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Souls of a Kind

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     It's been two months since the barrier was broken by a human child. Kiandra had been in the observatory when she felt the magic wash over her as Monsters were finally freed after being exiled to the underground for millennia. As her own magic responded, feelings of joy filled her, she was no longer alone in the world of humans. Her happiness, though, had turned to ire since then as she watched the human government delay and outright deny Monsters from assimilating into society. Perhaps it was because of her own inhuman nature that spurred her on, but she could no longer stand by. No, she couldn't tolerate the acts of hatred and ignorance towards Monsters anymore. They deserved the same rights and freedoms as humans, and she would ensure they received them. She had contacts in the government, people who wouldn't be where they are without her generous donations. It was time to remind them of the promises they made in exchange for those donations.

     "William!" She called out to the gardens. "Something has come up that needs my attention. Can you get the car ready please?"
     “Aye, Ma'am." An aged gentleman responded as he stood up from a bed of flowers.

    The look on her face as he walked past her to the garage told him everything he needed to know. She wasn't one for many words, and after 60 years under her employment, he knew not to pry. He pulled the car up and opened the passenger door for her, noting the hardness in her eyes as she directed him to take her to the office.

     Kiandra stared lost in thought at the passing landscapes as they drove to the city from her secluded home at the base of Mt. Ebott before turning her attention to the man behind the wheel. He has worked as her butler since she found him panhandling outside her office all those years ago. She trusted him and often sought his counsel on issues.

     "What is your opinion on Monsters?" she inquired.
He glanced at her through the rearview mirror before returning his gaze back to the road.
     "I view Monsters as no different from you, or any other person, Ma'am. I can understand where others would be afraid of them, but I personally see them as people."
She nodded, seemingly satisfied with his answer.
     "I'm going to help them get the rights and freedoms that belong to them. I disagree with the government keeping them locked up in the underground like it's an internment camp while they mill about pretending to be working on integrating Monsters."

     They had arrived at the office, a tall building in the business district of Ebott City that housed the headquarters for Bryne Industries. She could feel eyes on her as she made her way to the top floor. It was a rare occasion for her to make an appearance at headquarters. She disliked appearing in public and most day to day operations could be taken care of by her corporate managers. This endeavor wasn't something her team could handle without her through, so here she was in a conference call with several government officials, all of whom she had funded in their campaigns.

     "I understand the need to protect civilians gentlemen, however. Your claims that Monsters are dangerous are ludicrous. If there was any reason to believe that Monsters were truly dangerous then why has the human child been allowed to stay in the custody of their queen?" she stated. "Simply put, your claims are unfounded and a sad excuse to deny a group of people basic rights. Monsters have done nothing to show they are dangerous. Their own king came forth unarmed and unprotected, asking for peace and you turned him away." 

     She was annoyed. Their ignorance was trying her patience, but she needed their cooperation.
     "What are you proposing Ms. Bryne? That we allow these Monsters into society when we know nothing about their intentions or who they are? We can't even guarantee that they will contribute to society should we grant them citizenship."
"Not to mention the risk we take to our careers should we go through with this and the Monsters turn out to be uncivilized savages."

     With that remark, she sighed and dipped her head down for a moment in exasperation.
     "May I remind you, seeing as how you are so concerned about your careers, who put you in those careers in the first place. I would hate to have to withdraw such valuable support from your campaigns come next election. As for what I am proposing gentlemen, Bryne Industries will assume all responsibility in the integration of Monsters into society. My company is fully capable of the task, and I already have teams on standby to begin work."
     "You can't possibly think to pull this off, Ms. Bryne. To try to bully government officials into doing what you want, You don't have the authority..."
"Unfortunately for you, I do have the authority or have you conveniently forgotten the details of the agreement each one of you signed in exchange for my financial backing. I'm a businesswoman, I never make deals that don't benefit me."
     "None of us have forgotten our agreements, Ms. Bryne. If Bryne Industries is willing to take on the risk of handling the situation with the Monsters, then I think we can reconsider their citizenship."

     There was a pause and a murmur of low voices as the men discussed things amongst themselves before the conversation continued.
     "We want it understood though, Ms. Bryne, that this support for Monsters gaining citizenship is contingent on positive Human-Monster relations. Monsters must contribute to society in a meaningful way."
     She glared at the phone as her tone dropped, "I can assure you that won't be an issue, gentlemen. My people have already started adding programs to our charity foundation aimed at Human-Monster relations. I will expect confirmation of Monster citizenship by the end of the week."
      With that she ended the call and leaned back, they weren't very willing, but they had agreed to give Monsters their rights.    

     She would call a meeting for the next day to discuss what she wanted to be done, but for now, she needed to know what problems existed with monsters joining society and how best to address them. A quick request over the intercom to her secretary and a few moments later the person she had called for had entered the office.

     "Adam, I'm sending you to the underground. As Lead over the survey team, you're the most qualified to gather information from the Monsters. Also, I need you to send a team to the city hall to gather information on any problems people may have about monsters." She handed him a document with her signature. "This will get you past the military posted at the barrier, I need the reports on my desk by tomorrow morning, so please handle the tasks with urgency."

     He nodded and took his leave, assuring her that the reports would be completed. Her management team was already set to overseeing the addition of the new programs to the Foundation. They were aimed at helping Monsters adjust to surface life, and once monsters were allowed past the barrier, she could enlist their aid in designing programs to teach humans about monster culture.

     Without those reports or confirmation from the officials she was at the end of what she could accomplish that day, she had spent a large portion of her time arguing over the phone for Monster rights. She was exhausted, and she had not fed in a while, she could feel the strain of it on her soul. She needed to get home soon. Pulling out her cell she dialed William's number, calling him back to the office. He had stayed in town saying he needed to run a few errands so he would be close at hand when she was ready to return home.

     William pulled up just as she exited the building. Kiandra sighed in relief as he helped her into the car and started home. She could relax now that she was away from so many people and unable to smell the many anmain surrounding her.
Once home, she disappeared to the sub-basement, only emerging once the sun rose the next day to return to the office and the waiting reports on her desk as promised by Adam, she scoffed as she read them. The most prominent complaint from the City Hall was housing and employment. Nobody wanted to employ monsters, and the mayor claimed it was financially impossible for the city to build houses to accommodate the various Monsters needs.

     The complaints from the reports were trivial, she owned a construction business, and it would be child's play for them to build a community for Monsters. As for jobs, she would have no problem placing Monsters throughout her businesses, she owned several and could start more if needed. After all, money was not an issue for her. Other than those two main complaints most of the report detailed petty fears and misunderstandings that could be addressed with those learning about the monster culture.
The report from the Monsters didn't contain many complaints or problems, only a desire for a chance to prove they merely wanted to live peacefully in tandem with humans, and a message from the queen confirming that she would be delighted to assist in teaching humans about her people. For the most part, the Monsters seemed genuinely positive about acclimating to the surface.

     Armed with the reports, Kiandra called a meeting and directed the leads of the construction teams to go to the underground and draw up plans for a monster friendly community and recruit monsters for the project. Renovations would begin immediately in the new district Bryne Industries had recently acquired, and by the end of the week, any recruited Monster would be able to join the project and help speed construction along. With the aid of magic, she expected the district to be ready for Monsters to move into within a few months.

     She went over a few more topics concerning Monsters coming to the surface and reminded her staff that she expected professionalism when interacting with Monsters as she would not tolerate racism in her company. The meeting ended with affirmations from the department heads that everyone associated with Bryne Industries would conduct themselves accordingly to Corporate policy. She returned to her office to write out the paperwork needed for the construction leads to pass the barrier into the Underground and check her inbox. There was a government email waiting for her stating that Monsters have been granted full rights as civilians and the decision will be made public within the next week. As she read the email, she became filled with determination.

Chapter Text

     Sans woke with a start drenched and shaking, the dream had felt so real, he could still feel the flames licking at his bones. Every night he'd had the same dream. Since the barrier had been broken, the dreams were of flames all around him, a searing pain through his body and a strange crystalline Soul that seemed to call out to him. He would try to reach that strange Soul but the dream would always end and he would wake up before he could reach it.

     Swinging his legs over the edge of the mattress he ran his hand over his skull and stood up woozily, his stomach threatening to rebel. Fuck! The light seemed too bright. He needed a shower to collect himself before facing the day.

     Feeling slightly calmer, he pulled his hoodie on as he walked down the stairs to the kitchen where he could hear Papyrus enthusiastically cooking breakfast. The dream still in the back of his mind, he rummaged through the fridge for a bottle of ketchup. He'd just found the ketchup and lifted it to take a swig when the bottle was snatched from his hands. Surprised, he turned to see his brother glaring at him.

     “SANS,” Papyrus exclaimed, “WERE YOU EVEN LISTENING? AND STOP DRINKING KETCHUP, IT’S NOT HEALTHY.”

     “uh, heh sorry paps,” Sans responded with a sheepish grin, “guess i was caught up in my thoughts, i’m listening now.”

     “WELL, AS I WAS SAYING, THERE HAVE BEEN HUMANS IN THE UNDERGROUND LATELY. UNDYNE SAYS THAT THEY ARE HERE TO QUESTION EVERYONE ABOUT GOING TO THE SURFACE.”

     Papyrus sat the bottle down and looked at Sans with hope in his eyes, “DO YOU THINK THAT THIS MEANS THE HUMANS ARE GOING TO LET US OUT OF THE UNDERGROUND NOW, BROTHER? UNDYNE SAID THE QUESTIONS ARE ABOUT HOUSING AND SPECIAL NEEDS, THAT MUST MEAN THEY ARE GOING TO LET US ON THE SURFACE, RIGHT SANS?”

     Sans looked down not wanting his brother to see the bleak expression that passed over his face before quickly plastering a reassuring smile on and looking up, “maybe bro, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

     Papyrus perked up at his response “NYEH HEH HEH, THE GREAT PAPYRUS IS THE BEST AT PATIENCE, THE HUMANS ARE GOING TO LET US JOIN THE SURFACE, I JUST KNOW IT.”

     With a flourish, he turned back to his cooking, “WILL YOU BE JOINING ME FOR BREAKFAST SANS, YOU HAVEN’T BEEN EATING WELL LATELY.”

     Picking up the bottle of ketchup and finally taking a swig, much to Papyrus’ disgust, Sans shook his head. “actually i’ll have to ketchup with you later bro, i’m going to see toriel and frisk today.”

