There are times in which people, even the most kind-hearted and gentle of souls, must commit shameful, deceitful, or even life-threatening acts in order to make ends meet, or to save someone they love. Some call it an act of self-righteousness. Others, misguided consequentialism.
But either way, the weight of those actions will take their toll eventually.
It's karma's own butterfly effect.
And it relents for no one.
Pouring rain hammered down onto the earth as a figure, clad only in tattered clothes and soaking wet, walked up to a particularly well-known building. After making sure they weren't being followed or watched, they dashed around the side and to the back, then hid themselves among the trashcans and discarded papers. They waited until the light in their target room was switched off, then carefully slipped through the window that had been purposely unlocked for this occasion. After closing it behind themselves, they grabbed the small flashlight from their back pocket and flicked it on.
The dim light shone around the room, illuminating the dust bunnies that had now come out from hiding and were floating peacefully through the stuffy air of the office.
After a small while of searching, the person finally found what they were looking for. The drawer slid open, and a paper was carefully taken out. After a moment of furious writing, it was returned, and the individual delicately slipped back out again, closing the window and pulling their clothing tighter around them as the chill of the storm hit them in full blast.
They had done it.
TEN YEARS LATER
Sans sipped his coffee and leaned back on the rickety rolling chair in his office. Propping his feet up on the old, worn out desk, he closed his eyes in bliss. Finally, a little time to relax.
The door slammed open. Sighing, Sans turned his chair to see his younger brother, Papyrus, standing in the doorway.
Dammit, he thought to himself as he turned his head to face the enraged skeleton.
"SANS YOU LAZYBONES!" Papyrus yelled pointing his finger at his brother in an accusing manner. "YOU STILL HAVEN'T FILED YOUR PAPERWORK, HAVE YOU?"
Sans put his hand to his chest in a mocking manner. "'course not bro, you know me."
"NYEH, I KNEW IT." Paps grumbled pinching the non-existent skin on his forehead. "ASGORE SENT ME TO MAKE SURE YOU HAD FILED IT, BUT YOU OBVIOUSLY DIDN'T." He paused to regain his composure. "I WOULD DO IT RIGHT NOW IF I WERE YOU, BROTHER. IT STILL BAFFLES ME HOW YOU MANAGE TO KEEP UP IN THE MIA AMONG ALL THE ELITE DETECTIVES AND OFFICERS."
Sans shrugged. "dunno bro, maybe you only see me when i procaffienate." He held his coffee mug up for emphasis.
"OH MY GOD!" Papyrus screamed, composure forgotten as Sans chuckled at his little pun. "YOU ARE INSUFFERABLE," He announced, turning to march out of the room. On his way out, he used his boot to rub the hardwood floor, which was covered in dust and grime. He sighed disapprovingly and looked around the messy office. "YOU ALSO SHOULD CLEAN UP YOUR WORKSPACE. GET THAT SOCK OFF THE FLOOR THIS INSTANT!"
Sans gave a mock salute in response. With a final huff and disapproving glance, the taller skeleton left, his heavy footsteps growing fainter and fainter.
Going back to his nap, Sans let his mind drift a bit. Work had been rather heavy lately. He wished he could take some time off and just chill for a while. Maybe have a little fun at Grillby's...
But damn that goat and his penchant for paperwork. He'd be here until nightfall. Maybe his brother was right.
"might as well see the workload for today," he grumbled, hoisting himself out of his chair. He grabbed his empty coffee mug and walked out of the office. Doors lined either side of the hallway, each leading to a different detective's office. He kept a lookout for Asgore's.
A yellowish curvy fox monster rounded the corner, and bounded up to him, instantly attaching herself to his right arm. Sans struggled to keep the mug in his hand from falling to the ground from the impact of her hug.
"Sansy, I wanted to know if you were free this Saturday! Maybe we can catch a flick or something~" Her skirt swayed around her knees as she practically lifted herself into his arms, her hands now wrapped around his neck.
"sorry nancy," he grunted, trying to hold her up while balancing his cup. "can't. i've got a skeleton of work to do." Sans was suddenly grateful for his heavy load this week if it meant getting out of the flirty monster's plans for them.
"Come on Sansy, are you suuuure? Really really suuuure? We can have some real fun if you want~~" She batted her eyelashes suggestively.
Sans tried not to visibly cringe. Nancy was a good monster. She could be funny at times, and Sans would be lying if he said he didn't enjoy her company here and there. She just was really... Clingy. Maybe even a bit possessive. He knew she was interested in him, (he wasn't that dense despite what Alphys said) but she just wasn't exactly his type.
Jeez, did he even have a preference? He'd never thought about it.
"i'm really, really sure i can't. maybe another time though," he said quickly, trying to disentangle himself from her crushing grip.
"Awww," She pouted, finally letting go. "Then we'll just have to plan it for another night I guess." Sans nodded in fake enthusiasm.
