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Teacher Nightmare

Chapter Text

Cross nervously arranged his pencils in the empty classroom. He sat in the corner furthest away from the teacher's table. He was about to have a study lesson with Mr. Nightmare, the Maths teacher.

He shuddered at the thought.

He had just changed to this school after his old Maths teacher had hit him one too many times and had gotten in trouble for it. He wasn't very good at Maths but he wasn't bad either. The teacher had always expected everyone to do problems from a higher grade. He'd never managed so he'd been screamed at, hit and stuffed into a closet.

Everyone had been scared of his old Maths teacher and everyone was scared of the new one too. He gulped nervously.

 

The door opened to reveal a tall black skeleton wearing a dark purple suit. He was carrying a few papers in his arms and a file. His expression was slightly irritated as he grumbled lowly.

"Fucking principal and bully and halls and grr..." he growled to himself as he stood behind his desk, not yet noticing the student that he had been told to teach privately.

 

Cross looked up and flinched, immediately looking back down. Stars, he looked so angry! He never had any luck, did he? He felt tears sting in his eye sockets.

He'd get beaten again. He'd definitely get beaten again.

Cross quickly wiped his eye sockets with his sleeves, fighting hard not to tremble.

 

Nightmare frowned before he looked up and startled when he saw a student.

"Oh! I didn't see you there. Apologies." Nightmare said softly, giving the new student a kind smile. "You're the new student correct? *Tch, another one?* What's your name?"

 

(* <---Means it's what Cross hears/sees but it's not real.)

 

Cross looked up anxiously, flinching slightly.

"C.. Cross..." Cross mumbled nervously. He hoped that the other had understood him.

 

Nightmare frowned and raised a brow at the student. He hadn't heard that properly. The student must be anxious meeting a new teacher for the first time.

*Nightmare scowls at him with hatred and anger. His eye flashing brightly as he left claw marks on his desk when he clenched his hand.*

That had to be it.

"I'm sorry but can you speak up please?" he asked gently with a small smile.

*"Speak up I can't hear whatever you're saying!" Nightmare yelled at him angrily.*

"I couldn't quite hear you."

 

Cross flinched back, tears collecting in his eye sockets as he stared at Nightmare fearfully. He quickly averted his eyes and got out a paper and wrote 'Cross' down on it with his shaking hand, holding it up.

 

Nightmare blinked and read the word that was written on the paper.

"Oh your name is Cross." he said *"Cross." he scoffed at the student. "What a stupid name."* before smiling kindly down at the student. "Hello there Cross. I am professor Nightmare but you can call me Mr.Nightmare."

*"Call me Mr.Nightmare or else!" Nightmare growled at him.*

 

Cross winced, putting the paper down with his name facing the table. He'd actually liked his name once.

"O-okay, Mr. Nightmare..." He mumbled quietly, wiping away his tears quickly.

 

Nightmare nodded and walked over to Cross' table with a few papers in his hands. "I brought some math problems with me." he said with a smile.

Nightmare sat down beside Cross in another chair and placed a paper in front of the student. He put an arm over Cross' chair to make it easier to lean towards the student to help him.

"See? It's simple." Nightmare said pointing to the problems on the piece of paper.

1) 6 x 4 =

2) 5 + 19 =

3) 5.5 + 3.0 =

 

Cross flinched slightly when Mr. Nightmare put his arm around his chair. There was no escape. On his right was the wall and on the other side was the teacher…

He quickly looked down at the Math problems, eyeing them anxiously.

Oh stars, he actually knew the answers. Those were... surprisingly not horrible.

He quickly scribbled down the numbers 24, 24 and 8.5 .

 

Nightmare watched as Cross wrote down the correct answers. He smiled brightly with a nod.

"Those are correct!" he praised happily. "You did a very good job!"

 

Cross looked up surprisedly. No reprimand about how awfully slow he had been? He was a bit confused. His old teacher would have locked him in the closet of shame for half an hour...

 

Nightmare smiled and took the paper, putting down another one. "Here's another one. It's still simple."

1) 1 - 1/2

2) 37 + (-11)

3) -2 + 3

"You've learned this, right?" Nightmare asked curiously.

 

Cross nodded slightly. They'd learned a lot of those questions at the end of last year.

He wrote down the numbers 1/2, 26 and 1.

 

Nightmare nodded happily and rubbed the top of Cross skull.

"That's it! You did so well! You're pretty smart aren't you?"

 

Cross flinched when his skull was touched, expecting Mr. Nightmare to hit him for whatever reason he had.

 

Nightmare slowly rubbed Cross' skull as he took out another paper. "You're doing very well."

He put another paper in front of Cross.

1) 62 - 82 + 36

2) 44/4

3) 90 - 100

"How about you do another one? I'm sure you can ace it!"

 

Cross looked up surprisedly. Mr. Nightmare wasn't hurting him and he was praising him?? Cross was so confused.

"O-okay..." He mumbled.

He wrote down the numbers 16, 11 and -10.

 

"That's good" Nightmare praised with a large smile. "You did so well Cross!"

"Now, this one's a little harder-" Nightmare said, not knowing it was a trigger word for Cross. "-but don't you worry. I'll be here to help you through it."

1) *₩₩₩₩₩₩₩₩* + *₩₩₩₩₩₩₩* - *₩₩₩₩₩₩₩₩*

2) *₩₩₩₩₩₩₩₩* + *₩₩₩₩₩₩₩

 

Cross gasped quietly. Harder? He wouldn't be able to make it, he never could! His breathing sped up, his Soul pounding hard as he stared at the paper anxiously.

Where were the numbers, why weren't there any numbers, was that a trick question, how was he supposed to solve it!!

 

"It's okay." Nightmare said softly when he noticed how panicked Cross looked. "I'll help you."

"Now, the question is; *static* + *static* - *static* = ?"

 

Cross stared up at Nightmare, feeling tears collect in his eye sockets as he looked back down and started to shiver.

Nononononono! He couldn't solve it, there was no way he could. Why could be never do anything right?!

