was that the magician's violet eyes were now overcome with a cherry red hue. 

The fireball didn't stop after that, though, and it continued on until struck one of the tables behind the mage, which caused the old wooden object to immediately ignite into a flurry of flickering flames. 

Then everyone started screaming again.

To Sans's surprise, River seemed to snap out of whatever trance he was in and spun around to watch as the hungry flames stretched higher and higher. He flexed his wrist and pulled out another playing card, but instead of aiming it at Grillby, he flung his arm back and threw it, striking the fire at its core. The card immediately grew and morphed into a shiny black bubble, which completely engulfed the flames and soon popped, revealing nothing more than a pile of ashes in place of the furniture piece.

River turned his head back to a startled Grillby, who seemed to now realize the gravity of this situation. The bartender had another attack ready, but his face was scrunched up in deep thought as he inspected River. 

"Hah, uh..." The mage scratched his chin. "I guess it's been a while since we've last met, and my magic hadn't matured back then, so I was still a kid, but uh..." River took his hat off and offered the fire monster a sheepish grin. "Hey. It's me, ya boy, River. Remember me? I'm still alive, even after all these years, and I'm stuck forever being twentyish, so hah, uh..." He cracked an uneasy grin. "Whoopee?"

Confused, Sans watched as Grillby's flames died a little as the fire monster blinked once, twice, and then his eyes widened in shock. He took one uneasy step forward. Then another, and River did the same, his arms at rest by his sides, as if to make himself appear less threatening. 

For once in his life, Sans had no idea what was on his best friend's mind. For a split second, he actually thought that the fire elemental might offer some sort of acknowledgment towards the mage, but his doubts were confirmed when Grillby's flames sparked once more, and a scorching torrent of fire was sent the mage's way, setting a nearby table ablaze and bringing Grillby's own personal hell to life. 

"Wait, no--" But River's cries came too late, and he barely registered the fist that tried to hammer into his skull, but once failing as the mage's body registered as a cloud of purple smoke. "Stop it!"

The fire elemental wasn't listening, and Sans watched in shock as white-hot tears began to roll down Grillby's cheeks while his flames crackled and roared out a single sentence that was on an endless repeat. For once in his life, he wished he didn't understand the fire elemental's language. 

They killed my wife and unborn child they killed my wife and unborn child they killed my wife and unborn child they killed my wife they MURDERED THEM--

Sans didn't want to listen anymore, but he, along with other screaming patrons, were still tied down. There was nowhere to go, and no one to call out to for help. 

With a cry filled with years of agony and relentless pain, Grillby slammed his arms down against the wall in an attempt to strangle River, but once again, he phased through and ended up lighting the wall on fire. However, when the bartender looked up, his eyes met a pair of red ones, and two playing cards stood between their faces. 

River regarded the monster with a sad, knowing smile, and Sans realized that Grillby's cries did not go unheard by the mage. "I'm sorry," was all he said. In the next moment, River kicked Grillby back and slammed the two cards against the ground. One of them immediately turned into a pile of sentient sludge that quickly attacked the lit table, covering it in a blanket of black while the other card evaporated into a thick cloud of the same rain-smelling smoke, except this time it kept expanding and expanding until the room became hazy and everyone, even Grillby, was doubled over and coughing uncontrollably. 

It was at this point that Sans realized his magical bindings were free, and just when he started to collapse with the others, a strong pair of hands wrapped around his shoulders and hoisted him up.

"Alright, skelly man." A familiar, far away voice said. "Don't go passing out on me now. We've got work to do."

Sans didn't reply. He was too busy fighting the urge to close his suddenly very heavy eye sockets, and his usually sharp mind barely registered that the room was now strangely quiet. And the red light that was hanging from the ceiling was flickering back to its normal yellow. And that the strange voice was now hauling him under a table.

"I'd hardly call this setting fight for shadow travel, but it's enough for me to get this train moving. Now, hold on," the voice said, and he felt his arms being wrapped around someone's neck. "This might kill you."

With his last remaining energy, and against his better judgment, Sans obliged by squeezing the person's shoulders, a mimic to how you would hold the skeleton whenever he used a shortcut. 

When the shadows clothed his body in a blanket pure darkness, Sans finally lost the fight to stay awake, and the last thing he saw before the room went dark was a pair of two red eyes.

 

+++ 

 

He woke up to the feeling of something warm smacking against his face. When he groggily reached up to shove it away, his hand touched a small greasy package. In slow, careful movements, Sans cracked an eye open and brought the package down for inspection.

It was a McDonald's hamburger, still wrapped up with the yellow and red logo sticking out through the grease stains. When the aroma of the fast food item hit his nostrils, though, Sans had to fight back the urge to heave.

"Hey hey hey hey!" A voice that was too loud for his senses said. The skeleton tried to force both of his eyes open, but everything was too bright, too fast, and too much, and the nausea increased tenfold. 

"If you don't want it, hand it over! I'm not gonna sit here and watch you waste food while I'm starving over here!" 

Sans didn't feel like arguing, so when the white-gloved hand reached out with an open palm, he placed the burger in it. 

"Thanks," the voice said, and it was quickly followed by the sound of crunching paper.

Slowly but surely, Sans's eyes began to readjust, and the black dots that danced in his vision started to fade away. He still felt strangely sick and jet-lagged, but he managed to sit up and look around. 

The mage seemed to have dragged (teleported?) him into an alleyway of some sort. The rain had finally stopped, but the dirty ground was riddled with wet newspapers, empty cans, a whole bunch of other stuff that reeked of a putrid odor. His back was slumped against a green dumpster that was covered with grime and mold. To his right was another street that looked as if it had seen better days, and to his left was a crumbling brick wall that was covered in faded graffiti. 

As Sans processed his surroundings, his memories slowly crept back into his skull. When it finally hit him that he was watching one of the most powerful beings in the universe digging into a box of ten piece chicken nuggets, his body shot up at attention, and his magic started crackling with energy.

The very being who doomed monsters to eternal suffering was standing no less than five feet away from him. The same person also blew his cover in a bar full of monsters that he left for dead. The same mage who dared to ask him about his very own love. 

Sans's eyes went dark.

The alley was empty and quiet. 

There weren't any cameras. 

No policemen, no royal guards.

N O    W I T N E S S E S. 

Perfect.

However, just before he could strike, River tossed the now-empty container into a nearby trash can and huffed, not bothering to even look at the threatening skeleton that easily towered his height. 

"Your friends are fine, but they won't remember anything from the past hour," River said bitterly, tugging on his hat until it covered his face more. "Which is something I really, really hate doing to them."

"ta hell do ya mean, they won't remember?!" Sans growled.