     Laughing as Papyrus looked at him in exasperation, he focused his magic and shortcutted his way to New Home before Papyrus could reprimand him. Toriel and Frisk had moved to the capital after Toriel had agreed to co-rule with Asgore, the agreement had actually been insisted upon by Frisk. Sans snickered, the kid had teamed up with Flowey and the two were attempting to get the King and Queen back together. He found the whole thing hilarious and would occasionally assist them in their ploys.

     Before he could knock the door was thrown open, and Frisk bowled him over, with an excited Toriel following behind.

     “Greetings Sans, We saw you come up, Frisk has been eagerly waiting at the window for you all morning.”

     “Sans, Sans, have you heard!” Frisk was nearly bouncing in their excitement, “We’re gonna get to go to the surface soon. They’re letting us past the barrier!”

     Sans turned from Frisk to Toriel with a look of inquiry. “is that so, what makes you think that, kiddo?”

     Frisk beamed at him. “The people brought the news with them yesterday. They’re building a community for us on the surface.”

     “The humans that have been visiting the Underground are representatives of a large company on the surface. Apparently, the owner of this company has decided to act as a benefactor for all Monsterkind and has succeeded in convincing the human government to grant our citizenship and rights. They are also commissioning a Monster district to be built in Ebott City to accommodate Monsters.” Toriel explained seeing the small glint of skepticism in Sans’ face.

     “Please come inside, Asgore and I were hoping to discuss a matter with you while you were here.”  She stepped aside in invitation as Frisk, still bouncing in excitement, all but dragged Sans through the door. With a quick word, Toriel sent Frisk off to play and beckoned Sans to follow her.

     “so is it real then? they’re gonna let us up on the surface after keeping us trapped down here for two months.” Sans looked at Toriel as they walked to the study, “sorry tori, it’s just a little hard to believe after everything we’ve been through.”

     “I understand, Asgore and I have the documents officiating the citizenship and rights to Monsters. As well as a letter stating the plans of this benefactor, a few monsters have already gone to the surface to aid in the construction of this district.”

     Asgore rose up from the desk as they entered the room, “Howdy Sans, I’m sure Tori has told you the good news.”

     “ya, she told me. also told me that the two of you wanted to talk to me about something?”

     Sans had to admit, he was curious about what they wanted to discuss, Toriel had not given any clues as to what it could be, except he could tell from her body language that it seemed to be important.

     “Yes, I remember at one time you were quite passionate about the work you did for the royal lab, and you are one of few Monsters left with a degree in science. Toriel and I wanted to know if you would be interested in working alongside Alphys in combining Monster technology with Human technology.”

     Sans looked at Asgore with widened sockets. Asgore’s words had caught him off-guard and he searched for something to say. He had walked away from that part of his life and hadn’t looked back, not since...

     Asgore raised his hand, staying Sans’ thoughts, “I can understand if you’re not interested. I know the accident was hard on you in particular, He was a good man and a good father. In the event that you are interested, it would be greatly appreciated by Toriel and myself, we believe this endeavor will go a long way in showing our goodwill towards the Humans.”

     Eventually, he accepted Asgore’s offer to resume his role as a royal scientist. He hadn’t planned on taking the job, but in the end, after mulling over things in his head, he accepted. With the barrier broken, there wasn’t a need for sentries anymore, and he and Papyrus needed a way to support themselves.

     Almost immediately after informing Asgore and Toriel of his decision they sent a letter requesting a meeting with the strange benefactor, who had not only agreed to the meeting, much to the surprise of the humans but was also sending transportation for them. Frisk had insisted on Sans being present at the meeting, which is how Sans had found himself in a limo with the royal family studying their human chaperone.

     His curiosity was getting to him. He wanted to know what sort of person this benefactor was. “so what’s this boss of yours like? who are they?”

     They looked at him nervously, guess they weren’t expecting to be talked to, Sans mused to himself.

     “Well truth be told, I couldn’t really tell you, I’ve never met her. Ms. Bryne is a very private person, not many people can say they’ve met her. But, I know she’s started several charities around the city, so I suppose you could say she’s a good person.”

     They didn’t offer up any more information after that and after seeing their eyes dart from him to Asgore with a hint of fear, Sans decided they were too stressed to handle being questioned and left them alone. He didn’t feel like he should be worried about meeting Ms. Bryne as the human had called her. He would find out soon enough if she was a good person, since the driver called back just then to inform them they were pulling up to the building.

     Their chaperone escorted them to a formal conference room before excusing themselves and leaving. Looking around, Sans was momentarily amused by Asgore attempting to fit his large frame in the smaller chair when the most alluring voice he’d ever heard captured his attention.

     “Welcome to Bryne Industries, I trust the drive was pleasant. My name is Kiandra Bryne, It’s nice to meet you all.”

     It seemed like the entire room held their breath as she walked to the front of the room. Sans felt a strange sense of deja vu even though he knew he’d never met her before. He was so distracted by his own thoughts, it took him several minutes to realize the meeting was underway and everyone was looking at him, waiting for his response to a question he had not heard. He cursed himself for allowing his mind to get caught up on the peculiar familiarity towards the woman as Asgore restated the earlier question.

     “I was saying, I think you would be best suited to take the lead of the project from the surface, wouldn’t you agree, Sans?

     “yes, it makes sense to have a monster handle monster technology. my colleague, Alphys, is already set up to handle things in the underground to liaison with.”

     “Then it’s settled,” Kiandra said with a smile. “In fact, I would be happy to accommodate the project in my own labs, I think you’ll find them more than adequate for your needs.”

     A male Sans hadn’t realized was in the room leaned towards Kiandra and whispered, “Ms. Bryne are you sure you want to give the Monsters access to our labs.”

     Sans snorted, thinking, this guy obviously has no idea just how good Monster hearing is. Obviously, hearing his snort, the male frowned at him and sneered.

     “I can assure you Sans is imminently qualified,” Asgore growled, clearly insulted. “Our own technology is comparable to that of the Humans, if not surpassing it.' Frisk looked confused as Toriel cleared her throat and gave Asgore a warning glare.

     Kiandra directed a quelling look at the male. “I believe I’ve made my wishes clear concerning the integration of Monsters into human society, Mr. Grell.”

     Mr. Grell sat up straight, gave her an uneasy look, and said, “Of course, Ma’am.”  

     Sans chuckled. “i’ll see your little old mba and raise you three of my phds, grelly. oh, what the hell! i’ve got enough to spare. how about i raise you four?” He leaned back in his seat and tapped the table with a single phalange. “your play.”

     Mr. Grell stiffened but didn’t respond. If Sans hadn’t been watching he would have missed the slight upturn of Kiandra’s lips before she regained her composure.

Chapter Text

     Papyrus will be overjoyed, Sans thought on the drive back to the Underground. He was right, they were going to the surface. After the meeting had concluded, Kiandra had made arrangements for Sans and Papyrus to move into a company apartment so the project could begin immediately. He had made it a stipulation that if he was coming up to the surface, then his brother would be as well.

     “wherever i go, papyrus goes too,” he had told them.

     Kiandra truly had smiled at that and assured him that the apartment would be for both him and his brother.

     His thoughts drifted to Kiandra, the sense of familiarity still persisted though try as he might he couldn’t place her. This was the first time they had made it to the surface, he remembered every reset so that fact he was certain of. He felt a need to know more about her. He could tell the front she put up during the meeting was rehearsed, a composed business-only mask, but that smile…that small smile she had let slip at his bad poker pun...he’d like to see more of that smile.

     He was jolted back to reality by Asgore placing a hand on his shoulder and telling him they had reached the entrance to the Underground. He had been so wrapped up in his mind he hadn’t realized the limo had come to a stop. Quickly recovering from the initial jolt, he exited the vehicle and followed the royal family down through the throne room before parting ways, saying Papyrus most likely had dinner waiting and would want to know the good news.

     As expected, Papyrus had been ecstatic and was now rushing through the house in a flurry of packing their belongings. He’d been that way since Sans had come home and told him that they would be moving to the surface. Sans was, for his part, lazily using blue magic to move the packed boxes out of the way from his spot on the couch. He wasn’t concerned with packing, the project wasn’t set to start until the next week and Kiandra had told him the apartment would be fully furnished. As far as he was concerned, they could leave everything they didn’t immediately need for now and retrieve it once they had found a permanent residence to move into on the surface.

     Papyrus came into the room and frowned just as Sans got the space cleared and reclined back on the couch and closed his eye sockets.

     “SANS, YOU LAZY BONES, YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE PACKING YOUR ROOM, NOT LAZING ABOUT ON THE COUCH. HONESTLY, SANS, HOW ARE WE GOING TO MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION ON THE HUMANS WITH YOUR LAZINESS.”

     “aw, come on paps there’s no need to jump my backbone , we’re not due to start moving into the apartment til to- marrow ,” Sans snickered, his smile widening as he continued. “besides i’ve cont rib uted. all the packed boxes are stacked by the door, ready to go.

     Papyrus stomped his foot and shook his fist at Sans in frustration, “NYOOH, THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE AND I REFUSE TO ALLOW YOUR HORRIBLE PUNS  TO RUIN IT. WE’RE GOING TO THE SURFACE AND I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, SHALL FINALLY GET TO ACHIEVE MY DREAM OF DRIVING A CAR DOWN A HIGHWAY AND FEELING THE WIND IN MY HAIR, NYEH HEH HEH HEH.” Papyrus beamed before leaning over and tossing Sans over his shoulder and bounding up the stairs to plop Sans in his room.

     “THERE, I HAVE BROUGHT YOU TO YOUR ROOM, SO YOU CAN STARTING PACKING.”

     “ok,” Sans smirked as he sat down on his mattress.

     “SANS, I MEAN IT. I WILL NOT PACK YOUR ROOM FOR YOU.”

     “ok,” Sans smirked again as Papyrus threw his hands up and spun out of the room.

     He laughed to himself as he listened to Papyrus bustle around his room, no doubt packing the collection of assorted action figures Sans had made for him. Papyrus may have been exasperated with his antics, but Sans could tell he was excited nevertheless and seeing his bro happy made him happy.

     Sans looked around his messy room as he unceremoniously dumped the few possessions he cared to take with him into a box and taped it shut, he felt excited to be going, yet there was melancholy, too. They’d been here so long, waiting and hoping, it was kind of sad to be leaving. The underground had been the only home he and Papyrus had ever known.

