Stomping his boots on the doorstep, Papyrus knocked the packed snow away as he opened the door, stepping inside with a sigh of relief. It’d been a long day, full of absent guardsmen and miscreants attempting to make his life more of a hell than it was already. There was a pair of ratty sneakers next to the door, Papyrus’ scowl softening at the sight of them. Slipping out of his boots and armor, he set it to the side, picking up his boots and placing them neatly against the wall beside his brother’s.
There was a low scent of garlic and tomatoes coming from the kitchen, Papyrus glancing at the empty living room before padding to the kitchen. He couldn’t help the snort that left him as he found Sans, head laying on the kitchen table, snoring away. He didn’t doubt there would be a drool stain there later.
On the center of the table was a plate of lasagna and a piece of garlic bread. He could tell just by looking at it that it was store bought, the cheese barely melted and crumbly, the color simply off. But knowing that his brother had gone through the effort to make him dinner… A soft smile on his face, Papyrus stepped to the table, picking his brother up carefully and cradling him to his chest before heading back into living room.
It reminded him of the old days, holding his brother like this. Of darker days, days long past best forgotten. Days filled with cold, pain, hunger and sorrow. Of wet tunnels and blue flowers, monsters (kids) challenging him at every turn, and then snow, white and bright and chilling.
Shaking his head, Papyrus moved up the steps, subconsciously avoiding the left side of the third stair. There was a close warmth to Sans’ room, the heat almost too much as he opened the door, though he moved inside regardless. His brother had always preferred to be overly warm than cold. Slowly laying Sans on the bare mattress, he gathered up the comforter bundled at the bottom and spread it over him.
They’d come far from then. Nothing worth reflecting on. Leaning down, he left a kiss on Sans’ skull. No one could touch them. Not anymore.
Leaving the room, he slowly shut the door behind him before heading back for the stairs. No sense in wasting his brother’s efforts...even if the lasagna did not look fully cooked.
Twenty-five Years Before...
He ran, faster than he’d ever run before, faster even than the day they left. He could hear the pounding footsteps behind him, the clanking of metal on metal close enough for the sound to be jarring to his overworked senses. The bundle in his arms squirmed lightly, just enough for him to worry that his little brother was waking up. He couldn’t deal with Sans squirming around, not now. Not when he was finally nearing the crack in the wall that meant their freedom.
Picking up speed, he forced himself to move faster, more efficiently, pushing himself past his thresholds of pain. Around this corner, over this trash, past this fence, and the crack was in sight. He let out a breath and pushed himself just a little harder, ignoring the shouts for him to stop, ignoring the magic gearing up behind him. One moment he was in the dank alley way, the next he was through the crack, the hole it lead to just large enough for him to crawl through. There was no way they would be able to follow him, and he doubted they knew where it lead.
They were free.
He crawled for a while, just long enough and a little farther to no longer hear any of the yelling or movement from the other side of the tunnel. Sans was really truly wriggling now, clearly uncomfortable with being pressed so firmly against his chest. He would shift to make carrying him a little easier, but the tunnel was still too narrow. Instead he sat against the wall as well as he was able, fangs grinding as sharp rocks stuck into his spine. Settling back, he ignored the ache in his bones as he took the bundle that was Sans and laid him out on the relatively soft dirt floor, unwrapping the cloth to reveal a tiny, squirming babybones. Sans stared up at him with tiny white eyelights, itty bitty fangs gnashing in the open air.
The good thing about Sans was that, even when he was hungry, even when he bumped his tiny bones against hard walls or stone, he never cried. Little tiny tears would sometimes fall, but the most noise he would make was tiny huffs of air that were honestly pretty cute.
Large, round sockets peered up at him, little brows furrowed as Sans’ arms waved around, legs kicking aimlessly.
Papyrus smiled softly down at him. “Hungry brother? Or thirsty maybe?” His voice was still ragged from all the running and dodging. Digging through his inventory, he brought out the small loaf of bread and bottle of milk he’d pilfered a day or so ago. He still wondered if the merchant he'd stolen it from had ever figured out why there had been a random pile of empty milk bottles on his floor. Sitting his brother up, he brought the rim of the bottle to his teeth, letting him drink from it until he pushed at it with his little hands, smacking the glass with tiny tinks of sound. Still smiling, he tore apart the bread, wishing not for the first time that it was a little softer as he placed the tiny, tiny piece in Sans’ mouth.
Piece after piece was placed between tiny fangs, the little pinpricks of white gazing around aimlessly, sometimes settling on Papyrus’ face just long enough for a wrinkle of a grin to overtake Sans’ expression before he was distracted again. Papyrus didn’t mind; seeing his brother smile made all of it worth it.
Once a fourth of the bread was gone Papyrus put it away, tucking the cloth back around Sans before pulling him to his chest. Settling on the floor of the tunnel, he curled around his brother, closing his eyes and listening to the small, even breaths from Sans as the two of them fell asleep.