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The World, According to Mettaton

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Rain poured down the smudged glass windows of the taxi as a ten year old child listened to the latest pop tunes on their MP3 player. It was their first time out in the city, without any adult supervision. Truthfully, it was just a day trip. They were out on family business, going to return some extra tanks for a shipment of snails that would be arriving in a few days, which had been too small.

Their family owned a small snail farm out in the country, in the middle of nowhere. All that was out there was some dirty waterfalls filled with garbage, and tall grass fields. Often times they dreamed of the city life, those towering skyscrapers, bright electronic billboards, and most of all, opportunity! Anything could happen in the city. There was so much to choose from.

Sadly, it would cost money, time, and most importantly, an idea of what they wanted to do, things they lacked. Wouldn’t it be much easier to be like their cousins, Napstablook and Madstablook? Blooky seemed to have a love for creating mixtapes and playing any instrument they could get their hands on, but had shyly informed them that they wanted to work on the snail farm, as the rest of their family did. Being the youngest of the three, Blooky tended to be quiet, prone to crying easily. Maddy, on the other hand, was loud, and not in the good way. They didn’t seem to have any ambitions, and were just angry all the time, claiming they didn’t want to do anything involving the loud, annoying city with its aggravating people. ‘Well, they have one thing in common with the city,’ they thought, suppressing a laugh.

And finally, themself, Happstablook. They were a sassy, ambitious child who was restless for something more than just hosting snail races which no one ever watched anyway, and restocking snail food. And it was extremely aggravating on how whenever they brought up their desires to do something greater, their cousins just looked at them as if they were crazy. They both should want to do something more too! Who wanted to stare at slimy snails all day, when there was bright lights and glittery clothes to wear?

Happstablook thought this all adamantly to themself, singing along to some song that’s lyrics seemed to only comprise of some girl singing about some hot guy, and was apparently so desperate for him to notice her that she had to go and sing a whole song about it. Their voice was pure and soulful, yet abrasive. And loud enough for the taxi driver to hear. “You’ve got a pretty good voice,” he remarked, tilting his head ever so slightly to look at this small child. “You ever think about auditioning for one of those local plays? I hear they’re looking for child leads this time.” A little surprised that the driver had noticed their voice, and moreover, liked it, they hesitantly shook their head. “No. I don’t live near any theatres. And I don’t think my family would want me spending time away from the snail farm.”

The driver chuckled. “Well, do you like singing? Or acting?” It took them a moment to think about this. Yes, they enjoyed singing. Usually they would put on music and sing along to it while they worked, often times getting a little too into it, dancing and singing their lungs out. And as for acting? Well, they’d always enjoyed playing pretend, no matter what role. From a prestigious prince to a killer robot, they were sucked into these little worlds, giving them the escape from their truly boring life that they desired. “Yes, I do. Why?”

“Well, if you really like something, why let people hold you back? Your dreams shouldn’t wait for anyone.” And with those parting words of wisdom, they arrived at their stop, a pet store that happened to sell tanks. Happstablook got out of the yellow car, paid their fare with the little pocket money that was given to them, and turned away to walk to the shop. But before they could, the driver said one last thing. “There’s a local theatre about a block from here. If you hurry, you can make the audition for the lead role.” Opportunity! But there were doubts. “I don’t even have a script. How am I supposed to audition if I don’t know the part?” They placed their hands on their hips, clearly not believing they could manage all this. “Well, stars have to be innovative. I’m sure you’ll figure it out. Oh, and kid? Good luck.” And the cab was gone, leaving Happstablook staring after it, thinking very carefully over what this stranger had said.

And suddenly, they were running down the block, returning the snail tanks having been long forgotten. “My dreams shouldn’t wait for anyone! I can do this!” They repeated to themself over and over again, until they’d made it to the theater. It was a small, building, with posters advertising the auditions and multiple light bulbs attached to a huge sign, which read all the showtimes for it’s latest plays. It wasn’t anything special. But to this child, who’d never seen anything like this, it was amazing.

Standing there, mesmerized, even intimidated by this whole situation, Happstablook had to take a few steps back to catch their breath, holding the snail tanks in their trembling arms. “I can do this. I can do this. I will be a star.” And they entered the building, determined to blow every other person who auditioned out of the water.

About an hour or two later, Happstablook was ecstatic, skipping out of the theatre. Their audition had went swimmingly! All they’d done was simply memorize the part of the script all the previous auditionees had used that auditioned for their character, sang one of their favorite songs, and gave it their best shot. Using their slamming vocals, tear jerking acting skills, charm, grace, and beauty, they were confident they’d crushed it!

“No one can hold a flame to me. I’m a rising star!” Happstablook hummed to themself as they crossed the street to a bus stop. “Maddy and Blooky’ll be so impressed!” They smirked, picturing their faces, mouths agape, eyes wide, when they told them the great news. As for how they would perform when they were so far from the city? They could move! They’d have a manor with a roof that didn’t leak, their own rooms, and best of all, no snails! While it was naive and admittedly a little narcissistic to think their entire family would move just for them, they didn’t care. They’d have pink feather boas, adoring fans begging for their autograph, and all the delicious food they could eat! And with that single thought, their illusions of glamour falling apart as they stopped in the middle of the road. Food! They had promised to be back home a quarter before dinner time, so beforehand they could feed the snails! And if they didn’t feed them, the snails would die, and more importantly, they’d be yelled at!
So wrapped up in their own thoughts, they didn’t hear the horrified screams of onlookers, the desperate honk of a truck that was hurtling towards them without control, or their future being permanently altered as their blood pooled around the glass shards of the snail tanks they’d so irresponsibly forgotten to return.

*****

“Alphys! Come on, please? Just one trip to the mall won’t kill you!’’ Two teenagers walked the halls of their high school, one looking slightly aggravated and walking (or rather scuttling) at a fast pace, the other dramatically with a hand over his forehead, an exasperated tone of voice.

The short and chubby blonde, Alphys, turned around and huffed, her arms crossed. “‘M-Mettaton, I told you. I have to help Undyne study for her remedial literature test. I don’t want her to get another f-failing grade. You can still tag along, if you want.” She stammered. “Plus, you know I don’t like the mall. I-It’s so...crowded.’’

But the one pleading, Mettaton, was clearly not satisfied with this answer. “But Alphys! Wasn’t the mall the basis upon which our friendship was founded? We met there! Plus, we’re juniors, Undyne is a senior. You might not even know what she’s learning. And when that happens, I’ll be the third wheel again while you and your jock girlfriend take a trip to Smoochville, population two and NOT me.” He complained, finishing off his little speech with a loud, teary, and clearly staged sigh.

“M-Mettaton…” Alphys mumbled, averting her eyes away. She knew exactly what was going to happen next. “Oh, woe is me! I guess I’ll be sentenced to eternal damnation. Death by loneliness. When I make it big, I’ll see some fan wearing an ugly Mew Mew Kissy Cutie shirt screaming my name, and I’ll think, ‘Huh, that hideous shirt reminds me of someone. My friend that I knew ever since middle school. Hm, what was her name? Angela? Abigael? A beautiful blonde angel who wouldn’t sell me out for her fishy smelling girlfriend?” He then proceeded to lean in close to her face, hands clasped together, eyes sparkling. “Puh-lease?!”

Mettaton was an attractive guy, no doubt. With his carefully combed white-blonde hair, striking eyes, and overall charming and energetic personality, it was no wonder Alphys couldn’t say no to her friend. ‘’I-I guess I could convince Undyne to move the study location to the mall.’’ The blonde sighed in defeat as her friend jumped up and down with joy. “Oh, I knew you wouldn’t let me down, darling!” And with that, Mettaton sweeped Alphys up in a big hug. “Beauties and gentlebeauties, I give you the best friend there is, Alphys whatever-your-last-name-is-I-forgot-again!” Mettaton announced dramatically to any and all students passing by to get to class.

“It’s Dilatiki…’’ Alphys reminded, her face a brilliant scarlet due to all the attention Mettaton was attracting. “Alphys Dilatiki!” He repeated, with just as much enthusiasm as before, if not more.
“Heya, pretty boy!” A sudden slap on his back alerted him that Undyne, Alphys’s girlfriend, was there. Undyne was captain of the wrestling team, a senior, and also one of the most hot headed people one could meet. She greatly contrasted Alphys, who was obviously anxious and timid, even though she was the president of the robotics club.

Undyne and Mettaton could never seem to get along, Undyne stating without a single regret that Mettaton was ‘a shallow, narcissistic punk’, and Mettaton claiming in retaliation that Undyne was ‘a red seeing jock with no fashion sense.’ Both of them were right. It wasn’t as if they hated each other, it was more of a begrudging mutual toleration for Alphys’s sake. Plus, there were worse people out there than each other, to be frank.

“Could you not wrinkle my top next time you do that? I need to be constantly looking fabulous. Plus, I just got this at the mall on sale, brand new and everything.’’ Mettaton was furiously smoothing down his hot pink top, desperate to get any creases out.

“Fabulously lame, maybe.” Undyne flashed him one of her world famous wide grins, an arm slung around her girlfriend’s shoulders.

“Oh, like you’d know anything about fashion. You’re wearing rain boots to school.’’ He scoffed, pointing at the bright yellow rain boots Undyne was sporting. They were slathered in mud and scratches, as if Undyne had gone wrestling in a pig pen with the more dominant pig, and won by a hair.

“I was helping Gerson make some of his world famous sea tea. Plus, you know how muddy it gets.’’ Undyne responded pointedly, an it was true. She lived in Waterfall with her foster parent Gerson, notoriously known for its, well, waterfalls. It seemed to always rain around there, causing mud puddles to be nothing short of common in that area.

“I like that tea. It’s so salty, it keeps me awake while I study.” Alphys smiled meekly, clearly happy to just be around her girlfriend. Mettaton put a fist to his mouth and coughed rather dramatically, a way of cueing his short friend. ‘’O-Oh, right! Um, Mettaton and I were just thinking that it might be better if we moved our study date to, uh, say the mall?” Alphys asked with a nervous smile plastered across her face, knowing Undyne had never been a big fan of a mall, or any place that told her she was not allowed to use mannequin arms as spears, even if it was to help her team practice. Although, now that he thought about it, spears didn’t even correlate with wrestling. Oh well. It wasn’t as if Undyne didn’t practice other sports. Mettaton swore he’d seen her throwing a football, bouncing a soccer ball on her knee, and playing tennis simultaneously at one point.

Surprisingly, though, Undyne didn’t seem to mind. “That’s cool. I was gonna meet my friend there later, but now I can study and build up our friendship power!” Mettaton rolled his eyes at that little comment, the two were total weebs. But he did feel like adding a snarky little comment of his own. “Oh, you have friends? I was totally unaware.” He gave a little showy flounce with a smirk, knowing he had bested her. “Stuff a sock in it, punk! If you met him, you wouldn’t be acting so cocky. He’s awesome! Besides the fact that he can’t really cook. Or bring himself to be mean to someone, ever.”

“Really? Who is he?” Alphys looked up at Undyne, curious of her new friendship development.

“You know that one senior who’s always doing those huge end of the year pranks? The one who put a whoopee cushion on Principal Asgore’s seat during assembly last year, Sans? His brother just transferred here, and I’ve known the guy for a long time. His name’s Papyrus.” Undyne explained, not bothering to elaborate on how they met or why he was even coming. And at such an inconvenient time too! By now all the new students had already become at least acquainted with one another, lockers and schedules had been established, routine had been set. Mettaton was just grateful that he’d already established his own social crowd, even if it was sort of a mixed variety. He tended to hang out with his cousins, Napstablook and Madstablook. They were inseparable. Although he tended to avoid telling people the fact that they were related. They usually seemed so surprised, since you couldn’t find three people any more different than each other.

“Interesting. Hopefully he won’t feel too left out.’’ Mettaton mused, idly playing with a lock of his hair. “He’ll be fine. He’s a persistent kind of guy. Believe me, you can’t push him away, even if you try.” Undyne seemed a little fond, gazing wistfully into the distance,
confusing Mettaton greatly. All there was to see were depressed teenagers and burnt out teachers making their way down the hallway, all being equally trampled by each other. “Well, hate to interrupt this little chat, but I’ve got French. Adios!” Mettaton blew a kiss and sashayed away.

“That’s Spanish!” Undyne yelled after him.

“Whatever!”

***
Per usual, the lunch room was crowded with students, some trying to squeeze their way into the very tight packed lunchline, some just trying to find an empty seat. Mettaton was neither of those. Today, he’d taken a bathroom pass minutes before the bell rung, just so he could get to the cafeteria extra early, before everyone else.

Sadly, he didn’t have lunch with Alphys, or even Undyne. But he did have lunch with his cousins, plus two overly friendly girls named Bratty and Catty. They usually didn’t pay much attention to him, too preoccupied in trying to sell various brands of junk food and other things they found in Waterfall’s dump. Not that he blamed them, there was some pretty great garbage in there.

Currently, though, he was going over the latest script for the morning announcements he would read tomorrow morning. Seeing as he read the morning announcements over the loudspeaker every morning, his voice was one that should be well known throughout the entire school. Not that many people cared about the morning announcements, though, even if he did do his best to make them more lively and exciting. But honestly, if Mettaton were someone else, he wouldn’t bother listening either. Principal Asgore insisted he stay on script, saying gossip columns and fashion segments weren’t school news, or important announcements.

They were to him, though.

Oddly enough, Bratty and Catty weren’t here yet, even though it was well into the lunch period. Maybe they had gotten in trouble for digging through the trash again, looking for “totally awesome bargains.” Not that it mattered, his cousins would be here soon enough, along with the two girls. Mettaton distracted himself by munching on one of the sandwiches Maddy had prepared for him, since he refused to eat any of that sludgy school lunch. Honestly. Yet his attention was driven to the fact that he had a lack of something very important in his glittery, pink lunchbox.

Napkins.

“Just perfect.” Now he’d have to squeeze his way through the sweaty sea of students just to grab five pieces of eco friendly biodegradable napkins, while in the process wrinkling his new top and messing up his hair. What was the point of doing his hair, makeup, and wardrobe every morning to utter perfection if people were just going to ruin it? Each and every morning he struggled to achieve a look of natural beauty, being sure not to look to flashy. A simple, clear lip gloss, light blush, some mascara, that was his formula for radiance. “Beauty is pain, beauty is pain.” Mettaton repeated to himself as he made his way through the crowded room over to the napkin dispenser.

And that’s when horror struck.

All he could recall happening in the moments after him reaching for a napkin was a gasp, something lukewarm against his chest, a loud clatter, and a scream of horror. His own scream of horror. Spaghetti was all over his shirt, the disgusting and smelly tomato sauce smeared all over him. The odd orangish red color of the sauce plus the dark brown of the meatball juice contrasted the hot, rich celebrity aesthetic he had been going for, giving him more of an abstract art look. A single limp noodle hanging on his head perfectly completed the mess.

“My top! Do you have any idea how much this cost?! It was five dollars! Five dollars and fifty cents!!! And it’s completely and utterly ruined!” The teenager screeched, drawing the attention of practically anyone with eyes and ears.

“I-I am very sorry! Allow me to help you up!” A slightly nasally voice spoke, and a hand outstretched towards him. Help you up? Oh. Mettaton hadn’t realized it, but during his dramatic little meltdown, he must’ve sunken to his knees in a dramatic pose of grief. Once a drama queen, always a drama queen.

“Aren’t you going to take my hand and my generous offer of help, and possibly friendship? I imagine the floor must be a very unsanitary place to be, since it is currently covered in my world famous spaghetti and various objects of trash students have lazily left behind!” The voice asked, snapping him out of his thoughts. Hesitantly, Mettaton took the strangers hand, figuring it was better to be standing upright than marinating in his own pity. The stranger pulled him up to his feet with ease. The face that met his was the face of a male’s, had a huge smile across it that strung from ear to ear, strong cheekbones, and fluffy looking dyed white hair that sat to one side of his head.

“I believe now would be the best time for a formal introduction, seeing as we have just come face to face! I am The Great Papyrus, although you may just refer to me as Papyrus. What is your name?” Papyrus asked, oblivious to the fact that that would probably be the last thing on any person's mind right now.

“I’m-” Everyone was staring. Everyone. Some even had smiles on their faces, but not the sympathetic kind. The mocking kind, the kind that was trembling from holding back laughter. Somehow, this enraged Mettaton. Who did ‘the great Papyrus’ think he was? He’d literally just dumped an entire plate of pasta all over him, and now he was trying to be all buddy buddy? And not without that stupid, dorky smile too.

“Ugh!” Mettaton huffed and ripped his hand away from Papyrus’s, and stormed off, out of the cafeteria. Tears of humiliation pooled in his eyes, which he mentally shamed himself for. Now he was covered in pasta and crying, to top it all off. Technically, Mettaton had gotten his wish. Now everyone in the school knew who he was. The guy who looked like he’d just murdered a poor family of Saturday night dinner.

Thankfully, no one was in the hallway to see this hot mess. Or so he thought, until he heard a loud voice behind him.

“Wait, stranger! It is I, the great Papyrus! Why did you run off? I thought our meeting was going quite well, were we not becoming the best of friends?” It was Papyrus, running after him, as if he hadn’t suffered enough earlier.

“Leave me alone!” Mettaton hissed through clenched teeth and ran into the nearest bathroom.

The cold yet admittedly smelly air of the bathroom hit his tear stained face as soon as he walked in, providing quick relief. After all, not a moment before his face had been flushed red with heat and embarrassment. Letting out a deep, quivery sigh, Mettaton slumped against one of the sinks and brought his knees to his chest. Finally, a moment of peace. A moment to wallow in his own self pity.

“Stranger! I have come here to provide comfort!” Papyrus practically kicked open the door and immediately stood over Mettaton. “Didn’t I tell you to-” Mettaton interrupted himself, with a hiccup that sounded more like a dying breath. “Didn’t I tell you to leave me alone?” He managed to stammer out, not meeting Papyrus’s gaze, although he could practically feel it blazing into him.

“Well, yes. But I find that when most people are distraught, they say things they do not mean. Like a woman during childbirth!” Papyrus explained in his peppy voice.

“Well, I meant it. Leave.” Mettaton pointed his well manicured hand towards the exit, as if commanding a dog. It was hard not to hold a grudge against this guy, after his rather brutal public humiliation. Who even brought spaghetti to school, anyway?

“But I haven’t even cheered you up! And helping someone through a rough time is bound to make you the closest of friends.”

“Darling, whoever told you that is a dirty liar. Did they also tell you dumping your lunch on someone is a great way to make a fabulous first impression?” Mettaton rolled his eyes, his tone overflowing with sass.

“I’ve gotten all this advice from a friendship rulebook, so I do not think it can be a lie. Unless the author was a liar...Nonetheless, it was purely an accident about what happened with my lunch. An unfortunate one, at that. Now you’re covered in it and I won’t get to eat it!”

“Pity. Look, dear, this little chat has been lovely, but I’m not quite in the right headspace to talk to you. Or anyone else, for that matter, when I’m reeking of the sinchild of the Italians.”

“Actually, some people speculate spaghetti was originated in China! In my humble opinion, I believe it was a gift from the gods.” Papyrus sat next to Mettaton, persistent as ever.

“More like a curse. I was having a great day until this. Now everyone is going to remember this for years to come. Now, when I become a star, no one will appreciate me for my ravishing good looks, incredible talent or overall unbreakable charisma. They’ll just look at me and think ‘Was that the guy I saw get totally humiliated at the capital’s high school?’” Mettaton buried his face in his hands with a melodramatic sigh.

“I think you’re very talented!” Papyrus piped up.

“You...You do? How?” Mettaton lifted his head from his hands, confused. Was looking like a spaghetti monster the epitome of talent for this guy?

“The morning announcements! I especially liked your fashion tip of the day. I too think it is important to never wear sweatpants in public unless you are jogging. I also liked the part where you argued for the microphone back after Principal Asgore took it!”

This was surprising, to say the least. Someone actually listened to him? And took his advice to heart? He recalled hours at night he spent lamenting over writing his own personalized version of the morning announcements, even though the teachers provided him with a script that was, to say the least, bland as two pieces of white bread smushed together. Rejection of his work, his creation, was brutal.

“I’m a big fan, and I’ve only been here a day!”

“Thank you, darling. That’s very kind of you to say.” Mettaton finally met his gaze, and he didn’t regret it. It was a kind, genuine one, one of the first he’d received in a while. And was that a hint of...admiration? He immediately felt his ego swell to the size of an over inflated balloon. He had a fan!

Suddenly, he noticed Papyrus’s gaze had shifted down to his thighs. “Jealous? I got these pants on discount at the mall.” Mettaton informed, his usual smirk slowly creeping back up on his face.

“Are those prosthetics?” Papyrus blurted out, pointing at a piece of exposed skin, well, whatever his prosthetics were made of. He couldn’t help but find this a bit rude. No, Mettaton wasn’t the type to be offended if someone asked him about them. He’d gladly explain and answer any question someone had. But the pointing, and the wide eyed look on Papyrus’s face… it was like he had never seen someone with prosthetics before. It seemed rather childish, the way his mouth was hung open and gaping at him.

‘Well, so much for his admiration for me. And his nice first impression.’ Mettaton thought. “Yes, sweetie, they are. I got them after a car crash. It’s not that unusual, you know?” Mettaton responded with an edge to his voice, head held up high. Papyrus didn’t seem to realize he’d possibly offended Mettaton. “Wowie! They sure are shiny! I’m surprised I didn’t notice them sooner!”

“Yes, thank you. I really should be going.” Mettaton abruptly stood up, only to be interrupted by Papyrus once more. “But it seems you are still covered in my lunch! There is even a noodle in your hair.” Papyrus stood up, and using his thumb and forefinger, plucked the offending noodle out of Mettaton’s carefully combed hair. Was he really that messy? Mettaton turned to face his reflection in the mirror to find out.

One word: yes. His mascara was running from the crying he’d been doing, his clothes were ruined, and worst of all, his ego. “Great! Now I’ll have to go home early to get a change of clothes and redo my makeup all over again! Not to mention I’ll have to throw out this top…” Mettaton sighed and leaned over, turning on the faucet of the sink. He splashed cool water on his face, and desperately used the faintly lavender smelling soap from the soap dispensers to scrub off any remaining traces of mascara.

“Do not worry! I, the great Papyrus, have an alternative that will last you till the end of the school day!” And with that, Papyrus handed Mettaton a balled up piece of orange fabric.

“What is this?”

“It’s my cape! Well, it was originally a scarf, but I got a few sizes too big. If you drape it over your shoulders the right way, it should cover all spaghetti stains you may encounter on your shirt!” Papyrus explained as Mettaton turned the fabric around in his hands. It was a bit torn and the orange color was a bit blinding, but with some glitter and a few patches, it would make for a fashionable fall accessory. Maybe clothing repair would make for a good MTT morning announcements segment.

“Thank you, darling. What a...generous donation.” Mettaton forced a smile while putting it on, hiding the fact that it really wasn’t all that pretty. He was grateful, though. It wasn’t everyday a stranger lended you their scarf. “Nyeh heh heh! You are very welcome! Now, would you mind telling me your name? You didn’t answer my question the first time I asked it.”

“It’s Mettaton. I don’t believe we’ve met. You said it was your first day here?”

“Correct! My brother Sans goes here. I’m a junior and he’s a senior, but he’s terribly lazy! They transferred me here, and Sans told me the reason they did was so his cool brother could look after him and see to it that his studies get done.” Mettaton vaguely got the sense this wasn’t the actual reason why he’d been transferred, and his brother was lying to him.

“Oh. How...quaint. I’m a junior as well.”

“Perhaps you know my friend Undyne? We met after one of her wrestling matches against my old school! I asked her to let me join the team once I transferred, and she’s been giving me private training! That’s how I learned to cook.” Of course, that’s where he was from! Mettaton remembered Undyne explaining the whole situation to him and Alphys just this morning, how could he have already forgotten?

“Oh, believe me, I know her.” Mettaton muttered through clenched teeth, thinking of all the times he and Undyne had fought. “Then it’s all come full circle! By the way, I believe you were going to get this before the...incident.” Papyrus held out a crumpled up napkin. The one he had been about to grab.

“Thank you, I didn’t know you’d...save this.” It was a little weird, if he was being honest, but it was kind of sweet. “Well, it did seem like you would need it more after our encounter! But seeing as now that the stains are all dry, I’ve found another purpose for it!”

“And what would that be?”

“Your autograph!” Papyrus enthusiastically gave him the napkin, to which Mettaton just looked confused. “My...autograph?” Mettaton stared at the brown piece of paper. “Yes! When you become a star one day, I can tell everyone we were friends in high school, and I’ll have proof!”

A star. A star. A star! “Why, of course I’ll give you my autograph! Let me just grab my pen…” Mettaton scrambled to find his usual pink glitter gel pen in his bag, but to no avail. “It must have fallen out…” He mumbled in frustration, frantically searching.

“Not to fear, I always make sure to bring approximately three pens with me wherever I go! Feel free to take your pick!” Papyrus took out three different pens from his pocket and showed them to Mettaton. Mettaton took a red ballpoint pen and placed the napkin on the edge of the sink, smoothing it out. In his best handwriting, he wrote “To my number one fan, Papyrus. Thank you for listening to MTT morning announcements. XOXO, Mettaton.” He finished his signature with a grand flourish and handed Papyrus the napkin back proudly.

“There you are, darling. A one of a kind autograph for a… one of a kind fan. I’d suggest you’d be on your way now. The lunch period is about to end, and you wouldn’t want to be late for class on your first day, would you?”

Papyrus was busy staring at the signed piece of paper in awe, until he fully processed Mettaton’s words. “Ah! You’re right! Thank you for the autograph, Mettaton! I’ll be seeing you around so we can strengthen our bond and develop our friendship!” And with that, Papyrus quickly ran out of the bathroom, leaving Mettaton standing there alone to process what had just happened.

He was getting mixed signals from this guy, and it wasn’t as if he’d made the best first impression either. He seemed a little too energetic, persistent, and rude, even if he didn’t seem to mean to be. But he had given him his scarf without hesitation, seemed genuinely sorry for the spaghetti incident, and had most importantly appreciated all the hard work he’d put into his little show. Mettaton couldn’t exactly call him a friend, and wasn’t sure he wanted to, seeing as he was a little too weird, but it was an...interesting encounter, to say the least.

***
“And then he just ran off!” Mettaton slumped down in his seat as he told the events of earlier to Alphys and Undyne, taking a sip of some soda that was clearly just sugar mixed with punch.

“I don’t see the problem with it. Running off makes a powerful exit! Especially if you kick the door on your way out!” Undyne stood up triumphantly, Alphys nervously glancing around to see if she was drawing any attention to them.

“Well, he kicked the door on the way in, if that counts…” Mettaton sighed and fidgeted with the paper straw cover, his mind still on the events of the school day. Even though they were at the mall, one of his favorite places to be, and it was after school hours, he couldn’t take his mind off everything that had happened. It was weird.

“I just can’t stop thinking about it is all.” Mettaton concluded, and tossed his drink in one of the many recycling bins the food court had placed around. “Well, it does sound like a pretty harrowing experience. Maybe you just need some rest?” Alphys suggested, concerned for her friend’s wellbeing after literally having some strangers food dumped on him in front of a huge crowd, and then having some weird talk with the same stranger afterwards.

“Fuhuhu! Maybe he’s got a huuuuge crush on him, and that’s why he can’t stop thinking about it!” Undyne laughed, clutching her sides to keep herself from falling over.

“As if. He’s not my type. I need someone who’s as fabulous as me. And a little less, how do I say it, eccentric.” Mettaton shook his head in dismissal.

“Hey, Papyrus is plenty fabulous! He’s a great guy, you’re just too judgemental, so quit it before I go over to your house and kick your door in, punk!” Undyne growled. One thing no one should ever do around her was insult her friends, unless they wanted to have their body rearranged so their ears were on their knees and their knees were on their head, if that was even possible. Although for Undyne, it seemed anything was.

“Excuse me, but I think I have the right to judge someone after being introduced to their smelly food.” Mettaton snorted, arms crossed.

“Maybe you, uh, just have to get to know him better? Where is he anyway? I thought you said he was coming too, I could’ve met him.” Alphys asked, although she seemed a little relieved she wouldn’t have to interact with anyone new today. Plus, with the tale of the events that had transpired between Mettaton and Papyrus stuck in her head, she didn’t want to be in fear the whole time he was there that he’d spill whatever food he bought all over her next.

“Said he couldn’t make it. Apparently he wanted to cook dinner for his brother or something.” Undyne shrugged.

“Well, on that happy note, I’d better be going. It’s my turn to feed the snails.” Mettaton got up and pushed his seat in. “But we just got here. D-Didn’t you want to go shopping or something?” Alphys asked. It was unlike Mettaton to turn down a chance to model clothes for anyone.

“Let him leave. Then we can make out and it’ll be totally rad.” Undyne grinned. “Oh, come off it, Undyne. I have to go be with Blooky and Maddy anyway. I didn’t catch them during lunch. Until next time, darlings!” Mettaton grabbed his things and waved, leaving the food court and the mall altogether for the day, hoping to finally get some peace and quiet at home.

***
Blook Acres was, by all accounts, a lonely and desolate little farm in the middle of nowhere. Well, that wasn’t quite true. It was actually towards the very end of Waterfall, but so far out that it was pretty much isolated.

Previously, they’d lived in New Home, just a little before it became so packed that they’d been forced to move so they could build more housing. New Home used to be a small wheat field out in the country, until everyone decided to relocate out of what was now called the Ruins, a small little town filled with crumbled up buildings and old architecture. Mettaton had always found it quite charming.

Now, they were forced to spend days in the rain, hoping one day there would be business.

There wasn’t.

Who would want to go to some crummy old snail farm, anyway? Back in the day, the snail business had been booming. People lined up to participate in snail races, betting on which snails would win, and even purchasing their own snails to participate in illegal snail races themselves. But times had changed, and now no one wanted to watch a few slimy mock slugs crawl towards a faded finish line.

It didn’t help the fact that their family was quite big, and their home was quite small. The farm itself was already small. It was just a small patch of land with very small stables for the snails, a feeding section, and of course, the racing area. But right next door to it was their family home, two lopsided houses merged together to form a home that was barely big enough for their family. No, in fact, it wasn’t even big enough. There was always someone sleeping on the couch, or going to a friends house to avoid taking up space.

The two converged houses were separated by a small wall, one house for the parents and one for the children, but it didn’t make a difference. It wasn’t even as if the separate entities were houses, at most all the space in each house added up to two attics. It was still too small.

Their family consisted of Mettaton, Blooky, and Maddy’s parents. Well, Maddy only had one parent, their father had left before they were even born, which probably contributed to their angry attitude. Then there was themselves, the three Blook children.

While Blooky seemed to be happy working on the farm, and Maddy was content as long as they got their anger out by the end of the day, Mettaton wanted more. Fame, fortune, people calling his name. No one got this. They all thought it was a waste of time. Not that he cared what the adults thought, they were usually away and busy working. But he at least wanted his cousins to understand. After all, they were very important to him. They might as well be siblings.

Mettaton thought over all of this as he tiredly walked through their desolate front yard and to the snail farm. As usual, no one was there.

“Hello, future escargot.” He rolled his eyes as he refilled the snail’s tanks with food and water. Per Napstablook’s request, he paired different types of snails together, because as they had so shyly put it, “They like to mingle.” Honestly, Napstablook took a much greater interest in snails than Mettaton ever could. He just didn’t see the appeal of spending your time around such a boring species. He was getting sick of it, but tried to ignore this feeling as usual when he entered their lopsided house.

Inside, there was a very small sitting area that mixed with the kitchen. It consisted of an ancient TV, a couch, and one old computer for everyone to share. Maddy was in the kitchen, gnawing on a carrot. “You weren’t at lunch today. You made Napstablook cry.” They glared at Mettaton, who shrunk under their gaze.

Maddy was the oldest of the three, a senior, while Blooky was the youngest, a sophomore. Being the middle child, Mettaton had always seen it as his responsibility to ensure that both his cousins were happy, which was usually a hard feat. After all, they were all very different. Maddy preferred to spend their time practicing their fighting skills and yelling, while Blooky was perfectly content making mixtapes and lying on the floor, wallowing in their sadness. As for Mettaton, you couldn’t meet anyone with a greater passion for performing. He sang, he danced, he acted. He annoyed pretty much everyone, especially Maddy with his antics. Blooky usually liked them, though.

“Sorry. Someone spilled some stuff on me and I had to go wash up.” Mettaton flashed them a winning smile as he reached into the refrigerator to get a glass of milk.

“Someone spilled something on you?! Who was it? I’m gonna beat them into next Tuesday! And then next Tuesday, I’ll beat them into NEXT NEXT TUESDAY!” Maddy yelled, enraged that someone had mildly inconvenienced their cousin. While they didn’t see eye to eye on most things with Mettaton, they still loved them all the same, and considered themself the fiercest protector of their family.

“It’s fine, Maddy. They apologized, they’re a complete peach. Sort of. Is Blooky alright?” Mettaton finished his milk and washed the glass, doing his best to change the subject. Maddy’s scarred face lost it’s angry expression, and they gestured towards the upstairs area.

“They’re up there. You’d better go apologize, or else.”

“I am, I am.” Mettaton blew his cousin a kiss as he made his way upstairs to do so.

The upstairs area was sort of a bedroom for the three cousins, although each had personalized their sides of the room, per Mettaton’s request to make it look more chic. Each section of the room was divided by chalk lines that had been smeared and smudged over the ages, but still worked so no one overstepped their boundaries, quite literally. Maddy’s had a punching bag, some throwing knives and an old recliner as their bed. Maddy claimed it was more comfy, but the real reason they had it was due to the fact they didn’t have enough space for another bed, and couldn’t afford one either. Mettaton had covered his with pink floral wallpaper, posters of various celebrities, and had found an old vanity at the dump which he’d polished until it shined like an emerald.

Mettaton neatly placed his bag next to his bed and went over to Blooky’s side of the room, which was at the very end. Their side of the room was the most bland of the three. There was some old, beat up sound mixing equipment, a bean bag, and a framed picture of the three as children.

“Hello, Blooky. How was school?” Mettaton asked, walking over to his cousin, who had been preoccupied listening to music on some old recording device, sitting on the bean bag. They took out their headphones and gave a small smile, looking up at their flamboyant cousin. There was one word to describe Napstablook. Pale. Their hair was a blond-white, their skin was the color of ivory, and their eyes even seemed to be the palest shade of blue there was. Ghostly.

“It was okay...we didn’t see you at lunch...I’m sorry...I know I wouldn’t want to be seen with me…” Blooky mumbled, their smile immediately fading as they looked away. It was no secret that along with being extremely anxious, they didn’t think very highly of themself anyway.

“Blooky, dear, it was nothing like that! Some guy, well, I don’t want to talk about it again. But let’s just say there’s a reason why I’m wearing this scarf.” Mettaton shifted the scarf slightly to reveal the spaghetti stain on his shirt.

“Oh...I didn’t realize...I’m sorry…” They apologized again, prompting an eye roll from Mettaton. Blooky shifted their position so Mettaton could sit with them as well, and Mettaton did so. “You simply must stop apologizing for everything, Blooky. I should be the one apologizing to you. I should’ve at least texted you two to tell you where I was. But enough about all that. I want to hear absolutely everything about your day. Leave no detail out!” Mettaton smile eagerly at his cousin, who returned the smile to the best of their ability. “Okay, well...I woke up this morning at five thirty, like we always do-” “Not those details!” He giggled. “Oh...sorry…”

***

It was midnight, and Mettaton couldn’t sleep. His two cousins could, however, it being evident due to Maddy’s loud snoring and Blooky quietly mumbling in their sleep.

With today’s events, Mettaton should have been fast asleep, exhausted from everything. Yet his mind raced, replaying every second of his day, starting with that lunch period. He had a fan. He had given his autograph out. He had felt good. It felt so different, like maybe fame wasn’t out of his reach. These thoughts violently swirled up in his head, thrashing like a violent cyclone.

He needed to get them out somewhere.

So, very carefully, he pulled a sparkly pink book from his pillowcase. His diary. A place where he could share all his utmost private thoughts, a place where secrets were whispered with a delicate kiss of pen on paper. Wedged in between the pages was his pink glitter gel pen, the one he’d been searching for earlier in the day. Mettaton squinted his eyes at the pages, but he knew he couldn’t write in this darkness. So carefully, carefully, he turned on the lamp on his nightstand.

Unfortunately, this woke up Maddy. “Happy, what the hell are you doing up?” They grunted, as Mettaton grimaced at the name he’d shed long ago.

After the accident, he couldn’t bear his old name. “Happstablook, Happstablook!” His family would cry. “Happstablook needs water. Happstablook needs rest. Happstablook needs help.” Needs. No, Mettaton didn’t need anything, or anyone. Happstablook needed everything, all Mettaton needed was the bright future ahead of them. So he insisted everyone called him Mettaton, and Happstablook only came out to play at home, where nicknames were used freely without abandon.

“I’ll be back in bed in a minute, Madds.” Mettaton assured, as Maddy muttered grumpily, “Don’t call me Madds,” and turned to their other side, falling asleep once more.

Now he was truly alone with his thoughts. Clutching the scarf that had been given to him, Mettaton wrote “I think, for once in my life, I might be living up to my old name.”

Happy.

Chapter Text

“Lights.”

Clouds of fog settled.

“Camera.”

His voice, loud and clear, seemed to resonate within the room.

“Action!”

Mettaton posed dramatically in front of his bathroom mirror, a pink, fluffy robe wrapped around him, and his toothbrush clenched in his hand. He began to sing one of the latest catchy pop tunes that constantly played on every radio station, dancing around the very small bathroom he shared with his cousins.

“Hello again, friend of a friend, I knew you when, our common goal was waiting for the world to end,” Mettaton sang, brushing his hair with a plastic pink comb that was missing a tooth. It was always a struggle to get his naturally wavy hair to settle down into something that didn’t resemble a bird’s nest, but he managed. He always managed.

“Now that the truth is just a rule you can bend, you crack the whip, shape-shift and trick the past again,” Carefully, he began to apply his make up. Clear lip gloss, a bit of blush, carefully applied mascara, the works. Natural beauty was important. Most people had flashy faces, but his scar covered face was something he’d always worked hard to cover up, unlike Maddy.

Maddy’s scars had been earned from the many fights they got into and accidents with throwing knives. Mettaton’s were from the incident, as his family liked to call it. The shocked way they’d looked at his pale body in the hospital bed, the hushed voices of doctors, the screaming silence clawing its way out of his bloody skin.

No wonder his family tried so hard to avoid bringing up the subject. No wonder he worked so hard every day to ensure he blended in, not a total disappearance, but enough so that he and his scars were hid behind a veil of makeup and lies.

Forgettable.

And he hated it.

Usually Mettaton would do his makeup at his vanity, but he was trying his best to hurry up so the snails were properly fed.

“Send you my love on a wire, lift you up, every time, everyone, ooh, pulls away, ooh, from you-”

“Shut and hurry up!” Maddy’s angry voice and a loud knock on the door alerted Mettaton that he had failed in his attempted schedule, although this wasn’t too different from usual.

Whenever he got to the bathroom first, he was usually in there for hours on end, most of the time not even doing bathroom associated things. The world would be his stage one day, the citizens his audience, but for now the wonderful audience of his mirror reflection and the toilet were the only ones who would appreciate his talent.

“There are other people living in this house, didja know that?! And Napstablook has to pee!” Maddy yelled through the door.

“I...um...don’t have to...pee…” Blooky’s soft voice could just barely be heard, mumbling all embarrassed like.

“Yes you do! You look like you have red ants up your pants, quit squirming-”

“Alright, alright, I’m coming out, cousins. And not out of the closet, mind you.” Mettaton joked and stepped out of the bathroom as gracefully as he could, before practically being knocked over by Blooky, who was running for the toilet.

“You’d better not be a no show at lunch today. Blooky made the sandwiches today, too, so if you don’t show up and tell them how great of a cook they are, so help me I’ll- ” The angriest of the three ranted, but Mettaton was too preoccupied getting dressed and making sure his outfits had absolutely no wrinkles whatsoever.

“Yes yes darling, I’ll feed the snails sandwiches. Yum, yum and all that utter nonsense.” Mettaton muttered, his current thoughts preoccupied with his hectic schedule. Feed the snails, do the announcements, eat lunch with his cousins, take his geometry test- or wait, was it French? Did he even take French?

“-drop kick you so hard you’ll- ugh, you’re not even listening! Insufferable, insufferable, insufferable! What is wrong with you today?!” His cousin waved a hand in front of his face, but to no avail. Until Blooky meekly walked over to the two.

“Hey, I...made a mixtape...a new one...afterschool, maybe you two could give it a listen...or not...you probably don’t want to…” They offered, although their offer already seemed to reject itself.

“Of course we’ll give a listen, Blooky! Who would want to miss out on one of your extra-spooky mixtapes?” Mettaton slung his arms around both of his cousin’s shoulders, a big smile stretched across his face.

“And as for you, Maddy. You can’t be mad at me, because we’re cooooousins!” Mettaton singsonged into their ear, earning an annoyed expression, although their eyes portrayed a begrudging happiness. That’s what Happy did best; he made people happy.

“Stay radiant, the both of you. I’m off!” Their energetic cousin waved and ran downstairs, where the door could be heard being slammed shut as he ran out of the house.

“Should we...tell them...that they forgot their lunch….?”

“Nah. Serves them right for taking so long in the bathroom.”

***

Mettaton rushed on his way to school, the snails long forgotten. They could stand not having breakfast, right? After all, he’d read somewhere they tended to flip their digestive systems as they matured, so maybe their appetite would flip from enormous to miniscule as well.

Ebott was, in no means, a necessarily small or large town. While it was all one big place, people tended to treat its different sections as if they were different cities entirely. It wasn’t uncommon to hear “You live in Waterfall? Oh, that’s so far away from New Home, I’ll have to take the bus to see you!” or “Hotland folk are always so busy, rushing to work and whatnot; us Snowdin folk, we know how to have a good time! And our transit is much smoother, too! No malfunctions here!” in passing conversation. There would always be stereotypes about certain places and the people who lived in them. Take Waterfall, most people assumed everyone from there (besides Undyne, she’d made quite the name for herself) were gloomy and forgettable.

Another reason why he hated Waterfall even more.

But it wasn’t as if Waterfall was the only place dubbed with stereotypes. According to anyone and everyone, folk from the Ruins were old and boring, Snowdin lacking modern charm, Hotland too busy, New Home too crowded.

Yet ask anyone about where they came from, and immediately they’d rush to defend their home sectors, as if they were knights rushing to save a porcelain princess from falling over.

Another thing most folk had in common, or young folk, at that, was that most of them attended Ebott Capital high school in one point of their lives. No matter how far, teenagers would wake up early and rush to the school, run by Asgore Dreemurr, who just happened to also be running mayor of Ebott. He would most likely win since no one else really cared much about the town. Although Asgore honestly seemed more preoccupied in being a family man and running the school than running a campaign. All of that was done by his wife, Toriel Dreemurr.

No one had seen much of her lately.

But that was no matter! The sun was shining (or it must have been, no one could ever really tell in Waterfall) the birds were chirping (no they weren’t) and it was a brand new day! A fresh start!

Per usual, Mettaton started his day by shoving a protein bar into his mouth as he read over the script for the morning announcements. It wasn’t as if he had to memorize it (yes, because today’s lunch menu of meatloaf and baked beans was so hard to memorize) but he liked to, claiming it was the professional thing to do.

Since he got up earlier than most to feed the snails and get to school just in time to read the announcements, no one was usually around, stand for Shyren, occasionally, who wasn’t here this morning.

It was quite serene.

Usually.

“Mettaton!”

He could have sworn a voice called his name, but when Mettaton looked up from his script, no one was there. Shrugging, he looked back down and resumed reading.

“Mettaton!”

There it was again! A little clearer this time, too. Was this some sort of prank? Yet when he looked again, nothing.

“Mettaton! Here, right here!” The voice was now crystal clear, along with the sound of footsteps behind him, and an odd whooshing sound as well. Mettaton turned around, admittedly still a little sleepy, and took in the sight before him.

There was Papyrus, panting and sweating behind him, still with that goofy grin stretched across his face. He clutched a rolling bookbag in his hand, shaped like a red racecar. So that’s what the whooshing sound was, the wheels of the bookbag whirring against the soft grass.

“Oh, erm, good morning, sweetheart. Are you quite alright? You look...tired.” Mettaton asked, feigning concern. Although he admittedly felt a little annoyed at Papyrus for interrupting his peaceful walk.

“I am quite alright, Mettaton! Thank you for your concern, I was simply walking to school, which I presume you are doing as well, when I saw you! I called your name multiple times, but you must not have heard me, so I ran to you!” Papyrus explained, while talking short little breaths between every sentence he spoke.

“Oh! Did you need something?” It was a little odd that Papyrus had tried this hard just to talk to him, so it must have been urgent.

“Well, I just wanted to say hello to you, and offer my companionship on our way to school!” Papyrus finally seemed to have caught his breath and straightened up, showing how tall he was compared to Mettaton, when he wasn’t bent over and practically suffocating.

“That’s quite alright, darling. I’m sort of preoccupied here, see? Morning announcements.” Mettaton handed Papyrus his papers to show him so.

“Well, now I insist even more than I would have before! You see, I am a person of many talents. Masterchef, puzzle solving whiz, and now an assistant to you!”

“An assistant?” He liked the sound of that.

“I can quiz you and see if you’ve memorized all of your lines! It will be as if we were studying for a test, one that involved reading off new items found in the lost and found.”

That didn’t sound too bad, actually. Maybe Papyrus was good for something after all. “Well, lovely, would you mind carrying my bag as well? It’s just so heavy on a delicate newscaster as myself…” Sighing dramatically, Mettaton made himself pale considerably on will, giving him the appearance of a fragile, sickly type. Which, in all honesty, wasn't wrong. His whole family was very pale, and he was, in a way, ill.

“Of course I will, Mettaton! Anything for a friend!” Papyrus seemed proud of this self proclaimed title as he took Mettaton’s glittery pink and black bag, Mettaton wincing in the background. Friend? No. Not with Papyrus. While he seemed like an absolute peach, he was just too goofy for Mettaton’s tastes. It was all so soon, too. Mettaton couldn’t picture it. What would they even do together? He knew this little about Papyrus.

“So, honey, where do you live? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you around Waterfall before.” Mettaton asked in a desperate attempt to not be walking with a total stranger, covering up his desperation with a closed lipped smile that would dazzle millions.

“In Snowdin, of course! I used to go to take online course classes at home, so I didn’t leave there very often.”

Mettaton raised an eyebrow. “But doesn’t Undyne live in Waterfall? And aren’t you two, like, best friends? I always visit Alphys in Hotland, even if all the steam is absolutely dreadful for my hair.”

“She usually comes to visit me! She says running from Waterfall to Snowdin increases her stamina,” Papyrus explained with a slightly puzzled look on his face. “The odd thing is, she never seems to wear any sort of coat or scarf when she comes over. She must be freezing!”

“Oh, I can imagine.” By now Mettaton had lost interest in the conversation, seeing how it was pointed towards Undyne and not himself, even though he’d been the one to bring it up. It wasn’t as if he was an intellectual, though. His conversation topics spanned from hair products, complaining about how hard his life was, new iol groups, or trash talking other students. So, not very stimulating.

The two walked in silence for a bit, seeing as there wasn’t much left to put in the conversation, the script reading long forgotten. Usually Mettaton was an expert at filling up long, dreadful silences. He could get the most shy person laughing, the saddest person smiling. But no, not today, his head was too filled up with thoughts, his schedule, his life, his misfortune to be walking next to Papyrus.

It wasn’t that he couldn’t talk to him, but he just didn’t want to.

It seemed to be the opposite for Papyrus, though. The silence on his part wasn’t so much as disinterest, more that he was trying to think of what to say to Mettaton next. There was so much to inform him on! Spaghetti, the car he was saving up for, college. They would be fast friends in a no time!

“My brother-” Papyrus started, but was immediately interrupted by Mettaton.

“Yes, your brother! Undyne mentioned him. What was his name, Sam? Samuel? Ishmael?” Mettaton asked, a new interest in the conversation seeming to have sparked within him. It wasn’t as if he particularly cared about the whereabouts of Papyrus’s brother, on the contrary, actually. But anyone would be curious about the senior who was oh-so-famous for pranks.

“His name is Sans. Sans Gaster, as our dad is W.D Gaster.” The taller of the two informed.

“Wait, W.D Gaster as in Wing Dings Gaster? That brilliant scientist?” Gaster was well known by most. Not that he was social in any way, but for his brilliance. He’d found cures for diseases that it seemed impossible to, built machines that would benefit humanity, and was overall infamous to anyone who bothered to watch the news.

The thing was, no one had heard from him lately. At all. Last anyone had heard, he was studying in New York about time space anomalies, and had become more reclusive than ever. He rarely left his lab or spoke to anyone, all his time and energy put into his work. And then, suddenly, it was as if he had disappeared. No new inventions, no new discoveries, no new nothing.

Same old, same old.

His brilliance was missed. What an act to follow! And no one even knew where he was.

His legacy would never be carried out.

Who would have thought that such a man would have settled down in the town of Ebott? And raise two sons, no less? Mettaton was fairly sure the town, no, the world, wasn’t aware of this crucial fact, since the press would have been all over it.

But why Ebott? Hearing someone was from Ebott was like saying, “Oh, I suppose I’ll have a visit at my hometown later. Have you ever been? It’s called Mars.” And it wasn’t as if Ebott was in desperate need of scientific help anyway. It was just a sleepy little town in the middle of nowhere. No tourists whatsoever, just the locals.

Was Ebott really so charming that Gaster just had to come over to see for himself? What, were there anomalies at the snail farm?

Mettaton regained his composure and put on a look of mild curiosity, not the one of erratic confusion he felt. “How interesting. Is he still...doing his research?”

Mettaton regarded anything to do with science as mumbo jumbo. Whenever Alphys tried to have a conversation with him that even mentioned the subject, Mettaton would plug his ears and insist she stop talking. And, to be frank, he didn’t even care about Gaster much. Sure, it was intriguing on why he had come here, but it wasn’t like he would conduct a full on investigation about it. Maybe the man just wanted to settle down, have a nice life with his kids.

What he really wanted to know was if the Gaster family was filthy rich.

If they were, Mettaton just might have an in. Gaster must know some pretty influential people, right? Possibly one that knew casting agents? That would be interested in casting him for a role in an upcoming movie?? And therefore, by at least knowing Papyrus a little better, he could put in good word for him???

That was all very unrealistic, but if not, at least Papyrus could get him some expensive gifts, although it did make him feel like a bit of a gold digger.

Who cared, really? It was quite possible that Gaster had blown all of his money and that was why he’d had to settle in Ebott. More possible than him conducting some super secret research project, anyway.

“-And that’s why I firmly disagree with the views the current president has!” Papyrus stated, his face serious. Wait, what? Not that Papyrus was wrong, but what did this have to do with Gaster? Had Mettaton really spaced out that badly?

“Y-Yes! Politics, and all that jazz. I agree, darling, totally.” Mettaton mentally slapped himself. Yes, great response.

Papyrus didn’t seem to notice this half baked response, and instead cheerfully chirped, “We’re here!”, and gestured towards the school building.

The outside of the school building was made of brick, and while the material was a little worse for wear, it still had a distinct charm that couldn’t be mimicked to a T, a faint feeling of sentimentality, worn textbooks and long walks haunting the building like the thought of a dream one had years ago. A rather large, golden bell was attached to the top of the building and was suspended from a sort of arch. It only rang twice a day, one to signify the start of classes and the other to signify the end. For all the inbetweens, there were regular school bells, which sounded as if a rat was going into labor whilst using a drill against a metal baking bowl.

Leading up to the school, however, was a narrow little pathway, absolutely speckled with clusters of golden flowers. Mettaton couldn’t explain it, but whenever he looked at them, he felt nostalgic, remembrance with an edge of sadness creeping in. Waiting, waiting for years to be free. Longing for something more, something different, a new person, rebirth in the finest sense of the word.

Fear.

Mettaton stood still, staring at these flowers that always brought upon such a change of mood, and was completely fixated until he looked to his side and realized Papyrus was, too.

Were they thinking the same things?

“Well, we’ve arrived. Thank you for carrying my bag, dear.” Mettaton managed to tear his eyes away from the flowers and to Papyrus, who nodded.

“You are very welcome!” And then he just stood there, same dorky smile, unmoving, as if he expected Mettaton to do or say something else.

“Would you be a sweetheart and, um, hand me my bag back now?” Mettaton was mildly frustrated at this point. Didn’t Papyrus get the rules of social interaction? If their conversation was a dance, Papyrus had stopped in the middle of it, leaving Mettaton to make up for his lack of movement with his own. And while Mettaton didn’t necessarily mind speeding up their little chat, he was more than eager to get out of there and to read the announcements, he wasn’t exactly fond of all these little gaps Papyrus kept leaving, either.

“Oh, of course, Mettaton! I’m sure you require it, since it must carry all your schoolbooks and homework.” Papyrus handed the bag back to him, and before there was another awkward silence, Mettaton spoke once more, “I’d better get going. I don’t want to be late.”

There was a part of him, that lurked deep down, that longed to leave Papyrus standing there and walk away as soon as he said that. But he had manners, and didn’t hate him by any means. He just...wasn’t exactly a fan of his.