 

Nightmare looked at Cross with worry. "What's wrong?"

*"You idiot! Why aren't you answering the simple question!"*

 

Cross breathed heavily, a tear dripping down his cheek bones as he wrote 52 down.

 

Nightmare raised a brow in surprise at the answer. That... wasn't right. Cross had done so well. What had happened? "Um... 52?"

 

Cross' eye sockets widened. Oh no, it was wrong, oh stars he'd done it again.

"I.. I'm sorry." He mumbled quietly, another tear dripping onto the paper.

 

"N-no no! It's okay." Nightmare assured quickly with a smile. He smiled kindly and patiently down at Cross. "It's okay. We just need to work on it, that's all."

*"Tch, of course. You can even do something as simple as this." Nightmare scowls down at him as his grip tightened on-*

"Let's just try again." he said while gently rubbing Cross' skull.

 

Cross flinched away from the touch, his Soul pulsing fearfully as he stared up at Nightmare with tears rolling down his cheek bones.

 

Nightmare's eyes widened and removed his hand. Stars what was wrong? Why was Cross crying?

"Cross? What's wrong?" he asked softly in concern.

*"Really? Tears?" Nightmare mocked hatefully. "Can you be more pathetic?"*

 

"I'm sorry..." Cross sobbed, frantically trying to wipe his tears away. "I didn't mean to cry, please don't hit me!" He cried, his whole body shaking harshly.

 

Nightmare gasped with wide eyes and immediately scooted away from Cross. Hit him??! What?! Why did this student think he'd hit him?!

"No, no it's okay. I won't hit you." he promised softly but his face was full of worry. What was wrong?! What had happened to this student to cause him to act like this?!

Nightmare looked away and played with his hands as he thought. "I guess we're done for today." he said reluctantly. "You can pack up and we can continue tomorrow."

 

Cross sobbed quietly. Mr. Nightmare only wanted him to be off guard in his presence. There was no way he was being sincere. He quickly packed up his bag, trying to stay as far away from Nightmare as possible before he ran out of the classroom without looking back.

 

"Stay safe and be careful out there!" Nightmare called but Cross had already left.

Nightmare watched his fleeing student with hurt and worried eyes. He picked up the paper he had given Cross. And what had started all of this.

He looked down at the problems and looked up where Cross had left. What had happened?

1) 6 + 8 - (4 - 2) = 52

2) 5 x (3 + 5) =

Chapter Text

Cross hid his skull behind his book which he had put up to avoid looking at Nightmare and to avoid seeing him staring at him. He shuddered slightly. He needed to go to that study thing again after his classes were over.

He scooted a bit closer to the wall, away from everyone else in his class as he sat in the last row all by himself.

 

Nightmare explained the lesson fluently to his class as he wrote the numbers on the white board. His eyes occasionally shifted towards Cross who was hiding all by himself behind a book at the very back.

He couldn't help but feel responsible for his student's off behavior. But he knew he couldn't blame himself. Not unless he knew what was wrong. He had a bad feeling about Cross' fear yesterday.

The bell rang loudly, signalling the end of class.

 

Cross flinched hard, looking around. He hated that bell. It was so extremely loud and reminded him of the ringing in his skull when he got hit too hard.

He took his notebook which didn't have a new entry for that day's lesson and stuffed it into his bag.

 

Nightmare sighed softly and put down the marker. He turned towards his class with a small smile. "Alright class, you may leave for the day. Don't forget to revise at home on today's lesson. I'll give you all a quiz tomorrow."

The students' groans made Nightmare smile fondly. Kids. But at least they did well. He watched as they packed their bags and left the class. "If you have trouble, you can come to me."

Now, it was time for his and Cross' private lesson. He had something planned.

 

Cross flinched. A quiz?! He hadn't listened at all! He would fail for sure and then he'd be hit despite what Nightmare had said.

He whimpered quietly, the sound drowned out by all the noise the other students were making.

 

Nightmare sat down on his chair and shuffled his papers on his desk. He looked up when a student walked up to him. He smiled at the student who wanted to ask him about the lesson.

It was always fun to teach students math. Especially when they finally understood what he was teaching.

 

"Which problems from the textbook should we do to prepare for the quiz?" The student asked curiously.

Cross looked up a bit. Maybe he could manage to get at least some points on the quiz if he did all the textbook numbers Nightmare recommended.

 

Nightmare shook his skull with a soft chuckle. Sneaky bastard. But he couldn't deny the student.

"Questions from pages 16-25." he answered while checking his papers. "I'm picking the first three problems off of each exercise. I'll also be putting some trick questions that often confuse some students. But don't worry, I'll assist you if you need it."

 

Cross quickly wrote the numbers down. That was a lot. He'd have to stay up all night if he wanted to get every single problem from those pages done...

Well. That was his punishment for not listening.

"Thanks, Mr. Nightmare!" The student replied with a smile. "Have a nice day." They added before walking out of the classroom.

 

Nightmare nodded with a smile and a wave. "You too. Stay safe!" he said towards the retreating student.

Nightmare looked down at a paper he had planned for Cross. Something wasn't right. Speaking of him...

Nightmare looked up and spoke loudly. "Cross? Could you come here please?"

 

Cross looked up at the call of his name and started shivering slightly.

He had to go up to the front? Why? Was Nightmare going to punish him for running away?

Cross got up hesitantly and slowly moved towards the front, trying to keep his panic contained.

 

Nightmare noticed how scared Cross looked. That rubbed him the wrong way.

Nevertheless, he kept up a gentle smile and pulled out a few small chocolate bars onto his table. "I need your help with something."

 

Cross felt his eye lights drawn to the chocolate. He loved chocolate but he didn't have the money to buy it...

There was no way Nightmare would share any with him though so he did his best to look disinterested.

He wondered what Nightmare needed his help with. Probably something painful or something like examining the closet from inside. He shuddered slightly as he stood in front of Nightmare's desk.