     After a while, Papyrus settled down and stated he wanted to go to bed. Sans obliged him with the requested bedtime story and afterward headed to his own bed. Knowing Papyrus’ excitement and energy levels, tomorrow would be a busy day. Sans hoped that, for this night, he would be spared from his recurrent nightmare of burning flames, he needed a good night’s sleep if he was going to keep up with the younger skeleton.

     He had no such luck.

     Waking up in yet another puddle of sweat, he grumbled to himself and shuffled to the shower. The same nightmare had plagued him again. This time, as the flames engulfed him he could hear screams. They filled him with unbridled terror and seemed to originate from the Soul pulsing in the midst of the flames. Shuddering, he pushed the memory of the nightmare to the back of his mind and stepped out of the shower.

     Still grumbling over the restless night, he trudged down the stairs to find Undyne and Alphys in the living room with Papyrus. Alphys held two cellphones in her hands and upon seeing Sans, handed one to him before turning to Papyrus and handing the other to him.

     “H-Hi Sans, Asgore t-told me th-that you were g-going to b-be leading th-the project from the s-surface… s-so I took the liberty of b-building these ph-phones for you, I b-based them off of the ph-phones the hu-humans had so they should b-be compatible with the technology on the s-surface.”

     Sans looked through the phone’s menu as Alphys continued with her explanation.

     “You’ll b-be able to connect with b-both the UnderNet and the human internet, as w-well as make and receive c-calls and texts from m-monster and hu-human phones. I-I also upgraded the d-dimensional boxes to have a combined storage ca-capacity of thirty so b-between the two of y-you, you’ll b-be able to c-carry a t-total of sixty items. I-I figured that would make mo-moving easier for you.”

     “WOWIE, A COOL PHONE FOR A COOL GUY! THANK YOU ALPHYS! NYEH HEH HEH HEH!” Papyrus exclaimed excitedly as Alphys blushed, clearly embarrassed by the praise.

     “ya, alph this is really cool, but i’m assuming the two of you didn’t come over just to give us new phones.”

     Undyne grasped Alphys around the shoulders and beamed at the skeleton brothers,

     “Fufufufu, Nah. We came to give you two nerds a proper send-off before you headed up to the surface. Alphys just wanted to give you those phones and go over some nerd stuff with you while we were here.”

     With that she broke away from Alphys and dragged Papyrus to the stack of boxes, the latter opening a dimensional box from his phone, and the two began working to store the stack into the phone, leaving Sans and Alphys to talk business.

     A short time later, Sans stood next to Papyrus looking up at the apartment building. Under normal circumstances, he would have shortcutted them directly to the apartment, but his shortcuts only worked if he knew the coordinates of his destination and could mentally see where he wanted to go. However, since he was unfamiliar with the surface, they had been driven to the apartment by a company vehicle and now here they stood. The realization that they had finally made it out of the Underground; that they were on the surface, hitting them fully as the brothers gazed up at the building. Sans noted that for the first time his brother seemed to be at a loss for words and had indeed been silent most the drive in a state of wonder taking in all the new sights and sounds of the surface. Sans chuckled softly to himself before patting Papyrus’ back and leading him inside.

     The lady at the front desk glanced up at them with a bored expression before doing a double take, eyes widening as the two Monsters walked up to her.

     “heya, i’m sans, there were arrangements made for my bro and me to have an apartment here.”

     “Oh… uh… um,” The lady looked flustered as she searched through the paperwork on her desk,

     “Oh, yes, um Ms. Bryne made the arrangements for a two bedroom. Everything is in order and the apartment is move in ready, so…” she held out a set of keys to him, replacing her flustered expression with a professional smile, “Your apartment is on the second floor, Apartment 237B. If you take the elevator it will be to your right, down the hall, on the left-hand side.”

     Sans took the keys and thanked the lady before heading towards the elevator, with Papyrus following behind him. Following the lady’s directions, they found the apartment and unlocked the door. Entering the living room of the apartment, they could see it was decent sized with the living room leading into the kitchen and bedrooms off to the sides. As promised, the apartment was fully furnished with modest furniture. Surveying the apartment, Papyrus finally found his voice,

     “THIS IS AMAZING SANS! A FEW FINISHING TOUCHES ON THE DECOR FROM THE GREAT PAPYRUS, THIS WILL MAKE A FINE HOME FOR US. AND WITH SO MANY PEOPLE AROUND US, I’M SURE TO MAKE A GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION AS THE MASCOT OF MONSTERKIND, NYEH HEH HEH!! I KNEW WE WOULD MAKE IT TO THE SURFACE SANS. I KNEW IT!!”

     “it is a pretty knee -t place bro, you could even say it’s a fibula -ous place since we got it for a flat rate.”

     “SANS NO, DON’T YOU DARE CORRUPT OUR NEW HOME WITH YOUR HORRIBLE PUNS!!”

     “i can’t help it bro, i’m just so over joy-nt about being here. besides, i know you find my puns humerus , ulna ’t be able to fool me, i know the tooth .”

     “SANS!!” Papyrus fumed before turning away as his brother grinned up at him.

     After calming Papyrus down and claiming their respective rooms they started pulling boxes out of the dimensional storage, unpacking, and putting away their belongings. It didn’t take long to familiarize themselves with the apartment’s amenities. Papyrus eventually moved on to set up his room, but just as Sans made to slouch down onto the couch and relax there was a knock on the front door.

Chapter Text

     Kiandra stared at the slate-colored door and smiled to herself as she listened to the commotion on the other side. She could hear Sans’ baritone voice call out to Papyrus, followed by rapid footsteps and a louder excited response,

     “SANS, YOU LAZY BONES, YOU ARE CLOSER TO THE DOOR THAN I AM. NEVERTHELESS, I, SHALL OPEN THE DOOR AND WELCOME OUR FIRST VISITOR!”

     Suddenly the door swung open and she found herself face to sternum with an excited skeleton. To say that Papyrus was tall would be an understatement, he towered over her much shorter 5’5” frame. Tipping her head back to see his face, she was greeted with a warm welcoming smile that immediately put her at ease. She found herself uncharacteristically returning the smile as she introduced herself.

     “Hello, I’m Kiandra, you must be Sans’ brother Papyrus.”

     Papyrus gasped and briefly turned to Sans who was reclining on the couch before turning back to usher her into the apartment while exuberantly exclaiming, “SANS LOOK, A HUMAN HAS COME TO SEE US! AND SHE KNOWS MY NAME, MY GREATNESS MUST HAVE PRECEDED US! I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, SHALL PREPARE MY FAMOUS FRIENDSHIP SPAGHETTI IN CELEBRATION OF YOUR VISIT, HUMAN KIANDRA!”

     “Oh, no, no, please,” she protested, automatically putting her hands up to stop him. “There’s no need to trouble yourself, I have to adhere to a specialized diet for my health. I came by to make sure you were settling in fine and see if the apartment was adequate for your needs.”

     Seeing Papyrus’ crestfallen expression, she rushed to placate him saying, “it’s truly a wonderful offer, and I do appreciate the gesture. Actually, I brought something for the two of you.

     Kiandra pulled out two plastic cards from the small satchel at her hip and held them up for the brothers to see,

     “These are debit cards, you can use them to pay for goods and services on the surface. I opened a bank account for the two of you, today, and these cards are connected to it. When you make a purchase just swipe the card at the register and the money will come directly out of that account.”

     She smiled again as Papyrus’ face lit up in awe as she handed him the card, before directing her attention to Sans who had joined his brother's side. Her smile softened as she saw the fondness in his expression as he watched his brother’s joyful reaction. Now that he was standing, she could see that while he was nowhere near the same impressive height of Papyrus he was still taller than her by a few inches even with the decided slouch in his shoulders.

     After Papyrus had excused himself and rushed off to his room, loudly stating that he wanted to call someone named Undyne and tell her about the debit cards, Sans turned his gaze to her.

     “hey there, i didn’t expect to see you again so soon.”

     “I instructed the apartment manager to inform me as soon as you arrived. I wanted to make sure you got these cards quickly in case you needed to purchase anything,” Kiandra explained as she offered the card to him.

     As he reached out to take it, his phalanges brushed against her hand. A small shock shot up her hand from the point of contact, so small she would have ignored it had she not seen the look of surprise on Sans’ face as his sockets widened.

     Releasing the card into Sans’ hand Kiandra drew her own hand back and quickly dismissed the electric jolt.

     “Sorry, I must have built up some static.”

     She could tell from his skeptical expression that he didn’t think it was a static shock, but thankfully he didn’t press the issue, instead reverting back to his easy smile and relaxed stance.

     “well, that was a shocking experience. way to get my bones wired up.” he joked.

     There was a shine in his eye lights that she knew wasn’t there before as he met her gaze. A light blush threatened to spread across her cheeks, but she was quick to push the feeling down, bringing back the soft smile with practiced ease.

     “I’ve been told I have that effect.” Kiandra chuckled ruefully. “I was thinking about our meeting, and I wanted to apologize for Mr. Grell’s unfortunate outburst. I thought I had made it abundantly clear amongst all my employees that I would not tolerate discrimination against Monsters. Rest assured it will not happen again.”

     “it’s not a problem.” Sans waved a hand negligently in the air. “ tibia honest, i kind of expected it. humans and monsters don’t exactly have the best history of getting along.”

     “Still, I want you to know that the incident will not occur again, not from any of my employees. I give you my word on that.” She paused, then added, “my goal is to improve relations between our races, and I won’t have employees contributing to the discrimination of Monsters.”

     “y’know, you’re one of the few humans i’ve met who readily accepts us monsters,” Sans remarked, tilting his skull to the side.

     “Why wouldn’t I accept you? You’re a person, just like me or anybody else. It doesn’t matter to me what your race is for me to accept you, only that you’re a good person.”

     “most humans are afraid of us,” he shrugged and sat back down on the couch, “they still talk about the old legends and monsters stealing souls. after the kid broke the barrier, my bro and i were among the first group of monsters to venture up to the surface. that first week, before we were confined to the underground again, very few humans would interact with us and those who did only did so to threaten us. it’s nice to find a human who’s kind like you.”

     Kiandra accepted San’s invitation to sit when he patted the cushion next to him. She found herself relaxing in his company. An unusual occurrence for her as she was normally quite reserved. She spent most days alone, with only her butler, William, as her unique nature made it difficult to keep company with others. Though she could still smell the skeleton’s ainim coursing through him, it was not as strong-scented as that of a human’s, nor did it provoke her need to feed.

     “thanks, by the way.”

     “Hmm?” She looked at him confused.