"Forgetting spells." River spat out a crumbled piece of the previous burger's wrapping paper, and Sans realized that the madman ate the thing whole. "You remember that little cloud thing I did, right? It's a form of mind control, which I'm not the best at, but even the lowliest mages can scrounge up some form of amnesia. But if you want something big, like getting an entire country to forget that you crashed a royal wedding, you better make an appointment with the Psychic mage. Or don't." He tugged a piece of greasy paper out of his white teeth and then reached into his jacket to pull out a handful of the Grillby's fries. 

"The current one," he continued, still looking at the ground and still oblivious to Sans's glare. "Is part of the High Elite, and she's too busy trying to solve the world's problems to realize that she's one of them. She's also a bitch and a sucker when it comes to blackmailing, regardless if the info is fake or not."

"look at me," Sans growled, and River almost did, until something rattled a nearby trash can. It was a raccoon that was eyeing both of them with curiosity, and that feeling only grew when the mage waved a fry to beckon it over, which it gladly did. 

"You know, animals aren't really my thing, but I spent a lot of time around them growing up because of (Y/N). Bears make really good warm pillows! Haa, good times." He laughed, and Sans's frustration grew. He couldn't figure out if the mage was ignoring him for fun or if there was something else going on. But regardless, his patience was running thin, and he ended up pulling out the mage's soul and forcing his confused head up. 

"who the fuck are you?!"

"Uhhh River Colville? The infamous Riddler? The one and only Dark Mage? Jeez." The mage cocked his head towards the raccoon that was in the process of stealing fry from his jacket, which laid on the floor. "Can you believe this guy? Forgetting my name after saving him and his friends' lives." 

"savin' my--listen here, smartass! yer ta whole reason they were in danger in the first place!"

"And I'm the reason behind their salvation! The positive cancels out the negative. It's basic math!" 

At the last minute, the raccoon slipped and tumbled into the jacket, but instead of simply crashing against the ground, Sans watched in horror the animal screeched and disappeared into the inside of the jacket's black abyss. 

He's dead, Sans thought, dropping River. He's dead, and so am I. 

"Nu uh! Get the hell outta there!" River stood up and immediately began beating his jacket, causing several things to fall out. A bejeweled watch, an old cellphone, a bouquet of roses, a bucket of wet cement, a dazzling crown, a shovel, a cactus, an old painting, a shotgun, three whole cakes, and last but not least, the raccoon, who hit the ground running before scurrying into the depths of the alleyway. 

"Nasty little gremlin, thinkin' he can pull one over my eyes..." River hissed before shoving everything back into his jacket. 

"what the hell was that thing?"

"Uh... a raccoon? I like to think of them as little theives though but in the shape of a baby. You get me?"

"i... i don't..." Sans's head was starting to hurt once more as he realized that once again, this conversation was going nowhere. The monster grinded his teeth, and two sharp bones shot out from behind him and pinned River against the wall, holding him up by the sleeves of his white dress shirt. River opened his mouth to protest, but Sans slammed his fist against the wall, cracking several of the bricks. 

"SHUT UP!"  

River closed his mouth.

Sans made himself take a deep breath, but halfway through it his anger reignited as he replayed the past few hours in his head. 

"i was having a pretty good day today, ya know?" Sans hissed. "and ya just had ta ruin it."

"Okay but--"

"ya stupid, fuckin' mages are always goin' around and bossin' people and makin' everyone's lives miserable just 'cause ya can!"

"I--"

"we were stuck in that damn underground for nearly a thousand fuckin' years! monsters died without ever knowing what the sun even looked like, 'n fer a looooong time, i thought i was gonna be fuckin' one of them."

"Well--"

"but now we get here, 'n we think it's all good now, 'n that our sufferin' is over, 'n that all we have ta do is just survive until all of this monster hate goes down."

"Maybe--"

"don't get me wrong, ya freak. i knew yer kind was still around from dealing with ta kid, but then ya just had ta go out and expose yer oh-so-special magical self like that in front of a bunch of monsters! are ya tryin'  ta start another war?"

"That wasn't--"

"do ya want to finish what ya started, pal? is that it?!" Sans barked. "'cause we finish this right now!" 

"I'M NOT TRYING TO FIGHT YOU!" River yelled. "Again, my purpose here isn't genocide, and I really didn't think that Grillby would freak out like that. So, for future reference, until he calms down, I wouldn't take (Y/N) anywhere near him like you said you would earlier unless you actually want to start something."

Sans blinked. "what... why would (y/n)--"

"Secondly, you were the one who blew my cover." River jabbed a finger at Sans's face. "You're not as subtle as you think. When you took my soul out in that bar, everyone saw and started listening in on our conversation. I figured I'd bite the bullet and try my chances with a big reveal, 'cause worst case scenario would be to wipe everyone's memories like I just did!" 

"And third!"  River spat, and for once, Sans saw some venom in his eyes. "I'm sorry for everything those fuckers did to your kind all those years ago. If it makes you feel better, nearly all mages are actually dead because immediately after, humans got super-spooked by magic and tried to kill all of us! So I guess that's good news for you! Hurray!" 

"AND FOURTH!" he huffed. "I have ADHD, so it's really hard to stay focus during all of your bitchy, self-entitled rants. News flash: everyone's got a sappy story, buddy! I didn't come here for yours. I just want to find (Y/N), someone who used to be my friend. That's all."

 River's chest heaved as he glared at Sans. "So fuck it. Fuck you. And fuck these stupid--"  He slammed a glowing hand down on the bones holding him up, smashing them to pieces. 

"--toothpicks. Talking to you was a mistake. Rot in hell, for all I care." River tossed his jacket over his shoulder and stomped off. "I'm out of here."

For a moment, Sans just stood there, watching as the mage, the very species he swore vengeance against, turn his back and walk out. 

Something just felt... Wrong here. 

When Frisk revealed that they were a mage (or well, more like when Sans pressured them into confessing) they said that there weren't other mages, and the kid seemed to be telling the truth. 

Was it possible that they just didn't know? They did say they wandered off from an adoption center before climbing the mountain...

"Nearly all the mages are actually dead..." 

That... that didn't make sense. What happened after the war? What happened after the Barrier was set up? Where were the other mages? Where did Frisk come from?

And who exactly was this jokester?

And how did you know him?

Sans didn't know what to think anymore.

And before he knew it, he had grabbed the guy's shoulders.

"hey," he found himself saying as River's bright eyes locked onto him. "why do you... why do you need to talk to (y/n)?"

"I have something of hers," he replied. "I want to return it."

"that's all?"

"That's all."

"then... then why not just give it ta me, then? i can--"

"No!" River brushed him off and threw a hand out, which contained another playing card. "After all that shit you just did? No way in hell. Just 'cause you say the two of you are fucking or whatever--"

"w-wha--!"

