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Kindness and Bravery

Chapter Text

    “Where is he?!”

    “He’s getting away-”

    “Find him!”

    The boy darted through the forest, running for his life. He pulled his bobble-hat on tighter as he ducked through a path between the trees. The footfalls of the mob echoed behind him. The boy kept running, where to? Nowhere. There was nowhere for him to go, to hide, not with the townsfolk trying to kill him (why now? Why after nearly a century of nothing but kindness?) and with his house burned down (and why burn down a place filled with so many memories held dear?).

    The foliage changed and cleared out into a small trail. The boy noticed the scattered Golden Flowers and realized that this was the path he and his brother -

    “There he is!” There were a hundred angry shouts and the sound of plants crushed underfoot as the mob was riled up even more.

    His thought pushed aside in urgency, the boy ran faster. The flowers seemed to completely cover the path underfoot. A storm of petals was kicked up in his haste.

    The trees parted and the boy stumbled into a clearing. The sunlight streamed down through a gap in the canopy and into the slightly foggy air. Magical energy hummed with power. Golden Flowers covered the ground, glittering in the light. To anyone else, the sight would have been heavenly, but to the boy, it was the place that haunted his nightmares. The nightmares of memories too painful to think of. The last memories of his brother.

    The shouts of the mob had quieted to no more then a whisper. His evasion skills were as sharp as ever (even though he no longer had anyone to practice with). The boy walked to the center of the clearing, watchful eyes turned down in search of suspicious flowers.

    A patch in the middle of the clearing looked slightly green and wilted. There was a strong aura of magic emanating from them. The boy knelt down and pressed on the flowers. They bent downward, farther than where the ground should have been.

 

    - The footsteps and angry screaming grew louder. -

 

    An idea struck the boy. He had no reasons left to stay here. With the townsfolks’ betrayal, he had no more friends to return to. And his home was his last tie to Mount Ebbot and this world after his brother had fallen. So what if he fell too? Maybe then he could join his brother, wherever he was.

 

    - He could hear the crackling of flames. -

 

    The boy made up his mind. He pulled his bag on tighter as he backed up-

 

    - The mob burst into the clearing -

 

    -and dove into the flowers. They exploded in a whirlwind of gold, blinding his pursuers. One made a grab for the boy, but he had already fallen into the hidden abyss below.

 

    He was falling. Away from the Surface and the burning remains of his old life. The sunlight was just a pinprick of white as the boy fell deeper and deeper…

 

               Dark…

 

                        Brother… Sans…

 

                                         Darker…

 

                                                    I’m sorry…

 

                                                                    Yet Darker…


And the seventh eighth child fell…

Chapter Text

    Sunlight trickled into the dark cavern from a hole high above. The crumbled remains of ancient stone pillars lay scattered along the fringes. Golden Flower petals drifted lazily through the air. The flower patch growing in the center of the cave was slightly squashed, probably because of the fallen child laying on top of it.

    He groaned and slowly opened his eyes, wincing at the bright light shining directly in his face. He pushed himself up with shaky hands. His whole body was sore, he grimaced at the pain. He slowly looked around with a mix of awe and confusion. He was… alive. That was far more than he had been hoping for when he lept down that seemingly bottomless hole. Finally, something was going his way today.

    Now, the immediate question that came to mind was, where was he? Well, the best way to find out where you are is to investigate and see if you can find anything that can tell you! At least, that was his philosophy on the matter (His brother always opted with the “don’t move and get yourself more lost” idea, mostly just because he was too lazy to actually get up and explore, the boy frowned at that thought).

    With a shaky breath, he stood up, straightening out his bobble hat and tightening the straps of his backpack. He winced, he really hadn’t realized just how much that fall had injured him until now… But that was alright, he could still do this!

    …

    Probably…

    …

    Maybe…

    …

    Okay, maybe not. But that didn’t matter! “Fake it ‘till you make it”, right? It certainly worked for him before. Although… he never really “made it” after…

   

    “p-papyrus?”

   

    The boy, Papyrus, whipped around, startled by the voice.

    Someone was standing -no, floating - behind him. They had a look of disbelief on their face.

    They were deathly pale - on closer examination, monochrome, not even their clothes held a speck of color. Their form seemed to glitch occasionally. He could faintly see the far wall of the cavern through them. Their shortish hair stuck up messily, somewhat tamed by a pulled up hood. Their jacket was a few sizes too big, the sleeves hung past the hands, which were held close to their chest, fidgeting with a small pendant. Their fluffy slippers looked like they could fall off at any moment, yet on they stayed.

    They… they seemed eerily familiar, too familiar. They looked so much like… like Sans , but there was no way they could be him, right? If it was, he wouldn’t be so short, so young, so… ghost -like…

    Some part of him knew it was really him, no matter how grim of a picture that painted.

“S… Sans?”