 

Nightmare moved the chocolate around as he spoke. Time to test something. "So I have ten chocolate bars with me. I have two friends who want some. So I split the chocolate bars between all of us. How many will I have left?"

 

"You can't split ten through three." Cross mumbled quietly. "You'd have one left that everyone fights over." He added because that was how it normally went.

 

"Oh you're right." Nightmare said as he picked up a chocolate bar and stared at it. He handed it to Cross with a smile. "But I can if I have nine chocolates instead."

 

Cross frowned as Nightmare held out a chocolate bar to him. Was that a trick? He did love chocolate, yes, but what if he failed a hidden test if he took the chocolate?

"W-what are you doing...?" He asked hesitantly.

 

"Giving you the chocolate." Nightmare shrugged and put it in front of Cross. "My friends will fight over it, like you said. I'm just avoiding a fight. They'll never know."

 

Cross looked at the teacher unsurely.

"Are you sure? It's your chocolate. You paid for it. I can't possibly take it." He mumbled quietly. He wanted to take it. He really, really wanted to but he couldn't possibly take it.

"You could split the bar in thirds." He suggested.

 

Nightmare looked at Cross with a raised brow. That was odd. Usually students would take without a second thought. "And let them complain about size? Not a chance. Consider it a prize for getting the question right."

 

"B.. but I don't deserve a prize. I'm horrible at Maths..." Cross replied without thinking of the consequences because he really didn't deserve to get chocolate. He was hopeless in Maths.

 

Nightmare clicked his tongue at Cross and rearranged the chocolates. "Alright."

"I have nine chocolates. I gave six to my friend and kept the rest. My friend ate four. The next morning he gave me the rest. How many do I have now?" he asked while looking at Cross and folding his arms on his desk.

 

"Five." Cross replied without any difficulty. He frowned slightly. Why would anyone give chocolate back and not hoard it like the treasure it was?

 

"Can you explain the math?" Nightmare asked with a slight nod.

 

"You give six to your friend and got three left. Of the six chocolate bars, your friend eats four, meaning that two are left and three plus two is five." Cross explained quickly. He was sure Nightmare had some other things to do than see how bad he was at Maths.

 

Nightmare nodded in satisfaction. "That's correct."

He slid two chocolate bars to join the one he gave to Cross. "And here you go."

 

Cross frowned.

"But now you only have seven. How do you plan on sharing those with your friends?" He asked. He really didn't want to get beaten up again because his 'roommates' found out he had chocolate.

 

Nightmare pulled out a bag from under the table. "That is the chocolate for them."

He pushed the rest of the chocolates towards Cross. All ten of them. "That's all for you. You can do whatever you want with it."

 

Cross stared at all of the chocolate.

"I.. I can't eat that much at once..." He mumbled because there was no way he could take it to the house he lived in.

 

"Then you can save it for later." Nightmare said with a curious tilt of his skull. "Don't you want it?"

 

"I.. I do want it..." Cross mumbled quietly. "But I can't save it for later. Someone will take it from me..." He admitted quietly, feeling tears collect in his eye sockets.

 

"Oh?" Nightmare said before nodding in understanding. Bullies often took things without permission.

"Then why don't you eat some during our private lessons?" he suggested. "I'll keep the rest safe for you here."

 

Cross nodded slightly. There was a big chance he'd never see the chocolate again but it was better than being beaten up because of it.

 

Nightmare smiled and patted beside him, another hand handing Cross a chocolate bar to eat while learning. "Come on. Let's start our lessons for today."

 

Cross hesitantly took the chocolate bar and slowly made his way around the table, sitting down as far away from Nightmare as he could without being rude. He still thought he was way too close.

 

Nightmare smiled softly down at Cross and pulled out a paper with the problems he had prepared. He pushed the chocolates to the side as he handed Cross a pen.

"Let's try some simple problems, okay?" he said softly and pointed towards the first question.

"A class of twenty students. 1/2 of them passed the test while 1/2 of the remaining students didn't take the test. How many students didn't take the test?" Nightmare read the questions and smiled at Cross.

 

Cross wrote the number 10 down. He frowned slightly. That seemed really unrealistic. Why would half of the class just decide not to take the test? Were they sick?

 

Nightmare shook his skull at the answer but kept up a patient smile. "That's actually wrong." he said softly.

 

Cross looked up at Nightmare, his eye lights small as he stared up at the teacher fearfully. Oh stars, he'd messed up. Oh no, oh stars...

His hand trembled as he crossed out the number he had written down. Where had he messed up?!

Cross frantically read the question but tears were blurring his vision.

 

"Shh...." Nightmare hushed softly and took another pen. He circled the word 'remaining'.

"Here. It says half of the remaining students. Twenty divided by two is ten. Half of the remaining students didn't take the test." Nightmare explained softly and let Cross finish it.

 

Cross sniffled quietly and wiped his eye sockets, writing a five down. He was horrible at Maths. He didn't deserve any chocolate.

 

Nightmare nodded. "That's correct." he said.

"Ready for the next one?" he asked softly.

 

Cross nodded slightly, trying to get himself to stop crying.

He was such a failure...

"I'm sorry..." He mumbled quietly, wiping his tears away.

 

Nightmare grabbed a chocolate bar and ripped the wrapping open, handing Cross the opened candy.

"It's okay." Nightmare said softly. "You just made a mistake. You can learn."

 

Cross reached out to the chocolate bar hesitantly. He didn't deserve it. He'd never deserve it. He'd never be good enough.

He flinched back slightly, pulling the hood of his fluffy jacket over his face to hide his tears.

 

Nightmare frowned worriedly and snapped off a piece of chocolate. He held the chocolate piece towards Cross.

"Here." he said softly. "It's okay. You can have it. You deserve it. You fixed your mistake."

 

Cross looked up confusedly, looking a bit shocked as tears rolled down his cheek bones. He took the piece of chocolate hesitantly, eating it slowly.

It had been a while since he'd had chocolate.

 

Nightmare smiled happily and pointed to the next question.