"--doesn't mean I trust you."

Sans eyed the card and hesitated. "look, buddy, i wanna compromise with 'cha here, since i haven't exactly been nice either, but i ain't thrilled ta let an all-powerful being near my girl."

"I don't exactly need your permission, monster. And I doubt the (Y/N) I know would be happy with you making this decision for her sake," River scoffed, but then an idea hit him, and he quickly added, "buuuuut since you're being so nice now, I'll strike a deal with you: bring me to her house so I can drop off her stuff, and I'll be on my way."

"there's a lot of red flags in that sentence, pal."

"Is there something you wanted to add?"

"yeah. a few things, actually. first off, i'll take you there by teleportin' so ya don't get any ideas about where we live. second, as soon as you drop it off, ya fuck off. 'n if i ever see ya again, buddy," Sans chuckled darkly. "well, let's just say you won't be havin' a good time. deal?"

"Deal!" the mage said, and they shook on it. 

"So uh," River looked up. "When are we leaving?" 

Sans grinned as his left eye flashed red. "now."

"Okay, but like how do we--"

River didn't get to finish his statement, because it was at that moment Sans decided to teleport them both straight into your living room, which was empty, just like he hoped. 

Immediately, River made a dive for Sans and began inspecting his bony hands.

"Whoa! That's some pretty strong magic you've got there! The ability to safely transport every molecule in your body over to another location is no easy feat, even for mages. I've seen people try their hand at that magic and come back with missing limbs! Huh." River cracked a grin as Sans shoved him away. "You really were going easy on Felix back there, weren't you?"

"if ya keep pushin' my buttons like that, pal, then yer gonna find out exactly what i'm capable of." His sockets narrowed. "'n stop callin' him felix. he earned the name burgerpants fer a reason."

"Haha! The silly things you mortals come up with," River laughed. "Titles mean nothing if you wait long enough. People eventually forget or move on to more important things."

"uh, sure, i guess," Sans huffed and rubbed his neck. "so uh, if yer so close ta (Y/N), then how come ya couldn't just call her up or somethin'?"

For once, Sans watched as the mage's face fell. 

"I uh... s-she's not exactly... she's kind of mad at me right now, okay? Let's just leave it at that."

Sans gave River a bewildered look. "what? what ta hell did ya do piss her off so badly? i mean, hell, i've had more than my fair share of fights with her 'n stuff, but she's never gone so far as ta kick me out or somethin' like that."

"D-don't take offense, but it's not exactly any of your busines--"

"my home, my girlfriend," Sans growled, glaring at the mage. "'n yer a mage that's only alive right now 'cause i know you'll follow me home anyway. so tell me whatcha did."

River's eyes nervously flickered over to the front door before looking back at him. With great reluctance, he sighed. 

"She... she used to have these two cats--I can't remember their names--but she really loved them, and I kinda sorta... uh... how do I put this?" River winced, and his voice came out very small when he spoke again. "...Burned them alive in a fire that I started without knowing they were in the building?"

Sans stared at him.

"It was an accident, I swear! Well, burning them alive was, but setting the building on fire was... intentional since there was some, uh, nasty evidence my old boss made me get rid of... and then I ran away and didn't talk to her for a few years 'cause she was really angry... uh..."

River fidgeted under Sans's gaze. 

"Oh, c'mon, say something!"

"avery and milo."

"Huh?"

"avery and milo," he repeated, looking around thee house. "ya didn't kill those damned cats. they're somewhere around here, probably waiting to jump on me like they always do whenever i come home."

"Uh... I don't know what you're talking about, 'cause those cats are very, very dead. As in, I took their ashes to a trader and sold them." River brightened. "But hey! if she got some sort of replacements, then good for her! Maybe she's not as bitter as I thought she was."

Sans eyed the mage and shook his head. "yer really not makin' any sense, pal, and my patience is runnin' thin. just hurry up 'n toss whatever it is that you brought 'n get ta hell out."

"Oh right! Right, that is why I'm here, haha. Silly me!" River reached into his jacket and fished out a small object that he quickly placed on a nearby shelf. Sans leaned over his shoulder and blinked at the tiny, solid, pink...

"it's a rock." Sans deadpanned. "it's a fuckin' rock."

"It's a rose quartz, actually," River hummed. "(Y/N) used to have a crow's brain when we were younger, and she liked to collect pretty rocks. She gave this to me forever ago, so I thought it was time for me to return it."

"ya came all this way," he said slowly. "started several fights, 'n made grillby had a breakdown over a fuckin' rock."

"Not the word choice I would've gone with, but basically, yeah!"

Sans fumed, and to help level himself, he began cracking his knuckles. 

One.

By.

One.

And he counted as he did them. He counted them, hoping that they would hold his anger back.

It didn't  h e l p.

And Sans was tired of keeping his mouth shut and his fists pinned to his sides. 

But just when he turned his head to glare at River, the sound of keys clinking together made him paused. Panicking, he teleported over to the window and looked through the blinds, and what he saw confirmed his fears.

"she's home," Sans said, his face paling. "she's home. sweet's is home early. that never--" He frantically looked over to River, who looked just as shocked to see you through the window. 

"Huh... Even after all this time, (Y/N) still has a horrible sense of fashion," he raised a fist and shook it. "Oi! The '70s called and they want their high-waisted pants back!"

Sans quickly turned and shook the mage by the shoulders. "y-ya can't be here! ya need ta leave. do that little teleportin' thing ya did earlier. do it! do it now!" 

"Whoa whoa whoa, okay fine! I'm going--"

"keep yer voice down!" Sans said, his hands shaking as he dropped the mage on his butt and scrambled to make sure the front door was locked. "'n what're ya still doin' here?! get out!"

"I'm going!"

"i swear, if ya plan on usin' one of yer fancy spells on my gal i will--"

"Calm your figurative titties, my friend!" River said, wondering what in the world you saw in this guy. This bag of bones was nothing like all of the others you've been with. 

"I'm leaving! I just need to find a place dark enough to shadow port."

"a place ta what now?"

"My magic isn't like yours," River explained. "You seem to be able to go and leave at will, but I use Dark magic, meaning that if I'm going to shadow port, I need it to be dark."

Instead of replying, Sans simply pulled River's soul out one final time before slamming him into a nearby open closet.

"A little harsh, but thanks anyway!" River's muffled voice said as he scrambled to stand up amongst the forest of coats. 

"hurry up 'n leave!"

River huffed. "You're acting crazy."

"ya may be her friend, but (Y/N) doesn't know a thing about who ya are or what yer damn kind did ta us all those years ago," Sans growled. "she doesn't need ta know that. she just needs ta stay safe. 'n if i find out ya put her in danger by tellin' her any of this..."

