“… I wanted to say… that is… my behavior was very… rude. I shouldn’t have… um…” Grillby ran a hand through the flames on his head and sighed. “… I want to apologize.”
Clearly the young man was very nervous and felt awful, Gaster was quite proud of him for making the effort. He felt Sans press his face into his arm as Grillby stuttered out his apology, then peeked shyly at him. “thanks.”
Well, that simply wouldn’t do. “WOULD YOU LIKE TO COME OVER FOR DINNER?” Gaster asked before the silence could reach awkward levels.
“what?” Sans looked up at his father in horror.
“YES!” Papyrus bounded forward and grabbed one of Grillby’s hands. “YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE DINNER WITH US! YOU CAN EVEN COME STRAIGHT HOME WITH US AFTER WE FINISH SHOPPING, IF YOU LIKE.”
“… tonight?” Grillby asked in a worried tone of voice.
“PERHAPS THAT IS A BIT TOO SHORT A NOTICE, PAPYRUS.” Gaster put a hand on Papyrus’s arm.
“OH, OF COURSE, PROPER PREPARATIONS MUST BE MADE! HOW ABOUT TOMORROW EVENING?”
“… I’m not working then,” Grillby admitted reluctantly.
“WONDERFUL! I’LL WRITE DOWN OUR ADDRESS FOR YOU. I’M NOT QUITE SURE WHERE YOUR RESTAURANT IS SO I CAN’T GIVE YOU DIRECTIONS… OH! SANS! I’M SURE YOU KNOW! WRITE DOWN INSTRUCTIONS FOR YOUR “FRIEND”!” Papyrus winked at Sans as he held out a pen and paper for him, where he had already written down their address and a phone number.
Gaster simply smiled and let Papyrus lead the conversation, proud with himself for his quick thinking. Yes, having Grillby over for dinner would be perfect. Gaster and Papyrus could easily arrange for the two to spend some time alone and hopefully they would talk on their own. And even if not, it would be very easy to invite him over again and again and again until they did. It was worth the daggers Sans was currently glaring at him.
The next day Grillby did the opening shift for his restaurant, which meant he would have just enough time to go home and change before he had to leave for dinner with the skeleton family. It would be fine, everything would be just fine. He could see for himself just how happy Sans was with his husband and get over his own feelings, all while hopefully repairing his old friendship with Sans. That must have been why Papyrus was so eager, because he wanted Sans and Grillby to be friends again.
“So I heard you got a date tonight?”
Grillby’s shoulders slumped, that was the fourth time someone had said that to him today, and the sixth someone had mentioned his going over to a friend’s house for dinner. “… it’s not a date, Doggo.” He looked up to see Doggo squinting at him.
“Well maybe not a date-date, but you’re meeting the family.”
“… I’ve already met them all. This is simply a family inviting a friend over for dinner.”
“But this is getting to know his family, that’s a very big step. You’ve got to make a good impression!”
Grillby fought off a frown, he just couldn’t understand why everyone seemed so insistent on him becoming a homewrecker. Sans was expecting a child for Delta’s sake! “… I would think everyone from Snowdin already knows Papyrus quite well.”
“Yeah, a little hard not to with how loud he always is. Even on Undernet he’s loud, my text to speech program always talks louder when he updates.”
Grillby paused in clearing off a recently vacated table, though the movement of his flames kept Doggo focused on him. “… is that how everyone seems to already know?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah. Papyrus posted about how excited he was you’re going over there for dinner tonight. There were lots of winking faces.”
Grillby felt his whole body grow warm at that. Perhaps it was Papyrus everyone assumed he was going over there for? Had the taller brother formed a crush on him?
“Hey, can you light this up for me?” Doggo was holding out a dog treat to him.
“… no smoking in the restaurant.”
“I know, I’ll take it outside, I just need a light first.”
Grillby sighed and rolled his eyes, but he put a finger on the end of the dog treat.
“Thanks, man. Let me know how that date goes.” Doggo winked, or maybe was just squinting extra hard, before he made his way out the door with the aid of his seeing eye dog.
Grillby went back to clearing off tables and doing rounds to check on his customers, there was always one or two even during the lull between lunch and dinner. The next time he heard the door open he looked up, ready to greet his latest customer. There stood Toriel, former queen of the Underground. And as adoptive mother of Monsterkind’s unofficial mascot presumably she was good friends with Monsterkind’s official ambassador.
“Ah, Grillby, just the monster I was hoping to see.” She smiled and walked over to where he was standing. “I have it on good authority that you are visiting the Gaster residence this evening.”
“… yes, I am.” Grillby was unsure what to do or say, how does one address a former queen?
“Wonderful! I hope you do not mind, but I took the liberty of preparing something for you to take over as a host gift.” She held up a freshly baked pie, steam still wafting up from the crust.
Grillby reluctantly took it, unsure what to say. “… thank you.”
“Oh, no need. I am sure you already have a host gift ready, but I also know you are a very busy monster and thought you would not mind the insurance.”
Grillby simply nodded, the bottle of spider cider he had sitting in the cupboard at home would go well with a pie. He looked it over, the crust looked to be a perfect golden brown.
“It is crab apple pie, I had thought to make a snail pie but that is more of a dinner dish and I did not want to offend your hosts. I also recently gave Sans my butterscotch and cinnamon pie recipe, so I did not want there to be a duplicate if he chooses to make one.”
Grillby nodded along, he wasn’t sure why Toriel was telling him all this but he wasn’t about to protest. “… that was very thoughtful of you.”
“Thank you!” Toriel smiled down at him and seemed to relax a little. Then her expression turned serious. “Excuse me for asking, but will you have time after work to go home and change into something more appropriate? Not that there is anything wrong with what you are wearing, your bow tie and vest are very ‘classy,’ as the youth would say.” She reached out and started fussing with his clothes, straightened his tie and smoothed out his collar.