“Very well! Goodbye, Mettaton! I hope to see you at lunch!” Papyrus waved as Mettaton made a mental note to not go near him during lunch, and left.

Right before entering the school building, though, Mettaton turned back to see if Papyrus was still there. He didn’t know why he did this, maybe it was to see if their interaction had left any visible impression on Papyrus, which would feed his ego greatly.

Papyrus was talking to someone. This someone was remarkably shorter than him, had deep bags under his eyes that gave the impression his eyes were sunken in, and was wearing a blue hoodie with an orange juice stain underneath the left collar.

Mettaton could only assume this was his brother, Sans. They did look alike, both with remarkable cheekbones, although they didn’t seem to be very alike demeanor wise.

Sans was slouching with a smile that was somehow lazy and extremely wide, a little unsettling, too, while Papyrus always stood tall, shoulders set, a more cocky and goofy smile on his face. Papyrus appeared to be lecturing Sans, although Sans didn’t seem to be taking it hard. Sans appeared to then proceed to say something which made Papyrus visibly upset, but not in a way that looked too serious. Just in a frustrated way, and even then, Papyrus was still smiling.

Was it really possible that the two were that happy? Satisfied with everything given to them, enough to so casually converse on school grounds with everyone watching them? So much so that they didn’t give themselves a role to play, and just accepted the ones they were given?

Mettaton turned his back to them and walked into the school, dozens of invisible eyes watching him. If they would always be there, he would at least put on a good show.

***

If Mettaton was being quite honest with himself, the school’s interior designer could have done a lot better, in his opinion. A lot.

Like any standard high school, lockers were pretty much in sight everywhere, covering most of the light yellow painted walls, the paint chipping and peeling from old age, and the fact that whenever students saw a mild rip in the paint, they just had to peel it further down. Mettaton was no stranger to this, however, it felt as satisfying as feeling your legs after you shaved.

The floor was a truly hideous sight to behold. Light green and white checkered, it should have been simple enough, but dirty footprints decorated it like sprinkles on a birthday cake. Mettaton had seen the janitor clean, they seemed to make more of a mess than get rid of it.

Mettaton jogged to the main office, and walked up to the front desk. The secretary wasn’t there. Usually he’d put in his name and the secretary would phone Asgore to let him know he was ready to do the announcements, but apparently she had better things to do with her time than her job.

Mettaton looked around the main office, but it appeared no one was there. All there was were some empty folding chairs students would sit on when waiting for the secretary, a potted golden flower (this wasn’t the only one, not only were there flowers here and outside, but all around the hallways, golden flowers rested in pots and vases. There were even some in the cafeteria, next to the vending machines), and a calendar of upcoming school events, which Mettaton didn’t bother to read. “There’s the website for that.” He mused to himself and tapped his foot impatiently.

About five seconds of waiting went by, when he decided he couldn’t take the waiting anymore. It was 7:25, the bell would ring at 7:30, and that was when the announcements would start. And he’d never been late. Mettaton rummaged in his back for a second, took out his diary and pen, and ripped out a page. He placed the torn out page, placed it on the secretary’s desk, and began to write a polite little note. It read: “Dear Miss Secretary, I assume you either must have been dying or spontaneously decided to travel the world and quit your job without telling anyone, or you would have been here to cater to my every whim. I hope you don’t mind that I trespassed to Principal Asgore’s office, but this school needs a star, and how can they have one if he’s not there to perform? The announcements, that is. XOXO, MTT,” And around all the words, he’d drawn little hearts and stars. Carefully, carefully, he tore out a piece of tape from the tape dispenser that sat on the desk and taped the note on the secretary’s computer screen.

On the partition that divided the desk from the rest of the office, there was something of a little gate that was part of it. The secretary usually opened it to let people in, to either go see the nurse, the principal, or the counselor, all of whom’s doors were behind the desk. But since she wasn’t there, Mettaton simply let himself in. No one would care, right?

Yet the honestly unnecessarily long process wasn’t over yet. Mettaton pulled out his compact mirror, applied a fresh layer of lip gloss, and quickly checked his hair. “Have to look good for dear Principal Asgore.” He hummed. Yes, he wouldn’t be lying if he said he had a little crush on Asgore. But nearly all of the student body did. After all, according to Alphys, he was “A total hunk, the macho man of everyone’s dreams.” Of course, if Asgore were to find out about all of their little crushes on him, he’d merely give a heart laugh and insist that they go and find love with people who weren’t, A. married, B. their principal, and C. much, much older than them all. Plus, having a crush on Asgore was like having a crush on one of those old-but-still-kind-of-hunky-looking actors. It was a little fun to think of them from afar, but in reality no one would actually act on those feelings, given the opportunity. It would be weird.

Plus, Asgore was kind of a goober.

Mettaton snapped his compact mirror shut and gave three sharp knocks to his office door.

“Come in!” Sang the cheerful voice of his principal, his voice deep but tone soft. Mettaton walked into his office, and took a quick look around while standing in place. He’d always found his office a bit sad, but he just didn’t know why.

On the walls hung pictures of Asgore’s family. One was of his two kids, the ones Mettaton knew of, at least. He couldn’t quite remember their names, but the picture showed a young boy with fluffy hair making a pie crust, and a young child with rosy cheeks helping him. They both wore matching green and yellow striped sweaters, and were both smiling. Another picture showed the same two children, but Asgore and his wife (Were they still together? He had no idea) Toriel as well. Toriel was a tall woman who always wore long, purple dresses and a motherly look on her face. They were all smiling.

There was a very small bookcase next to his desk, which seemed to have the usual standard school rule books and files and such, but also contained history books, oddly enough. Once, Mettaton had pointed his out and said, “History buff much, Principal?” Asgore had laughed for quite some time, and told Mettaton he could just call him by his first name instead. That was when Mettaton had first asked for the position to read out the announcements.

Asgore’s desk was an entirely different matter completely. While a little cluttered, none of the objects on it could be considered boring, besides some paperwork. There was a mug filled with tea that had “Mr. Dad Guy” written on it in black marker, probably a Father’s Day gift from his kids. A rubber band ball lay amiss on top of something that appeared to be a personal journal of Asgore’s, for when Mettaton had took a peek when he wasn’t looking, the current page had read “Nice day today!” accompanied with the current date as well. There was also a wooden toy model of a plane, which might have been another gift from his kids, or maybe he just liked planes, history, and tea all that much. And finally, a usual pot of golden flowers sat right next to his name plate.

“Ah, howdy, Happstablook! Have a seat, I was just getting things set up. I’m sorry to have you come in without the secretary’s approval, but she’s left to get some new ink cartridges for my printer.” Asgore motioned for Mettaton to come in, a gentle smile on his bearded face. Asgore was, in fact, one of the beefiest guys that could somehow look like a total goofy dad that Mettaton knew, if not the only one. He wore a hand knit sweater, probably made by Toriel, and was an absolute peach. Mettaton could never really be fully comfortable around him, though. While he was a nice guy, he and Undyne were even very close, Asgore just always felt so...sad, pathetic, even, to Mettaton. Mettaton knew full well faculty members were supposed to be intimidating, but it was possible that the fact Asgore was so nice and that he was the sort of guy who made rubber band balls, wore big, fuzzy sweaters and drank out of a crappy Father’s Day mug made by his kids at school gave Mettaton an overwhelming depressing feeling he could not explain, although he never let it show. Mettaton was a happy person, really, but Asgore was just a big heart waiting to be broken. And that was a downer for sure.

“It’s quite alright, Principal Asgore. I left a note to her explaining the matter. Hugs, kisses and everything.” Mettaton winked, taking a seat in the one facing Asgore’s desk.

Asgore nodded, shifting some papers aside, possibly to make his desk look cleaner, or just to give him more room to see Mettaton. “That was very thoughtful of you. I’m guessing you came for the morning announcements? Golly, it’s almost time. Do you have the papers?”

Mettaton took them out from his bag. “What type of announcer would I be if I didn’t? Although I doubt I’ll need them. I’ve memorized the entire thing to perfection.” He couldn’t help the smirk that crept up on his lips. Surely no one else would do this, if they were given his position.

“That sounds, erm, funky fresh! Does the youth still say that?” Asgore scratched the top of his head, a little confused. Mettaton narrowed his eyes at Asgore and folded his arms. “It absolutely and positively pains me to say this, darling headmaster of mine, but I’m afraid the phrase ‘funky fresh’ has not been used since cavemen invented the wheel, along with ‘the youth.’”

“Oh. Well, I-” Asgore started but was interrupted by a theatrical gasp from Mettaton. “It’s one minute before half to seven!”

Without any hesitation, Asgore pressed the button on his desk that allowed a microphone, also attached to his desk, to be connected to the intercom and carry whatever one might say into it throughout all the loudspeakers at school.

Mettaton leaned into the microphone as soon as the clock struck 7:30, and the bell rang. “Good morning, beauties and gentlebeauties! Today is another lovely day at none other than Ebott Capital High!” Immediately after his little intro, feedback rang in from the loudspeakers, a loud, ear splitting screech. Mettaton cringed at the sound of it, but kept going. The show must go on, after all.

“Today we have many fabulous, thrilling announcements for you all! Like the fact that the god awful meatloaf is not what's on the menu today!” Asgore gave Mettaton a little head shake with an apologetic smile, reminding him to stay on script. Mettaton got the hint, and pouted. What was life without a little excitement? Or some glamorous commentary? Or his exciting, glamorous commentary?

“...What you will be having, however, is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a side of fresh fruit, or, ew, ham and mayonnaise sandwiches? But honestly, who would want mayonnaise? It’s so gross and smelly…”

Asgore coughed, another signal to get back on track. Mettaton sighed and stared down at the microphone. Were these even really announcements? It wasn’t like anyone ever listened to them. Taking a deep breath, he spoke once more. “Today’s weather forecast calls for literally who cares, no one’s even listening.”

***

“Oh, c-come on, Mettaton! I’m sure it wasn’t that bad. People listen to your announcements!” Alphys and Mettaton were walking to their literature class together, and it was clear Alphys was doing her best to reassure Mettaton, who was being, as usual, dramatic. His head was down, he dragged his feet against the floor, and Alphys could have sworn she saw a tear roll down his cheek.

“You don’t get it, Alphys! You’ve never known what it’s like to put your entire soul into something and have no one even care!” Mettaton groaned, his voice full of sorrow and exasperation.

“W-well, I tried starting the anime club, remember? But, uh, nobody came…” Alphys reminded him, her voice now filled with a bit of sorrow as well, if not regret, too. “I knew I should’ve said I would be playing season three of Mew Mew Kissy Cutie instead of season six…”

“No one came because anime is garbage, Alphys!” Mettaton snapped and lifted his head up rather quickly, his expression not a happy one. “Complete and utter garbage! It wouldn’t have made a difference whether you played season three or season five hundred and fifty two, for all anyone cares! Meanwhile, I can’t even say the word stupid without Asgore jumping all over me!”

Alphys immediately looked away, it was clear she was hurt by Mettaton’s statement. Considering anime really was one of her greater interests, it wasn’t exactly fun for her to hear no one cared about it, which felt like, by an extension, no one cared about her.

Mettaton sighed once he saw his, pinching his nose between his thumb and forefinger. “Look, Alphys, I know it was rather unrefined for me to snap at you like that, okay? But I can’t help it! I’m frustrated, my artistic capabilities are being locked away in a deep dark cage where no one but me knows they exist! How can I truly become a star if I’m burnt out before I even begin?!”

It wasn’t much of an apology, but you were lucky if Mettaton even apologized (or saw that he was wrong, for that matter) so Alphys would take it. “It’s, uh, fine, Mettaton.” The two arrived at their classroom and sat down at their desks, which were right next to each other. Mettaton immediately put his head down on the desk instead of taking out the reading, Pride and Prejudice, like he was supposed to.

“Do you know what’s the worst part of this all, Alphys?” Mettaton’s voice came out muffled due to the fact his face was literally buried in the desk. Alphys took out the reading from his bag and placed it on his desk for him. “What?”

“I can’t even get angry at Asgore about it. Because he’s an absolute peach.” Mettaton groaned, lifting his head up to look at Alphys, so he could properly convey just how much of an absolute peach Asgore was through expression. “An absolute peach!” And with that, he clung onto Alphys’s cashmere sweater and began to ugly cry into it, leaving Alphys to awkwardly stroke his hair, tell him everything was going to be okay, and try not to be disgusted at all the tears on her top while other students wondered what the hell was going on.

“Great. I just walked by the cafeteria and there’s peanut butter and jelly for lunch again.” A kid named Jerry said to no one in particular. Jerry was some snot nosed kid who pretty much seemed to hate everyone and everything, and oftentimes said whatever they were thinking out loud, regardless if anyone was listening or not.

It was safe to say everyone hated them.

Slowly, Mettaton turned around to face Jerry, still not letting go of Alphys’s sweater. Jerry was wiping their nose on their own shirt sleeve, which Mettaton found repulsive, to say the least. But instead of bringing this up, he smiled sweetly at Jerry. “Excuse me, darling, but would you mind saying that again?”

 

Jerry let out a long and shuddery sigh, that lasted for about two minutes. “Ugh, seriously? Fine. I said that I walked by the cafeteria and there’s peanut butter and jelly for lunch again. There, are you happy, twerp?”

Mettaton seemed unperturbed by their little comment. “Does that bother you? Were you unaware of the fact there would be peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch today?”

Alphys stared at Mettaton oddly. He sounded like a therapist. Mettaton barely cared about anyone outside of himself, why would he suddenly care about the most annoying kid in school? And their lunch preferences, at that?

“Duh, I’m bothered. I didn’t know we were having it today so-”

“Were you at your homeroom this morning before the bell rang? Does your homeroom have a loudspeaker in it?” Mettaton’s tone got more persistent as he kept asking these questions.

“Why wouldn’t I be? And there’s literally a loudspeaker in every room-”

Mettaton let go of his grip on Alphys’s sweater, stood up, and leaned in close to Jerry’s face. They were so close, their noses were almost touching. Mettaton spoke. “Then maybe you would have known about your little lunch issue beforehand if you had actually bothered to LISTEN TO THE MORNING ANNOUNCEMENTS LIKE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO! I LITERALLY TOLD YOU THE ENTIRE LUNCH MENU FOR TODAY, HOW DID YOU NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS UNTIL NOW-”

Alphys had to physically pull Mettaton back into his seat, because the teacher was coming, and Mettaton did not need to be called to Asgore’s office, especially over his own announcements. As the teacher instructed everyone to take out their pens so they could do a group annotating session on the reading, Mettaton scribbled on a piece of notebook paper, “See? I told you no one listens. This school, without a doubt, is absolutely, positively, the most dreadful place on Earth. How can a star shine, I raise you this question again, if they’re burnt out before they even begin?”

He passed this note to Alphys, who wrote back, “Maybe u can talk to Asgore about making the announcements interesting somehow??? I heard in schools outside of Ebott, they play their announcements on TV screens in each class \(*0*)/ “

Mettaton rolled his eyes at the little emoticon, but had to admit, Alphys had a really good idea. If the announcements were on TV screens, everyone would have to pay attention! And the quality would be so much better, too. Alphys received yet another note in Mettaton’s loopy cursive handwriting. “Darling, you’re a genius!!! I won’t forget you when I make it big XOXO, MTT”

He could hear Alphys softly laugh at the contents of the note and tuck it away in her Mew Mew Kissy Cutie folder.

***

Lunch wasn’t necessary, right? There were three ‘important’ meals of the day. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But really, the only ones that mattered were the ones you started and finished off with. Lunch wasn’t a meal, per say, it was more of a glorified snack.

This was what Mettaton told himself as he walked back to Asgore’s office, skipping lunch. Or at least part of it, he had promised not to blow his cousins off again, hadn’t he? Surely they could stand eating some baloney sandwiches without him (where was his lunch sack, again?)

After trespassing past the check in at the office to get to Asgore’s office once more (the secretary still wasn’t back ,was finding ink cartridges or whatever really that hard?) he practically slammed open the door, hands on his hips, leg dramatically in the air.

“PRINCIPAL ASGORE DREEMURR-OR-WHATEVER-YOUR-LAST-NAME-IS, I HAVE VERY IMPORTANT THINGS TO DISCUSS WITH YOU, SO I SUGGEST YOU STOP WORKING ON YOUR RUBIX CUBE OR WHATEVER YOU OLD PEOPLE LIKE AND LISTEN UP! Please.”

Asgore, as usual, wasn’t upset by Mettaton’s antics to get attention. If anything, he was just amused and mildly surprised. “But of course! Why don’t you have a seat? I can serve you some of this tea I’ve been wanting to try out.” Asgore gestured to a teapot that rested on his desk. “I’ll just be one moment. After all, there isn’t much of a kitchen in here to make tea with!” He joked, and left the office with the teapot in hand.

Using the time alone his principal had given him, Mettaton checked his phone. Alphys had upgraded it for him for his fifteenth birthday, giving it all sorts of new features, a heart key chain, and a sparkly pink phone case. For her fifteenth birthday, he had given her a pair of pink pumps that were too small for her feet, so he’d regifted them to himself (these were, in fact, the shoes he were wearing now).

His phone was flooded with text messages. Two from Napstablook, which read:
*we’re sitting at the usual table...where are you?
*sorry to bother you...you probably don’t want to sit with us...i’ll just stop texting you now…

There was also too many to count from Madstablook:
*hey we’re at the table
*i don’t see you???
*you’d better be stuck in line
*speaking of which you left your lunch at home, didn’t bother to tell you since you hogged the bathroom, jerk
*napsta’s getting worried??? hurry up!!!
*THEY ARE LITERALLY CRYING I SWEAR TO GOD IF YOU DON’T COME HERE WITHIN THE NEXT FIVE SECONDS
*ONE
*TWO
*THREE
*FOUR
*FIVE
*YOU’RE ALWAYS LATE OR A NO SHOW!
*POINTLESS POINTLESS POINTLESS!!!

Mettaton had to stop reading the texts. They were giving him a headache.

It was just in time, too. Asgore came back in with two mugs full of tea, both with light steam coming out of them. He set one down in front of Mettaton. It was sort of square like, the handle gray, and decorated with red and yellow checkered squares. In an odd way, it seemed to resonate with him.

Seeing Mettaton staring at the mug in front of him, Asgore laughed. “I thought you might like it. I find that most students who come here in distress usually calm down after seeing the mugs I have chosen for them.”

This made Mettaton look up in surprise. “You choose mugs for students?”

“I do. It seems some just seem appropriate to their personalities. Take Undyne, for example, who I’m sure you know. One day, she came in here with complaints about her schedule. I served her chamomile tea in a fish shaped mug. Golly, she thought it was neato!” He recalled, a smile on his face as he sipped his tea. “Now, what seems to be bothering you, and how can we resolve it?”

Mettaton felt a sort of sadness as he looked at Asgore once more, but shook it off. The secretary must be out of a job, he knew. Most students found it much more preferable to speak to Asgore about their problems instead, which he was more than happy to do. Mettaton took a sip of his tea and felt the urge to immediately make a face, yet suppressed it. It was sort of spicy? And bitter. It made him want to cough and heave.

“Well, you see, I’ve been thinking about my ever so important duty as the morning announcer. I’m sure you’ll agree the conditions to report them with are less than ideal for someone like me, who requires a better outlet to let my creativity flow.” Mettaton set down the mug as Asgore nodded, motioning for him to continue.

“So I’ve made a list of demands,” Mettaton slammed his leg onto the desk, pushing aside paperwork Asgore had been working on. “Firstly, I’d like more creative control over the script. Do you know how much it pains me to read such boring announcements everyday? Color me uninterested, along with the entire student body!”

“Well, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to give you a bit more freedom over the script. But I do think we’d have to go over whatever drafts you write, to make sure they’re school appropriate.” Asgore’s voice was slow, but he seemed to be taking these ideas fine.

“Fabulous! Next, I’d like to have a better way of presenting them to the students. Perhaps a TV? My dear friend Alphys Dila-whatever was just saying how other schools use this method, and how students always pay the utmost attention-”

“I’m afraid I’m going to have to stop you right there, Happstablook,” Asgore interrupted, “While the idea sounds ‘radical’, we just don’t have enough funding to install TVs in every classroom. I am very sorry.”

But Mettaton stayed determined. “Isn’t there a way to raise funding? I’m more than willing to give fashion advice out to the students for a mere twenty dollars. They sure could use it.” Mettaton mumbled this last part under his breath, and flashed Asgore a smile. “Doesn’t that idea sound absolutely perfect?!”

“Erm...I think it would need to be a bit more ethical. But it’s a start! How about this?” Asgore stood up. “If you really are determined to make this dream a reality, why not think of other ways to increase funding? We could go over them later on. It also wouldn’t hurt to get more involved with school activities. I’m sure the school board would be more than happy to allow us to do this for a well liked, involved student.”

“Fine.” Mettaton stuck his nose in the air, arms crossed. “And what exactly would count as school involvement, then? Wait, don’t tell me. Watering the flowers in the hall?” He asked sarcastically. It wasn’t that he didn’t have any interests or hobbies, but it seemed the school had little to no activities that incorporated either singing, dancing, or acting.

“I like those flowers.” Asgore looked slightly hurt, a hand on his chest. Of course he did.

“Well, I like showcasing my rather well developed talents. And what this school has to offer is inane and unfabulous.” Mettaton crossed his arms and slumped down in the chair, as Asgore pushed a jumble of papers towards him.

“I think you’ll be pleased to see this year we’ve decided to expand our horizons as a school. These papers have different school events and clubs. It wouldn’t hurt to take a peek. Maybe you’ll find something that matches your interests!” Asgore smiled at him once more, ever the optimist. Mettaton sighed and took the papers. “I suppose I can take a look at them. Even if this-” Mettaton held up a bright green colored flyer for a car wash, “-is giving me a migraine. Such a vulgar color, honestly. Couldn’t they have gone for a nice pink?” And without even saying goodbye, Mettaton left the office.

***

“I’m going to throw myself down Mt. Ebott!”

Mettaton, Alphys, and Undyne stood outside of the school. The school day was over, and per usual, Mettaton had tons to say about it.

“I’ll throw you down there myself if you don’t stop your whining!” Undyne made a fist at him, her expression a mix between anger and plain exasperation, as Alphys sat down on a bench next to the two, her expression more of a sympathetic one. She’d had her experience with Mettaton’s tantrums before.

“I don’t care who does it, darling! It doesn’t matter! All that matters is that Principal Fluffybuns isn’t taking my suggestions seriously!” Mettaton stomped his pink pumped foot on the ground, practically tearing his own hair out from frustration. “Is this because of that time I put glitter in all the urinals?! I was just trying to make peeing a more fabulous experience!” Mettaton groaned, earning a confused look from Alphys.

“You put glitter in the urinals-”

“I HATE MY LIFE!”

“SHUT YOUR TRAP AND QUIT TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF FOR ONCE IN YOUR LIFE!!!” Undyne yelled, and quite literally lifted Mettaton over her head to suplex him, as he just dramatically sobbed and stuck one leg in the air.

“Hello, you all! It is I, the great Papyrus, and I have come with questions! Why is Mettaton sobbing, and why is Undyne lifting him in the air as he sobs?” Papyrus cheerily walked up to the three, bag in hand, smile in place, as usual. Mettaton paused his loud wails for a second to greet him, although it wasn’t like he was very happy to see him again. “Hello, Papyrus.” He sighed.

“Heya, punk!” Undyne immediately dropped Mettaton in the grass with a loud thud and slung her arm around Papyrus’s shoulder. “I didn’t get to see you yesterday. You’ve gotta come over to my place tonight! Then we can watch scary movies and eat popcorn until we puke our guts out from all the butter and screaming!!!” Undyne laughed. “FUHUHU! It’ll be so awesome!”

“Wowie! All of that does sound appealing! Besides the puking part. And all the screaming.” Papyrus added as an afterthought.

“Um, hello? Is anyone going to pay attention to my dilemma?! I’m going through a quarter life crisis here!” Mettaton was busy dusting himself off and checking if there were any grass stains on his black leggings.

“What is your dilemma?” Papyrus turned his attention to Mettaton.

“My dilemma is that no one pays attention to anything I have to say and I could potentially have people listen but some stupid tea loving, hunky man doesn’t have enough money to make it happen, so I have to come up with it and also do something worthwhile!” Impressively, Mettaton managed to say this all in one breath, leaving a very puzzled looking Papyrus to shoot questioning glances towards Alphys and Undyne, in hope either one of them might have an explanation.

“He, uh, wants to put the morning announcements on TV screens for classrooms, but there isn’t enough funding, so he has to find a way to get the funding. Asgore also said it would look good if he did some s-school activity thing too.” Alphys explained, and then held out a purple flyer to Mettaton. He had shoved the flyers into her arms, claiming he was too distraught to carry them. “W-What about the cooking club?”
“Are you kidding me? I’d rather eat mud pie than cook. I could chip a nail!”

“Gardening?”

“Yes, Alphys. Because every star is famously known for their ability to plant flowers.”

“Well… we could always try starting t-the anime club again...I think I have the draft of flyers for it in my bag…” Alphys took out a yellow spiral notebook from her bag and flipped through it until she seemed to find what she was looking for, and handed it to her over dramatic friend. On the page was written in Alphys’s handwriting, “Do you like lessons about friendship?” Under this, Undyne’s messy chicken scratch read “And huge swords??? And alien princesses??? AND HUGE SWORDS??? THEN COME JOIN THE ANIME CLUB!” Underneath all this, Alphys had sketched Mew Mew doing the peace sign.

While it looked Nyan Neko Sugar Girlsesque, Undyne kissed Alphys’s cheek. “It was the best freakin’ poster we ever made! And we don’t even make posters!!!” Alphys blushed deeply and averted her eyes away from Undyne and her bragging about the poster.

“Firstly, you know how I feel about anime. Secondly, anime does not expose my talents to the world!” Mettaton swatted away a bee with the notebook, not caring whether or not the bee got killed or not. It was just a distracting thing to do.

“Your talents? I had no idea you were a person of many talents, Mettaton! I am one as well, as I am sure you’ve picked up on.” Papyrus grinned, and his new scarf seemed to blow in the wind as he did.

“Yes, sweetie, I have talents. I sing, I dance, I act. I have nowhere to do any of it.” It was clear the more Papyrus pressed, the more aggravated Mettaton became, even though his tone was civil, his face was strained and stressed.

“Hm...why not put on something that does all three and raises funding yourself? Then you would have fun and gain the profits you need!” Papyrus suggested, seeming proud of this idea. It was evident that he thought he’d come across some great discovery.

“What even has all three of those things? And who would ever want to see something that had them? Paps, you’re crazy if you think Mr. Dramatic over here is gonna be able to pull something like that off.” Undyne put her hands on her hips, in clear disbelief this thought would lead anywhere.

“Nonsense, Undyne! Plenty of people pay to see all three of these things in motion! It’s called a-”

Mettaton pressed a finger to Papyrus’s lips and gasped, absolutely inspired. “Musical!” He exclaimed, and at this very moment, you could practically see the stars in his eyes.

“...I was going to say the circus, but that does sound much more school appropriate.” Papyrus nodded. “But the question is, is there a theatre club in this school? It might be difficult to convince them to put on a musical if they have something else planned.”

“If there isn’t, I’ll start one! And if there is, I’ll just use my charm and natural talent to work my way into it, and eventually get my way as well.” Mettaton winked, and then stole a pencil from Alphys’s bag, and wrote over the drawing of Mew Mew, “School musical starring me!!! My natural talent + ticket prices= morning announcements star!”

“Mew Mew…” Alphys mumbled, looking more sad that her drawing had been defaced than happy Mettaton had found an idea. “You’re geniuses, every one of you!” He sang, and gave a little twirl, stopping in the middle of it momentarily to glare a Undyne. “Except a certain unsupportive someone. I bid you all adieu!” And with that, Mettaton blew them a kiss and skipped off, full of inspiration, and more importantly, determination.

“Are you aware he stole your notebook?” Papyrus pointed out, confused.

“I’m used to it. When you’re friends with him, he’ll, uh, take what he wants.” Alphys explained, looking after him.

“That punk always does. And he always talks way too much about himself! I bet he couldn’t even supplex all three of us if he tried! NGAAAAAH!” Undyne cried out and picked up Alphys and Papyrus in her arms, lifting them up above her head.

“Normally people are not supposed to supplex their friends at the same time! Do you dislike Mettaton or something?” Papyrus asked, struggling to get back down on the ground. He felt dizzy.

“Him?” Undyne set the two down as she watched Mettaton run down the sidewalk with Alphys’s stolen notebook clutched in his arms, knocking over students and not apologizing.

“I dunno.I just get bad vibes from him.”

They were silent for a moment, until Alphys spoke up. “Should we tell him that he left his bag here?”

“Nah. Serves him right for being him.”

Chapter Text

There were many things in life Mettaton found infuriating. He didn’t particularly like the sound one made when eating peanuts, the color turquoise, or turquoise colored peanuts, for that matter (yes, they were a thing). But one of the most infuriating things he felt one could come across was waiting. Patience happened to be one of his worst qualities. When he was very small, he’d thrown a dramatic temper tantrum just because his favorite show wasn’t on at the time he wanted it to be.

So you can imagine waiting for his least favorite class, Algebra 2, to be over was not entirely his cup of tea. But he had good reason, of course. Mettaton planned to make a little visit to the secretary’s office and ask her for information about the drama club, or if there even was one, for that matter. If there wasn’t one, he would be absolutely delighted! Just imagine, his own club for him to boss around, not to mention putting on whatever performances he wanted and ensuring he’d be the star!

If there was a club, however, he would make sure to use his careful charm and grace to work his way into it.

And then he would knock the leader off their feet and become the new leader himself.

All of these plans and thoughts were just too much. What was Mettaton doing just sitting there? He could be putting his plans into action right now!

“Excuse me Mister-Whatever-Your-Name-Is-Must-Have-Been-Totally-Boring-If-I-Don’t-Remember-It, can I use the bathroom?” Mettaton raised his leg instead of his hand, as an opportunity to show off his new pumps. The teacher rolled his eyes, used to this sassy kids behavior, and then delivered the most dreadful response one could anticipate.

“I don’t know, can you?”

The class, having been either daydreaming, or in rare cases, actually doing the work, immediately snapped their heads up and giggled. It was always funny to laugh at the embarrassed student until you became one of them. Plus, it would be something to talk about later with friends until the story got stale as a loaf of bread, and a new student was publicly humiliated.

Mettaton felt his cheeks burning, and stood up, walking over to the teacher.“I don’t know, can you explain to me why a week ago you came in with a wedding ring that looked like you got it from a gumball machine and this week it’s not on your hairy finger anymore? I find this situation more interesting than whether or not I can use the bathroom, darling.” Mettaton snapped, and some of the students laughed, either at the shocked and slightly hurt look in their educator’s face or the fact that Mettaton had dared call a teacher darling.

“M-My wife says it’s a break! A break!” The teacher sputtered as Mettaton snatched the hall pass from its hook next to the door and left the classroom. A second later, his head popped back up in the doorway. “By the way, the fifties called. No one wears a handlebar mustache anymore.

“By the way, your teacher called. And you have a detention.” The teacher stomped up to the desk, but not before self consciously touching his handlebar mustache and wondering if it was really time for a shave, and scribbled something on a pink slip of paper. He then quite literally marched over to Mettaton (what was this, boot camp?) and stuck it on his forehead (apparently the pink slip also served as a good sticky note).

Mettaton detached it from his face and read what was written:
“Student’s Name: Happstablook
Grade: Eleventh
Date(s) of Detention: Literally as soon as possible
Reason for Assigning Detention: Unwarranted sass and frequent leg sticking up during class hours. Also infrequent assignment turn-ins.”

Slowly, Mettaton looked up from the detention slip to his teacher’s face. “Did I ever tell you that tie looks absolutely beautiful on you? The hideous neon yellow pineapples really bring out your, um...eyebags???”

Yet he was not amused, and handed Mettaton a little something extra. His homework, which Mettaton visibly recoiled at the sight of. Yuck. He’d have to get Alphys to do it later for him.

“I suggest you take this on your way to the bathroom, Mister Happsta. Unless you somehow manage to misplace it in a volcano again, like last time.”

Mettaton winced at the use of his old name (not that many people besides Alphys, Undyne, and now Papyrus called him Mettaton). His mouth opened up to correct the teacher, but then he shut it, sighed, walking out of the classroom.

“This is so unfabulous.”

***

“Well well well! Welly well well! Well welly well well, well well welly!”

“Get on with it, Mister Blook.” The secretary sighed tiredly, looking up from her rhinestone studded, tacky glasses to glare at Mettaton. Mettaton had his leg propped up against the partition between them, a grin on his face.

“If it isn’t my most favorite secretary in the whole wide world!”

“You really need to stop doing this.” She sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger. “You’re in here every other minute with some sort of complaint or demand. Don’t you kids come here to be in class, and not bothering the staff of the school?”

“Darling, you’ve wounded me! I truly do care about you along with all the other staff in the school. That’s why I care so much about improving it, don’t you see?”

The secretary raised an eyebrow. “Really, huh? You care about us all? Then what’s my name?”

Mettaton laughed nervously. “O-Oh darling, of course I know your name! So I don’t quite see the point in saying it out loud when it’s safe inside my most marvelous head.” He lied, but seeing the secretary was looking at him expectantly, he groaned. “Alright, alright! Your name is...uh...erm…”

“You’ve been walking into this office ever since you came to this school every week and you still don’t know my name. It’s literally right here. Also, you shouldn’t refer to staff members as ‘darling.’ It’s unprofessional and disrespectful.” She gestured to the nameplate on her desk, which Mettaton immediately knocked over with his own leg.

“Sorry, darling!” Mettaton giggled a bit, clearly ignoring her. “Now that all that’s out of the way, I do have a few questions for you which I expect you’ll be able to answer?” He asked hopefully, drumming his fingers on the counter.

“Such?”

“I am so very glad you’ve asked! Such as is there a school drama club, if there is, who is the leader and would I be able to join, if there isn’t, how would I go about starting one?” Mettaton listed all businesslike.

The tired, irritated secretary let out a long and dreary sigh, and then proceeded to type something up on the computer, glance at it, and shift her gaze back to him. “Yes, there is a drama club-”

“Dammit!” Mettaton groaned, stomping his foot on the ground. This made everything so much harder! “Please continue.”

“...Right. The club leader is Muffet A-”

“Muffet? Like, little miss Muffet? Stars, what an unfortunate name! Poor girl!” Mettaton shook his head with a look of pity on his face.

The look Mettaton received from the secretary clearly stated the following:
“Your name is Happstablook, do you really want to talk about unfortunate names?” and “Are you going to let me finish or are you going to keep on with your sassy commentary?”

“Like I was saying, you can join if you want to. There’s really only her and one other member, and that member is apparently her pet spider? I don’t know. The club is pretty much dead, although they do have meetings after school in the auditorium. Today is one of them.”

That info dump might have been too much for someone who was only mildly interested in joining, but Mettaton was determined to do this. “Yes yes, thank you so very much, that was all quite helpful! Bye bye, now!” He waved hastily and rushed out the door, eager to get his bearings on this Muffet girl before the school day was over.

 

***

“Darlings! Dears! Shining stars! You’ll never believe what’s just happened to me! I’ve come across the most amazing piece of news!” Mettaton practically sang as he ran up to Alphys and Undyne, who were both engrossed in a conversation about whether or not supplexing tables at a con was socially acceptable.

“You’re transferring schools? And your school is on the Sun? Where you’ll blaze in thousand degree heat???” Undyne’s eyes shone with passion. “And a meteor is about to hit the Sun and-”

“T-They removed all the mirrors in the girls bathrooms so I won’t e-ever have to see my reflection again???” Alphys laughed nervously, and they both stared at her, before Undyne wrapped Alphys up in her arms.

“Hey! Those mirrors are totally lucky to see your reflection! They get to see someone who’s passionate! They get to see someone who’s smart! They get to see someone who’s foxy as heck!” Undyne spoke without a quaver in her voice, clearly meaning every word she said.

“They’ll get to see the newest member of the drama club!” Mettaton put his hand under his chin and let out a rather anime villain sounding laugh. “Ohoho! This is just too perfect!”

“A-Are we still talking about the same person?” Alphys asked as she pushed her glasses up her nose, since they were slipping off due to the angle Undyne was holding her at.

“We’re talking about me, duh! Why wouldn’t we be? Anyway, this morning I stopped by the office, and received some enlightening information! There’s a drama club, and I intend to join it. Apparently they have meetings after school,” He smirked, thinking of how close victory was in his reach. “The leader’s name is Muffet. Do either of you two lovelies-well, one lovely- know her?”

“Hey, I’m plenty lovely!” Undyne made a fist at him, glowering and seething.

“I, uh, think she’s that girl who’s walking by right now? I have her in my gym class, she’s pretty good at gymnastics.” Alphys pointed at a slightly weird looking girl who was, in fact, walking by them.

The girl had black hair with bangs, and two pigtails tied with dark red ribbons on both sides of her head. She wore some puffy sleeved ensembled, with a ribbon on the front of it. Pitch black sunglasses rested on the bridge of her nose, giving the appearance that she had multiple eyes, seeing as she had black colored eyes (apparently that was a thing, too) as well.

But the weirdest thing about her was the way she sort of waved her arms up and down as she walked, as if she had more than two of them, not to mention that smile on her face.

“Shhh!” Mettaton shushed Alphys, grabbed the two of them by the arm and ducked behind a potted plant near Muffet’s locker, which she was currently unlocking with her long an nimble fingers.

“What the heck are you doing?!” Undyne hissed, yanking her wrist free from Mettaton’s surprisingly tight grasp.

“I don’t want her to see us! Or hear us talking about her, either! She can’t know we’re doing this.” Mettaton glared at Undyne. “Also, would you mind being quieter? You’re being rather loud, although that’s not different from the usual.”

“Doing what, stalking her? And there’s sure as heck not a ‘we’ in this situation! I’m outta here.” Undyne looked back at Alphys. “Alphs, you coming?”

But Alphys was looking at something else entirely. “G-Guys. Look!” She whispered, pointing at Muffet’s locker. Mettaton and Undyne did so, and were shocked at what they saw.

“Are those...spider webs? She’s not even taking them down! Look, there are even flies trapped in there too!” Undyne gaped at the sight. Muffet was humming to herself and grabbing a purple binder from the shelf of her locker.

Mettaton was too disgusted to speak.

“Wait, what’s she doing? Is that- oh my god.” Undyne ceased her narrating of the situation to see Muffet reach for a donut that appeared to be attached to one of the spider webs.

“H-How’d she even get that in there? Oh, please tell me she’s not going to- oh no.” Alphys squealed and covered her eyes with her hands, not able to watch this any longer.

“Oh yes.” Mettaton muttered in utter disbelief as Muffet took a big bite out of the donut and shut her locker, donut in hand.

“I’m out. I’m out. Too freaky for me.” Undyne carried Alphys bridal style and walked away, while Alphys mumbled things about never seeing this in anime.

Mettaton, however, stayed put. He narrowed his eyes as he watched Muffet walk down the hallway.

If he was going to do this, he was going to do it right.

***

 

“What the hell are we doing again?” Maddy crossed their arms, their permanent scowl in its usual place on their face.

Mettaton, Maddy, and Blooky sat at their table in the cafeteria, devising a plan. Blooky was thoughtfully chewing a sandwich, while Maddy took sharp, rough bites out of an apple. Mettaton was too excited to eat.

“We’re gathering information on a girl named Muffet. Don’t you have her in your home ec class, Blooky?” Mettaton questioned, a smile on his face. If this worked out in his favor, he might learn enough about her to see if she was star material, the type to actually be dedicated to the spotlight, if she was even serious about this club.

Due to the lack of members, there was either a lack in passion for acting or the club really wasn’t a club at all.

“Yeah...she gets pretty good grades…” Napstablook nodded, taking their headphones off to give Mettaton their full attention.

“Why are we even doing this? What, are you going to ask her out?” Maddy gave a bit of a mean smile to Mettaton, knowing full well they weren’t.

“It’s for...personal reasons. And no, I don’t plan on starting any high school romances. Not until I find the one that makes me swoon like Juliet to Romeo!” He dramatically clutched his heart and pretended to collapse against Blooky, who smiled at their cousins antics.

Mettaton would never be able to tell them the real reason, though.

Ever since the accident (god, he hated referring to it as that. He wasn’t some helpless victim, he could still breathe!) when Mettaton - no, Happstablook, had told his family the reason he’d been late and in the accident in the first place, they were furious, especially Maddy.

He could still remember that day, as they laid in the hospital bed, tubes and wires and all attached to their pale, broken body.

“A star?” Maddy had yelled at them, leaning over the hospital bed, right next to their face. “Cause you wanted to be a star?! Dammit, Happy! That’s never going to happen now! As long as I’m your cousin, you’re never going to do something as stupid as that! You’re staying on the snail farm where you belong! Dummies like you don’t end up as stars, they end up in a hospital bed like right now! Or worse! You could have- you, you MIGHT DI-”

One of their relatives had had to pull Maddy away from them furiously lecturing them on using a slight curse word, and worst of all, bringing up such a sensitive subject. Blooky had burst into tears when they heard what Maddy was about to say.

Blooky wasn’t the only one, though. Maddy was crying, tears of anger spilling down their face as they slammed their fist against a wall. They were only a child, yet it was such an emotional rage, anger having consumed them. It was the only time Happy had ever seen Maddy cry, or be in such an angry state.

“It’s okay, Blooky. They weren’t going to say...that.” Happstablook had mumbled, weakly reaching out their arm to touch their cousin’s.

“They...they were going to, though, weren’t they…? Please, Happy...it’s not true, right?” Napstablook’s voice shook and quivered with fear, large tears leaking from their eyes.

Usually, Happstablook was the one to reassure Blooky about anything and everything. They were there to be happy for the ones who couldn’t be. But it would feel so wrong to lie about something like this. Happy wet their lips and stared at the ceiling, not able to maintain eye contact.

“Blooky, I don’t know.”

Napstablook didn’t stop crying for days.

Mettaton could never tell them. Never tell them his dream.

Maddy would hate him.

Blooky would be supportive, but he just knew that they would sob, sob at the memories, and never truly be able to be happy for him when they were scared for him as well.
“Whatever you say.” Maddy rolled their eyes and pulled Mettaton out of his trance single handedly with their sarcasm and bad mood.

“I need you two to text me any and all information you come across about her, alright cousins?” Mettaton lightly bopped Maddy on the head with a spork that was just sitting there on the table.

“So we’re going to be your stupid super spies for the whole day? And we don’t even get anything for it?” Maddy frowned, and Mettaton could tell they were on the verge of yelling, so he pulled out his secret weapon.

“I’ll buy you both choco rolls from the vending machine!” He grinned. “I suggest you take this deal, darlings. I just got my allowance and it’s...five dollars.” After saying this, he smugly held out three one dollar bills in front of their faces.

“Woah...five dollars...you could buy four choco rolls...that’s a lot of money…” Blooky mumbled, clearly in awe of Mettaton. “And a soda!” Maddy added.While they all got their allowances in the same amount, Mettaton secretly snuck money from the tip jar at the snail farm when he could (he was surprised to see that there were two crumpled up dollar bills this time) so he got more money.

By stealing.

But he deserved it! (No he didn’t) After all, how was he going to fund his diary addiction? While right now he had written about three entries in the one he carried in his purse (since they got three dollars for allowance on average, he hadn’t had enough to afford a new diary in weeks, since diaries usually cost five dollars and there were no tips in sight) he had been eyeing one with an electronic lock for a while now.

While he spent his money frivolously, Napstablook had always been more sensible with their spending. Three dollars didn’t get you much, so they either saved up for more food for the snails, or occasionally bought more batteries for their walkman. Madstablook spent it on snack foods for them all to share, mostly sickly yellow soda or a bag of chips. And knives. Lots of knives.

Yet this was more important, he told himself. If this little plan was pulled off, he’d have something really exciting to write about in his diary!

“Wait a minute. Just how did you get that money, Happy? Wait, do you have a part time job? Did you abandon the snail farm?!” Maddy yelled, and Mettaton put a finger to their lips to shush them. “Maddy, you’ve wounded me! I haven’t abandoned any of you. It’s just because I’m the family favorite.” Mettaton playfully stuck out his tongue with a little wink, and tilted his head towards his shoulder ever so slightly, like he had seen in Alphys’s animes.

Maddy rolled their eyes. “Stop tryna look cutesy, Happy. We all know what a spoiled brat you are. Now go make yourself useful already and buy us some choco rolls. And a soda, while you’re at it.” This sort of banter was common between them, but neither ever meant it. It was all just playful chatter.

“You’re only getting the soda if I get a sip of it.” Mettaton put his hands on his hips as his two cousins glanced at each other, mentally discussing if this was a good deal or not.

But anything for those choco rolls.

They both nodded and looked back to Mettaton, who was waiting with a patient smile. He already knew what they’d say.

“Deal.”

***

“I shouldn’t have bought them that soda.” Mettaton muttered under his breath, rereading the texts he’d received from his cousins for the umpteenth time.

None of them were helpful whatsoever. They didn’t give him a clue about Muffet’s love for theatre, if she had any, that was, or any upcoming plans for her club. The texts from Napstablook, while containing little details that might be important to someone trying to make a Wikipedia page about Muffet or something, were not useful in this situation. They read:

*i just got to home ec...she sits in the front of the class
*she made something called spider donuts...the teacher said they were really good…
*i think she really likes baking pastries…
*there’s a spider on the tip of her pencil...oh no...i hope it won’t bite her…
*she gave it a little kiss

The ones from Madstablook were utterly useless and completely cryptic, however, and Mettaton suspected this was somewhat on purpose:

*disgusting she’s got lint on her
*CONDESCENDING
*her shoelace is untied
*GIRL SCOUT NO ONE WANTS TO BUY SOMETHING CALLED SPIER CIDER
*WHO THE HECK WOULD DO THAT
*KNIVES AREN’T STUPID DAMMIT THEY’RE BETTER THAN FRIENDS
*i have to go to class

Mettaton jammed his phone back into his pocket and took a deep breath. It was currently after school hours, and he had purposely skipped his detention, seeing as he was standing outside of the auditorium.

“I can do this. I’ve got style, I’ve got grace. Honestly, she’s lucky if I’ll even spare a glance at her.” Mettaton told himself, running his fingers through his hair and tapping his foot up and down.

And then he walked in.

The auditorium was pretty impressive, which Mettaton had always found a shame, since it was never put to use. Occasionally, there would be a guest speaker, or Asgore would have some “important” announcement (“Greetings, students and staff, it has come to my attention that someone wrote on the wall of the gymnasium in permanent marker, ‘No one cared who I was until I put on my hat.’ Please refrain from doing that, since it will take quite a few coats of paint to cover that up. I hope your day is ‘the bomb diggity.’” Icecap looked particularly guilty during that meeting, Mettaton had thought.)

There was a huge stage attached to one of the walls, with dramatic red curtains and everything. Mettaton had never been in the backstage area, but he could assume it was dusty and empty. Facing the stage were rows and rows of seats for the students to sit in, and that was pretty much it. Okay, so it didn’t sound impressive, but to Mettaton it was everything he’d ever hoped and dreamed of.

Muffet sat on the edge of the stage. She was humming to herself, and seemed to be doing homework. She didn’t seem bothered by the lack of members, in fact, it actually looked like she was enjoying herself. If this was Mettaton, he would be lying on the floor and feeling like garbage.

“Hello, darling! I hope I’m not interrupting anything.” Mettaton spoke, and then walked in anyway (rude) waving at Muffet. Muffet looked up from her homework and smiled a sickeningly sweet smile in his direction. “I’m sorry, dearie, but there’s currently a meeting of the drama club in session. Come by at four thirty, when the meeting is over. Ahuhuhu~!” She giggled and waved him away.

“Well then, I’ve actually come to the right place! I’m very interested in joining this little...club of yours. Hows about it, darling? Think you’ve got room for a fabulous, talented actor like me?” He pitched, giving her a wink.

“I’m sorry, dearie, but we really don’t need any new members! Try again next year!” Muffet looked back down at her homework, her tone a little more annoyed sounding.

“I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this, but there aren’t any members here besides yourself. Can’t I simply just join?” Things were getting a little out of hand. Mettaton was getting sassy, and that was never a good thing.

“You’re a persistent one, aren’t you? Well, no means no. Although you can buy a spider donut or some spider cider if you’d like! All proceeds go to real spiders, so we can make spider cruelty illegal once and for all! Twenty bucks for cider, thirty for donuts, ahuhu~!” Muffet wasn’t taking him seriously. At all.

Mettaton, however, had stopped listening to her at this point. He could already see his chances at true happiness slipping away from him, oh, what was the point anyway, his family was right, stardom wasn’t anything he could achieve, it wasn’t like it would be easy for him anyway, and-

“DARLING, IT WOULD ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY MAKE MY DAY IF YOU WENT OUT ON A DATE WITH ME.”

Wait what.

Mettaton slammed his leg on the stage, knocking off Muffet’s bookbag.

Muffet looked surprised at what Mettaton had just blurted out, yet said nothing. The two stared at each other, Mettaton’s face flushed a bright red as an awkward silence hung over them.

‘Oh my god did I seriously say that?! She’s so weird and now if she say yes I’m going to have to go on some dreary date with a weirdo but if she says no then I’ll be the weirdo and I cannot have that.’ Was what Mettaton was thinking at the moment.

If anything was clear to him at this moment, it was that he had no attraction to Muffet whatsoever. He thought she was weird and petty, and couldn’t dress herself at all. Plus, she was a girl. Enough said.

Yet in that moment of blind desperation he’d been searching his mind for something to say to save, or at least delay the situation, and what Maddy had said earlier popped up in his head, and now there they were.

Maybe, though. Maybe if he used enough careful charm, he could save this. He’d claim he was joking, or was just quoting a line from a movie he liked and thought she’d get the reference.

Or wait. Even better yet, what if he could get her to say yes? And on their date, he would woo her. Woo her into telling him why she wasn’t accepting new members, change her mind about letting him into the club, and then get her to put on a play of his choice for the school, with him as the star!

Perfect! Fabulous! Utterly clever!

“Ahem...what I meant to say was that the real reason I came was, well…” Mettaton put his acting skills to the test, and made it look like he was shyly looking up at her, when really he felt a new surge of confidence rush through him. “Ever since the first day I saw you, darling, I’ve felt enamoured, infatuated, even, with you.” He placed his hand against his chest and tried to look slightly faint, as if he were swooning.

“I’ve been trying to muster up the courage to ask you out for oh so long, but I was so sure you must have many admirers.” As if, he thought, but it wasn’t like he could say that out loud. That would be rude, obviously. The flattery was a good play on his part (and he totally knew this, the clever prick) since everyone loved praise and feeling wanted. “Yet I was walking by here on my way to my locker and I just thought, ‘Well, life is short! And I simply cannot stand to wait any longer, lest she be taken away from me!’ So, I do hope you’ll say yes.” He concluded, and even dared taking her hand in his, a false hopeful expression on his face.

Mettaton had knocked it out of the park.

Muffet was shocked. A light blush slowly crept up on her face as she grinned. “I’d love to, dearie!” She nodded, and Mettaton let out a high pitched girly squeal, causing Muffet to sort of stare at him, confused on how he could go from totally suave to dorkily excited (but not for the reasons she thought) in a matter of seconds.

Mettaton didn’t care, though. It had been like a scene from an anime, it was that good! He had gotten her to say yes! Rather smugly, he knew what effect he’d have on her right from the get-go of his little performance. “Excellent, darling! Is Sunday night convenient for you? I can’t tonight, since my favorite show is on, and Saturday night is no good since I’m going to be taking selfies with some new backdrops I just bought.” Mettaton explained, whipping out his phone so he could set the date on his calendar.

“I’m free that night.” Muffet agreed, and then it was time for Mettaton to struggle to think of a place to meet. He briefly recalled a restaurant named Grillby’s in Snowdin some students had mentioned in passing. “Meet me in Snowdin, in front of Grillby’s, alright? Take care of yourself, darling. I’ll be seeing you! Goodbye!” Mettaton waved and quickly ran off, out of the auditorium and out of the school and out of New Home, so he wouldn’t have to spend another moment longer with that Muffet girl.

***
Crumbs fell on Mettaton’s pink sweater as he laid on the living room couch, watching old reruns of Seinfeld and eating a bag of corn chips. It was Sunday evening, his homework wasn’t done, he was sort of sleepy, and he’d forgotten all about Muffet.

Well, not entirely. While, once again, he had no desire at all to go on a date with this girl, there was some inexplicable guilt gnawing at the back of his head. At first, after he’d fake asked her out, he had felt clever and proud of his acting skills, excited his plan was working. Then he had felt slightly guilty- was it wrong, what he was doing? Fake asking out someone he clearly had no interest in just to get what he wanted? What was the end goal, anyway? Would he have to maintain a fake relationship long enough to get in the club, produce and star in a play, and get TVs in the classrooms? That was a little more than tedious. Plus, he didn’t want to be that guy.

Not to mention the fact that this would be his first date! And it would be nothing like the ones he and Alphys had dreamed up at sleepovers, when Alphys was still single and he still insisted vampires were hotter than werewolves.

Well, they still were.