"Oh, c'mon, skelly man," River chuckled, his ominous red eyes, the mark of mages, being the only source of light from the closet. "The world is changing, and legends from storybooks are being brought back to life. You may be tough, but you can't protect her from reality. Besides..." His playful tone dropped to something darker. 

"We both know you're not really that dense." 

Before Sans could get another word out, the smell of rain washed over him as a wave of wind crashed against his face, causing him to stumble back--

--And slam straight against your form as you closed the front door behind you, forcing you to drop the large container you were holding as well as knocking you off your feet.

SMASH!

He tore his eyes away from the shattered glass and crumbled pastry to look at your confused face that was just inches from his. It was then Sans realized that he had quite literally pinned you to the floor, with his knee resting between your legs and his large hands resting beside your head. 

"Uh..." you said, your face slightly flushed as Sans's blank sockets stared you down. "I'm glad you, uh, missed me, big guy, but you have no idea how badly I wanted that cake you just smashed. Plus uh, my stomach's in a lot of pain right now, so if you don't mind, can you--wait." Your nose scrunched up. "Why do you smell like your dirty sock tornado that you think I don't know you keep in your room? And why are you so sweaty? What happened?"

It was at this moment that Sans realized that today was the world's way of getting back at him for breaking two of the universe's rules: having an interspecies relationship and sleeping with you before marriage. 

"fuck!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

You were having a day.

Not necessarily a bad one, though. You didn't, like, die or kill anyone.

But it was still a very long, long, long day.

It started okay. You woke up next to your new lover, shared some morning coffee, and then he teleported you to work so that you wouldn't have to drive in the pouring rain. 

But things took a turn when you stepped into your clinic. Since it was now freezing outside, people were getting sick more often, so the clinic's phones were ringing off the hook and the waiting rooms were packed. Your staff of nurses and doctors were running around from room to room, patient to patient, and the coffee pot in the lounge seemed to empty before you could even blink.

Your first appointment was with a sneezing toddler and his overbearing mother. Thankfully, the kid wasn't suffering from anything worse than a common cold, but when you asked her about his immunizations she reported that he wouldn't be vaccinated. 

And when you gently but thoroughly informed her that her idiotic decision not only compromised her son's health but also risked the well-being of others who simply couldn't get vaccinated due to various medical reasons, the corners of her mouth twitched.

You tuned out most of her uneducated rants about how companies only wanted money in favor of counting to ten so that you could hold your tongue in. 

No. Vaccinations weren't dangerous at all, you told her. People should get them. They don't cause autism, they're not a scam, and you highly recommended that her son should see his pediatrician for an immunization appointment if she didn't want to get him vaccinated today. 

She called you a stuck-up, self-entitled bitch and spat in your face in front of her crying child.

At that moment, your magic flared, and the next thing you knew was that all of the lights in the room buzzed to a blinding light before shattering out of their bulbs and leaving you and the family standing in a dark room. 

Ultimately, the situation ended with security being called in, but before the family was escorted out, you offered the sniffling child a lollipop and handed the mother a vaccination appointment card for your clinic the next day. 

She gave you an odd look of fear and took the card with shaking hands before hurrying out the door, mumbling something under her breath about witches.

It got worse from there, though.

A woman with self-diagnosed Web MD brain tumor who simply had a mild hangover. A teenager who thought she had a stomach virus but really just wanted a pregnancy test.  Another person who stumbled in, clutching her very swollen arm, and you ended up calling paramedics to take her to a hospital because she had a 104 F (40 C) temperature and had what you guessed was an infection, even though she insisted it was just her tired muscles and that all she needed was some pain medication. 

It was just an appointment after appointment after appointment. 

And normally, you enjoyed staying busy. The medical field has been your life for hundreds of years. You existed for the sole purpose of keeping life going on this planet, hence your official title as "Earth Mage" or the stupid "Flower Girl" nickname that River and other Fables teased you with. 

But your magic and body just felt off for the entire day, and you didn't realize why until your bathroom break when you got an unexpected 'visit' from the natural female bodily function that occurred once a month. The Aunt Flo that every female hated to see. The Crimson Tide. 

Your period. 

It was times like these where most women would curse Mother Nature for bringing such a painful and messy experience upon them about twelve times a year, but since you are--quite literally--Mother Nature in the flesh, there was no one you could blame. 

But hey! At least you weren't pregnant (no surprise--you and Sans used protection), and this explained why your magic and hormones had been going crazy recently. Whoopie. 

But on the downside, you aren't just some ordinary human girl who could just spend the week crying over fictional relationships while drowning in ice cream. 

Nope. You're a mage. 

So, until your hormones settled down, things were gonna get weird. 

 

+++

 

 

Ring... Ring...

Ring... Ring...

Ring--

"Sorry, but the person you are trying to call hasn't set up their voice--"

Click. 

"Dammit, Bones," you muttered, looking up from your phone with a grimace as you eyed the heavy rainfall as it poured from the dark clouds above. 

Your clinic was closed, and for once, you didn't have any unexpected monster patients. Unfortunately, it seems like you don't have a ride back, either. 

Maybe... maybe you could call an Uber! Excited, you try to turn your phone back on. 

...Just to find out that your phone call to Sans used up the last of the battery, and you're pretty sure the nearest payphone is a twenty-minute walk in the opposite direction of your house. 

Usually, it would take you maybe half an hour by car to get to your house from the clinic. 

And now, it seemed like you were going to find out how long it'll take you to walk there. 

Still lost in thought, you quickly turned on the sidewalk and slammed straight into a stranger's chest. 

"Oh!" You started to say. "My bad, I should've looked--"

"Out of the way, nature freak," the man said, pushing you aside as she continued to walk. You tried to turn back to face him but faltered when your eyes met a deserted street with not a soul in sight, save for a single flickering lamp post.

That was... odd, especially since he seemed to know who you were. Maybe it was one of those creepy Fables that lurked around at night, like one of those weird teenagers from Slendermen's little gang (you always steered clear from those freaks) or some ghost in denial about his death. Regardless, you brushed it off and started walking once more until you realized that this was pointless.

There was no way you were gonna be able to walk home this far. Other than try to find a bus stop or something (if they even ran this late), you didn't have any other option short of hypnotizing some poor driver into taking you home. In a past life, you wouldn't have had a problem with that, but now...

You just... didn't like the idea of doing that to someone. It wasn't fair to just.. to just use someone like that without their consent. To view people only as vessels, and to force them to do what you want while they helplessly watch behind two windows that acted as eyes in their own disobedient body was just... not cool. 

You shuddered. Okay, so... walking that was out of the question. What were your other options?