“… I will have time, no need to worry.”
“That is a relief. Well, I would hate to interrupt your work any more than I already have. Do have a wonderful time tonight.” Toriel winked before turning and leaving the restaurant.
Grillby put the pie in the restaurant's office, he wasn’t sure what else to do with it and it would be safe in there until his shift was over. The rest of the day followed much like the first half, more familiar faces stopping by simply to ask him questions about his plans for the evening and give unsolicited advice. Grillby found himself increasingly frustrated with his well-meaning regulars, they would only be disappointed when he turned Papyrus down.
When even his staff decided to tease him about the sheer number of winking faces Papyrus had continuously posted throughout the day, Grillby decided it would be best to cut his own shift short before he lost his temper and said something he’d regret. He retreated to his office, collected the pie and his personal belongings, bid farewell to his staff, ignored their hoots and hollers, and was on his way out when the door opened to allow three new people in.
“OMG Bratty, there he totally is!”
“Of course he is, this is like HIS restaurant, Catty!” Both girls giggled as Dr. Alphys nervously wrung her hands.
“H-hi, Grillby. It’s um… nice to meet you.”
“Yes, it’s totally nice to finally meet you!”
“Oh! Are you like done working for the day?”
“… yes,” Grillby replied, feeling a little overwhelmed by these chatty girls. “… and it’s nice to meet you, too.”
“Oh!” Dr. Alphys exclaimed happily. “Is that a pie?”
Grillby held it a little closer to her. “… yes. Miss Toriel brought it over to give to Sans and his family.”
“Good, good! Very good!” Dr. Alphys turned so she was standing at his side and put a hand on his arm as she started walking out the door. The other two girls caged him in on the other side, Grillby was suddenly very nervous about these strange girls and former royal scientist. “B-but is that the only item you’re taking over? It’s very important to have more than one for a successful outcome for the date!”
“… I also have a bottle of spider cider at home.”
“Oh, we like totally don’t know where that is.”
“That’s right! You like need to lead the way, hot stuff.”
“Yes!” Dr. Alphys said before Grillby could form a protest. “A nice outfit is also really important to a successful date.”
“… what?” These girls couldn’t mean what Grillby thinks they mean. Were Papyrus’s friends that insistent on their dating? Well, he knew Papyrus was friends with Undyne, who was well known to be dating Dr. Alphys. So in this case it seemed more like a friend of a friend.
“Did you already pick something out?” One of the giggly girls asked.
“… no, not really.” He had done laundry just the other day, he had plenty of clothes to choose from for this completely platonic dinner he was invited to. And even if Papyrus did have a crush on him, he didn’t want to accidentally encourage the poor skeleton.
Dr. Alphys scoffed, “G-good thing we decided to come intervene.”
“Yeah, we’ll totally help you like pick out the best outfit!”
“And we brought super cute accessories too!” The cat held up a tote bag with a colorful cartoon character on it, which the other two admired even as they kept herding Grillby along. Fortunately his apartment wasn’t far, even if he wasn’t sure about letting these three girls know where he lived. Surely Dr. Alphys could be trusted, Asgore had appointed her as Royal Scientist after all.
The girls continued to chatter excitedly as he led them up the stairs and unlocked the door. He decided to leave the pie on the kitchen counter while the girls poked around his living room. Then he headed to his bedroom, unfortunately Dr. Alphys and friends followed him in. The two giggly ones made a beeline for his closet, Dr. Alphys had taken the tote bag and was digging through it.
“W-what are these?” She picked up some leather straps from the bag.
“Sock garters,” the cat said proudly. “My dad wears them and like Pops swears they’re totally sexy.”
The alligator gasped, “No way! He’s only ever seen him dressed like this!” She motioned up and down Grillby. “He totally needs something way more casual.”
“Sh-she’s right,” Dr. Alphys agreed. She dropped the straps back into the bag and kept digging. “Oh! This is a cute tie, d-does he have anything that would go with it?” She held up a dark blue tie covered in sparkly, embroidered stars.
“There are matching socks,” the cat added. She pounced on the bag and started digging though it to find them herself.
“What about this sweater vest? It’s almost the same color.”
“Bratty, OMG! That’s not how matching works! If it’s not the exact same color being close is totally like the worst thing you can do!”
“No v-vests,” Dr. Alphys insisted. “He wears one for work.”
“Oooooh!” Both girls said before they went back to digging through Grillby’s closet and the bag respectively. He sighed, but decided the fastest way to get rid of them was to let them do their thing, then change later if he felt he had to. Very likely they couldn’t pull anything too atrocious from his own closet.
Grillby ended up twiddling his thumbs and watching the clock as the three girls dug through his closet. Thankfully because they brought along socks and other accessories they didn’t need to dig through his dresser as well, the last thing he needed was a trio of strangers going through his underthings. Asgore may have trusted Dr. Alphys to be his Royal Scientist, but that didn’t mean Grillby would trust her with his intimates.
“Alright, so like we finally have it all picked out!” All three girls were holding up various pieces of clothing. Grillby looked it over, then nodded. When no one moved Grillby cleared his throat, “… I would rather not change with an audience.”
“Omigosh!” Dr. Alphys dropped what she was holding to cover her mouth in horror. “W-we’ll leave! The room! Right now! C’mon girls, let’s let Grillby get changed in private!” She quickly stooped to pick up her items and threw them on the bed. The other two piled their picks with Dr. Alphys’s, then the three left the room and shut the door behind them.
Grillby breathed a sigh of relief before he started undressing. As he did, he may have made a substitution or two (no matter how casual Dr. Alphys wanted him to dress he was not wearing his tennis shoes). Either the girls wouldn’t notice or they’d have to live with it.
Once finished, he went out into the living room to find one of the girls had thrown a garishly patterned handkerchief over the pie and another had found the bottle of spider cider. Both gifts were sitting next to each other on his counter.