     “for the cards, and the way you handled my bro. paps is a cool guy, but some are turned off by how exuberant he is, so it really means a lot to me that you were kind to him.

     “Oh. You’re welcome,” Kiandra smiled sheepishly, “I must admit I normally don’t make social calls like this, but I’m glad I did. His smile and cheerful demeanor are rather infectious, and I wanted the chance to get to know you.”

     Her words caused a slight blush to stain his cheekbones, and he ran a nervous hand over the back of his skull. The blue tint of his blush caught her eye and she unconsciously leaned towards him to examine the glowing hue.

     “so uh, these cards, you said we can use them to pay for things?”

     Kiandra nodded and sat back up to see him staring at her, small beads of what appeared to be sweat forming on his skull.

     “Yes, the cards draw from funds in your account when used to make a payment. So as long as there is money in your account the card is good. When I opened the account I went ahead and deposited enough to get you through a few months so you wouldn’t need to worry about not having access to funds right away.”

     Still sweating, Sans flipped the card in his hand for a minute before reaching into the pocket of his hoodie, Kiandra watched with interest as he pulled out a gold coin and held it out to her. The coin glinted in the light as she took it from his hand careful to avoid accidentally touching him.

     “back in the underground, we use these gold coins as currency,” Sans said as Kiandra studied the coin.

     Weighing the coin in her hand she hummed in thought. “Gold is quite valuable on the surface. Depending on how much they have, if Monsters were to sell their gold, they could quite possibly be sitting on quite the fortune. In fact, I can make arrangements with the King and Queen for a team of trusted business associates to come and assist in the process of converting the gold to currency.

     “If you’d like, I could also help you and Papyrus sell the gold you have. Once it’s sold, we can add the money to your account as well,” she added and returned the coin to Sans.

     “heh sure, sounds like a golden plan,” Sans agreed, pocketing the coin and card and withdrew a bottle of ketchup.

     Kiandra eyed him with curiosity as he popped the lid off the bottle and took a drink.

     “I think that is the first time I have seen someone drink ketchup.”

     Sans chuckled as he took another drink, “yeah, it’s kinda my guilty pleasure. do ya wanna give it a try? it’s monster food so it shouldn't have adverse effects on your health.”

     “Thank you, but I think I’ll pass for now,” she declined with a shake of her head. “I don’t think I’d hear the end of it from my butler if I inadvertently risked my health, he’s forever watching out for me.”

     Checking her phone she stood up just as Papyrus reappeared from his room. “Speaking of my health, I should probably get going, it’s not wise for me to be out for so long.”

     “OH, ARE YOU LEAVING KIANDRA HUMAN?”

     “Yes, I need to get home, and I’m sure you’ll be wanting to begin cooking dinner soon.”

     “AH, YES IT IS TIME TO START COOKING DINNER. WELL, IT WAS NICE TO MEET YOU KIANDRA HUMAN. WILL WE SEE YOU AGAIN?”

     “Oh yes, You’ll be seeing me again. I enjoyed meeting you Papyrus, you are truly a great person.” Kiandra smiled as Papyrus beamed at her.

     As she turned to head to the door, Sans stepped around her to the door.

     “it was cool chatting with you, eye look forward to working on the project next week.”

     “It was a pleasure getting to know you as well, Sans. If there’s anything the two of you need, please don’t hesitate to call,” she said, handing him her business card with her personal number written on the back of it.

     Returning home, Kiandra thought about how the day had gone, the visit had left her with a feeling of belonging that she had not felt in a long time. She genuinely enjoyed meeting the skeleton brothers. She’d found Papyrus endearing and was intrigued by Sans. The shock that occurred when he touched her troubled her, however.

     Though she had dismissed it as static to Sans, she knew it was not and from his expression, it appeared he knew that as well. Her soul had responded to Sans and had she not already been restraining her magic the shock would have overwhelmed them both and revealed her secret to Sans. As it stood, she would have to watch her magic around Sans if she wished to keep him from learning the truth about her. This is going to be interesting, she thought to herself, their souls were connected, and that connection would only grow stronger as they spent more time together. Which, with the upcoming project, was inevitable.

Chapter Text

     Kiandra’s skin blistered as she struggled to free herself from the flames that lapped at her body. She could see shadowy figures through the flames, and she screamed at them to stop; pleaded with them to free her, but her pleas fell on deaf ears as malevolent chanting filled the air, mixing with the smoke. Horror-filled screams turned to howls of pain as she felt her soul being violently ripped from her body. The flames devoured her body, peeling away her flesh and boiling her blood.

     She bolted upright, gasping for breath as her magic heated the air around her. In her panicked state, the shadows at her windows resembled the figures from the dream and she unleashed a blast of flames at them. As the curtains were engulfed in the flames, the now illuminated bedroom brought clarity. Horrified she quickly extinguished the fire with a wave of her hand before too much damage occurred. She examined the scorch marks left on the wall in exasperation. The dream had felt so real — the pain, the flames — had felt so real, but she could see now that she was home in her bedroom.  

     Agitated, Kiandra left the room and crossed the hall seeking solace on the observatory’s balcony. Stepping out into the early morning air she took a deep breath. The morning breeze cooled her heated skin as it gently tousled her long hair. She brushed a strand from her face and leaned against the railing, looking out to the sunrise, the serenity of the morning calming her. Taking in the forest scenery around her, she reminded herself that she was safe and the past was many centuries behind her.

     She stayed up on the balcony through the morning finding comfort in the scents and sounds of the forest. Sometime later, she heard William knock on her bedroom door, no doubt bringing her the day’s reports. She called out to him stating where she was and waited for him to join her.

     “Ah, good morning Ms. Kiandra, did something happen last night, ma’am? I saw the curtains had been burned.”

     She turned to him and gave a mournful smile. “You saw that, huh?”

     “You left the door open, Ma’am. Are you alright?” William nodded, looking her over with concern.

     “I will be, yes. It was just a dream, a rather vivid dream, but just a dream,” she asserted, hugging herself as if she were trying to convince herself of the fact.

     “Ah, THAT dream.” William hummed in understanding, “It’s plaguing you again?”

     “Unfortunately.” Kiandra sighed. “I’m afraid we’ll be replacing the curtains again… My magic can be quite destructive during these dreams.”

     “Not to worry Ms. Kiandra, I’ll take care of it. A letter came this morning from the gold dealer you contacted last week concerning Mr. Sans’ gold.”

     William handed her the letter and then excused himself to tend to other tasks. Kiandra smiled as she read the letter and with one last look out to the forest, she turned to head back inside. Purposefully ignoring the remains of the curtains and the scorch marks, she went about showering and dressing. Once dressed, she made her way down to the main floor, pausing on the second floor to glance down the empty halls forlornly before continuing down the stairs.

     Pulling her magic inward to surround her soul, she focused on restraining her magic, concealing her soul in a blanket of magic and altering herself to appear more human. Satisfied, she gathered the letter, along with her phone and keys, and set out to meet Sans at the lab.

     Entering the lab, Kiandra was met with blatantly curious stares from the technicians as she walked amongst the various machines and computers in search of Sans.

     “funny, it’s the boss lady that rattles their bones and not the skeleton in the room.” Sans appeared suddenly and observed with a smirk as Kiandra directed a firm look around the lab that sent the techs rushing to resume their work. Turning to face him, she took in his appearance and quirked an eyebrow.

     “I’m beginning to think you only have one outfit, Sans,” she teased with a smile. “A hoodie and slippers aren’t exactly appropriate wear for a lab.”

     “hey, don’t be so clothes-minded. comfortable clothes mean i can focus more on my work y’know.” Sans scoffed in feigned offense.

     Kiandra stifled a laugh and handed him the letter, taking care not to let him touch her hand this time. She did not want a soul reaction to occur again until she was ready to handle the implications of such a bond. Sans took the letter and read it, his sockets widening in astonishment.

     “I thought that would make a nice surprise. I was able to secure top value for your gold. It’s a fairly large amount of money, so it'll take a few days for the amount to process and hit your account.” Kiandra couldn’t help but grin at his expression.

     “wow, this is...this is really cool of you, kiandra. thanks,” Sans said as he looked up from the letter and met her gaze. “heh, you’ve gone out of your way to help my bro and me, how can we repay you?”

     “There’s no need to repay me, this project is more than enough,” she replied. “But, I wouldn’t be averse to you and Papyrus spending the day with me. I’d like the companionship today.”

     Flashing back to the dream, Kiandra’s shoulders tensed ever so slightly, she didn’t want to be alone with her memories. The tension in her shoulders was relieved when Sans agreed. It didn’t take long for them to arrive at the apartment where Papyrus was waiting for them. Sans had called him on the way there to inform him they were coming and the energetic skeleton had excitedly requested to explore the mall, having heard about it from some of the other residents in the apartment building.

     During the drive, Kiandra and Papyrus talked about life in the Underground as Sans snoozed in the back seat. Papyrus had just finished describing the puzzles he designed as a Sentry when they pulled into the mall’s parking lot. Kiandra giggled quietly as Papyrus, with sockets lit up in excitement, startled Sans awake.

     “Welcome to Ebott Mall, gentlemen,” she announced as they got out of the car. She rarely risked going to such a crowded venue, but she found that she was more than willing to handle being surrounded by so many humans with the brothers at her side.

     She could hear Sans quietly counting under his breath beside her and as if on cue Papyrus was off, boisterously stating his intent to meet as many people as he could and make a good impression as the official monster mascot.

     “like a kid in a candy store, heh.” Sans chuckled, walking beside Kiandra as they followed after Papyrus.

     “He’s certainly sweet enough to be in a candy store,” she observed.

     “yeah, heh, you’re pretty sweet yourself,” Sans blurted, surprising her.

     They stopped just short of the mall entrance as they turned to each other in astonishment. Kiandra watched as a bright blue blush erupted across Sans’ face and his smile seemed strained with embarrassment

     “that uh, that didn’t come out right..” Sans trailed off and Kiandra could see he was struggling to find the right words.

     “Careful, I may be sweet, but I still bite,” she teased, her surprise giving way and she found herself smirking in amusement.

     They stared at each other for a moment, and she could tell he was trying to decide where to take this.

     “BROTHER! HUMAN! WHY ARE YOU STANDING THERE? ALL THE STORES ARE INSIDE THE MALL. WE WON’T MAKE A GOOD IMPRESSION BY LOITERING AT THE DOORS,” Papyrus called out to them from just inside the doors, causing them to jerk their attention away from each other.