...

Oh. Yeah.

Magic. That was a thing you could do. 

Dumbass. 

Mentally scolding yourself, you reached into your sleeves and pulled out your wand in one effortless tug. The etched gold against the wood glinted in the moonlight as you held it straight up, allowing hot magic to build in your chest until it finally released, and a bolt escaped from your soul, traveled up your arm and into the sky in the form of green lightning. It was only a small spark, so nothing too alarming for any humans, but it was enough to get the job done.

And, soon enough, you watched with a small smile on your face as a dark figure skirted across the bright moonlight, flew over your head, and then gently floated down as it waited for its master's command. 

"Hello, old friend," you cooed, running a hand along the dark wood of broomstick as it nudged you with affection. "It's been too long."

The broom, ever so excited to see you after nearly a hundred years, did a quick twirl around your figure, inspecting you and poking your stomach every now and then. You giggled and snapped your fingers, and the broom immediately beckoned over and lowered just enough so that you could swing your leg and hop on. 

"If I had my clothes from the good old days, we could've recreated those images that everyone thinks a witch looks like," you hummed as your broom took off and the wind tousled your hair. "Oh well. I guess a doctor on a flying broomstick is still a sight to see, hehe."

Now high up in the cool, rainy sky, you looked down and watched the city lights twinkle within their dark buildings. More cars than usual were out and about, strolling along the tangled highways as their owners left for work or prepared to go to work. The combination of the cold November weather and your soaked clothes made you shiver, but you kept enough hot magic flowing through your veins to counteract its effects. 

You were about to look away from the city when something caught your eye. It was a long, black van decorated with purple stripes and what seemed to be a white menu pasted along the side door. You had half a mind to just dismiss it, but when you saw a dark head with pigtails stick out, you immediately began to fly down at breakneck speed, stopping just a few inches above the paved sidewalk. You crouched down on all fours on the opposite side of the van from where Muffet stood, and your broom hovered down to your level with eagerness.  

"Into an umbrella," you mumbled, placing your hand against it and letting green sparks flow out of your fingertips before disappearing into the broom. Soon, your vehicle of transportation quickly shrunk and thinned out to form the item you requested. The wood hardened and became a shiny black metal pole, while the straw bristles on the ends stretched, curved, and flattened until it formed an ivy green canopy.

You twirled the umbrella and frowned with distaste. 

"My magic's red when I heal people since it comes directly from my determination, but green when I use it for anything else," you whispered bitterly. "Damn. Even after nearly a thousand years, I still don't like green. Maybe that's why I hardly ever use it."

The slight dip of pressure in the air was your only warning before you jerked to the side, narrowly dodging an array of spider webs that were shot your way.

"Who's there?" an angry voice demanded, her heels furiously clicking against the ground as she rounded the corner of the van.

Cover blown, you quickly jumped up from the side of the van, startling the spider monster with your sudden appearance and all-too-friendly smile.

"Oh, hi, Muffet!" you cheerfully greeted. "Enjoying your night?"

Muffet relaxed and blinked all six of her eyes at you with confusion. "(Y-Y/N)? What the actual hell--I almost trapped you, you dumb bitch! Do you have any idea how many humans try to jump me at night? Who do you think you..." Her mouth dropped open as she made eye contact with you. "Y-you... you are..."

"Uh, yeah! You did, uh, almost, umm..." you scratched your head. "B-but you didn't! So, uh, sorry for sneaking up on you."

Muffet took a small, hesitant step back away from you, all the while maintaining eye contact like she was afraid you were going to suddenly move. You noticed that she was also holding up an umbrella, but unlike you, she was actually using it instead of just holding it to her side like an idiot. 

"What are you doing here?" she cautiously asked, a dainty hand not-so-subtley moving behind her back. 

Your smile relaxed. "Oh! I just got off work, and I was on my way home when I saw you, so I thought I'd stop by and say hi."

"Your... work?"

"Yep! I'm uh, a doctor. I think you know that already, though...?"

"Yeah, I do, everyone knows that, but uh..." She did a quick glance to inspect her surroundings. "That's on the other side of town... Where's your car...?"

"I walked here." 

"You... walked... ten miles over here?" 

"It's a beautiful night." Raindrops dripped from your soaked clothes as you struggled to open your umbrella against the icy wind. "So I thought I'd take the scenic route."

"..." Muffet blinked once more, and you watched as a spider crawled out of the collar of her dress, up her neck, and disappeared into her hair. It was then that you noticed she was shivering, and out of reflex, you took a step forward--

Only to have her take another one back.

Confused, and a little hurt, you started to call out to her, but you paused when you caught your reflection in the tinted window of her van. 

Your eyes were a burning bright red, which casted a devilish glow across your face, making you look as if you were some type of demon. You could only imagine how you looked earlier, with your awkward smile. 

In a panic, you recalled your magic, and immediately the cold weather hit you once more, sending a shiver straight down your spine. Your body automatically responded to the cold pain by igniting your magic once more in an attempt to keep you from freezing, but this time, no matter what you tried, you couldn't turn it off. Frustrated, you kicked the ground in an attempt to, you didn't know, maybe stomp out the magic, but another bolt of green snaked down your leg and into the ground before resurfacing as a mighty crack that stretched along the highway, creating an earthquake. You quickly called that off with a frantic wave of your hand, but not before it struck the tire of a nearby car, causing it to sink and setting off its blaring alarm as half of its body disappeared. A second later, a loud explosion was heard from a nearby building, which was followed by an all-too-familiar purple smoke. 

Was that...?

Before you could try to run off or think of some bizarre excuse, several small hands shot out from behind you and pulled you back. You bit your tongue in an effort to not attack Muffet out of reflex as she tugged your body inside of her van and slammed her door shut, shaking an array of various baked goods that sat on plastic shelves above you. It smelled strongly of vanilla and cinnamon, and black cobwebs hung from the van's tiny windows, acting as curtains. You looked down and noticed you were seated on some sort of tattered pink rug with a neatly-fluffed black pillow, and at that moment, you realized that Muffet was living out of her van.

Were... were people that scared of monsters? Your other friends, like Undyne and Alphys, had proper housing... What made Muffet different from them?

A small black insect crawled up the right side of your face, and you answered your question when the spider monster slammed and locked the van door shut behind her before facing you with an angry face. 

"Uh, it's not what it looks like--" You tried to speak, but Muffet quickly shushed you and pushed your head down while several dark figures ran by.

They... they were screaming. Shouting. 