Now, he felt exhausted from doing nothing, alone, and sad, for a reason he couldn’t quite get. He knew it wasn’t about Muffet. It was like the sadness he got in Asgore’s office.

At that moment, both Blooky and Maddy walked into the house, talking to each other about something that really didn’t matter. Probably snails. Secretly, Mettaton was glad he wasn’t a part of this conversation. Snails were slow and slimy, lying around as if they didn’t have anywhere else to be, eating…

My god, he was turning into a snail.

He quickly sat up straight and brushed the crumbs off his chest, and about five seconds afterwards his eyes widened in realization once more/

My god, he had a fake date with that spider girl tonight.

It was a bit of a nasty shock to realize that he would not be finishing his Seinfeld marathon, and it took all of his strength to put the remote down, as canned laughter sounded out from the episode. And it had been a good one, too.

“Where do you think you’re goin’? What, right when we walk into a room you’ve suddenly got a place to be?” Maddy’s accusatory voice cut through the air like one of their favorite knives. Blooky sighed, maintained impressive eye contact (with the floor) and said “It’s okay...I wouldn’t want to spend time in a room with me in it, either…”

Yeesh, did they have to have such keen observation skills? Mettaton checked time time on his phone, and realized he had about two minutes to get dressed and go. “No no no, you two! Normally I would love to, erm, sit on the couch as you talk about whatever you were talking about, but tonight I can’t.”

“Why not?” Both his cousins asked at the same time, Maddy vaguely threatening, Blooky vaguely doubtful.

“Well, you see, it’s because I-” Mettaton cleared his throat and tried to sound as casual as possible as he said this, “-It’s because I have a date tonight.”

Their responses rushed out like teenage girls running after autotuned boy bands. Maddy’s consisted of:

“You? A date???”

“Why the hell didn’t you tell us?! Do we know this person?!”

“I feel more bad for the person who has to put up with your dramatics!”

Blooky just sort of made a half gasp and fiddled with their sweater sleeve, shocked but not overbearing and curious with questions, all though he did ask if whoever this person was wanted to come over for dinner.

“Actually, you two have come to know this person very well.” Mettaton laughed nervously. This was the hard part, telling them that he had a date was as easy as the alphabet compared to what was about to happen next.

“Happy, you better quit it with the suspense or so help me I’ll-”

“Muffet. It’s Muffet.” He said in one breath, and groaned as Maddy burst out into laughter, even Blooky giving a few soft giggles.

“You actually asked her out, huh??? Be prepared to be broken up with, since even she’s gonna run for cover once she meets the real you!” Madstablook laughed, and went upstairs, besides themself. Blooky remained downstairs, though, and put a reassuring hand on Mettaton’s shoulder before hastily taking it away out of fear that Mettaton would do it himself. “Oh...I didn’t know you liked Muffet...I guess that’s why you wanted information on her..? I hope you two have fun...wherever you’re going…”

“Yes, I care about her so very much.” Mettaton sounded rather whiny and sulky, but inly because he was. With all this Muffet talk, he was beginning to resent her, and resent resenting her since it wasn’t her fault Maddy was a jerk and that she existed. “And we were supposed to meet at Grillby’s...ten minutes ago?!” Mettaton shrieked in horror after checking the time again, and ran to go get dressed. That little reveal party had taken much longer than he’d accounted for!

It didn’t help that he spent an extra fifteen minutes deciding on what outfit to wear- he ended up going with a refined black coat thrown over a white shirt, he would have worn a fabulous suit he’d been saving but Snowdin was cold and wet- and what perfume to put on- he’d chosen a perfume he’d invented when he was six that was a combination of rose petals and deodorant, it smelled surprisingly good.

Sadly, Mettaton didn’t have time to enjoy the scenery of a nice, long walk to Snowdin through Waterfall, so he took the ferry. The ferry was a popular method of transportation, a little wooden boat piloted by the Riverperson, someone who said peculiar things but could always be relied on for a ride.

Today, the Riverperson said, “Tra la la. The waters are wild today. That’s good luck.” Mettaton didn’t comment on this and payed the Riverperson, getting off at his stop in Snowdin.

Snowdin, while cold and a little less than modern, was considered a charming little area. The local culture and nice townspeople made it somewhat desirable to live in, Mettaton had always felt a little jealous in elementary school when some of his classmates from Snowdin had brought cinnamon bunnies for lunch.

Mettaton ran as fast as his heels could carry him to Grillby’s, where an impatient and frigid Muffet stood outside, waiting for him. “Hello, darling! Have you been waiting long?” Mettaton faked his enthusiasm, and Muffet didn’t seem to care if his enthusiasm was fake or real at this point.

“I’ve been waiting for thirty minutes, dearie.” Was her annoyed response. “I’m freezing. But I had to stand out here in case you were lost, and didn’t know where I was. A real gentleman wouldn’t make his date do this, dearie.”

“What was that?” Mettaton had been gazing at his own reflection in his compact mirror, checking to see if he had any hang hairs.

“Let’s just get this over with.” Muffet grumbled and went inside, Mettaton following suit.

***

While Grillby’ wasn’t exactly a super romantic date destination, Mettaton wasn’t exactly looking for one, so it all worked out fine it the end. It was a cute little spot, anyway. A broken jukebox sat in the corner next to a bar, where a man Mettaton could only assume was Grillby, with his flaming red hair and quiet demeanor, polished glasses. Mettaton recognized some of Undyne’s fellow teammates playing poker, with a plate of chicken wings, although it was mostly just the bones, in the middle of the table.

And then there was them. They were sat in a cozy little booth across from each other, Muffet staring icily at Mettaton, in a way which made him unnerved, although he wouldn’t let it show. “So, darling. Have you ever been here before?” Mettaton asked, as Grillby headed over to their table and poured them each a glass of water.

“No.” Muffet took a sip of her water. Mettaton sat there for a few seconds, waiting for more, maybe how she liked the spot, or rather how she loathed it, anything, but she didn’t say anything more and resumed her staring.

Looks like the conversation rested entirely on his shoulders now.

“I haven’t, either. But I’ve heard so many people talk about it, so I simply just had to see what all the fuss was about! The choices on the menu sound pretty good, though. I think I’ll get the burger. What about you?” Mettaton looked over to her, and was inwardly horrified when Muffet pulled out a little white box from her purse and opened it.

“I won’t be eating anything on the menu.” Inside was yet another spider donut. Who brought their own food to a restaurant?! If Mettaton had known she’d do this, he would have just taken her to the dump or something, that would have been better than this.

“I...see. You really like those donuts, don’t you. What was the cause for again?” He questioned in a vain attempt to save the conversation, and was relieved when Muffet seemed to light up and begin to speak. “Well, dearie, ever since I was a little girlie, I always…”

Muffet’s voice seemed to fade off into the distance as Mettaton sat there, daydreaming. He would give the occasional nod or laugh to indicate he was listening, but grew so bored he began making little mountains of salt in his hand with the salt shaker. Thankfully, Muffet didn’t seem to notice, and his food came. He felt a bit awkward eating alone, but what part of this wasn’t awkward?

“So, it’s been my everlasting wish to ensure all spiders are safe and sound! How about you, dearie? Do you have a special wish? Ahuhuhu~!” Muffet seemed to be enjoying herself now, which was great since Mettaton was bored out of his mind up until this point. But he loved talking about himself, and now seemed the perfect time to set his plan into motion.

“Well, lovely, my wish is to be a star! To see my name in lights, to hear people applauding me! I do wish the school would put on a play...that I could be in…” Mettaton emphasized this last part greatly, and then gave a little cough. It felt like he was in a play and knew his lines perfectly, and Muffet was the other actor, who didn’t seem to remember hers.

“Oh, the school hasn’t done that in a while! Although with the funding Principal Asgore gives the club, I’m sure there would be more than enough to! I usually just use it on funding my cause, though.” Muffet giggled, twirling a lock of her hair. Mettaton almost wanted to get up and gasp dramatically, pointing an accusatory finger at her. Clever girl! So that’s why she was so adamant about keeping the club going, despite not letting in any new members or putting on any shows. The money! She didn’t even care about theatre.

Mettaton would have chewed her out if he wasn’t so impressed.

“Well, I think it would be absolutely fabulous if you put on a show! I’m sure the whole school would love it.” He smiled at her, and this seemed to have the exact effect he wanted.

“Well, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to put on a little show~ Maybe a production of Charlotte’s Web!” Muffet sounded thoughtful, as Mettaton shuddered a little. Charlotte’s Web? Would that mean he’d be performing surrounded by people in barnyard animal costumes? Or worse, in one? No matter, he could change that later, if needed. He was just glad Muffet was falling for it.

“Although it might be difficult to perform with just me...say, dearie, would you still want to join the club? It would be free of charge~ Ahuhuhu!”

Yes.

Yes!

YES!!!

“I would love to, darling! I suggest a toast, to this new development!” Mettaton cheered, his glass raised in his hand. Muffet clinked her glass against his, and they both downed their water in a matter of seconds. It was getting late.

“I’ve had such an excellent time tonight, wouldn’t you agree?” Mettaton winked and began to get up from the booth, until he glanced down at the table to pick up his phone before they left. And that was when he let out the most bloodcurdling scream of all of Ebott, making everyone look in their direction. Dogamy even fell out of his seat in shock, and Dogaressa had to rush over to help him.

“What?! What is it?!” Muffet shrieked, thinking they were in immediate danger or something. It didn’t help that Mettaton’s expression was one of pure horror, his face paler than usual, eyes wide, and mouth agape as he pointed at something on the table. “SPIDER!” He yelled, and it became clearer what he was looking at, in fact, maybe a little too clear. On the table was a small tarantula, the size of an eight year olds hand.

“DIE, YOU VILE CREATURE!” Mettaton grabbed the nearest thing, a vase filled with flowers, and smashed it repeatedly on that poor tarantula, until it was quite dead, laying there limply. Muffet had been shrieking even more in the background, grabbing his arm and telling him to stop, but stopped herself when she saw the state it was in.

“Cupcake!” Muffet gasped and cradled the dead thing to her face, tears being shed. While Mettaton found this more than a little gross, he also got the overwhelming sensation that he’d messed up. Big time.

Maybe smashing it to death with a vase had been a little excessive.

“You… you MURDERER!” Muffet spun around on her heel to face Mettaton, and held Cupcake, apparently, right in front of his face, making him visibly gag. “I took Cupcake here so he could see the wonders of Snowdin! Dearie, you’re going to regret this! Look! Look at him!”

Mettaton had had enough.

“Well, I’m sorry you feel that way, darling. But that thing is DISGUSTING! Honestly, how could you stand to call that thing Cupcake when it’s so...uncupcakeish?! It’s hairy! And huge! And a mistake! I didn’t even want to be here in the first place!” Mettaton yelled, throwing his arms up in the air in frustration.

The whole bar stared at the two students, and one big mouthed guy whispered to a drunk girl wearing a yellow, fuzzy sweater made of bunny fur, “I bet five dollars the spider girl walks out first.”

“N-no waaaay, I bet the spider girl slaps him!” Drunk Bunny slurred, and Big Mouth shook their head in disapproval.

“Then why would you take me here?!” Muffet was literally screeching at this point. Mettaton was dumbfounded. He couldn’t just outright state his plan. And then all the guilt came crashing in, too late.

‘My stars, I might be a bit of a jerk.’

Muffet, enraged, slapped him right across the face and stormed out, leaving him to pay the check. Mettaton stood there, stunned. He’d never been slapped before.

Big Mouth and Drunk Bunny both looked at each other and shrugged; they would both keep their money for the time being.

“...So, is the performance still on?” Mettaton called after her, but it was too late.

***

Mettaton stood tiredly outside of Grillby’s, clutching his jacket against his freezing cold body with one hand and holding an ice pack up to his cheek with the other. It was now past midnight. Surprisingly, Grillby hadn’t yelled at him or called the cops, but instead had made him sit down and gotten him the ice pack. Mettaton had cleaned up the bar for him, insisted on doing so.

The worst part wasn’t his cheek, or how late it was. It was the feeling of shame and embarrassment, with everyone watching him. He knew they had been judging him, and they were right to. He was in the wrong. It was wrong to lead Muffet on, with no intention of even talking to her after he got what he wanted. Now her spider was dead, and her feelings were hurt.

“Did she really have to slap me, though?” Mettaton mumbled to himself, and then mentally slapped himself for it.

Yes, he deserved it.

Now it was late at night, the ferry was closed, and all he had was a quarter in his pocket Grillby had given him to use the tolbooth. He’d have to walk home, or maybe try and get someone to pick him up? He could call Alphys, but she didn’t have a car, for one, and she lived in Hotland, so it would just be longer if he stood there waiting for her.

Snow fell around him as he walked to the tolbooth. The street was pretty much empty, although Grillby’s was still packed. Mettaton decided he would stay at the Snowed Inn, he heard the owner was quite generous about money. And before that, he would use his quarter to call his cousins, they must be worried sick.

And that’s when it happened.

Through the thick clumps of snow that fell, a shiny red car pulled up in front of him. Mettaton was shocked, firstly, that anyone in Snowdin even had a car this nice, and that anyone was out this late, with the roads so slick and everything.

The car window lowered, and he heard a faint “Nyeh heh heh!”

Oh no.

Papyrus smiled at him from the driver's seat of the car, friendly and warm as ever. “Mettaton! What brings you to Snowdin? And why are you holding an ice pack to your face? Did you fall? The ground is especially slippery at this time of night!”

Mettaton felt a bit overwhelmed by all of his questions, or maybe it was just because he was so tired and cold. “Hello, Papyrus, darling. It’s a bit of a...long story, really. But why are you out so late?”

“I decided to go do some groceries! It has come to my attention that the Gaster household is fresh out of skim milk!” Papyrus informed him.

“At this time of the night?” Mettaton was flabbergasted. If he and his cousins had run out of skim milk this late, they would have just drawn straws to see who would go to the market the next morning.

“It is never too late to go grocery shopping! Plus, Dad specifically asked me to do it, seeing as him and Sans are hard at work right now!” Papyrus was quite clearly proud of himself, and felt very important.

What could they possibly be working on this late, Mettaton wondered? Oh well, it didn’t really matter. They were both silent for a moment, and Mettaton was considering swallowing his pride and just asking Papyrus to drive him home. It would be better than staying at the inn and wearing the same clothes to school tomorrow, but then again, he didn’t want to spend more time than he had to with Papyrus at this point. Would the walk home really be that bad?

Then he remembered he was wearing heels.

“Papyrus-”

“Mettaton-”

The two both spoke at the same time, and then stopped when seeing the other was speaking as well. “Oh. Sorry, dear. What were you going to say?” Mettaton asked, but Papyrus shook his head. “Oh no, Mettaton, I insist you go first! It would be rude of me to talk first.”

‘So you’re making me the rude one?’ Mettaton thought, but asked anyway. “Would you mind, er, being a doll and giving me a ride near home? It’s...near Waterfall.” Mettaton asked, careful to not give away where he lived. After all, he didn’t want Papyrus knowing how pathetic his life actually was.

“I was just about to ask you if you wanted a ride home! Hop in!”

Mettaton gave Papyrus a weak smile and climbed in the passenger’s seat, quickly glancing over the inside of the car.

It was probably the cleanest car he’d ever been in. The leather seats were so dirt free they shined, there were no soda cups under the seats, and it smelled faintly of...spaghetti and lemon cleanser?

Mettaton ran his fingers over the seats, feeling the fabric. He’d only ever been inside a car four times, including this one. Cars were somewhat of a luxury to him.

The first was in kindergarten. It had been a big yellow school bus for their field trip to New Home’s aquarium. He’d had to sit next to some kid who had streaks of snot on his sleeve. He hadn’t even gotten the window seat, since that kid had taken it before he could.

Bleh.

The second was in the taxi ride to the city, where the accident had taken place.

Double bleh.

The third, he couldn’t quite remember. It must have been an ambulance, how else would he have gotten to the hospital? Bright blue and cherry lights, sirens, panicked screams.

Mettaton shuddered.

“My apologies! I did not realize you were still cold! If it will assist you, I shall put on the heater!” Papyrus offered.

Mettaton was about to decline, but he suddenly realized he’d probably get frostbite or something if he refused. “That would be lovely.”

Papyrus did so, and pleasantly warm air flooded the car. Mettaton stared out the window at the falling snowflakes. He wasn’t usually this quiet, but a lot had just happened. Papyrus, however, seemed to be talking enough for the both of them.

“...And my lazybones brother never fed it! Now I keep it on a healthy diet of sprinkles, all organic, of course-”

“Papyrus?” Mettaton turned his head to look at him, stopping his chatter.

“Yes, Mettaton?”

“Have you ever done something you know is bad, for selfish reasons? And you know that you messed up, but you’ve dug yourself into a hole just by doing the bad thing, and there’s no way to fix it?” Mettaton mentally kicked himself. What a stupid question! Now Papyrus would think of him as a bad person. Why did he even bother asking Papyrus, of all people? It wasn’t as if he had some life changing advice that would-

“No, I cannot say I have! I try to be as unselfish as possible!” Papyrus shook his head.

See?

“But I do feel that you are inherently wrong! About not being able to fix this hypothetical problem, I mean. For instance, my brother used to never do his homework assignments!”

‘Again with the brother,’ Mettaton thought, rolling his eyes. What was so interesting about homework that would help his dilemma? Just turn it in, or get the incomplete! There was no in between!

“He even stopped showing up to school! He would just lounge around the house and drink ketchup straight from the bottle!”

Yuck. Now he really wished he hadn’t asking this question.

Yet Mettaton noticed something odd about Papyrus when his gaze flickered back to him. Instead of his trademark smile he wore like it was a trend, a small frown had sprouted in its place. Papyrus’s eyebrows were furrowed in frustration, and he looked like he had just seen his puppy die.

“Oh my. That sounds...quite troubling. How long did that go on for?” Mettaton asked, his tone of voice suddenly soft and pitiful, as if dealing with a child who had skinned their knee. How serius could this be, though? Maybe it was just senioritis or-

“A year.”

Oh.

Mettaton was silent. He had no idea what to say. He’d assumed it had just been a week or something, and felt horrible for doing so.

“Do not worry, though!” Papyrus was smiling once more. “I had a talk with Sans, and now he attends school daily! Although he still fails to take it seriously.” Papyrus sighed. “All in all, there is nothing a little determination and mindfulness cannot fix! After all, what would puzzles be without their solutions?”

As Papyrus continued to talk, Mettaton was stunned. That was...something. It felt so mature, what Papyrus had said. And not mature in a Papyrus way, but mature in an everyone way.

Papyrus was...mature?

Mettaton was also stunned to see that they were quickly approaching Waterfall’s dump, which inevitably led to his house.

“You can drop me off here, darling! I can walk the rest of the way.” Mettaton said, maybe a little too urgently, for Papyrus looked concerned.

“Would it not be more efficient to drive you the whole way there? It looks as if it is about to rain!” He asked.

“It’s Waterfall, it always looks like that. Plus, I live in, erm, Hotland! And we wouldn’t want that milk in the backseat to spoil, now would we?” Mettaton flashed him yet another dazzling smile, so dazzling that his teeth were beginning to hurt.

Why did he lie?

Papyrus gasped. “Golly! I’d nearly forgotten that that was still there!”

Mettaton paid no attention to this as he daintily got out of the car. He needed some time alone, to think, to do.

“Well, Papyrus, it’s been fabulous to have you escort me here.” Mettaton turned to face him once more.

“Nyeh heh heh! It has been a pleasure to drive you!” And he did look happy, his smile somehow even wider, if that was humanly possible. What was he, a skeleton? Mettaton snorted at the thought of it.

“No, really. Thank you.” Mettaton met his eyes. He may not have been a big fan of Papyrus, but the advice was helpful.

“You are very welcome! I would be glad to escort you anytime, and to give you advice as well!”

“Well, I really should get going, dear. Goodnight.” He gave a little wave, and Papyrus did the same.

“Goodnight!”

***

Mettaton walked into school with a purpose the next morning. There were very un-Mettaton like bags under his eyes, and his hair was sticking up everywhere.

He carried a bag in his hand, and, oddly enough, a large, red, swollen lump was on the hand he carried the bag with.

He walked all the way to the auditorium, where, sure enough, Muffet sat, looking slightly down cast, but nonetheless Muffet.
.
Mettaton lightly tapped on the doorframe with his knuckles, getting Muffet’s attention.

“May I come in?”

 

“Club hours are after school, dearie. I suggest you leave.” Muffet gave him a creepy smile, her eyes glinting with anger.

“It’s actually...not about the club, darling. I have something to give you.” Mettaton held out the bag, hoping and praying this would work.

“I think you’ve already given me enough, dearie.” Muffet reached into her bag, and oh my god was that-?

It was Cupcake’s corpse.

Mettaton willed himself not to throw up and recited the lines he’d prepared for himself mentally, then said them out loud.

“Well, before I give you this glamorous gift, I’m feeling famished! And quite parched, as well! If only there was some way I could get a wonderful homemade set of treats…!” He then proceeded to wiggle out fifty dollars from his pocket.

He’d found twenty in the dump, and had taken the thirty from the tip jar once more (whoever tipped that day had tipped BIG!)

He knew it was wrong, but he convinced himself what he had done the night before was wrong as well.

And you know what they say, two wrongs make a right! Or was it don’t make a right….?

Muffet narrowed her eyes at him, and practically shoved a jug of spider cider and a spider donut into his arms, snatching the money so fast he got a paper cut.

“Thank you for your donation, sir. Will that be all?” Her tone was nasty and cold. Okay, time for plan B.

“No, it will not! Ta daa!” He handed her the bag. Curiosity won Muffet over, and she opened it, pulling out a small tank with a...baby tarantula inside?

She gasped, and then looked up at him. “How…?”

“I dug through the dump. I found it in some freezer with astronaut food, and then it bit me. I figured it could be somewhat of a replacement for Cupcake.” Mettaton gestured to the red lump on his hand. “So-o-o…forgive me? Oh, I already know you have, you don’t need to say it!” He smirked. How could she not after such an awesome present?

“Nice try, dearie. Get out.” Muffet suddenly seemed to switch moods and pointed to the door impatiently.

Oh, right. She probably wanted an apology of some sort. The thing was, Mettaton had never been very good at apologizing, either due to his huge ego or just the fact that it was a hard thing in general to do.

“Well. This is a lot harder than I anticipated it to be. I’m sorry, darling. I shouldn’t have lead you on like that. It was wrong and I feel like a grade-A jerk. I also probably shouldn’t have killed your pet eventhoughitwasthemostdisgustingthingIhaveeverseen.” Mettaton said this last part so fast Muffet couldn’t even understand it, and for this he was grateful.

He wasn’t done yet, though.

“But I implore you to reconsider me joining this club, darling. I wouldn’t be a bad addition, I have more talent than this entire school can handle. And there’s a cooking club you can join, if anything.” Mettaton hesitantly tacked this on to the edge of his apology, hoping Muffet wouldn’t find this tacky.

She did.

“And give up my funding? Ahuhuhu, you must take me for a fool!” Muffet laughed, and began to walk away from him.

“Oh, darling, I suppose I’ll just have to find another person to sell treats at the concession stand during our meetings…” He sighed dramatically.

“I’m listening.” Muffet turned right back around. “Yet it still seems to me you’re being stingy. If you really want the club this badly, you’ll have to do more to earn it.” She giggled, arms crossed.

Stingy?! Mettaton wanted to take back the fifty dollars he’d given her and go spend it on some cute wedges he’d seen at the mall the other day (they were pink and had bows on them!) but he didn’t. Instead, he gave in to desperation.

“And a quarter of our funding…?”

“It’s a deal, dearie. The club is officially yours. I’ll tell Principal Asgore you’re the new leader now, and move onto the baking club as well. Ahuhuhu~!” Muffet shook his hand, and Mettaton inwardly felt that it would be a feat to perform a play with a quarter less of the school’s very small funding. He wouldn’t let this ruin the moment, though.

“Fabulous! Thank you very much, you’ve made my day!”

But staring at this girl who seemed to talk to no one but her spiders, and also seemed to be written off as creepy by everyone, he felt a flash of pity.

“Actually, from one former club leader to the other, how would you feel about going shopping together sometime? As friends, of course.”

Muffet smiled at him, a real smile, and nodded. “I’d love to~”

Years and years later, Mettaton would one day look back on this day as the day he had made a new friend.

And lost a quarter of his club’s funding, but whatever.

Chapter Text

It was early in the morning.

Or maybe it was later, it was hard to tell.

The light pitter patter of rain on the roof alerted a certain someone that he’d be needing an umbrella on his walk to school this morning, and most likely some rain boots as well.

Regardless, Mettaton yawned and opened his eyes, ready to start yet another day at school.

Ow.

Ow ow ow.

Mettaton felt somewhat of a numbing pain in his right arm, which was in an odd position, tucked under his back.

Great. It was the sort of pain that only got worse and worse as the day went on, since he’d apparently slept on it funny.

Not to mention the red welt-or-whatever-it-was on his hand from being bit my Muffet’s newest pet.

Mettaton liked to consider himself quite the eager and energetic individual, which wasn’t wrong. He tried to be as peppy and self-motivated as possible, seeing as there was no point in being morose about certain situations like certain members of his family.

Certainly.

Yet when it came to waking up early, that was where the trouble always began. Unfortunately, Mettaton came from a family of very heavy sleepers, whether some great cousin of his had it and passed it onto other relatives, he just didn’t know.

Blessed be, he did not have narcolepsy, but rather a stubborn attitude and a knack for sleeping way longer than the average person should at night. So to fix this problem, Mettaton always set multiple alarms on his phone to prevent sleeping well into the afternoon.

But judging from the time on his phone (seven AM!) it had failed to go off.

It took quite a few minutes for Mettaton to realize two things, which were:

If he didn’t get his crap together and get dressed pronto, he was going to be ridiculously late to school today, seeing as Riverperson was probably accommodating other late students to school, and the walk from Waterfall to New Home was rather long.
He was supposed to pick up Alphys today.

Make no mistake, Mettaton did not have some form of transportation that would allow him to speed to Hotland, pick up Alphys, and go.

But on Tuesdays they liked to walk together, since on Tuesdays Alphys liked to stop by their favorite little cafe (okay, it was Starbucks) and pick up breakfast for the two of them, and, occasionally, a black coffee for Undyne.

Mettaton would usually stop by Alphys’s street and wait for her to meet him at a particular lamp post which was always covered in posters for lost pets (and a poster typed in a goofy font for an abandoned quiche to be returned to its owner?) and by then she’d already have picked up their breakfast, and would be on her way back and to the lamp post.

From there they would walk to school.

What if Alphys was already waiting for him at the lamp post, holding his danish and coffee? And then thought he’d abandoned their routine?

Or, wait…

WHAT IF HE DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO GET READY???

Mettaton dashed to the bathroom, made himself up in a flying frenzy of toothpaste, concealer and water, and then proceeded to quickly analyze which outfit would look best on him and put it on.

“Blooky! Maddy! Would you two be dears and hand me my-” Mettaton paused in the middle of his sentence and realized his two cousins weren’t even there. In fact, they’d probably already left for school.

“They didn’t even bother to try and wake me up!” He hissed, spraying on a layer of his raspberry scented perfume and marching downstairs.

Unfortunately, the umbrella they all shared when it was raining was not in its usual place besides the door, meaning only one thing.

“They took it!” Mettaton groaned and flopped on the couch. He was ready to start dramatically sobbing and writing in his diary, when a sharp knock sounded through the house.

Someone was at the door.

Sighing, he opened it, and was met by a flustered looking Alphys, who had a coffee stain down her front.

She was holding a bright yellow umbrella, one of those cup holder things with drinks inside it, and a large pink box.

“Y-You weren’t at the lamp post s-so I started worrying that you w-were sick or something so I came here b-but it, uh, looks like you’re fine now! So! I’ll just leave! Since! You! Aren’t sick! Sorry to bother you and- uh, are y-you okay?” Alphys managed to say this all in one breath, but stopped speaking when she saw Mettaton trembling before her.

“Uh, maybe I should-”

“Oh, Alphy, you have no IDEA what I’ve been through! And the day’s only started!” He made a noise between a gasp and a sob, and then threw his arms around her in a grateful hug.

“M-Mettaton, be careful! The coffee’s hot!” Alphys did her best to make sure they didn’t spill, as Mettaton backed away carefully.

“Whoops. Sorry, darling.” He smiled sheepishly at her. “Shall we get going? I’ll hold the umbrella.”

Alphys smiled gratefully at him and handed him the umbrella, as they walked out of his house (or rather, door frame) and to school. Mettaton somehow managed to explain the perils of waking up late when your cousins so rudely are of no help, and Alphys sympathetically agreed that waking up late wasn’t very fun at all.

“A-actually, I used to have a r-really big problem with that back in middle school, remember?” Alphys looked up at him, her glasses a little smeared from the raindrops that had fallen on them.

“Yes, I remember. You even came to school with a piece of toast in your mouth, wearing your Mew Mew Kissy Cutie pajama bottoms.” Mettaton mused fondly, thinking of how red faced and sweaty she’d been when she’d burst into their language arts class, gasping and asking if she was late (she was.)

Her face took on a similar shade of red now, her seeming to remember that mortifying moment as well. “Uh, yeah...t-that was pretty embarrassing!” But then she smiled confidently, a rare look for her, but Mettaton loved it when she wore it, and said, “I-I’ve gotten much better now, though! I-instead of regular alarms, I-I just set the Mew Mew Kissy Cutie theme song to play instead!”

“Ooh, Mew Mew saves the day yet again~” Mettaton teased her. “Does she also spill coffee down her front while picking up her friends?” While a little mean, it was a question Mettaton wanted to know the answer to.

“I, uh, tripped over a rock…” Alphys mumbled, embarrassed he’d noticed. She came to a stop next to Gerson’s store, confusing Mettaton. What, did she want some salty tea too?

“Why are we here, Alphys? Aren’t we already running late enough as it is?” Mettaton asked impatiently, tapping his foot. In reality, it was his fault they were late, but he didn’t seem to remember this little detail now. “I have announcements, you know.”

“I-I know that!” Alphys looked away, and he couldn’t help but feel slightly bad. He’d hurt her feelings. “W-we’re just waiting for someone…” Her voice trailed off, seeing Mettaton’s look of horror.

“Wait a minute...you have three drinks in that cup holder…” He pointed to it, and looked at Gerson’s shop. “And we’re here, so that can only mean…”

“‘SUP, PUNKS?!” Undyne practically leapt through the little window of the shop, her book bag slung over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes.

Mettaton groaned and slammed his head against the wall multiple times, but stopped because it was messing up his hair.

And it hurt, he guessed.

“Bye, Gerson!” Undyne called through the window, and turned to face them.

“Not you.” Mettaton rolled his eyes. “Just what I need first thing in the morning.”

“Hey, I could say the same for you! Hey, babe.” Undyne leaned in and gave Alphys a little kiss, making her look redder than a tomato with bad acne.

“You didn’t tell me she was coming!” Mettaton gestured to Undyne, who looked like she was about to sock him in the face if he kept complaining about her presence.

“W-well, you didn’t tell me you’d be late this morning,” Alphys frowned. She hated the fact that her girlfriend and her best friend just couldn’t get along.

“And I’m her girlfriend, jerk!” Undyne added, and they started to walk once more, Mettaton sulking and pouting.

He knew it was rather childish and immature, but it wasn’t his fault if Undyne was so...Undyne! She seemed to hate him, but what good reason did she have? Besides the piano incident…

Alphys noticed his downcast demeanor, and did her best to cheer him up. “M-Metta, guess what I got you two?”

“What?” He muttered.

“T-those fall drinks you seem to like-”

“Pumpkin Spice Lattes?!” Mettaton gasped, and immediately snatched one from the cup holder as Alphys could nod (even though he was lactose intolerant.)

“They’re already selling those? September literally just started.” Undyne picked up her drink and stared critically at it.

“They’re selling it because it’s fall!” Mettaton singsonged, now joyfully skipping and drinking the latte. “And with fall comes delicious drinks and a-dor-able fashions!”

“Um, it’s still summer? Shut up???” Undyne glared at him, still not taking a sip of her drink, but instead taking a bite out of a chocolate frosted donut (the pink box turned out to contain a dozen donuts Alphys had gotten from a bakery, thankfully not spider donuts.)

Mettaton, however, wasn’t listening. “Cute boots and scarves! Beautiful fall aesthetic outfits everywhere on everyone! Oh, Alphys darling, we just HAVE to go to the mall after school today!” He gushed, eyes sparkling.

He loved the fall, every part about it! Alphys was used to this, and just smiled and shook her head, happy that her friend was happy.

“Don’t you have detention today?” Undyne smirked, knowing that would most likely shut him up.

“You’re just jealous because you refuse to accept that summer is over!” Mettaton stuck his tongue out at Undyne, causing her to give him one of her angry looks, teeth bared.

“Al, is it fall or summer?!” Undyne and Mettaton both looked at Alphys, who seemed to be cracking under this pressure. She took out her phone, and with nervous, shaking hands, looked this up.

“T-Technically, it’s fall…” She spoke carefully after reading the answer from her phone, so as to not upset Undyne, although the chances of Undyne getting angry at Alphys were vene less likely than if Mettaton suddenly sprouted butterfly wings and took to the sky, leaving them behind, a dream he’d had in third grade (he remembered it fondly now, “Goodbye Blooky! Goodbye Maddy! I won’t ever forget youuuuu!”)

“Dammit!” Undyne threw her hands in the air, as Mettaton laughed. “Well, it doesn’t matter! As long as I believe, summer will stay in my heart! FOREVER!” She declared, with the power of a million dramatic anime protagonists.

“Um...y-yeah! As long as you believe! A-aren’t you gonna drink that?” Alphys pointed to the latte that was still in Undyne’s hands, undrank.

“No way! It’s probably filled with fairy sparkles and glitter dust if he likes it. And I only drink the tears of my enemies!!! And tea.” Undyne added as an afterthought, seeming to calm down a little.

Mettaton’s expression was one of shock, disgust, and horror.“There is nothing wrong with fairy sparkles and glitter dust, I’ll have you know! Or this drink, for that matter.” He stuck his nose in the air haughtily, with a tiny smile now forming on his lips. “I suppose you’re just not up to the challenge of breaking through your preconceived notions about fall.”

“Challenge? What challenge?! I’ll show you!” And with one mighty swig, Undyne had emptied her cup of the delicious drink, at a rate that would have surely ensured a burnt tongue. But Undyne was Undyne, and all she did was give Mettaton a wide, toothy grin.

“Told you I could do it, punk!”

“Oh, really? And how did you like it?” Mettaton inquired, spinning on his heel to look at her. They were halfway through Hotland now.

“It was, uh...whatever! It doesn’t matter!” Undyne tossed her cup onto the ground before sheepishly picking it up again and putting it in a nearby recycling bin. She couldn’t stand doing any harm to the planet. Yet there was a certain uncertainty in her tone that gave away she very , did clearly like the drink.

“Sure, darling. I’ll take your word for it.” He winked, and continued walking besides Alphys, who was attempting once more to ensure her girlfriend and best friend didn’t fight.

“S-so, what should we do with the leftovers?” Alphys nodded towards the donut box, which still had quite a few of the delicious pastries left.

Mettaton picked up a jelly donut, and, upon inspection, deemed it not too powdery to eat, and promptly crammed part of it into his mouth with a shrug. Meanwhile, Undyne seemed to be thinking hard.

“I know! We’ll give the rest to Asgore! He’s gonna love it!” Undyne said confidently, flicking her fire red ponytail behind her back.

“What? So we won’t get detentions for being late?” Mettaton rolled his eyes. They were really testing the clock here. While they still had some time left, it wasn’t much, and one of the teachers was bound to give one of them a detention.

“NO! Because he deserves them! Asgore is awesome!” Undyne spat out defensively.

“But also so we won’t get detentions, right?”

“...Shut up! NGAHHHH!”

 

***

The trio managed to get to school approximately two minutes before the bell rung. For Mettaton, this wasn’t particularly troubling, since all he had to do was waltz on over to the office to read the announcements (he was still preparing a new and improved script), but for people like Undyne and Alphys, this was pretty horrid, since their classes were very far from the entrance of the school.

All was well until he strolled into his Algebra 2 class, and sat down. He had planned to spend the class time secretly texting Alphys on his phone (hidden behind his textbooks, of course!), yet this didn’t seem likely to happen.

As soon as his back touched the chair, his teacher turned to him and gave him a rather nasty glare. “Detention, Mister Happstablook!” He declared rather dramatically (Mettaton would have been impressed if not for the use of his dead name.)

“Why?” Was all Mettaton could think to say. Was it a crime to be fabulous in class or something?

“Well, you were expected to serve one yesterday, due to your attitude problem, yet you never showed up. Do you have a reason as to why you failed to come?”

Mettaton groaned. How could he have forgotten? Instead of staying after school last night, he’d painted his nails a light shade of pink, and they looked rather pretty. Mettaton waggled his fingers out in front of him, smiling at his handiwork. They sparkled like diamonds!

“I was painting my nails.” Mettaton then thrust his hand in front of his teacher’s face, who did not looked amused. Mettaton didn’t care. “See how absolutely beautiful they are? Like little pink pearls on my finger tips!” He exclaimed proudly, and a few classmates even leaned forward to see.

“I-” His teacher was practically foaming at the mouth, “Do not care-” The teacher pushed his hand down. Mettaton frowned, “-About your pedicure!”

“It’s actually called a manicure, darling. And technically I wouldn’t even call this that, since I didn’t file or trim them or anything, I just painted them-”

“Detention. After school. No excuses.” The teacher gave him a red hot glare that could have melted ice, and then turned to the whiteboard. “As for the rest of class, can anybody tell me how to…”

The rest of whatever he was saying turned into static in Mettaton’s brain. He slumped down in his chair and distractedly chewed on one of his nails.

It felt like he was suffocating.

 

***

“So there you two are.”

Mettaton stormed towards Blooky and Maddy, who were both standing in front of Maddy’s locker, chatting.

“What is it now, Happy?” Maddy groaned, rolling their eyes in a way that suggested Happy was being a bother.

“Do you see this?” Mettaton pointed at his shirt, a deep frown on his face. Blooky and Maddy squinted, not quite sure what they were supposed to be looking at.

“Uh...it’s a pretty shirt, Happy...if that’s what you mean…” Napstablook spoke reluctantly, staring at the pastel pink shirt Mettaton was wearing.

“Not all that pretty, if you ask me.” Maddy rolled their eyes and turned back to their locker, grabbing a rather beat up looking textbook and a chewed up pencil.

“Would you two look closer for once?” He hissed, making Blooky wince and Maddy open their mouth, about to yell. However, Maddy never got the chance to, since he cut them off.

“It is a wrinkle, my dear cousins. Do you want to know why it’s there?”

“Would you hurry the hell up and tell us, instead of playing your little mind games like you always do?!” Maddy’s voice was rising in level quickly.

“It’s because I wore this shirt last weekend! I wouldn’t have worn such an utterly used shirt to school today if you two had bothered to wake me up instead of leaving me to rot! I almost missed the morning announcements!” Mettaton dug his nails into his palms. Today was turning out to be the worst day of his life, no thanks to his cousins.

“No one even listens to that crap, anyway!” Maddy was yelling now, causing quite a few students to look their way. Blooky’s eyes were swimming with tears, and they were mumbling something no one could hear.

Maddy had struck a nerve.

“You don’t know that!”

“Yes, I do! You just think people do because all you want is approval from them! And you know what I think?” Maddy stepped forward, so close that their noses were practically touching.

“Oh, you can think?” Mettaton gave a snooty little laugh, trying to cover up the fact that he was resisting the urge to yell and grit his teeth, just as Maddy was right now.

“I think it’s a load of crap! Face it, Happy, the only reason you’re being such a drama queen right now is because you can’t use your clothes to fish for compliments with!”

“I do NOT fish for compliments!”

“But we...we tried to wake you up...oh no...I’m sorry…” Blooky spoke, their voice quivering and meek. Large tears leaked from their eyes to the floor, making somewhat of a puddle. (Mettaton would briefly wonder if Blooky had enlarged tear ducts or was just really, really sad at the time.)

“You did?” Mettaton couldn’t help but sound surprised; he’d been out like a light.

“Of course we did, dummy! Shook you awake and everything!” It was apparent Maddy had backed down, possibly only because they’d seen how surprised their cousin was at this new information.

“Well...well...you didn’t leave the umbrella! I almost got soaked!” Mettaton’s tone had now become more whiny, and he felt rather childish by bringing this point up. But he felt the need to grasp onto whatever straws he could get.

“But you didn’t, did you?” Maddy grunted, arms crossed and foot tapping.

“I’m sorry...we just didn’t want to get soaked either...we left you a poncho on the table, though…” Blooky looked down at their feet, adorned with a pair of cheap, dirty white sneakers they’d gone to the dump to find, since shoes cost too much money.

Mettaton felt a flash of pity, at both this statement and the memory of that day. It had been about two months ago, on a rather humid day in Waterfall. The three of them had been walking to Shyren’s house (Maddy had agreed to come rather reluctantly) when Mettaton had noticed a hole on the tip of Blooky’s worn out sneakers.

Of course, when Mettaton pointed this out, they were shocked to learn that these shoes Napstablook had been wearing were too small for them. In fact, that hole had been made months prior, meaning the shoes had been too small for about a year.

Blooky had explained that they knew shoes cost far too much (years and years after high school, Mettaton would still wonder why shoes cost that much, since they were practically essential to live with) and with the salary their family was making at the snail farm, they wouldn’t be able to afford new ones anytime soon.

Mettaton’s face had burned in embarrassment when he’d heard this, and Maddy had gritted their teeth, but they all knew it to be true.

They couldn’t even afford shoes.

It had been Mettaton’s idea to go to the dump, where Maddy had found the pair of sneakers.

They were clearly worn out, and pretty dirty as well, but they had been Blooky’s size, and with some baby wipes and soap, they were as good as new (although today they were dirty once more, due to the mud the rain had left.)

Mettaton still wondered who had owned those shoes. Someone Blooky’s age, most likely. Were they once in style, a trendy, desirable thing to have? He tried to picture them in a store, in a glass display case, shiny and new. They’d probably cost a lot at the time.

Had the person who’d owned them thrown them away once they outgrew them? Or had they thrown them away once someone, maybe a cousin or friend, had pointed out they were no longer cool to wear?

Mettaton felt ashamed that he would most likely stop wearing something once it wasn’t in style. He remembered when jeggings were the coolest thing to wear, and he’d received a pair from Shyren for his birthday in middle school. He’d worn them with pride for about a month, until cutoff jeans were in and jeggings were out.

He’d put them in the back of the drawer and hadn’t worn them since.

Was he really as desperate for validation as Maddy said?

“I...I’m sorry. I didn’t realize.” Mettaton sighed, looking at his cousins. He felt embarrassed now, he’d made such a big deal out of nothing! Either way, he’d made it to school on time, safe and dry, and his cousins had done everything they could to wake him up.

“Oh...it’s alright…” Blooky gave him a small smile, just glad things were back to normal, for the time being.

“Whatever, Happy.” Maddy grunted, and Mettaton knew they weren’t really mad at him anymore, or at least were willing to pretend they weren’t.

“You two-” Mettaton wrapped his arms around the two of them, “-are the most fabulous cousins-” he gave them both a kiss on their cheeks, “-ever!”

Napstablook giggled, while Maddy tried to get Mettaton off, but to no avail.

“Quit it, Happy!”

“You know you love me.” He grinned.

“Yeah, yeah.” And Maddy really did, along with Blooky. The three cousins stood there for a few seconds, until someone cleared their throat behind them and walked into view.

It was Alphys.

Mettaton immediately broke apart from his cousins. It wasn’t that he never did this, it was just that he didn’t usually do this in front of people. What if when people saw him giving them a hug, they immediately recognized one of them as someone who worked at the snail farm, and made the connection that they all did?

As ashamed as he was to admit it to himself, he didn’t want to be known as part of the family that fug through the dump for shoes.

Of course, Alphys knew they were related, which relaxed Mettaton a bit when he realized it was just her. Still.

“U-uh, hi, Napstabook, Madstablook,” Alphys tried her best to give them a smile, but it was clear how uncomfortable she was. She’d met them once before, briefly, but still felt awkward around them, since they were still practically strangers to her.

Napstablook looked away again, and Madstablook gave a grunt of acknowledgement.

“I-I just came t-to see if you wanted to give those donuts I bought to A-Asgore. Undyne’s already waiting near his office.” Alphys explained, turning to Mettaton, who clapped his hands together with a smile.

“That would be absolutely lovely!” He nodded, and briefly looked at his two cousins, who were now standing there as awkwardly as Alphys, not quite sure what to do with themselves.

He considered, just for a second, inviting them to come. They’d chat with Asgore, drop the donuts off, and leave.

But then he’d have to introduce them to Undyne and Asgore, explaining how they were related.

And he just didn’t think he could do that.

“Well...goodbye, darlings! See you at lunch.” Mettaton flashed a winning smile at them, and walked off with Alphys to Asgore’s office.

As much as he wanted to, he just couldn’t allow them to be part of his second life.

***

Students were running around in every direction, tossing pencils up in the air and greeting their friends with a certain refreshing, youthful enthusiasm.

Why?

It was the end of the day, of course.

With the way they were running around, you would have thought it was summer vacation.

Mettaton, however, did not run around or greet anyone, instead dramatically lugging himself to the room where detention was held. He wasn’t particularly happy about having to spend his after school hours in a cramped little room with juvenile delinquents who didn’t know how to correctly apply deodorant.

After pushing his way through the crowded school halls, he finally made it to the room. It appeared to be a Spanish classroom, judging by the poster on the door of it which read, “Aprender nuevos idiomas es muy bueno!” and below this, a picture of a stereotypical teenager (for the eighties, maybe) wearing baggy jeans, a backwards baseball cap, and sunglasses riding a skateboard.

He entered the classroom, where a tired looking teacher (he assumed it was a P.E coach, since he had a whistle and a red, unflattering tracksuit on) sat at the teacher’s desk, and gestured for him to come in.

“You’re here for detention?” The coach asked, and Mettaton immediately noticed how sweaty he was, and furthermore, how the whistle seemed to sink deep into his flabby neck folds.

“Of course, darling. I mean, why else would I be here?” Mettaton replied, making the coach roll his eyes and beckon him forth.

“Give me your slip.”

Mettaton did so, and the teacher looked at it, squinting his piggy eyes at it for a few good seconds, before looking up at him once more.

“What’s your name, son?” He asked, shifting in his chair.

“Mettaton-”

“That’s not what it says here.”

Mettaton wanted to ask why he even bothered to ask if he’d already read the slip, but decided against it, not wanting to stay here longer than he needed to. “It’s...It’s Happstablook.”

“Alright. Sit down somewhere until it’s time to go.” He ordered, and Mettaton glanced at the row of desks before them. No one was there.

Except for Undyne.

Mettaton smacked his hand against his forehead. Why her? Hadn’t he already suffered enough in the morning?

Undyne glared daggers at him from her seat across the room, which happened to be the last seat of the third row. She seemed to be erasing something on a paper.

Mettaton stuck his tongue out at her and went to sit at the farthest seat he could find from her, until he saw her smirking at this. Did she think he was too scared to sit in front of her?

Oh, he’d show her.

Mettaton sashayed over to the seat in front of her and sat there. “Hello, darling~” He winked at her, making Undyne get so angry she snapped the pencil she was holding in half.

“Don’t you call me darling, punk! It’s your fault I’m here!” She hissed.

“How is it my fault? I didn’t even know you had detention.” Mettaton faced her, and knew this was the wrong question to ask judging by the look on her face.

“If you hadn’t taken your sweet time getting up this morning, you wouldn’t have made me and my girlfriend late to class! My math teacher gave me a frickin’ detention! You’re gonna PAY!!!” Undyne thought of the unfairness of this situation and pounded the desk with her fists.

“I-”

“If you two are gonna keep talking, we can make your time in here much longer than it needs to be!” The coach called to them, and they both shut up, still seething with rage.

Undyne was so unfair! At times like this he would vent to Alphys, but-

In his pocket, he felt his phone buzz. Stealthily, he pulled it out onto his lap to hide it from their warden, and read the text message he’d gotten. It was from Alphys.

*Still on for mall today? We can get churros! ^.^

This made him feel even worse. Now he wouldn’t be able to drool over those gorgeous pink high heels in that one shop…

Minutes later, he found himself writing in his diary about the pain he was going through.

'Dear Diary,

I HATE MY LIFE!!!

Apparently it’s my fault the teachers here are total incompetent, self absorbed, horribly dressed people, because now I’m in detention for saying so! And Undyne’s stuck here with me, although I don’t even know why she’s being so salty about it.

When we gave Asgore those donuts, he told us there was nothing he could do to erase her and Alphys’s tardies. So it was inevitable she’d get detention!!!'

Mettaton paused to think about that moment. He remembered how pacified Undyne had seemed when Asgore had told them this, jelly in his beard. She wasn’t angry, but then again, who could really be angry at Asgore?

Students liked him, and they liked the fact that they liked their fuzzy pushover of a principal, who dressed up as Santa in the winter and talked to kids in the halls about anything and everything.

'I honestly haven’t a clue why she despises me so. I’m a perfect person! I’m fabulous, I can sing, I can dance-'

Suddenly, his desk started to vibrate slightly. He realized this was due to Undyne, who seemed to be doing homework. She was erasing something on her paper rather hard, and as a result her desk was rocking back and forth, moving Mettaton’s.

'I know who’s a winter and who’s an autumn makeup wise just by looking at them, I’m-'

The slight vibration of the desk turned into full on shaking. Undyne was erasing so hard there would be holes in the paper afterward.

'I’m going to have to stop writing this because UNDYNE won’t stop SHAKING MY DESK!

Love always,
Mettaton'

“Do you mind?!” Mettaton whipped around to face her.

“No, do you?” Undyne was smirking. He gasped at this sassy insult; only he was aloud to be sassy! However, he was dumbfounded, and just turned around once more, rummaging for something to do in his bag. He pulled out his makeup kit, and realized after such a long day, his makeup probably needed touching up.

So that was what he did. Yet just as he was puckering up his lips to apply his lipgloss-

The desk shook, and two meaty hands were gripping it. The coach was practically foaming at the mouth.

“Hey, pretty boy!”

“Well...I am quite pretty, aren’t I?” Mettaton managed to respond.

“This is detention, not fashion week!” The coach snarled, and was so close to Mettaton he could smell his breath. It smelled like meatloaf, with extra onions and ketchup.

Mettaton was about to throw up.

The coach seemed to be done with his lecture, and bounded off towards his desk once more, leaving Mettaton shocked and Undyne shaking from laughter.

***

Mettaton’s eyes lazily looked over the textbook in front of him. He was doing french homework, and, no surprise, still in detention.

While the question he was currently doing was easy for any student who paid attention (Is the word ‘the’ masculine or feminine?) he was not one of those students. He’d taken french thinking it was a sexy language, the language of love.

Instead it was as hard as learning morse code.

In his pink spiral notebook, he wrote, The word the in French isn’t necessarily masculine or feminine, it’s whatever it wants to be, and we should respect that, darling.

Just as he finished writing this, he felt something sharp poke the back of his neck.

He (for the hundredth time today) whirled around to see what had poked him.

It was Undyne, and she’d poked him with her pencil.

“What was that for?!” Mettaton rubbed the back of his neck furiously, and Undyne rolled her eyes.

“That didn’t even hurt that much! You’re weak as hell!” Undyne shook her head disapprovingly.

“I get it, darling. You’re obsessed with me, and I don’t blame you, I’m rather fabulous, but could you please not poke me in the back of my neck with a pencil to get my attention?” Mettaton then gave her a very forced smile. “Now! Was there something you needed?”

“Nevermind, punk! I don’t need the help of someone as full of himself as you!” Undyne clenched her fists.

“You don’t, do you? Is that why you resorted to stabbing me with your writing material?” Now Mettaton was the one smirking. He rested his elbows on Undyne’s desk and put his chin in his hands. “Just say the word, and I’ll help, darling~”

“...UGH! FINE! I’LL SAY IT!!!” Undyne yelled, and Mettaton sat there smugly, waiting. “...Please.” She grunted, and Mettaton smiled wide, clasping his hands together.

“Now that’s more like it! What do you need?”

“Have you read this?” She thrusted a thick book towards him, and Mettaton resisted the urge to laugh when he saw the title.

“Little Women?”

“It’s not funny! If you laugh, I’ll strike you down with it!” Undyne snatched the book back, clearly regretting her decision to ask Mettaton for help.

“Why are you reading it? I can’t imagine it’s a fun read.” Mettaton asked. “Also, you don’t seem like the reading type, darling. No offense.”

“Hey! I can be the reading type! Books are rad! They give you power! THE POWER OF KNOWLEDGE!!!” Undyne stood up on her desk and lifted her hands up in a powerful pose.

“While I’m loving the pose, where’d you get that from?” Mettaton snorted, finding it hard to believe Undyne came up with this on her own.

“It says it right there!” Undyne pointed to a poster on the wall, which read this exact statement, except with a guy on a surfboard, but, get this, the surfboard was a book and the waves were made of words.

How meta.

“Oh. Right. Well, are you going to answer my question or just stand there all day?” Mettaton raised an eyebrow, and Undyne sat down.

“Fine! They’re making me read it for remedial literature.” She admitted, dangling the book by its cover with her thumb and forefinger.