     Kiandra laughed softly as Sans hid his head in his hoodie before turning to catch up with Papyrus. Reaching Papyrus’ side, she heard Sans’ shuffling gait behind them. Kiandra smirked over her shoulder at Sans, and in a rare show of cheerfulness, she slipped her hand around Papyrus’ arm and joined him in his exuberant strut through the mall. They strolled along chatting happily, looking in the various shop windows until they came to novelty shop.

     “Oh look, Papyrus. Speaking of puzzles, this little shop has a variety of puzzle boxes you might be interested in,” Kiandra said, pointing at the small display in the shop window.

     “WOWIE! LET’S GO! I WOULD LIKE TO CHECK OUT THE KINDS OF PUZZLES HUMANS CAN COME UP WITH, HUMAN!” Papyrus exclaimed enthusiastically, nearly pulling her off her feet when he strode into the store.

     Kiandra giggled. She couldn’t help but join in Papyrus’ child-like enjoyment of everything. She heard a chuckle and turned to catch a decidedly affectionate expression on Sans’ face as he returned her gaze. When Sans realized she was looking, he shifted nervously on his heels and turned his attention to Papyrus. “what ya got there, paps?”

     “A HUMAN PUZZLE BOX! LOOK, SANS, I’M SURE I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, CAN EASILY SOLVE THIS! NYEH, HEHEHE!”

     Papyrus studied the small wooden box before pushing on a carved flower and smiling triumphantly when the box opened. He repeated this with several boxes until a watching clerk harrumphed and frowned.

     Kiandra glanced at the clerk and reached into her bag to hand over a debit card. “We’ll take a selection.” The clerk smiled and walked to the register with her card.

     “THAT IS VERY KIND OF YOU, HUMAN. THANK YOU.” Papyrus grabbed the ten boxes he hadn’t yet solved and followed the clerk.

     “that just completed his day. paps really enjoys his puzzles,” Sans said, stepping up to Kiandra’s side.

     “What do you enjoy, Sans? I mean, other than puns.” Kiandra turned towards Sans.

     “THESE PUZZLES ARE REALLY COOL.” Papyrus strode up and handed Kiandra her card back. “WHERE TO NEXT?”

     “Well, most humans tend to gather at the food court. It’s a good place to meet people,” Kiandra suggested as they left the novelty shop. “But, really, there’s a little bit of everything here. It just depends on what you like.”

     “food court sounds fun,” Sans shrugged with a relaxed expression.

     Papyrus folded his arms in annoyance. “SANS, YOU’RE JUST BEING LAZY! LET’S GO FIND A NEW TELESCOPE SO YOU CAN GO STARGAZING FOR REAL.”

     “You like astronomy, Sans?” Kiandra asked, pausing in front of a store with sports equipment on display. “There’s a sporting goods store here. I’m sure they’d have telescopes and such.”

     “yeah, i used to have a telescope set up down in waterfall. the crystals in the cavern walls were the closest we had to stars down there,” Sans responded.

     “I have an observatory at home. I find the night sky quite peaceful,” Kiandra thought for a moment while they browsed the aisles, “If you’d like, I can show you one of these days.”

     Sans looked up from a trike and regarded her in an inquisitive manner, “an observatory, huh? yeah, that’d be out of this world, heheh.”

     They found the telescopes near the back of the store and after comparing a few models, Sans found one that he was satisfied with. After purchasing the telescope, they browsed through a couple more stores until Papyrus mentioned that it was getting close to time for him to start preparing dinner.

     Having become increasingly aware of the amount of human ainim surrounding her, Kiandra was grateful for the excuse to leave and agreed with Papyrus that it was time to call it a day. She led them out to her car and drove them home, thanking them for spending the day with her and informing Sans that she would see him the next day at the lab. Dropping them off, she continued home in good spirits, the morning incident nearly forgotten in the back of her mind.

     William was waiting for her in the foyer to take her belongings when she walked through the front door.

     “Welcome back, Ma’am. Your curtains have been replaced, I’ve also repaired the wall where it had been burned,” he informed her. “Your rations have also been replenished, I made sure this batch was the freshest available.”

     “Thank you, William. I’d be lost without you. They still believe our alibi?” She asked, walking down the hall towards the basement stairs.

     “Yes Ma’am, they send their best wishes as usual,” William assured her, Kiandra smiled at him and descended the stairs.

     Crossing the basement she came to a trapdoor hidden in the corner and descended down a second set of stairs into the sub-basement. Finding security in the subterranean room, She released her magic in full and relaxed as the exertion eased from her soul. She set her sights on the refrigeration unit against the wall preserving numerous bags of blood. Her soul hummed as she took one out and warmed it with her magic. The thrum in her soul increased as her fangs punctured the bag and she drained it, relishing the rush of ainim as it flowed through her, revitalizing her.

Chapter Text

     Kiandra looked up from the emails she had been skimming through, turning her attention instead to the skeleton that was currently absorbed in his work. She smiled fondly while she watched him work on the lab’s main console. After his slip-up the previous day, she had begun feeling an attachment towards him. It was easy to smile around him and despite her normal disdain for physical attraction, she found he possessed a certain appeal she hadn’t been able to find in humans.

     Sans stepped back from the console and turned to her, a pleased expression on his face. It amazed her how he and Papyrus were able to make facial expressions with being skeletons, and she was curious about how malleable their bones actually were.  

     “got something to show ya, if you got a minute.” Sans gestured to the console as she stood up and walked over to him. “i was working out a way to set up a data network between the two labs.”

     He typed in some commands, pulling a program up on the screen as he spoke.

     “since monster tech is for the most part magic-based, there are a few compatibility issues with human tech. luckily, my colleague, alphys, had already started working through the issues with my and pap’s phones. they’re a mixture of human and monster tech, so using her designs as a base, i applied it on a larger scale to this console and the router. once the system is fully up and running, we can start making some real headway with the project.”

     Kiandra took a moment to study the information displayed on the screen as Sans finished. After upgrading some of the components to magically enhanced hardware to support Sans’ software updates, the console was in the process of running a series of system checks to facilitate a connection to the network used by the lab in the Underground. She noticed the upgrades had also greatly improved the console’s overall performance allowing for more tasks to be performed and at a faster rate than before.

     “Impressive. I can see what Asgore meant. That console was the most advanced computer humans have been able to build, and you just overhauled it like it was nothing.” Kiandra turned to Sans. “Normally it takes the IT team a few days to run upgrades and system checks on this. How did you learn to do all this so fast?”

     Sans shrugged nonchalantly. “used to work with my dad when he was the head scientist, he taught me everything he knew.”

     “He must have been a good teacher.”

     “he was, yeah. he’s gone now, though. an experiment went wrong and we lost him.”

     “Oh, I’m sorry.” Seeing his eye lights dim and his shoulders slump, Kiandra reached out to comfort him before hesitating and dropping her hand back to her side. “I understand the pain of losing someone dear, I’m the only one left of my family.”

     “it’s gotten easier,” Sans said, “i kept the machine he was working on. i had hoped that if i could fix it, maybe i could figure out what went wrong, and maybe there would be some hope for him. but i never made much progress with it.”

     Kiandra hummed in thought at his words. “Bring the machine here. Humans may not be on the same level as Monsters with technology, but you can have access to my resources to fix your machine,” she said, coming to a decision.

     “you don’t... kiandra you don’t have to do that. that machine is unsafe, if someone gets hurt…” Sans protested, obviously surprised by her statement.

     Kiandra offered him a reassuring smile. “It sounds important to you so I want to help, Sans. We’ll retrofit one of the testing chambers to accommodate your machine, and any assisting lab personnel will follow strict safety protocols. Give it some thought, ok. If you decide to take me up on the offer let me know and we’ll get everything set up.”

     Her phone pinged at that moment, alerting her to a new message from the project manager in charge of the Monster district. Glancing at it, she frowned and let out an annoyed sigh. She apologized to Sans and excused herself for a moment to call the guard in charge of security at the district. A protest group had shown up at the Monster district and were causing trouble for the construction crews, preventing them from working. Failing to reach the guard and her irritation growing, she returned to Sans.

     “I’m sorry Sans, I need to go. Some people are causing trouble in the Monster district and my security isn’t answering the phone,” she explained, gathering her belongings and heading to the lab’s exit.

     “sounds like a handful , you want an extra hand?” Sans asked.

     She could hear the concern in his voice even though his tone was playful. Turning around, she looked at Sans in contemplation.

     “Yes, actually. Would you like to come with me? I could use somebody to help out if any Monsters have gotten caught up in the protest.”

     “heh, yeah sure. lemme wrap this up and then i’m all yours.

     “All mine, huh? That’s a dangerous thing to say, I might take you literally.” Kiandra chuckled, unable to help herself. Sans had left her the perfect opening.

     Sans looked surprised for a moment, then grinned back at her, “heh heh, you can take me however you want.”

     “Tempting, but for now let’s go deal with the protesters before people get hurt.”

     A company chauffeur was waiting for them when they exited the building. Wanting to focus her attention on reaching the in-charge security officer, Kiandra had decided to make use of the company car service to drive them to the district. After several failed attempts to connect with her security guards, she huffed in irritation and glanced at Sans only to see him softly snoring. The snoozing skeleton kept her grounded as she dialed the mayor to explain the situation at the district.

     Not wanting to draw the ire of such a large corporation, the mayor promptly agreed to have the situation dealt with, instructing his secretary to get the chief of police on the line. The chief had seemed less than thrilled to dispatch officers to the district to protect Monsters, but a reminder of the district being Bryne Industries property and a comment from the mayor that he could be replaced changed his tune. There were benefits to being the single largest employer in the region. Her company’s tax dollars were paying the man’s salary, after all.

     By the time they pulled up to the guardhouse at the gate leading into the district, she could see officers rounding up protesters that had infiltrated the work zone. As the chauffeur opened the car door for her, the police chief stepped forward with a smirk on his face. Extending a hand to assist her out of the limo, he greeted her.

     “You should have security guards on site, so my men aren’t being taken away from their real jobs.”

     Sans snorted quietly, “brave man…”

     “I thought it was your job to protect and serve, Chief,” Kiandra said, ignoring the proffered hand as she gracefully exited the limo.

     “... or foolish,” Sans finished, following her out of the limo.

     Her attention was drawn by a scuffle, and she looked over to see her very disheveled security guard arguing with the officers who had apprehended him.

     “What’s going on here?” she demanded, stepping forward.

     “Is he one of yours, ma’am?” one of the police officers inquired.