“Oh wow, you look super hot!”
“Yeah, Sans is going to totally flip!”
Sans? Really? Why was everyone so insistent that Grillby pursue someone who was already married. And weren’t they here because of Papyrus? Perhaps the giggly ones were confused, he wasn’t sure if they were here for either brother or because they were simply friends with Dr. Alphys. They all certainly acted very familiar with each other.
“S-so getting the outfit together took a l-little longer than we would’ve liked… but! It’s just in time! Because we got everything you need gathered together and ready to go.” The girls held out the gifts, which Grillby accepted. It would take a little juggling to get out of the house and on his way, but he was used to juggling plates at his restaurant so it wouldn’t be that much of a hardship. Not that he needed to, the girls were herding him to his front door while giggling madly.
Once out in the hall, Grillby pulled his keys from his pocket and began locking up when a loud voice nearly had him dropping everything. “THERE you are!”
“Oh! Undyne!” Dr. Alphys squeaked. “A-are you here to pick me up?”
“Alphys! I didn’t even know you were here, but I’m ready to pick you up ANY TIME, ANYPLACE!” Undyne did just that: picked Dr. Alphys up and sat her on her shoulder with the arm flexed for her to perch on. Dr. Alphys giggled and blushed while grinning foolishly.
“Awwwww…” both of Dr. Alphys’s friends cooed while staring up at her.
“I-if you didn’t know I was here, then why are you here?”
“Oh, because Papyrus sent me.”
“… Papyrus sent you?” Grillby echoed.
“Yeah, he said to make sure you, and I quote: ‘HAVE SPECIAL CLOTHES, LIKE THE MANUAL SAYS.’ He’d have come himself, but he thought ‘THAT WOULD BE TOO MUCH MEDDLING, SO YOU HAVE TO MEDDLE FOR ME!’”
Dr. Alphys nodded sagely, “That’s what b-best friends are for.”
“Like for real!”
“They totally are!”
“So what are you doing here?” Undyne asked.
Dr. Alphys shrugged, “Pretty much the same thing.”
“We picked out his outfit and made it super cute.”
“He like really needed the help.”
Grillby checked his wrist for a watch that wasn’t there. “… if I delay much longer I’ll be late, so if you’ll excuse me.”
“Good luck!” All four called as they cleared a path for him. He thought they were probably waving as well, but didn’t turn back to find out. He used the trip over to calm his racing soul, he was even looking forward to a nice, quiet family dinner after how stressful his day had been.
Even without ever having seen it before, Grillby recognized Sans’s house the moment he laid eyes on it. It was half covered in brightly colored lights and had a wreath hanging on the front door. Possibly the exact same lights and wreath that had been on their house back in Snowdin.
Grillby rang the doorbell. There was a distant but clearly heard call of, “I’LL GET IT!” followed by pounding feet. Papyrus flung the door open and grinned widely at him. “HELLO GRILLBY! SO GOOD OF YOU TO BE HERE. AT OUR HOUSE. RIGHT WHEN YOU SAID YOU WOULD, HOW VERY PROMPT OF YOU.”
“… thank you?” Grillby said in confusion, unsure if that was meant to be a compliment or not.
“COME IN, COME IN, COME RIGHT IN. OH, ARE THESE FOR US?”
“… yes, thank you for having me over.” Grillby offered the bottle and pie up to Papyrus.
Papyrus curiously lifted the brightly colored handkerchief, “IS THAT A PIE?”
“… crab apple. Miss Toriel sent it over.”
“OH, HOW THOUGHTFUL OF HER. BUT SANS ALREADY MADE A PIE AND I’M SURE IT WILL BE FAR BETTER TASTING.”
“… and some spider cider.”
“HOW SPENDY! BUT… IT’S NOT HARD CIDER, IS IT?”
“I don’t believe Muffet even makes a hard cider.”
“RIGHT, RIGHT, BUT YOU CAN’T BE TOO SAFE. WELL, THANK YOU FOR THE GIFTS, THEY’RE VERY NICE. BUT LET’S NOT JUST STAND IN THE ENTRYWAY, COME SIT DOWN.” Papyrus took the gifts and ushered Grillby into the living room where Sans was sitting in an armchair that leaned back, facing a TV that was currently off. “GO AHEAD AND SIT RIGHT DOWN, THE COUCH IS VERY COMFORTABLE. JUST ASK SANS.”
“hey grillby, good to see you again.”
“… hello, Sans” Grillby called as he was pushed onto the couch, the corner closest to Sans.
“DINNER SHOULD BE READY SHORTLY, I’LL JUST GO HELP FINISH UP.” Sans started to lower his chair’s footrest, but Papyrus rushed over to gently push him back. “NO, BROTHER, NO NEED TO GET UP! I ASSURE YOU, TWO PAIRS OF HANDS IS QUITE ENOUGH TO FINISH DINNER. AND IN YOUR CONDITION YOU SHOULD BE RESTING AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. AND! MOST IMPORTANTLY! IT WOULD BE RUDE! TO LEAVE OUR GUEST ALL ALONE! SO YOU NEED TO STAY HERE AND ENTERTAIN HIM.”
Grillby could swear he heard Papyrus wink before he flounced out of the room.
“sorry about that, they can be really pushy.”
“… I don’t mind, reminds me of my own family.”
“heh, yeah? i guess all families are like that, huh?”
They both chatted while Papyrus and presumably Dr. Gaster finished making dinner. Grillby found himself doing most of the talking while Sans listened or asked questions, it was the most he had spoken since… well… since the last time he and Sans had had a nice long chat back in Snowdin. Grillby had missed this.