“And do you enjoy reading it?”

“NO! It suuuuuuucks!” Undyne groaned, tossing the book to him.

“I can tell. Do you think I could make even this bonnet look good?” Mettaton pointed to one of the women on the cover, who was wearing a head bonnet and a frumpy dress.

“C’mon! No one could make that look good.” Undyne said, although she sounded quite amused at the idea of Mettaton wearing a bonnet. “Unless you’re going for a baby look.”

“Ooh! New Halloween costume idea- a sexy, old timey baby.” Mettaton couldn’t stop himself from giggling at this, it was so, well, stupid.

“Fuhuhu! What about a sexy fish?” Undyne then puckered her lips and crossed her eyes in an impression of a fish.

“Sorry to tell you, darling, but I’ve got you beat. Consider- a sexy robot,” Mettaton said, and moved his arms slowly up and down. “Beep boop. Low...batteryyyy…”

“No way, no day! Sexy fish is still a better costume idea.” She shook her head. “I could even paint my body blue! It would be TOTALLY AWESOME! NGA-”

“Excuse me? I could wear shoulder pads and they’d be fashionably acceptable for once.” Mettaton said. How could a fish be remotely sexy?

“Whatever! Sexy costumes are lame!”

“They are not!” He gasped, this was a statement he took extreme offense to. How could Undyne not see the appeal of sexy costumes? This year, for example, he planned to dress as a sexy salad bowl.

Alphys had been shocked when he told her this idea, but he was convinced he could make it work.

“Are too!”

“Are not!”

“Are too!”

They went on like this for a while, until a loud growl practically shook the room. When they turned their heads to see what it was, they were shocked to find this sound was not a growl, but a snore. A snore coming from the coach.

“He snores like a bear,” Mettaton remarked, his face scrunched up in a disgusted expression.

“I want to snore like that!” Undyne said at the same time, a fire blazing within her eyes.

The two looked at each other, shocked the other could have such a different opinion, and then not so shocked. They were polar opposites, after all.

So they sat there in silence, not sure of what to do next. As the minutes ticked by on the clock, they were each acutely aware of how awkward the situation had become again.

Mettaton would glance at Undyne every so often, and she appeared to be sharpening her nails with… her teeth? Mettaton shuddered. Not only was this unsanitary, it was slightly scary as well.

Then again, what was he doing being scared of someone like Undyne? Sure, she seemed mean and rude (which, in his opinion, she was) but she also loved anime, and, most shockingly, was dating Alphys.

He knew this was a horrible thing to think, but it sounded worse out of context. It wasn’t that Alphys wasn’t worthy of Undyne, or the other way around, it was just an unexpected couple. Alphys was so shy and anxious, while he didn’t doubt that Undyne could be wearing a clown suit and still be utterly unself conscious.

Then, he came to a shocking realization, one he’d somewhat known for a long time, yet tried to deny.

He was jealous of Undyne.

How could she be so care free? How did she not care what others thought? Thinking back on it, was Undyne cool?

There was the fact that she was pretty much on every sports team, and not one person in the school wasn’t aware of her presence. Maybe that was just what she was, a presence. A presence to be aware of, a presence to feel and observe when around.

What did that make him?

Mettaton considered this all. No one noticed him, no matter how hard he tried. He ran the morning announcements, for crying out loud, and not one person even payed attention to how hard he worked!

Yet someone like Undyne could just waltz in and be her own obnoxious self, and get all the attention in the world.

She was so comfortable with herself, and Mettaton wanted that desperately.

How could he be comfortable with who he was? He knew this. He always knew the answer. It was to get a new-

“Hey. Punk.”

Did she seriously just interrupt his soul searching epic? He was getting somewhere! “What is it now?”

“Where’s your family from?” Undyne asked, sounding, shockingly enough, slightly interested in this question she’d brought up.

“Korea. Why?” Mettaton sat up straighter. He loved talking about himself, even if it was Undyne asking the questions.

“No! Which part?” Undyne sounded exasperated with him. Did she want to know what it was like there, or something? It wasn’t as if he could tell her, he’d been born here, in Ebott.

“South. In Seoul. Darling, while I am very smart, if you’re looking to get geography lessons from me, I’ll have to charge~” He gave her another world famous MTT brand wink, earning a groan from her.

“Then why do you sound british? Were you born in London or something?”

“Sound british? What do you mean?” Now Mettaton was just confused. What did that even mean?

“You have, like, sort of a british accent? And literally no one else in the school has one???” Undyne explained, but upon seeing Mettaton’s confused face, she rolled her eyes. “Seriously?! Look, it’s like- whatever- I’ll just show you-”

Undyne let down her hair and made it fall in front of her eyepatch. Then she took out her phone and put it on camera mode. “My name is Mettaton Whatever-Your-Last-Name-Is-I-Can’t-Remember! Blah blah blah, make up, blah blah blah, Hollywood, blah blah blah, OHHHHH YESSSS, blah blah blah, I’m a selfish, snotty jerk.” Undyne said in a horrible british accent.

Mettaton felt his face heat up, and stood up, knocking Undyne’s book off the desk. “Listen here, darling, I don’t know what your problem is with me, but I’ll have you know, I’m not as shallow and superficial as you have me made out to be.” He grabbed his things and began stuffing them in his bag.

He didn’t have to take this from anyone, especially loud and brainless people like Undyne.

“Oh, c’mon. You’re not seriously mad, are you?” Undyne put her hair back up. “I mean, it’s not like you’re totally unaware-”

“That you hate me for no good reasons? So what if I like fashion? Or make up? Or if I actually have goals instead of staying in remedial language arts classes like a certain someone I know?”

Now it was Mettaton who had struck a nerve.

“What did you just say?” Undyne growled and stood up. Now he knew he was in trouble.

I should just apologize, Mettaton thought, but he couldn’t bring himself to. He knew he was wrong, he knew he shouldn’t have said that (and what right did he even have to, when he was failing most of his classes?) but he had too much pride. While this was an issue most people had, not being able to admit they were wrong, it wasn’t wise to exercise it with someone like Undyne.

“You heard me.” He stuck his nose up in the air, and walked out of the classroom. In his stomach, he felt the sinking feeling of dread. He shouldn’t have said that. Now Undyne was probably going to tell Alphys, and Alphys would be sad that they weren’t getting along, and Undyne would be angry at him, or even worse, just ignore him completely.

Instantly, Mettaton thought of his date with Muffet. That night, he’d refused to apologize to Muffet, his pride and rather inflated ego getting in the way. Of course, he’d made it up to her later, but that was only for his own benefit.

Mettaton hated to admit this, but if his hopes and dreams hadn’t been at stake, Muffet would still be angry at him to this moment.

“Where do you think you’re going?!” Undyne was right behind him, and she was not happy. Mettaton did his best to ignore her and keep on walking down the hall.

Undyne wasn’t having this. She grabbed him by the shoulder and spun him around.

“Don’t touch me-” Mettaton moved to slap her hand away, but she’d already withdrawn it. Her face was red with anger and her fists were clenched. She was doing the best she could not to deck him across the face right now.

“Now it’s your turn to listen, punk,” She got up close to his face, so close Mettaton could see withered away scars across her face. “I don’t know what the hell your deal is. You know why I don’t like you, and it’s not because you like whatever crap you’re into. It’s because you’re selfish. You’re gonna deny it, but I know how people like you are. You’ll do whatever it takes to get what you want, no matter who it hurts.”

“I-”

“I’m not done yet! Maybe I went too far this time, and I’m sorry, I won’t do it again. But you know I’m right! You’ve blown off Alphys before, you’ve hurt her feelings before, you’re not a good friend. And you never even apologize! You just act like nothing’s wrong and you sweep it under some stupid pink rug! You’re a brat, and when you don’t get your way you make everyone miserable! And I don’t stand for that crap!”

Undyne started to walk away, but then paused to look back at him.

“Alphys deserves better.” She spoke, and then left, leaving him alone again.

Usually, Mettaton would have felt something after a lecture like that. Right now, though, he just felt numb. He wanted to get home, take a shower, and go to sleep, maybe paint his nails again.

Yes, that was what he was going to do.

“Mettaton!”

Papyrus ran up to him, waving his arms wildly. He seemed slightly sweaty, but happy. “Nyeh heh heh! I saw that!” He smiled (when was he not smiling?) and put his hands on his hips.

“O-oh! Hello, darling.” Mettaton mustered a watered down version of a smile. He really hoped Papyrus wasn’t talking about his little heart to heart with Undyne.

“You and Undyne were talking”-

Well.

“-I always knew you two would make the best of friends! Even though I’ve technically never seen you two hang out together. But you did mention the two of you were at least acquainted during our first meeting!”

Did Papyrus really remember such a miniscule detail? He wasn’t sure if that was slightly cool or incredibly weird. He decided to go with cool, just to save face.

“Oh my! You have an incredible memory, darling!” He winked (his right eye was beginning to hurt from all this winking.)

“Nyeh heh heh! Thank you! I have been told I have the memory of an elephant...mixed with a hundred year old cheetah.” Papyrus seemed very proud of himself, although Mettaton doubted anyone had told him this. “So, what were you and Undyne chatting about? Perhaps a mutual friend you share, one with incredible muscles and a name that rhymes with Dadyrus…?”

Papyrus seemed so happy, it was a bit hard to burst his bubble, even if Mettaton wasn’t sure what to make of him at this point. He was, well, weird, a bit loud, but he did give him a ride home and seemed to have a big heart, if anything. And he was funny, even if he didn’t mean to be.

Well, he might as well throw him a bone.

“Hmm...what were we talking about…?” Mettaton feigned forgetting this, tapping his chin carefully. “Well, darling, it was a certain someone named...Papyrus.”

“I knew it to be true!” Papyrus’s eyes lit up. “How could you not? My talent for cooking, my cool car-” he did have a cool car, Mettaton knew- “and the fact I am so very popular must have drawn the conversation towards me! Naturally.”

“Of course it did, darling. Speaking of you...why are you at school so late?” Mettaton tilted his head, genuinely confused.

“I was speaking with Principal Asgore, of course! We were discussing my schedule so far.” Papyrus said, with a certain air of confidence. He must have thought it was cool to speak to Asgore.

“Oh? And how are you liking your classes so far?”

“They are great! Just like me! Although I’m getting a schedule change, due to the fact that they seemed to have mixed up some of the classes I wanted to be in.”

“Well, hopefully that will all get sorted out. There’s nothing more dreadful than a class you for sure you don’t want to be in.” Mettaton shook his head. “Also, I’d like to thank you for the ride the other day. It was very helpful.” Mettaton still felt a little awkward bringing this up, but he might as well, right? It could be a great segway out of this conversation and to his house.

“No, do not thank me! While my actions were heroic and up to par with those of any great superhero, I was only doing my civic duty! There is nothing else I’d rather be doing than helping out a friend!” And he really did look this way, as if it was a great pleasure to help Mettaton out.

“My, how gentlemanly! However, I insist on repaying you, darling. How about I…” Mettaton racked his brain for an idea, something to give to Papyrus and get him home, “...buy you a soda from the vending machines outside?”

Papyrus seemed to consider this, and then nodded. “While I do not advocate drinking unhealthy sugary sludge, that machine sells great bottled water!”

Mettaton found this to be strange. Who buys bottled water instead of soda? But he didn’t argue with this, and the pair walked outside to the front of the school. On the side of the building, there were two vending machines, which Mettaton planned to buy from.

Only, when they reached the side of the building, Mettaton stopped dead in his tracks for two reasons.

1.He remembered he didn’t have any money.

2.Undyne was standing right there, buying a Coke.

“Undyne! I had no idea you’d be also in the exact same spot that we happen to be in at the exact same time!” Papyrus sounded absolutely delighted, while Mettaton would rather wear mismatched flannel than this.

“Heya, punk!” Undyne threw an arm around Papyrus, looking pleased as punch.

“I heard you and Mettaton were talking about me earlier in the hallway! I don’t blame you, I am very great. I was going to say hi, but you left so quickly!” Papyrus exclaimed, trying to stop Undyne from giving him a noogie.

Undyne then shot the most poisonous glare at Mettaton, more than the one in detention, or the one this morning. But the look also held some confusion. They hadn’t been talking about him at all.

Mettaton gave her a slightly forlorn look that clearly told her he’d been lying. Her expression softened slightly.

“Well, duh! Why wouldn’t we be talking ‘bout the coolest guy around?” Undyne succeeded in noogieing him, while he struggled to break free.

“Nyeh! Do not noogie the great Papyrus!” Yet he was laughing, so it was fine. “By the way, Undyne-”

Undyne’s expression changed from one of laughter to one of dread.

“-did you figure out when the tryouts are for the fencing team? Or perhaps the wrestling team? Or-”

“Uh, they’ll be posted next week.” She said hastily and let him go. Mettaton couldn’t help but wonder why she sounded so resigned. He knew for a fact she was always looking for new teammates.

“Didn’t you say that last week?” Papyrus asked. Undyne looked as if she were struggling to think of an answer, so Mettaton came to her defense.

“Undyne, darling, didn’t you tell me they had to push back tryouts due to rain?”

“What? No I didn-”

Mettaton shot her a look of his own, and Undyne’s face lit up. She knew.

“Uh...I mean, totally!!! Yep! They totally did!!!” She grinned like an idiot and nodded her head so hard it looked like it would fall off. It was clear she didn’t like lying to her friends.

“Oh! Then I’ll just show up to next week’s.” Papyrus seemed slightly deflated, but Mettaton was sure he could walk it off. “I’d better be going now! I have to cook dinner tonight, since Sans is too lazy to do it himself! What would he ever do without such a cool brother like me looking after him?”

It was a good thing he had forgotten about the water bottle.

Undyne and Mettaton both waved and said their goodbyes as Papyrus left. When he did, Mettaton faced her and smirked. “I know, I know, you want to thank me. There’s no need, darling.”

“I-I wasn’t going to thank you! You don’t deserve any thanks!” Undyne chugged her Coke and let out a loud belch.

“Well, why did you lie to Papyrus, then? I know for a fact you hold tryouts every other day.” Mettaton said pointedly, and Undyne sighed deeply, stressed out.

“I...I’m not trying to lie to him, alright?! It’s not that I don’t want him to be on the team! He’s actually pretty freaking athletic! He just doesn’t…” Undyne was at a loss for words.

“I’m guessing if you went up against some other school, he’d put too much trust in the opponents?” Mettaton pursed his lips.

“Exactly! Papyrus is awesome! But he’s just too nice! He doesn’t know people can play dirty, how mean they can be! Plus, people are counting on us to win these games. And I know he can if he tries, but…” Undyne trailed off and stared at the ground.

“You can’t protect him forever, you know? One day-”

“He’ll get ripped into little smiling shreds? Not gonna happen.” Undyne crushed the soda can with her fist. “I’ve been training him, sort of. I teach him how to cook.”

“What does that have to do with your little sports-ball games?” Mettaton asked.

“They’re not called sports-ball! And… I’m giving him a hobby! He has big dreams too, you know? And I just want him to have a second option, in case...in case he really does get ripped apart.” Undyne admitted.

“I say you let him do what he wants. He won’t hurt anyone chasing after it.” Mettaton folded his arms. In his opinion, Undyne wasn’t being very fair.

He expected Undyne to fight him on this. But she didn’t. Instead, she looked away.

“I know.”

The two stood there in silence for a moment. Golden sunlight poured down on them, since it was late afternoon. Virtually no one was at school besides them.

Mettaton felt bad.

“I’m sorry-”

“I know that, too. You didn’t mean it. And I didn’t mean to be a total jerk, either!” Undyne was getting all worked up, not in the emotional way, but in the about-to-make-another-speech way. “I still don’t think I’m wrong about what I said in the hall, though! But it needed to be said, alright?! I don’t want you hurting anyone! Not Alphys, not even Papyrus! Just ‘cause you have dreams doesn’t mean you hurt everyone around you! Just ‘cause you have dreams doesn’t mean you abandon people! Got it, punk?!”

The wind was dramatically blowing in Undyne’s hair, making her ponytail flick back and forth like a flame. She wasn’t angry, no, she was passionate.

“I won’t, darling.” Mettaton spoke. He meant it.

“Good! And just because we had this talk doesn’t mean we’re all buddy-buddy, alright?!”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Mettaton winked, and Undyne couldn’t help but smile. After she left, Mettaton stared at a cluster of golden flowers growing in a patch of grass.

Undyne, and even Muffet, had made him think. Maybe he could keep both the people he considered important to him and his dreams close. He would try his best.

Deep down, Mettaton knew this was yet another lie.

Chapter Text

“So, I’m thinking for Halloween this year, I’m a sexy salad, and you’re the sexy dressing.”

Mettaton and Alphys were idly chatting near Alphys’s locker. Mettaton was texting with one hand, and using the other to rummage through his bag.

“Um, a-actually-” Alphys mumbled, but Mettaton put a finger to her lips.

“I know what you’re thinking, darling. And don’t worry! I’ve got you covered. You don’t have to be ranch dressing. Honey mustard is just fine.” Mettaton gave her a warm smile. “Lord knows ranch dressing smells of feet anyway.”

“That’s, uh, n-nice of you, but that isn’t what I-”

“Could you be a darling and get my perfume for me?” Mettaton practically shoved his bag into her hands. Alphys went through it and handed him a round, pumpkin shaped perfume bottle. Mettaton immediately sprayed it all over him, and the scent of pumpkin pie wafted through the air.

“Do you like it? It’s totally fall scented. I just HAVE to be in with the seasons!” He spun around once, twice, three times, and then winked. “Do you want some, darling? It smells super good!”

“N-no thanks, but-”

“Well, lovely, you’re getting it. Now close your eyes.” Without much warning, Alphys was suddenly ambushed by a cloud of overly scented perfume. She doubled over, coughing, eyes watering.

“Doesn’t it smell absolutely fabulous?! Oh, there’s no need to thank me. You can thank me later, when we’re trick-or-treating, and everyone says how great you smell!” Mettaton gushed. Alphys was practically suffocating, but he just wrapped an arm around her and sighed happily. “Halloween is so-”

“I C-CAN’T GO TRICK-OR-TREATING WITH YOU THIS YEAR, METTATON!” Alphys yelled, having finally caught her breath. Mettaton’s eyes widened to the size of saucers. Who knew someone as tiny as Alphys could yell so loud?

People in the hallways turned to stare at them, and Alphys’s face turned bright red. “I-I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to yell, b-but I was getting kind of desperate.” She ducked her head, embarrassed at her little outburst.

Mettaton, however, was still in utter shock. Not so much at the screaming anymore (although it had made his heart beat faster) but at the fact Alphys wouldn’t be trick-or-treating with him this year!

You see, before the two had met, Mettaton had no one to impose his love of Halloween on. In his opinion, it was one of the best holidays. He could be someone else entirely, and no one would judge him at all. Madstablook and Napstablook, however, didn’t agree.

Maddy didn’t like all the walking Halloween involved, and Blooky didn’t like all the scary things, such as haunted houses, or even scary costumes.

So when Mettaton met Alphys, he was thrilled to find she was willing to dress up with him and go on a trick-or-treating spree. And it helped that Ebott got REALLY into Halloween. There was no house that wasn’t adorned with some sort of decorations, no person (besides his Debby Downer cousins) who didn’t celebrate in some way. Parents put up paper plate jack-o-lanterns their children had made, and everyone was happy.

So Mettaton was extremely confused as to why Alphys was breaking their tradition. Just because they were getting older didn’t mean that they still couldn’t celebrate!

“Is this about the costumes, darling? I know you weren’t exactly thrilled with the idea, but-”

“N-no, it’s not about the costumes, M-Mettaton,” Alphys said gently, not wanting to hurt his feelings (although that was a part of it she wasn’t very excited about. Each year, she wanted to go as Mew Mew, but Mettaton insisted they go with his idea, usually some absurd sexy thing, like a sexy whale. Yes, he was a control freak, but she didn’t want to make him unhappy on his favorite holiday.)

“Then what is it?” Mettaton crossed his arms, impatient. “This is very inconvenient, you know? My costume idea won’t look good without the dressing! Who eats salad without dressing?! Not to mention I’ll look utterly lonely if I go alone. Halloween is coming up very soon, Alphys!”

“W-well, the t-truth is, I-”

“WHO’S READY FOR THE SCARIEST NIGHT YOU’VE EVER HAD?!” Undyne yelled, wrapping her arms around Alphys from the behind.

“U-Undyne! I was just telling Mettaton about…” Alphys trailed off, giving him a sheepish smile.

“WE’RE GONNA GET SO SCARED WE PUKE!!!” Undyne declared, spinning her around happily.

“Does someone want to tell me what’s going on?” Mettaton groaned, and Undyne stopped spinning her girlfriend so she could explain.

“W-we were kind of, maybe going to watch sc-scary movies on Halloween,” Alphys explained, worrying the hem of her coat with her fingers. “I-I’m sorry Mettaton, I know you were really excited to go out this year, but I j-just sort of forgot.”

“Are you kidding? This is fabulous! There’s nothing I love more than a good scary movie marathon. Plus, we can always just go afterwards!” He exclaimed, positively beaming. “So, what time should I be arriving the night of?”

“Woah woah woah, time out!” Undyne put up her hands. “This is supposed to be a date, dude! A romantic one! We can’t puke together romantically if you’re also there puking!!!”

“Firstly, ew. Secondly, I know you two! You’ll just end up watching anime and eating ramen! But if I came, you could, oh, I don’t know, have a fabulous night out for once?” Mettaton rolled his eyes, not realizing he was becoming a major third wheel.

“Hey! We have fabulous nights out! We went to Pizza Hut just the other night!” Undyne said defensively. “We even bought the cheesy pasta!”

“W-well, it might be fun if you came along...then we could s-still go trick-or-treating!” Alphys slowly started to smile. It could be fun! Even if Mettaton was probably going to clash with Undyne. And still insist they dress sexy.

“See? There’s already the majority of the votes in my favor.” Mettaton said smugly.

“A majority? Only Alphys voted for you.” Undyne was more confused than annoyed at this point.

“I voted for myself,” Mettaton announced smugly. “So it counts.”

 

***

“Do you seriously have to do it on my vanity?”

Maddy, Blooky and Mettaton were in their shared bedroom, gathered around a large pumpkin. Maddy was carving out the stem of the poor thing, all on top of Mettaton’s vanity. Little bottles of perfume and drug store makeup were clattering to the floor.

“Hey, you’re the one who wanted decorations again this year, not me!” Maddy turned to glare at their cousin and went back to carving. They seemed a little too into it, if you asked Mettaton, with their satisfied grunts whenever they got a good cut and whatnot.

“Well, ex-cuuuse me for wanting to get into the spooky spirit!” Mettaton sniffed theatrically and held out his hand just in time to catch a tube of lipgloss that was about to roll off the vanity. Napstablook looked weary.

“Oh...I don’t think we should make the face too scary this year...it might scare...some people…” They mumbled and fiddled with a loose thread on their sweater.

“Well, since you’re not letting me carve the face I want into it this year, I’m sure it’ll be just peaches and gravy.” Maddy muttered. But it was for good reason! The previous year, Maddy had carved such a spooky face (at least in Blooky’s eyes) that Napstablook had refused to even go in the same room as the jack-o-lantern until Halloween was over.

Blooky was deciding the face this year.

“I still feel we should have spray painted it pink. It would have been so fabulous!” He was practically mourning over the lost possibilities of their pumpkin. They’d never have a glamourous one like he wanted, but instead…

“M-maybe we could...make it a...frowny face…? Unless you don’t want to....” Blooky suggested timidly, as Maddy finally got the stem off of the pumpkin and dumped the guts onto a thick layer of paper towels they’d placed on the floor before.

“A frowny face, Blooky? Are you sure? What about something else?” Mettaton put up with a lot of things from his cousins. But a frowny faced jack-o-lantern? That was so, well, saddening.

“Too late.” Maddy had already carved a crescent shaped frown in the pumpkin. The frown seemed to transfer onto Mettaton’s face. “Fabulous.” He sighed, and flopped in Blooky’s beanbag.

While he loved his cousins, sometimes they could be such drags.

In the end, the pumpkin looked depressingly pathetic, little tears were practically welling in it’s hollow eyes. Mettaton knew why.

It was permanently stuck to one emotion, like certain members of the Blook household.

 

***

A few days later, the day of Halloween, Mettaton idly lingered near the doors of the auditorium. The bell had rang only a few minutes ago, and most had left the school by now. Yet he remained, biting the nail of his thumb and running his hands through his hair.

He had quite the dilemma.

Yes, he was technically the president of the theatre club. Or so he thought.

Apparently, Muffet had already signed papers approving the funding of the club for the rest of this month. While October was almost over, it meant she still technically was the president, and he was clubless for the time being.

And he knew Muffet wouldn’t give up her extra funding for anything.

Mettaton briefly considered stopping by the robotics club to see what Alphys was doing, but decided against it. While there were virtually no other members to that club, he still didn’t want to interrupt Alphys, who usually required complete silence to function her best.

Besides, he had other things to do! Like stop by New Home’s local party supplies store to see if they had the sexy salad costume he wanted. Mettaton wiped his thumb on his jeans and left, eager to leave the building and go costume shopping.

Thankfully, the nearest Halloween store wasn’t too far away.

Well, it wasn’t really a Halloween store. It was more of a glorified department store that sold holiday themed things year round. So it made sense that it would be in New Home, where the most people lived in the tiny town of Ebott.

Mettaton passed a few shops on his way there that seemed anything but sparsely populated, so he could only hope that the Halloween store would be the exact opposite.

Of course, when he arrived, it was even more populated than ever.

Rows of costumes hung from the walls. Mettaton fingered the five dollar bill in his pocket, and hoped it would be enough to buy a costume, although a little voice in the back of his head told him it wouldn’t be.

Kids clung onto their parents arms, crying and yelling about which costume they wanted. The parents looked exhausted as they tried to reassure themselves that it was worth it, worth buying some ridiculous costume that they’d only wear one night and then grow out of, worth enduring sore ankles just so they could knock on strangers doors and beg to be fed, worth allowing them to eat so much candy they wouldn’t be able to sleep.

Mettaton flounced to the front of the line to pay for the costumes, and flashed a winning smile.

“Excuse me, ma’am, do you have a minute?”

A tired looking cashier turned over to look at him. She looked like she wanted nothing more or less than death at that very moment.

“Sir, you do realize you’ve just skipped the entire line?” She asked, and Mettaton looked behind him to find a very long line of people loudly complaining about some teenager cutting them off.

“Oh, get over yourselves! It’s not like any of you have places to be,” Mettaton rolled his eyes and then directed his attention back to the cashier. “So, darling, where do you keep your sexy salad costumes?”

The cashier stared him dead in the eyes. “The sexy what nows?”

“Sexy. Salad. Costumes.” He repeated each word very slowly and carefully. “You know, those leafy things with tomatoes and dressing that you eat-”

“I’m aware what a salad is, sir. We don’t have any of those in stock.” The cashier groaned. “We stopped selling sexy costumes a long time ago. The town moms had some complaints. You’re welcome to buy our ‘Abby Abstinence’ costume, though.” She then grabbed some sort of catalog, circled something on it, and handed it to him.

Mettaton looked down at the catalog, which was full of models in Halloween costumes. Circled in bright red marker was a costume of a girl in a very body-covering sweater and skirt, holding a sign that read “Leave Room For Jesus.”

Mettaton was disgusted.

“You can’t actually expect me to wear that,” he tried to explain in the calmest tone possible. “It’s vile.”

“It’s all we have.”

One of the moms in line, holding a five year old girl’s hand, turned and whispered something to another mom.

Mettaton snapped.

“I’ll have you two know you’ve utterly RUINED my Halloween night! Of all nights of the year, this is the one where you choose to enforce your dumb abstinence? Who even cares, darlings?!” he yelled, and stomped out of line.

On his way out, he bumped into another clerk. “Oh, I am so sorry, sir! Are you alright?” she fretted, and attempted to help him up. Mettaton was ready to let her, until he saw her nametag.

It read, “Abby.”

“Dammit, Abby! Must you always ruin everything?!” Mettaton yelled once more, and ran out f the store, leaving Abby to wonder what she’d done wrong.

 

***

 

When Mettaton arrived at home, he was surprised to see Blooky bent over a long, white sheet, mumbling something unintelligible. Maddy was stood over them, arms crossed, shaking their head.

“It’s not gonna work.”

“Now, what isn’t going to work?” Mettaton asked, closing the door of the house and walking over to them.

“Oh, Happy, you’re home.” Maddy rolled their eyes. “Guess that ruins Napstablook’s surprise, then.” Maddy flopped on the sofa. “Not like it was that much of a surprise anyway.”

“Ooh, Blooky, you have a surprise for me? Do tell, I’m on the edge of my seat!” Mettaton said, all bubbly like. It was nice to see Blooky doing something other than, well, being Blooky for a change.

“Oh….I, uh, thought that it would...be nice if we went out…” they mumbled shyly. Mettaton gave them an encouraging smile.

“When do you want to go out? Maybe Saturday?” he suggested brightly, and took off his coat, putting it on the lap of an annoyed Maddy.

“No, not Saturday….tonight….for trick or treating….” Blooky was smiling a bit now, hopeful their surprise was a good one.

“It’s like you always bugged us to do.” Maddy added, with a hint of nostalgia and even a little cheerfulness in their voice.

Mettaton stiffened. Of all years, this year was when his cousins wanted to go out? Granted, it wasn’t like he had a costume this year. But this year Undyne was going with him and Alphys, and he knew she’d be positively livid if he bailed on them (especially after insisting he impose upon their date!)

“Oh, that’s not-”

“I made us these.” Napstablook handed Mettaton three sheets.

One was white, the one they’d been working on, one was a light orange, and the other was a faded pink. They appeared to be poorly made ghost costumes. Each of them had faces drawn on them in black marker, the white one with a slight sad face, the orange one with an angry face (Mettaton had to resist the urge to roll his eyes, he already knew who’d be wearing that one), and, finally, the pink one with a happy face.

Mettaton felt his heart break.

“I worked really hard on them...I thought we could all wear them tonight…” Blooky was looking at the floor, their face burning with embarrassment.

“We can use these as bags. They ought to be sturdy.” Maddy grabbed a box of green trash bags from the floor.

Now Mettaton’s face was burning with embarrassment.

While he loved his cousins dearly, sometimes they were so...utterly un-self aware. Did they not realize how embarrassing this would be? Going out in sheets, using garbage bags instead of plastic, pumpkin shaped buckets as means of carrying candy?

He hated to admit this, but the feelings of shame and regret of having to tell them that he wouldn’t be joining them on this little plan they’d worked so hard on was minimal compared to the relief he felt, of escaping them and going to hang out with his friends, to pretend he was normal.

To pretend no one else there besides Alphys and him knew he couldn’t afford so much as a real costume or candy bag.

Mettaton handed Blooky back the sheets.

“Oh...I knew you didn’t like them…” Blooky sighed, and Mettaton wasn’t surprised to see tears forming in their eyes.

“Oh, no, Blooky, I absolutely covet them!” Mettaton shook his head. “They’re so...cute.”

Mettaton would have rather worn Abby Abstinence than this.

“Then what’s the problem?” Maddy asked, an edge of anger creeping up into their tone. They knew something was going on.

“Well, you see, darlings, I’m a bit...double booked tonight.” Mettaton said, wincing a little as he saw both of their expressions change in an instant.

“Whaddya mean, double booked?!” Maddy stood up fast as lightning.

“Oh....” Big, fat tears were now rolling down Blooky’s cheeks (Mettaton couldn’t help but feel a bit annoyed; he hadn’t even finished talking, and already Blooky was crying.)

“I was going to go hang out with some friends tonight.” he explained, using a gentle tone. “We were going to watch some scary movies.”

“You can come after that, then.” Maddy seemed to have calmed down, they were impatient, but not as angry as before.

“Erm...we also had plans to go out as well…” Mettaton bit his lip. He already knew what was coming-

“Useless, useless, useless! We already made the costumes!” Maddy yelled, ripping the sheets from Blooky’s arms. “You see this?! Hours of work! Hours, hours, hours!”

“Blooky made them, not you.” Mettaton corrected weakly, not really having a valid excuse to fight back with. “And there were not hours of work put into that, they’re literally sheets with marker on them-”

He saw Blooky hugging their knees to their chest, more tears coming down.

“-Not that I don’t think they’re fabulous, because I do-”

“Lies, lies, lies!” Maddy insisted, stomping their feet.

“Get over yourself, Maddy! This was sprung up on me! What, do you expect me to drop all my plans at the last minute and-”

“...Go…” Blooky spoke. Mettaton and Maddy turned to look at them, they’d been silent for so long.

Was he being kicked out by his own cousin?

“...It’s not a big deal...we’re no fun to hang around with, anyway...go have fun, Happy……” Blooky’s voice was hoarse, yet it did not hold any grudge or bitterness. It was a sincerity, a depressing one, yes, but still a sincerity.

Napstablook just wanted Mettaton to be happy.
There was a silence.

Mettaton broke it.

“...See? It’s not that big a deal. Even Blooky agrees with me. There’s always next Halloween, anyway.”

“Next Halloween...yeah, right.” Maddy muttered, arms crossed. And once more, the three Blooks were silent.

“I have to go, cousins. I’ll be back before midnight.” Mettaton said evenly, and grabbed his coat.

The door closed on his two cousins as he left, determined to live his life.

 

***

 

“I cannot believe you’d betray me like this.”

Alphys held a bag of Chinese food, looking confused. “W-what do you mean?”

They were at Alphys’s place, ready to watch scary movies. Alphys had always wanted to move out of her parent’s place as soon as she could, and was delighted to see that they had wanted to move themselves. They weren’t bad parents, per say, but never really supported her sciencey dreams or interest in anime, pursuing her to settle down and live regular Ebott town life.

Mettaton could almost relate.

So when they had suggested she stay in their old place in Hotland and they move to Snowdin (she was of legal age, in Ebott sixteen was the youngest you could move out by yourself) she had gladly accepted the offer.

Mettaton had been the one to help her get rid of all the boring old furniture in their house, and now it was something of a lab right in the start of Hotland. Two stories high, it was a completely modernized home, with doors that opened and closed themselves, and even some weird escalator that had used to be stairs.

Nothing had changed much about the place, since Mettaton visited frequently. An old, orange couch was on the first floor, along with a TV, a very messy desk, and some old bathroom. Upstairs was Alphys’s bedroom, with its folding-cube bed, bookshelves filled with manga, and large Mew Mew Kissy Cutie framed poster hanging on the wall.

Popato Chisp (yes, that was the name) crumbs littered the floor, it smelled sort of sweaty, and it was all too animeish for his tastes.

He loved it.

“Darling, do you know how greasy Chinese food is? I’ll break out! I refuse to eat a single bite of the stuff.” Mettaton sniffed and turned his nose up in the air, walking inside the house.

“Ugh, stop being so dramatic, punk! It’s just take out!” Undyne called from upstairs, busy reading some of Alphys’s manga. She’d arrived before him, so it was obvious she’d already made herself at home.

“I am not being dramatic!” he cupped his mouth with his hands so his voice would carry back up to Undyne. He heard her laughing at this, like it was the funniest thing she’d heard all day.

“That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all day!”

Well.

“C-come on, it’s not that bad! I ordered y-you the cashew chicken.” Alphys took the styrofoam containers out of the brown paper bag, along with the little plastic utensils and fortune cookies the food came with. “Plus-”

“Plus what?” Mettaton raised an eyebrow as he took off his coat, setting it on top of his bag next to the door.

“Plus...y-you can be a l-little dramatic,” Alphys gave him a sheepish smile.

Mettaton gasped, pressing his hand to his chest. “I am NOT!”

“You totally are!” Undyne quite literally hopped over the escalator heading downstairs instead of just going down it, landing on top of the table where Alphys had put the food.

“Prove it,” Mettaton smirked. Undyne had nothing on him.

“W-well, remember that time you cried w-when I forgot your favorite color?” Alphys timidly reminded him, although he could see she was stifling a laugh behind her hands.

“It was PINK,” Mettaton’s eyes were already filled with dramatic tears, ready to pour out at a moment’s notice.

“Geez! You’re like Kim Kardashian, only a thousand times worse!” Undyne rolled her eyes and kissed Alphys’s cheek. “Thanks for the food, babe. I’ll eat it, unlike SOME people here.” she snapped her head up and glared at him.

“I-if he’s not hungry, I can just-”

“I never said I wasn’t hungry!” Mettaton snapped as he grabbed one of the containers. Undyne was already making him seem like an ungrateful brat (which wasn’t too far off from the truth.)

“That’s mine, jerk!” Undyne snatched it from him.

“Soooo sorry, darling. I didn’t realize you wanted your sweet and sour chicken that badly.” Mettaton pursed his lips. “Which one is mine, Alphy?”

“I-it’s this one,” she handed him a considerably smaller container. “Did you bring the movies, Undyne?”

“Heck yeah I did!” Undyne pumped her fist in the air and suddenly produced three DVD cases from her back pocket (Mettaton briefly wondered how they fit in there.)

“We’ve got ‘Carrie’, ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’, and ‘Mew Mew Kill-y Cutie: Mew Mew’s Revenge!’” Undyne declared loudly.

Mettaton sighed. “Are we seriously going to watch that last one? Anime is not scary.”

“I-it is too! Remember Mew Mew’s sequel?” Alphys visibly shuddered, as Undyne gave a sheepish grin. Undyne had once gone out and bought six copies of the sequel for Alphys, after noticing she didn’t have it.

What a mistake that had been.

“Well, we’d better hurry up and get watching them if we want to have time to trick-or-treat.” Mettaton checked the time on his phone, and they all agreed to hurry up and watch the movies.

If only he had a costume to wear, everything would be perfect.

 

***

 

“TURN IT OFF, TURN IT OFF!!!”

Mettaton, Alphys, and Undyne were seated on the couch, pale as ghosts. The little movie marathon had started out just fine. Mettaton had reluctantly ate his food, while Alphys snarfed down her noodles as they peeked through their eyes watching ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre.’

Undyne had been the only one to really like it. Alphys held Undyne’s hand throughout the whole thing. Mettaton had given a few shrieks here and there (although he did like the chainsaw part.)

Mettaton had cuddled up to Alphys, along with Undyne (yes, Mettaton believed in platonic cuddling. Alphys and Undyne appeared to be fine with it.)

Mew Mew Kill-y Cutie had been something else entirely, though. Who knew an anime cat girl could get so murderous within the span of twenty minutes? Apparently, neither Alphys or Undyne had watched the film before, because they were just as shocked as Mettaton was.

“TURN IT OFF!” Mettaton shrieked once more, clinging to the sofa cushion. Alphys was sobbing.

“NGAAAH! DIE ALREADY!” Undyne grabbed the remote and flung it at the TV. She’d thrown it so hard, the TV screen cracked and broke.

“Mew mewwwwwww....” Mew Mew mewed mournfully (what a mouthful that was) as the TV broke for good.

“Uh, sorry about that, babe. Don’t worry, though! I’ll get you a new TV! With high definition! AND-”

“I-it’s alright,” Alphys giggled at her girlfriend’s antics, clearly used to it by now. “I’m just glad you t-turned it off.” she then shuddered at just the thought of the bloodbath.

“How horrifying…” Mettaton mumbled, still scarred by it all.

“Well, we’re all having n-nightmares tonight.” Alphys concluded solemnly, and they all made noises of agreement.

“...It was kind of awesome, though.” Undyne spoke after a while, a fire in her eyes. “Like that scene where Mew Mew takes out that guy’s eye-”

“-And then uses the Mew Mew Magic Wand to bash his knees in? I know!” Alphys said with a certain urgent compassion. Not in the acts of violence, but in sharing these opinions with her girlfriend.

Mettaton tuned them out, thinking about the other movie they’d watched. ‘Carrie.’ He’d absolutely loved it. Some shy girl who just wanted people to respect her finally got revenge in those who didn’t the night of her prom? He could relate. Not about killing people in the prom with your telekinetic powers, that is, but with the first part.

Granted, she had died in the end, but whatever. So what if a few people have to die?

That’s show business, baby.

“Didn’t you guys absolutely love ‘Carrie’?” Mettaton interrupted their little raving session. “The prom scene was a total masterpiece, don’t you think?”

“I guess. Is it really a horror movie, though? It doesn’t really get that scary ‘till the end.” Undyne shrugged, truly neutral about it.

“I-it was pretty special effect-y. And it was s-sort of just a high school movie.” Alphys agreed.

“Well, I liked it,” Mettaton crossed his arms. He knew perfectly well how horrifying high school could be, especially when you couldn’t even be who you wanted.

“Dude, chill out. No one’s attacking you, it’s just a movie.” Undyne tossed out the remains of their food and passed out the fortune cookies.

“I know that perfectly well, Undyne.” Mettaton hissed and broke open his fortune cookie.

But Undyne wasn’t paying attention anymore. “Heck yeah! Mine says, ‘You have destiny right besides you.’ We’re destiny, Alphs!” Undyne laughed and hugged Alphys close to her.

Alphys got all red faced and flustered again. “Mine says, ‘You will make a controversial decision- not only for you, but for others.’ O-oh no.” she groaned. Undyne grabbed Alphys’s fortune and tossed it back on the couch, where it fell in between the cracks.

“Fortune, schmortune! This is a total load of crap! Except for mine.” Undyne added as an afterthought.

“W-what does yours say?” Alphys asked her best friend curiously, and Mettaton looked down at the little slip of paper in his hand.

‘Your life will take a new direction, starting soon.’

“Oh, nothing much, darling. Just telling me I’m fabulous, which I already know.” he threw his head back and gave a little laugh. Yet he secretly slipped the fortune into his pocket.

If what Undyne said about fortunes really was true, he didn’t want to get his own hopes up.

“S-so, do you have your costume?” Alphys asked, snapping him out of his daze.

“Oh, darling, don’t even get me started,” Mettaton sighed deeply, and then lapsed into an animated retelling of the quest he’d gone on to find a sexy salad costume.

“Dude! You literally begged us to go out-” Undyne started, but Mettaton held up a finger as if to shush her.

“Darling, I do not beg.”

“-Ugh, whatever. And now you don’t even have a costume?” Undyne glared at him. Alphys touched her arm softly.

“I-I’m sure he’ll think of something. Metta is really...innovative.” Alphys reassured her girlfriend, but Undyne wasn’t having it.

“Alphs, now you don’t have a costume! You two were gonna go as a pair, remember?” Undyne reminded her, but all Alphys did was smirk. She bounded up the escalator and came back down with what looked like a sailor uniform and Mew Mew’s costume.

“You’re right, Undyne, I don’t have a costume...but I do have some cosplays.” Alphys grinned, and Mettaton pinched the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger.

“You two are such dorks. You know, if I can’t come up with a costume idea we’re calling this whole thing off-”

Mettaton was met with protests from the two, his selfish statement sending them into a mild rage, at least in Alphys’s case. Undyne was just plain mad.

“Ngaaah! I don’t care if you can’t find a costume, I-”

Mettaton gasped. “Say that again!”

Undyne gave him a confused look, but repeated it regardless. “I said, ‘Ngaaah! I don’t care if you can’t find a costume, I-”

Mettaton gasped once more, only this time it was so loud it sounded like he was running out of breath.

“WILL YOU STOP CUTTING ME OFF-” Undyne yelled, and was promptly cut off for the third time.

“You don’t care-ie!” Mettaton grinned, and clasped his hands together.

“...What?”

“I said, you don’t Carrie! This is brilliant! Fabulous! The idea to end all ideas! It just makes total sense!” Mettaton enthused, not bothering to explain whatever the hell he had just said before.

“Do you have any idea what the hell he’s going on about?” Undyne looked to Alphys for an explanation, but she just shook her head. “He u-usually gets like this when he’s had an idea- hey, where is he?!” Alphys looked around in a panic, only to hear some sort of ripping noise from upstairs. She and Alphys raced upstairs, only to be greeted with…

...Mettaton was ripping ruffles and frilly bows from some long, white dress. “M-My Mew Mew Blushing Bride cosplay!” Alphys shrieked, and fell to her knees amongst the ripped off accessories.

“NGAAAH! WHAT THE HELL? YOU-” It was quite unsurprising that Undyne was cut off for the fourth time.

“No, no, this won’t do. The dress was sleeveless. And not as poofy. Alphys, darling, do you mind lending me some money? Some adjustments need to be made.” Mettaton tossed the dress onto her cube-bed and smiled.

“Y-you killed m-my cosplay…” Alphys mumbled mournfully, stroking her fingers over the ripped up ribbons.

“Now now, darling, there’s no need to worry about that! I know someone who is a total sewing whiz.” Mettaton gave her a little wink, and Alphys immediately knew who he was referring to. The sewing whiz was Maddy, who even sewed up their own stitches whenever they got into a fight.

Granted, Mettaton couldn’t say this out loud because Undyne had no idea he even knew Maddy (or Blooky, for that matter) and it wasn’t exactly set in stone either, seeing as Maddy was probably still mad at him.

“I-I guess if you could really get it fixed, I could lend you some money…” Alphys stood up reluctantly, and fished a twenty out of her wallet, handing it to him. “T-try not to spend it all, okay?”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Mettaton smiled at her, and put it in his pocket. With the five dollar bill he hadn’t spent earlier, he now had twenty five dollars, which was more than he could have ever dreamed of.

“You’d better pay her back, punk.” Undyne growled at him. Mettaton sighed; would she ever stop antagonizing him (although she did have good reason)?

“I will, I will. You two get dressed while I get everything I’ll need, alright? Goodbye!” And Mettaton quickly ran out of Alphys’s place.

Deep down, he knew Alphys would have given him the money, even if he hadn’t tempted her with offers to repair her little costume. While Mettaton certainly did not consider himself to be one of those people to always borrow money from his friends and never give it back, he still felt- a little shamefully, yes- superior knowing how willing Alphys was to keep their friendship going.

It felt nice to be wanted.

 

***

Apparently, a few adjustments to Mettaton meant changing the look entirely.

Well, it wasn’t really changed, per say. He had just made the dress he was using a little tighter (he still kept it at length, though) and didn’t even use anything from Alphys’s original costume.

He came back in proudly, holding two loaded shopping bags.

“What took you so long? It’s almost seven!” Undyne scowled. Normally, Mettaton would have replied with some sassy sort of retort, but he couldn’t help but snort at what he saw.

Undyne was wearing a giant inflatable dinosaur costume, complete with glowing red eyes.

“What are you wearing?!” Mettaton managed to get out, before bursting out laughing. The costumes his cousins had made reeked with a certain depressing homemadeness- Undyne’s was just funny.

“It’s my dino-suit, punk!” Undyne grinned proudly as Alphys entered the room. Alphys was wearing a Sailor Moon cosplay, complete with the magic wand and everything. She’d had to clip on the long hair extensions, since her hair was way too short to match that of the character’s.

“She had it in her house all this time,” Alphys read her friend’s expression. “She said it’s for special occasions.”

“It totally is! It’s awesome as heck! So many people are gonna be scared! In a good way! I’M GONNA SCARE PEOPLE SO HARD THEY CRY! FROM JOY!” Undyne announced, and then wrapped an arm around Alphys, dipped her, and kissed her.

“Well, lovebirds, I hate to break up your little love fest, but my costume is going to blow both of yours out of the water!” Mettaton practically danced over to the bathroom, shopping bags in hand.

“W-what are you going to be?” Alphys asked, blushing harder than he’d ever seen her.

“I know you’re just dying to know-”

“I’m not.” Undyne scoffed, and then broke out in a grin when she saw his annoyed expression. “HA! HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE-”

“-But my lips are sealed, darling. It’s a surprise.” Mettaton made the little lip locking motion with his hands, and ducked into the bathroom.

Once inside, he locked the door, and slowly took out the contents of the bags.

Alphys’s bathroom was...a mess. She already was a bit messy, but this took the cake.

There was a big, yellow brush with her tufts of hair on it on the floor, a damp towel strewn across the toilet, and multiple scattered paper towels, half used bars of deodorant, and bottles of shampoo all on the floor.

There was also the trapdoor on the floor that led to what Mettaton liked to refer to as ‘The True Lab.’ On the immediate interior of Alphys’s house, there were a few no name, bland as vanilla inventions lying around, such as the weird ice cream maker she made for Undyne (Undyne insisted it wasn’t an ice cream maker) and the huge video screen on the wall.

Yet down there, (and he’d only been once, for the briefest of seconds, looking for her) was a long maze of rooms. Alphys claimed it had been there long before her parents even moved in. He hadn’t even seen all of it, just the start, with some vending machine and potted plants lying around in the dusty darkness.

Mettaton shuddered and looked down at what he had bought.

There was a long, tight white dress, a bouquet of roses, a plastic prom tiara, and finally, to finish the look, a gallon of blood.

Fake, of course.

He was lucky to have gotten this all so cheap, especially the dress. It had been on clearance at a thrift shop, a relic no one wanted but the desperate teenager.

Him.

Mettaton got to work. He quickly undressed and then slid the dress on. It fit like a glove, a tight one that squeezed your hand so tight it cut off all air circulation. He then brushed his hair out carefully (after picking the hair out) with Alphys’s brush, and placed the tiara right on the center of his head.
Now, for the finishing piece.

Mettaton sat himself on the edge of the tub, and placed the gallon of fake blood inside. He then carefully rolled up the dress to a little above his knee. He pressed the pin of his prosthetics, and took them off, careful to place them next to the tub where he wouldn’t have to stretch to get them.

After lowering himself down into the tub with his arms (rather shakily, actually) Mettaton unscrewed the cap of the gallon.

“Here goes.” Mettaton tried to lift it up over his head.

Tried.

Instead, the gallon was so heavy, a good quarter of it spilled down his front, bloodying the beautiful dress.

Mettaton grinned. “Well, that’s one way of doing it.”

His eyes drifted over to the bathroom mirror above Alphys’s sink. He immediately looked away before he could catch a glimpse of his reflection.

Halloween was fun and all, but mirrors were too scary.

 

***

Alphys and Undyne sat on the couch impatiently.

“What’s taking that guy so long?! It’s been twenty minutes!” Undyne fumed.

“I-I’m sure he’ll be out any minute now.” Alphys tried to smile, but she knew that Mettaton was anything but a quick dresser.

Suddenly, the automatic door of the bathroom sounded, alerting them that someone was stepping out.

Slowly, Mettaton walked over to them, his head down.

He was soaked in blood from head to toe. The white dress he was wearing was now as red as an apple gone wrong. A bouquet of bloody roses hung from the crook of his elbow. The tiara he had bought, which once shone with fake, plastic rhinestones, was now coated in crimson.

Alphys muffled a squeak. She felt Undyne stiffen besides her. Undyne wasn’t scared as Alphys was, but Mettaton’s performance was a little unsettling.

At a pace, Mettaton lifted his arms up, letting the roses drop to the floor.

“Beauties and gentlebeauties…” he spoke in a grave tone.

He came to a stop in front of them, and lifted his head slowly, slowly.

“May I present to you…”

Then he gave them the look. His eyes widened, face tilted slightly up, and mouth set in a straight line. He was the epitome of creepy.

“Carrie!”

Alphys couldn’t take it anymore. She shrieked and clung to Undyne, burying her face in her chest.

“QUIT SCARING MY GIRLFRIEND, PUNK!” Undyne threw a couch cushion at him. Mettaton laughed as it hit him, and bent down to pick up the roses.

“Sorry, Alphys darling. I was good, though, wasn’t I?” he asked with a hint of pride.

“Y-yeah. Very creepy. P-please don’t do that again.” Alphys mumbled. “How did you not mess up your prosthetics?”

“I took them off and poured the gallon on me in your tub.” Mettaton shrugged his shoulders. “I drained it, of course, after getting everything just right.” he added hastily. He’d even bloodied the roses.

“Is your show over now? We’ve gotta get going!” Undyne stood up and ran to Alphys’s work desk, presumably getting something.

“Yes, it’s over.” Mettaton folded his arms. He was glad the show had such an effect on Alphys, though. It proved he really was a phenomenal actor.

Yet the little voice in his head whispered, “You’ll never be a star the way you are now.”

And Mettaton looked down. He could see the bulk in the fabric where his prosthetics were. His bulky, ugly prosthetics, the ones that got him into this mess, the ones that never let him move as freely as he liked.

“Catch, nerd!” Undyne threw him a pink, plastic, jack-o-lantern shaped bucket. Just like the ones he’d always wanted to use.

He felt embarrassed that this was something he’d wanted, a hunk of plastic. Other people could just get these on a whim instead of using a trash bag.

Alphys was holding a yellow one, and Undyne a green one, although there was a regular orange one and a dark blue one Undyne was carrying as well. Mettaton shrugged this off, assuming it was for getting as much candy as possible.

“Are you guys ready?” Alphys asked, turning to face them.

Mettaton blinked. It was Halloween, not his own personal pity party.

“Ready as I’ll ever be.” Mettaton winked.

The show must go on.

 

***

The trio walked around one of New Home’s many neighborhoods. It was a warm night, already dark, with the streetlamps on. Kids ran around in various costumes, knocking on various house doors and yelling in high pitched voices, “Trick-or-treat!”

“We haven’t knocked on a single house yet. This is totally boring.” Mettaton whined, his face crumpled into a pout. “Please enlighten me, what is the holdup, darlings?”

Just as Alphys opened her mouth to answer, Undyne’s face lit up. She waved her little inflatable T-Rex arm and waved it vigorously in the air. “Yo!!! We’re over here!!!