"Amanda has a whole cake. Her family ate 1/2. She has a friend who wants a piece. How many pieces would they all get from the remaining cake?" he read the question aloud.

 

"How big are the pieces?" Cross asked shakily, shivering slightly. He wiped his tears away.

 

Nightmare blinked and read the question again. He chuckled and crossed out the question.  "Sorry. Wrong question. My mistake."

Well, he'd purposely made it wrong. It showed that he wouldn't get mad at Cross because he did something wrong. Nightmare could be wrong too.

 

Cross looked up confusedly. Why was Mr. Nightmare admitting that the question was wrong? It was wrong, yes, but his old Math teacher would have screamed at him for being too stupid to solve it.

 

Nightmare smiled down at Cross and put the pen away. He handed Cross another piece of chocolate. "Let's stop for now. I've been meaning to ask you something."

 

Cross took the piece of chocolate hesitantly.

"O-okay, Mr. Nightmare..." He mumbled quietly, eating the piece of chocolate.

 

Nightmare smiled softly at him. Maybe he could get Cross to be more confident and talk without fear. "What's your full name? You never gave me one."

 

Cross frowned, looking down in shame.

"I.. I don't have one. Only Cross..." He mumbled quietly.

 

"Oh?" Nightmare says in surprise, handing Cross another piece of chocolate. "Why is that?"

 

Cross wiped some unbidden tears away. Even his parents hadn't wanted him.

"My parents didn't want me..." He mumbled, not noticing the piece of chocolate.

 

Nightmare tensed but kept the patient smile. "What do you mean by that? Are you abused at home? You can tell me."

 

"I'm an orphan. I live at an orphanage." Cross cried quietly. "My roommates always hit me and shout at me..." He mumbled, letting out a quiet sob.

 

Nightmare let out a soft gasp at the information. He put the piece of chocolate down and wrapped his arms loosely around Cross.

"I'm so sorry." he whispered into Cross' covered skull. "You don't deserve that."

 

Cross flinched harshly, trembling hard as he started sobbing fearfully.

"P-please d-d-don't hurt me, I... I didn't m-mean to..." He stammered panickedly, trying to pull away.

 

Nightmare immediately pulled away. He felt so angry at the people who had done this to a student. He felt so sad Cross had to go through all that. He was feeling so much but he didn't show it.

"It's okay." he said softly. *"Pathetic-"* "I'm sorry for scaring you. Please... I'm sorry."

 

Cross scooted away a bit, pulling his hood down further to cover his face. He sobbed quietly, curling in on himself.

He was pathetic. He was pathetic at Maths, pathetic at everything!

 

Nightmare looked at the student with guilt. He hadn't meant to hurt him. He just... How could he make this better?

He looked at the pile of chocolate bars and took one. He took a marker and wrote something down, handing it to Cross.

 

Cross flinched when Nightmare held the chocolate bar out to him. He looked at it hesitantly, tensing a bit.

 

[You're smart. Don't forget, someone cares for you.], the chocolate read.

Nightmare smiled at Cross softly. "It's hard. You always hear everyone say you are terrible or insult you. It's like the world wants to hurt you. Like it wants to see you fall down. But not everybody wants that. Someone does care about you. Don't ever forget it."

 

Cross sobbed a bit harder.

"Everyone hates me. Everyone!" He sobbed, raising his voice for the first time since meeting Mr. Nightmare.

 

Nightmare flinched before shaking his skull. "Not everyone. I don't hate you."

 

Cross looked up surprisedly.

"W-what...?" He asked quietly, trying to wipe his tears away to see whether Nightmare actually meant it.

 

Nightmare sighed softly, looking at Cross. "I don't hate you. In fact, you've captured my heart."

"You're smart Cross." Nightmare said sincerely, rubbing his arm. *Night- XGaster scowled at him. "Idiot."* "And it hurts to see you so afraid of me. I've only met you but, I want to know more about you. I don't hate you. I care about you."

 

Cross looked up surprisedly. Nightmare sounded sincere. His breath hitched on a sob. He didn't flinch away from the touch but looked around anxiously when he heard a certain person.

He focused back in Nightmare when he continued talking.

Nightmare... cared about him...?

Cross felt tears drip down his face as he hugged Nightmare.

 

Nightmare looked at Cross in confusion at the sudden embrace. He sighed in relief and hugged back loosely, rubbing Cross' back slowly.

"I'm sorry for what you had to go through." he said softly and looked down at Cross. "I can't do much but, whenever you need any help at school or even someone to comfort you, you can come to me. I'll do my best to help you. I promise."

 

"Thank you..." Cross whispered, relaxing slightly. He liked this hug. Nightmare probably wouldn't hurt him.

 

Nightmare hugged a bit tighter and nuzzled Cross' skull. "Anytime."

Chapter Text

Cross sobbed quietly, his hood on his skull as he stood in front of the door to Nightmare's office hesitantly. Someone from a higher grade had beaten him up and stolen his lunch.

He knocked on the door softly, hoping he wouldn't annoy Nightmare.

 

Nightmare was frowning with irritation as he read over the paperwork. He was doing some research about Cross after their heart to heart a week ago. But what he was slowly uncovering was making him so angry. Damned blasted stupid fucking system-

He looked up from his papers when he heard a knock. "Come in."

 

Cross hesitantly opened the door, stepping inside quietly. He looked pretty beaten up, his clothes dirty and the strap of his bag ripped off on one side. He'd have to sew it again.

He closed the door after himself, wiping away his tears.

"Sorry to annoy you..." Cross mumbled quietly.

 

Nightmare gasped at Cross' appearance. He quickly hid his paperwork and stood up, rushing towards Cross to examine him.

"What happened???" he asked in concern, gently wiping away Cross' tears. Cross had been hurt. He'd been hurt and Nightmare hadn't been there to protect him.

 

Cross didn't flinch when Nightmare touched him, actually a bit happy about the touch. If Nightmare would've wanted to hurt him he'd done so already.

"Someone from the higher classes beat me up and stole my lunch..." He admitted quietly. He'd been too weak to defend himself.