"well, i've gotta go. i'll be seeing ya around." He walked away briskly, straightening his cyan tie a little.
"Sansy, you forgot your goodbye kiss! Wait up!"
Sans pretended not to hear her.
"Good morning, Sans." Asgore greeted, as the skeleton walked into his office.
"hey asgore. anything new?"
The goat monster smiled warmly, and gestured for Sans to take a seat.
"Tea?" He asked, settling back into his leather chair, specially built to support his large frame. Even so, it creaked under his weight. Sans swore the floorboards were dented in the place he sat.
"naw, just had my morning drink a few minutes ago," Sans responded. "thanks though."
They sat for a few minutes in silence, before Asgore pulled out a tan file from his desk. "I've got a new assignment for you."
He slid it across the desk to Sans, who opened it.
Inside were four papers, and a photo. The first paper held information about the case, and the second, info about the suspect.
"We've received a few calls from the Las Vegas police department. They've informed us of a rather mild case."
Sans nodded, and Asgore continued. "The suspect's info is on page two. The police department claims that they've been robbing banks and casinos all around the city. The department has asked our agency specifically to help."
"you want me for this, boss?" Sans asked, more than a bit amused. "don't mean to be rude, but i'm a homicide detective, not a widespread patrol officer. plus, it doesn't sound like something that the MIA needs to get caught up in."
Asgore chuckled. "You may not be an officer, but you've got much more training than your peers. Remember?"
Sans felt a bit frustrated. "yeah, but why send me on something as little as this?"
Asgore took a sip of his tea. "You see Sans, the police department can't even find any traces left behind by the suspect, or any clues that would lead to their whereabouts. The only information we have is from an unidentified source that we have confirmed to be reliable.
It's a bit strange though. Burglars usually are much more careless. I think that the person behind the crimes is more than just a measly bank robber. I believe they also have history of homicide and fraud if they're so intent on not getting caught. Otherwise, they're just a perfectionist."
Sighing, Sans looked through the papers. "look, I really don't think-"
"Remember your place Sans."
The skeleton shut his mouth with an audible click.
There was a tense silence.
Sans resigned. "fine. what do i do if i catch em?"
Asgore hummed a little to himself and stared at the ceiling as if deep in thought. "I want you to take the perpetrator back, dead or alive, to HQ."
Sans stared at him then almost laughed out loud. "asgore, what the hell? you don't even know if they've done anything but rob a couple of establishments, and you want me to bring em here, whether they're in a body bag or not?"
The monster nodded. "Precisely that. Actually, it'd be better if you kill them straight way."
Now, Sans was just shocked. "but... but we don't even know if they're worthy of the death penalty. don't you think that's a bit extreme? we could get in serious shit."
Asgore's face darkened. "Look Sans. Your job is to take orders and carry them out. I don't mind when you question the cases, but the choices are mine to make." His expression softened. "I understand you're unhappy about going against the law, but trust me when I say this is the right choice."
"what if this isn't-"
He was silenced by another look from the goat monster.
Sans sighed, and raised his hands submissively. "alright big guy. no more complaints from me." He straightened a little in his seat. "any face sketches? do we know what they look like?"
Asgore pointed to the file. "The information is in there, Sans. You'll find what you need. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get on with the day. Thank you for visiting."
Sans stood up. "alright. i'll see when i can go. las vegas is kinda far away though. gotta see how much we need in travel fees."
"Actually, I'm afraid I'll need to discuss that part with you. Come see me later or tomorrow."
Nodding, the skeleton excused himself out of the boss monster's presence. Stepping back out into the corridor, he leaned against the door and let himself groan.
This was so stupid. He was being sent after a single burglar. One. Something he hadn't dealt with since he first started out as a rookie.
Asgore was overthinking again. Sans knew it. All information for a case was given to the detective assigned to it, so there wasn't much of a chance that the monster was keeping him in the dark. His boss was just being superstitious. He knew though, that Asgore had every right to be cautious ever since the death of his wife, almost four years ago.
She had been sent on a case, then disappeared.
Her dead body was found two months later.
Nobody knew what had happened. The police could only find dead ends.
The monster had never been the same since.
Sans had known Toriel very well. She was sweet and kind, and made pies for all the detectives at the MIA. They would frequently share knock-knock jokes together. It was a real tragedy when she died, for everyone who knew her.
She had also helped him with something very important, and he wouldn't be here today without her.
...But no use looking back on the past.
Sans had a new case to attend to.
He walked back to his office, nodding hello to the other monsters in the hallway here and there. He opened the door, walked in, and flopped down into his chair.
Stars, he was tired.
Maybe he would grab a drink at Grillby's later. Just a cherry soda or something to keep him going.
But right now he had to work.
Flipping over the folder, he started to read through the papers. The first was just what he had already known, that the suspect had been allegedly robbing banks, blah blah blah. The second was where all the good stuff happened. Sans started to read.