“ALRIGHT YOU TWO,” Dr. Gaster poked his head into the room, “DINNER IS READY.” He disappeared back into the next room, which Grillby thought was a bit rude but he wasn’t here to judge. He stood up, then looked over to Sans who had put the footrest on his chair down and scooted to the edge so he could try to lever himself upright. He was clearly having a hard time, so Grillby walked over and offered a hand.
Sans grinned up at him, but didn’t take the offered hand. “you sure buddy? pretty sure by this point i count as a team lift.”
“… I think you and me make a pretty good team.”
Faint color flushed Sans’s cheeks. Oh no, did Grillby say something wrong? Was he inappropriate? Was that too forward? “alright,” Sans said as he took Grillby’s hand, “but i warned you.” Grillby gripped his hand tightly as he helped Sans up.
Once up, Sans put one hand to his back as he slowly waddled into the next room. Grillby couldn’t help but find something about that very adorable. He mentally shook the thought off, to think of someone else’s partner that way was terrible. Grillby trailed after Sans, unsure if he should offer to help him walk too. That would be too much, right?
The next room had a table all by itself backed by a window that showed a lovely view of the yard behind the house, everything warmed by the rosy light of the setting sun. The table was set so they would all be able to look out the window, just like every monster’s home Grillby had visited since the barrier broke. Dr. Gaster was standing by the chair at the head of the table while Papyrus was standing by a lone chair on his left and two more places were set on his right. Sans waddled over to one of the chairs and sat down, leaving the only open spot between him and Dr. Gaster.
“sorry not to stand on ceremony, but there’s only so long i can weight these days.”
Papyrus narrowed his eyes, “DID YOU JUST...”
“NOW LET US ALL SIT DOWN AND HAVE A NICE MEAL. THANK YOU FOR THE CIDER, GRILLBY, I AM SURE IT WILL GO VERY NICELY.”
“YES! WE’RE HAVING SPAGHETTI!”
Grillby suppressed a smile as he sat down, of course they were having spaghetti.
“AND SALAD, GARLIC BREAD, AND SAUSAGES,” Dr. Gaster added.
“water sausages,” Sans said with a snicker of his own.
“SANS MADE THEM BEFORE YOU ARRIVED, YOU SHOULD TRY THEM.” Papyrus offered the sausages to Grillby with a wide grin, Grillby obligingly moved a couple to his plate. Soon everyone had filled their plates, Sans’s was practically overflowing, and were enjoying the meal. It seemed the salad was mainly for Papyrus as that was the only thing he served himself. “SO GRILLBY,” Papyrus said cheerfully, “HOW WAS YOUR DAY?”
“… very busy, I opened the restaurant this morning.”
“OH!” Papyrus exclaimed. For a moment it looked like he wasn’t going to say anything else as he stared meaningfully at Sans, but Sans was too engrossed in his food to notice. “THAT’S… NICE? YOUR RESTAURANT IS VERY POPULAR.”
“… monster run businesses and monster food still seem to be a novelty for humans.” Grillby took his first bite of spaghetti, it was surprisingly good. From the way Sans talked back in Snowdin he thought it would be unspeakably awful.
“YES,” Papyrus said eagerly, “THE NOVELTY OF MONSTER MADE PRODUCTS AND MONSTER RUN BUSINESSES HAS BEEN SUCH A BLESSING. INTEGRATING MONSTERKIND INTO THE ALREADY EXISTING SURFACE CULTURE WAS OUR FIRST PRIORITY, AND OF COURSE THE FIRST STEP WAS TO MAKE SURE MONSTERS COULD GET JOBS AND PURCHASE HOMES. BUT THE SECOND STEP WAS DOING ALL THE WORK NECESSARY TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR MONSTERS TO START AND OWN BUSINESSES OF THEIR OWN. ESPECIALLY SINCE THAT WAS HOW MOST MONSTERS MADE A LIVING DOWN IN THE UNDERGROUND SINCE THERE REALLY WEREN’T ANY OTHER OPTIONS FOR US. WHILE IT’S NICE BEING ABLE TO GET A JOB A LOT OF MONSTERS WERE REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO SIMPLY MOVING THEIR SHOPS AND BUSINESSES UP TO THE… SURFACE… AHEM. BUT ENOUGH ABOUT THAT, DID YOU HAVE A BUSY MORNING?”
“… not more than most mornings. I went in a little early to do paperwork-”
“OH, THE AMOUNT OF PAPERWORK HUMANS INSIST ON HAVING DONE IS RIDICULOUS!” Papyrus exclaimed with an eye roll. He looked about ready to start in on another long winded speech when a nudge from Dr. Gaster had him reeling himself in. “DID YOU MANAGE TO FINISH IT ALL?”
“… what I needed for the morning.” There was an awkward pause as both Papyrus and Dr. Gaster looked at him as if expecting him to continue. “… I will need to make the next schedule in the next day or so.” There was another awkward pause as the others seemed to be waiting for him to say something else, but Grillby was drawing a blank. “… how was your day?”
“MY DAY WAS VERY BORING, NOTHING BUT PAPERWORK.” Papyrus looked at Dr. Gaster, who nodded.
“YES, I SPENT MOST OF THE DAY WRITING SCIENTIFIC PAPERS DETAILING THE MOST BASIC, GRADE SCHOOL LEVEL MAGIC THEORY.” Dr. Gaster and Papyrus both turned their attention to Sans, who was still very focused on eating his meal. “AND WHAT ABOUT YOU, SANS?”
“what about me?” Sans used the tone Grillby knew meant he was only pretending ignorance.
“HOW WAS YOUR DAY?” Papyrus asked through gritted teeth.
“the same as everyone else’s. you should know that, bro, i was helping you with paperwork all day.”
“THAT’S RIGHT, YOU’RE PRACTICALLY MY SECONTARY.”
“heh, good one, bro.” Sans took another bite of his food.
