they told me that to make her fall in love, i had to make her laugh. but everytime she laughs, i’m the one who falls in love.
Sometimes, in life, you have the calm periods.
Things seem to be going wonderfully okay. Sure, there're the dreary parts of the week, the times when you hear 'Monday' and start calculating how many days off you can get before people get suspicious that you just hate Mondays and you aren’t really sick. Events that make you want to throw yourself into the Mediterranean, PEOPLE who make you want to throw yourself into the Mediterranean.
But... Overall, everything is... good.
You'd struck one of those periods.
It hit you, the other day, when you were reading an email at work. You... were okay, with your current situation...? A good job with a steady income that you only had to grit your teeth through for 8 hours, a nice apartment... the world's chillest roommate.
"hey, kiddo?" Sans said, giving your shoulder a little nudge. You'd started napping on the sofa, again.
"... Hm?" You blinked your eyes open and looked up at the lazy skeleton.
Truth be told, at first, he had NOT been the world's chillest roommate.
Sans wasn't exactly... threatening. A short (your height, to be precise), kinda roundish skeleton monster, with a fused jaw, wide eyesockets sporting tiny pricks of white light that seemed to act like pupils, and a dumb, large grin full of straight teeth. Always wearing baggy, old clothes... A constant repertoire of ridiculous dad jokes that only ever seemed to earn him a mild smile and an eye roll ready and waiting on his tongue, white bones that had the texture of a smooth pebble, yet were warm, and could flex like rubber.
Speaking of his bones... They didn't really look like human bones. Sure, his arms had a humerus and a radius and an ulna, but they were thicker, and the joints seemed to be stuck together like magnets, only touching at a few points, yet having full manoeuvrability and never falling off. From what you'd seen of his ribcage and spine the one time he'd wandered sleepily into the kitchen wearing nothing but loose jogging pants at 6am, his rounded shape was not only caused by his clothing, as his ribcage was heavy and larger than a human's, with much thicker bones, the spaces between them only just big enough to poke a finger through. It reached further down, too, and his pelvis was incredibly wide and solid, as wide as his shoulders were far apart. His spine was also WAY bigger, the thickness of your arm, at least.
He also seemed to have bones in places where humans did not. Like, his neck, where he had rings around his spine, that gave the illusion of an actual neck. And his hands, which had solid bone that formed a palm-like object.
Anyway. Back on track.
He hadn't struck you as threatening when you first went to check out the apartment. In fact, he'd seemed... pretty chill. You had no problem with monsters, so you'd been chill too, friendly, eager to move in to a great place for so little rent.
But then... when you'd actually moved in...
Suddenly, you noticed how hostile he was.
He wasn't hostile in a hot, fiery way. He was hostile in an cold, collected way, looking down at you, giving you the cold shoulder, occasionally passing little snide remarks about human culture, or humanity's tendency toward violence.
It made you... uncomfortable, to say the least. At first, you kept offering the olive branch in the hopes that he’d see you weren’t out to dust him in his sleep, but no matter what you did he seemed adamant on maintaining that tight, deceivingly cheery-looking grin. It was even worse when his brother came over to visit, borderline frightening, in comparison to his younger ‘bro’ Papyrus’s bright, beamy personality, witty sarcasm and endless offers to cook friendship spaghetti with you.
... You took it as best you could. Not everything could be perfect. You were out of the house for almost 10 hours a day anyway, it was... fine. You couldn't expect to get a great apartment for little rent whilst working a good job AND having a perfect roommate.
... And then, one day, he just...
Stopped being hostile.
You woke up on the couch with a hangover and no memories of the previous night, a blanket over your body and Sans's jacket providing a makeshift pillow. Your legs were up, on the skeleton himself's LAP, his posture relaxed and face soft.
He never told you what happened that night. And ever since then, he'd just been... so friendly? So punny and sweet. Reliable, great company, genuine and... fun.
Admittedly, at first, you’d been very suspicious. This sudden goodwill and trust that seemed to come out of nowhere from his cold and calculating persona- what was he planning? No matter how much you pressed you could never get an answer out of him, the bastard was way too good at dodging questions and dancing around giving anything, immediately diverting the conversation to something else. The only thing you were ever able to get out of him was that it wasn’t sexual.
But the friendly, funny nature had worn away at you, and eventually, you just accepted that the two of you probably had a drunken bonding session and he realised you weren’t a missionary sent by the government to discover and sell his secrets.
