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the world at large

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Sans had been looking forward to the meteor shower for months. There had been a different one within weeks of the family's first glimpse of the surface, but in an impressive feat of oversight, he'd forgotten the celestial event until the day had passed. He'd then resorted to patiently awaiting the next one, then impatiently as he realized just how rare the things were. He had a brief lapse in interest at some point during the year since then - what were a few hurtling balls of burning rocks, anyway? But despite every doubt, something kept him determined to see it.

Even if it meant taking... drastic measures.

Hence why Sans was sitting still as stone in the damp grass, unmanned telescope beside him, at three in the morning. No more excuses, he was seeing the damn meteors today.

His eyelights focused solely on the sky above him - even if what he came for hadn't begun, the static pinpricks of light alone never failed to keep his interest. He shoved his hands deeper into the pockets of his hoodie in a stubborn attempt to ward off the chill that was setting in. Maybe said chill was due to it being both January and 3:00 am.

Then, cutting through the silence of winter like a knife, the telltale squeak of a certain sliding glass door rang out behind him.

"heya bro."

"Heya yourself! Didn't you promise to alert me once the 'meteor shower' began?" Ah... Whoops. Sans could hear the air quotes in his brother's voice.

"well, i mean, technically it hasn't started yet," despite his gaze remaining firmly affixed to the sky, Sans could just tell he made Papyrus's eye twitch. He grinned.

"You're lucky I thought to look at your calendar when you forewent your simple duties of showing up to bed!" Papyrus scoffed, pointedly ignoring Sans's disregard of the accusation. Sans prickled at the mention of the calendar, then was almost angry at Papyrus for looking at it. Then he realized both were horrendously stupid reactions, and regardless of how important the calendar was to him, Papyrus reserved the right to look at it when it was a fixture in his own room. Occasionally looking at your brother's wall decorations (or wall decoration, singular, as in the case at hand) was kind of a feature of sharing a bedroom. Ah, the trials and tribulations of sharing a room with a sibling - even the greatest one ever.

"sorry, pap. must've slipped my mind," he responded casually as his brother thumped down between him and the telescope, gaze never wavering from the third star on the right of Taurus.

"No problem, brother!" Papyrus shot back immediately, all cheerful disposition and smiles again, "I remembered in the nick of time! No harm, no foul."

They sat together, enjoying the silence of the night- er, morning. Sans finally tore his gaze from the stars to glance at Papyrus. He too watched the sky, and Sans felt a pang of guilt at his brother's tired expression. He reminded himself that Papyrus came out of his own volition. Sans's plan had initially been to go out alone then apologize in the morning, but he had to admit, the company was nice. He looked back up, and stars began to fall.

They watched, and Papyrus was remarkably quiet. Sans attributed it to tiredness. He flopped down onto his back, disregarding the instant frigidness that came from the freezing dew in the grass. His brother did the same beside him, and silence resumed its reign.

Several minutes had passed, and Sans was again wrapped up entirely in the world of the stars and the sky as opposed to the wetness on his back or his own guilt.

"You've been acting odd lately." Sans's eyes shot to Papyrus's face, who somehow managed to look like he hadn't said a thing. Sans watched his mouth the next time, just to be sure he hadn't imagined the voice. "What's wrong?" Papyrus asked in the blunt way he always did.

"nothing," Sans lied breezily. In the way he always did. He redirected Papyrus's concern back to him through a confused tilt in his browbone, but Papyrus had yet to meet his gaze at all. "why 'dyou ask?"

"You've been acting odd," He reiterated. Sans almost asked for elaboration, even though he knew it wouldn't end well, but Papyrus beat him to it. "You've been... jumpy? And you don't smile as much." Sans started to speak- "I mean, actually smile," Papyrus interjected. Sans cut himself off. His brother finally looked at him, concern palpable. "What's wrong?" Luckily, Sans had mastered the art of the wide-eyed confused gaze.

"nothing's up bro, seriousl-"

"I know you're secretive, but- but it's like... You don't tell me anything anymore. Did something hap-"

"papyrus, listen." Papyrus went quiet. "i promise i'm fine, i just..." Sans knew what this was about. After moving to the surface, there wasn't much living space for monsters to go around, and the two of them ended up crammed in the same house as Alphys, Undyne, Toriel, and Frisk. It was nice, but of course, the lack of a wall between the brothers left Papyrus to deal with Sans's... sleep habits. Specifically night terrors. After a year's worth of Sans shooting awake, hands clamped over his mouth to keep from screaming, It only made sense that Papyrus would grow suspicious. They had almost made a routine of it - this conversation had been a long time coming.

Or maybe it was something else causing Papyrus's concern.

just give up. i did.

...But none of that mattered. What mattered was assuring his brother that there was nothing to worry about.

And Sans would say something clever and worry-assuaging right about... Now.

...Nothing happened.


...Nothing was coming to mind.

Sans only had to lie silently flailing for a few moments for an end to his sentence before Papyrus beat him to it.

"...I don't know if I believe you...?" He muttered like a question, and alarms went off in Sans's head. He could still fix this. Just...


He must've said it in one hell of a strange tone, because Papyrus's eyes snapped back to him, widening.

They stared at each other, and Sans finally recognized his own expression as pleading. Then his brother broke eye contact, nodding slightly, looking up to the last fading trails of starlight.

"...Okay," He whispered.

Eventually, the uneasy silence became something akin to comfortable, and the brothers watched the once more empty sky in silence. The effect from before had faded. Sans just felt cold, now.

Eventually, they went back inside.