 

Nightmare's expression darkened with anger. He quickly pulled Cross into a hug to hide it. He'd learned that anger or even as little as irritation triggered his student. He wouldn't pry for answers. Cross could tell on his own time.

"Shh..." he hushed softly and gently pulled him towards his desk. "Come here. I'll patch you up."

 

Cross dropped his bag on the floor and hugged back, crying quietly. He let himself be moved without protest.

"Okay..." He mumbled quietly.

 

Nightmare pulled Cross to sit down onto a chair beside his desk. He pulled out a small first aid kit from under the desk and opened it. He grabbed a handkerchief and a water bottle, cleaning the dirt and dust off of Cross' bones.

 

Cross sat down and pulled up his pant legs to expose his bleeding knees. He winced slightly when Nightmare cleaned his wounds.

 

Nightmare frowned at the blood and cleaned it thoroughly. He grabbed some medicine and put it gently on the bleeding wound before placing a bandaid on it.

"There." he said softly. "Any more cuts?"

 

Cross shook his head slightly, wiping away his tears.

"My ribs hurt a bit though..." He explained. He didn't want to take off his hoodie jacket or shirt though. His whole body was littered with awful scars, especially his arms and ribs.

 

Nightmare nodded. Stars Cross was beaten up terribly. "Okay. Take off your shirt. I need to see how bad the damage is."

 

Cross' eye sockets widened.

"No. It's okay. It's probably just a bruise." He mumbled quietly, holding his shirt down. He really didn't want to make Nightmare hate him because of his ugly scars.

 

Nightmare frowned in worry and gently touched Cross' cheek. Why was Cross hiding? Something wrong? "Cross? What's wrong? You can tell me."

 

Cross unconsciously leaned into the touch.

He shook his head in response. He couldn't show it to Nightmare. He actually liked Nightmare. He couldn't bear the thought of Nightmare hating him.

Cross felt tears roll down his cheek bones.

 

Nightmare wiped the tears away gently. His Soul ached seeing Cross like this. "Please? I don't want to see you hurt. I want to help."

 

"It's okay. I'm used to it..." Cross mumbled. He didn't want to ruin this. He didn't want to make Nightmare hate him. His scars were ugly, some of his ribs not healed correctly. It looked awful.

 

Nightmare gently tilted Cross' skull upwards to stare deeply into his eyes. He looked at Cross pleadingly. "Please? For me?"

 

Cross felt more tears fall down his face as he stared up at Nightmare fearfully.

"I don't want you to hate me..." He replied quietly, shivering slightly.

 

Nightmare gently wiped away the tears. He gave Cross a soft gentle smile. "I won't hate you. I promised that, didn't I?"

 

Cross sniffled slightly but nodded. He was inclined to think Nightmare was actually saying the truth.

"Don't get mad, please." He said quietly as he opened the zipper of his jacket with trembling hands.

There was no way Nightmare wouldn't get mad at him for being such a weakling.

 

Nightmare nodded and waited for Cross to lift up his shirt. He'd try not to get mad. Cross didn't deserve his anger. If he was going to be mad at anyone it was everyone who had ever touched Cross.

 

Cross looked down shamefully, sobbing quietly as he lifted up his shirt, his jacket still on.

His ribcage was a mess of cracks, scars and badly healed cracks, a few of the breaks even healed wrongly. There was a big bruise near the bottom, one of the less sturdier ribs cracked in half.

 

Nightmare gasped with small eye lights. He stared at the marred bone in shock. He clenched his hands discretely to hide his anger, lifting one hand up to hover over the crack. Who would do this to a child?

"I should reset that bone." Nightmare said as he looked at the broken rib. "It'll hurt when I reset it. I won't lie."

 

Cross nodded slightly, looking down at his ribcage. He winced. It looked worse than what it had looked like last time he had seen it.

Was... Was Nightmare not mad...?

 

Nightmare looked around before he grabbed his sturdy leather wallet and handed it to Cross. It was impractical but it would do. "Bite down on it. The crack will hurt a lot and I don't want you to hurt yourself."

 

Cross nodded, taking the thing without protest. He bit down on it. It smelled really weird...

 

Nightmare grabbed the bone and looked up at Cross. His free hand went up to rub Cross' skull.

"Count to five." he said softly.

 

Cross leaned into the touch, frowning slightly. He had that weird thing in his mouth. He held up his hand and counted.

1, 2, 3-

 

Nightmare clenched his hand hard suddenly. The bone snapping back in place with a pop.

He grabbed Cross' hand to comfort him. "I'm sorry. But I needed you to be less tense to make it less painful."

 

Cross clenched his teeth hard, happy for the thing in his mouth as pain pulsed through his ribcage. He sobbed quietly as he took the thing out of his mouth and put it onto the table, wincing in pain.

He nodded slightly. It would've hurt either way.

 

Nightmare leaned close to nuzzle Cross apologetically. He grabbed a roll of gauze and began wrapping up the broken bone.

"Did you eat?" he asked softly, trying to take Cross' mind off the pain. "That bully took your lunch."

 

Cross leaned into the touch slightly, watching Nightmare wrap his injury.

"No..." Cross replied softly, wiping away his tears.

 

Nightmare nodded and finished wrapping up the rib. He picked up a jar and scooped up some gel, applying it onto the wounds. Hopefully it'd fix as much as it could. "Then what would you like to eat? I'll pay."

 

Cross watched curiously as Nightmare put some sort of... gel...? onto his cracks. He wondered what it was for.

He looked up shockedly.

"You... You'd actually.. pay me lunch...?" Cross asked hesitantly. That was way too good to be true.

 

Nightmare smiled down at Cross. "Of course. I can't leave you hungry after all."

He finished applying the gel and wiped the rest off of his fingers. He reached into his drawer and handed Cross a bar of chocolate. "Come on. Let's go and buy something for you."

 

"O-okay..." Cross mumbled quietly, accepting the bar of chocolate rather easily. He put it into his pocket. He wasn't allowed to eat sweets before lunch.