     “That remains to be seen,” Kiandra responded, glaring at the security guard. “I’d like to know why you didn’t respond to my phone calls and weren’t at your post. How did these protestors get through the gates?”

     Crossing her arms and raising a brow, she waited for her security guard to explain himself. The man stumbled over his words, rambling about being called away unexpectedly as his eyes darted between her and Sans. Slouching at her side, Sans sniffed at the air, then grinned before leaning his skull toward her.

     “smells like someone was called away to a good time.”

     Kiandra turned to Sans with an inquisitive look.

     “Thanks for the fun, Sweetie!” One of the protestors called and made kissing faces at the security guard as she was being led away.

     Groaning, the security guard hung his head as Kiandra slowly turned back to him. Her face a cool mask hiding the anger and embarrassment at the officer’s actions.

     “You can pick up your final paycheck at the main office,” she said in a calm quiet voice. “Your services are no longer required.”

     “If you’re in need of a new security guard, ma’am, I was once part of the royal guard in the Underground,” a Monster who’d been standing nearby offered. “I don’t mind stepping in, seeing as how you’re doing all this for us.”

     “You’re hired,” Kiandra replied, making a snap decision, then called after the police officer leading the disgraced security guard away. “Could I trouble you for my former employee’s keys and badge before you load him up?”

     With the last of the police vans loaded with protesters, the chief of police took his leave after telling Kiandra to come down to the station to officially press charges. Now that the protesters had been cleared out Kiandra could assess the damage done. Spotting the project manager, she walked over to meet with him as Sans chatted with the Monster who had become her new security guard.

     She had learned from the project manager that the most damage was in the form of vandalism. Nobody had gotten hurt, thankfully, and the project manager had kept the Monsters away from the protestors once they had resorted to vandalizing buildings. She had also learned that the other security guards that were supposed to be on duty had called in and she made a note to tighten security around the district. She had known there would be humans whose bigotry would drive them to protests and she had taken steps to handle those protests. However, she hadn’t counted on her own security guards failing her.

     She sighed. She could feel the weight of her ire draining her and it had taken a lot of control not to attack the guard for his part in this embarrassing mess. He was lucky no one had gotten hurt, she thought to herself, especially the Monsters she was trying to help.

     “well, that was fun. so this is quite the place you’ve got going for monsters.” Sans appeared at her side breaking into her reverie, “doge says when they’re done building, this district will be like it’s own little town within the city.”

     “In a way, yes. I wanted to give Monsters a safe place on the surface,” Kiandra replied, “This district is supposed to cater specifically to Monsters and their needs. Would you like to look around?”

     His presence had a soothing effect on her and she found her earlier ire ebbing away the closer she moved to him. The soul bond’s subtle growth was becoming apparent in how they synced together as they walked, adjusting to each other’s stride and small movements.

     Eventually, she would have to address the bond and what it would mean for them, but if she was being honest with herself she was afraid to take that step. How would he react if he knew she wasn’t human like she pretended to be, if he knew how monstrous her soul was. The closer he got to her the more likely he was to realize the things that were off about her, like how she couldn’t eat normal food.

     “Sans, a while back you mentioned monster food, like it was different from human food. Are Monsters not able to eat human food?” The question had been born from a fleeting thought, she couldn’t eat human food but what about monster food.

     “depends on the monster,” Sans responded, “monsters like my bro and i don’t have the guts to stomach human food. but monsters that have a little more substance to them can handle human food in small amounts.”

     “How so?”

     “see, monster food is made with magic, when it’s consumed it’s absorbed immediately into the body. human food has to be digested, so monsters with no stomachs wouldn’t be able to eat it, while monsters with stomachs could to an extent.”

     He paused and eyed her slyly, “y’know, if your curious about monster food, i can always take ya to grillby’s when he opens up on the surface.”

     “Is that a date?” Kiandra turned to face him fully, tilting her head slightly as she looked up at him.

     “only if you want it to be.” he winked at her.

     “Smooth.”

     “heh, well i am smooth as bone.” Sans chuckled, “so whaddya say? wanna grab dinner with me sometime?”

     “Ok, bone boy,” Kiandra hesitated, she’d been curious about monster food ever since Sans had offered her his ketchup. She had lied about her health to avoid the truth that she couldn’t eat food, but if monster food didn’t behave like human food when consumed then there was a possibility that she could safely eat monster food. “I’ll consider it, if you can guarantee my health.”

     Sans grinned, “no problemo, monster food has healing effects, so your health will actually benefit from it.”

     “Then it looks like we have a date.” Kiandra let out a silvery laugh, “I’ll start working on the permits for Monsters to bring their businesses up to the surfaces.”

     “cool.”

     “So what do you think so far? About the district I mean.” Kiandra waved a hand, gesturing to the buildings around them. “I know it’s not much and I don’t expect Monsters to live solely in the district, nor would I want them to, but I hope it will at least help Monsters feel at home on the surface.”

     “i don’t think you have anything to worry about. monsters are gonna be happy with the lengths you’ve gone to help them. the compassion you’ve shown us is enough to make monsters feel at home on the surface.”

     She smiled at his words and they made their way back to the waiting company car, the conversation turning to playful banter until Sans’ phone went off and an annoyed Papyrus sounded on the other end. Kiandra giggled at Sans’ sheepish expression as she overheard Papyrus boisterous voice admonishing Sans for being late to dinner.

     “I should probably get you home. It sounds like Papyrus has dinner ready.” Kiandra said when Sans ended the call.

     Chortling, Sans nodded. “heheh yeah, paps likes to stick to a schedule.” His smile turned serious and for a moment he closed his eye sockets before meeting her gaze, “if your offer to help me fix my dads machine is still on the table, i’ll take it. seeing you handle the situation with those protesters and that security guard… well, i really respect what you did and i feel like i can trust you.”

     “Oh, yes, of course, it’s still on the table. I meant it when I said I wanted to help. How much time do you need to get the machine set up in the lab?”

     “eh, i can have it done by the end of the week,” Sans stuffed his hands in the pockets of his hoodie, his smile turning jovial again. “don’t worry about getting me home tonight Kiandra, i can manage.”

     “How will you get home?” Kiandra looked at him questioningly.

     Sans shrugged, “to sidestep the long story, you could say i know a shortcut.”

     “Hmm ok then, oh um… Kia, you can call me Kia. I don’t normally let anyone use that name, but for you and Papyrus, I’ll make an exception.

     “kia, huh, cool. well g’night kia.” Sans winked and in a display of magic disappeared into thin air, waving goodbye.

     “Night Sans.” Kiandra smiled and hummed to herself as she watched him disappear before getting into the waiting limo and instructing the waiting chauffeur to take her back to her personal vehicle at the lab.

Chapter Text

  Also, I do have a Tumblr, https://sanuit2526.tumblr.com/  If anyone would like to drop by and say hi, I'd love to hear from you.


 

     "Despite the setbacks caused by the protesters, construction at the District is progressing smoothly." 

     Kiandra hummed in approval as Mr. Grell relayed the news.

     "And the Fischer project is going according to schedule, although they are reporting some overages on the budget."

     "Keep on top of that," Kiandra said. "I'll want a full accounting of any overages, and if they go above ten percent, I'll be levying fines, as the contract states."

     "Very good, ma'am."

     Mr. Grell updated her on two other projects while she checked her email, looking up to show approval every few comments.

     "Is there anything further, ma'am?"

     "Yes, I'll need you to set up a time with the Monster royals at their earliest convenience to meet in one of the conference rooms. Today, if possible."

     "Will you need me to attend as well?"

     "If you can do so and still maintain a professional demeanor," Kiandra replied, alluding to his behavior at the first meeting.

     "Of course, let me make arrangements, and I'll get back to you," Mr. Grell said leaving the office. 

     She smiled as she read an email from her investment broker concerning monster gold, his company was willing to help exchange the gold. Though he had a good point on flooding the market, and she made a note to discuss it with the royal family. 

     Kiandra responded to a few more emails before Mr. Grell called her informing her that he had arranged the meeting for that afternoon. He was also forwarding a proposal from one of her teams about a real estate deal she had an interest in. She thanked him and then set about reviewing the proposal until her secretary notified her of the Royals arrival. 

     Mr. Grell met her at the elevator doors, "I've set them up in the west conference room, Ma'am."

     Kiandra nodded at him and continued down the hall with Mr. Grell falling into step behind her.

     "Your Highness," Kiandra said, nodding at Toriel and glancing curiously at the child accompanying her. "The King couldn't make it?"

     "Greetings Ms. Bryne, please, call me Toriel. Asgore and I decided it would be best if Frisk and I handled all direct human and monster communications."

     Kiandra noticed the frown on Mr. Grell's face when he took his seat, but as he remained silent, she decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. 

     "Shall we get straight to business, then?" Kiandra said taking a seat at the head of the table. "I've heard from my broker, who handled the gold exchange for Sans and Papyrus. His team is willing to handle all further exchanges for a reasonable percentage if that's satisfactory."

     "This broker has your confidence?"

     "Yes, he does. I've dealt with him for many years," Kiandra said decisively. "He did, however, advise me to not exchange all gold at once but rather in increments.

     "If you flood the market, it will adversely affect the exchange rate, meaning your gold won't be worth as much." Mr. Grell added.

     "Of course, I will inform my people when we return home," Toriel assured them. "I wanted to ask you about the programs you had planned for educating humans about monster culture." 

     Kiandra shuffled the papers in front of her, "Yes, that is next on the agenda. As you know, we have a few programs in the works for human-monster relations. The company foundation will install these programs in the various community learning centers around the city. We've also met with the human school board and come up with a tentative plan for the monster children coming to the surface. We were hoping you would head up those classes and have prepared a building within the district to act as a school."

     Kiandra offered the blueprints to Toriel, who looked over them before nodding agreement.

     "The school board has also offered you a position to gain further input for any changes needed to the new curriculum." 

     Toriel's eyes lit up with delight, "Yes, that would be wonderful! Would you have a schedule for when the board meets, as well as the beginning of classes?"

     "Mr. Grell will make sure the committee forwards all information to you," Kiandra stated as Mr. Grell nodded in confirmation and made a note in his papers.

     “Lastly, I’m sure you are aware that there were some problems with protesters in the District. I’ve already hired a former royal guard to replace the human security guard. My thought would be to integrate more of your royal guard.”

     “That would be ideal,” Toriel said. “I will inform the Captain of the Royal guard of this and allow her to assign those guards best suited.”