Oh my gosh did you hurt somebody--

"Did you see that?" Muffet whispered, keeping her eyes on the building that monsters were running out of. "There was a big flash. Something happened at Grillby's, and I've spent enough time in the Underground to know the warning signs for when that old monster is angry." She leaned down to listen to a spider whisper in her ear and frowned. "My little pretties don't know what happened. They said it's too hot to go inside, poor dears. All they know is that there was some mag--human in the bar, no doubt causing trouble."

Her black eyes narrowed at the entrance to the bar as the gears in her head turned before looking back at you. You caught her slip-up earlier, and you knew that she knew. It was only a matter of time before she started attacking again, and you already had one hand up your sleeve on the wand that you were now sporting everywhere you go. 

Surprisingly, though, instead of hurting you, Muffet just peeked her head over the door as if checking to see if the coast was clear and then quietly opened it. 

"You need to leave," she said, quickly ushering you back up. "Before the police arrive. Whatever happened in that bar wasn't pretty, and I can already smell the smoke from whoever Grillby was attacking. The fewer the witnesses, the better for us monsters." She grabbed you hands and pulled you close. "And whoever's in there probably doesn't like people who associate with monsters, either. Especially not your kind."

"Wait wait wait!" You yelled as she shoved you out and you skidded on your heels. 

"What?" 

"Can I at least buy a cake from you real quick?" you pleaded. "An odd request, I know, but Muffet I'm dying for some cake right now."

Once again, Muffet's jaw dropped open in confusion as she watched you dig out your wallet. When you tried to hand her some cash, she just stuffed it back into your bag.

"(Y/N), I don't--you--you're a strange person, you know? You're lucky my spiders like you so much, or otherwise, you'd face something worse than Grillby's inferno." The look in her eyes told you she wasn't joking, and when you tried to reach for her again she visibly flinched. She reached behind, pulled out a small cake and mumbled something about the fee to your blank check. 

"Thank you!" you hummed, looking back as the door to the bar flew open and more sparks of that familiar dark magic spiraled out in the mix of purple flames. You saw Muffet bitting her lip with worry as monsters staggered out, but instead of looking panicked like you initially thought, they all just looked confused as they coughed and looked at one another as if mentally asking "What just happened?"

You grimaced as you thought back to all of those calls you purposely ignored. You should've known that River would've come looking for you, regardless of the prices to pay. The dark mage is sneaky when he wants to be, but he's also impatient and tends to be reckless when things don't go as planned, and you knew from his past mistakes that he was long gone by now.

"I know it looks bad, Muffet," you said, making her jump once more as you said her name. She looked at you with wide eyes as you picked up a handful of her spiders from the wet ground and set them safely on one of her many arms. "But it'll be okay. River won't kill anyone; he just likes to show off and apparently start civil wars. And all of you," you addressed her spiders that were watching you with interest. "Are a bunch of snitches. At least she tries to hide that she knows."

The spider monster paled. "(Y/N-N) I--"

"Thanks for the cake, and thanks for not trying to kill me again, and you can still keep that blank check I offered you yesterday. They say money only takes you so far in life, and mortals don't realize the truth behind that statement, because I've collected so much that most of it is just sitting around," you said numbly with a smile as you took out your green umbrella and started to circle back around the van. "I don't really like wiping a person's memory without their consent, so I guess this means that the next time we meet, we'll be on separate sides. What a bummer. I was just getting used to everything."

You rounded a corner just when Muffet recovered from her shock, and she quickly turned to follow you with three of her arms outstretched.

"(Y/N) wait--"

But nobody was there. It was just Muffet, her spiders, the wandering monsters, and the silent, sad purple flames that rose from the monster bar, stretching higher and higher into the deep blue sky until they broke off and became nothing.

 

 

+++

 

 

You landed right outside the tall gates of your culdesac, and instead of dismissing your broom to return to the barely used library of your house, you simply turned it into a green pen and placed it into one of your pockets. 

Thankfully, the rain had finally stopped, but your clothes were still soaked, and you nearly had to fight the security guard from helping you out of the cold when Mike saw how bad you were shivering. But the second his back was turned, your magic once again acted as a self-heating system, and you continued towards your house, humming a somewhat solemn tune with your slightly-crushed cake in hand. 

Part of you considered calling River when you got home, but the bitch in you still held onto that nearly hundred-year-old grudge that kept you from reaching out to him. Another part of you briefly thought about alerting the High Elite about River's sudden and very dramatic presence, but then you remembered that you still hated everything about the High Elite and crushed that thought quickly. 

With a sigh, you walked up to your front door and started searching your soggy pockets for your keys. Your actions, however, faltered when instead of feeling the cold metal, your fingers brushed against a small note in your pocket. 

Frowning, you pulled out the piece of paper. It looked old, crumpled, and yet strangely dry, which was pretty much impossible with today's downpour. If anyone wanted to keep something like this protected from the rain, they would've had to use magic--

Your blood ran cold as you quickly unraveled the note and read the three words that were written in a deep blue ink that seemed to glow. 

Pick a side. 

Who... who would send this? Why would they send this? How did this get in your jacket? You've been around so many people today that you couldn't begin to think of anybody that was close enough to slip this into your pocket. 

Suddenly feeling uneased, you quickly jumped off the porch and slammed your bare hand against the squishy mud as you poured your magic into the earth so that you could see your black-and-white sketchbook world once more. 

Everything that wasn't living blended in with the black landscape as the plants, people, and other organic lifeforms appeared before you as figures outlined in white. With another push of magic, you made every living thing within a five-mile radius show in an outline of their soul color. 

Nobody was hiding in the forest around the neighborhood. Nobody was walking along the neatly-trimmed grass, not crouching behind any bushes. Not a single soul was in sight, other than the variety of colors that came from the souls of your neighbors, who were quietly sleeping away inside of the comfort of their home. 

Feeling slightly calmer, you pushed yourself out of the mud and took a few moments to regain your senses as colors began to flood your vision once more. 

This was fine. It was a weird note, but no one followed you home or anything like that. You were... you were fine. You were always fine.  

Everything was fine.

With little energy left, you shoved the crumpled note back into your pocket, picked up your cake and unlocked your front door, took a step inside, and closed it shut with your foot--

Just in time to helplessly watch as Sans slammed against your body and forced you down on the floor, causing the cake box to go flying out of your hands until it landed with a thud. You blinked your eyes and started to question him, but when you realized that he was quite literally on top of you, you froze. 

"Uh..." you said, your face slightly flushed as Sans's blank sockets stared you down. "I'm glad you, uh, missed me, big guy, but you have no idea how badly I wanted that cake you just smashed. Plus uh, my stomach's in a lot of pain right now, so if you don't mind, can you--wait." Your nose scrunched up. "Why do you smell like your dirty sock tornado that you think I don't know you keep in your room? And why are you so sweaty? What happened?"