He stood up with a wince, his body pulsing in pain.

 

Nightmare grabbed Cross' arm and body to help steady him. He helped Cross to stand with a concerned look.

"Come on." he said softly. "I'm sure the canteen has some food left. Or we could leave to eat somewhere else? I'll cover for you." he winked at Cross as if hiding a secret.

 

Cross looked up, relief in his eye lights at not having to stand on his own. He mumbled a quick thanks.

He smiled slightly. He had no doubt that Nightmare would really cover for him.

"I think I'll get something at dinner today so I don't need to eat too much..." Cross replied.

 

Nightmare raised a brow as he slowly lead Cross to the door. "Oh? Okay then. But I hope you'll eat something more than just a piece of bread like before."

 

"There wasn't anything else left over. We got a limited food supply and as the 'caretakers' always say, only the strong survive." Cross explained. "I'm weak so I only get leftovers." He added, wincing a bit as his rib throbbed in pain.

 

Nightmare opened the door with one hand as he frowned. He hated how the caretakers treated Cross. How the orphanage worked in general. But he couldn't do anything. Yet.

"Then you can always ask me for food." Nightmare said softly as he walked down the hallway with Cross. "I'll get some for you if you need it."

 

Cross looked up at Nightmare with brightly shining eye lights.

"You... You'd do that for me...?" He asked, looking surprised. Food was important. Everyone needed food to survive and Nightmare had just offered to buy him food?

 

"Of course." Nightmare assured. He'd been doing that a lot. Cross was so insecure about everything. Like he thought Nightmare was lying. He didn't like the fine print of Cross' life. "I don't have anyone to spend my money on anyways. And I live simply on essentials and small hobbies."

"Let me do this Cross." Nightmare smiled down at Cross as he gently rubbed his skull. "You deserve rest and a full stomach for once."

 

Cross smiled slightly as he leaned into the touch, staring up at Nightmare amazedly.

"Thank you." He replied, sounding happier than Nightmare had ever heard him. He couldn't believe that Nightmare would really do that for him. It sounded too good to be true but he'd try to believe Nightmare.

 

Nightmare smiled happily. Cross should smile more. Should be happy more. It suited him. It was better than tears of terror.

"Now come on. What do your tastebuds crave for?" Nightmare joked with a grin. But he was truly curious. He'd get Cross anything. Well, anything doable.

 

Cross hummed in thought. He liked chocolate but that wasn't a proper lunch. He had a chocolate bar in his pocket anyways. What did he like...?

"I'm not sure... My favourite food is chocolate and I really like tacos but they never tell us what the unidentifiable stuff is we eat..." He mumbled thoughtfully.

 

Nightmare snorted softly in surprise at his words before shaking his skull. "Sorry sorry. That just reminded me of the time our school had pizza and we couldn't identify what half of the ingredients were in there. Some looked like baby barf or mold but they didn't smell like anything. Or taste like anything either when I think about it." he rubbed his chin in thought. That had been a weird Monday at school. They'd stopped when someone was sent to the hospital for food poisoning.

Nightmare smiled down at Cross. "I know a Mexican restaurant nearby where we can get takeout. I'll even tell you what they put in tacos."

 

Cross chuckled softly. That sounded like the food they had. They frequently had people with upset stomachs but fortunately he'd never gotten sick from the food so far.

He smiled slightly. That sounded really nice.

"I'd like that..." He mumbled softly. Nightmare had already promised to cover for him so it shouldn't be much of a problem. He chuckled a bit. He'd really like to know what was in the tacos.

 

Nightmare smiled happily and headed towards his large dark blue car. Dream had surprised him with this on his birthday the year before and eventually he had gotten used to the expensive look of the car. So much space and so expensive. He hated how uncomfortable it made him feel. "Then let's go."

 

"Wow." Cross gasped quietly. The car looked so awesome and expensive.

"Um... Do you really want me to go in there with my dirty clothes...?" He asked hesitantly, suddenly getting doubts. He'd never actually been in a car before.

 

Nightmare nodded and unlocked his car, opening the door for Cross. "It was a gift and honestly, it'll make me feel better since I'm not used to it looking so expensive either."

"'Besides," Nightmare shrugged. "I'll clean it out easily. Dream got the easy to clean seats. Trust me, I've accidentally spilled more coffee than a race car driver in a traffic jam."

 

Cross chuckled softly and sat down in the car with a small smile. That sounded pretty funny. He hummed in thought.

"Isn't Dream a teacher here too?" He asked curiously.

 

Nightmare closed the door, walking around to get to the driver's seat and opened that door. He sat down and started the car, closing the door. His car smelled like snow and pine.

"Yes." he replied, checking everything in his car from his mirrors to his gas tank. "He's the counselor teacher. Fitting since his appearance practically screams PTA."

 

Cross really liked how the car smelled. He couldn't really identify it but it was calming.

"What's your relationship to him?" Cross asked curiously. He didn't think that Dream would just give anyone a car.

 

Nightmare looked at Cross before leaning over and helping Cross buckle up. He doubted Cross knew how to do it since he'd said he'd only been in a bus or van before.

"Dream's my brother." he said, sitting back in his seat and buckled his own seat belt. "Twin actually."

 

Cross thanked Nightmare.

"It's really nice of him to buy you a car." He hummed thoughtfully.

 

Nightmare pulled out of the parking space, the car driving smoothly. "Well, he's been bothering to get something for me and I never told him what I wanted. I didn't want anything. It probably doesn't help that I constantly do him favors without asking for anything in return. I can imagine his frustration. Eventually he gave up and gave me a car."

 

Cross chuckled softly.

"Sounds like you had it coming." He noted quietly. He frowned slightly. Birthdays... He didn't even know his birthday. His birth certificate had gone missing and nobody had bothered to remember his birthday.

 

Nightmare chuckles softly, liking how brave his student had become. He drove carefully down the road.

"Maybe." He shrugged. "I'll get him back one day."