"tired?" He asked you, leaning over your reclined form. His voice was surprisingly baritone, for someone so small.
"A little." You rubbed your eyes. "Why do you ask?"
"... wanna go to grillby's with me? i'm too lazy to make anything."
You chuckled, sitting up. "Is it a date?"
He spluttered, cheekbones flushing with a tiny smidge of blue, something you'd come to equate to a blush. He coughed, and shook his skull. “n-no, i-it's just an evening out between friends.”
"Pft. Sure, okay."
That was another thing about Sans that had once left you lost and confused, but you now just shrugged off and accepted.
Sure, you were roommates, but... sometimes, he acted like he thought you were more than that. One time, with the lingering touches and eye contact, you were certain there was at least a twinge of something there. Like, come on, the guy silently hugged you from behind while you were cooking on more than one occasion. What kind of normal, totally platonic roommate did that?
But he didn’t let you fool yourself for long. It was only two days into thinking he had feelings for you that the constant (obvious) friendzoning started. And after that, as soon as he gave even an inkling that he liked you, he’d friendzone you to slam it down. He held your hand, and you were his ‘closest friend’. He told you that you looked beautiful in your new shirt, and then you were ‘bucko’ and ‘pally’ for almost a week. He tucked your hair behind your ear and leaned suspiciously close, and then he ‘doesn’t know what he’d do without a friend like you’.
He cupped your face, and then asked for advice on a girl he was trying to woo.
You’d seen the way he shied away from relationships that excelled any further than casual sex- hell, you’d seen how he acted around people he was interested in. You’d been next to him at a bar when he puts on his sexy tone and cracks out the designated Flirty ™ pet names... and he never acted that way with you. And even if he did want anything, he was far too lazy and uncommitted to ever be a boyfriend.
So you just... accepted he didn’t like you. Let your budding crush die.
... Besides. You thought, resignedly one night, turning over in bed. You didn’t want to ruin a friendship like this one.
"figured i should cheat tonight and get a burger." Sans said, back in the present moment, slipping on his blue hoodie. You chuckled, just grabbing the jacket you'd been using as a makeshift blanket and throwing it around your shoulders, zipping it up.
"So burgers are your cheat food?"
"Sans," you gave him a look, "you eat burgers almost every day."
"what can i say?" He shrugged, grinning. "every day is my cheat day."
That earned him a mild chuckle. "Ain't that the truth. We walking?"
"yeah." His grin became a little softer. "it's a nice evening."
"Sans the skeleton, choosing to walk." You pursed your lips, opening the door. "Now I've seen it all."
"maybe i just like walking with my roommate, huh?"
As the two of you exited the apartment complex, the stairs a little gritty from so many people traversing them over the day, you in front and Sans following close behind, he started telling a ridiculously long-winded joke about two guys visiting Beethoven's grave. You rolled your eyes and let him tell it- he was surprisingly adept at comedy when he actually chose to tell a decent joke.
In fact, the joke was SO long-winded that you were already out the apartment complex and a little ways down the road, the city dark and street lights glowing warmly, when he FINALLY got to the punchline, smile wide, and tiny flickering eyelights bright.
"and the music expert said... 'don't worry about these mysterious songs coming from the grave. they're beethoven's pieces being played backwards- it's just him /decomposing/.'"
... "Oh my God." You couldn't stop the chuckle, embarrassed you didn't guess it, slapping your forehead and missing his starry-eyed look. That was ridiculous! Such a long joke for such a dumb punchline!?
"why do the norwegians put barcodes on the sides of their ships...?" He asked, giving you a little nudge with his elbow, so you'd look back up at him.
"Cus you're a piece of ship?"
"so they can..." Wink wink wink. "scandinavian."
... That one took a beat longer. "Stoop."
"how do mathematicians scold their children?"
"I don't want to know."
"'i've told you n times, i've told you n+1 times.'..."
"That's it. I'm moving out." You shoved him playfully, not so hard as to push him into the road but hard enough to make him stumble a little.
His cheeky eyelights were still focused on you. "counting in binary is as easy as 01 10 11."
"I hate you."
"your turn, now." He nudged you. "tell me a joke."
You gave him a look. "Sans. No."
"teeellll meeee a jookkeee."
fUCk. You knew you shouldn't encourage him. If you told a joke now, he'd never stop. You KNEW, but... DAMMIT, that face.