Mettaton was confused. Who could she be waving at?

Two figures, one tall, one short, emerged from the darkness and into the light of one of the streetlamps.

Oh no.

It was Papyrus and...whoever his brother was. Papyrus was smiling, as usual, although he was wearing what appeared to be a skeleton onesie.

His brother was wearing a rather underwhelming outfit. A blue hoodie and some cargo shorts (wasn’t this what he saw him wearing last time? Ew), yet he had something taped on the front of his jacket.

“You didn’t tell me they were coming!” Mettaton hissed into Alphys’s ear, knowing full well Undyne would pulverize him if she heard him talking smack about her best friend.

“I-I know, I’m sorry...wait, do you not like them or something?” Alphys looked up at him, confused, choosing to ignore the fact that he’d sort of crashed their date as well.

Mettaton let out a long, quivering sigh. “I don’t NOT like Papyrus, he’s just so...out there. I don’t really know his brother.”

“C-c’mon. Papyrus isn’t so bad once you get to know him. And-”

“Nyeh heh heh! Undyne! You did not tell me Mettaton would be here! And in such a scary outfit, too! Are you a wounded bride?” Papyrus greeted them with his usual plethora of questions.

Mettaton gave him a withered look, but kept his tone calm and civil. Or at least he tried to. “I’m Carrie, darling. From the Stephen King movie?”

“I’ve never heard of that movie in my life. But nonetheless! A very spooky choice! I can’t say I’m surprised at your costumes, though.” Papyrus looked over at Undyne and Alphys, although not in an unkind way.

“We look rad!” Undyne grinned, and immediately started noogieing him. Alphys couldn’t help but laugh. Mettaton just stood there, however, arms crossed. This was supposed to be his night. Now not only did he have to be joined by Undyne, but also Papyrus and what’s-his-face as well.

“Not enjoying yourself?”

Mettaton looked around for who could have said that, and saw it was Papyrus’s brother. Upon closer inspection, Mettaton noticed he had bright blue eyes and deep, dark eyebags to contrast each other, and a lazy, permanent smile stretched across his face to contrast Papyrus’s upbeat one.

“Oh? Oh, no, darling, I’m just a bit...tired.” Mettaton lied, and forced a smile onto his lips. The brother nodded.

“It’s getting pretty late. Don’t think I know you, though. You a friend of my brother’s?” he asked casually, hands in his jacket pocket.

“Well...you could say we’ve become well acquainted.” Mettaton said hastily. For some reason, this guy’s casual demeanor was a bit off putting.

“Cool, cool. He’s a pretty cool dude, isn’t he?”

Now Mettaton actually felt tired. Were they just going to talk about Papyrus? How long could Papyrus and Undyne mess around for?

“He’s very kind.” Mettaton could only hope that sounded like an agreement. Cool was far from what he’d call Papyrus.

“Yep. Well, guess I’ve gotta introduce myself, huh?” the brother stretched out his hand. Mettaton stared at it. Wasn’t he going to say his name first?

“Don’t you know how to greet a new pal? Shake my hand.” he said, and Mettaton complied with this odd request.

As soon as their hands met, a loud fart sound came from the brother’s hand. Mettaton just stood there in shock.

“Heh. The old whoopie cushion in the hand trick. It’s always funny.” the brother chuckled, and pulled his hand away from Mettaton’s. “I’m Sans Bones.”

“That’s horrible, darling! Wait...how do you move around-”

The brother gestured to the piece of paper taped to his chest. It read, “bones.”

Mettaton was confused.

“Sans! No whoopie cushioning my friends!” Papyrus had somehow managed to break free from Undyne’s grip and rushed over to scold his brother.

“Whoops. Sorry bro. Guess you could say I messed up a ton. A skele-ton.” Sans winked, and Papyrus groaned in frustration. “Again with your treacherous puns!”

“Wait. Your name is Sans? So...oh, I get it.” Mettaton mumbled. Sans Bones. While clever, it was confusing.

“Still haven’t told me yours.” Sans put his hands back in his jacket.

“Well, darling, I’m-”

“He’s Mettaton! He does the announcements every morning! They’re simply splendid!” Papyrus explained cheerfully.

“Thank you, dear. Your...costume is fabulous as well.” Mettaton tried to sound convincing, and he must have, for Papyrus smiled even wider.

“Nyeh heh heh! Thank you, Mettaton! I knew you would like my secret style.”

“Yes, it’s very...unique. Don’t you two live in Snowdin, though? I imagine the walk would be awfully long from there to New Home.” Mettaton didn’t really have to pretend to be fake interested in this topic, since he really was curious about this.

“Paps drove us here in his super cool car.” Sans said, and Mettaton internally facepalmed. Of course. He was being all kinds of stupid today.

Another thing he didn’t get, however, was how Sans seemed to not mind his brother’s weirdness. He seemed to embrace it.

Wasn’t he embarrassed? Or tired?

“Is the meet and greet done yet?! We’ve got candy to get!” Undyne groaned, clearly ready to get as many sweets as she could.

“W-we probably should start now. It’ll be too late to trick-or-treat soon.” Alphys agreed.

“Alphs is right. Let’s get going.” Sans agreed, and Mettaton briefly wondered how they knew each other.

Apparently Papyrus was thinking the same thing to, since he said it out loud. “I didn’t know you knew Alphys, brother!”

Alphys looked a bit uncomfortable, only peaking Mettaton’s curiosity about this even more. He wouldn’t pry, though. He didn’t want to make his friend uncomfortable.

“Doesn’t everyone?” Sans shrugged, and this must have been a good enough answer for all of them, since no one said anything.

“Alright, who’s ready to get spooky?!” Undyne yelled triumphantly, tossing the orange and blue buckets to Papyrus and Sans. Mettaton realized this made much more sense than her carrying three buckets around. Undyne put her hand straight down in the air, and looked at them all expectantly.
When no one did anything and just stared, Undyne sighed. “It’s a team thing, okay?! Everyone puts their hand in the hand pile and says something inspirational!”

Mettaton looked at Undyne’s somehow sweaty inflatable dinosaur hand. “I am not-”

“Nyeh! I am ready to get spooky, Undyne!” Papyrus exclaimed, and put his hand in the pile.

“I-I am too? I guess???” Alphys looked nervous as she placed her hand on top of Undyne and Papyrus’s.

“Same.” Sans said simply, and followed the gesture.

It looked like there was no choice now. “Count me in, darlings!” He did the same, being careful to not make too much physical contact.

“On three! One, two, three…! Team spooky!!!” Undyne yelled, and lifted her hand to the sky.

Mettaton had always wondered how in movies, everyone knew what to say when they did this team huddle thing. It wasn’t as if they’d ever had a pre-set team name, unless it was sports or whatever.

So it was a bit of a mess. Everyone lifted their hands at the same time, yes, but said very different things.

“Nyeh!” Was Papyrus’s saying.

“Uh...kawaii desu???” Alphys said, very confused.

Sans said nothing.

“Ohhh yes!” Mettaton cheered. They all looked at him oddly.

“That’s my catchphrase, darlings. Get used to it.”

 

***

 

“Nyeh! I can’t believe it!”

 

Papyrus was carrying his orange bucket with an expression of shock on his face. He stared at Undyne in slight awe.
“How is Undyne getting more candy than me??? My costume is clearly the greatest!” Papyrus shook his head in disbelief.

“Fuhuhu! That’s just what happens when you get the most powerful costume!” Undyne popped a piece of bubblegum into her mouth confidently.

Mettaton rolled his eyes. “So sorry to burst your bubble, beauties, but my costume has gotten more candy than both of yours combined.” And it was true. Most adults seemed to have watched the movie, so he ended up getting so much candy, he had to store some of it in Alphys’s tragically half full bucket.

“We’ve been walking for a-an hour, and no one gets my costume. I knew I should have gone with Mew Mew.” Alphys sighed, and Undyne shook her head.

“All those lame adults handing out candy are jerks! Ngaaaah! I’LL PUNCH THEM IN THEIR STUPID PTA MOM FACES!” Undyne made a dramatic fist, but then uncurled it. “‘Cept for the cool PTA moms that bring brownies. They’re fine.”

Ironically, it was Sans who had gotten the most candy. His little joke costume had gotten a ton of laughs out of all the adults (Mettaton thought it was just lazy, but could also respect the confidence he had and how he executed the joke) so his bucket and pockets were bulging with treats.

“I don’t think we’ve been to that house.” Alphys pointed out a huge house at the end of the block. It was almost a mansion, really. It was one that Mettaton had passed dozens of times, and always wondered who could possibly be this well off in Ebott. The mansion had trimmed hedges, and a large patch of golden flowers in the front.

Undyne’s face lit up. “That’s Asgore’s place! We’ve totally got to knock, he’ll freak when he sees us!”

Alphys was more hesitant. “I-I don’t know. What if he’s mad? It’s a school night…”

“I’m sure he’ll be cool with it. He wouldn’t want to be a party spoop-er.” Sans grinned and did the finger guns. Mettaton couldn’t help but stifle a laugh- he may think that Sans was a bit weird, but that was a good one.

Papyrus raked his fingers through his hair in exasperation. “Sans! You can’t make puns around the principal! He is a man of high class!”

“Don’t worry bro. I’m sure he won’t mind. He is our princi-pal.” Sans snickered, and they walked up to ring the doorbell.

On one hand, Mettaton didn’t really want to see his awkward principal on a school night. On the other hand, Asgore wasn’t mean. In fact, he would probably be delighted to see them.

They let Papyrus ring the doorbell, since he seemed so excited.

Nobody came.

“Principal Asgoreeeeee~” Mettaton called through the door. “Your absolute favorite students have come to brighten up your surely lonely Halloween night! What’s a handsome bachelor like yourself doing not answering the door?”

“Metta…” Alphys laughed. “He’s the principal.”

“He’s also a hunk. Although he’s certainly not in my league- he wears Hawaiian shirts.” Mettaton stuck out his tongue in mock disgust.

In reality, even if Mettaton was the same age as Asgore, he wouldn’t even consider it.

“Yo, Asgore! Open up or I’ll break the door down!” Undyne took to knocking very hard against the door.

“How rude can you get, darling? I think you’re setting a new record, and-”

“Howdy!” Asgore opened up the door. He was dressed in a pumpkin costume. It was some big piece of round, orange fabric around his body, tight black leggings, and a little hat shaped like a pumpkin top, with a stem attached.

Mettaton wasn’t sure whether he wanted to laugh or cry at this outfit.

Asgore smiled at them, looking a bit surprised. “Golly, I did not know you all knew each other! It’s nice to see my students getting along,”

Undyne gave him a friendly punch on the shoulder. “‘Sup, Principal Fluffybuns! You like our costumes?!”

Asgore gave a hearty laugh. “I think they’re neato! My son, he quite liked dinosaurs. He was heartbroken when Tori and I-” he looked pained for a second. “-when Tori and I had to tell him they were extinct.”

“That’s quite the shame. Although I must admit, you look fabulous in that pumpkin suit of yours.” Mettaton nodded his head in approval, then turned around to Alphys when Asgore wasn’t looking and faked gagging.

Alphys giggled, although she felt bad for doing so. Asgore was nice. Mettaton felt a little bad as well, so he decided to say something genuine.

“I must say, your house is gigantic! I’ve never seen one quite as big as yours, and so beautifully kept-” Mettaton shut up, and his face reddened. He was thankful the fake blood wouldn’t give this away. He didn’t want them all to know that he lived in a hovel.

Asgore didn’t seem to notice this. “Thank you. I am proud of my home. I do my best to keep it that way.”

“So, Asgore. House about that candy?” Sans winked, and Asgore laughed, much to Papyrus’s seeming surprise.

“Golly, I nearly forgot! I will be just a moment with a candy that you kids will find-” Asgore looked at them cautiously, and threw his arms down low, crossing them over each other, like a rapper in a music video. “-tight!” Asgore went back into the house, leaving the door open a crack.

“We really need to teach him that is not how the youth speaks.” Mettaton shook his head in disapproval.

“How does the youth speak, then?” Sans asked casually (like he was anyway else.)

“B-big mood.” Alphys said cautiously.

“Johny Johny yes Papa?” Papyrus asked, and Alphys winced. “N-not really. That meme is long gone. Nice try, though.”

“Ooh, I have one!” Mettaton stuck out his clunky prosthetic. “Leg, leg. Hot hot leg. Leg so hot-” Mettaton did a spin. “You can fry an egg!”

“Uhh, that one’s dead too. Sorry, MTT.” Alphys shook her head.

“Nah, I’ve got you all beat. “ Undyne said confidently, and then recited her meme. “Back at it again at Krispy Kreme!!!” she then did a backflip, as they all laughed. It was all going right until she hit Asgore’s porchlight, knocking it clean off.

Undyne held the broken light in her hands. “...Crap.”

“...That’s your fault, not mine.” Mettaton slowly backed away from it, as if the light were a bomb about to go off.

“O-oh no! Asgore’s gonna be so…” Alphys rapidly bit her nails, unable to say anymore.

Papyrus could, however. “DISAPPOINTED IN US!”

Sans was meanwhile staring at the hole the broken light had left on the porch ceiling. “That’s, uh, pretty big. I guess you could say we should be feeling pretty hole-y right now-”

“Sans! Now is not the time!” Papyrus groaned. “Principal Asgore is going to despise us! We’re villains! We’ve committed a heinous crime!”

“Uh, bro, I really don’t think it’s that bad-”

“We deserve to be thrown in a dungeon!”

Mettaton stared at the scene of chaos unfolding before him. Papyrus was panicking, Sans was trying to calm him down, Undyne was smashing the light against the hole, trying to put it back in but only making the hole worse, and Alphys was crying.

It was time to make a run for it.

Mettaton slowly backed away with his candy (like he was leaving his hard work behind) and almost made it down the porch steps when Undyne growled.

“He’s trying to make a break for it!”

“I was not!” Mettaton lied for the umpteenth time that night.

“T-then what were you doing?” Alphys asked, looking slightly angry.

“...Going to get my nails done?” Mettaton suggested sheepishly.

“I believe you, Mettaton!” Papyrus took a break from his panicking to say. “You do seem to enjoy painting your nails!”

“See? Thank you, Papyrus! Now who else believes me?” Mettaton huffed, glad to have one person on his side.

Nobody said anything. Crickets could literally be heard chirping.

Mettaton gave an awkward cough. “Well, well, well. Welly well-”

“Oh, cut the crap!” Undyne snapped. “This is all your fault, punk!”

Mettaton gasped in utter disbelief. He may have been trying to run for it, but he had certainly not broken the light. How could Undyne be so unfair?! “How is this my fault, darling? Please enlighten me, we’d all love to hear it!”

“Well, you brought up the youth…!” Undyne brought up in a pathetic attempt to take the blame off herself.

“And you call me selfish.”

“Fine! It was my fault! But at least I wasn’t gonna abandon everyone!” Undyne admitted.

“E-Everyone stop!” Alphys put her hands up, and they all stared at her. She never spoke out like this, unless absolutely necessary.

“O-okay...Asgore is going to be back any minute now... we need a plan.” Alphys concluded.

“...We already knew that, Alphys.” Mettaton muttered, and earned a death stare from Undyne.

“Glue would probably help.” Sans added.

“Glue would definitely help! But how would we attain some…?” Papyrus rubbed his chin with his thumb and forefinger.

“What if we…” Alphys looked around at them, and they all knew what she was thinking.

“Snuck in his house and got some without him noticing?” Mettaton finished for her. Alphys nodded in relief she hadn’t been the only one thinking that.

“We’d have to be pretty careful.” Undyne looked inside the crack of the door. They could hear Asgore humming. “We’ve gotta do it, though! We’ve just gotta!!!”

“This is extremely illegal! We’ve already broken! Now we enter? We mustn’t!” Papyrus looked shocked everyone in the group was agreeing to breaking the law.

“It’s for the greater good! The good actions cancel out the bad actions!” Undyne tried to convince him.

Sans just shrugged.

“Fine! If we get caught, however, I will not be taking the blame!” Papyrus sighed in defeat, and Undyne grinned.

“Alright! Team huddle!” she put her hand in hand pile position, and everyone followed suit. Apparently, she decided to try a new cheer to avoid the mess of the last one.

“What team?!”

“Spooky!” Mettaton, Papyrus, Alphys, and Undyne yelled simultaneously, throwing their hands in the air.

“Wildcats.” Sans answered calmly, and lifted his hand halfway.

Undyne tugged at her hair in frustration. “Oh my god!”

 

***

Asgore’s home was quite nice, anyone would agree. It was very big, yes, but Mettaton liked it that way.

A staircase led down to some unknown basement, which none of them were too eager to explore. It seemed there were two hallways they could take.

“Should we split up?” Alphys whispered, and Mettaton rolled his eyes. “Haven’t you ever watched a horror movie, darling? The group that splits up always dies in the end.”

“That would be quite unfortunate! The dying part, I mean.” Papyrus agreed, and they all took a moment to silently think about where they should go. This place was pretty big, as houses went, or at least it was to Mettaton.

“I say we go left!” Undyne finally spoke up. “I think it leads to the kitchen??? We’ve gotta be quick, though!”

“You THINK it leads to the kitchen? Darling, we don’t have time for thoughts. Only actions.” Mettaton twirled a lock of his hair around his finger coyly. Undyne clenched her fists and muttered something under her breath.

“I agree with Undyne! She has been here many times before, after all. What’s the worst that could happen?” Papyrus said cheerfully.

Then the power went out.

Many things happened at that moment. All of them jumped simultaneously in surprise. Mettaton let out a rather high pitched shriek and clutched the arm of whoever was closest to him. This turned out to be Undyne, who tried to shake him off angrily.

Alphys seemed to be hyperventilating. Papyrus was making various noises of distress again. Sans...well, Sans was fine.

“Who turned out the lights?!” Papyrus attempted to feel his way through the darkness, but instead grabbed Mettaton’s arm rather tightly.

“Brother! Is this you?”

Mettaton stiffened. Papyrus was touching his arm. His hands were probably dirty. While this was probably an unfair assumption to make (anyone who knew Papyrus knew he was a total neat freak) Mettaton couldn’t help but feel anger rise up in his chest. The slow type, the type that threatened to claw its way out if not treated.

“Darling, I am not your brother. Would you mind letting go, now? Your grip is starting to hurt.” he asked, irritated. He felt Papyrus let go of him.

“Nyeh! Sorry, Mettaton! I did not know your arm could feel so similar to my brother’s!” Papyrus apologized, and Mettaton crossed his arms.

“Thank you for the lovely compliment,” he mumbled. “I’m thoroughly flattered, really.”

“You are very welcome! I-”

“Uh, we should probably focus on finding the glue…” Alphys interrupted them.

“I’d love to, darling, but in case you haven’t noticed, we don’t really have a source of light right now- hey! Quit it!” Mettaton shielded his eyes along with the rest of them. Sans had pulled out his phone, and had turned on the flashlight feature. Unfortunately for them, this meant the light shined in all of their eyes at once.

“Whoops. Sorry,” Sans pointed the light towards the left entrance. “I was just trying to en-lighten you in my new idea.”

“Brother, as usual, I do not approve of your puns!” Papyrus shook his head in disappointment (Mettaton thought, however, he could see him suppressing a smile) “However, you have come up with a brilliant idea! So I, the great Papyrus, grant you my forgiveness.” Papyrus took out his own phone and turned on the flashlight of it as well.

“Thanks, bro.” Sans gave a noncommittal shrug, and everyone followed suit, turning on their phone’s flashlight as well. They then proceeded to walk into the left room.

It seemed to be a living room of some sorts. Nothing really stood out, just a fireplace and a chair. “I don’t suppose there would be glue in here, now would there?” Mettaton shone his flashlight around the room.

He had to admit, this was slightly disappointing. Where was all the juicy secrets a principal’s house should totally have? Asgore was so...boring.

Undyne’s laughter interrupted his train of thought. “See?! Look! I told ‘ya the kitchen was here!!!” Her flashlight illuminated yet another doorway, in which what seemed to be a kitchen.

“G-great! Now we can finally get the glue and get out of here! This place is creepy…” Alphys mumbled, and everyone went into the kitchen.

Everyone except Mettaton.

Mettaton stood there, in deep thought for a moment. Everyone was preoccupied at the moment, searching in cabinets and drawers for glue. They didn’t exactly need another pair of hands.

And now, he had an opportunity to have some real fun this night. No depressing cousins to weigh him down. No being dragged around by unexpected visitors.

Just him.

And he intended to snoop.

Okay, maybe snoop was the wrong word (although it definitely was what he was about to do.) It was more like...a private investigation on his principal’s very personal life.

He was curious, for crying out loud! He didn’t intend to do any damage, or hurt Asgore. He just wanted to know more about him! Things like why he was so overwhelmingly depressing at times, or even things as miniscule as what he did for fun!

As Mettaton, stood there, trying to justify this possible action (which he should absolutely not do, by the way) he realized two things.

He was running out of time to explore.

He was being a bit of a hypocrite, having scolded Alphys for suggesting they split up earlier.

Curiosity killed the cat.

“But the cat wasn’t me,” Mettaton whispered to himself, and snuck out of the living room.

 

***

Asgore’s bedroom was boring, Mettaton decided, as he glanced around the room as he entered.

At first sight, there was a king sized bed, a desk, a dresser, and something taped to the wall. Mettaton decided to look at whatever was on the wall, which was macaroni art of a flower.

“How bland,” Mettaton mumbled, and opened the wardrobe. Inside was a Santa Claus outfit (Mettaton couldn’t help but smile, Asgore wore it every year) and a pink, hand knit sweater that read ‘Mr. Dad Guy.’

This, Mettaton found a little odd. He recalled Asgore having two children, so they were either awkward at names, or he was wrong.

After he finished lamenting at Asgore’s lame wardrobe choices (who wore Hawaiian shirts anymore?) he gave the room one more glance and, finding nothing of interest (there was a trophy of some sort, but he didn’t pay much attention to it) he left, and found himself entering another room.

This room had the same layout, wardrobe, flower drawing, whatever, except this one had two twin beds on either side of the room, neatly made.

Mettaton was still.

This was Asgore’s children’s room.

Immediately, he had the feeling he shouldn’t be here, this wasn’t right. Yet his feet moved on his own. And he found himself opening the wardrobe, which was full of striped shirts.

Next, he moved to the dresser, which had a framed picture on top of it. The two children were clearly the main focus of the photo. The boy with the fluffy hair held a bouquet of golden flowers (what was Asgore’s obsession with them?) and was smiling brightly. Next to him, the rosy cheeked one held flowers as well, but in a way that they were covering their face.

A light hand was on the boy’s shoulder, belonging to a woman in a dress, who Mettaton assumed was Asgore’s wife, wherever she was. She was cut off from the picture, being too tall, as well with who he could only assume was Asgore standing next to her.

The frame was coated with a thin layer of dust. Mettaton moved on to a chest of toys that was near one of the beds. As he looked through them (a bit jealousy, he’d never had toys of this quality or quantity as a kid) his hand bumped against something rather hard and un-toy like at the bottom of the box.

There was a big, green book, and a hunk of metal next to it. Upon closer inspection, it was a photo album and an old camera. Curiously, Mettaton pressed a button on the camera. The shutter sounded, a light flashed, and a polaroid came out at the bottom.

Boring.

The album, however, was not. Mettaton flipped open the cover, and his eyes widened at what he saw. Pictures upon pictures of what he could only assume was the Dreemurr family at one point.

The pictures started off with just the boy. One picture was of him as a baby, wrapped in a green blanket. On the bottom, in neat handwriting, it read, “Asriel Dreemurr, 1979- My child’s first visit home!”

Asriel.

Others were of Asriel playing in a garden, hugging stuffed animals, taking a bath. Then, when it seemed he was about eight, nine, the rosy cheeked child made their entrance.

The first picture they appeared in was of Asriel hugging them. They looked...unsettling, staring at the camera with no expression The handwriting was different this time, a bit more bubbly, like a child’s- “Chara Dreemurr, 1986- My best friend!”

Asriel must have captioned this one.

As the pictures went on, it seemed they were practically siblings at this point, growing closer and closer. Chara (Mettaton could only assume the Dreemurrs had adopted them at this point) seemed happier, smiling more, playing with Asriel.

Then the pictures stopped.

The little pockets of where the pictures were supposed to be grew empty. Something was wrong. The last picture had been of them eating dinner, dated 1988. Mettaton stared at it. He could only assume the children had grown up and flown the nest.

As for the pictures…

Maybe they had just stopped taking them?

Polaroids must have gone out of style, after all.

Mettaton felt something gnawing at the pit of his stomach. Guilt. Why had he done this? Snooping was wrong. It wasn’t his place to look at any of this stuff, but he had.

Mettaton didn’t want to consider himself the type of person who poked his nose in places he wasn’t supposed to, but there he was, invading memories that weren’t his.

The best he could do was put these items back where they came from and forget about it.

Two pictures fell out of the album. The script had changed once more, neat, but unfamiliar. “We pick flowers- 1988.” The picture was of Asriel kneeling in a field of golden flowers, looking uncertain, even scared.

The other one was of Chara, but it wasn’t them. Not really. Their skin was a pale green, their cheeks sunken, lips cracked and dry. All that it had on the bottom as a label was a smiley face.

He had a funny feeling these pictures were unbeknownst to whoever had made the album.

Footsteps sounded across the hallway. Okay, it was time to go. Mettaton stood up, about to put everything back, when he heard breathing behind him.

Slowly, Mettaton turned around, only to be faced with-

“OH MY- Oh, Asgore, it’s just you.” Mettaton forced his beating heart to calm down. Asgore stood in front of him, a confused expression on his face.

“Happstablook? What are you doing in here? I had thought you were all outside.” Asgore asked in his calm voice. Mettaton couldn’t help but notice he was holding a box of Twinkies, presumably the sweet he had been about to give them.

“Well, welly well well...that’s quite the story. You see, I was…” Mettaton willed himself to come up with an excuse, but he came up blank. Damn his mind! “There may have been aa minor accident involving a source of lighting from your absolutely lovely porch...which we may have snuck in here to try and find the materials to fix.”

Asgore laughed. “Golly! Do you mean that old light outside? It’s been loose for ages!”

“Oh! Then I suppose you aren’t mad?”

“Everyone has accidents. It is nothing new, especially, when it comes to that light.” Asgore gave him a kind smile, and then his eyes trailed to the album and camera in Mettaton’s arms. “...Where did you find those?”

Mettaton felt himself get hot in the face. Shame washed over him, along with embarrassment. Now his principal would know he was a total snoop, wouldn’t look at him the same, would hold a grudge against him. “Well, you see, I...found them in this toy chest. I might have taken the tiniest peek, and-”

Asgore gently took the album from his hands and flipped to a certain picture. Chara and Asriel were sat together, drawing. Asriel had a rather focused expression, his little tongue poking out of his mouth as he held a purple crayon, drawing some type of...person with stars, horns, and a long robe flying in space?. Chara, on the other hand, had a serene smile as they drew a picture of a yellow cat.

They both wore matching heart lockets.

“These were my children. Asriel and Chara.” Asgore spoke so quietly it was a whisper. “Chara came here one day, when Asriel was about eight years old. They were...inseparable.” Asgore gave a small smile at this. “Some people may claim just because one is not connected to the other by blood, they are not family. But Asriel and Chara were the closest pair of siblings you could ever meet.”

Asgore stroked his thumb over the photograph. “Chara stayed with us for many years. They were happy. Then, one day...they fell ill.” A dark look crossed Asgore’s face. “Chara told us it was a common disease from where they had came from, with no cure. Asriel was devastated. Day by day, they fell even more ill than before. They kept pleading to be taken to their village, to see the golden flowers they loved there. Then, one day… they left us.”

Mettaton couldn’t help but stare. Asgore’s face was one of pain, one of regret, one of sadness.

“I was watering the flowers when someone ran up to me. They were gone. It is hard to piece together exactly what happened, but… bit by bit, we have. My son, wracked with grief, carried Chara’s body out of our town of Ebott, and to Chara’s old town. He tried to put their body to rest in the flowers, but… the people saw him carrying the body of a fellow child. They could only assume he had…”

Asgore’s shoulders shook. He was either crying or laughing. Mettaton could only awkwardly put a hand on his trembling shoulder. Asgore lifted up his head. “They shot him. They shot my poor son, and that day… he perished along side Chara.”

“Oh my, I’m so...sorry.” Mettaton gasped. And he really was. Sorry Asgore’s children had died, sorry people could be so cruel, sorry he had looked where he wasn’t supposed to. “That must have been awful.”

“It is alright.” Asgore sighed deeply. “I should not have troubled you with this tale. It is nothing to tell a student on Halloween night, after all.”

“Oh, darling, I ought to be the one apologizing to you! I was the one who opened up the wound again.” Mettaton shook his head. “Honestly, it was rather...unfabulous of me.”

“You were only curious. Besides, you have done no harm.” Asgore said absentmindedly. Suddenly, he handed back the album to Mettaton. “I have spent a long time staring at these memories. Some were good, yes, but others...I think it is time someone else had this. New memories should be made. New memories of someone happier, in the prime of their life.”

Mettaton was stunned. Was Asgore really giving him this? “What a...thoughtful gift! I have to ask, though, are you quite sure you’re willing to part with it? It seems to hold quite a lot of sentimental value.”

“I am sure. Why not use it to take some pictures of you and your friends? I am sure they would enjoy to share memories with you.” Asgore stood up, and Mettaton followed suit. “You should keep the camera as well.”

“The gift wouldn’t make much sense without it, now would it?” Mettaton added slyly, and Asgore laughed.

“You are right. Let us go, now. We should not keep your friends waiting.” Asgore left the room.

“I’ll be right out!” Mettaton called after him. As soon as he was sure Asgore had left, he bent down and quickly scooped up the two photographs that had fallen down. It was sure, then- Asgore hadn’t seen these, or was aware they even existed. He opened up the album and tucked them into the photo pockets next to the picture of the kids eating dinner, and left the room.

Asgore didn’t need to be hurt anymore than he already was.

 

***

“Hello, beauties! Guess what I’ve got- what are you doing? No, wait, what are you attempting to do?”

Undyne was holding Papyrus by his feet up to the porch ceiling. Papyrus appeared to be trying to glue the light back on, which Mettaton quickly realized was a stupid idea- how would even do that?

Alphys was staring at them nervously, and Sans stood there with his lazy grin. “Looks like we’ve got company.”

“What?!” Undyne yelled, startling Papyrus so bad he teetered.

“Hey, quit it! You’re gonna make me-”

Papyrus toppled over, on his way down crashing into Undyne, who fell to the floor as well. The tube of glue skidded across the porch to Asgore’s feet.

“Bravo, bravo!” Mettaton clapped his hands sarcastically. “Nicely done, darlings!”

“O-oh god, p-principal A-Asgore, we’re r-really sorry about this, and-” Alphys stammered, only to be silenced by their principal.

“It is alright. You did not mean any harm.” he replied gently, and helped Undyne and Papyrus up from the floor.

“Thanks, Asgore. Sorry about your, uh, lamp.” Undyne said with a sheepish smile.

“So sorry to break up your little apology-fest, darlings, but look what Asgore gave me!” Mettaton proudly held up the camera and album.

“Wowie! A book and a hunk of metal! This must be your lucky day!” Papyrus exclaimed.

“It’s not just any book and hunk of metal! It’s an album! And some sort of junky camera.” Mettaton faltered at this. He did wish it could have been a more modern camera- he could have sold it on Ebay.

Asgore didn’t seem to mind this. “I thought it would be nice for you to all fill it with your memories of this year. High school is a very special time for you teenagers. One to cherish greatly.”

Mettaton was a bit reluctant to call most of this group his friends, but it was a thoughtful gift idea.

“Thanks, Asgore! It’s awesome! Super awesome!!! ‘Specially since Sans and I are seniors.” Undyne swiped the camera from Mettaton’s hands.

“Excuse me, darling, I-”

Sensing a potential dangerous situation, Asgore held up his hands. “Why don’t I take a picture of all of you? You seemed to have worked very hard on your costumes, it would be a shame not to capture it.”

“That sounds like a fabulous idea, principal!” Mettaton agreed. A photo to document all the effort he’d out into his costume would be just what he needed.

“Did you hear that, Sans?! Asgore thinks I worked hard on my costume! My hard work has finally been recognized!” Papyrus whisper screamed to Sans, who chuckled in return.

“That’s great, bro. Guess you could say you it was a real Hallo-win for you.”

“Sans!!!”

“Everyone say cheese! Or whatever you would like to say.” Asgore pressed the shutter on the camera.

The polaroid slid out of the camera’s exit-hole-or-whatever-Mettaton-couldn’t-care-less-about-the-term, and Mettaton made a beeline to grab it before anyone else could. He wanted to make sure he looked good. If he didn’t, he’d make Asgore retake it, regardless of how the rest of the group looked in it.

In the photo, Mettaton had struck a pose, doing the model’s pout at the camera, lifting one arm up to the sky and winking. His bouquet of roses rested in his other arm. Undyne had her T-rex arm wrapped around Alphys with a big smile. Alphys looked a little nervous and sweaty, timidly doing the Sailor Moon pose.

Papyrus was stamping his foot and glaring at Sans, although anyone who looked could tell he was trying to hide his smile. Sans was smiling (such a big difference) and shrugging, his palms facing the air.

“It’s alright, darlings! I look good, there’s no reason to panic.” Mettaton reassured them all.

“I-I look so…” Alphys stared at the picture.

“Kawaii!” Undyne slung her arm around Alphys’s shoulder again, leaning over to look at the picture. “And I look awesome as hell!”

“Does anyone have a pen? I want to label it.” Mettaton asked. Might as well carry on with the theme of labeling pictures like the previous ones.

“I happen to carry many pens on me for an occasion such as this one!” Papyrus handed Mettaton a black ballpoint pen.

“Thank you, darling.” Mettaton scribbled on the bottom of the photo in his cursive handwriting, and slid it into the photo pocket. It read:

“Mettaton, Alphys, Undyne, Sans, and Papyrus, 2018- An absolutely fabulous Halloween to remember!”

 

***

After Asgore put Twinkies in each of their candy buckets, they all agreed the polaroid camera, or at least the idea of it, was cool, or in Mettaton’s words, “retro-cute.”

It made for a nice aesthetic, at least.

They waved goodbye to Asgore, and, too tired to walk all the way back home, they all walked to Papyrus’s car and piled in. They were all a bit sleepy, but as Papyrus drove them to Hotland (Mettaton and Undyne would be sleeping over at Alphys’s tonight, it was late) they compared candy.

“Honey, I hate to tell you this, although I really don’t, but sour gummy worms are trash.” Mettaton said to Undyne. He was crammed in the backseat next to her and Alphys, sitting next to the window. The car top was open, letting the wind blow in.

“What are you talking about?! They’re the best candy there is?!” Undyne yelled. Papyrus had his car window on his side open, and it was a bit hard to hear over the rushing wind.

“They’re disgusting. Papyrus, could you turn the music up? I don’t want to hear this mindless drivel anymore, especially when Undyne knows lollipops are better.”

“They’re saliva sticks!” Undyne argued, as Papyrus turned the volume up.

They all sat in silence for a second, contemplating this side of the argument, when Undyne gasped. “I know this song!”

“That’s not uncommon, Undyne. A lot of people know a lot of songs.” Mettaton rolled his eyes and fished a lollipop out of his candy, sticking it in his mouth after tossing the wrapper out of the window.

“It’s the Law and Order song, punk!” Undyne made a fist at him.

Alphys’s face lit up. “Wait, is it from that video that goes-”

The radio sang, “Sometimes I feel I’ve got to-”

Undyne quite literally slammed her head twice against the car window. “-RUN AWAY!”

“Undyne! No head slamming against any windows!” Papyrus fretted, concerned for the state of his car.

“Sorry, Papyrus. What’s this song even called?”

“‘Where did our love go.’” Sans responded.

“How’d you know that?” Mettaton raised an eyebrow. He did, in fact, know this song, but he didn’t think Sans was the type to listen to any sort of music.

“They keep repeating that lyric.” Sans shrugged.

“I’m sure I could repeat it much better.” Mettaton said confidently, and began to sing. “I’ve got this burning, burning, yearning, feeling inside me,”

“OOH, DEEP INSIDE ME!” Undyne yelled at the top of her lungs.

Mettaton was a little annoyed his singing had been hijacked, but went along with it. So did the rest of them, apparently, because when the next lyric came-

“AND IT HURTS SO BAD!!!” The rest of them yelled, even Alphys, who was self consciously looking at the lyrics on her phone so as not to be left out.

For the rest of the ride, they scream sang (Mettaton regular sang, however) along to the song, until the last few lyrics came up.

“Darlings, be quiet, because I’m about to blow your miserable little minds.”

They all obeyed, knowing he would whine if they didn’t, and Mettaton sang, in his velvety, smooth voice:

“You came into my heart

So tenderly

With a burning love

That stings like a bee

Ooh, baby baby,”

While they weren’t the most deep lyrics, Mettaton had sang them that way. Slowly, Papyrus began to clap, along with Alphys, Sans, and even Undyne.

“Mettaton, that was amazing!” Papyrus seemed, well, stunned. Starstruck.

“I know, darling.” Mettaton threw his head back and felt the wind blow through his hair. The night sky twinkled with the few artificial looking stars they had, but Mettaton didn’t care.

He threw his hands up in the air.

Soon, he would be one of them.

Chapter Text

Crickets chirped and the stars shone as a certain dramatic diva stared at an open book on his lap.

Or, rather, a fortress of textbooks surrounding him.

Mettaton sat on his bed, staring at one specific book in his lap, Pride and Prejudice. He liked to consider himself an efficient person. And he was, he really was. When Mettaton put his mind to it, he could usually accomplish something quickly, with positive end results.

Unless it was something he wasn’t interested in.

Pride and Prejudice was the reading for his language arts class, and he had to answer, like, fifty questions about it. They were expected to read chapter ten, which these questions centered around.

Mettaton hadn’t even started the reading.

If he wasn’t interested in something, he either would put it off for as long as he could, or just straight up wouldn’t do it. And Mettaton had no interest in reading a book about predator-juice or whatever.

He also had tons of homework from other classes to do, and it was nighttime.

Fan-freaking-tastic.

At this very moment, Napstablook shuffled upstairs, to where their overworked cousin was, and Mettaton’s head snapped up. Blooky was an ample distraction!

“Blooky, darling! How are you? I feel as if we haven’t talked in ages!” Mettaton gave his cousin a bright smile.

Blooky was crouched over their beanbag, getting their sweater. “Oh….I’m fine….didn’t we talk a few hours ago, though….? You said you were doing homework….and to avoid distracting you….oh, no….I distracted you now, didn’t I….oh, no…..”

Napstablook was right, however. Mettaton had came home from school that day, determined to knock all his homework out of the way, and declared to Blooky he’d be doing extremely important, life changing homework upstairs, and to not distract him, or else he’d most positively fail.

“Oh...right. Well… I’m almost done,” he lied. “Where are you going, anyway? It’s a bit late, isn’t it?”

“I’m going to Shyren’s house...she says Shyra isn’t feeling well again….do you want to come?” Napstablook had the teensiest look of hope on their face.

Shyren was their oldest friend. They’d met in elementary school, and between him, Blooky, and her, they’d all shared a love for music, and had even claimed they’d form a band.

Everyday up until sometime around middle school, they’d practiced their talents, Shyren usually shyly singing backup or playing the piano, Blooky using what broken equipment they could find to DJ, and Mettaton singing, and even dancing, at one point.

Then Mettaton had met Alphys, and Shyra, Shyren’s sister, had gotten mysteriously sick with some sort of heart disease, and Mettaton was tired of spending his time around sad people and started to spend time around Alphys, who at least tried to put her plans into action.

He stared at the workload in front of him. He knew Blooky would be really happy if he went, it would be just like the old times. In fact, he hadn’t talked to Shyren in forever, it would be nice to catch up.

But… real life awaited, not a sentimental rat’s nest of broken dreams.

There was no use.

“I’m so very sorry, darling, but I’m afraid I can’t. You know, the workload and all.” Mettaton shook his head.

Blooky looked down at the floor. “Oh…. that’s okay….” they mumbled, and slowly slunk down the stairs to leave, torn white sweater in hand.

Mettaton sighed, and mentally promised himself he’d catch up with Shyren later. Then, he went back to the reading. He was still on the first page. It wasn’t that he couldn’t read or anything, it was just that he was so bored he spaced out, staring at the jumble of words on the page.

At times like this, he could really use someone to complain to.

And that someone was right behind him.

Mettaton pulled his diary out from under his pillow and flipped to the next empty page. He began to write.

‘Diary… My Dear,

Do you know what’s fabulous? Hot pink sparkly dresses, shrimp cocktails, crowds of adoring fans screaming your name…

Do you know what’s not fabulous? Attending some grungy little high school in the middle of nowhere with ugly, clunky prosthetics.

Real stars have beautiful bodies, with curves in all the right places, perfectly shaped faces, and legs that aren’t a hindrance to them.

Why don’t I? I just can’t possibly fathom why I’ve this horrid fate, I’m a ghost with two left feet, a worn out lollipop stick, a next day nobody.

Help me, help me, help me.

I want to sing, I want to dance, I want people to love me. I want to be someone, I want to hear people calling my name, I want to be free.

I want to be happy.

I wish I looked the way I want to. I have that person all fleshed out in my head, he’s fabulous, everyone knows his name.

Yet, hopes and dreams are useless. I’ll never have the kind of body I’m looking for, anyway. Still, when I see all those models and celebrities, I want to look like them. If I looked like that, I could finally feel like… “myself.”

There’s no way I can be a star the way I am now.

Forever Yours (Unfortunately),
Mettaton’

Mettaton put down his pen. He didn’t feel any better at all. In fact, he felt even worse. Now all he wanted to do was curl up into a ball and cry.

It was rare he ever felt like this, Mettaton usually did his best to push these thoughts into the back of his mind. He wasn’t one to feel sorry for himself all the time (unlike his cousins) or at least not this way. But…

Mettaton stared at all of the books in front of him. Suddenly, he screamed, pushing the books off his bed, crumpling up his homework assignment, and furiously kicking at his bedding.

That was when he felt the vibration coming from beside him.

His phone was ringing.

Mettaton paused his little tantrum to check the caller ID. It was Alphys, or rather, Alphys with about a thousand heart emojis next to her name, yellow, per her request. Her contact picture was of her and him, Mettaton sticking his tongue out playfully, Alphys laughing at something he had said that moment.

Mettaton remembered that day. They had made a picnic and gone to New Home to enjoy it.

If there was anyone who could calm him down now, it was Alphys.

Reluctantly, he accepted the call.

Immediately, Alphys began to talk, or rather, scream.

“OMIGOD DID YOU SEE THE NEW MEW MEW KISSY CUTIE: SUGOI KOKOROS VIDEO GAME HAS A SEQUEL OR SOMETHING??? I JUST PLAYED IT AND I REALLY LIKED IT EXCEPT IT SAID TO BE CONTINUED AND IT LEFT US ON THIS CLIFFHANGER AND IT’S BEEN SO LONG SINCE WE HAD CANON CONTENT AND-”

“Alphys, darling, I think you’re forgetting I don’t keep up with Meow Meow Kicky Cooties.” Mettaton said calmly, quite contrasting his previous state of mind. Someone had to keep the other grounded.

“I-it’s Mew Mew Kissy- oh, n-nevermind. Sorry.” Alphys mumbled in apology.

Mettaton felt a little bad. She’d called him first, after all, which meant she really was excited to talk to him about it. “Oh, I suppose it couldn’t hurt to tell me about it.”

He could practically see Alphys’s dorky smile. “R-really?”

“I’ve got nothing better to do.” he snorted, staring at the mess of books and homework all over the floor.

“O-okay! So, it starts off with you as some new character who sort of looks l-like Bork Bork, that character who died before Mew Mew became a thing, even, except she’s totally not, she’s some character called Pork Pork, and-”

Mettaton tuned Alphys out for the rest of the conversation. He reached for the stash of candy he’d collected on Halloween (it was amazing how long Halloween candy lasted) and popped a piece of red licorice into his mouth. All had to do was say, “Uh huh”, and gasp in the right places, and Alphys would carry on talking, convinced he was as captivated as she was.

“-And then, after Mew Mew takes off her collar, the ultimate source of her power, she holds up the Mew Mew Sweet Scythe, which we haven’t seen since the first season of the show, and then the screen fades to black, and it says, ‘To be continued in PART TWO. PART TWO!!! So my theory is that it’s an alternate universe, since all the characters don’t seem to know each other, and I think the character you play as is actually Bork Bork, since she acts just like she would and since Mew Mew is nowhere in sight. What do you think?” Alphys asked, clearly proud of how much thought she’d put into this. When there was no response, Alphys said, “M-Mettaton? Are you still there?”

Mettaton was sprawled out across the bed, candy wrappers littered on the bedspread instead of books. It had been about an hour since Alphys started talking, and he felt sick to his stomach. He’d eaten all of his candy, even the sour gummy worms, and had even cried a little while doing so.

A true pity party.

Mettaton was busy staring at his hands. They had chocolate stains and whatever else sticky goo coated candies all over them. He pressed his hands together and then took them apart, feeling the stickiness between his palms and the pain in his stomach.

He felt gross.

“M-MTT? Are you alright? I didn’t mean to-”

“Fine, darling. Just...processing all of that.” Mettaton snapped out of his little trance.

“Oh. Well, me too! I know it’s a lot to take in.” Alphys sounded happy, which Mettaton would usually think was a nice contrast from her usual anxious state, but now he just felt nauseous.

“It really is.” he groaned, which Alphys thought was an exasperated agreement instead of noises of pain.

“I know! We were all really surprised when Mew Mew’s creator told us just yesterday to check the Mew Mew fan page in eighteen hours…”

Mettaton sighed. It was time to get up, wash this crap off his hands, throw out all these wrappers. He was no slob, that was for sure. He carried his phone with him to the bathroom, so he could at least talk to Alphys while cleaning up.

“S-so! What have you been doing today?” Alphys asked, and it was evident in her tone she felt she’d been talking too much, and that the other party deserved a chance to talk to.

Mettaton turned on the faucet of their bathroom sink and began to wash his hands. The sticky crud slowly washed off and went down the drain.

For once, he wished Alphys would keep talking and never stop.

“Oh, you know. Average things. Homework, TV, etcetera.” Mettaton mused.

Alphys was surprised when he didn’t continue on or elaborate after that. Mettaton usually loved the spotlight, and, not unlike her, could also go on for hours. Even the most mundane things Mettaton could put a twist on.

“Y-you’re sure? How are your cousins?”

Mettaton looked up. A little too up. He met his eyes in the mirror.

Great. It was too late to look away now, he was already stuck. His reflection had him beat.

“Out. I was doing homework, we didn’t talk much.” Mettaton mumbled in shock. His reflection was hideous.

There were bags under his eyes, candy stains surrounding his mouth, his hair was all sticking up to the left. His pink, too small pajamas clung to his frail body, which he had put on earlier, just in case he fell asleep during his studies.

This was why Mettaton hated mirrors. Once they drew you in, they didn’t let you go, until you saw every flaw, every imperfection you had to offer.

Had he always been this pale? Was his hair usually this thin? Mettaton stared at a few lingering scars on his right cheek, baby pink scars, easy to get rid of, but they never left. There was always more where those came from, anyway. Mettaton squished down the bridge of his nose with his finger, it seemed a little too long. And how about those three consecutive birthmarks above his right eyebrow?

“Oh. Did you ever finish?”

“No,” Mettaton responded, staring his reflection in the eyes. “I haven’t even started.”

“W-What?! But you told me you had a lot! Did you do the questions for the reading? I can send answers, if you want!” Alphys was clearly concerned, and Mettaton briefly considered taking her up on this offer. Usually he begged her for answers, and now she was holding them out on a platter.

But it was already late. A quarter to midnight, in fact. Mettaton knew he wasn’t about to stay up trying to decode Alphys’s messy scrawl and change the words just enough to make it seem as if they hadn’t been copied (and much less, do the rest of his homework)

“I’m good, darling. An F isn’t the end of the world, now is it?” Mettaton forced himself to look away. This was too much for one night. Mettaton sat on the edge of the tub, stripped himself of his pajamas and prosthetics, and turned on the faucet of the bath. What he needed right now was to be scrubbed clean of what he had just seen.

“Are y-you sure? What about your older cousin? Can’t they help you?”

“Maddy’s out, darling, remember? Plus, I doubt they’ve turned in a single homework assignment in their life.” Once the tub was full of hot water, Mettaton lowered himself into it, sighing at the feeling. Baths were always soothing, he once fell asleep in one as a child and had to be dragged out.

“I guess. I just thought they might-”

“They wouldn’t help, anyway. We had a little quarrel.” Mettaton explained tiredly, wanting to save his ears from Alphys talking about Maddy as much as possible.

“A quarrel? About what?” Alphys sounded confused now, and for good reason, Mettaton didn’t usually bring up these things with her.

“Just cousin-ly things. Nothing of immediate importance, you could say.” Mettaton busied himself with washing his hair. “Didn’t you have a date with Undyne the other night? Tell me all about it, Alphys darling, it’d be a pity if I didn’t hear about your epic romance saga.”

Maddy was still a little miffed that Mettaton hadn’t gone trick-or-treating with them. Not as mad as before, but still a little frosty.

Alphys laughed, and launched into full detail about her date. When Mettaton was finished with his bath and back with his prosthetics and pajamas on, Alphys was still talking, and Mettaton fell asleep on top of the scattered papers and wrappers he was too tired to clean up as she kept talking, only to be silenced by his phone dying forty minutes later.

 

***

The next day, after Maddy glaring at him and telling him he’d better pick up the mess he’d made (Mettaton did, not due to the fact Maddy wanted him to but due to the sheer fact he was disgusted by it) Mettaton left to school, feeling tired but ready to start a new day.

He’d had his pity party, now it was time for something else completely.

Now it was time for a new chapter of his life to begin.

“I got your text,” Alphys ran over to him as soon as she saw him entering the school building. “I-I’m willing to help out in any way I can! This is all so exciting, y-you know? You’ve been wanting to do this for a while”

Mettaton gave her a big smile. It felt good to have someone finally be happy for him. “Yes, darling, it is. Could you help me put up these flyers, by the way? And maybe recruit a few people to help out while you’re at it- there’s only so much school we can cover before the bell rings.”

Mettaton handed her a stack of flyers. They were all printed on bright pink paper. On them, it read in big letters, “Looking for drama? Romance? Bloodshed? Looking for something to spice up your life?! Join the drama club, darling!!! Under new, fabulous leadership!!!” and, in smaller letters below, “All meetings in the auditorium before and after school starting next week. There is no actual bloodshed.”

Asgore had made him put that last line.

And, finally, the part he was most proud of, was the photoshoot he’d taken of himself. Well, not really himself. It was him, yes, but he’d lowered the light on the photos so much that it just looked like a silhouette. On the flyer, there were three of these silhouettes.

One was of him running his hand through his hair. The other was of him on his knees in a dress (he’d used the Carrie dress for this one) looking as if he were pleading, with his hands spread out in front of him. And the last one, his personal favorite, was of him leaning forward, one hand on his hip, the other blowing a kiss to the flyer viewer.

All of them were glittery as well, so bright it was blinding.

Alphys took a look at them. “Wow! These are...i-intense. How much did these copies cost?” Unlike literally anyone else that knew him (besides his cousins, of course) Alphys was aware of the money problems the Blook family had at home. And since there must have been at least a hundred copies (and they were all printed with color) they must have been out of Mettaton’s budget.

“A fortune, let me tell you,” Mettaton pursed his lips. “Luckily, I saved up enough for these. Don’t they look fabulous? Oh, don’t even bother answering, I know they do!”

“Yeah, they really are cool flyers. I, uh, brought the d-duct tape like you asked me to, so, if you need it, I can-”

“Oh, that won’t be a problem, darling, I got some from the office so you wouldn’t have to waste yours, being your generous best friend and all.” Mettaton winked, and pulled out a roll of tape from his bag.

Alphys had paid at least ten bucks for the tape and had gone to the store to buy it this morning, but she wouldn’t say that now. Not when Mettaton was trying to do a nice gesture, in his own way. “Oh??? I didn’t??? Know??? That’s fine! I’ll just!! Use it for something else!!!” ALphys laughed nervously, afraid she looked stupid.

“Exactly. When these posters go up, Alphys, my life will finally begin!” Mettaton slung an arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. “I’ll have everything I’ve ever wanted! I’ll be so utterly fabulous, people will kill to see me!” Mettaton used his free hand to make elaborate gestures in front of her face.

“U-uh, I’m not sure that’s-”

“And it all starts with this.” Mettaton clutched the remaining flyers to his chest. Most people would know that life wouldn’t start with a high school club. Yet (and Mettaton couldn’t help but think this to himself) maybe the reason he was being so optimistic today was to make up for yesterday, to prove to himself he was better, to patch up his self-bruised ego.

“S-so...when do you receive the funding?” Alphys asked, wanting to change the subject. It wasn’t exactly fun to think of Mettaton becoming so big people would become desperate to even look at him. Where did that leave her?

“Tomorrow? Although it’s not as much as I would have liked…” Mettaton muttered, waving at Muffet as she passed by in the hall. Muffet waved back.