Papyrus seemed to be sweating and was gritting his teeth again. “I SUPPOSE YOU COULD EVEN SAY WE’RE ALL FOLDING UNDER THE PAPERWEIGHT.”
“ooooh, really good ones, bro. you been practicing?”
Papyrus ground his teeth together. If he had flesh Grillby would worry about him popping a blood vessel.
“WELL I AM GLAD TO BE ABLE TO COME HOME AND HAVE DINNER WITH MY TWO WONDERFUL BOYS,” Dr. Gaster said as he looked between Papyrus and Sans very fondly.
Grillby was confused, his two boys? Was… was Dr. Gaster in a relationship with both Sans and Papyrus? It wasn’t unheard of for siblings to be part of a polyamorous relationship together. Well, Grillby supposed that explained how close all three seemed to be in the photos he’d seen. But wait, did that mean Papyrus didn’t have a crush after all? Or was he trying to turn their trio into a quartet?
“grillby, you alright?”
“… sorry, what?” Grillby shook his head and looked up to see everyone at the table staring at him.
“you seemed to zone out for a bit,” Sans said gently. “are you feeling okay?”
“… yes, I’m fine. Just a little tired.”
“yeah, you did more than just paperwork today, right?” Sans smiled at him so gently it hurt Grillby’s soul.
Grillby looked down at his plate to avoid Sans’s eyes, there was still some of his meal left so he started eating again. “… uh, yes. Even with help, my restaurant is far more busy than it ever was Underground.”
There was another moment of silence, likely everyone was waiting for anyone else to speak again.
“EVEN IF THE RESULTS ARE RATHER GREASY, GRILLBY DOES HAVE A MOST ADMIRABLE WORK ETHIC,” Papyrus commented.
“I SHALL HAVE TO COME TRY YOUR FOOD SOME TIME,” Dr. Gaster said. “IT IS A BAR AND GRILL, CORRECT? WHAT DO YOU SERVE?”
“… fries, onion rings, burgers, chicken strips, buffalo wings, and of course the bar.”
Papyrus was making a disgusted face, Dr. Gaster was at least trying to hide his own disgust. “THAT ALL SOUNDS… INTERESTING.”
“DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, SANS?” Dr. Gaster asked all too sweetly.
“i know you and papyrus both don’t like greasy foods, and most of grillby’s stuff is deep fried.”
“PERHAPS I JUST HAVE NOT FOUND THE RIGHT KIND YET.”
Sans quirked an eyebrow, “really, dad?”
Grillby felt like an electric bullet just hit him. He hadn’t expected anyone to bring their kinks to the dinner table like that, not with a guest over! No, no, he told himself, stop being silly. Very likely Sans only called him that because Dr. Gaster was about to become a father, Grillby didn’t need to look into it so hard.
“YES REALLY, I AM WILLING TO TRY. AND WHAT ABOUT YOUR GRILL?” Dr. Gaster turned his attention to Grillby, who was desperately trying to keep his flames under control. “SURELY YOU GRILL THINGS BESIDES JUST BURGERS.”
“… yes… uh… I also have a grilled chicken breast that can be put on any burger instead of a regular burger patty. Oh! And this lovely sourdough bread you can order instead of a bun. Being on the surface has really widened my options.”
“SEE, SANS? A GRILLED CHICKEN SANDWICH ON SOURDOUGH SOUNDS VERY NICE. I SHALL HAVE TO STOP BY FOR LUNCH SOME TIME.”
“GET A GLASS OF MILK WITH IT!” Papyrus suggested eagerly. “THEY’RE FULL OF STRONG BONES.”
“… I do serve milk.” Mostly it was for the children’s menu, something enough human customers had demanded that he felt compelled to make one.
Papyrus beamed at the mentioned milk. It seemed Grillby was going to have far more skeletons frequenting his restaurant in the near future. Maybe he should add some sort of salad to the menu? He did already have most of the ingredients on hand. He’d have to look up various kinds of salads, but enough customers had asked for salads so it should be worth it.
“I LOOK FORWARD TO GIVING YOUR FOOD A TRY. AFTER ALL, IT ONLY SEEMS FAIR AFTER YOU GOT TO TRY MY COOKING.” Dr. Gaster smiled at Grillby, who smiled back.
Silence stretched between them.
“… yes, that does seem fair.”
Another stretch of silence.
“BUT YOU MUST BE TIRED OF THINKING ABOUT WORK,” Dr. Gaster said with a wide smile on his face. “WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME?”
“… work from home, mostly. Paperwork, updating the website, or research for new recipes and the like.”
“YOU SEEM VERY DEDICATED TO YOUR RESTAURANT,” Dr. Gaster commented a bit coldly.
“INDEED, A VERY ADMIRABLE WORK ETHIC!” Papyrus gave him a thumbs up.
Grillby smiled weakly at Dr. Gaster. “… I suppose I really should stop tweaking the menu every other week. It has been a while since I visited my family, we all just seem so busy since the barrier fell.”
“I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT YOUR FAMILY,” Dr. Gaster said happily as he placed his elbows on the table and leaned closer.
Grillby drank the last of his cider, he had not talked so much in quite a while and it was starting to wear on his voice. He would have eaten to help boost his magic, but his plate was empty. As was everyone else’s. And the table as a whole, really. “… well there’s my cousin, Fuku. She just graduated high school this year.”
“SANS? ARE YOU ALRIGHT?” Both Dr. Gaster and Papyrus tensed as they turned their attention to Sans. Grillby had half turned in his seat and had his hands up but was unsure what to do.
“yeah, i’m fine.” Sans waved a hand at them. “kid’s just kicking up a fuss, i think they’re still hungry maybe.”
“WELL IT’S A GOOD THING WE HAVE DESSERT! I’LL GO GET IT.” Papyrus hopped out of his seat and bounced into the kitchen.
“AH, I REMEMBER WHAT IT WAS LIKE WAITING FOR YOU TWO TO BE BORN,” Dr. Gaster said with a fond smile.