 

"I'm sure you will." Cross replied, sounding a bit sad. He'd never celebrated his birthday. Probably because no one cared about him.

 

Nightmare hummed at Cross at the sad undertone. "What's wrong?" he asked curiously yet worriedly.

 

"I was just thinking about birthdays. I've never celebrated mine because I have no idea when it is." Cross explained. "I guess nobody cared enough to remember my birthday..." He said quietly, trailing off at the end.

 

Nightmare clenched his hands discreetly on the steering wheel at that new information. He took a calming breath. He couldn't get mad. It wasn't Cross' fault. He didn't deserve to see Nightmare's anger.

"I'm sure that if someone adopted you they'll give you a new birthday." Nightmare said calmly with a small smile.

 

Cross looked down, seeming a bit depressed.

"There's noone who would want me. Kids my age rarely get adopted and I doubt I'd even want to get adopted. I've heard stories from older kids that some people come and grab random kids only to get the money and don't take care of them at all. I'm not sure anymore. I want to be adopted by someone who can and wants to take care of me." Cross explained.

 

Nightmare frowned as they neared the restaurant. Oh Cross. How he wanted to just save this child right then and there.

"I promise you, someone will adopt you soon. Someone nice, caring and will never hurt you or let you be hurt." Nightmare said firmly, a fire burning deep inside his Soul.

 

Cross chuckled humourlessly. He didn't think that was true. There was no way that could be true.

"I hope your right..." He whispered quietly, hoping against everything he'd ever known that Nightmare was right.

 

Nightmare nodded as he pulled towards the drive through. He hoped so too.

"Let's not think about it now." he said, trying to get Cross' mind off of adoption. "Tacos right?"

 

Cross nodded slightly, brightening up a bit at the thought of tacos.

"Yeah. Tacos sound great." He replied. He wondered what tacos they had. Maybe he could try more than one...?

 

"Okay. What kind of drinks?" he asked curiously. "How many tacos do you want?"

 

"Water?" Cross asked more than requested.

"Could I please have two tacos...?" He asked, sounding only a bit hesitant as he looked up at Nightmare.

 

Nightmare smiled softly. "Of course. But are you sure you just wanted water? There's iced tea if you're not a fan of carbonated soda."

 

"Does iced tea taste like tea but colder?" Cross asked curiously. He'd heard the older kids talk about it.

 

Nightmare nodded in affirmation. "Of course. There's frozen water called ice that they use to make drinks colder. There's also lemon iced tea."

 

Cross frowned thoughtfully. That sounded really interesting.

"Okay." He agreed.

 

Nightmare nodded and told the worker their orders. He paid the bill and drove a bit more to another window for their food.

He took the food and handed it to Cross. Nightmare had ordered some nachos and a soda.

 

Cross took the food, smiling when he felt that it was still warm. That was really rare for him. Warm food. He smiled slightly.

 

Nightmare smiled and began driving back to school, albeit slower. "You better eat. I don't want you to miss lunch."

 

Cross nodded slightly. He took a sip of his drink. Oh stars, it was so sugary! He smiled slightly. He liked it.

He took a bite of his taco, humming happily. It tasted amazing!

 

Nightmare smiled happily as he relaxed. He loved Cross' happy little hum. It sounded like bird's call to him.

 

Cross ate quickly, occasionally letting out happy hums. The tacos tasted amazing. He relaxed completely, his stomach full for the first time in a long time.

 

Nightmare smiled and pulls over, he didn't tell Cross they had arrived. He let his student eat his fill and relax. Besides, he loved the little hums he made.

 

Cross yawned slightly when he finished eating. He'd tried not to make a mess and succeed as much as possible. Now he was a bit sleepy.

 

"Are you tired?" Nightmare asked softly as he took his food from Cross' lap. The student looked a bit sleepy.

 

Cross nodded slightly.

"I didn't sleep so well last night." He explained sleepily, rubbing his eye sockets slightly.

 

Nightmare raised a brow. "Oh? Why is that?"

 

"My roommates were pulling an all-nighter to annoy me and listened to loud music." Cross explained, yawning quietly.

"They do that quite often..." He added softly.

 

Nightmare frowned unhappily. "You can sleep now if you need it. Like I said, I'll cover for you."

 

"Thanks..." Cross mumbled quietly, closing his eye sockets.

 

Nightmare pulled out his phone and told the teacher Cross was supposed to be having that Cross was resting in his office because he was sick.

He turned off his car and got out. He opened the door to Cross' seat and unbuckled him, carefully carrying him with his lunch.

 

Cross cuddled into Nightmare slightly, humming happily.

 

Nightmare locked his car and carried Cross to his office. He put Cross on the sofa like bench he has in his room- Dream had insisted on it because they talked often- and put his jacket over the student.

He walked to his desk and pulled out some important paperwork. He'd promised Cross no one would hurt him. So he'd protect him.

 

Cross frowned slightly when the source of warmth was gone. He cuddled into the jacket but it wasn't quite the same.

 

Nightmare sighed as he began to read the paperwork. This would take a while.

But it'd be worth it.

Chapter Text

Cross flinched as someone pushed him. He'd been getting some books out of his locker. They all fell to the ground as he bumped against the wall of lockers.

 

The bully grinned at Cross. "Oops. Looks like you have to pick those up now." they mocked.

 

Cross huffed, tears threatening to spill down his cheek bones as he bent down to pick up the books. They'd costed way too much to let someone take them from him.

 

The bully grinned and pushed the smaller inside the locker. He shut the door, the lock immediately locking him inside.

"Good luck getting out freak!" they said with a laugh before running away.

 

Cross yelped slightly as he was pushed into his locker, starting to cry. Why had they done that? He hadn't done anything wrong. He curled up on himself, sobbing quietly.

There was noone who cared enough about him to help him get out.

Wait... Nightmare!

Cross quickly pulled out his phone. He turned it on, sighing in relief when his locker was lit up. He hadn't forgotten to charge it. He quickly called Nightmare.