You held up three fingers, and you saw him pause, surprised. He 'blinked', which was more like a thinner film of bone coming down over his socket and going back up again. You weren't sure why that was a thing, but, eh.
"..." You sighed. "There are three types of people in this world. Those who can count, and those who can't."
... His face lit up like the street lamps you were passing.
You could SEE the jokes forming in his skull, and you groaned, already regretting endorsing him like that.
“You’ve heard that one before, Sans.” You reminded, not completely immune to his cute face, stuffing your hands in your pockets and looking away.
“knock knock.” His face was so bright. Uh oh.
He punned at you, all the way to Grillby's , non-stop, terrible jokes . Why did he only ever tell terrible ones!? Why not good ones that were smart? His astronomy puns always made you chuckle... this was just awful knock-knocks that sometimes didn’t even make sense. You began just tuning him out and rolling your eyes every now and then, making a sound in the back of your throat that somewhat resembled listening. Even the sound of the bell chiming on the door didn’t make him stop.
You saw the sympathetic looks the patrons gave you as both you and Sans sat down on the barstools at the front of the bar, and he was still punning .
... Siigghh. “Who’s there?”
You cast a pained glance to Grillby, the bartender, as he pushed a tall glass of water toward you, knowing what you usually asked for. Or bar tinder , as Sans so affectionately nicknamed him, much to the chagrin of most of the other patrons (except for some plant and a permanently drunk bunny, who loved his puns more than life itself). And for good reason- the guy was literally on fire. Always.
He was tall, and had the body shape of a regular guy, decked out in a white, long-sleeved, neatly pressed shirt and a black overcoat, a little black bowtie on his neck. Grillby’s head had the illusion of being a real head... There was a neck, and a smooth, face-esq, noseless object, with a pair of rectangular glasses set where his eyes would be. His hair was... well, not hair. It was a tall, dancing flame, like a campfire, that moved and crackled, making the glasses on the bar wall behind him glimmer and flash.
The bar itself was cosy, and warm, with mahogany coloured walls and a polished wooden floor, the sides lined with tables and a jukebox in the top right hand corner.
You loved this place- it always smelled like good food and a warm fire. Sans explained that he always used to come here when it was still a restaurant underground- the only time he would ever go into detail about life in the Underground was when you brought up Grillby's.
It’d been the first place he’d taken you when it suddenly seemed like he liked you out of the blue. He’d teleported the two of you there and told you that, in the future, “try not to get drunk anywhere else but here.” You weren’t sure what that was supposed to mean... and it just made you wonder further what the hell happened .
... Oh yeah, the joke.
“Howard who?” You took a sip of the water, considering whether or not you’d have your burger with ketchup.
“howard you like a kiss?”
You spat the water out, mostly into your hand, not expecting a turn of events like that. You became acutely aware of a small (but loud) part of you that secretly wished you’d say yes and Sans’d lean over after and kiss you in the middle of Grillby’s.
“o-oh my god, are you alright, kiddo?” He asked, the jokes dropping away. He shuffled closer and rubbed a hand on your back as you coughed a few times to get the inhaled water out of your throat.
“I-I’m good, I’m good.” You insisted, putting your glass onto the counter and hitting your chest with your fist a few times. Grillby looked momentarily concerned and a few people had stopped to stare but Sans waved them away.
“... what the hell was that?” His voice held genuine concern with a tiny bit of humour.
“It was a good joke.” You excused, mind dragging up the first excuse it could find as you turned to look at him. “I tried to laugh in the water and just ended up inhaling it.”
“... maybe that’s enough puns for today.” He chuckled, softly, hand still on your back rubbing up and down a little.
... It was nice.
“Yeah.” You agreed. “I don’t want to be choking on my burger anytime soon.”
... He removed his hand, as if remembering it was there.
You picked at a nail.
Speaking of burgers- here they were, as if gifts from God to diffuse the tension. An amazing thing about Grillby’s- the service was incredibly fast on the quiet nights, when Grillby could just use his excellent fire magic to perfectly cook the burger in a matter of moments. It was divine intervention on days when you were really, really hungry, and a massive juicy burger served within five minutes of ordering was divine.
And just like that, the tension broke, and the two of you moved smoothly into a casual conversation about the latest news stories (Sans was never keen on politics so you steered clear of that area) and a podcast you’d been listening to, which you listened to on the way to work... and whatnot. You still had no idea what Sans did that enabled him to pay his rent every month but you knew that pushing the Question Dodger himself would yield little result, so you left the subject alone, and finished your burger with relish, enjoying the time with Sans.