Wait, what? Grillby turned to look at Dr. Gaster.
“heh, poor renny.”
“I STILL MISS THEM. THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN JUST AS EXCITED AS I AM FOR OUR FIRST GRANDCHILD.”
“DAD, COULD YOU COME HELP ME? EVEN THE GREAT PAPYRUS DOESN’T HAVE ENOUGH HANDS FOR FOUR DESSERTS.”
“COMING.” Dr. Gaster got up and disappeared into the kitchen.
Grillby sat stock still, even his flames had lowered to barely a flicker. Grandchild? So Dr. Gaster wasn’t Sans’s partner? He was Sans’s father??? Goodness, that explained quite a lot actually. Grillby thought back to everything anyone had said since he found out about Sans’s pregnancy, every wrong assumption he had made. His core went cold, he could never tell anyone. Everything seemed so foolish in hindsight.
“grillby? hey, you okay?” A bony hand crossed his vision and snapped Grillby out of his churning thoughts. “there you are, what happened? you’re really spacey today.”
“… I… you see… it’s been a really long day.”
Sans quirked an eyebrow, “a really long day?”
“… your brother wasn’t the only one making a big deal out of an invitation to dinner.”
“you mean those posts he kept making on undernet?”
Sans let his head fall into one of his hands. “okay, what happened?”
“… a lot of well meaning people asking a lot of invasive questions.”
Sans flinched, “and then you had to come here and sit through dinner with more well meaning invasive questions and talk more than you normally do.”
“geez man, sorry about that. i’d have tried to run more interference if i knew.”
Grillby shook his head. His assurance that it wasn’t Sans’s fault was cut short as Papyrus and Dr. Gaster came back in carrying plates and steaming mugs. “SANS’S BUTTERSCOTCH AND CINNAMON PIE! WITH HOT CHOCOLATE!” Papyrus announced cheerfully as he handed out plates.
“AND THOSE LITTLE MARSHMALLOWS YOU LIKE SO MUCH,” Gaster added as he offered a mug to Sans.
Sans practically lunged for the drink and immediately took a swig. “ah, that’s the good stuff.”
“HOW’RE YOU FEELING NOW?” Papyrus asked.
“much better, the kid calmed right down.” Sans leaned back and gently patted his very round belly to illustrate before taking another swig.
Grillby stared down at his own slice of pie, he suddenly wasn’t hungry at all anymore. He absently ate a bite anyway. The others were talking around him, but he was too busy thinking to really listen. If Dr. Gaster wasn’t the father, then who was? Where was Sans’s partner? Had something happened to them? Is that why Sans had been doing so poorly right before the barrier fell? How far along was Sans again? Grillby wasn’t sure, he didn’t think he could easily find out right at the moment. Not unless he suddenly wanted to ask some very rude questions.
“GRILLBY, ARE YOU UNWELL?” Frantic movement in the corner of Grillby’s vision drew his eyes to Dr. Gaster.
“… I’m sorry, today has been a very long, tiring day. I’m afraid I won’t be very good company for the rest of the night.”
“not to mention he has an early morning again, tomorrow,” Sans added.
Grillby didn’t actually have an early day tomorrow, in fact it was his day off. But they didn’t need to know that. Grillby just nodded.
“WELL… IF YOU’RE NOT FEELING WELL YOU SHOULD GO HOME AND REST,” Papyrus insisted. “BUT DON’T BECOME A COMPLETE LAZYBONES LIKE MY BROTHER, ONLY REST AS MUCH AS YOU NEED.”
Grillby just nodded.
Papyrus and Dr. Gaster stood up and saw Grillby to the door, he had to assure them three times that he would survive the trip home just fine before they finally bid their farewells. “DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE PIE DISH, WE SHALL SEE IT GETS RETURNED TO TORIEL,” Dr. Gaster assured.
“… thank you. This evening has been,” eye opening “… lovely.”
Once home, Grillby did something he should have done over a month ago, when he first found out about Sans. He went to Sans’s Undernet profile and from there went to Dr. Gaster’s. Sure enough, every post on Sans’s blog was shared on Dr. Gaster’s along with comments, most of them about how excited the doctor was to become a grandfather or how proud he was of his sons.
Grillby stumbled over to a chair and sat down heavily, he really was Sans’s father. And everyone knew it, they hadn’t been trying to get him to start a relationship with a married monster after all. But then what of the baby’s father? Surely Sans had a partner.
He went back to Sans’s profile and started scrolling down, down, down, hoping to find some mention of the baby’s father. It took quite a while of scrolling, Sans wasn’t kidding when he said his profile had been turned into ‘baby central.’ He eventually got back to the very first post, an official announcement that Sans’s profile had successfully transferred to the new surface website.
Grillby could kick himself, he had forgotten this was the new Undernet. Still, the fact was that there hadn’t been a single mention of the father, let alone Sans ever having a partner. Would he have to go back to the old Undernet? Did the Underground’s internet even still exist?
No, focus. There must be some way for Grillby to find out. He was going to have to talk to someone, probably Sans. That would be best, right? Just ask Sans directly, hopefully get a straight answer, then move on with his life. With that decided Grillby got ready for bed and resolved not to think about it until the morning.
He did not fall asleep that night.
Grillby would have liked to have spent his day off getting in contact with Sans and arranging to talk with him privately, but one of his employees calling in sick made that plan go down the drain. The anticipation of all their mutual friends coming in one by one to ask him what went wrong at the dinner didn’t do anything to sweeten Grillby’s sour mood. He had barely turned around the open sign when the first one walked in.
“Good morning, Grillby.”
“… good morning, Scarlet.”
“I heard last night didn’t go well.”
“… it went fine for the most part, I just had a long day and needed to leave a little early.”