“What? Why not?”

“Well…” And somehow, in the span of one minute, Mettaton managed to explain to Alphys his whole little saga with Muffet (sans Papyrus driving him home.)

“M-Mettaton! You lost a lot of money with that deal! How are you going t-to even afford to buy three cans of paint for your sets?” Alphys was astonished that Mettaton could have such bad judgement.

But desperate times called for desperate measures, Mettaton told himself.

“I’ll manage to afford it somehow, I suppose,” Mettaton snapped. Who was Alphys to tell him what he could and couldn’t afford? He doubted she’d ever had to sit down and actually decide whether or not dinner could just be saltine crackers that week.

Alphys was already sweating and stammering. “N-no, no, no! I-I didn’t m-mean it like that! I j-just thought that you took out a big c-chunk of your club’s funding, a-and that it m-might be a bit hard to, uh, make ends meet!”

“...I know what you mean, darling. I’m sorry about my little temper tantrum. I guess you could say I’m a little...stressed, about all this.” Mettaton admitted. Now was no time to get mad at Alphys, one of the only people who actually believed in him.

Plus, she was putting up a good half of the posters.

“I-it’s alright! I know it can’t be easy with all that weighing on you...have you, uh, considered asking your cousins for help?” Alphys put a gentle hand on his back.

Mettaton rolled his eyes. “As if. If I even told them I was considering doing something following-your-dreams related, Maddy would blow a fuse and Blooky would cry me an actual river. No way, no day.”

Yet there was another reason why Mettaton wouldn’t be telling his cousins about him being the president of the drama club. And that was because, selfishly enough, he wanted this to himself. It wasn’t an issue of sharing the spotlight (he’d be more than happy to get Blooky doing what they loved, and Maddy wasn’t really the theatre type) it was that this was his own life, his real life.

It wasn’t him going home and sulking in his diary, hearing Maddy yell and Blooky cry and blah, blah, blah, whine, whine, whine, and all that jazz.

It was him doing what he loved. And he didn’t want his cousins taking this away from him, making him share this important piece with them, for them to ruin it, for them to taint it.

“Oh. Maybe you could look for some jobs on the side? Y-you know, like how Undyne works at Gerson’s store, or Sans at his many...too many hot dog stands.”

Mettaton was a bit surprised to hear this. Sans? Working? The one time he met him, Sans was literally too lazy to get a Halloween costume. “Well, tell me if you find any job openings, Alphy.” he said, a bit sarcastically.

“I-”

Mettaton was already running away from her, ecstatic to get started, and away from this conversation. “Put up those flyers, darling!”

“-Will.”

 

***

Somehow, Mettaton had managed to put up most of his posters around the school already. He’d slid them into lockers, taped them in the bathrooms, classrooms, the cafeteria, he’d even taped some on the backs of students while they weren’t looking so they’d literally be walking advertisements for him.

How brilliant was that?

Humming to himself, Mettaton went to tape the last poster to some locker, when he heard footsteps shuffle up behind him.

“Oh, hello! Are you interested in joining the-” Mettaton immediately stopped talking when he saw who it was.

It was Madstablook, arms folded, brows furrowed. “Happy? What’re you doing at my locker? Did you forget your lunch again? Well, I don’t have it! You’re gonna have to remember it! Remember! Alright?!”

“Helloooo, Maddy!” Mettaton hid the roll of tape behind his back and grinned like an idiot at them, hoping they hadn’t seen him holding it.

Maddy just stared at him. “What’s wrong with you? Do you want lunch money or something? Like I have it.”

“Nope! Just here to see my favorite cousin!” Mettaton regretted not running away as soon as he’d seen them.

Maddy looked them up and down once again. For a little too long. Was there something on his shirt?

“If there’s something wrong with my outfit, you can tell me, you know? I’d rather know if I have a wardrobe malfunction, thank you very much.” Mettaton sighed, already feeling the familiar irritation with his cousin coming back.

“There’s nothing wrong with your outfit! I just wanted to know if you… get hot in that thing!” Maddy said, a little too defensively.

Mettaton was a bit confused. He was wearing a light pink turtleneck sweater, along with a darker pink skirt to match, and a heart shaped hair clip (pink, of course.) It was getting a bit colder outside as well, so it wasn’t as if he’d be sweating buckets or anything.

“I don’t, darling, but thanks for your concern, I’m flattered.” Mettaton rolled his eyes.

Suddenly, Maddy reached out towards their locker, and plucked the taped poster from it, which Mettaton had thought he’d hidden well by standing in front of it.

Maddy gave it a once over. “These flyers are ridiculous, huh?”

Mettaton felt hurt. Not that his cousin knew it, but he’d worked very hard on them. Did they look too pink, or something? Not enough glitter?

Who was he kidding, he’d dipped each and every one of them into a bucket of glitter.

“I suppose they are.” Mettaton said, trying not to sound too pissed. What did Maddy know about creation, anyway?

“No one’s gonna join a stupid drama club anyway. Wait a minute, are you…?” Maddy leaned in close to inspect Mettaton (although he couldn’t imagine what for, theatre germs?)

“You’re thinking of joining, aren’t you?! Stupid! Idiotic! Reckless!!! When will you learn?! I-”

Mettaton clamped his hand against Maddy’s mouth to keep them from causing a scene. “I’m not, Maddy! I don’t have time to, anyway, I have homework!” Mettaton lied (he was becoming quite good at this) and Maddy immediately calmed down.

“Fine, fine, fine! Just don’t you dare think of joining, alright?” And with that, they walked away, leaving Mettaton to wonder how he’d managed to survive that whole ordeal.

Mettaton turned on his heel and went on his way to the office. It was almost time for morning announcements.

And he’d never missed a day.

 

***

Mettaton sat in language arts, twiddling his pen in his fingers. The teacher had turned off the light so they could watch some boring film (in fact, it wasn’t the teacher, but a substitute. Mettaton had known this from the moment he walked in and saw the teacher fiddling with a VHS tape about puberty; what sane teacher would do this?)

Alphys sat next to him, drawing some picture of Mew Mew or whatever. She clearly wasn’t paying attention, along with most rest of the class, who were all passing notes or on their phones.

So, it was only drop dead obvious what he had to do. Mettaton pulled out his diary and began scribbling in it, only this time it wasn’t an entry.

This time it was a plan.

‘School Play (preferably a musical) Ideas:
Nothing super popular, it’ll be done to death.
Something utterly fabulous!!!
Something bold, something brave!
Has to have cute costumes.
I heard they made Carrie a musical? Can’t do it, though, it would look like I’m copying that one horrid show about those comic book characters.
Honestly, this isn’t a list of ideas more than a list of requirements, BUT NO MUSICAL FULFILLS THEM IN A WAY THAT PERFECTLY SUITS ME!’

Mettaton frowned. “Alphys! Psst, Alphys!” he whispered, leaning towards her in the darkness. Alphys jumped a little, startled at the sudden request for her attention. “Y-yes?”

“Remember how I’m hosting a totally fabulous school play so people can finally see my star power?” Mettaton asked, and Alphys nodded.

“Well, I have no ideas what it will be. Suggestions? Preferably a musical, by the way.”

Alphys proceeded to rattle off fairly popular musicals she’d heard of from the top of her head.

“W-Wicked?”

“Done to death.”

“Phantom of the opera?”

“It can’t be completely romance centric!”

“Uh… Mew Mew Kissy-”

“No.”

“W-well then, I’m kind of stumped,” Alphys sighed and rested her chin in her palms. Mettaton did the same, until Alphys gasped and gripped his shoulder. He could practically see the stars in her eyes.

“Alphys, could you gasp a little quieter, please? I’m trying to think here.”

“Y-you could write one! Um, I know you’re very creative, so y-you could probably write one that caters to all of your, uh, very specific needs?” Alphys smiled a bit nervously, ready for her idea to be rejected by her very picky friend.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Alphys, that would never work- oh my god!” Mettaton sat up straight as any teen fiction novels protagonist and then turned to face her. “What if I wrote my own musical that could cater to all my very specific needs? Since I’m quite creative and all,” Mettaton enthused a bit smugly, proud he’d came up with this so quickly. “Doesn’t that sound absolutely fabulous?!”

Alphys took a deep breath. Patience. “Y-Yep! It does, Metta. But...where are you going to get the funding? I’m not saying you go overboard with stuff, but…”

Mettaton was like a balloon that had been pricked with a pin, completely and utterly deflated. It was foolish to think his dreams could come true so easily. There was always a catch. “I suppose you’re right.”

Maybe Muffet’s original idea to perform ‘Charlotte’s Web’ really was better. Yet he shuddered at the thought of humans playing talking animals, of fake, plastic pig noses, of, well… any of that. That wasn’t the glamorous life he’d envisioned for himself. What sort of person got their start from playing a talking pig, anyway?

Alphys gasped once more, and Mettaton turned his head towards her in annoyance. “Look, honey, if you’re going to hyperventilate, it’s really quite rude of you to do it while I’m mourning the loss of my hopes and dreams, thank you very much-”

“I-I’m not hyperventilating! I just remembered something! I was talking to Asgore earlier today, since I wanted to see if I could- well, that’s not important. Anyway, h-he mentioned he needed someone to babysit his kid! That his wife, uh, had to go to some parent teacher conference at the local elementary school??? I didn’t even think he had a wife- uh, so she needs someone to watch his kids!” Alphys rambled.

Wait, Asgore had a kid? “But, Alphys, his kids…” Mettaton trailed off.

“T-they fell down. I know.” Alphys nodded, and looked surprised at Mettaton’s expression of shock.

“You know?!”

“Y-yeah! Everyone knows the story of Asriel and Chara. Chara got s-sick, they fell down, Asriel carried them out of Ebott, he, uh, got… harmed by the humans,” Alphys explained uncomfortably. “You really didn’t know this?”

“I… just found out the other day.” Mettaton looked away. Something was wrong. What were those two ominous polaroids that fell out of the album about, then? He was almost positive Chara had captioned them- but the images themselves were so confusing and unsettling, something more must have happened.

Mettaton decided not to say anything.

“Oh! That makes more sense. Well, the Dreemurrs, uh, supposedly adopted another kid??? They’re like five or six… I know you aren’t really a fan of kids, but Asgore said they’d pay ten bucks an hour… you could really get some good funding out of that!” Alphys tried her best to smile, but Mettaton just looked doubtful

It wasn’t that he was one of those people who despised kids for no reason. Despise wasn’t the word he’d use, and he had his reasons.

Okay, so it wasn’t like he disliked kids for no reason. They were just… so loud and bratty at times. Often times they were sticky, or crying about something, and they were just too much work!

Besides, what was he going to even do with a kid, engage them in some conversation about his life? ‘Oh, yes, I want to be a star, but my legs were brutally destroyed by a truck, my cousins would be very unhappy, and Ebott literally sucks! How about you- ever had your hopes and dreams taken away in front of you?’

“Do you know what this kid is like?” Mettaton raised an eyebrow.

“I, uh, don’t… but that’s okay! I’m sure it won’t be that bad! Not all kids are horrible.” Alphys chuckled.

“Could you at least come with me? It’ll be so very dreadful if I don’t have my best friend as moral support.” Mettaton fake pouted and gave her the puppy dog eyes. Alphys sighed.

“I-I was supposed to hang out with Undyne after school… I’m sorry, MTT…”

“Oh, Alphy, puh-lease?! You can bring her along if you’d like, as well!” Mettaton leaned forward in his seat to grab her arm. “Come on, darling, I’ll even get you one of those manga things you like~”

Alphys couldn’t help but snort at her friend’s desperate attempts just to have some company. “Okay, okay! I-I’ll tell Asgore you’re taking the job. You have to get me something Mew Mew Kissy Cutie related, though.”

“Oh, you’ll have it faster than you can say ‘Mettaton, I’m so glad to be going with you on this marvelous adventure, there’s nothing more I’d rather do!’ “

Alphys laughed. “Mettaton, I’m so glad-”

Jerry, who was sitting in front of the two, turned around with a nasty look on their face. “I can literally hear everything you’re saying.”

“It must be fabulous to actually feel you’re a part of something, then.”

 

***

Mettaton stood in a magazine stand in Snowdin, wearing a black, slightly worn out coat, and earmuffs to go with it.. He’d agreed to meet Alphys there, since she’d be picking up Undyne on her way from Hotland (apparently she wanted to get a few things from her house), and Mettaton really didn’t feel like seeing them be all lovey dovey.

This was also convenient, because apparently Asgore’s wife’s house was located in the Ruins (who even lived there anymore?!) and he could also look for Alphys’s manga.

Mettaton skimmed through the magazines on the little rack, hoping he could find one that would suit Alphys’s tastes. Yet it seemed there was literally nothing pertaining to anime of any sort.

The vendor sighed deeply, probably a little ruffled that Mettaton was messing up the tidy arrangement of magazines. Mettaton shrugged it off- if they could organize it once, they could just as easily organize it again, right?

“You gonna buy something?” The vendor asked impatiently.

“Erm, I’m not quite sure- do you have any manga in stock?” Mettaton stopped rifling through tabloids and looked at the vendor, who gestured to a small pile of brightly colored magazines next to the stool they were sitting on.

“You interested in that stuff?”

Mettaton felt his face redden- even if it was some trashy old vendor, he still didn’t want them to think he was some sort of weeb. “N-no. It’s for a friend.” he explained, only to get a look from the vendor that clearly read, ‘I don’t believe you.’

Great.

He stared at the manga (mangazines? What they were even called when they were in magazine form, he didn’t know) and wondered if the vendor was actually going to make him pick them up. They were on snow, and it didn’t seem very courteous to make him kneel down and get them (although it wasn’t exactly very courteous to ruin the magazine arrangements, either.)

It seemed the vendor really wouldn’t pick them up for him, so Mettaton begrudgingly knelt down and picked all of them up, silently cursing this lazy person in his head. And-

Ew, they were soggy.

After shuffling through them, he finally saw one that had a very big busted girl with cat ears and a poofy dress on the front that he immediately recognized as Mew Mew.

“How much does this one cost?” Mettaton waved it at the vendor.

“‘Bout one dollar and fifty cents.”

That much for a few pictures? Mettaton rummaged through his pocket, and found he had about two dollars.

Hooray.

Mettaton held the money out in his palm, about to ask if they had change, when he suddenly realized it had been about twenty minutes since he’d gotten here. How long could Alphys take?

Mentally, he tried to calculate how long the walk from Hotland to this part of Snowdin would be, and realized if they weren’t using Riverperson’s boat (and presumably they weren’t, due to how long it had already been) it would be quite some time before they got there.

So Mettaton clenched his fist just as the vendor was about to grab his money.

“What’s the big idea?! You trying to scam me or something??? Give that back!” The vendor gave him a nasty look.

“I am going to pay for it! I just thought I might buy something else while I’m here!” Mettaton held the magazine out of the vendor’s reach. “It’s not like you’re getting much business, anyway.” he mumbled this last part, and it wasn’t entirely wrong. It looked as if no one had bought a single magazine here.

The vendor sank back into their previous position, although their eyes never left Mettaton. He couldn’t help but wonder why- until he saw the vendor critically eyeing a tear in the hem of his coat.

Mettaton felt his face heat up. This explained everything. Why the vendor had been so rude- they thought he really was a scammer! He knew it was perfectly wrong to assume such a thing about a person due to their looks, but they didn’t seem to care.

Mettaton wanted to slap them, tell them just because he wasn’t as well off as they were didn’t mean he was about to rob them. And it wasn’t as if this was the first time something like this had happened to him before.

In the third grade, he’d had pants that were quite short on him. They were so short, they didn’t cover his ankles. More than once he’d seen other kids point at them and whisper to each other.

In the sixth grade, they were doing group projects for science. He’d decided to walk up to some random classmate and ask if they wanted to be partners.

They’d taken one look at his apparently out of style outfit and pathetic, tattery excuse for a bookbag (Mettaton had reused that bookbag for at least three grades) and turned the other way.

“Deep breaths,” he told himself, “Don’t let them get to you.”

He turned back to the stand, popped a piece of gum into his mouth, and started looking through the magazines again (more roughly than before- Mettaton was full of spite at this point.) He had to admit, he’d always loved things like tabloids or fashion magazines. Celebrity gossip was so juicy and exciting!

Usually, they’d show a picture of a celebrity, and some choice gossip about them- from alleged affairs to a new movie they starred in. Mettaton envied these people. He wanted to lead an exciting, dramatic life like that.

Mettaton pictured himself looking devastatingly beautiful, with a long, silk scarf wrapped around his neck, sunglasses tastefully on top of his head, getting into a limousine. He would be heading to a photoshoot- no, even better, a dinner party!

At the party, he would drink a few glasses of white wine, engaging in fine conversations with people who were just a little less famous than him. He’d make people laugh, and even the most famous ones there would be in awe of his elegance, of his charm, of his life. After maybe one too many glasses of wine, he’d go to a balcony to get some air. And there would be the man of his dreams- well, not someone to exactly go steady with. Just a handsome man, with great bone structure, and windswept hair.

It would be a starry night, and they’d ease into idle chatter, until the man looked into Mettaton’s eyes. Mettaton’s cheeks would be slightly flushed from all he had to drink, but totally irresistible, and the man would lean in, and they would kiss.

Weeks later, Mettaton would see on the news that someone had taken a picture of them kissing. Fans would be dying to know who could have captured the attention of someone as unattainable, as perfect as him- how do you allow yourself to settle for someone you know is lesser?

Mettaton would laugh it off, all while giving a sly, mysterious smile and a shrug of his shoulders whenever he was asked who this mystery person was. And each night, he’d go on dates and receive gifts from this man, until he stopped talking to him, realizing he was bored by someone so desperate- besides, his career always came first.

“Look, if you don’t buy something in the next thirty seconds, I’m calling the cops.”

And like catching your breath after drowning for so long, Mettaton was brought back to reality, no scarf around his neck or wine in his hand.

How disappointing.

What was in his hands, however, were two different magazines. One was some trashy little tabloid with clickbait like titles, and the other was some fashion magazine.

Mettaton bitterly wished he hadn’t daydreamed so deeply, now reading either would depress him. What prompted him to choose the fashion magazine, however, was one of the headlines on the glossy cover.

‘How To Get The Body You’ve Always Wanted- Extreme Dieting Is The Way To Go!’ Below this headline, there was a picture of a silhouette with curvy hips and long, slender legs.

“I’ll take these two.” Mettaton thrusted the manga and fashion magazine into the vendor’s hands, along with his money. The vendor muttered something and handed him the two back in a shopping bag.

“M-MTT! We’re here!” Alphys’s voice sounded from behind him. Mettaton jumped a little, only to see Alphys and Undyne holding hands.

“What took you so long?” Mettaton discreetly shoved the fashion magazine into his bag. “Honestly, my fingers nearly froze off.”

“Yeah, yeah! We were just-” Undyne was cut off by Mettaton, who had a knowing smirk on his face.

“Smooching?”

Alphys’s face reddened. “A-anyway! We should go pick up Sans and Papyrus!”

“Heck yeah! You two stay here, I’ll go get them!” Undyne grinned, and ran off to the right, leaving a trail of mud in her wake.

Mettaton pursed his lips. This was getting ridiculous. “Are those two going to go everywhere we go?”

Alphys sighed. “Well, Papyrus is Undyne’s best friend. Plus- wait, do you not like them or something? Not that I-I’ll tell, you just don’t seem to really enjoy their presence?”

Mettaton looked away. Did he not like them? Well, Sans was a bit odd, yes, but he wouldn’t say he disliked him. Papyrus, however, was even more odd than his brother. And yet everyone seemed to enjoy having the both of them around.

But whenever Mettaton heard either of them would be coming, or saw them in the hallways, he felt a strong urge to just… go the other way.

Mettaton took a deep breath. “It’s not like I hate them or anything, it’s just… oh, it doesn’t matter. Anyhow, I got you your silly little comics.” he handed her the manga, and watched Alphys’s face light up.

“Oh my gosh!!! This is the limited edition Marvelous Mew Mew Moonlight manga! I thought it’d be out of stock by now!”

Mettaton stifled a laugh behind his hand. He seriously doubted anyone besides Alphys and Undyne cared about that crap. “I do hope you enjoy it, darling. You would not believe the journey I went on to get it for you.”

“Why? Did something, uh, happen?” Alphys tilted her head, still running her fingers over the pages.

“I don’t want to talk about it.” Mettaton muttered, hugging himself. His jacket really didn’t do much to prevent him from freezing.

“But you l-love to talk about yourself? Don’t you remember the rule you made up?” Alphys giggled, and then put her hands on her hips as a bad impression of him. “ ‘No secrets between Mettaton and Alphys, darling!’ “

That had been a rule he’d made, hadn’t it? And one he’d enforced plenty. It was how he’d gotten Alphys to admit her crush on Undyne in middle school.

“Fiiiiiine.” Mettaton let out a long sigh, and stood up a bit straighter. “That vendor totally thought I was trying to scam him just because I have a tear in this jacket, and it doesn’t help matters that there are two very unexpected guests, aka Sans and Papyrus, are coming along with us today-”

“Nyeh heh heh! Hello, Alphys, Mettaton!”

“Sans! Papyrus! Oh, how are you two, it’s been far too long since we last saw each other!”

Sans and Papyrus stood in front of them. Sans was dressed in his usual attire, along with Papyrus, although Papyrus was wearing little orange earmuffs.

Mettaton self consciously brought a hand to his own pair of earmuffs. Did earmuffs really look that dorky? In face, when was the last time literally anyone wore a pair? He knew he should be grateful, he’d gotten them for his birthday a year back, but…

Mettaton took them off and put them in his bag, right on top of the magazine.

Undyne stood proudly behind the two brothers. “Are we ready to babysit this kid or what?!”

“I’m quite excited! I’ve never babysat before- I mean, I have plenty of babysitting experience! This child will surely never want me to leave as soon as we’ve met!” Papyrus declared.

Sans nodded. “Totally, bro. It’ll be easy. Like taking candy from a-”

“Baby?” Mettaton supplied.

“I was gonna say taking candy from a candy shop, but if you like stealing from babies, that probably works.” Sans shrugged.

Weirdo.

“Don’t you t-think that it’s kind of a lot of people for one kid, though?” Alphys asked.

“Oh, please. If anything, we’re the Babysitters Club.” Mettaton snorted, recalling his favorite book series from his adolescence.

 

***

 

The Ruins were… interesting, to say the least.

Mettaton had only been once, years ago, but it seemed the state of the place had somehow deteriorated even more as time had passed. It seemed as if virtually no one lived there, save for the occasional random stranger, and there was quite a bit of random trash lying around.

“Someone really needs to clean up in here.” Mettaton stepped over a faded ribbon.

“It reminds me of your room, Sans! Only less self sustaining trash tornadoes.” Papyrus added as an afterthought.

Sans gave a non committal shrug. “Maybe they have a self sustaining trash whirlpool or something.”

Mettaton rolled his eyes. Were they going to talk trash all day, or actually get to where they needed to be. Yet, it seemed like the Ruins stretched on forever, until-

“There it is!!!” Undyne’s excitement alerted them all to the fact that they were standing in front of a cozy little house. In face, it looked exactly like Asgore’s, only smaller.

“I guess we’re here…” Alphys mumbled, seeming a little hesitant to enter. Mettaton understood this. While he had his reasons to be doing this, it wasn’t like he wanted to. And it also seemed like everyone was a bit apprehensive- what was Asgore’s ex like? Asgore was probably the nicest guy in all of Ebott, so it wasn’t like he could have caused this marriage to break.

Right?

So they all just stood there, staring at the door, until Undyne groaned. “Is anyone gonna actually knock?!”

“Why don’t you do it then, darling? Seeing as you’re so fearless and all.” Mettaton folded his arms and raised an eyebrow.

Undyne was about to make some excuse, but upon seeing that Sans was walking towards the door, she quickly shut up.

Sans rapped his knuckles lightly against the door twice.

“Knock knock.”

A gentle, melodious voice came from the other side of the door.

“Who is there?”

“Dishes.” Sans said.

“Dishes who?”

“Dishes a very bad joke.”

And suddenly, the most hysterical, happy bound of laughter came from the door, full of snorts, wheezes, and gasps alike.

Mettaton was a little surprised. It wasn’t as if the joke was good- in fact, it was pretty bad. Yet Sans was laughing a bit as well. Finally, when all the laughter stopped, the door opened.

In the doorway, stood a very, very tall lady with a long purple dress. She had coffee colored skin and long, white hair, although she didn’t look super old. In fact, the kindness in her eyes and gentle smile seemed to make her even younger than she really was.

The lady was wiping away tears of laughter from her eyes. “I must apologize for not opening the door sooner. It is just- that joke was too funny!” she giggled, and fixed her gaze upon the group of teenagers in front of her.

“Oh! Forgive me. I am Toriel, caretaker of the Ruins. I take it you are all here to take care of my child? I was not… expecting so many of you.” Toriel spoke. “Forgive me if this is rude, but… I am not familiar with your names. What might they be?”

Papyrus spoke up first. “I am the great Papyrus! And this is my lazybones brother, Sans.” he gestured to Sans, who gave a casual wave.

“Name’s Sans. The one who told you the knock knock joke.”

Toriel’s face lit up. “It was a wonderful joke! Oh, I have not heard a joke that funny in years…”

Before they could exchange anymore jokes, Undyne stepped up. “And I’m-” Undyne lifted up Alphys, who gave a little gasp, “-Undyne Boom! And this is my totally rad girlfriend, Alphys!!!”

“I-I-I’m Alphys!” Alphys stammered, trying to keep her glasses from falling off her face.

“Mettaton here, darling. It’s your pleasure to have me.” Mettaton winked, and Toriel hooted with laughter.

“Oh, I can already tell we will get along just fine. Please, do come in. I am in a bit of a hurry, so I apologize if I seem a bit frantic.” Toriel led them inside her home, and Mettaton was surprised to find it looked exactly like Asgore’s house, minus all those golden flowers.

“Suppose they have the same interior designer?” Mettaton whispered to Alphys, who snorted in return.

“Please feel free to make yourselves at home! I have posted emergency numbers on the fridge, so if anything happens, please do not hesitate to call those numbers.” Toriel was walking rather fast around the house, grabbing things and shoving them into her purse. “I have also posted my number on the fridge, so if you need anything, I will gladly answer your calls. My child has an allergy to shellfish, they have an Epipen in their bedroom drawer-”

“My apologies, but where is your child?” Mettaton asked, trying to retain this total infodump.

Toriel’s face flushed. “Silly me! Here I am, talking about phone numbers and allergies, and you have not even seen my child, or learned their name.”

Suddenly, a short, chubby little kid ran into the room. They had dark brown hair, a blue and purple striped shirt, and a look of excitement on their face. They ran up to Toriel and hugged her, burying their face in her waist. Toriel laughed and patted their head.

“This is Frisk. As you can see, they are quite excited to meet you.”

Frisk turned to them. They were practically bouncing on their heels with excitement. They lifted their hands, and signed, ‘Hello.’

Mettaton thought back to when Alphys had convinced him and Undyne to go to a sign language seminar that was held after school on Wednesdays last year. He was very glad they’d taken it, because if they hadn’t, he’d have no idea what to do.

“Hello, Frisk! I am-”

‘Papyrus!’ Frisk grinned. ‘Know all your names.’

“Good thing we don’t need to do introductions then, kiddo.” Sans said, although Mettaton swore he heard the slightest bit of curiosity in his voice. Mettaton was a bit curious on how Frisk knew their names as well, although Asgore had probably told them.

“Frisk was very excited to meet you all. They just love to make new friends.” Toriel said with clear pride. Her eyes met the clock on the wall, and she gasped. “Forgive me, but I must go! It seems I’m already running late. I should be back by seven, but I will call the home phone if I will be back later. Make sure Frisk does their homework! Goodbye!” Toriel gave Frisk one last hug and ran out the door, leaving them all alone with Frisk.

Well. Mettaton took a few seconds to gather his thoughts. Toriel had been nice enough, nothing like the Wicked Witch of The West he’d been expecting. Was it mean to expect that out of Asgore’s ex wife? Well, either way, she’d been very nice, although a little anxious seeming.

He had no idea what to expect out of Frisk, however. They seemed energetic and bubbly,a bit like him. Hopefully they weren’t too energetic, though- hyper kids seemed to be super hard to deal with.

Yet, at the same time, Frisk felt so… familiar. Like they’d met before. Had they? Mettaton had a feeling he would’ve remembered them, though. For some reason, they seemed to have a distinct demeanor that separated them from literally everyone else Mettaton had met.

Mettaton looked a bit closely at Frisk. Maybe he’d seen them at the store or something? He hadn’t gotten a good look at them, and with all the running around they’d been doing, it had been hard to really see their face. And upon closer inspection, Mettaton saw they had a bandage on the bridge of their nose.

“Oh my! However did you get that? Hopefully it didn’t bring too much harm to that gorgeous face of yours.”

‘Flowey did it. This too.’ Frisk opened their mouth, and showed their missing front tooth to them all.

“Flowey?” Alphys asked. “I, uh, think you m-mean flower.”

Frisk sighed a little impatiently, and then signed, ‘Be back.’ They walked out of the front door, once again leaving them all to their own devices.

“Should we go after them?” Alphys looked to the door. “I don’t know if Toriel would want us to leave them alone outside…”

“Psh, they’ll be fine! This place is totally empty anyway.” Undyne made herself comfortable in a big armchair next to a petite fireplace. “Who’s gonna hurt ‘em?”

“Um, I don’t know, literal creepy strangers who thrive off of seeing a small child all alone and defenseless? Come on darling, get crucial.” Mettaton rolled his eyes. Undyne couldn’t seriously believe it was a good idea to let a child just wander around like that.

“Nyeh! I agree with Mettaton, it is quite dangerous to let a child out on their own! Even if the Ruins is desolate.” Papyrus nodded, self assured.

“I dunno, bro. They seemed pretty independent.” Sans remarked. He’d laid down on the carpet, using Papyrus’s bookbag as a pillow.

And Mettaton couldn’t help but agree with Sans. While sweet and harmless, Mettaton somehow got the feeling that Frisk could literally walk the whole length of Ebott alone, and they’d be okay.

Papyrus put his hands on his hips. “Well, I-”

Suddenly, a yowling sound came from the doorway. Everyone, sans Sans, turned to look at what could possibly be making that noise in such a quiet little house, only to find Frisk standing in the doorway with a big smile on their face, holding...something.

“What is that?” Mettaton could only stare as whatever that thing was struggled in Frisk’s arms, practically screaming.

“I think that’s Flowey?” Alphys said, prompting enthusiastic nods from Frisk.

Frisk quickly closed the door and let the thing, no, Flowey, on the ground. They looked proud, as if they’d just found out they’d won a pie eating contest, and Flowey was the empty pie tin. ‘Cat.’ Frisk signed, which Mettaton was grateful for, as he would have never guessed what the hell that thing was on his own.

“...That’s one ‘effed up cat.” Undyne mumbled.

Upon closer inspection, it appeared that Flowey was indeed a cat, although an ugly one, if you asked him. His fur stuck up,and was matted and some bright yellow, like the golden flowers they’d seen so frequently around Ebott, although he did have some white patches around his face. His eyes looked distinctly mean, pitch black and soulless. Not to mention the fact that he was baring his fangs still, and hissing, although at who, no one was quite sure.

That cat wasn’t going to win any beauty contests soon, that was for sure.

‘Best friend.’ Frisk knelt down besides Flowey and gave him a hug. Flowey hissed, but didn’t struggle as before. There must have been some sort of bond between the two.

Mettaton nearly laughed- if Flowey was a person, he’d certainly have no friends, not with that attitude. “How… adorable. Why’d you decide to name him Flowey, though, darling?” Unlike a flower, Flowey was anything but gentle.

‘Yellow. Likes to sleep in flowers.’ Frisk shrugged, giving Flowey a little kiss on the head and letting him go. Flowey curled up in the corner of the room, still looking a little irritated.

“Hmm. If I were to have a cat, I would name it something like… Papyrus Junior! Or maybe… The Great Catpyrus!” Papyrus proclaimed, sitting near Flowey on the floor.

“Oh, honey, I wouldn’t-” Mettaton cleared his throat a bit anxiously, and nudged his head towards the cat. For all he knew, Flowey could attack anyone but Frisk, or, worst case scenario, had rabies or something.

Flowey glanced at Papyrus suspiciously, but made no attempt to attack him, as Mettaton had expected he would.

Sans snickered, and dangled his hand in front of Flowey’s eyes. “Eh, you’ll be fine, Paps. Flowey doesn’t look like the Frisk-y type to me.”

Frisk giggled and sat on the floor next to the two brothers. The rest of them groaned, and Flowey, who had been looking perturbed ever since Sans had started messing around with him, hissed and went to sit next to Frisk.

Everyone looked at Mettaton, suddenly. Even Flowey, who seemed to be smirking a little.

He suddenly felt a little self conscious. What were they looking at? Was there something in his teeth? A zit? The odd way his prosthetics bulged against his pants? His thin hair?

“What? What is it?” Mettaton felt himself going hot and red.

“Oh! Uh, I guess we just noticed you were the only one still standing.” Alphys explained.

Was that it? Could that be it?

“Dude, sit down. You’re making me nervous.” Undyne grunted, much to Mettaton’s annoyance. Oh, he was making her nervous? It was kind of unnerving when literally everyone in the room stared at you for no reason.

“You don’t tell me what to do, darling.” Mettaton snapped a bit rudely.

Undyne glared at him. “Suit yourself, as-” she looked to Frisk, who had been quietly watching this whole spectacle. “Uh, I mean… butt face???”

Frisk giggled again. “Undyne! Language!” Papyrus gasped. “That was very inappropriate!”

“No it isn’t! What’s inappropriate is ass, what I was gonna say until I realized Frisk was listening!!!”

“Undyne!”

The rest of the group lapsed into their usual banter. Mettaton sighed, still standing. He hated to admit it, but he did feel a little tired from standing. Plus, even though the rest of them were absorbed in their conversation, he felt as if everyone was still staring at him. It was hard not to, after he’d made such a big deal of things.

He so didn’t want to sit on the floor, but seeing as Undyne had claimed the armchair, and Alphys was now climbing into it… oh well. It seemed Toriel kept a tidy house anyway, so he sat against the side of the armchair. It was a nice little spot to blend in for a bit.

“I feel like Blooky.” Mettaton said to himself, so quiet no one could hear. A lock of his hair fell in front of his uncovered eye. Mettaton took this as a sign to tie up his hair in a small little ponytail, save for the part that covered his left eye, which he did- maybe no one would pay attention to his thin hair if it weren’t in the way.

Somehow, the situation had escalated to Undyne wrestling Papyrus. Alphys was laughing a bit nervously, Frisk was just plain laughing, and Sans was… living.

Mettaton got a feeling he’d felt many times before, but had never been able to find the right word for. He felt a pit in his stomach, his face felt hot… he felt out of place. Like he wasn’t supposed to be there.

Often times, he’d feel this way when talking to his cousins, or when he used to talk to Shyren. He;d be all fabulous and fine one moment, but the next… he’d feel odd, like a sharp, red angle in a painting of soft, light strokes. It made him feel uncomfortable, like he wanted to leave, or have some time to himself. Mettaton had decided some time ago that this probably wasn’t anxiety- he wasn’t nervous. What was it, then? Was he wrong about what it was and what it wasn’t? What category did it fall under?

Maybe he’d never know. But as Mettaton watched them all get along so well, even with a kid they’d all just met, he felt… weird. Weird and jealous and sad and mad and tired, all at once, like a beautiful disaster. They were a jigsaw puzzle, and he was a piece that just didn’t fit in. They got along fine, and they didn’t need any more pieces, they were perfect the way they were.

Mettaton hugged his plastic, artificial knees to his chest, feeling excluded. Suddenly, he felt a small tap on his shoulder.

It was Frisk. ‘Bored.’

“Me too, darling.” Mettaton gave them a tight smile. “Me too.”

‘Wanna play?’ they tilted their head slightly, like a little puppy dog. While Mettaton was just in the mood to throw himself a personal pity party, Frisk did seem to truly want to play, and it’d probably be rude to reject their little offer.

“Of course, darling! What did you have in mind?” Mettaton tried his best to give them a brighter, better smile. Frisk grinned and ran off once more, down the hall this time. Mettaton was slightly amused- Frisk would make a great member of the track and field team.

They came back with a toy chest in their arms. Mettaton was surprised they even managed to carry it, it did look quite heavy. They dropped it on the ground with a resounding thump that echoed across the room. Undyne stopped trying to noogie Papyrus and untangled herself from him.

“What’s that?”

Frisk opened the chest. Inside were miscellaneous toys, but what really stood out were the dress up clothes in there. There was a cowboy hat with an empty gun to go with it, a bandana and hot pink gloves, a stained apron and a frying pan, a tutu and ballet slippers, cloudy glasses and a tattered notebook, and, finally, the ribbon they’d seen outside, and a toy knife.

They were all dusty.

The group all stared at this collection of items. For some reason, Mettaton felt nostalgic and a little creeped out. The thick layers of dust were just… unsettling. Frisk stared at them all, with a look he couldn’t quite describe. It was sort of… empty.

Then they pulled out the cowboy hat and gun, putting the hat rather ceremoniously on their own head.

‘Yeehaw.’

Mettaton grinned. “Ooh, a fashion show? I’ll bite, darling, it sounds fabulous.” Mettaton then glanced at the dusty dress up things, and he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. “But you know what’s even more fabulous? A dance contest.”

Frisk’s eyes lit up. They tossed the cowboy get up to the side, and pulled on the scratchy pink tutu, along with the well worn ballet shoes.

“Seriously? A dance contest? Dancing is for punks! We’ve gotta build our strength! So we can become POWERFUL! AND-”

Sans held up his phone. Suddenly, Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ started blaring from it.

“Sans! Not again!” Papyrus groaned, slapping his hand against his forehead in frustration, mock or not.

“D-did you just seriously try to rickroll us… years after the meme was a thing?” Alphys asked, to whicH Sans just shrugged.

“I’d say this is a pretty good song to dance to.”

Mettaton crossed his arms. “You can’t seriously expect us to-”

Sans put up the volume.

Mettaton sighed. And then- he started to dance, swinging his hips and twirling around and posing dramatically. Even though Frisk was a kid, he wasn’t going to lose, despite the fact that his crappy prosthetics limited what he could do.

Yet Frisk looked determined. They wiggled their hips and then started to do something resembling disco moves, placing one hand on their hip and raising their index finger to the sky repeatedly.

Mettaton could only shake his head with a smile as he literally danced circles around Frisk. Alphys was laughing. “Uh… go MTT!!”

“Yeah Frisk! You’ve got this!” Undyne whooped, cupping her hands around her mouth as if she were yelling in a baseball stadium.

“Go the both of you!” Papyrus cheered, apparently not able to pick a side.

Frisk turned on their heel and scoffed.

“You’ll never beat me, darling- no way, no day!” Mettaton laughed. Frisk ceased their dancing, and walked over to Mettaton confidently. Then, they held out their hand to Mettaton, with a confident smile, and waggled their eyebrows.

Two words. Absolutely adorable.

“Oh my! How bold! And a shocking change of events, too!” Mettaton took their hands. “You’re absolutely right, darling- I think a dancing combo is exactly what we need!”

He and Frisk danced together, and while it was a little hard to dance with someone so much shorter than him, they managed to have a pretty good time.

Unable to resist taking part in this, Undyne shot up like a rocket, and took Alphys’s hands and danced with her as well. While it was mostly them twirling around, it technically counted as dancing. Even Papyrus busted a few moves.

As they were all partying and having a good time, Mettaton gasped. “Sans! Go into my bag and get the camera we got on Halloween!”

“Sure thing.” Sans shrugged and took the camera out of Mettaton’s bag.

“You know what to do, darling.” Mettaton never stopped dancing, and as Sans held out the camera so it would capture him as well and took a picture, Undyne lifted Alphys over her head, Papyrus lifted his hands to the sky, and Frisk somehow dipped him, all at once.

It was safe to say the picture turned out well.

“Alas, it seems you’ve defeated me…” Mettaton gasped dramatically, and sunk to the ground. “Your dance moves were too… fabulous… shutting… down…” Mettaton slowly closed his eyes.

“What, so you’re a robot now?” Undyne scoffed.

Alphys couldn’t help but laugh. “I-If he’s a robot, he needs some repairs.”

“Only a scientist as great as yourself could pull such a thing off.” Mettaton winked, and Alphys rolled her eyes affectionately.

“Hey! You’re supposed to be dead!” Undyne looked down at him, probably more confused than angry.

“... True fabulousness can never die.” Mettaton countered and stood up. Frisk tugged on his arm once more.

‘Let’s play more!’

Mettaton grinned.

“Oh, honey, you’re on.”

 

***

The gang laid on the floor, exhausted, but none as much as Mettaton. In the past few hours, he’d played a killer robot, a game show host, a professional chef, a news reporter, and a damsel in distress. Everyone else had played some role in these games as well, but none as well as him.

“Mettaton! I did not know you could pose and flip eggs in a pan at the same time!” Papyrus said from his respective position on the floor.

Mettaton sighed. “It’s a talent, honey.” Surprisingly, he’d had a lot of fun playing make believe. When he was younger, Maddy never wanted to play, and Blooky never played well enough. If Mettaton had been years younger, he and Frisk would probably make perfect little playmates.

Was it sad that the most fun he’d had was with a six year old?

‘Mom’s late.’ Frisk was pouring water for Flowey in a green and yellow bowl. Frisk had made sure, for some odd reason, to include Flowey in their little games.

“That’s actually perfect, Frisk-darling, since I seem to recall you have homework to do.” Mettaton propped his head up with his elbow on the floor, looking at Frisk.

Frisk made a face. ‘Don’t wanna.’

“Worry not, Frisk! I’m sure with all our help combined, you will be able to get through your work in no time!” Papyrus reassured Frisk with a warm smile.

“Yeah, punk! Education’s important! You’ve gotta have it!!!” Undyne lifted her fist up in the air. Frisk pouted, but went to their room to grab their backpack.

There was a silence.

“I wish we’d brought some sort of food… I’m kind of hungry.” Alphys broke it with her complaint, tracing little patterns on the rug with her fingers.

“Same. I think Grillby’s delivers.” Sans said. “Anyone up for some burg?”

“Sans! Don’t you know grease is more unhealthy than… grease?!” Papyrus said hastily. Sans patted his stomach.

“Sorry, bro. We’re hungry.”

“I’ll make the call. Just burgers, right?” Undyne pulled out her cell phone. Mettaton felt his stomach grumble.

Hunger spoke for him. “And an extra large order of fries. To share.” he added hastily.

“On it.” Undyne dialed the number, and began to put in their order. Bored, Mettaton let his eyes wander over to the two brothers. Curiosity filled him for a moment. Where’d they learn to sign? It wasn’t as if he’d seen them at the sign language seminar.

“So, Sans, Papyrus… I’m quite curious, where did you learn to sign? Most people I know don’t know how.” he asked, and before Sans could answer, Papyrus spoke.

“Our dad taught us!” he said enthusiastically. “From a very young age, of course.”

“Beware the old man who speaks in hands.” Sans chuckled. As if on cue, Frisk ran back into the room, holding a blue and purple bookbag.

“So, punk, what’s your homework?” Undyne had apparently finished making the call.

‘Have to write what I like about my hero.’ Frisk took out a little folder from their bag, unclipping a piece of paper from its rings, and sat at the table.

Undyne stood up. “Heck yeah! You can write about me, then!!! I’m a total hero!”

“Actually, I was thinking Frisk could write about me! I am very great, after all.” Papyrus suggested, standing up as well.

“M-Maybe it could be me…???” Alphys mumbled tentatively.

Sans didn’t say anything.

Mettaton saw this conflict start to unfold in front of him. He knew what he had to do.

“Me. It’s going to be me.” Mettaton shoved them all aside and sat next to Frisk at the table. “So, darling, I know there are tons of things you must love about me.”

Frisk nodded in agreement. ‘Voice.’

“Ooh, they say I have the voice of a siren.” Mettaton smirked, now lounging in this rickety wooden chair like it was a throne.

“Don’t do it…” Alphys willed.

“Awooga!”

“Oh my god.” she sighed, and flopped back into the armchair.

“You should, uh, probably elaborate on that.” Sans was up again, going to the bathroom.

Frisk had already ‘voice’ on the paper, in such big letters that it took up the whole sheet. Mettaton thought it was beautiful.

“Frisk, honey, don’t change it. It’s beautiful the way it is.” Mettaton patted their shoulder, and they smiled proudly. “A plus work right there, darling.”

 

***

‘It’s every teen’s worst nightmare- acne, extra poundage, and greasy hair. Many of our readers have reported when walking the halls of their high school, they feel invisible and ugly. Not to worry, though, we have the key to be hot, happy, and a total hero- extreme dieting!’

Mettaton chewed on one of his fingernails as he turned the glossy pages of his fashion magazine. Frisk had fallen asleep, Alphys was reading her manga with Undyne, and Papyrus was talking with Sans, which meant he was free to read his heart out.

‘We recommend having a healthy plate in front of you- toss out that chocolate! Toss out that cheese! Pile in the fruits and veggies for those curves you’ve always wanted!’

Mettaton paused for a moment. He was pretty thin, but he was… ugly. A shapeless blob that had no curves to love. Don’t even get him started on his face.

‘Try going for jogs every day! Dieting pills are always an option as well- our readers have also reported not only weight loss, but acne clearing up once following these steps! Remember to record your progress each day- we’ve even included a table to help you get started!’

Mettaton glanced at the next page. There were multiple tables for each day of the month- asking what they ate, what they drank, etc.

Well, it was a start.

The sound of the front doorknob rattling woke Frisk up, and alerted the rest of them. Thankfully, it was only Toriel that entered the house, looking stressed and anxious.

“My child!” Toriel opened her arms up and hugged Frisk as they ran to her. “I missed you, too. I’m so very sorry- the conference took longer than I expected. Did I keep you waiting too long?”

“Of course not, darling! We had quite a fabulous time while you were gone.” Mettaton shoved the magazine in his coat pocket and walked towards her.

“I must admit, I am relieved to hear that. I’ve never left Frisk this long before, but it seems they were in good hands while I was gone.” Toriel smiled, as Undyne stretched and got up.

“Don’t give glitter brain too much credit.” she said sarcastically.

“Rude!” Mettaton gave her a nasty look.

“Yeah, yeah. Looks like we won’t be getting our burgers, though.” Undyne shrugged. “They were taking way too long anyway!”

“Burgers? Oh, no, that is not acceptable!” Toriel shook her head and started to walk towards the kitchen.

“Uh… where a-are you going?” Alphys asked, a bit nervously.

“I am going to cook you children a proper meal! I’m sure burgers won’t fill you up, and the walk to your homes must be very long.” Toriel fretted as she tied a purple and white checkered apron around her waist.

“Y-you don’t have to do that…” Alphys trailed off. Yet it seemed Toriel was just as determined as Frisk could be to cook.

“Oh, I insist! You all have been so nice to Frisk. I won’t let it go unnoticed.”

They all looked at each other, and shrugged. Well, who would say no to a free home cooked meal?

“In that case, allow me to help you out! I am quite skilled in the kitchen, in case you haven’t caught on.” Papyrus marched into the kitchen, somehow now sporting a chef hat.

 

***

The house was alive with the fragrances of delicious home cooked food. Out on the table in front of them was an entire array of different things to eat. There were dinner rolls as big as a baby’s head, brisket, mashed potatoes, a weird looking plate of spaghetti, and so much more.

They all took a moment to look at this masterpiece in awe.

“Wow. Guess we’ll just roll with all this, then.” Sans held up one of the dinner rolls, and Toriel hooted with laughter once more.

Everyone sat down and began piling things on their plates. Except for Mettaton. He was in some sort of trance, taking in the look of it all and the scents. It was a nice change from the ghost sandwiches he ate literally everyday.

Toriel smiled a bit at him. “Oh, do not be shy. Grab whatever you would like.”

Mettaton blushed a bit. Had he been that obvious? The words of the magazine came back to him, and suddenly all the food looked like it would kill his body if he ate it, even though most of it was quite healthy.

Frisk tried to pass some mac and cheese to him, but Mettaton politely declined. “Oh, no thank you, darling. I’ll just have some salad.” And it was a good looking salad, with healthy green lettuce and bright red cherry tomatoes. He piled some on his plate.

“That’s all you’re gonna eat?” Undyne asked incredulously. Her plate was piled with meats of all sort.

“I’m not very hungry right now.” Mettaton said primly, and forked some of it into his mouth. It was good- but he knew he’d still be hungry after eating it.

“Would you not like some dressing, at least?” Toriel had a face only a concerned mother could have.

“No thank you, darling. I’ve never been a big fan of dressing.”

They all looked at him a little weirdly (oh, how Mettaton hated it) but went back to eating their own meals and having idle conversations. Mettaton joined in occasionally, but under the table, on his lap, where no one could see, he wrote in the magazine table, ‘I ate: A salad.’

Even when dessert was passed around, a scrumptious looking butterscotch cinnamon pie (Mettaton loved cinnamon) he declined. Instead, he bitterly stabbed the salad with his fork.

Dieting was going to be hard.

 

***

The sun was setting as Toriel waved goodbye to them all. They walked through the Ruins, the golden-red light shining on them gently.

“I’ve gotta admit- that was way more fun than I thought it was gonna be.” Undyne walked besides Alphys and Papyrus, hands behind her head.

“I agree! Frisk was quite fun to play with!” Papyrus would take a few steps forward and then wait for them to catch up.

“Y-yeah. They were sweet.” Alphys nodded.

Mettaton watched them walk in front of him, holding the check Toriel had given him. One step closer to his dream.

“Hey.”

Mettaton jumped, but upon seeing it was Sans who was walking beside him, immediately relaxed. It wasn’t some creep.

“Hello, darling. Need anything?” Mettaton asked, trying to sound calmer than he’d felt previously.

“Nah, not really. You were really into playing those games today, huh?” Sans had his hands in his pockets, although Mettaton could faintly see he had gloves on.

“Well, I’ve always loved acting.” Mettaton admitted.

“That’s cool.” Sans said, and then they both lapsed into silence. Mettaton thought back to the events of today.

“Frisk was a little odd though, weren’t they?” he blurted out. “I mean, they were a total sweetheart, but…”

“So you felt it too, huh?” Sans looked at him casually.

“Felt what?”

“Oh, you know.” Sans walked ahead of him. “The sins crawling on their back.”

Chapter Text

“I think I’m going to hold auditions on Friday.”

Mettaton and Alphys walked the halls of their high school together, Mettaton chatting away about the musical he was planning to put on for the whole school. It was Wednesday, and they were both full of energy and eager to start the day.

“T-That’s great!” Alphys smiled up at her best friend. “No one’s gonna have any homework they’re immediately rushing to do on a Friday.”

Mettaton made a face at her. “No, Alphys, it’s not great. In fact, it’s the opposite of great.”

“W-What? Why? You’ve been planning this for so long!” Alphys stopped in her tracks, stunned Mettaton had such a bleak outlook on something he’d been wanting to do for so long.

“I know I have! But last night I had a breakthrough, an epiphany, darling!” Mettaton sighed and shifted the textbook he was carrying from one arm to the other. “It’s, like, the only reason we haven’t had a school play yet is because no one is talented enough to pull it off!”

Alphys crossed her arms. “I thought you said you wanted to be the first to pull something like this off, MTT. What happened to that?”

“I will be the first to pull it off! That’s the problem! I doubt literally anyone in this school has the talent and skill to even play a bush in this production. I need it to be fabulous! Anything less than so is a crime against humanity. And myself.” Mettaton sighed after finishing his rather dramatic speech.

“Aw, it’s g-gonna be alright,” Alphys patted his shoulder. “What about your cousin? You said they’re p-pretty talented.”

“Blooky is pretty talented. But then Maddy would get involved, and Maddy hates anything that has to do with my happiness. Plus, Blooky has one of the worst cases of stage fright I’ve ever seen, and-” Mettaton’s eyes widened. “Oh. My. Asgore. Stage fright!”

“I don’t think that’s a good solution to your problem… kind of the opposite, in fact…” Alphys mumbled, but Mettaton grabbed her by the shoulders and spun her around excitedly.

“That’s not what I meant, darling! I’m talking about Shyren!”

“Shyren? Isn’t that y-your old friend?” Alphys was frowning out of confusion, or possibly because she was super dizzy.

“Yes, she is! And she’s got a horrible case of stage fright! The worst!” Mettaton’s eyes were sparkling.

“I don’t really think that-”

“But she’s got the best singing voice- besides myself, of course- in this whole school! And if I can get her to get out of her shell, it’ll be a total start!” Mettaton grinned wildly, and let Alphys go. “Oh, thank you Alphy, you’re the best friend I could’ve ever asked for!” he gave her a tight hug, and then ran off, ready to recruit some real talent.

Alphys readjusted her glasses, which were slipping off her face. “Uh, s-see you!” she called after Mettaton, who was already so far away he couldn’t hear her.

 

***

“Guess who!”

Mettaton covered Shyren’s eyes with his two hands, standing behind her. Shyren was at her locker, presumably getting books for whatever class she was going to.

Mettaton had been friends with Shyren for quite a long time. Well, maybe not total friends as of late.

Ever since he’d met Alphys, he’d been distant towards her. Yes, he said hello when they passed each other in the halls, but it wasn’t like he went out of his way to put on little performances with her or talk like they used to.