     “Will Monsters have to live only in the District? Or can they live outside of the District?” Frisk asked, speaking for the first time.

     Kiandra blinked at the child before smiling kindly at them. “Of course, Monsters can live anywhere they wish. I give you my word.”

     Frisk nodded and looked over at Toriel. 

     “I have nothing else on my agenda,” Kiandra said, looking over her notes. “Were there any other matters you wished to discuss now?”

     “I believe we’ve covered all immediate issues,” Toriel stated.

     “In that case, we’ll adjourn. If anything else arises, please call,” she said. “Mr. Grell, would you kindly escort Toriel and Frisk to the lobby? 

     “Yes, of course, Ma’am.”

     Kiandra inclined her head politely to Toriel and Frisk, “If you would please excuse me.”

     She considered popping into the lab to see Sans before taking off for the day but thought better of it. The lab had been busy lately with new developments in the project and Sans was no doubt busy with setting things up for his machine. She knew the machine was important to him, so she didn’t want to interrupt him. 

     Besides, being near another boss monster had her soul thrumming with magic and the burned flesh on her back prickled at the memory of a darker time. Shaking the memory away as the valet pulled up in her car, she reminded herself that times had changed. Mages had disappeared a long time ago and she was in control now. No one could force her to kill again. 

 

 ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━

 

     A buzzing noise sounded through the dark room rousing Kiandra from sleep. Magic crackled in the air as she fumbled for her phone and scowled at the time displayed on the screen. It was noon and she realized she had slept through the morning. 

     Her phone buzzed again, drawing her attention to the screen. A small smile spread as she opened her messages.

     (Sans): heya,

     (Sans): knock knock,

     (xxx): Who’s there?

     (Sans): water,

     (xxx): Water who?

     (Sans): water your plans for the day? 

     Chuckling at the texts, she sat up in bed and stretched, sighing at the satisfying pops of her spine. It was no wonder she had slept so late. The excess magic still pulsing through her soul had left her exhausted. She had meant to discharge her magic last night like she had the last time she met with the Royal family but had fallen asleep instead. Thankfully she didn’t have anything going on today, speaking of which, she looked back at her phone.

     (Sans): if you’re not busy, wanna swing by the lab? i’d like to show you the machine, so you know what you’re funding. 

     (xxx): Sure, I’d be happy to.  

     (Sans): cool, see ya soon kia.

     Magic sparking around her, Kiandra rose from the bed and headed to the shower to start getting ready. Thirty minutes later, she made her way down to the main floor, dressed and excess magic restrained. She reached the bottom step as William came up from the basement with a list in hand.

     “Good afternoon Ma’am, I was just taking stock of your blood supply. You’re getting low again, I’ll have to make arrangements for another delivery while I’m running errands.”

     “Oh good, I caught you at the right moment then, Sans asked if I could meet him. Do you mind making a detour to the lab?”

     “Not at all, Ma’am. I’ll bring the car around now if you are ready.”

     Kiandra nodded her assent to William, following shortly after inspecting the illusion wrapped around her appearance in the foyer mirror. Satisfied with the ordinary human reflection staring back at her she walked out to the waiting car. 

     Sans entered the lobby just as Kiandra arrived; seeing him, she smiled and walked up to him. “You wouldn’t happen to be waiting on me would you?”

     “hey there,” Sans waved to her, “talk about perfect timing, i was coming up here to meet you.” He gestured to the elevator behind him, “the machine is set up if you’re ready.” 

     “Sure, lead the way,” Kiandra replied stepping inside the elevator with him.

     “So how has Papyrus been?” Kiandra asked after a while, “I haven’t gotten a chance to talk to him lately.”

     As they got off at the lab’s floor Sans chuckled, “he’s been over the moon ever since undyne told him that mettaton is coming to the surface.”

     “Mettaton?”

     “yeah, the underground’s soul tv star. papyrus loves his shows, hehe, he’s got most of them on videotape so he can re-watch his favorite episodes.”

     “Oh wow, that sounds pretty cool. Maybe one of these days we can all get together and watch some of those videotapes.”

     “paps and i would be happy to do that.” Sans grinned and motioned to a heavy steel door on their right, “this is where i’ve set the machine up. given what happened to my dad, i took the liberty of reinforcing the walls.”

     “That’s understandable,” Kiandra nodded as Sans held the door open for her, “Thank...you...oh wow.”

     Immediately struck by the size of the machine, she approached it cautiously. Taking the appearance of a large frame with a control panel on the side, it stood in the center of the room. Moving closer, She could see a large crack snaked across the screen of the control panel. The metal siding was missing in some spots where damages on the inner components were being repaired. 

     After checking on some of the equipment in the room, Sans came to stand beside the machine. "impressive isn’t it?” he asked, “my dad’s last invention, an interdimensional teleporter.”

     “Impressive would be an understatement.” Kiandra looked up at the machine, “An interdimensional teleporter?”

     “during our endeavors to break the barrier, we started to notice discrepancies in our reports. dad theorized that these discrepancies were proof of alternate dimensions. he believed that we could escape the underground by traveling to a different world. so he built the machine to prove his theories.” Sans explained, thumping the machine with a knuckle.

     “Amazing,” Kiandra said softly as she circled the machine taking in every detail, “How does it work?” 

     “according to what's left of my dad’s notes, the machine traces soul signatures through the void and creates a portal between the dimensions once a link is established. unfortunately, most of his notes were lost in the accident,” Sans paused and took a deep breath, “he uh..he got ahead of himself and tried to use the machine before it was finished...half the lab was destroyed.”

     Hearing the heaviness in his voice, Kiandra lifted her hand hesitantly, her soul struggling against her bonds, urging her to comfort him. But at the last minute, she faltered, her hand dropping to her side. 

     “sorry kia, didn't mean to get sedimentary on ya.” Sans cast a reassuring smile at her, “i don’t normally crumble like that.” 

     Kiandra shook her head slightly as she edged closer. “Do you often use humor to hide how you actually feel?” she asked with an amused lilt to her voice.

     “heh, umm...not all… i mean...heh heh,” Sans stuttered, rubbing the back of his skull.

     “Sans” Kiandra murmured, concern etched across her face. She was close enough to feel his breath on her skin now, yet still, she held back. Teetering between her feelings and the desire to keep her soul hidden, she stared imploringly up at Sans. Her soul beat heavily within her chest, straining to escape her hold. “I want to help…” she whispered, reaching her hand towards his face.

     Sans caught her hand and held it to his cheekbone. “you are,” he replied, before leaning into her tentatively and kissing her.

     There was a jolt of magic as he pressed his teeth against her lips and Kiandra wondered what would come about as her soul broke free and bonded with his. Such thoughts faded away through as she closed her eyes and sunk into the kiss. 

     The background noise of a low hum growing louder drew their attention from each other.

     “that’s impossible...there shouldn’t be any power going to the machine…” Sans rushed over to a terminal and began typing on the keyboard.

     Following Sans' line of sight, Kiandra looked up to see the control panel on the machine light up. Noticing the rising temperature in the room, she realized the amplified state of her magic was the cause of the machine coming to life.

     A portal formed in the gateway of the machine as her magic, freed by the soulbond, flared out. Sparks of magic shot off of her and the shimmering surface of the portal arced in reaction to the bursts of unfettered energy.

     Time seemed to slow down as Sans turned around and looked at her, sockets widening in clear shock. As he started to say something, a bright light emanated from the portal, growing quickly until, with a sudden flash, the magic in the room coalesced into an explosion. Caught in the blast, Kiandra found herself thrown across the room. With the world fading away around her, she saw the faint outlines of nine souls binding to hers.

     The last thing she felt before drifting off was the illusion she kept wrapped around her melt away.

Chapter Text

     Standing in shock, Sans’ gaze took in the damaged wall before panning down to Kiandra’s still form on the floor. Debris had fallen around her and he could barely see her chest rise and fall with her breathing through the cloud of dust. Focusing solely on the small movements, Sans rushed forward, scrambling over the debris to get to her. 

     “kia! no no no, c’mon kia please be ok!” Sans begged, “dammit! dammit! i shoulda been more careful! please, kiandra!” 

     Dropping down beside her, he began frantically clearing the bits of rubble away, desperately pleading for her to be ok. She had hit the wall so hard, he knew there was no way she wasn’t hurt. As if in affirmation of his thoughts, more of the wall crumbled and fell around them.

     When she remained unresponsive, he panicked. Gently picking her up, he teleported to the apartment he shared with Papyrus, paying no heed to the humming machine behind them. 

     “SANS? IS THAT YOU?” Papyrus’ called from the kitchen, intruding on Sans’ hyper-focus on the faint rhythm of Kiandra’s breathing. “YOU KNOW I DON’T LIKE WHEN YOU TAKE YOUR SHORTCUTS.” 

     “paps…” Sans turned to Papyrus as he walked into the living room, ”paps, i need help… kia… dad’s machine, there was an accident and she… she got caught…” 

     Upon seeing Sans standing in the middle of the room holding Kiandra’s limp form, Papyrus’ sockets widened with alarm. “LAY HER DOWN HERE, QUICKLY BROTHER!” he told Sans, motioning to the couch. 

     Laying Kiandra down, Sans reluctantly stepped back, allowing Papyrus to tend to her. With Kiandra in safe hands, Sans thought back to what had transpired back at the lab. He was still reeling from what he had witnessed. 

     The amount of magic that was in that room had been staggering, hell he could feel the power radiating from her as the room grew hotter. He had suspected her of having latent magic ever since he brushed her hand that day and felt the spark between them. He had elected to keep his suspicions to himself at the time. What he felt when their souls bonded was not latent magic, though. 

     “SANS? SANS!” Papyrus waved his hand in front of Sans’ face, effectively bringing him out of his thoughts, “WHAT HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN?”

     Startled, Sans blinked at him, and then looked down at Kiandra, seeing now what his panicked state had prevented him from seeing before. Papyrus was right, how had he missed the horns or the stark white hair. Let alone the strange blue designs that painted her arms and face. For some reason, he was reminded of a boss monster as he took in her appearance. 

     “she’s not human…” Sans said quietly. “paps, i don’t think kia’s human.”

     Papyrus looked at him with a confused expression, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN, SANS. WHAT ELSE COULD SHE BE?” 

     “i dunno,” Sans frowned, perplexed. “monster, maybe.”