“Ah, I suppose that explains Papyrus’s post. Are you feeling better today?”
“… in all honesty, not really.”
“Oh dear, do you want to talk about it?”
Grillby almost shook his head, his voice still hurt from being overused the day before, but then he changed his mind. “… actually, if you have a few moments I would like to talk.”
“Of course!” After Scarlet agreed, Grillby practically dragged them over to a booth where they could have some relative privacy. “So how was the dinner? Tell me all about it.” They grinned eagerly at Grillby.
“… what happened to Sans’s partner?”
Scarlet’s face fell, “What do you mean?”
“… the baby has to have a father, right? I thought I’d meet them at dinner last night,” Grillby glibly lied, “but no one mentioned anyone. Did something happen to them? Did… did they leave Sans?”
“No, that’s not… I mean… Sans said he doesn’t mind people talking about it but it’s just a bit rude, you know?” Scarlet held their wings out in a helpless shrug. “But I suppose you need to know this.”
Grillby nodded encouragingly.
Scarlet took a deep breath, “Sans doesn’t know who the father is.”
“… that doesn’t make sense.”
“I know, but that’s Sans’s story and he’s sticking to it. And sadly, I don’t have any other details.”
Grillby dropped his face into his hands. Sans doesn’t have a partner… and everyone seemed intent on pairing them up.
“Well, can you blame us? Your crush has been really obvious for quite a while.” Scarlet gently patted his elbow.
Oh, Grillby hadn’t realized he’d said that out loud.
“Sorry, I don’t have any other information for you, that really is all I know. I’ll bet some of his other friends know more, I hear he’s really close to the queen.”
Grillby nodded, that explained her showing up with a pie. Then he shook his head, “… I should be asking Sans about this, if anyone.”
“Yes! You should definitely talk to Sans.” Scarlet grinned and gave him two thumbs up.
Grillby pulled out his phone and brought up the number he’d been given by Papyrus. It didn’t take long to write a text and send it off.
*Papyrus, could you give me your brother’s contact info please?
Grillby put his phone back away and was about to ask Scarlet what they wanted to order when his phone started ringing. He pulled it out and saw Papyrus’s name on the screen. He sighed, he was not ready to deal with someone as energetic as Papyrus right now. He accepted the call anyway and propped the phone to his head with his shoulder as he started digging for a pen and paper.
“… hello, Papyrus.”
“hey, so i think you got the wrong brother, or maybe the right one?”
Scarlet gasped and covered their beak with both wings.
“yup, that’s me. this grillby?”
“… oh uh… yes, yes this is Grillby.” He shifted so he was holding the phone in a more comfortable position.
“cool, so you got my number already, i’m guessing papyrus gave it to you at some point.”
“… when I was invited over. I thought he gave me his number.”
Scarlet was giggling, the sound muffled by their wings.
“alright, so i’m guessing you wanted my number for a reason.”
“… yes, I uh… that is… I was hoping to speak with you. Privately.”
“ah, no need for an audience. well you’re in luck, they’re both out at work today and i’m home by myself. you can come over if you want.”
“… today? As in… right now?”
“or any time before five.”
“… I’m sorry but I can’t today, Davis called in sick and I had to cover their shift.”
“It’s okay boss, we’ll be fine without you today.”
Grillby looked up to see Penelope, the scheduled cook for the morning shift, stand there with a flaming grin on her face. She bounced happily in place as she continued, “Arktos will be here soon so I won’t be alone long, and it’s the slowest day of the week.”
Grillby sighed, that wasn’t entirely true, yesterday had been the slowest, but it was close enough.
“You should go talk to him, who knows when you’ll get another chance?” Scarlet encouraged with a double thumbs up.
“hey uh...” Sans asked uneasily, “you okay on your end? what’s going on?”
“… I’m being ganged up on.”
“more well-meaning invasive questions?”
“… something like that.” Both Penelope and Scarlet were making various motions at him. “… I’m being encourage to talk to you right now.”
“well if you want to, if you can’t manage it we can always arrange something else.”
“… I think now would be best. I’ll be over shortly.”
Penelope and Scarlet both squealed.
“okay, looking forward to it.”
Grillby ended the call and was about to put his phone away again when he stopped and looked down at it. He’s looking forward to seeing him. Grillby shook his head, don’t think about it too hard. He put his phone away, then pointed a finger at Penelope. “… do not touch the thermostat.”
Penelope sighed, “I know, I know.”
“… okay, I’m trusting you and Arktos.”
“They’ll be fine, get going!” Scarlet made shooing motions at Grillby. “Sans is waiting.”
All too soon Grillby was knocking on Sans’s door. Somehow he hadn’t figured out what exactly to say on the trip over. Sans answered the door, he looked tired despite the smile spreading across his face.
“hey, c’mon in.” Sans shuffled slowly into the living room, Grillby shut the door behind him and followed. Sans flopped onto the couch and sprawled out with a grunt while Grillby took the armchair. “so, what’d you want to talk about?”
Grillby took a deep breath as he tried to gather his thoughts, “… I wanted to clear up a misunderstanding.”
“… when I first found out you were having a baby I assumed you had a partner.” A gross understatement, but close enough to the truth. Grillby could feel guilty about lying later.
“oh.” Sans seemed to deflate into the couch.
“… Scarlet just told me that… that you don’t know who the father is.” Grillby felt his core warm, he could only be grateful that the bright, sunny day would drown out his glowing blush.
“yeah i uh… look it’s just… ugh, this is so embarrassing.” Sans hid his face behind his hands.
“… I can understand if you don’t want to talk about it, but I just… that is… when um…” Grillby grew warmer and warmer, his flames flickering erratically.
Sans peeked between his fingers at the brightly glowing fire elemental. “you okay there, grillby?”
“… do you know when it happened?”