It was hard for him to admit, but depressing people like Shyren… depressed him. And that wasn’t something he needed in his life.

“H-Happstablook…?” Shyren said, her voice barely a whisper.

“Ding ding ding, correct, honey! You win the prize of one fabulous offer, brought to you by one fabulous friend.” Mettaton flipped his hair, and Shyren slowly turned around to face him.

Shyren looked, well, nervous. Which wouldn’t have been a big change from usual, except she also looked like she was about to burst into tears. Her limp, teal colored hair covered most of her face, but this didn’t hide that her sea green eyes looked super sad, and her bottom lip was quivering.

Yikes, had it really been that long, or was Shyren on the verge of an emotional breakdown?

“W-What are you d-doing here…? I h-haven’t seen you for… s-so long…” Shyren looked down at the floor, leaving Mettaton to look at the top of her head.

“I’m visiting my best friend, of course! I know I’ve been busy, Shyren-dear, but I was, um, going through old pictures I found the other day, of you, me, and Blooky-”

“You have p-pictures… of us all…?” Shyren asked, still not meeting his eyes.

“Obviously!” Mettaton lied. Okay, this was going to be harder than he’d previously thought. But how do you rekindle a long dead friendship? Mettaton hadn’t had an actual conversation with her since middle school.

“Anyway,” he continued. “And it was so sweet seeing how we used to practice together? Do you remember that? You had the loveliest singing voice.” And this was no lie. Mettaton had been surprised to see that Shyren had a melodious voice.

 

The day they’d met, Mettaton- no, Happstablook- had been sitting down on the edge of a stream in Waterfall. They’d been scooping up mud and grass for the snails in a little plastic bag- a stupid idea, yes, but what else were they to do?- when they heard a soft, delicate song coming from a patch of grass nearby.

Happstablook had tiptoed to the patch of grass, not wanting to disturb the song. As they got closer, the voice became more beautiful sounding. It lured them in like a siren’s song, and when the song was finished, Happstablook parted the grass apart and poked his face in.

“That was gorgeous!” they’d enthused, startling Shyren, who was sitting on a rock. Shyren was so badly scared, she’d fallen off the rock and onto the ground, shivering.

“My apologies, darling. I didn’t mean to scare you, but I just had to see who was singing! No one in Waterfall ever shows any appreciation for music, you know?” Happstablook had held out their hand, which Shyren didn’t take, Instead, she’d hugged her knees to her chest and looked away.

“W-Woshua s-says my voice sounds l-like a filthy r-rat’s…” Shyren stammered.

“Woshua?” Happstablook resisted the urge to roll their eyes to the back of their head. “Woshua wouldn’t know singing if kicked them in their squeaky clean face!”

Shyren giggled. It was barely audible, but she had, and then had took their hand. Happstablook pulled her up.

“D-Do you l-like t-to sing…?” Shyren had asked shyly.

“I absolutely love to sing! And dance! And act! And wear costumes and be fabulous 24/7!” Happstablook winked. “I’m Happy- what’s your name?”

“S-Shyren…” Shyren hid their face behind their bangs.

“Well, Shyren,” Happstablook had looked into her eyes for a second, and could see she was hanging onto their every word (which was a feeling Mettaton would never forget and continue to feel for the rest of his life- the feeling of being admired, of being looked up to- it was as addicting as alcohol) “I think you sound absolutely beautiful!”

 

Mettaton was brought back to reality by a shy nod from Shyren. “I-It was fun…”

“Then you’ll be glad to hear that I’m hosting a school musical, and I think you should be a part of it!” Mettaton put his hands on his hips and looked at her proudly.

“I-Is Napsta g-going to-”

“No. They, uh, have too much going on.” Mettaton lied again. “But it’ll still be fun, darling! Here, have a flyer!” Mettaton pushed one of the glittery flyers into her shaky hands. “So, what do you say? Oh, don’t even bother answering, we both know it’s yes! Auditions are on Friday. Maybe you could bring Shyra along with you? You know how much she loved hearing you sing.”

Suddenly, Mettaton noticed the flyer was getting wet. Wet with something from Shyren’s face. For some reason, his first thought was that Shyren was spitting on it- not that she was the type of person to do so, but still- and he felt the need to just leave all together.

Then, Shyren lifted up her face to meet his eyes. Tears pooled from her eyes, dripping onto the flyer.

“I c-can’t...Shyra...Shyra…!” Shyren burst into quiet sobs, covering her face with her hands.

“Oh, no…” Mettaton gasped. Shyra, Shyren’s older sister, had loved to sing more than anything. Occasionally, she’d practice with the three, but then she’d gotten sick.

Really sick.

It was a shock to everyone when they’d heard she had lung cancer. Things were complicated, and money was tight for Shyren’s family as well, so it was quite hard to treat it.

Around the time Shyra had been diagnosed, Mettaton had traded in Shyren and Blooky for Alphys, like tossing out an old, ugly doll for a brand new Barbie. So up until this point, he hadn’t really heard much about Shyra.

But now it all made sense. Blooky visited Shyren frequently, but it had never occured to Mettaton that Blooky was also visiting Shyra as well.

And now, to hear Shyra had fallen down… this couldn’t be good.

“Oh, Shyren, I’m so sorry... “ Mettaton hugged her close, and Shyren sobbed into his shirt, which he normally would have minded, but considering the situation, he let it be.

“I m-miss her so much…” Shyren’s voice was muffled against his shirt.

“I know you do. Shyra was a wonderful person.” Mettaton said softly, even stroking her hair. “Is there anything I can do for you, darling?”

“C-Could y-you and N-Napsta come to the f-funeral this weekend…?” Shyren looked up into his eyes, and Mettaton just couldn’t refuse.

Except… someone else would have to.

“I’d love to, darling. Unfortunately, Blooky can’t make it. They’re going out of town this weekend. They have to pick up some things for the snail farm.” Mettaton shook his head sadly. And it was true, Blooky would be out of town.

“O-Okay… thank y-you…” Shyren whispered, and Mettaton just held her. While his plans to recruit her had fallen through, in a way, wasn’t this an ample opportunity for bonding time with Shyren? Rekindling that old, lost friendship?

Plus, how would Shyren be able to say no to his offer if he’d literally attended his sister’s funeral?

Mettaton tried to tell himself thinking that way was wrong, if anything, he should be thinking about how to best comfort Shyren, but the thought kept flashing in his head.

No. No ulterior motives. While the whole Muffet thing had been low, Mettaton was determined to not sink as low as to try to get Shyren to perform in his school play at her sister’s funeral.

This time, all there would be was the purity of friendship.

And him having to cancel auditions on Friday to seem more sympathetic, but whatever.

 

***

 

The decision to go on a spontaneous shopping spree Friday evening at the mall was made once Mettaton realized he had no black clothing in his closet.

Well, to rephrase that- he had no stylishly somber looking black clothes in his closet.

It was after school on Friday when Mettaton realized all of his darkly colored clothes were less than funeral appropriate. But then again, he’d never been to a funeral before. This would be the first one he’d been to, and although Mettaton wasn’t exactly looking forward to watching a ton of people yell and cry (he already saw enough of that at home) he wanted to look good.

Mettaton checked the time on his phone. It wasn’t super late. Surely he’d still have time to go shopping and get a good night’s sleep for tomorrow.

Mettaton shrugged on his coat (the one with the rip on it, since Maddy hadn’t bothered to do laundry like they were supposed to) and went to leave the house, until a small voice stopped him.

“Happy… where are you going…?” Napstablook was lying on the floor, listening to music.

“Oh! Hello, Blooky. I’m just… going shopping.” Mettaton gave them a small smile. It technically wasn’t a lie.

“Oh… what for…?”

Okay, now it was time to lie.

“Just for some new socks! I’ve outgrown my old ones, it’s tragic, I cried all of last night.” Mettaton faked tears, and Napstablook frowned… more than usual.

“Oh...no…. I’m sorry, Happy… do you want me to make you a sandwich….? I thought it might cheer you up… oh, that’s a stupid idea… oh….” Blooky gave a deep, depressing sigh.

“Oh, no thank you, Blooky. I’ve, uh, already ate.” Truthfully, Mettaton had ate already. He’d had one of those chocolate chip granola bars (although he’d picked out the chocolate chips)

“Oh… okay… sorry to bother you…” Blooky hugged their knees to their chest.

Mettaton gave them a faint smile. “Oh, you’re never a bother to me, Blooky! I’ll be seeing you!” Mettaton made way for the door, when Napstablook spoke again.

“Happy… I have something to tell you…” Blooky’s voice was quivering.

Mettaton stiffened. What did Blooky know? That he was lying about what he was going to buy? That they knew Mettaton was planning this whole school musical? That they knew Mettaton was… Mettaton?

“What is it, Blooky-darling?”

“It’s Shyra… she… she…” Blooky burst into somewhat silent tears. Blooky must have had enlarged tear ducts or something, because whenever they cried, abnormally huge tears, in both amount and size, would roll down their pale little cheeks.

And it wasn’t any different today, either.

This was an opportunity. To tell Blooky the truth about what he would be shopping for, what he would be doing this weekend. Yet as Mettaton watched his cousin sit there on the floor and cry, he felt so… tired. Tired of always being the one to comfort Blooky, Shyren, Alphys, everyone. Tired of having to deal with all of their sadness.

What he found odd, though, was that he couldn’t seem to bring himself to feel much about Shyra’s death. It wasn’t as if he was a completely apathetic person- in fact, he was probably a bit too emotional at times. But he couldn't bring himself to feel much more than what most people feel when someone dies tragically young- a fleeting feeling of shock, sympathy for their family members, and something that he could only describe as discontentment.

It made him wonder how Blooky was able to cry so much- he guessed it was just due to the fact that Blooky cried over anything.

So, really, how could he just invite Blooky to the funeral? Shyren would probably be happy, but then she and Blooky would both end up crying more and more. Mettaton could picture it now- Shyren crying, head in her hands, Blooky in a cheap, button down shirt, silently sobbing, his tears splashing down onto this shirt, since crying around Blooky was like splitting a dam right down it’s middle.

Plus, Blooky didn’t need to cry anymore than they already did.

Mettaton’s hand was outstretched towards the doorknob, his back to his cousin.

He couldn’t do this whole song and dance routine, not right now.

Yet… no ulterior motives. Blooky deserved to know.

It was the right thing to do.

“Blooky… I was talking to Shyren today. Shyra’s funeral is Saturday morning, at the church.” Mettaton closed his eyes as he spoke. Hopefully this wouldn’t push them over the edge. “I know you have to go out of town this weekend, but… I thought you might want to go. For Shyren.”

Napstablook slowly nodded, doing their best to wipe their tears away. “Okay… I’ll go… but…” they paused, and stared at their palms. “I feel so bad… Shyra...

“It’s tragic, isn’t it?” Mettaton sighed. “There’s nothing we can do now, though. Just be there to support Shyren and her family.”

And really, what else could be said? Shyra was an unfinished sentence, one everyone could tell was coming to an end, but couldn’t stop it.

And with that, Mettaton left their home, leaving a very discontent Napstablook behind.

***

 

Bright and early Saturday morning, when the sun was still coming up, Mettaton gritted his teeth as he tried to untangle his messy, knotted hair for the funeral.

He’d slept over at Alphys’s last night- a good idea, since no one would suspect a thing, and so Alphys could help him get ready.

“You know, Alphys, it would be a great help if you had some hairspray, or mousse, or literally anything having to do with hair at all in your bathroom!” Mettaton called to her. Alphys sleepily staggered to the bathroom, still wearing her Mew Mew Kissy Cutie pajamas, her hair messier than usual.

“W-What?” Alphys yawned.

“Ugh, nothing. Would you just help me get ready? I’ll be late if I don’t have another pair of hands on this.” Mettaton finally managed to pass the brush through his hair without it getting stuck in his hair.

“Fine, fine.” Alphys rubbed away the sleep in her eyes. “Where’d you put that dress you bought?”

“On your worktable. I can’t believe I had to get it at a thrift shop- okay, I can believe it, but I don’t like it.” Mettaton sighed as he finished brushing his hair.

Alphys left the bathroom and came back a moment later with some plastic grocery bag. She handed him the dress.

“Thank you, darling. Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do without you.” he took the bag from her and pulled out it’s contents- or, rather, content.

Inside the bag was a black, mid thigh cut dress. It was a V-neck, with slight ruffles on the hip parts and sleek straps. Mettaton slipped it on.

“Alphy, could you zip me up? I can’t quite reach the zipper.”

Alphys did so, and they both stood in front of the bathroom mirror. Alphys stared at her friend’s reflection, but Mettaton stared at the floor. Not now. Not now.

“Y-You look really nice, MTT.” Alphys began. “That dress really suits you.”

Mettaton’s eyes slowly wandered towards his reflection- he couldn’t help it, hadn’t Alphys said he’d looked nice?

Only one thought came to mind.

Well, what had he been expecting?

It was a dress. Just a dress. A dress on dead skin, on a slumped body, on a no one. He felt embarrassed for himself. He’d thought he’d done such a great job brushing his hair, but it was still an ugly white-pink color. He still had a zit.

He still looked devastatingly forgettable.

Another thought came to mind, however. One that cheered him up.

He’d only just started his diet. Maybe, once he was finished, he’d look like his dream self. Curves in the right places, shiny, lustrous hair, bright eyes, prosthetics that didn’t look like obviously fake skin (okay, maybe a diet couldn’t fix his ugly prosthetics).

Utterly flawless, totally fabulous.

But for now...

“Alphys? Do you have any accessories I could borrow. Honestly, this dress needs something to bring it to life more. It’s a funeral, yes, but who says I have to look dead?”

Alphys giggled. “Y-Yeah, I think I have a few things left over from s-some of my cosplays.”

“No cat ears.” Mettaton waggled his finger in mock disapproval.

“M-Maybe a tail, then.” Alphys rolled her eyes playfully.

A few minutes later, Mettaton wore a big, floppy, black sun hat with some light fishnet material on top, black gloves that went past his elbows, and a few faux gold bracelets.

“I-I got most of this from my Mew Mew Mourning Cutie cosplay. It’s the special w-where Mew Mew’s grandma dies, and she tries to hide her cat ears under that had, and-”

“Alphy, did I ever tell you you have an amazing sense of style?” Mettaton grinnec, staring at his gloves. He had to admit, they looked gorgeous. Who knew anime wasn’t completely useless after all?

“A-Actually, didn’t you tell me in seventh grade when I wore m-my cat ears to school that they were ‘an atrocity to human beings everywhere?’” Alphys looked up at him, confused.

Mettaton rolled his eyes. Okay, maybe he had said that, but it was true. “Well, honey, now I’m taking it back.” he leaned over, gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek, and walked out of the bathroom. “You know, you could come with me. I’m sure it won’t be too boring.”

She shook her head. “I-I don’t know. I’d feel w-weird going to someone’s funeral that I wasn’t invited to.”

“Suit yourself, darling.” Mettaton blew her a kiss and left, ready to face the day.

 

***

Mettaton sat on a bench outside the church, scribbling in his diary.

‘Darlingest Of All Diaries,

Today is Shyra’s funeral. I know I should be inside right now, but I honestly don’t think I can stand to see all those people crying. I see enough of it at home. It’s not that I’m apathetic, or don’t want to comfort people- it’s just all so exhausting. Whenever Blooky cries, I feel sad, yes, but it takes a great deal to comfort them. Sure, patience isn’t that hard when it comes to one person, but multiple people at the same time…
That’s different.
Honestly speaking, I can’t quite say I’m looking forward to Father Alvin’s speech about The Angel. Or why I haven’t been going to church lately. Honestly, can you really blame me? Their fruit juice isn’t even that good.’

Mettaton sighed and shut his diary. He couldn’t not go in. Taking a deep breath, he opened the doors of the church, and-

The church was sort of overly dramatic, and if Mettaton thought that, it said something.

It was a pretty building, yes, with stained glass windows and everything. Yet the inside just had rows of pews, that weird podium thing that was used to speak on, and not much else.

As Mettaton entered the building, he quickly surveyed the crowd. Most of them appeared to be part of Shyren’s family, all dressed in black and sobbing. One lady was crying so hard, she vomited a little and had to excuse herself.

Ew.

As Mettaton predicted, Napstablook was indeed wearing a cheap, white button down shirt. It was a wonder how accurately his visions could be when he put his mind to them.

Everyone was sitting down. Father Alvin was walking to the podium. Mettaton quickly rushed to one of the pews, the one where Blooky was at.

Father Alvin cleared his throat. Everyone was silent. You could hear a pin drop.

“I bid you all a good day, citizens of Ebott.” he spoke.

“We bid you a good day as well, Father.” everyone else said, including Mettaton, although he rolled his eyes. Really, wasn’t it Father Alvin’s job to bid them a good day? And a good afternoon, evening, and night.

“It is-” Father Alvin, as usual, took a dramatic pause, which would’ve been something Mettaton would admire if they weren’t always so long and awkward, “-always a tragedy when we lose a youth. Someone young, someone pure.”

Someone started to wail. Oh, wait, it was Blooky. Mettaton put an arm around them.

“It’ll be alright, Blooky.” he whispered. As much as it tired him, he didn’t like to see his cousin cry.

“But everything happens for a reason. You see, long ago, as a species, we were sent to this Earth. Banished for our sins.” Father Alvin’s eyes began to glint with passion as he spoke. “Confused, we cried, ‘Will we ever be free? Is there hope for us all?’”

Mettaton slumped down in his seat. This would probably go down for hours. Discreetly, he pulled out his phone and began to text Alphys.

*Guess what darling?

*What?

*It’s five minutes in and Father Alvin is already getting all holy on us all.

“Are you seriously texting right now?” A lady next to him glared at him, a pissy look on her face.

“I am, darling, good job for noticing something totally obvious! Honestly, here I was, sitting here on my phone, hoping someone would notice me texting, since it’s so obviously not something most people would notice. And here you are! Honey, you get a gold star.” Mettaton opened his mouth in fake surprise and put a hand in front of it.

The lady muttered something under her breath about it being disrespectful, and Mettaton realized she was probably right, and put his phone away.

“But there is hope! And it comes in the form of The Angel. The Angel that will free us all, descending from above! And we must accept this fact, and carry it with us in our souls.” Father Alvin declared confidently, his voice echoing across the room. “There is hope. You will be free.”

Mettaton squirmed uncomfortably in his seat. Maybe another reason he’d stopped going was because this speech always felt directed towards him.

 

***

After the speech, everyone stood up, and began to quietly talk and mingle. Mettaton spotted quite a few people in tears.

Napstablook stood next to him. “Oh…. Happy…. I feel so…”

“I know, Blooky. It really is a tragedy.” Mettaton held his cousin close as they sobbed. “But there are plenty of important things to remember about Shyra.”

“Like what?”

Mettaton struggled to think of something. He was sure Shyra had been great, but he didn’t know her well enough to think of a whole list. “Like… she was an amazing singer, wasn’t she, Blooky? Remember the time we went over to Shyren’s, and we heard Shyra singing in the bathroom? How we just sat outside the door, listening?”

Blooky giggled. “Yeah… I remember…”

“And how she was so kind to Shyren, too? Always acting as her voice for her.” Mettaton smiled softly. He hadn’t known Shyra well, but that was one thing he could appreciate. Maybe if he’d ever really gotten to know her, they would’ve developed some sort of friendship based on speaking up for their shy family members.

“Do you want some fruit juice, Blooky? I’m sure we’re both thirsty after that Shakespearean spiel.” Mettaton winked at Blooky playfully. Napstablook gave him a small smile.

“Yeah… that sounds really good… thank you, Happy…”

“Any time, dear cousin of mine.” Mettaton headed over to a white clothed table, which held a bowl of artificially flavored fruit juice, and some peanut butter sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Mettaton couldn’t help but roll his eyes. Last time he’d been here- and that had been years and years ago- the same exact assortment of snacks had been here.

Lifting the ladle, Mettaton poured some of the fruit juice into two of the paper cups next to the sandwiches. Then again… was this sugary? Mettaton took a little sip. Yes, yes it was. When no one was looking, he poured the remaining fruit juice into a potted plant. And just as he was about to go take the other cup to Blooky-

“Hello, Happstablook.”

Mettaton rolled his eyes at the sound of the voice, but turned around with a fake smile. “Hello, Father Alvin.”

Father Alvin, in all honesty, sort of looked like a turtle. He had a beaky little nose and wrinkles galore. And he had this awful pink thing on his head, which Mettaton was never sure if it was actual hair or a headscarf. Not to mention his hideous blue robe with the delta rune symbol on it, aka the Angel liberating them all.

Hallelujah.

“It is nice to see you again. You haven’t come here in quite a while.” Father Alvin spoke softly. His oh-so-holy-preacher voice was gone, and replaced with the voice of an old man who thought shuffleboard was an extreme sport.

“Oh, you know. I’ve been busy. The snail farm won’t support itself, now will it?” Mettaton nervously looked away. While Father Alvin was mostly harmless, he always felt so… intimidating. Like telling him a lie would ruin your life forever.

“I see. Well, might I mention that a spot in our choir is always open for you. You sang so beautifully as a child. Do you still sing?”

Mettaton winced a little. Back in his hospital days, Father Alvin had walked in on him singing. Why was he there? To tell him to not give up hope, that the Angel let him stay there for a reason, of course!

The moment hadn’t been embarrassing. In fact, back then, Mettaton had been in awe of Father Alvin. Not in a weird idolization way, but just in awe of an adult who actually sounded like they knew what they were talking about.

Nowadays, Mettaton was more impressed by actual talent than pointless pity.

“Yes, I still sing.”

“That’s good. Please do tell your other cousin I say hello, Madstablook… you were always so good at keeping both of them in check, Happstablook. I can tell you’re the type of person to stay with your family no matter what.” Father Alvin gave him a smile and left.

Mettaton stared at his reflection in the cup of fruit juice. That had been a compliment.

Then why had he felt so guilty?

Shaking his head, Mettaton walked back to his cousin and handed them the cup. “Here you are, Blooky. I’ll be right back, okay? Plus, I think Father Alvin is coming to talk to you.” And with that, Mettaton left his cousin to mingle with Father Alvin.

Why?

He was searching for Shyren, of course.

It took a little while to find her. But he found her a few feet away from what looked like a casket. She looked distraught, her face streaked with tears, trembling.

“Shyren, darling. How are you? I know today must be hard.” Mettaton asked soothingly. And he really did feel sympathy for her. He didn’t want her to be sad, no one did. But what could anyone do?

“I’m… f-fine…” she whispered, staring at the casket. “I-I just….wish they had cremated h-her… they’re doing it afterwards, but… I don’t think I can look.” Shyren admitted.

Mettaton wasn’t surprised. In Ebott, it was tradition to cremate your loved ones, and at the funeral, spread their dust- honestly, why they didn’t just call it ashes, Mettaton would never know- over their favorite thing.

“You don’t have to look if you don’t want to.” Mettaton put a hand on her shoulder. He could understand her not wanting to look- if it had been Blooky or Maddy, in her position, Mettaton would have ran off and cried somewhere by now.

“But I-I…. I feel like I… have to…” Shyren looked up at him. “For Shyra… I need to see her one last time…”

“I can go with you, if you’d like. It would probably be better with someone with you, darling.” Mettaton said, and offered her his hand.

Shyren took it with a watery smile, and together, the two of them walked towards the casket.

Mettaton had expected it to be fine. He really had.

But it was unlike anything he’d ever expected.

Shyra’s face was so… hollow. Shyra’s skin had taken on a greenish hue, making her look, well, sickly. Her eyes were closed, but it didn’t look like she was sleeping. She wore a white dress, but it didn’t look pretty. It looked like someone had thrown a tablecloth over her, and yelled, “That’s a wrap!”

“Oh, Shyra…” Shyren gasped.

Mettaton was frozen. Forgotten. That was all Shyra would ever be. She’d died so young, so tragically.

What really killed him, though, was the object on her chest. It was a pink, plastic karaoke microphone. Her hand was positioned so it looked like she was gripping it.

Mettaton felt his stomach tighten into a knot.

“I have to go.” he muttered, and ran off into the church bathroom. Inside, he flung himself into a stall and started to heave into the toilet. He felt so dizzy and sick. Finally, he managed to vomit. When he was done, he hugged his fake knees to his chest and sobbed.

What could be said?

Mettaton was sure of one thing, and he didn’t like it. Shyra would be forgotten by the town. Like him, when hearing about her death, they’d frown, say it was too bad, and move on with their day. Soon she’d be a distant memory.

And so young, too. Mettaton began to think of what Shyra could have done if she hadn’t gotten sick. Would she have been the one planning the musical? Pursuing her dream of singing? Mettaton just felt… bitter.

Shyra had been robbed of a dream that was supposed to be hers.

 

***

When Mettaton had left the bathroom, not many people were still there. A few relatives of Shyren were, along with Blooky, who was still chatting with Father Alvin.

Aside from that, no one else was really there at this point.

Mettaton felt about ready to leave at this point, but there was one last thing he had to do.

“Guess who?” Mettaton walked behind Shyren and covered her eyes with his hands.

“Happstablook…?”

“Correct, darling! Now, I have another offer for you!” Mettaton winked, removing his hands from her eyes.

“What is it…?” Shyren asked, looking confused.

“Do you want to blow this funeral, honey? Shyra should be celebrated, not mourned, and I think I know how.” Mettaton waggled his eyebrows, and Shyren nodded, with a hesitant smile.

“Leave your shoes behind, darling. This is going to be a long walk.” Mettaton advised. Both of them took off their shoes, and snuck out through the back door of the church.

“Now, Shyren-darling, don’t even bother asking where we’re going, because it’s a surprise, okay?” Mettaton winked.

Shyren looked slightly excited. “Okay…”

So the two walked in silence. Yet it was a comfortable one, one both of them were okay with. After about five minutes of walking, Mettaton came to a stop.

“Alright, Shyren. I’m going to cover your eyes. Just keep walking until I tell you to stop.” Mettaton instructed, covering her eyes once more. Carefully, he led her up a little path in the trees they'd been walking by, and to a hill with a tree on it. The hill had a view of the entire city.

Was it a bit cheesy?

Yes, yes it was.

But Mettaton knew one thing, and it was that cheesy could be so very great if done in the right way.

“Stop!” Mettaton uncovered her eyes.

“Happy… where are we…?” Shyren whispered, but this time in awe.

“Just a place Maddy and I found a long time ago.” Mettaton smiled at her, and sat down in the shade under the tree, patting the spot next to him.

Shyren sat down next to him. “The grass feels… weird.”

“Probably because you’re barefoot, darling.” Mettaton sighed a little as he leaned back, soaking in the sunshine he was so deprived of in Waterfall.

“What was your… idea?” Shyren asked, looking at him.

“Here.” Mettaton plucked a dandelion from the grass and handed it to her. “Don’t blow on it yet. Wait for my signal.”

As Shyren examined the dandelion, Mettaton plucked one of his own. The sun was slowly setting, that perfect hour where the sunlight was golden. Mettaton had always loved this hour, but hated how fast it eft, how cold you felt once it was gone.

“Think of your favorite memories of Shyra. Think of all your emotions about her. Think about everything you’ve ever felt, darling. And then… blow.”

Shyren closed her eyes. Mettaton did so as well.

And he thought. He thought hard. He thought about the time he and Blooky had heard Shyra singing, how he’d felt when seeing her in the casket, how unfair it felt that someone with such a bright future ahead of them was gone.

His anger in not getting the support he needed to become comfortable with himself, his sadness that he might not ever be, his jealousy of the people that were.

His hopes, his dreams, his everything.

And then… he blew.

The dandelion fluff flew across the city, flying in the air. Mettaton stared at it all, and put a hand against his heart.

Maybe it was the little things that mattered most, in these moments.

The little things that managed to take your breath away.

Chapter Text

Mettaton stood at his locker, writing in his diary.

‘Dear Diary,
I don’t know if I’ve ever believed in The Angel. Most people seem to, but I don’t buy it. What heinous sins could we possibly have committed to need some angel to save us all? Either way, the funeral was sort of an odd experience for me. And going back to that hill I found with Maddy was nice, I suppose. And it made me realize something: this town doesn’t need an angel. It needs a star.’

“H-Hey, MTT!”

Mettaton looked up from his diary to see Alphys smiling at him, accompanied by Undyne in her letterman jacket, arm slung around her shoulder.

“Hello, Alphys darling. And Undyne, too, I suppose.” Mettaton rolled his eyes as he shut his diary, tucking the pen into his bun.

“How was the fu-funeral?” Alphys asked, sounding a bit hesitant. She clearly didn’t want to provoke some tragic emotions her best friend may or may not be storing inside him.

“Whoa whoa whoa, you went to a funeral?! Who the hell died?!” Undyne’s eyes widened. Then, realizing Mettaton might possibly burst into tears at any moment from total grief, she averted her eyes. “Uh, I mean, sorry for your loss, man.”

“Oh, don’t be ridiculous. It wasn’t my loss. You know if I’d lost someone I’d be bawling,” Mettaton put his hands on his hips. “As for the funeral, apparently we all need to be saved by The Angel, pronto! Oh, heavens have mercy!” Mettaton opened his mouth and widened his eyes dramatically, putting a hand over his forehead as if he might faint.

“But wait, though, who die-”

Mettaton cut off Undyne, on purpose, of course. He didn’t exactly feel like talking about Shyra. “Did you know they still serve the same snacks they did when I was a child? Honestly, they need to get some variety. A cheese platter might be nice.”

“Aren’t you, uh, lactose intolerant?” Alphys raised an eyebrow.

“Those are just words, darling. It’s not like they mean anything. I mean, who’s actually lactose intolerant anymore? It just isn’t in.” Mettaton snorted, waving his hand dismissively. “Besides, I’ve got more important things to have my mind on right now.”

“Like what? Deciding what color lip gloss to wear?” Undyne said sarcastically.

Rude! Yes, he liked to color coordinate the lip gloss he wore, but it wasn’t as if that was all he thought about! That was only half of it!

“For your information, Un-bearable, I’m hosting auditions for my production tomorrow, after school.” Mettaton smirked, as he set in his locker combination.

“Oh, yeah. Alphys told me about that. What’re you gonna do?” Undyne asked, probably more interested than she let on.

“It’s a secret, darling. Can’t be giving away my performances before I give them!” Mettaton winked, and opened his locker. Suddenly, something fell to the floor, at his feet.

“I-I’ll get it- oh my gosh!” Alphys gasped. She’d bent down to get it, and emerged with a single red rose in hand.

“A rose?!” Undyne and Mettaton said simultaneously, with the same confused expression on their faces.

“M-MTT! Are you see-seeing someone?!” Alphys squealed excitedly, handing him the rose.

“I’m not, Alphys. I’d tell you if I was, obviously.” Mettaton turned the rose around in his hands, examining it. It would’ve been pretty if it didn’t look crushed. The petals were flattened, part of the stem was falling off… whoever had put it in his locker must have slipped it in through the little slots at the top.

“Yeah, who’d give this guy a rose?” Undyne punched his arm playfully. Mettaton felt something inside of him just… sink.

“I’ve got to go. See you later.” Mettaton said simply, and went to the bathroom. He could hear Undyne asking Alphys something, confused, but didn’t bother to try and figure out what it was.

When he got to the bathroom, he locked himself in a stall, took the pen out of his bun, and began to write.

‘I received a rose in my locker today. I know Undyne was only being obnoxious and teasing, but, honestly she was completely right. Who would want to give me something like this? It’s not as if anyone knows I exist in this school, so I can only assume it’s a mistake.
Selfish as it is, though, I want to keep it. Honestly, imagine if it was mine! That would mean someone out there respected me, respected me enough to give me a present like this!
I don’t even think the possibility (which I know is none) of romance is what’s exciting me. It’s the feeling of having someone look at you and admire you. Like a fan, really. And that’s the feeling I’ve been chasing after for so, so long.
I don’t blame Undyne for saying what she said though, really. It’s not as if I’m a somebody. I’m not gorgeous. I’m like Maddy, I’m like Blooky.
Is that what hurts most?’

 

***

“In other news, if any sophomores are interested in going to the sophomore hop tomorrow night, please purchase your tickets at the cafeteria office. Remember, no dresses that go above your knees- that’s ridiculous- no sneaking in friends, and no using the punchbowl as an appropriate place to use the bathroom. We don’t want a repeat of last year, do we?” Mettaton recited into the microphone. “Signing off on Ebott school news, have a fabulous day!”

Asgore gave Mettaton a warm smile. “Thank you, Happstablook. That was neato as usual.”

Mettaton resisted the impulse to, once again, tell Asgore saying “neato” wasn’t cool. “Thank you, darling. I do have a question, though, and a non-news related one at that.”

“Well, I’m happy to answer it.” Asgore sat down in his desk chair and looked up at Mettaton.

“Have you seen Shyren around? She’s a second year, and ever since last week there’s been no sign of her in the halls. I’m terribly worried, with her sister and all…” Mettaton sighed. And it was true, Shyren had been absent for a few days after the weekend of the funeral. Shyren was fragile, Mettaton knew, and he certainly didn’t want to find her in pieces like a shattered porcelain teacup.

“It is a tragedy,” Asgore nodded solemnly, “And I do believe that is the reason her parents decided to pull her out of this school.”

“What?!” Mettaton’s jaw dropped open. Was Shyren seriously gone? She’d been going to school with him and Blooky ever since they were kids- and yes, maybe it was too late to start feeling sentimental- but this was something entirely different. Had Shyren really been that depressed?

“If my memory serves me correct, her parents have decided to home school her. Her mother is unemployed, so I do hope that will work out nicely.” Asgore said, clearly blissfully unaware of how shocked Mettaton was.

“Okay-thank-you-darling-you’ve-been-a-big-help-bye-bye!” Mettaton blew Asgore a kiss and bolted out the door, knocking over the poor secretary who just happened to be carrying a tray of coffees. Mettaton didn’t help her up- she could do that herself, and besides, coffee would probably only giver her minor burns- and immediately ran to his locker.

He knew he should be getting to class, but was education really going to help make him a star? No. Mettaton grabbed his diary after entering the combination, and immediately began to write:

‘Devastatingly Devious Diary,
Apparently Shyren has decided to go the route of the hermit and be homeschooled. Not that being homeschooled is bad, of course, but I didn’t think her grief was that… overwhelming.
Shyren is very easily broken, though, so I suppose it makes sense that this would push her over the edge. I respect the decision, yes, but it’s quite sad.
Shyra was her voice, and now that she’s gone, it’s as if she has a permanent sore throat.
Then again, I’d be devastated if something happened to Blooky or Maddy too. It just seems so extreme… I suppose we all have our ways of recovering. And if that’s how Shyren needs to recover, then I hope it goes well for her.
Love Always,
Me!’

 

***

“I just can’t believe it! Honestly!” Mettaton groaned, tearing off little strips of his napkin and placing them on top of each other. “It’s totally shocking!”

“Are you really that upset that they started serving circle shaped pizza instead of triangle pizza?” Madstablook rolled their eyes, busily cutting off the crusts of their ghost sandwich with one of their many switchblades. “We don’t even eat the school lunch!”

“Um, yes?!” Mettaton glared at his cousin with the intensity of a million suns, “Imagine eating a circular pizza. Blooky, enlighten Maddy on what would happen.”

Napstablook took a bite of their sandwich and murmured, “Oh…. you…. Would… get full…?”

“Yes, Blooky, exactly- wait, no.” Mettaton sighed, running a hand through his hair.

“Oh no…. I’m sorry….” Napstablook started to tear up.

Mettaton frowned.

“Oh, Blooky, don’t be sorry! Honestly, you’re right anyway- imagine eating a circle instead of a triangle! Triangles are way slimmer, so…” Mettaton looked at his feet. “An-y-way! What I was going to say is that your mouth would get covered in sauce! There’s just too much area surrounding your mouth that’s filled with pizza- with a triangle, you take a bite of the tip, and you’re left utterly spotless.”

“Yeah, yeah, we get it. It took you way longer to learn your shapes than either of us, so you’re upset.” Maddy snickered, as Mettaton lightly slapped their shoulder.

“Maddy, you know perfectly well I learned shapes just as fast as either of you!” Mettaton fake pouted.

“Yeah right. You’re just saying all this crap ‘cuz you don’t have anything else to talk about, aren’t you?” Maddy practically shoved their whole sandwich in their mouth.

Mettaton sat up straighter. Oh, Maddy thought they were so smart. Well, the rose was actually the most interesting thing that had happened to any of them- besides him being hit by a literal truck, of course- so Maddy would eat their words once he’d told his story.

“Actually, cousin, I do have something to tell you today. And it’s quite the story, mind you.” Mettaton smirked, balancing his head on his hand.

“Well, get on with it! We only have five more minutes left of lunch!” Maddy urged impatiently, only firing up Mettaton more. Anticipation always made for great storytelling.

“We-e-ell~” Mettaton tapped his hands on the table for every syllable, “This morning, I uncovered quite scandalous information.”

“What was it…?” Blooky looked up from their lunch, captivated.

“I-” Suddenly, Mettaton stopped. The whole rose spectacle had sort of been in the back of his mind ever since the information about Shyren had came to light. Which, of course, made him remember- the rose wasn’t for him.

It reminded him of the time in first grade, where his class had a little Valentine’s Day party. All the PTA moms had brought those delicious frosted sugar cookies, along with chocolate cupcakes topped with pink frosting and heart shaped sprinkles.

On every kid’s desk was a little self-decorated envelope with their name on it- written by the teacher, of course. Mettaton had dipped his in the brightest pink glitter he could find, so bright it hurt to look at. The teacher had spelled his name wrong- or rather, his dead name- “Hapstablok,’

That didn’t get him down, though, because after all these years of being ignored, his envelope had to attract attention. And when it came time to open up the envelopes- his was totally empty.

Other kids might have convinced themselves with childlike naivety that it was a mistake, that next year they’d get something, that…

But he knew. He knew that he was invisible to the class- no, to everyone. As the rest of the class showed off their lollipops and cards and stickers, Mettaton had bitterly cried at his desk, realizing that if his life was an envelope, it would be empty as well.

And, of course, the final cherry on top of his solemn sundae was that, by the time he’d gotten to the table holding the snacks, there had been none left for him.

Lovely.

Now, looking at his cousins, who were in turn, looking at him expectantly, he knew he’d have to lie. Again. Or at least tell another truth. “Shyren’s being homeschooled,” he blurted out, and watched as Blooky silently cried, as Maddy indifferently shrugged- they’d never really known her.

 

***

It was TV night in the Blook household.

TV night was one of their special traditions, despite the fact that it was never really planned. It usually started when one of them would turn on TV, another would join them, and finally, the third.

Of course, there was always a bit of a squabble on who got to pick what to watch- usually between Mettaton and Maddy.

“I’m tired of watching tapings of concerts! They’re boring! Boring, boring, boring!!!” Maddy groaned, clutching the remote to their chest.

“Well, how do you think I feel? I’m going to vomit if I have to watch another low budget action movie! ‘The Knife 2- The Knifening,’ was horrid!” Mettaton reached for the remote, prompting Maddy to sit on it.

“You know that movie was art, Happy! If you’re going to be a brat again-”

“I am not a brat!” Mettaton clenched his fists. He hated that word.

“-then we’ll just watch a movie channel!”

“Are you insane? Remember ‘Ghostbusters’?” Mettaton gave up on trying to steal the remote, slumping against the couch.

“Guys… please…don’t fight….” Blooky was crying again.

“You know what, Blooky? You’re right.”

“I… am?” Blooky wiped a tear off their cheek.

“You are, dear cousin of mine. Why fight when you can choose? What would you rather watch?” Mettaton gave them a patient smile. “The ‘Jem and the Holograms’ TV show-” Mettaton winked, “-or some drab knife-based movie?” Mettaton gave an obvious roll of his eyes.

“Actually… I was thinking that we could… lie on the floor... and listen to my new mixtape…? Oh, nevermind… it’s a bad idea…” Blooky trailed off, looking at the floor.

“Blooky, are you kidding? That’s a fabulous idea! And I’m sure Maddy agrees, right?” Mettaton sat on the couch, hugging Blooky, all while glaring at Maddy.

“Fine,” Maddy muttered stubbornly, arms crossed.

So Blooky put on their newest mixtape, “Spookwave,” and laid on the floor next to Mettaton and Maddy. The three of them were quiet during this whole process, letting the music wash over them, along with their thoughts. And, as always, they could practically see the stars.

When the song was done, Mettaton was the first to get up. “I have an idea!”

 

***

The three cousins stood outside Shyren’s door- her house door, at any rate- Maddy looking impatient, Blooky hugging themself, and Mettaton holding a gift basket with a bright pink bow tied to the handle.

Mettaton knocked on the door twice.

“Why do you want to give your friend a gift basket? It’s already ten!” Maddy asked for the hundredth time.

“She’s going through a hard time, obviously! And what do people love?” Mettaton asked, waggling his eyebrows.

“For you to stop asking questions you already know the answer to?!” Maddy asked, exasperated.

“No! Gift baskets!” Mettaton shoved the gift basket in their face.

“And you had to make all of us dig through the dump to find what’s in it?!” Maddy tugged at the bow, untying it.

Maddy wasn’t lying. They had all dug through the dump to find the contents of the basket, and the basket itself. The only thing that wasn’t from the dump was the lemon bread, which had been their stale snack from last week. The rest was just little things, like a bear with almost no tears, and some wilted flowers.

Mettaton snatched the ribbon from his cousin’s hands. “I know the concept of friendship is foreign to you, Maddy, but it’s not wrong to do a nice thing for someone. Keep that in mind.” Mettaton said bitterly, prompting all of them to go silent.

Finally, Napstablook spoke.

“I… don’t think anyone is coming to the door….”

“You’re right, Blooky.” Mettaton spoke softly, and set the basket on the front steps of the house.

And the three left.

 

***

The next day, Mettaton came to school in the most impressive outfit he owned, which was basically just black pants and a white faux leather jacket Alphys had gotten for him last Christmas.

It wasn’t as fancy as he would have liked, but it was the best he had, and he intended to make the most of it.

And, as he left the house, he felt confident. It was time to stop wallowing in his own pity! This diet was going to work, people were going to audition, he’d be a star!

But, until then…

“Alphys, did you do the questions on whatever-book-we’re-reading?” Mettaton asked, on their walk.

“Yeah. I, uh, don’t know if they’re all correct, but I-”

“Would you be a dear and let me copy?” Mettaton took his own blank assignment out of his bag. “I was so busy last night, I’d totally forgotten about it!”

Alphys crossed her arms. “I-It’s literally ten questions. What were you even doing last nigh-night?”

“Making a gift basket. Please? I’ll be your best friend,” Mettaton gave her the puppy dog eyes and put a hand on her shoulder.

Alphys sighed. “Fine.” And with that, she handed him her assignment (which was covered with doodles)

“Thank you, darling~ Next time you need homework help, I’ll do the same as you’ve done for me. It’s a best friend’s job!” Mettaton began to copy as they walked, not caring if his handwriting looked messy or not. Teachers should honestly be used to deciphering the ancient hieroglyphs that were student handwritten assignments, at this point.

“By the way,” Mettaton giggled, “Your doodles of you and Undyne as Move Move Kitten County characters are very cute.”

“I-It’s Mew Mew Kissy Cutie!” Alphys’s face turned a brilliant shade of red. “And!-And don’t you tell her about those!”

 

***

 

The whole day at school, Mettaton felt restless.

During language arts, he nearly ripped the pages of his book when he turned them.

During lunch, all he could make himself eat was the bread of his sandwich.

During science, he spilled some sort of acidic substance- paying attention to the teacher was sooooo faux pas, or whatever- and sent his lab partner to the hospital with third degree burns all over her chest.

Typical nerves acting up.

By the time the bell rang for the end of the day, Mettaton was already running towards the auditorium, only slowing down to examine a text he’d received from Blooky.

*hey… where are you… we’re outside the school…

Mettaton felt too anxious to feel guilty about not going home with his cousins, and typed out a quick reply.

*Sorry, Blooky dearest, I have a few things to make up for some classes. I’ll be home in a few hours!

After he hit send, he took a deep breath. It was time to shine. Or rather, watch other people shine and tell them they sucked at shining. Like on TV! Or a comment section on literally any Undernet video.

As Mettaton walked into the auditorium, he couldn’t help but notice it was empty, which felt like a led weight tied to the balloon that was his excitement.

Still, he couldn’t let this get him down. He’d announced that there would be auditions in the announcements this morning, which, yes, was short notice, but honestly, what could any of these people possibly have to do?

So, he set his bag down on the stage and sat on it’s edge- this way, he’d be the one looking down on the auditionees, so they’d know he was the star- and waited.

After an hour passed, he just felt foolish. No one was coming, and it was clear as day. Or as clear as a day in Ebott could be.

Mettaton stared at his hands. Of course. Of course no one would bother. Who could be a star in Ebott? Why would anyone care about some crappy, low budget play he was going to put on?

And, in a way, he felt… relieved. It wasn’t as if he didn’t want to do this, because he so wanted to! Yet wouldn’t it be easier to just… fit the mold he’d already been given? Maybe this was a sign. A sign that if you start out as a nobody, that was all you’d ever be.

And maybe, just maybe, it was time he accepted that.

Mettaton stood up, staring at the empty rows of seats in front of him. As if ending auditions early would matter. He made a quick plan- tell Asgore tomorrow that he was resigning from his position as president of the theatre club, and then offer Muffet her spot back.

Lovely.

As he picked up his bag, the doors of the auditorium flew open, and in ran some sort of wheezing blur.

Oh, wait. It was a student.

The student was wearing some orange-red fast food uniform, had orange hair that sticked up at two ends like cat ears (Alphys would have squealed, Mettaton just wanted to get him a brush), tons of acne, a goatee, and was pudgy.

He was also suffocating.

Mettaton didn’t bother to ask if this guy was okay- his mood was already soured enough without this guy losing more breath just to respond. Instead, he waited, arms crossed. He almost felt angry.

Whoever this guy was, he looked so… pathetic. And it wasn’t as if Mettaton could talk, but he would, because Mettaton didn’t look a mess. He knew he was the sort of person you’d pass on the street and not even notice- he was invisible.

Yet whoever this was… yikes. It wasn’t just his physical appearance (Mettaton knew it was hypocritical to judge based on looks, but he was judging) it was the way he seemed to present himself.

His uniform shirt was wrinkled and stained, his hair was messy, and his shoelaces untied. It was as if this guy wore the same thing everyday and never even bothered to wash it.

There was also some serious sweaty odor emitting from him.

Finally, the guy caught his breath. “I’m… I’m… here. Am I late?”

Mettaton raised an eyebrow. “Is that really how you’re introducing yourself, sweetheart?”

The guy paid no attention to this. “Where is everyone?”

Mettaton closed his eyes. He knew he’d have to lie to avoid looking as pathetic as him. “They’ve all auditioned and left, darling. You’re late.”

“But… the auditions were supposed to be until four, weren’t they?”

“Punctuality is quite important. Haven’t you ever been taught that slow and steady loses the race? Really, the fairytales got it all wrong. Now, are you going to tell me your name?”

The guy nodded. Mettaton could see the acne on his neck. “I’m, uh-”

And then, only then, was when Mettaton saw something attached to the guy’s pant leg. It was a burger. And not just a little piece of one, but a whole burger, with lettuce and tomatoes and everything.

“You’re taking too long, Burgerpants darling.” Mettaton pointed at the burger. “I didn’t know you took the concept of playing with your food so literally.”

Mettaton knew he was being mean, but something inside him was happy. He’d finally found someone who was actually beneath him. Someone who was something worse than a nobody. And it didn’t exactly help that this someone- Burgerpants- came face to face with him on the day that he was in one of his worst moods yet.

Burgerpants’s face flushed as he saw the burger on his leg. “Sorry about that. I, uh, work at a fast food joint, so…”

“So you didn’t notice the obvious fast food item stuck to your clothing,” Mettaton gave him a I’m-judging-you-so-hard-right-now look. “Happens to the worst of us, I suppose. What year are you in?”

“I’m a freshman. Here. In this school, I mean.” Burgerpants rubbed the back of his neck, revealing the sweat stains on his shirt.

Ew.

“Obviously. Now, do you have a piece for me today? Or are you just going to continue stating the obvious?” Mettaton glared at him. Yes, it was a relief to have someone audition, but… this? This was just offensive.

“Yeah, I’ve got a piece. It’s, uh, a song. And I’ve also got a written piece, to, like, act out. I’m pretty good at acting, so yeah.” Burgerpants suddenly seemed to gain some confidence that so did not suit him, grinning like an idiot and everything.

The mean little voice in Mettaton- which was growing bigger every second he spent staring at Burgerpants- whispered, “Tear him to shreds! Take that little smirk off of his face!”

Mettaton almost smiled. He himself was pretty good at acting, and he knew it.

All he had to do was cross his arms, and raise an eyebrow. “Oh, honey, I’ll be the judge of that.”

Burgerpants looked like he’d just been slapped.

“ACTION!” Mettaton yelled at the top of his lungs, so loud that it echoed across the room.

Burgerpants looked startled, but complied. He started to sing Lady Gaga’s “Applause,” his voice cracking. He even threw in some dance moves, trying and failing oh so hard to do a pirouette. At one point, it was clear he forgot the lines to the song, so he just started humming awkwardly.

Mettaton almost covered his ears. Almost. It was hell, yes, but he knew at this point it would be wise to just look unimpressed.

Burgerpants finished, awkwardly doing the jazz hands.

“Well?” Mettaton asked simply.

“Uh… well what?” Burgerpants stopped doing the jazz hands.

“Your other piece. Let’s see it.”

“Oh! Yeah. Okay.” Burgerpants turned around, away from Mettaton. Then, suddenly, he turned around again, facing the right, his hands in the shape of a gun. “TELL ME WHERE THE FUCKING MONEY IS!”

Mettaton jumped a little.

Burgerpants faced the left, and tried to do a Mexican accent that just sounded like him being strangled. “No se donde esta, perra!”

Mettaton began to think. Was this audition for real? Yet he stopped thinking that when he saw Burgerpants sweating. He really was giving this his all.

Too bad it was horrible.

Burgerpants faced right again. “I know you hid it somewhere! You bastAAARD!” His voice cracked, going up an octave. “I, uh, know it!”

Left. “Eso no es lo que dijo tu esposa anocheEE!”

Right. “Don’t you ever talk about my wife- my wife like thAAAT!” Burgerpants stuttered, and then lifted up his arm. Mettaton could only guess that this signified lifting up the other guy by his shirt.

Left. Burgerpants stood on his toes, trying to act strangled. “Dejame ir-!”

Suddenly, Burgerpants faced forward. He put on an obnoxiously high pitched voice. “Wait, wait! Don’t kill him!”

Right. “Why the HEEEELL not?!”

Forward. “Because… because I’m-” Mettaton saw Burgerpants falter, and heard him say, under his breath, “Where’s the beach ball?”

Burgerpants quickly grabbed his backpack and shoved it up his shirt. He resumed his high pitched voice. “Because I’m-” he rubbed his backpack stomach up and down- “-pregnant!”

Mettaton had to cover his mouth. He doubled over, shaking with laughter that he tried not to let out. This was even worse than the time Alphys had made him watch ‘Mew Mew Kissy Cutie- The Maid Cafe Mafia.’

It must have been at least three minutes later, when Mettaton had finally stopped shaking, for Burgerpants to say, “I made it in, right?”

Mettaton stared at him in utter disbelief. He really had been serious! Mettaton wanted talent. Something to match, but not overshadow, his own talent. And having Burgerpants on stage wouldn’t even compliment him. Maybe if Burgerpants had been obviously trying to act badly, but it was so clear that Burgerpants actually thought of himself as good.

The only part that even incited some sort of reaction from him was when Burgerpants had announced he was pregnant. And even then, it wasn’t exactly a good one.

“Callbacks will be posted next week.” Mettaton said simply, reaching for his own bag once more. In reality, he would have to follow through with his original plan- resigning before he even began. And while it was sad to do so, at least he’d gotten a laugh.

“Hey, uh… by the way… did you get it?” Burgerpants asked, wringing his hands.

“Get what, darling?” If this was Burgerpants asking if he’d gotten the performance, oh, would Mettaton rip him a new one!

“The rose. In your locker. I was thinking, if you wanted to, after this we could go out for pizza? I’ve got a pretty cool Jeep. Don’t tell my parents I stole it, though.” Burgerpants waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

Mettaton was still. For a moment. And then he burst out laughing. A mean laugh, but a genuine one. Did Burgerpants really think that he stood any chance with him?

Mettaton knew he was invisible, but this was something else. Burgerpants had sent that rose?! Mister-I’m-pregnant-where’s-the-money-WHERE-IS-IT had noticed him, possibly been noticing him before the auditions, and smushed a rose in his locker?

It would almost be insulting, if a certain sense of empowerment didn’t come from it.

Burgerpants quite literally was beneath him. No one liked to admit it- Mettaton didn’t particularly want to either- but there were some people who just weren’t meant to be anything useful. And, really, with his little cocky not-so-cute attitude, Burgerpants clearly fitted into that category.

And the fact that Burgerpants had admired him enough to give him a rose- it boosted his self esteem. Not because Burgerpants was anyone to seek approval from, no, but because Mettaton knew he was better than him, knew he could most likely sway Burgerpants, knew it was wrong to think this way, but it was true.