    The ghost, Sans, blinked in surprise, tears welling up in his eyes, “oh my god, it’s really you… wh… why are you down here?!” He started panicking as the tears dripped down his cheeks. He floated forward, reaching out a shaking hand, a silent plea for confirmation that no he wasn’t dreaming, yes his brother was here and alive and okay and with him-

    Papyrus took Sans’s hand in his own and pulled him into an abrupt hug. It enveloped the other, the almost suffocating embrace filled with all the bottled up emotions of [̵̥͚̻̱̊͒͒̾͝͝V̷̘̭̊̿Ä̶̲̗́ͅL̷̡̝̅U̴̢̨̪̥͙͔̾̈́̕E̶̪̘͊̉͝ͅN̴͇̉̆̐O̵̠͠T̸̋̀̏̚̕͜F̵̨͉͕̤̜̆̏̈̏̍Ȍ̶̥͗̓͠Ṳ̴̦̘̊̊͠N̶̮̫͉̙̖͋̊̏D̴̫̞̕]̴̨͇̫̫͙̄͌͗͗͊ years finally let out. Papyrus’s vision blurred with tears. He was shaking so hard he could barely stand. Sans returned the hug, wrapping his arms around his brother’s neck and nestling his face into his brother’s scarf. It smelled like books and tomatoes and the wildflowers that grew in the forest, like home… but not…

    Papyrus pulled away from the hug, leaving Sans floating in the empty air. He glanced away awkwardly, “S-sorry. I just…” He wiped his tears away with the back of his sleeve, “It’s been so long since…” He trailed off with new tears running down his face. He didn’t need to say, the silence said enough.

    Sans drifted forward, grasping Papyrus’s hand, “‘s fine- ‘s fine- I’ve missed you too, paps…” Tears still ran down his face, but now they were one of happiness and relief.

    Papyrus smiled, giving his brother’s hand a reassuring squeeze, “Yeah…”

    His frown returned when he held up Sans’s semi-corporeal hand, “How did this happen?”

    Ah yes, Sans thought, why am I dead-sorta-not-really? He had been wondering that too…

    - Red, pain, the echo of someone’s voice calling out in worry-

    The memories came flooding back in flashes,

    - White, a rhythmic beeping, a metallic taste in his mouth, someone crying over him-

    his grin turned to a grimace,

    - a black void, a flicker of white, someone calling his name-

    and into a full frown,

    - The sunlight, trees, shouting gunfire-

    Wait…

    -Collapsing onto the bed of Golden Flowers, a whisper, We failed, I’m sorry-

    Didn’t he…

    -Nothingness eternal, until it wasn’t-

    …

    “i don’t know?” Sans finally muttered, shaking his head to clear his thoughts. It was a partial truth, he did know how he died (twice), he just didn’t know why the universe wouldn’t let him stay dead.

    “...W-well, I guess with that out of the way…” Papyrus started, pretty blatantly changing the subject. In his eyes, neither of them knew the answer to the previous question, so try moving on to something that could be answered. Excellent puzzle strategy! Not so much social strategy…

    He inspected the cave thoughtfully before continuing, “Where are we?”

    Sans happily took the opportunity to drop the subject, looking around briefly and nodding in recognition, “we’re at th’ Golden Flower bed, right before th’ entrance to Home and th’ rest of the Underground.” Granted, it looked a lot more ruined than the last time he had been there.

    Papyrus glanced up and pointed at the hole in the cave ceiling, looking like nothing more than a tiny pinprick of light, “And I’m assuming we can’t go back up-”

    “yep, tried ‘nd failed-”

    “-so then the only option is to continue onwards through the rest of this so-called Underground.” He concluded.

    Sans shrugged, deciding to fall back onto old habits of a lazy attitude. “M’kay, lead the way then.”

    “I thought you were going to be the one who would be doing that? You seem to have a better grasp of the area.” Papyrus questioned,

    “eh, stick to the main path ‘nd we can’t get lost. i’s so linear, i’s like a game.” Sans replied, pointing to something on the other side of the cave. That something seemed to be a tunnel.

    “... Alright then, o-onwards!” Papyrus declared, taking a wobbly step forward. The pain from his injuries had come back full force now that he was moving and wasn’t distracted.

    Nevertheless, he continued his unsteady trek, fueled by the newfound Hope of no longer being alone and Determination to make it through this, now that he once again had something to live for (even if they themselves were kind-of-dead-but-not-really).

    Sans glanced at him worriedly, he hadn’t noticed until now just how injured Papyrus seemed, “... you sure? you don’t look so good…”

    Papyrus waved him off as he continued on, “I’m fine, I’m fine, it isn’t that bad.”

    “if you’re sure,” Sans muttered, not entirely convinced, “there might be someone in Home that could help…”

    “Alrighty then, I’ll add that to The Plan.”

    “what plan?”

    “ The Plan. We continue onwards, get to Home, ask for help, find somewhere to stay, then plan from there.”

    Sans snorted and grinned, leave it to Papyrus to always have a planned solution to any problem, “okay, sounds good to me.”

    They paused, having reached the end of the tunnel at some point during the conversation. The mauve stone archway loomed above the duo.

    Papyrus took a deep breath and readjusted his backpack, a sort of readying gesture. There was no turning back now…

    There was no turning back a long time ago.

    He stepped forward, into the unknown world beyond…


 

... and the promise of adventure ahead...

You’re filled with BRAVERY