Sans sighed, then started shifting on the couch. Grillby got up to help him but Sans waved him off. Once sitting mostly upright with one leg stretched out before him on the couch and the other hanging off, Sans sighed heavily. “yeah, i know exactly when it happened. i was having a really tough time and decided the best thing to do was unwind a little, but your place was closed.” Grillby’s core went cold, his flames dimmed and died down. “so i went to an old watering hole i used to visit back in new home and uh… made some bad decisions. that led to more bad decisions. and woke up the next morning with half my memories missing and the worst hangover i’ve ever had.”
“… my restaurant was closed? For a funeral?”
“yeah, an aunt or something i think.”
“… oh.” Grillby fidgeted where he stood, unsure what to do with all the energy suddenly swirling through him.
“oh what? grillby?” Sans struggled to sit up a bit straighter.
Grillby stepped over to the couch and leaned down to gently hold Sans’s face between his hands, then kissed him. Sans braced himself with one hand on the couch, the other latched onto Grillby’s shirt and clung for dear life. Grillby pulled back, though his hands stayed right where they were, his thumbs gently brushing Sans’s cheekbones. He was about to say something but Sans threw an arm around Grillby’s neck and pulled him back in for another, deeper kiss.
Sans grunted and let Grillby go, who backed off a little. “… sorry, I should have asked first or…”
“no, not your fault. the kid’s just really jumping around in there.” Sans rubbed his belly in an attempt to soothe the baby.
Grillby realized his back was protesting being stuck at such an awkward angle for so long and sat himself on the edge of the couch, then cupped Sans’s face in one hand. “… I had no idea you felt that way about me too.”
“felt what-” Sans’s eye lights flickered and went out, then came back twice as large. He put a hand over his teeth, muffling his next words. “no way, you?”
Grillby nodded, his flames tinged yellow in embarrassment. “… after Aunt Barbie’s dust was spread we had a… a party of a sort. A remembrance party? I had a little too much to drink and woke up the next morning at home, I never did figure out how that happened.”
Sans nodded, he looked as if he might say something but didn’t interrupt.
“… I thought I had dreamed or fantasized that I ran into you and we… um…”
Sans laughed then, “and here i thought i had already talked to you about this.” Sans motioned to his huge belly.
Grillby frowned, “… when? I don’t remember you saying anything about a baby.”
“that’s because i was too embarrassed and asked if you had visited any bars while you were visiting your family. that’s what i ended up doing, going on a tour of all the bars in new home.”
“… oh my, that’s quite a few bars. And of course I hadn’t visited any bars, and was too embarrassed myself to ask if we had run into each other.”
“i wouldn’t have remembered anyway, the end of the night is just gone.”
“… that’s terrible.”
“eh, my own fault for being an idiot.” Sans waved off Grillby’s concerns. “besides, that was months ago now, we got bigger things to worry about.” He gently laid a hand on his belly.
“… can I feel? Are they still kicking?”
“go for it, they’re your kid.” Sans pulled up his shirt to reveal a smooth expanse of ghostly flesh. Grillby put both hands gently on either side and waited a moment, then let out the most adorable squeak when he felt the baby kick. “heh, i guess they really like you.”
“… this is… I can’t… Sans you’re just… just so amazing.” Grillby shifted so he could kiss Sans again, one hand staying on the other’s belly.
Scarlet was sitting at the bar, grinning broadly as another of the old regulars from the Underground walked in. Behind the bar Penelope Pyrope was grinning just as broadly as she bounced in place. The restaurant had way more people than usual, but since most of them seemed more interested in gossip than ordering, the employees seemed just fine with it.
“Is Grillby here?” Fischer asked as he approached the bar.
“No, today’s his day off,” Penelope said happily. “He did stop by though, he told Scarlet about the dinner.”
Fischer turned his attention to Scarlet, “I saw Papyrus’s post, did the dinner go that badly?”
“The only thing Grillby told me was that he had a long day and had to leave early.”
“Drat! I was really hoping they would finally get together.”
“Oh, I think there’s still hope.” Scarlet held out a wing and looked at it like a human inspecting their nails. “Did you know he didn’t know Sans doesn’t have a partner?”
Fischer sat on the bar stool next to Scarlet and leaned in closer. “No! He really had no idea?”
“He asked me about it, so I told him everything I knew.”
“Poor guy, he must have been heartbroken for a while then. But how in the world did he not know?”
Scarlet shrugged, “We didn’t get around to that part. But you’ll never guess what happened after that.”
Fischer leaned in all the closer and nodded for Scarlet to continue, but it was Penelope who excitedly told the next part. “Grillby left to go talk to Sans. ALONE.” She somehow managed to waggle eyebrows she didn’t have.
Both Scarlet and Penelope nodded.
“Hot damn! With any luck they’ll be an official couple before the baby’s born and I don’t lose 50G.”
“We’re all hoping he’ll stop in to check on the restaurant before going home.” Scarlet motioned to the clusters of monsters all chatting excitedly.
“How long has it been since he left?”
Penelope’s and Scarlet’s enthusiasm faded a little at that. “A couple hours,” Scarlet admitted.
“That’s either a really good sign or he went straight home.”
Fischer nodded, “I’m going to lean towards it being a good sign.”
There was a yelp from one of the clusters, followed by an excited shout, “Go check Papyrus’s profile!”
(You won’t believe your eyes!)
Everyone had their phones out and unlocked before you could blink. Papyrus had just shared a post from Dr. Gaster and captioned it with a great many exclamation points and various happy faces. The post was a selfie the doctor had taken. In his own home. With the couch featured prominently in the background. With Sans and Grillby sound asleep on it while cuddling.
The restaurant erupted into loud cheering.
“Is it official? Are they dating?”
“It doesn’t say, but probably!”
“Do you think he’s the father?”
(We may have to wait until the baby’s born to find out.)
“Either way it’s about time those two sappy idiots finally talked!”