Sans's eye lights both blipped out of his skull as he yelled, "fuck!" before quickly rising to his feet. However, after doing so, he immediately reached down to help you just when you managed to get on your knees, thus bonking both of your heads together and sending you right back down while he staggered back, clutching his skull.

"shit! shit, that hurt!" Sans said, rubbing his forehead. "ah, shit! sweets, are ya okay? do ya need some ice? 'cause that's gotta leave a--" His voice faltered when he saw you blinking at him with furrowed brows and just a hint of faded red in your eyes but no sign of any pain. "bruise... huh, that's... well, whatever, s' long as yer ok. here." With both hands this time, Sans grabbed you by your arms and pulled you to your feet.

"Are you okay?"

"yeah yeah, 'm fine. heh, for once in my life, my thick skull was useful, heh heh." Sans face scrunched up as he inspected you. "say, why are yer clothes wet? didn't ya drive home--oh." A look of guilt crashed down on his face. "i... i took ya ta work this mornin', didn't i? fuck, fuck, my phone's been on silent for the shift and i didn't--fuckin--" he cursed under his breath.

"It's okay!" you said quickly, grabbing onto his skull and forcing him to look at you. "It's just rain. I'm okay."

"just some--it's cold outside, sweetheart! yer a human, 'n that's stuff probably turned yer skin into--" Confused, he paused when his hand slipped under the soaked and freezing jacket and met your very warm skin. "ice... uh, icey that's not the situation here... uh...?"

You pulled away from him and tugged the wet jacket off before throwing it down. "Haha, ha, you know us humans," you cringed at the forced lie. "We're basically walking, um, heaters!"

Not a complete lie. Please let it be good enough. Please buy it. 

Sans's eyes briefly glanced down to your chest before jumping back up. He shrugged and mumbled, "i guess."

"But uh, that aside, what happened to you?" you asked, looking at the strange stains on his clothes. "You look like you took a tumble in a dumpster."

Sans's expression darkened as he threw a quick glance at your empty closet. "somethin' like that."

Thinking back to the monsters running out of Grillby's earlier, you asked, "Did you get jumped or something while on patrol?"

Sans didn't answer.

An image of River's face flickered in your mind. "Did... did someone get hurt?"

He sighed. "doc, you know i can't--"

"--Talk about your job, yeah," you said, picking up the ruined cake and setting it on the counter. "I know. It's important stuff for monsters that you can't reveal." 

"sweet--"

"It's fine!" You said, throwing him a small smile. "As long as you come home in one piece, I'm fine with not knowing. I mean, we both have our own secrets, right?"

 

...

..

.

You awkwardly cleared your throat. 

"...It really is fine, Bones," you said in a small voice as he walked over to you and hugged your back. "I mean it," you tilted your head to the side and gently kissed his cheek. "I love you."

Those simple words caused him to let out a muffled laugh as he turned his head to hiss your lips instead. "i love you, too."

"How about this," you turned to face him and wrapped your arms around his neck as he picked you up and placed you on the counter. "I think we both just had a really bad day, and we're in need of some TLC. How about we shower and then head upstairs for some good old-fashion cuddling, followed by eating this cake--" You tapped on the white box "--and finishing season 2 of House M.D.?"

Sans growled into your neck. "ex or not, stacy never should've agreed to sleep with house." 

"They did have some chemistry. You had to admit that much."

"but she's married!" 

You both shared a laugh.

"alright, alright, i gotta say, that does sound like a pretty suite deal, especially since i get to spend it with my pretty sweet girlfriend," he kissed the side of your head. "but something that'll make it even better would be you joinin' me in that shower, doc." Sans wiggled his eyebrows. "pap is guardin' the royal family's house fer the rest of the night, which meeeaannss~!"

"Now hold up, down boy, dooownn," you giggled as he started pressing a flutter of warm, passionate kissing against your neck while his hands started to slide down your sides. "I wouldn't usually be against the idea, but we should probably hold off on sex for the rest of the week."

Sans whined, and he didn't look like he was taking you seriously. "but sweetheaarrtt! i just got a taste of you last night, 'n i'm cravin' fer some more sugar~!"

"No buts!" you said, swatting his hand away as he tried to grab your rear. "You can go on for one week, Bones. Just wait until my period is over."

Sans straightened and looked at you with a confused expression. "yer... what now?"

"My period," you said simply, turning around so you could run a finger through the icing for a quick taste. Mmm, chocolate. "It started today, and let me tell you: my uterus feels like it's been put through a paper shredder." 

"a what?"

"Uterus?" you asked, facing his dumbstruck look. "You know, that female organ that's currently leaking blood out of my vagina?" 

"yer bleeding out of where?!" Sans yelled as globs of sweat dripped down his skull. With a shaky voice, he asked, "we're we really goin' at it that hard last night!? i-i mean, most of that was you ridin' on my dick like a freak 'n don't get me wrong it was fucking' great but ya were fine when ya got up this mornin' s-so why are you--?!"

You silenced him with another quick peck on his teeth, and like magic, Sans's shoulders slightly relaxed, but he still looked uneased when you pulled back.

You brushed your hair to the side and smiled at him. "Easy there, Bones. It's a normal thing for humans with uteruses. I'm perfectly fine and healthy, and, lucky for you, I'm also a doctor, so I can answer all of your questions after I shower. Is that okay?"

Sans hesitated and looked into your eyes with dim red lights and, in a very serious, hushed voice, asked, "so... so i didn't... break you, or anything...?"

You failed to suppress a giggle. "No, you didn't break me, big guy."

He let out a relieved breath. "oh, thank ta fuckin' stars!"

"Now, go get in the shower, you stinky skeleton!" you shooed him away as he chuckled and teleported upstairs, and the sound of his heavy feet hitting the ground was quickly followed by running water. With a small smile, you took another swipe of icing from the cake before entering the living room, stopping only to take off your ruined shoes to toss them into the laundry room. When you straightened up again, though, your eyes caught the sight of something pink and glossy sitting on a nearby bookshelf. With a frown, you walked over and picked up the rock, its edges digging into your hand as you inspected it.

"Huh. A rose quartz... It almost looks like--" Your eyes widened as you stared at the rock, and before you knew it, tears began to swell in your eyes as you vision blurred. With a choked sob, you hastily rubbed your eyes and headed straight for your library, opening it with a simple flick of your hand. You stepped over an array of vines before finally reaching your desk, and from there you unlocked a single wooden drawer that laid on top. Inside, there was an array of various jewels and rocks that you had collected over the course of a thousand years. Some were taken out of old wedding bands that you used to wear, some were things that you stole, and others were just random shinies that you found during your younger days. But the one in your hand held a special place above the rest, and it was so important that the last time you saw it was back in your mob days, and you didn't even trust yourself to hold onto it during a big heist so you gave it to River to hold onto, and it seemed that the bastard actually did. 