Mettaton finally stopped laughing. “Oh, darling, that’s cute. You know what I think? I think I’ve found a perfect role for you.” Mettaton walked down the stage steps, feeling himself overflowing with this burst of confidence. No matter how short it was, he wanted to cradle it in his heart, like a gem.

“What is it?” Burgerpants asked shakily, as Mettaton lifted his chin up with his thumb and forefinger.

“My personal assistant,” Mettaton winked, and let go of Burgerpants’s somehow sweaty chin. “Isn’t that lovely, darling? Go home and take a shower. Maybe put on a shirt that doesn’t have those repulsive grease stains all over it. And, on Monday, come here after school. Bring a notebook, a pen, and a jar of glitter.”

“I don’t have a jar of glitter???” Burgerpants’s eyes were wide. It was clear he was intimidated, a lowly freshman being ordered around so cuttingly by a junior.

Yet Mettaton was already on his way out. He lifted a hand up, not facing Burgerpants. “Figure it out, darling! I’ll be seeing you!” And with that, he walked out of the auditorium, out of the school, into the outside world with it’s setting sun.

As golden light illuminated everything around him, Mettaton only had one thought.

It felt good to be better than someone.

Chapter Text

“Alphys, I think there’s something wrong with my brain.”

“Wa-wait, what? Like, seriously?” Alphys looked at Mettaton in disbelief. The two were at the mall, sitting in the food court. Alphys held a churro in her hand, Mettaton with a salad in front of him.

“Yes, Alphys! I wouldn’t just tell you things if I didn’t mean them.” Mettaton groaned, head on the table.

“Uh, sorry…” Alphys mumbled, taking a small bite of her churro. “Well, what are your, uh, symptoms?”

“Nothing.” Mettaton forced himself to sit up, taking a small bite of his salad. It tasted like sand.

“Nothing?” Alphys put down her churro. “Then how do you, uh, know something is wrong?”

“Because there’s never been nothing before!” Mettaton tossed his fork into his salad dramatically, watching as it sank into the raspberry flavored dressing. “I keep trying to think of ideas for my play, and yet all I come up with is nothing!”

Everyday after school, Mettaton would rush to his clubroom, his diary and a pen in hand. And everyday, he’d leave with nothing. It didn’t help that Burgerpants couldn’t even get him his usual order of coffee- venti, half soy milk, one quarter 1%, one quarter non-fat, extra hot, but also kind of cold, split quad shots, three packets of splenda, a touch of raspberry syrup, five short sprinkles of cinnamon, with whipped cream, not to mention one of those wooden stirrers so he could push back his cuticles- everyone knew this!

Alphys looked as if she was about to laugh. “You’re just going through writer’s block, MTT! It happened to me when I was writing my Mew Mew Kissy Cutie coffee shop AU!”

“How did you get over it?” Mettaton asked. Alphys was smart, and she wrote mountains of fanfiction, so she’d probably have a solution.

“I… didn’t. I just started writing a new fic. It’s a florist AU!” Alphys enthused, although she looked a bit sheepish.

“You didn’t get over it?! Darling, I haven’t even started and I’m coming up with nothing!” Mettaton ran a hand through his hair.

“Are you okay…?” Alphys hesitantly reached her hand out to grab his. Mettaton stood up.

“I’m fine, darling. I’ll get over it. I always do!” Mettaton gave her a winning smile, although he felt like he was withering. “What say we go do some shoe shopping for you? Light up shoes just aren’t in anymore.”

“H-Hey!”

 

***

The three Blooks were sat in their pathetic excuse for a living room. Maddy looked mildly agitated- but then again, they always did. Blooky looked confused.

Mettaton looked- and felt- utterly confident.

“So, cousins, I’ve called you here for this family meeting for a reason.” Mettaton said, hands on his hips.

“I’d sure hope so.” Maddy muttered, cleaning their nails with a splinter of wood they’d apparently just found.

“Oh, Maddy, don’t sass me. I’m the only one who’s allowed to be sassy,” Mettaton winked, “An-y-way! Aren’t you two getting tired of constantly eating sandwiches?”

“I like them….” Blooky mumbled, hugging their knees to their chest. “They taste nice….”

“For breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Granted, if we’re not eating saltines for at least one of those meals.” Mettaton crossed his arms. It was time to make some changes, and that started with the way they all ate. Besides, so far, his diet didn’t seem to be working- he still weighed the same he always had.

“Hey, hey, hey! Saltines are good, and you know it!” Maddy pointed an accusatory finger at Mettaton, who rolled his eyes.

“Not everyday, they’re not. So-o-o… I think we should make something new for dinner tonight.”

“Like what?” Blooky looked up at Mettaton, who grinned.

“Oh, Blooky, I am so glad you asked-”

“You wanted them to ask!” Maddy interjected.

Mettaton felt his cheeks heat up. Did Maddy have to point this out? And have to be right about it? “...Salad. We should make salad.”

“That’s rabbit food!” Maddy groaned, pressing their hands to their face in frustration. “You want us to be rabbits, Happy?”

Mettaton felt as if there were a volcano inside him. One that was gush about a ton of lava, granted, if Maddy kept complaining.

“I don’t think they actually want us to be… uh… rabbits,” Blooky said meekly.

They.

It was hard to restrain himself. Hard to correct them both. It wasn’t their faults. They didn’t know. And yet…

“Maddy!” Mettaton stamped his foot poutily. “If you wanted to make a salad, I’d happily do it for you!”

Maddy looked away, seemingly realizing Mettaton was right. “Fine, fine, fine! We’ll make your stupid salad! And… sorry.”

Mettaton just gave a mere nod. Okay. This was good. This was… better. Maddy rarely apologized, so this was better than better.

“How are we going to get the ingredients…?” Blooky asked, seeming a little on edge due to Mettaton’s little tantrum.

Mettaton felt himself deflate. Of course there would be an obstacle. Oh, wasn’t there always? Ingredients would no doubt be expensive, and they couldn’t afford to have any less money than they did at the moment. Of course, of course, of-

“Well, darling, there’s a solution to everything! I’m sure we have something in the refrigerator that will do!” Mettaton winked with a smile and dramatically twirled to the fridge, while silently hoping there would be at least something.

And there was.

“Lettuce!” Mettaton grinned, waving a package of the stuff at his cousins. “What did I tell you?”

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much more. All that was in the fridge besides the lettuce was a water bottle, a few slices of ham and cheese, a half empty jar of mayonnaise, and a single carrot.

“There’s a carrot.” Maddy stated matter-of-factly. “Use that.”

“Oh… but there’s not anything else…” Blooky sighed, leaving them all feeling awkward once more. It was enough to know their current financial situation, but when their lack of money was thrown in their faces like this… it was just embarrassing. At least to him.

Yet, once again, it was up to him to lighten the mood. Happstablook. Good old Happy. That was his job.

They needed him.

“Don’t you know the most elite restaurants barely use any ingredients for salads? And they still taste fabulous!” Mettaton set the lettuce and carrot on the counter.

“...Really?” Blooky looked a little bit hopeful. Even Maddy’s face softened a bit.

“Yes, really! All of the restaurants outside of Ebott do it this way. It’s… minimalist.”

The two seemed to consider this, and accept it. After all, Mettaton was way more interested in outside of Ebott culture than they were.

“Now, help me make dinner as fabulous as I know it can be!”

 

***

The three usually got along quite well. Mettaton and Maddy had always butted heads (which had gotten worse in more recent years) but they always reconciled, knowing deep down they both truly cared about each other. Mettaton and Blooky were practically joined by the hip, with Maddy always being just a tad more patient with them as well.

And it felt so peaceful to be aware of this, as they made this dinner side by side. Mettaton didn’t fill up the silence with chatter, Maddy didn’t complain or yell, and Blooky didn’t cry.

They just created.

Using the paper plates they’d bought about a week ago, they each served themselves as even a portion of salad as they could get. There wasn’t as much as they’d have liked, but they made do.

Like always.

Mettaton couldn’t help but feel proud. He’d made something- no, they’d made something- and it hadn’t turned out terrible! Sure, it looked a little underwhelming, but that brought along a sort of humble charm- understated glamour, even.

When he pierced his fork into the lettuce, which produced a pretty satisfying crunch, he felt hopeful. If this salad turned out to be good, this would surely help with his diet. He could make this every night, which would be good for him, and prevent anymore sandwiches or saltines from entering his mouth.

As Mettaton took a bite, Maddy’s face scrunched up.

“This tastes like shit!”

“Oh… no....” Blooky put down their fork, having been ready to take a bite, obviously now reconsidering this choice.

And the flavor- the horrible, fridge like, bland flavor- hit Mettaton at once. But he forced himself to swallow.

“It does not! It tastes wonderful!” Mettaton set down his fork, glaring at Maddy. “It’s what all the chefs are doing!”

“Those chefs don’t know shit!” Maddy tossed their fork down- forks were going down everywhere now, apparently.

“They do! It says so in the magazines, Maddy! Honestly, you-!”

“Says! Says! Says! It’s all just a load of crap! Which is also what it tastes like!”

Napstablook looked back and forth at their cousins, helpless as their voices started to rise even further.

Why? Why couldn’t Maddy just let him have this? Why couldn’t Maddy just pretend? “We… We made this together!” he yelled, desperate for any argument he could find.

“Obviously! Obviously! Obviously!” Maddy gestured to the salad, which now looked pathetic and sad. “Obviously, you’re a real brat, Happy!”

With that, they stormed upstairs, their stomping feet echoing across the room.

Mettaton let out a shaky sigh, and sat down. Blooky was crying again, yet Mettaton couldn’t bring himself to comfort them.

Obviously? Obviously. Obviously anything a Blook had made would turn out like this. Obviously they wouldn’t be able to make anything as fancy and glamorous as he wanted.

Brat. Was that always the first insult that came to mind when someone was insulting him? First Undyne, now Maddy.

Oh, how he loathed that word.

Mettaton pushed his plate as far away as it could get from him.

He’d lost his appetite.

 

***

 

It was late at night. About to be twelve, if you were getting technical.

And Mettaton just couldn’t sleep.

He was frustrated, embarrassed, tired of the predictability in everything.

Everyday, he went to school, talked to Alphys, tried to think of someway to pursue his passion and get noticed by someone, anyone, came home to two cousins who were always stuck on the same emotions, sad and mad, had some sort of argument, and went to bed.

It was becoming so tiring, so annoying.

Why did he always let Maddy get the best of him? Was it because Maddy knew exactly where to strike to make Mettaton feel childish and insecure? But surely Maddy wouldn’t do such a thing on purpose. Maddy wasn’t cruel, they were just difficult.

Sighing, Mettaton tossed on his side to face the wall of the room the three cousins shared. If a complete stranger took a look into their lives, would they find Mettaton to be bratty? Surely, though, they’d see he had a reason to be, if anything.

Or was he just making excuses for himself?

Suddenly, his phone chimed. Mettaton blindly reached for it in the dark, and saw Alphys had set him a text.

*OMG you’ll never guess what I just found

Mettaton rolled his eyes. If it was related to anime of any kind, he was going back to sleep.

Or trying to sleep, at least.

*I bet I won’t.

A few seconds later, he received a link. He felt torn. On one hand, it could be some sort of anime related video, probably an AMV of some sort. On the other hand…

Mettaton clicked the link.

Immediately, he was greeted with a video of a cute little cat just… wiggling around.

Mettaton smiled.

*I hate to admit it, darling, but that’s super adorable.

*IKR! It kinda reminded me of you since you said if you had to get a pet, it would be a cat.
*Also it looks like its dancing lolllll

Mettaton snickered. That cat did look sort of like it was displaying some fabulous moves for everyone to enjoy.

*FABULOUS!!! So glad you found my spirit animal for me.
*Now hold on while I find yours.

It took a few minutes, but Mettaton finally found a video that totally embodied Alphys. Smirking, he hit send.

*Awwww that lizard is so cute
*Wait omg is it on a computer???
*WAIT OMG IS IT WATCHING PAUL BLART MALL COP 2???

*I rest my case, darling!

*Don’t know what’s more trash, Paul Blart or Mew Mew Kissy Cutie 2
*Anyway
*How’s the play going?

Mettaton frowned. Normally, he’d be excited to share his thought process, except… he didn’t exactly have one.

*Honestly?
*Horrible.
*I thought I’d be so full of ideas by now but I feel as if my brain just left.

*:(

Really, Alphys? Was a sad face all she could provide?

*There’s more emotion in that frowny face than in my entire script.
*Which is NON EXISTENT

*Yikes
*You can always come over if you want!
*Unless you don’t want to
*Sorry
*I was probably pressuring you plus it’s super late lollllllllllll
*So it’s like why would you even want to come over

Great. Now Alphys was in one of her anxious moods. Mettaton knew it was rude to get annoyed by this, and yet…

*It’s fine darling.
*I mean, I can’t come over, obviously, but I appreciate the offer.

*Okay
*Thanks!
*Well, not like thanks for not coming over
*Not that I’m mad!!!
*Or I don’t want you here!!!
*I just meant thanks for clearing that up
*Although I guess it was kind of obvious???

Mettaton sighed. Alphys was his best friend, but sometimes her anxiety and insecurities could be too much.

*I’m going to bed now.

*Oh! Okay!
*Goodnight!
*/(^o^)/

Mettaton didn’t bother responding. He just shut off his phone, and then his eyes.

 

***

“So! Class! Remember that the homework doesn’t have to be typed, although it’s encouraged.”

Mettaton sat in his eighth period, waiting for the bell to ring. Really, why did teachers have to drone on and on about such unimportant things? Who needed math? Or science?

What the world needed was stars.

And global warming to stop being a thing, of course.

In the meantime, Mettaton wrote in his diary.

‘Daringly Devious Diary,
If I ever become a teacher, and you somehow grow limbs, please do me a favor and shove me off a cliff.
There are probably some fabulous teachers out there who really are total sweethearts. But, of course, all the ones in Ebott wear hideous, tacky green sweaters with lint ALL over them.
Someone needs to call the fashion police!’

Slowly, some students started to pack up. Until, of course, the teacher interjected.

“Hey! Don’t any of you pack up! You still have a good-” Here, the teacher glanced at the clock on the wall behind her- “-one minute left! You all need to learn how to respect adults when they’re talking, especially considering none of you do the homework!”

Mettaton shook his head, and wrote on.

‘Maybe we’d respect her if she weren’t so prone to her little outbursts. She’s wearing JEGGINGS! Of all things!’

Then the bell rung.

Immediately, Mettaton slammed his diary shut and made way for the door. If he got out early enough, he could get to the television before Blooky and Maddy!

“Hey! You!”

Mettaton groaned. Was it a crime to leave when they were all allowed to?

“Yes?” he turned around with a sugary sweet smile.

“Where do you think you’re going?” she asked, arms crossed.

Mettaton cringed and opened his diary again, brandishing his pen.

‘I can see her nose hairs. Pluck much?’

When Mettaton didn’t respond, she said the phrase many teachers would say time and time again:

“The bell doesn’t dismiss you, I do!”

“I’m sorry.” Mettaton muttered, his hair falling over his face. Everyone else was still seated, some giggling.

“Well, I hope you are, because now the rest of the class is going to have to wait longer because of you.”

‘Oh, diary, why does she need to torture me? I’d honestly say something but I don’t think I can handle another detention.’

Now the class seemed to be agitated. Most of them were muttering obscenities under their breaths, about how they were being held up and such.

‘Serves them right, honestly. Why do they act as if they all weren’t reprimanded for packing up earlier?’

“Why do you keep writing in that little book?” the teacher, Miss-Such-And-Such, demanded.

“I’m not writing in anything.” Mettaton said, as he wrote, ‘On a side note, I kind of want to get a manicure. If I saved up for a month, I think I’d be able to afford it! And it would look gorgeous!!!’

“What is your name?” Miss-Such-And-Such took out a pad of paper and a pen.

“Mett-” Mettaton mentally kicked himself. “Happstablook.”

‘Does she really not know my name? She’s a teacher! And I see her everyday!’

“Happstaboom?” Miss-Such-And-Such looked confused.

Mettaton had to keep himself from slapping her silly. “Happ-sta-blook.”

“Wow. Is Happstablook, like, even a real name?” Bratty, a girl who looked like some sort of alligator, spoke up from the back row.

“Um, like, I don’t think so? It sounds, like, a dry mop!” Catty, Bratty’s best friend, grinned.

Mettaton started to become increasingly frustrated. Who were they to judge when they ate food out of the garbage? Mettaton had seen them dumpster diving before.

“Listen, darling, describing a name as sounding like a dry mop isn’t even-”

“Catty! OMG! Like, it doesn’t sound like a dry mop! It sounds like a laxative brand!”

The two girls laughed, perfectly in sync.

Mettaton felt like a laxative brand.

“Happstablook…” Miss-Such-And-Such wrote down the name carefully.

‘Oh, does she have a diary as well? I’ll bet mine is better.’

“Happstaboob’s holding us up! I have to go home and polish my hat!” Icecap yelled.

And, somehow, everyone immediately started to rage about how they were missing out on their plans for the day.

“Alright. You’re all dismissed.” Miss-Such-And-Such gave a dismissal wave of her hand, and everyone left.

As usual, Mettaton was ignored as everyone went to go out and live their exciting lives.

Mettaton took a deep breath and wrote one last thing in his diary.

‘I hate my name.’

Then, he walked out of the classroom. He’d surely have been beaten to the television by now, so there was really no point in rushing.

Just as he was about to close the classroom door, he saw a someone.

A familiar someone.

It was Papyrus, cheerfully walking out of the classroom right next to his.

Great. Really, the last thing he needed was an encounter with Papyrus.

“Mettaton! Hello!” Papyrus said happily, upon noticing they were nearly face to face.

Golden sunlight was pouring in through the windows.

Mettaton forced yet another one of his smiles.

“Hello, darling! How are you?”

This was good. He’d make small talk, and then leave. Easy.

“I’m doing great! As usual! Although… I must admit, I am feeling a bit anxious right now.” Papyrus rubbed the back of his neck.

“Oh, really?” Mettaton asked, although he really didn’t care to know what was troubling Papyrus.

“Yes! I actually have to go talk to Principal Asgore about changing my schedule! I still keep finding the classes I’m in aren’t quite challenging enough!” Papyrus said, making animated hand gestures as he spoke.

“Oh. Well, darling, I do hope that goes well.” Mettaton started to slowly make his way away from Papyrus, but apparently he just couldn’t get the hint.

“So do I! He is a very nice man, though, and I am very charming, so I have no doubt it will go nothing short of splendid!” Papyrus smiled, and Mettaton resisted the urge to say, “Yeah right.”

Really, how could someone have such little self awareness?

Papyrus was right about Asgore being nice, though.

“He is quite nice, isn’t he? Honestly, he’s a bit of a pushover.”

“Hmm… Well, isn’t that better than being not-so-nice? I feel I’d rather be a pushover than a very closed off person!” Papyrus seemed to have put some thought into this.

“I disagree, darling. If you’re a pushover, people will just walk all over you,” Mettaton thought back to what had just happened in the classroom. Everyone getting annoyed at him, and making fun of his name- which wasn’t even the name he preferred- and then ignoring him as if nothing had happened “At least if you’re closed off, it would prevent you from being hurt.”

Papyrus shook his head. “But then you’d never be happy!”

It felt as if Mettaton had just been slapped.

“Never?”

“Well… maybe not never. I just meant-”

Yet the rest of whatever Papyrus was saying fell on deaf ears. Was this a sign? Would he ever truly live up to his namesake?

“This has been such a lovely chat, but I’ve got to go. Goodbye, darling.” Mettaton spoke, and then left, not waiting for Papyrus to even respond.

If he was going to be unhappy, he might as well do it in his own home.

 

***

Once again, it was late at night. Mettaton sat in front of the TV, alone, in the dark. Blooky and Maddy were upstairs, asleep, no doubt.

He was doing what he had done so often in the past, watch people with better lives than him be stars.

The woman on TV sang. By the looks of the tape, this had been filmed quite some time ago, due to the poor quality and the 80’s like outfits.

Mettaton loved it.

These tapes were like his treasure, precious things he kept carefully stored away.

Fans were cheering for her. She sang, songs about love, hate, hopes, dreams. Everyone screamed in joy, waving their hands, singing along, declaring their love for her.

Mettaton could almost feel himself onstage. Singing. People cheering for him. Feeling comfortable, looking radiant, being the star he was, the one that no one saw.

Or, in any case, bothered to see.

Mettaton lifted his hand. That should be him. That should be him up there, singing and dancing his heart out, receiving the recognition he truly did deserve. Not being some little nobody from Ebott living in this trash hole.

He pressed his palm to the screen. A current of electricity passed through his hand, making him yelp and yank his hand away.

And suddenly, he knew.

Quickly, he ran, grabbing his math notebook and his lucky pen. The notebook was empty, because stars didn’t do math, obviously, so it would be put to good use.

And he wrote. He wrote about having hope, seeing it taken away from you with nothing you could do, feeling trapped and tied down in one place, having the love of your life dangled right in front of you with no way to reach it, just futile attempts that wouldn’t amount to anything.

Mettaton didn’t stop writing. He kept going. As long as his pen had ink, more words would fly to the page. It felt magnificent, so personal and intimate, that he didn’t stop.

Until, finally, the notebook was filled.

Mettaton held it to his chest. This was his. Something no one else would be able to take away from him. Something that would make him him. It was beautiful, and perfect, and exactly what he needed- no, what everyone needed.

Clutching the notebook still, Mettaton ran out of the house. He was still in his pajamas, and the TV was still on, but he didn’t care. He kept running, through Waterfall, through Hotland, all the way to Alphys’s door.

“Alphys! Alphys, darling, open up! I’ve got something wonderful to show you!” Mettaton called, cupping his hands over his mouth.

The door opened, a rather sleepy looking Alphys standing in its doorway.

“Me-Mettaton? What are you do-doing here? It’s three A.M!” Alphys yawned, although she kept a certain look of bewilderment upon her face.

“I’ve done it, Alphys. I’ve really done it!” Mettaton was overflowing with pride as he handed her the notebook.

Alphys rubbed the sleep from her eyes, but seemed to realize there was no escape from this. Tiredly, she opened it up and started to read.

Mettaton stood there as she read. Occasionally, she’d laugh, or gasp, or even swoon.

Finally, she closed the notebook, and carefully handed it back to him.

“Well? Don’t keep me waiting, darling.” Mettaton insisted, nervously playing with his hair.

“Mettaton this is… this is really beautiful. I-I’m sorry, I don’t know wha-what to say, I didn’t know you could make something this heartfelt! Is… Is this how you feel all the time?”

Mettaton didn’t answer. Instead, he felt something rather new, something he rarely ever truly felt.

Mettaton felt happy.

Chapter Text

“Maaaaaddy! Sit still!”

Happstablook stood in front of Waterfall’s many marshes, hands on their hips, impatient. In front of them sat their two cousins, Napstablook and Madstablook. Napstablook sat with their hands in their lap, quietly anticipating whatever Happy had planned.

Maddy, however…

“Shush, shush, shush! I’m lookin’ at something!” Maddy was crouched over on the ground, running their eleven-year old hands over something, looking concentrated.

“Well, Maddy, you could be looking at something much better! Me!” Happstablook folded their arms against their chest. They wore the customary Ebott-style striped shirt, a baby pink one with white stripes. On their delicate little feet, they wore a pair of ratty old ballet shoes, which they’d begged for for their tenth birthday for so long.

“Ugh! Fine, fine, fine! What’re you even gonna do, anyway?” Maddy groaned, placing the object they’d been looking at- a torn up and tattered pink dress- next to them.

“Dance! Obviously.” Happstablook rolled their eyes. “You’ll love it, Maddy, promise! I’ll even throw in some faaaabulous autographs at the end!”

Maddy just rolled their eyes, and leaned back a little. “Well, go ahead! We don’t have all day!”

“Don’t rush a future star, Maddy!” Happstablook shook their head in mock disapproval, and then pointed their finger towards Napstablook, who’d been fiddling with the hem of their sweater for quite a while.

“Blooky! Hit it!”

“O-Ohhh… um… okay…” Blooky fumbled with the IPod they had in their lap, and finally, finally, a gentle piano song began to play.

Immediately, Happstablook began to dance. It was beautiful and gentle, ballet at its finest. Yet this wasn’t what was so captivating about their little routine. Their facial expression seemed to change with each beat, each movement, and so appropriately, too. They were filled with sorrow, joy, jealousy, as they twirled and spun and leapt in ways that should have been impossible for a child to do.

And, amazingly enough, Happstablook hadn’t planned this. Yes, sure, they’d planned out the dance, but their face- it wasn’t voluntary. It was as if they’d become one with the music, one with their movements, part of something bigger than any of them.

And, when the music finally ended, they stood perfectly still, head bowed, feet pointed.

Blooky’s eyes were filled with tears, but they were smiling, for once. Maddy’s eyes were just wide- possibly in shock, or maybe even disbelief.

Finally, Happstablook looked up. Their cheeks were slightly flushed, but they hadn’t broke a sweat. They were grinning.

“Well?! Hit me with the praise, darlings!”

“Oooohhh… that was really pretty… you’re really good at dancing, Happy… I-”

Napstablook started to hiccup, their tears spilling down their cheeks. Happstablook immediately rushed over to them, and wrapped them in a hug.

“Oh, Blooky, don’t you cry! There’s just no reason to!” they urged, stroking their hair.

“You’re just really…”

“Talented.” Maddy muttered, staring at the floor.

“Hm?” Happstablook looked over to their cousin, not having heard them.

“I said you’re talented! So don’t, don’t, don’t! Let it go to waste.” Maddy clenched their fists, looking away.

“As if! I’m the brightest star in all of Ebott, how could I?” Happstablook shook their head dismissively.

“Whatever, whatever, whatever! You did your routine! Now that it’s over, we’ve got to go to bed! You have to go to New Home tomorrow, remember?”

“Obviously! It’s the city, Maddy! Bright lights, fashion, cars!’ Happstablook let go of their cousin, smiling wide. “It’s the perfect place for me!”

“New Home is not a city.”

“It is too! Either way, I belong there! I just know it!”

 

***

 

“M-Mettaton… when did you find time to write all this?”

Mettaton and Alphys sat on Alphys’s bed, Alphys rereading Mettaton’s script. Mettaton was smiling, yet it wasn’t his “Too-fabulous-for-you” smile, or his “Everyone-is-depressed-so-it’s-up-to-me-to-make-you-all-happy-again” smile.

It was a new one. A proud smile, one that proved everything Maddy had said, everything Blooky embodied wrong- a Blook could too make something amazing.

“Well... I started a few hours ago.” Mettaton tapped his chin in thought.

“A few hours ago?!” Alphys sat up straighter than she already had been, eyes wide. “H-How much coffee were you on?! Or… p-please don’t tell me you’re taking, uh, drugs.”

“I’m no druggie, Alphys. Just someone with fabulous writing skills.”

“I’m glad to hear that,” she snorted, “I just… it seems like you really put a lot of thought into this. I mean, you think it’s going to be a fun story, and then it gets sort of…”

“Fabulous? I know, darling, no need to remind me.” Mettaton flopped onto Alphys’s assortment of anime body pillows, giggling a bit when one of them fell off the bed. Really, it was like Alphys had her own harem.

Or maybe she liked it that way.

“Um… I-I was actually go-going to say, uh, depressing? Not in a bad way, th-though! Like, in a really real, relatable way!” Alphys stammered, bending over to pick up the body pillow.

Mettaton frowned. How could that be? He’d written from the heart, and nothing that came from his heart could be depressing. Besides, his literal dead-namesake meant happy.

“In what way?”

“Well,” Alphys looked down at the script, “It starts off with this prince- y-you- who’s in this huge castle. And we’re seeing how he controls every-everyone around him. Except we find out he’s locked in the, uh, castle? By the king? Y-Yeah, that’s right. Um, anyway, then he meets this knight, and they fall in love, except he can’t leave the castle, since the subjects and the king need him. So he meets with the knight in secret, until the king finds out, and banishes the knight. So he has everything he’s ever wanted, um, dangling in-in front of him, right? And then the knight goes to visit him in secret one last time, except the king catches them, and he kills the k-knight. So the prince ends up having to stay in his castle forever. And then it, uh, ends.”

“Wonderful analysis, Alphys, really.” Mettaton said sarcastically, not bothering to get up from the plethora of body pillows. “Essentially, you completely summed up the story in essay format! Have a gold star.”

Alphys flinched, and looked away. “You wrote it, th-though! And it’s clearly really symbolic! Like, the knight represents happiness? Or maybe a dream? And it’s being dangled in front of the prince, and he can’t get it, which is, uh, pretty sad, right? And maybe the king represents depression, or some other sort of mental illness? And the subjects represent everything holding the prince back! And the castle represents the walls of mental illness that trap you in, and, uh, if you’re feeling this way, I-”

“Stop! Stop it, okay?” Mettaton finally sat up. “Just because you can automatically relate to something doesn’t mean it’s all about sadness, Alphys! It’s a story! Let a story be a story!”

Alphys looked as if she were about to cry, biting her bottom lip, eyes fixated on the script. “...I’m sorry.”

Why did everything in life have to be so depressing? His lifestyle with his cousins was depressing. His cousins themselves were depressing. The fact that he literally had no legs was depressing. The fact that he lived in Ebott of all places was depressing.

The fact that Alphys felt his script was depressing was depressing.

His script was supposed to be fabulous, in a word. Not some sob story about someone who would never get what they wanted due to all the hindrances in their life. And certainly not about one of those hindrances being depression, of all things.

Why couldn’t Mettaton just have this, without it being polluted with sadness, like all things in his life?

Why was he getting so defensive? Was there some truth to Alphys’s words, and was-

No. It would be too much.

“I’m sorry, Alphys. Let’s just… drop it, okay?”

Alphys nodded, without saying a word.

“Do you… do you want to watch Men Men Killing Connor?” Mettaton asked hesitantly. A fangirling Alphys was better than a quiet one.

Alphys smiled ever so slightly. “I-It’s Mew Mew Kissy Cutie, MTT. And while that’d be super awesome… it’s six. We should probably start getting ready for school.”

“Six?!” Mettaton immediately stood up. “I’m wearing my pajamas! I can’t go to school like this!”

“You can, um, borrow some of my clothes. If you want! I don’t know if they’ll fit, but…” Alphys’s voice trailed off.

“Thank you, darling! You’re the bestest friend anyone could ask for.” Mettaton gave her a quick hug. The awkwardness of before still hung in the air, yet all Mettaton wanted to do was move past it- it would be a forbidden subject, like Mew Mew Kissy Cutie Two.

“O-Okay! Grab whatever you’d like. And… Mettaton?”

“Yes?’

“I’m… really happy for you. That you’re doing a-all this, I mean. I know how long you’ve wanted this, and… I think it’s, uh, really cool.” Alphys spoke, her voice quiet.

Mettaton gave her a faint smile. “I’m glad, too.”

 

***

 

“Mettaton! Hello!”

Mettaton stood at his locker, gathering his books for fifth period. Upon hearing this voice, he rolled his eyes, felt only slightly bad for doing so, and turned around to greet the owner of it, Papyrus.

“Hello, darling!” Mettaton gave him a sugary-sweet smile, clutching his books to his chest.

“I’ve come to you with exciting news!” Papyrus held a piece of paper in his mitten-covered hands- really, mittens were so dorky, why would he even wear them to school?- seemingly bouncing up and down with excitement.

“Oh, have you? Well, I’d just loooove to hear it.” Mettaton said, although he really couldn’t care less about what it was. What exciting events could have transpired in Papyrus’s life that would actually astound him?

“I got my schedule change! Now I will truly be able to excel in my subjects and show everyone how great I am!” Papyrus proudly held out the paper- his new schedule, apparently- grinning from ear to ear.

“Oh! That’s… cute.” Mettaton forced yet another smile. Deep down, though, he couldn’t help but feel annoyed. Was this what Papyrus had interrupted his… book gathering for? It wasn’t as if he and Papyrus were friends- and if they were, it was rather one-sided.

“Yes! It is! Very cute! Just like that ribbon you’re wearing!” Papyrus pointed to the red ribbon in Mettaton’s hair.

Mettaton felt his face heat up a bit. He’d hastily took this ribbon from one of Alphys’s cosplays, using it to tie part of his hair back. And at the time, he had thought it was totally cute- and yes, Papyrus’s little compliment made him feel happy, but at the same time, something didn’t feel right. Was Papyrus lying? Mettaton didn’t look cute, at least not by his standards. So why would a ribbon look cute on him? You can put lipstick on a pig, he told himself, but it’s still a pig. A stupid ribbon didn’t change a thing, and-

“Would you shut up already?” Mettaton hissed, his nails digging into his palms.

Papyrus looked confused. “What did you say? I’m quite sorry, but I didn’t hear you-”

“I said, of course it does, darling! Why wouldn’t it? Now, how’s… your father? What was his name again?” Mettaton blurted out, his face getting redder by the minute. It was a good thing, for once, that he was so pasty and pale, since a red face on him just meant his face actually looked normal for once. Really, how stupid could he be? Only weirdos voiced their thoughts like that, and it wasn’t as if his looks could just cover up all that.

“My father is well! His name is W.D Gaster! The W.D standing for Wing Dings, of course. He and Sans are actually the ones who encouraged me to get my schedule change! They said if the classes weren’t anything I’d enjoy, I should-”

Mettaton ended up tuning out the rest of whatever Papyrus was saying, in favor of the company of his own more interesting thoughts. Of course the conversation would go back to Sans. It was as if either of the brothers couldn’t go a minute or two without bringing each other up. It wasn’t as if Mettaton brought up Blooky and Maddy every time he spoke.

Or maybe that was due to the fact that they weren’t just that interesting. What would he even talk about, how Blooky had a tendency to cry during… anything? Or how Maddy had the incredible talent of getting mad about literally anything?

Why did people even like Sans, anyway? Mettaton didn’t have a problem with him, per se, but didn’t anyone else find him weird at all? What was up with the ‘sins on their neck’ or whatever Sans had said to him last time they’d spoken? Was Sans some paranoid detective-type? Or, like, an edgelord?

“‘Sup, Paps! Oh, and Mettaton, I guess.” Undyne, as usual, pushed her way into the conversation, slinging an arm around Papyrus.

“Hello to you too, Undyne.” Mettaton said dryly. Usually, he’d be even more annoyed that she was here, but Undyne was actually giving him quite the easy out right now.

“Undyne! I’ve actually been meaning to talk to you about football tryouts! Seeing as how you said fencing tryouts are cancelled for an unforeseeable amount of time due to… an annoying dog?” Papyrus scratched his chin, looking confused.

“Uh… yep! Totally what I said! Although football tryouts might have to be cancelled too, due to… vomit. I vomited on the football field.” Undyne laughed nervously, rubbing the back of her neck.

Mettaton rolled his eyes. How long would Undyne keep all these lies up? “Well, you two, it’s been so lovely chatting, but I’ve got to get to the office. Morning announcements, and all.” Mettaton started to walk down the hallway, feeling just a little proud for lying so beautifully.

“It’s afternoon, ya dirty liar!” Undyne called after him, sounding a bit aggravated.

“Woooow, Undyne. You’re discriminating against afternoon announcements now? Woooow. Woooooooooooooooow!” Mettaton shook his head in disappointment. “I expected better of you, darling!”

And with that, he left, ducking into the nearest bathroom.

In there, he took a deep breath.

Talking to Undyne and Papyrus separately was already quite the task, but talking to the two of them at the same time was like trying to shush a chiuaua.

Of course, there were mirrors. And with mirrors came his own reflection. Mettaton turned to leave, but his reflection caught his eyes first, making him stay to critique it once more.

This time, though, his eyes fell on the ribbon.

Papyrus was a dirty liar. It didn’t look good on him, lying in his dead hair like a worm. How could it?

Besides, what did a guy who still wore gloves to school know?

Then again, Papyrus seemed to be an honest person. Almost painfully honest. Why would Papyrus lie about something so small?

And then it all came to mind, all the times he’d falsely complimented someone, sometimes out of pity, sometimes just to end a conversation.

Mettaton untied the ribbon in one effortless tug. It fell into his cupped hands, still, like a feather.

Mettaton looked at his reflection once more. His bangs fell in his face, like usual.

It wasn’t cute. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t hot.

But it was the script, and he’d have to stick to it.

‘Dearest-est Diary,
They say we’re all beautiful in our own ways, but that’s clearly not true. It just isn’t fair that I Iook this way.
I’ve been blessed with so many talents, some of which have been taken away from me, and I don’t even have the simple pleasure of looking the way I want to?
I feel so uncomfortable in this body I’ve been given, it’s unbelievable. How am I supposed to perform when I don’t have the physical ability to do it to the extent I want, or the confidence I need in myself?
I feel as if I’m trapped.’

***

“So, I’ve, uh, been thinking,” Alphys started, walking next to him. The bell had rung, and the two were headed to their respective clubrooms. “I think I-I want to get my ears pierced?”

“Oh?” Mettaton raised an eyebrow, only half listening. He was busy scribbling something on a sticky note, tongue poking out of his mouth.

“Y-Yeah! And I know you, uh, really wanted to freshman year!”

“But you were too scared to, because of the piercing gun.” Mettaton recalled, a faint smile on his lips. He’d begged Alphys to go with him to the mall, but each time she’d chickened out.

“Uh… y-yeah, I know! But there are these earrings I bought for my cosplay blog-”

“You have a cosplay blog?” Mettaton grinned. “Oh, darling, why didn’t you tell me sooner? I bet it’s adorable. Do you wear cat ears and everything?”

Alphys glared at him, her face sufficiently reddened.“Y-Yes! But only because it’s part of Mew Mew’s look! I mean, except for that one episode where she loses her powers, and her cat ears, but-”

“Spare me the details, darling. Now, what were you going on about?”

“I- sorry- I was just thinking that we could pierce each other’s ears??? I saw a tutorial online and-”

Mettaton wrinkled his nose. “That sounds gross, Alphy-dear. No offense. I mean, do you even have the proper materials?”

“I do! All you really need is rubbing alcohol, a marker, fire-”

Mettaton’s eyes widened. “Fire?!”

“-Yes, fire, and a needle! I promise it’ll be super safe!”

Mettaton sighed. Since when had he become the nervous one, as opposed to Alphys. Besides, he’d always really wanted his ears to be pierced- when he was in middle school , he’d often flip through department store catalogs just to look at the earrings.

“Oh, fine, Alphys! You’ve persuaded me. Do be a darling and do me a favor, though. Get my pink folder-”

“Which one?” Alphys snorted.

“-ha ha, very funny. The glittery one with the hearts on it. It’s in my locker- you already know the combination- I need to give my script to one of my club members.”

“Okay. Meet me outside?” Alphys asked, tilting her head ever so slightly. Mettaton had to resist the urge to roll his eyes- she watched way too much anime.

“Of course. See you there, darling!”

 

***

 

“Oh, Burgerpaaaants~! Where are you?” Mettaton singsonged, walking into the auditorium.

“Uh, here, boss???” Burgerpants spoke from one of the seats, sounding surprised he’d submitted so quickly into giving Mettaton this new name, and the authority that came with it.

Mettaton felt that surge of power that he got each time he even saw Burgerpants.

“I’ve a job for you- ew, are you vaping?” Mettaton wrinkled his nose in disgust. Burgerpants was holding one of those e-cigarettes, blowing a puff of smoke out of his mouth.

“Yeah. You want a hit? It’s, uh, pineapple flavored.” Burgerpants held it out to him.

Mettaton immediately knew Burgerpants was trying to look cool.

“Obviously not. That thing is the equivalent to a whole box of cigarettes, and I don’t need to ruin my voice. Put that away before you set off the fire alarms.” Mettaton groaned.

Burgerpants did so, looking a bit hopeful, despite his offer being rejected. “So, uh, I didn’t see callbacks posted anywhere, but-”

“Let’s make it short and simple, darling. You didn’t make the cut. Maybe with a little more work, though- although I seriously doubt it- you’ll get to at least be on the stage crew!” Mettaton gave him a false smile, not mentioning he didn’t even have one.

Burgerpants’ face fell. “Damn it-”

“Pardon?”

“I mean, uh, that’s fine!” Burgerpants gave a fake smile of his own. Mettaton wanted to laugh- really, Burgerpants wasn’t even going to defend himself? It was just as well, anyway- he had to go soon.

“I know it is. Now, for your little assignment- here.” Mettaton thrust the script into Burgerpants’ weak little arms. Burgerpants nearly dropped it.

“I’ve written it on that sticky note, although I doubt you can read, so I’ll just tell you. You’re to type this script up, make copies-”

“I don’t have a printer.” Burgerpants muttered.

“Not my problem, darling! Make sure you spell check it- although I don’t make silly mistakes like that, so there shouldn’t be a problem there- and give it to me tomorrow. Do you understand, darling?”

“I only have a night to do this?!” Burgerpants yelped. “I’ve got homework-”

“And I have places to be! Toodles!” And with that, Mettaton sashayed out of the room as well as his prosthetics would let him, to meet his best friend and possibly mutilate his ears.

As he walked down the hall, prepared to meet Alphys outside, Mettaton instead found her still at his locker, holding a book.

His diary.

“Alphys, darling, if you’re looking for the latest juicy gossip, you could have just asked.” Mettaton smirked, visibly startling her.

“M-Metta! Warn me before you sneak up on me like that!” she clutched her hand to her heart, shaking a bit.

“Fine, fine. I asked for my folder, though, not my diary.”

“I ha-have your folder!” Alphys said, still looking a bit jumpy. She hastily gave it to him. “Your diary fell out, s-so yeah. I keep forgetting you keep one.”

“Where else would I write about all my secret love affairs?” Mettaton winked, and took his diary from her, placing it in his bag.

“I don’t know, a blog?”

“Like your cosplay one?”

“H-Hey!”

 

***

 

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”

Mettaton was on Alphys’s bed once more, only this time, he was completely still, hair brushed back, head propped up against a pillow.

Alphys stood in front of him, dousing a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol.

“I-I’d like to think I do. I mean, I’m president of the robotics club, so…” she gave him a nervous smile.

“I certainly feel like a robot now, all spread across your bed like it’s some sort of operating table.” Mettaton teased. “Don’t you go messing with my programming.”

“Maybe if it’ll make you shut up,” Alphys snickered, and Mettaton gave a fake, dramatic gasp.

“Oh, Alphys, how you wound me! I don’t think I’ll ever be the same!”

“Y-Yeah, yeah. Hold still.” Alphys wiped the lobe of his ears with the cotton swab, and the proceeded to make a little dot on it with a black marker.

“Now I really feel like a robot.” Mettaton muttered to himself. And he did, really. This was way less glamorous than he was expecting. He’d always pictured the two of them going to the mall together, picking out earrings, and sitting next to each other just as the gun-thingy would go to their lobes.

Instead, he was reminded of those sketchy little dentist office waiting areas..

Ew.

“I-I’ve already sterilized the needle with the fire.” Alphys said, clearly trying to sound more confident than she felt.

“Yes, yes, science stuff. What now?” Mettaton sighed. Really, what did sterilize even mean? Or did she mean steroids or something?

“It means that I’m about to pierce it. I have to put something kind of hard behind your lobe. I, ih, hope you don’t mind if I use an ice cube?” Alphys held one up in her gloved hand- Mettaton found this a bit ridiculous, how seriously she took this, although he wasn’t one to talk. He loved to dress up.

“That’s fine,” Mettaton hummed. “Just… be careful, is all.”

‘I-I will be.” Alphys took a deep breath, and held the ice cube behind his ear lobe, and then placed the needle right above it.

Mettaton took a deep breath.

A few seconds went by.

Mettaton took another deep breath.

More seconds went by.

“Um, Alphys, darling? Aren’t you going to do your thing?” Mettaton asked, a bit impatiently.

“I-I can’t do it. W-What if I mess up? I don’t want to butcher your ear!” Alphys fretted. “Oh, this was such a bad idea! Like, unbelievably bad! Almost as bad as Mew Mew 2- wait, not that bad.”

“Alphys, I literally got hit by a truck when I was ten. Whatever you’re going to do to me now won’t be nearly as bad as then. Besides, I trust you.” Mettaton gave her a smile.

“Y-You do?”

“Of course I do! We’re best friends, darling. I wouldn’t have agreed to this if I didn’t trust you completely. I know you’re nervous, but just take a deep breath and-”

The needle went in.

Hard.

“OW ALPHYS WHAT THE FUCK-”

 

***

Alphys and Mettaton stood in front of Alphys’s bathroom mirror, admiring their new piercings. They’d decided on matching pink heart studs, which had came with one of Alphys’s many cosplays.

“These are so cute, aren’t they?” Mettaton tilted his head to the side, admiring the way they sparkled in the fluorescent bathroom lighting.

“They really are! Are you, um, sure you’re okay, though?” Alphys looked to her best friend, who didn’t take his eyes off his earrings.

“I’m fine. Even though you stabbed me.” Mettaton added coyly.

“I-I did not! I just inserted the needle!” Alphys shook her head vigorously. “It probably just hurt the normal amount. It hurt when you did it to me.”

“I suppose so.” Mettaton sighed.

Then there was a silence.

“You know, I wish I could look like this everyday.” Mettaton finally said.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I suppose I mean feel like this. About my looks. Sometimes I just feel uncomfortable.” Mettaton played with a lock of his hair. Why he was saying this, he didn’t know. It wasn’t as if Alphys would totally understand, anyway.

“Mettaton-”

“What say we watch some anime?” Mettaton gave her yet another false smile.

Yet, deep down inside, he was wondering how many more he’d have to give for the rest of his life.

Chapter Text

The long and short of it is that I'm considering abandoning this work, along with my other Undertale ones.

The reason I didn't update for so long (two? three months?) was because my laptop had broken. I had to wait until a few weeks ago just to get it fixed- life without a laptop is super difficult, by the way- and by then, I'd sort of lost interest in Undertale.

It's still a good game- if Deltarune chapter 2 were to come out tomorrow, I'd play it- but I'm just not as excited about it as I used to be, and that's never a good mindset to have when you're writing a multichapter work.

 

Thank you to all of those that ever read, commented, bookmarked, or gave kudos to this work. For the while that I did write this, all of those things really motivated me! The problem now is that, besides my lack of interest, I also set expectations for these works that were way too high. I'd have to spend years on some of them- cough, cough, TWATM- and I'm the type of person to get a new hyperfixation a lot.

 

I'm sorry if any of you are disappointed. I don't want to say this work is on an indefinite hiatus since I don't think it's likely I'll be updating it any time soon.

 

ALSO.

 

If you want to know how the works end, I'll gladly make a last chapter dedicated to that, and also any other questions you may have about it.

 

Also- shameless plug- if you're interested in reading any of my other works, I've just written an irondad Carrie AU, so check that out, if you'd like.

 

Thank you!

Chapter Text

So, a brief summary of how this was all supposed to end:

Mettaton would develop an eating disorder (bulimia, starving himself, purging mindset, etc) in order to get the body he wants. A few days before the play, during a break, for New Years, Alphys would give him plastic surgery for his face, and they'd dye his hair and all that jazz. He'd put on the play, looking and feeling comfortable. For the part of the prince, whoever was going to play him (I hadn't decided yet) was going to end up spraining their ankle, and Mettaton would, in a desperate attempt to save his show, use Papyrus as a substitute. They'd have a dance number.
After the play, Mettaton would be backstage when Maddy walks up to him. Maddy would be angry at him for not telling her about the play, and they'd get into this whole fight. They'd both say what they'd been holding in (Mettaton would say that Maddy is just trying to hold him back and doesn't let him follow his dreams, that Maddy is selfish, and Maddy would say that Mettaton is the selfish one, that he prefers his delusions over his family) Maddy would then say that she's leaving, dropping out of school, and tries to give Mettaon the address of where she'll be staying. Mettaotn would tearfully turn it down, saying he's tired of all of the toxic stress he's under when he's around his family, who he believes would rather him live an unhappy life than follow his dreams.Maddy would then bitterly remind Mettaton to say Happy Birthday to Napstablook, and Mettaton would remember that it was Blooky's birthday. Maddy would leave, and Mettaton would become a mess, running out of the school and crying about how he always messes things up. He'd run back to the Blook household, which would be empty, and write a note in his diary that he's running away as well, and leave his diary behind. He'd then move in with Alphys.

Past this, it was more hazy. Slowly, Mettaton would become closer with Papyrus, at first thinking he's weird, as he already did, but then getting a dorky crush on him. They'd kiss at a school dance, and get together. Sans would be fine with it, and together they are living a cliché high school romance, for a bit. Mettaton would start spending less time with Alphys and Undyne in favor of his new life at school as queen bee. At one point, they'd find out about his eating disorder after he faints from malnourishment. He'd wake up in a hospital, and would get all ashamed and embarrassed and uncomfortable on the inside, now that they know his secret, and deny he has a problem. Then he'd yell at them to leave. Another plot point would be that Alphys would also have known the Dreemurr kids deaths weren't what they seemed, and show Mettaton the tapes in her basement. They'd both swear to keep it a secret.

 

The final, big plot point, would be that, at some point, Mettaton would apply to go to a fancy boarding school for the arts outside of Ebott. He would doubt he'd get in, so he'd only tell Alphys. Towards the end, he'd receive a letter saying he got in, and would make the choice to leave Ebott in favor of this new life. Undyne would find a list he'd made months ago, about reasons why he should date Papyrus, one of them being that "Papyrus would make him look good, without overshadowing him, obviously" Undyne would get furious at him and force him to tell Papyrus, which he does. They'd sort of? go on break, and everyone would be mad or disappointed at him, leaving him friendless. This would make him realize how much he misses his cousins, and how he wants to make amends with them before he leaves. He'd find Maddy, and Maddy would come out to him as trans. She'd be accepting of him as well, not only his identity but his choice to leave. Maddy would apologize for holding him back and not supporting him, and Mettaton would apologize for forgetting about his family. Then they'd both apologize to Blooky together, who has been living alone since both of them left on the same night. Blooky would forgive them.

 

One day, after lunch, Mettaton would be approached by Undyne, who would still be angry at him. Undyne would ask why he hasn't attempted to reconcile with Papyrus since the note incident, and Mettaton would be sassy and cold to her, saying it was none of her business. They'd get into a sort of food fight, with mettaton telling Undyne he hates how self-righteous, rude, and hypocritical she is, how she never even tried to get to know him for who he really is, that she immediately decided not to like him and acts like she has the right to judge his every action. Undyne would tell him she hates how selfish he is, and how he practically abandoned Alphys just to be popular in high school, which she says won't matter in a year or two. They'd come to sort of an awkward stalemate.

 

Sans wouldn't get all bad time on him, he'd just calmly say he thought Mettaton was better, and not talk to him after the note incident.

 

On prom night, when they're getting ready, Mettaton and Alphys would sort of reconcile, although it would still be a bit awkward. Mettaton would wonder if Papyrus was even still going with him or not, and be a mess about it. Alphys would offer to let him spend prom with her and Undyne, to which he'd sadly accept. They'd arrive at prom, and for the first half of it, Mettaton would be moody and feel alone. Papyrus would end up coming late, apologizing because Sans had a flat tire or something. He and Mettaton would dance, and Mettaton would sob his apologies to him during this, saying Papyrus doesn't deserve someone as messed up in the head as him and that he's done bad things. Papyrus would try to comfort him, and Mettaton would tell him about his being accepted into the boarding school. Papyrus would ask if he planned to go, seeing as the flight to the school would leave tomorrow. Mettaton would respond that he doesn't know.

 

In the epilogue, it would show Mettaotn talking to his therapist years later, when he's about thirty-something, about how he's nervous about his upcoming high school reunion. It would be revealed that he's on good terms with Undyne and Alphys. Mettaton would be one of the most famous people known, and would live with Maddy and Blooky outside of Ebott. Maddy would be an up-and-coming model, Blooky a DJ for Mettaton's band with Shyren.

 

It would also be revealed- in a possible flashback- that Alphys would have seen Mettaton off at the airport when he was going to to go the school, and they'd both cry and hug and promise to call. The day Mettaton would arrive at the school, Papyrus would send him letters about how he and everyone else at school missed him, despite how they weren't together anymore. Mettaton would hollowly respond to the first one, and then sort of stop, not out of any selfish motives but because he doesn't want to remember any of Ebott. Sans would also have sent him the occasional Christmas card.

 

Papyrus obviously stops sending letters, and Mettaton would stop even thinking about Papyrus. He'd be at peace with himself in the present, and his high school life in Ebott- which he rememebers as him being unhappy for a majority of the time- wouldn't be a thing he thought about even monthly, including Papyrus. Basically, Papyrus is the high school ex you aren't in touch with and don't even think about years later.

 

At the reunion, Papyrus and Mettaton would meet on a balcony of the school or something. Papyrus would reveal he is doing well, and Mettaton would remisce over a few memories. It would be a not unkind reaction, but rather like seeing an aqquaintance in public for the first time in years. They'd both talk about how immature and silly they were in high school, how they all took themselves so seriously. There would be growth. Papyrus would smile at Mettaton, put his hand on his shoulder, and leave him there after a little chat. It wouldn't be a touch asking for anything, for forgiveness, for romance, for even friendship. It would just be a touch, and nothing more. Mettaton is fine with this, and fine with the fact he'll probably never see Papyrus again, as most don't really keep in touch even after high school reunions. He'd look at the stars and be thankful he was one of them.

 

The End.