An hour later, he looked over his notes about the criminal.
Name: Frisk (supposedly.)
Height: 5' 3"
Weight: 101 lbs
Eyewitness accounts on appearance: "brown hair, brown eyes, latino skin." "Brown shoulder length hair, chocolate eyes, light brown skin tone."
Last seen May 18th, 1932, in the "Royal Nevada" casino that was robbed.
No traces or evidence collected by the police.
Sans sat back, rubbing his skull. Jeez, there was almost nothing for this case file. No face sketches, no fingerprints, only a few testimonies about her appearance. At least he had a name. Asgore had been right, she was pretty careful.
But, Sans was pretty sure that gathering evidence and tracking her down would be easy enough. From what he was reading, it seemed as if only a few people had witnessed her actually committing a crime. Which meant she probably went out in public a lot, since she didn't have to worry about someone recognizing her.
If he found even one clue, it would take him pretty far. Las Vegas's stores and casinos usually kept records of who came in and when. Usually for theft policy. If she had a favorite place to visit, he could keep surveillance over the premises and start investigating. That is, if she wasn't using a fake name. He didn't know if she was aware that the police were so invested in her. If she reckoned they knew her name, she could get a fake one lickety split. No biggie.
That would make things harder, but regardless, Sans wasn't worried. He had dealt with much more serious and complicated cases.
A loud bang on the door startled him out of his thoughts.
"come in!" he yelled. The door was slammed open by a tall, ferocious fish lady. Sans noted that he would soon need to replace it.
"Sans!" The monster screamed. "I swear, if you took my pens again-"
"i ink you're mistaken, i didn't steal nobody's pens."
The blue scales on her face grew red. She walked forwards and grabbed the collar of his shirt. "Sans! I know it was you! Those cost me a fortune, so if you don't give them back I'll snap that fragile neck of yours before you can make another pun!"
The skeleton tried not to laugh.
"oh come on undyne, i'm a dependable guy! don't let this blot out our friendship."
She let go of him with a snarl.
"If you don't return those pens in the next two hours i'll rip your skull off, paint it, and send it to Mexico as a present."
Sans let out a chuckle. "wow pal, that wasn't exactly a rib tickler if you know what i mean."
Undyne pointed at him, eyes narrowed. "Pens. Two hours. Or else." She turned and stalked out of the office, making sure to slam the door behind her. Sans smoothed out his shirt. examining the white fabric for holes or rips. None this time. His vest was a bit wrinkled though, but he supposed it would be alright for today.
She reminded him of Papyrus sometimes. Her loud voice and tendency to barge in and break things. Papyrus hadn't really met her yet, he had only started a month ago so he was in the lower section of the building, but Sans couldn't help but think they could be great friends.
But he also felt that she was too violent for his bro.
Standing up, he took his notes and papers, and stuffed them back into the file. He was tired, and wanted to desperately get a drink at Grillb's. Before he left, he took the pens that he had stolen from Undyne's place, and teleported to her office, setting them on her desk. He then stepped back into the tear of reality into the warm environment of Grillby's, the smell of alcohol hanging in the air.
Walking over to the bar, he hopped up on a stool, and waved a hello to Grillby. The fire elemental nodded a greeting in return, and walked over.
"Hello Sans. Fancy seeing you here," he stated politely. Sans rested his head on the bar counter.
"give me the strongest drink you've got, grillbs. just put it on my tab."
The elemental sighed, and turned to grab a bottle on the shelf. He set it in front of Sans.
"It's on the house. Your appearance here is rare nowadays."
"damn work," Sans mumbled, popping the cap off and taking a long chug. The whiskey started to calm his senses.
"Mind me asking what is making you so unhappy?" Grillby asked.
Sans sighed. "it's nothing."
The fire elemental looked pointedly at Sans. The skeleton rolled his eyes. "aight, i'll tell you what happened."
After he had recapped the day's events, he took another chug of his booze.
Grillby was silent for a little, deep in thought.
"You should take some time off later, the load may be getting to you."
"And about your new case, just... Be careful."
Sans waved the warning off. "i've got nothing to be worried about, grillbs. criminals like that aren't that hard to deal with. thanks anyways."
"Pride comes before the fall," Grillby said in a singsong voice before moving away to tend to another costumer.
Sans snorted. He'd dealt with almost every type of crook there was to be dealt with. Why would this one be any different?
Screw Asgore, he thought to himself as he took another sip. When he had finished, he called for another.
One drink turned into two, and two into six. Soon he was passed out on the bar, blue drool emanating from his mouth and pooling onto the table. The other patrons paid him no mind.
Grillby sighed and went to the telephone near the edge of the bar, phoning Papyrus.
Looking back, he mentally prayed that his skeleton friend would make it back from Las Vegas alive.