Finally, after all this time, you had the small present that your mother gave you, symbolizing the last time you saw her alive and happy when she kissed you on your forehead and said that the monster-human meeting wouldn't last too long. 

You ended up spending a few minutes reminiscing in that attic, completely oblivious to the sound of water being shut off. However, when a confused skeleton wrapped in a towel emerged from the bathroom and saw that your library door was open, he only got a small glance inside before two cats sprinted out, somehow locking it behind them. 

 

+++

 

"well, you look happy, doc."

You pulled on a sweatshirt and some shorts and let out a pleased hum from the scent of your fresh clothes. "Hm. Do I?"

"yeah, ya do," Sans said from your bed. He wasn't wearing anything except a pair of black boxers, which were hidden under a thick blanket. Next to him was a bowl of buttery popcorn and the white box that contained the small chocolate cake, or, well, the half that was left of it. You uh... kind of forgot how magic-deprived you were before your shower, and accidentally ate half of it. Luckily for you, Sans didn't seem to mind in the slightest. 

"Well, I am about to get in bed with my boyfriend, who has snacks and a really good show pulled up on the TV." You climbed into bed and snuggled up next to Sans, who quickly wrapped an arm around your shoulders.

He chuckled and gave you a fond look. "heh, imagine how i feel, havin' ya in my arms like this."

You... blushed and tried to hide your head under the blanket, but your boyfriend wasn't having it. 

"aw, c'mon, sweets," he purred, pressing a kiss against the top of your head. "lemme see yer pretty face."

You peeked your head out and blinked at him, and the lights in his eyes morphed into tiny red hearts.

Sans looked away, swearing and clutching his burning face. "j-jeez, sweetheart, w-warn a guy next time you decide to look like that."

"Do I... Do I really fluster you that much?" 

"'course ya do! (y/n), yer not just beautiful, yer gorgeous, inside and out!" he said, gently stroking your cheek with his thumb. "'n the fact that yer mine, 'n i'm yers, is just... heh, mindblowing. i never thought i'd ever end up gettin' serious with someone, much less someone with a soul that's as nice and loving as yers is."

You bit your lip. "But... you've never even seen my soul."

"doesn't matter," he answered immediately, shocking you by how strong his voice was. He gently tilted your head up so that you could look him in the eyes. "monsters are really in tune with their souls and the souls of others around 'em. just lyin' next ta ya 'n hearin' the hums of your soul, i can already feel relaxed, safe, and loved. i don't have ta see yer soul ta know yer a good person."

Your gaze dropped as your anxiety crept back into your skull. "You say that, but, you don't really know me, and I don't really know all that much about you, either. A-and we've only been together for what, two days? It feels longer... Oh man, we really are taking this too fast, aren't we?"

"shh." Sans gently grabbed both of your hands and held them against his chest. "can you feel that?"

You swallowed. "I-it's... uh--"

"don't talk. just focus."

"It's... vibrating, like... like a purr? But it's really faint..."

"that's my soul," he whispered. "it's callin' fer yers. it wants ta be with you."

"I don't... I'm sorry, but I don't know what that means," you sighed. 

"it means i love you with all my soul," he said, and you watched as something white began to glow from his chest, right under your hands. "i have a fer a while, even before the festival last night. yer just so determined ta help others, even goin' so far as ta house me 'n my brother, 'n there's just somethin' about ya, somethin' about that's just, just captivating, (y/n). i'm not really one fer words, but even if i was, i don't think i can put together a coherent sentence that can begin to describes how much you mean ta me."

The white light in his chest was starting to feel warm. "I don't... Bones, Sans," you breathed, and the light intensified when you said his name. "I'm not as in tune with my soul as you are, so I can't tell you that I feel the same in the way you described it, other than saying that whatever this feeling between is very addictive. But I do know that there is something different about you that just... just..." You let out a shaky breath as you clutched his shirt. "Despite our differences, inside and out, I just want to be the person that gets to with you. The one you love, and the one that loves you, because heavens above and earth below, I really do love you." 

"that's all i could ever want," he whispered, closing the gap between the two of you in a deep, long kiss. 

A hand slowly moved to your head and cupped it while another snuck down your waist and pressed into the bed, providing support for Sans as he rolled over on top of you, his knees pinned by your sides while the rest of his large body hovered, save for his head and arms.

You gently stroked his face as he kissed you, only pausing once to take in a sharp breath when a hand slowly, agonizingly slow but careful, traced up your bare stomach and kept going until it was under the comfort of your shirt. 

"yer beautiful," Sans sighed in between another kiss. He let out a small wine when your fingers lightly curled under one of his ribs. "mm, yer playin' with fire there, sweetheart."

"Speak for yourself," you shivered when his hot breath hit your bare neck. "Damn it, Bones. I said no sex."

"i haven't done anythin'."

"No, but you're making me wish you would."

Sans let out a warm chuckle and sat up to look at your hot and bothered face. "heh heh, stars, that was fuckin' cute. yer fuckin' cute, sweetheart, lookin' at me like that. i'm so lucky, havin' ya like that, lookin' at me like that. and as ironic it is comin' from me, there's so much more ta love than just sex. i could get drunk off of your kisses alone."

You moved up and grabbed his shirt, pulling him back to your body while his arms wrapped around your waist. He looked down with a smile as you pressed your forehead to his. 

"Then let's get drunk," you breathed, and soon, your lips were on him once more.

 

+++

 

The night was quiet, save for the whispered background noise that came from the dimmed television. 

Your feet were entangled with Sans's. Your head rested against his chest while one of his hands was under your shirt, curled around your middle and resting on your stomach, his thumb just barely grazing one of your boobs with not lust, but affection. He was asleep and snoring peacefully, but you were awake, and had been for a while, but not because you couldn't sleep. No, you were trying to recall the last time you felt this content, this safe with someone, and no matter how far you thought back, nothing even came close. 

You snuggled under his head and closed your eyes. Even if it was all a facade, for one more night, you just wanted it to be you and him. No more lies, no more fake smiles, no inevitable threats of war, no threats, no mages, no monsters, no bad emotions period. Just two souls who were in love. Star-crossed lovers that were doomed from the start shutting out the world in the name of a type of magic so strong it could crumble the strongest of fortresses and destroy the mightest of kingdoms.

It was a peaceful night inside. 

Crickets were chirping; the morning dew was settling. 

On nights like this, people like you...

Should be tucked away in a warm, soft bed, with nothing else on their minds except for the person next to them, content that they both finally found the missing puzzle piece in their lives.

 

 

 

 

 

Even if it was just for one more night.