     “SANS THAT’S ENTIRELY IMPOSSIBLE, ALL THE MONSTERS WERE TRAPPED UNDERGROUND. EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT.” Papyrus shook his head. “AND, SHE WAS MOST DEFINITELY NOT IN THE UNDERGROUND. I WOULD HAVE KNOWN IF SHE WAS.” 

     Papyrus sighed, and turned back to Kiandra, “HUMAN OR MONSTER, I NEED TO PULL HER SOUL OUT SO I CAN GET TO WORK ON HEALING HER…”

     “i’ll do it paps...we uh...our souls bonded...it’ll be easier for me to bring it out.” Sans stopped him, while pointedly avoiding his brother's exasperated stare. 

     Focusing on the bond, he sent a sliver of magic to her soul, gently coaxing it out of her chest. Casting a barrage of brilliantly lit colors over them as it rose slowly was the soul he had seen in his dreams for so many nights.

     Seeing it unobscured by flames for the first time, Sans was in awe. It was a crystalline soul upside down like a monster soul, but inside it contained a smaller inverted white soul covered with a webbing of hairline cracks. 

     “WELL, THAT’S AN UNUSUAL SOUL. SANS I’VE NEVER SEEN A SOUL LIKE THAT.” Papyrus reverently reached out to cradle the soul in his hands.

     Sans nodded, distracted by the soul shining before them. “can you help her?” 

     “OF COURSE,” Papyrus assured him, “THE GREAT PAPYRUS CAN HEAL ANYBODY, BROTHER.” 

     Suddenly a ringing sound from within Kiandra’s pocket, startling the brothers. They stared at the source of the ringing with wide sockets before Sans reached in and pulled her phone from her pocket. Looking up at Papyrus, he held the phone to his skull and answered. 

     “My apologies for interrupting Ma’am, but I’m here at the lab if you are ready to return home.” 

     “uh... sorry, bud. ‘fraid this is sans not kiandra. there was a bit of a mishap today and she can’t come to the phone right now.” Sans responded cautiously, hoping the person on the other end wouldn’t press the issue.

     There was a pause before they responded, alarm sounding in their voice. “What’s happened? Is Ms. Kiandra alright?” 

     Sans buried his face in his hand and internally groaned, chastising himself again for not being careful. “she’s with my bro and me at our apartment. no need to worry, i’ve got everything under control. i’ll let kiandra know you called, uh... mr…”

     “William, and I can assure you if something has happened to Ms. Kiandra. Then you don’t have everything under control. I will be there in a moment.” The phone call ended before Sans could reply.

     Sans looked down at the phone in his hand and then to Kiandra, unsure of what he should do now. He didn’t know the person on the other end and he wasn’t sure if they knew what Kiandra was. Hell, he didn’t even know what to make of her. He had never come across a soul like her’s. But, if they didn’t know she wasn’t human then he needed to protect her.

     “SANS? WHAT DO WE DO NOW?” 

     “i don’t think she’d want anyone seeing her like this paps, go ahead and put her soul back before they get here.” 

     There was a knock at the door just as Papyrus guided the soul back into Kiandra’s chest. Sans glanced over at it warily before porting over to open it, coming face to face with an elderly man who cocked a brow and eyed him curiously as Sans attempted to block his view into the apartment. 

     “Mr. Sans, I presume? I take it by the way you are acting, something has happened to Ms. Kiandra. May I come in then?” 

     Not moving, Sans stared at the human before him, silently checking his soul to judge his intentions. 

     “Mr. Sans,” William implored him, “I cannot stress how imperative it is that you allow me to take Ms. Kiandra home. Believe me, there is nothing you can do for her if she is injured. My employer has a condition that requires special treatment.” 

     Glancing over his shoulder and sharing an uncertain look with Papyrus, Sans begrudgingly stepped aside, allowing William to come inside the apartment. The soul check had revealed no ill intent, only a desire to ensure his employer’s wellbeing.

     “yeah, i uh... i think i know what her condition is buddy…“ 

     “Has anyone besides yourselves seen her since she’s been like this?” William asked as he strode across the room to the couch where Kiandra laid.

     “no, i brought her straight here.” 

     “Splendid. Well, I thank you for tending to Ms. Kiandra, but I should get her home now. I trust that you’ll keep this to yourselves, yes? Ms. Kiandra would be most displeased if others discovered her secret.” 

     Sans stepped in between him and Kiandra. “eh, sorry pal. i’m not leaving her. you’ll have to take me with you if you wanna take her.” 

     Papyrus nodded, placing his hands on hips, “BESIDES HUMAN, THE GREAT PAPYRUS CANNOT HEAL HER IF YOU TAKE HER AWAY, AND I AM A MOST EXCELLENT HEALER.”

     William looked from one skeleton to the other, “I’m sure you mean well, but I really can’t allow the two of you to accompany...”

     He was interrupted by Sans picking Kiandra up and walking past him to the door. “look, we can stand here and argue or you can tell me where you’re parked, ‘cause no offense pal, but i don’t see you being able to carry her out of this building without attracting attention.”  

     “YES! MY BROTHER MAKES A GREAT POINT HUMAN. IT WILL BE BETTER TO HEAL HER AT HER OWN HOME WHERE SHE IS MOST COMFORTABLE ANYWAY. NYEHEHEH.” 

     Seeing no other choice, William shook his head and told Sans where the car was located only to look up to find Sans gone. A startled glance to the taller skeleton standing beside him only earned him a grin as Papyrus steered him out the door. 

     Sans was waiting inside the car with Kiandra safely tucked in the backseat away from prying eyes when William and Papyrus exited the apartment building. After some adjusting of the seats to accommodate Papyrus’ tall stature, they were on the road heading out of the city towards Mt. Ebott. The drive was mostly silent until they pulled up to the mansion. 

     “WOWIE! I DIDN’T KNOW KIANDRA LIVED IN A PALACE!”

     Sans looked up at Papyrus’ exclamation, and let out a soft chuckle at his brother’s excitement. He could see why Papyrus had said palace. The place was huge. But, right now he couldn’t focus on anything except Kiandra’s unconscious state. 

     He lifted her out of the car with ease, and it occurred to him how well she fit in his arms. Nestling her securely in his hold, he followed William up the steps into the mansion, Papyrus trailing behind them excitedly taking everything in. He barely paid attention beyond his immediate surroundings, up till William led him down into the basement. 

     Although finished, it appeared that the basement was largely empty save for the laundry room. Confused, He was about to question William until he opened a trapdoor in the floor and revealed another set of stairs leading farther down. The way down was dimly lit, and an unease settled in the pit of his nonexistent stomach.  

     Turning to Papyrus, Sans asked him to wait upstairs. Whatever was down there, he wasn’t sure he wanted Papyrus to see. 

     “DON’T BE SILLY, BROTHER. I CAN’T HELP FROM UPSTAIRS,” Papyrus chastised Sans as he proceeded to descend the stairs.

     “ok bro…” Sans sighed, catching up to his brother and William at the bottom of the stairs. 

     William stood before a heavy wooden door shifting through a ring of keys, “Gentlemen before I unlock this door, I need to reiterate the importance of keeping all of this to yourselves.” Finding the right key, William unlocked the door and shoved the door open. “Ms. Kiandra is not going to be pleased with things as it stands.” 

     “KIANDRA IS A GOOD PERSON, I’M SURE SHE’LL UNDERSTAND THE CIRCUMSTANCES, RIGHT SANS?” 

     “uh yeah, look, let's just get her in there, buddy. she’s been unconscious for too long. paps and i will keep her secret.” 

     “Very well.” William handed Papyrus a lighter and gestured to the sconces along the walls. “Would you mind helping me get the candles lit, then?” 

     Sans looked around the room as they lit candles, the walls and floor were made of a dark stone giving the room an uncomfortable feeling of being in a cavern. Along one wall, a refrigeration unit not unlike the ones he had seen in the royal lab for storing test samples had been set up and he eyed it suspiciously before turning his attention to the large object in the middle of the room. 

     “Would you kindly place her in here, please, Mr. Sans?” William requested as he lifted the top of the object revealing it to be filled with a luminescent liquid. “The water is imbued with ainim and Ms. Kiandra’s magic. She’ll be perfectly safe.” 

     Sans gave him an incredulous look but eased Kiandra gently into the water. “how is this gonna help her bud.”

     “The ainim will keep her stable while her soul replenishes the magic it burned off during whatever happened at the lab,” William explained as he headed for the door. “I must apologize but, it won’t be safe for me to be down here when she wakes. I’m human, and she will most likely be disoriented and starving. The refrigeration unit along that wall has what she needs. Also, now would be the time to attempt your healing magic, if you choose to.” 

     Sans stared at William as he closed the door behind him, curiosity sparked by his words. 

     “WELL THIS IS ALL VERY STRANGE,” Papyrus remarked before turning to Sans, “AND YOU BROTHER, WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU BONDED WITH KIANDRA! YOU DIDN’T EVEN GO THROUGH THE PROPER STEPS OF DATING!” 

     Sans cringed as Papyrus loudly scolded him, “paps, bro, this isn’t really the time for that.”

     “NO, I SUPPOSE IT’S NOT. BUT, DON’T THINK YOU’LL GET OFF THE HOOK THAT EASY BROTHER. NOW, LET’S BRING HER SOUL OUT AND GET HER HEALED.” Taking off his gloves, Papyrus waited for Sans to coax Kiandra’s soul out again, before reaching out to cradle the soul in his hands. “IF ALL SHE NEEDS IS MORE MAGIC, THEN THIS SHOULD FIX THAT. NYEHEHEH.”

     Sans watched with bated breath as Papyrus’ hands began to glow bathing the soul in a soft green light. As the soul responded to the green magic, relief turned to surprise when both Sans’ and Papyrus’ souls were pulled forth from their chests and a strand of magic formed binding their souls to Kiandra’s. 

     “WHA..A...AT WHAT!?!” Sputtering, Papyrus withdrew his hands leaving her soul to float on its own accord. “HOW? I… I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU WERE ALREADY BONDED.”

     “we are, this shouldn’t…” Dumbfounded, Sans attempted to check her soul, but to no avail. Something was preventing him from seeing the soul’s stats. “this shouldn’t be possible.” Sans mumbled, brushing his hand over his skull in frustration.

     A loud gasp followed by all the candles extinguishing, plunging the room into darkness save for the soft glow of the souls caused the brothers to jump. Looking up, Sans was met by two eyes staring warily back at him through the darkness. Illuminated by the souls, they seemed to gleam, mirroring the same brilliant colors of her soul. 

     Caught up in the moment, Sans released the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding.

     “kia.”