It was so peaceful. Just the two of you.
You gasped and sat up in your seat as a new song came onto the little jukebox in the corner- at first, you didn’t believe your ears- usually it only played a small variety of jazz songs in an endless loop that you were so used to hearing it just became background noise.
But today, it was playing... new songs .
More importantly, I can’t help falling in love with you.
“Sans! Sans!” You chirped, grabbing his arm and shaking it, getting up from your seat. “Dance with me!”
He went stiff as a board, blinking twice and looking at you like you’d just grown another head.
“Wise men say...” You used a comedic, low voice, trying to match Elvis Presley’s tone. “Only foooools ruuusshh iiinnn...”
“... pft.” Sans rolled his eyelights. “no thanks.”
“But I...” You were grinning dumbly, still pulling at his arm. He looked like he was going to give in, looking away and the corners of his smile turning upwards.
“nooo. i don’t even know this song.”
“stoooop.” He was practically already off the chair.
“Falling in looove wiiitthh y-”
Suddenly, his sockets snapped wide open, and he snatched his arm away like you’d burnt it.
You blinked, taken aback as he rounded on you. Without warning and for no apparent reason, the playfulness had completely vanished, replaced with frustration, harsh eyelights and a nonexistent smile. “i said no! jesus christ!”
... That kind of behaviour from Sans was so unheard of that most of the people in the room stopped and looked at you like you’d just called him a racial slur. Even Grillby, who’d just been polishing a glass in the corner, turned to look, head tilting a little.
... You suddenly felt terrible, standing there like a moron, the music still playing in the background.
P-perhaps... he really didn’t want to dance, and you missed the signals that he was super uncomfortable with you grabbing him and making him do it? I mean... you’d grabbed him like that before and he’d seemed happy and you could’ve been certain he was almost ready to dance with you, that oh-so-familiar playful grin on his face, but...
“...O-oh.” You put your arms down. “Sorry.”
He didn’t respond. He was staring at the wooden counter, brows drawn together in a look of frustration.
“... I-I’ll just...” You’d already paid for your burger. You took your hoodie and turned away, heading to the door with Presley’s song still in your ears, feeling like a pushy and terrible person, unaware of how Sans sat back up when you left, face contorting into regret.
Too late. The bell chimed behind you.
“I don’t think you could’ve handled that any worse, Sans.” Came Grillby’s soft voice, like a crackling campfire, as he cleared away your empty plate. “For someone who’s upset she’s not interested you seem quite adept at pushing her away.”
Sans responded by hitting his skull on the counter.
... He never thought it’d end up like this.
When he’d first met you he couldn’t have cared less- you were an average human with an average face who he was only using as a means of having to pay less on the rent for a little while as he got his machine together. He had every intention of making your life hell and getting you to move out once his income was heavy again. An average, boring human.
And, actually, he technically could have cared less, since he cared enough to be spiteful. You couldn’t get too comfortable so he made sure you knew you weren’t welcome there. You seemed to get the message and stopped trying to befriend him after a couple of days, and he was absolutely ready to get you kicked out in a few month’s time.
Apparently, coming home bruised and stumbling drunk, throwing up in the bathroom and sobbing all over his shirt when he came to check what the noise was happened to be the fastest way to melt his Soul.
And, well... that was a story for another day.
Now that he knew you were like him, he opened up a little more. Perhaps, if you weren’t so bad, he could relax and not spend so much energy being spiteful...
... He hadn’t at all expected to crush. Hard.
Of course, he did the most stupid thing possible when given the BEST opportunity. He knew you liked him a bit, by the way you reacted to him coming closer and touching you and hugging you, but... he adamantly refused to allow himself to have anything other than platonic feelings for a human. Assuming he had little more than a simple, childish crush, or a misguided interest in something new that just went a bit too far, he kept you solidly at a distance.
Active friendzoning, he called it. Besides- in no time, he’d stop feeling this way, he’d realise how stupid he was being, because no, it wasn’t anything big, he didn’t have important feelings, this wouldn’t go further than a crush.
It went further.
Set firmly in his own denial he continued to push you away, every single moment that could even be considered romantic was swiftly dealt with.
And by the time he finally realised the truth of what he felt, realised his mistake, the night with you on the couch when you sneezed about four times in a row and looked up at him with a head of frizzy hair and a face of adorable confusion, it was too late.
He’d pushed you so far away that you no longer reciprocated.
... Single-handedly burnt every bridge...
And, yes, he was mad about that. Mad that he’d ruined it, mad that he’d lost his chance with you like this... and mad that you’d done what he’d tried so hard to do- move past a crush.
So of course, you asking to dance and singing about falling in love caught him off guard. But... It didn’t excuse lashing out how he did (you’re so fucking stupid, Sans).
He got up from his seat, mumbling a short “put it on my tab” and leaving a significantly quieter room, out into the night to go after you. It only took a little glance around to see you some ways up the street, hands in your hoodie pockets and eyes cast downwards, a look of regret on your face.
... Fuck. He’d made you regret being friendly. He caught up to you at a light jog, decided that teleporting behind you and getting your attention would definitely spook you at this time of night.
You turned around at his jogging, blinking... probably surprised to see him moving in any way other than walking and/or complaining about having to walk.
“h... hey kid.”
Damnit. He could see the way you buried your guilt so you could look him in the eyesockets without seemingly looking sad... Sweat was already beading on his skull.
“Hey Sans.” You slowed a little so he could walk with you.
“i’m sorry i-”
You both laughed awkwardly at interrupting each other, the atmosphere lifting the tiniest bit... And, I mean, thank God for that, he wouldn’t be able to handle you staying upset. When you were upset, he got upset, and he was really, really shit at handling that kind of situation.
... Or feelings. At all.
“You wanna go first...?” You offered, a smile finally back on your features.
“i-i’m sorry i snapped at you.” He stammered. “that was uncalled for.”
You held up your hands and shook your head, slowing down just a tiny bit then catching back up again, your voices being the only ones on the now-quiet street lit only by the lamps.
“N-no, you said you didn’t want to. I shouldn’t have pushed.”
“It’s fine, Sans. Really.” You gave him that little smile again, but it didn’t go all the way to your eyes. “You don’t have to try to gloss over it.”
He sighed, suddenly feeling shit again. He knew he should push further, keep trying to convince you that he didn’t mean to snap and he was just stressed, but... he really didn’t want to have to argue tonight.
Maybe he’d bring it up again in the morning, when both of you had simmered down. Who knows... maybe he’d get the courage to ask you somewhere as an apology. N-not a date, no... nothing that fancy. Hell, he’d rather just stay indoors with you and eat pizza and cite shitty memes that didn’t even seem to make sense but were funny because they didn’t make sense.
Oh well. Too bad he was the shittest person ever at handling feelings.
You seemed to take his lack of response as confirmation of your previous belief and the two of you continued on, in a comfortable, albeit slightly awkward silence, filled only by the gentle sound of shoes on tarmac and distant cars. He could tell by the way your eyes chanced upwards every now and then that you were watching the streetlamps pass overhead to give yourself something to do in the quiet.
He really liked the way your eyes glittered when you did that.
And then he started to get this... odd feeling.
Something was off in his Soul. He felt like... he really needed to remember this moment. Walking home with you in the quiet. Just the two of you...
... He dismissed it as his overworked and over-emotional mind trying to make him confess to you.
Home was quiet when the two of you got back in, kitchen light still on from someone forgetting to turn it off but the rest of the place nonetheless dark and still- you chucked your hoodie onto the sofa and sighed, checking the counters in case there was anything left out, then heading over to the bathroom. He stood around awkwardly while you brushed your teeth (he was never able to watch you brush your teeth, there was something so weird about you cleaning your visible skeleton) and was unsure of what to say when you came out, heading to your room now, clearly ready to tucker in for an early night, eyes heavy and posture weary.
Your hand touched the doorknob-
“... h-hey.” He said, suddenly.
You turned, and he realised with a blink that he didn’t even know what he had stopped you for. Why the hell had he done that? Now he looked like a moron.
“... night, kiddo.” He covered.
... Your face shifted from a tired frown to a smile again, and you chuckled, apparently happy that he’d stopped you to say goodnight.
that one reached your eyes.
Hearing him make an effort to talk to you first was probably a relief to you, now that he thought about it- given all the tension earlier. His shoulders relaxed.
“Night, Sans.” You replied, then headed into your room, the door clicking shut softly behind you.
He sighed, wishing he could have an early night like you.
But nah... he had work on the machine to do.