 

Nightmare grumbled and slammed his head on his desk. Dream looked up from the sofa/bench. He was wearing a short sleeved light blue button up, yellow pants, cyan boots and a loose yellow scarf around his neck. "What's wrong?"

"Argh this damned paperwork." Nightmare growled in irritation as he glared at the papers in front of him. "It's such a bother!"

Dream frowned. "It's not that bad."

"It is!" Nightmare growled. "If I could give the people there a piece of my mind-!"

He stopped when his phone rang. He looked at the contact and his eyes widened. He showed Dream a finger while he answered the call.

"Hello? What is it Cross?" he asked softly.

 

"H-hi..." Cross sobbed quietly, tears streaming down his face.

"S-some bully locked me i-inside my lo-locker..." He mumbled quietly, his breath hitching on a sob.

"Please help m-me... It's number... 851..." He explained quietly.

 

Nightmare tensed at the teary sob and stood up quickly. "I'm on my way. Don't be scared. I'm coming." he assured softly and quickly walked out of his office.

Dream smiled at Nightmare's retreating form. At least he had someone else to care about now.

 

Cross sobbed quietly. Nightmare would come and save him. He knew it. He sniffled softly, wiping his tears away.

"The c-code is zero-seven-one-seven." He explained quietly.

 

"Shh..." Nightmare hushed him softly through the phone. "Calm down. I'm on my way. Shh... I'll get you out."

He finally reached locker number 851. He grabbed the knob and turned it around for the code.

The locker opened revealing a crying Cross.

 

"I know..." Cross mumbled softly.

He looked up when he heard the lock click and the door opened. He sobbed quietly and climbed out of the locker, hugging Nightmare as he cried.

 

Nightmare closed his phone and pocketed it, hugging Cross gently. He rubbed Cross' skull and back slowly.

"Shh..." he hushed softly. "I'm here now. I'm here. You're safe."

 

Cross sobbed quietly, clinging to Nightmare.

"Thanks..." He mumbled quietly as he buried his face into Nightmare. Nightmare cared about him. Nightmare had saved him.

 

Nightmare smiled softly and sat down, pulling Cross in his lap. He glared at any student who looked at them wrongly.

"Shh... I promised didn't I?" he said softly, pulling Cross closer to his chest.

 

Cross let himself be moved easily.

He nodded slightly, cuddling into Nightmare for comfort. He slowly calmed down and wiped his tears away. Nightmare had kept his promise. He was so relieved. He'd been sure Nightmare wouldn't break it but prove was always a nice thing.

 

"Do you want me to carry you to my office?" Nightmare asked softly. He didn't want Cross to deal with students while he was mentally vulnerable. It'd make his mental health worse. "You don't have to go to class for now. You need to rest."

 

"O-okay..." Cross mumbled quietly, leaning into Nightmare. He felt a bit exhausted after that whole ordeal. The bullies had been exceptionally mean that day.

 

Nightmare gently picked Cross up. He picked up the discarded books and closed the locker door.

He carried Cross towards his office where Dream still sat.

The twin smiled up at Nightmare and the small student. "Hello there."

 

Cross rested his skull on Nightmare's shoulder, hugging him as he was carried.

He looked up, a bit tense when an unfamiliar voice spoke up. Why was there someone else in Nightmare's office? Could that be Dream?

"Hi..." Cross mumbled quietly.

 

"Dream. Off." Nightmare said nodding his head. Dream chuckled but did just that. Nightmare laid Cross on the bench carefully, placing the books on the floor beside the bench.

"There. You should rest now." he said softly while rubbing Cross' skull gently.

 

Cross chuckled softly as Nightmare ordered his brother out of the way.

"Okay.." He mumbled quietly, leaning into the touch.

 

Nightmare smiled and pulled out a small chocolate bar, handing it to Cross.

Dream chuckled softly as he watched Nightmare comfort the student. Oh he knew Nightmare's plan would go perfectly. He was already perfect for the role.

 

Cross looked up when Nightmare gave a bar of chocolate to him. He took it with a small smile and sat up, ripping open the package. He took a small bite, savouring the chocolate to last a bit longer. He hummed happily. He loved chocolate.

 

Nightmare's smile widened when Cross gave a happy little hum. He rubbed Cross' skull slowly as he smiled fondly. Stars he loved that sound.

 

Cross leaned into the touch, smiling slightly as he took another bite of the chocolate.

 

Nightmare felt the fire inside of him growing as he watched Cross eat the treat happily. Determination was growing inside his Soul. He'd protect Cross. He had promised after all.

Chapter Text

The monster looked around attentively. They were helping Nightmare search for Cross.

"The orphanage is rather big. It's hard to find anyone here." They said.

 

Nightmare nodded in agreement as he followed the monster. He had noticed how large this place was but it looked old. Run down mostly but still standing and okay. He was glad Cross wouldn't be there anymore.

 

The monster put an arm in front of a monster that was about Cross' age, effectively stopping their running.

"Have you seen Cross?" They asked. The kid shook their head and continued running.

 

Nightmare raised a brow at the running kid. Odd. But it shouldn't matter. What mattered was finding Cross.

 

The monster sighed, continuing to look around.

Cross glanced back fearfully. His roommates were running after him. He didn't want to get beaten up again. He grunted in pain as he ran into someone.

"Sorry." He apologised, looking up.

"... Nightmare?" He asked.

 

Nightmare looked down and smiled happily yet softly at Cross. He was wearing a dark blue button up, a pair of pants and normal shoes. His arms holding onto a few papers.

"There you are." he said happily. "I've been looking for you."

 

Cross looked a bit surprised to see Nightmare in anything else than a suit.

"There he is!!" Someone shouted.

Cross flinched.

"Help." He said, hugging Nightmare.

 

Nightmare raised a brow at Cross before putting a gentle hand on his back. He looked up and narrowed his eyes at the kids running towards them.

 

Cross whimpered quietly, grateful for the touch as he closed his eye sockets tightly.

"Cross!!" A human shouted angrily. They looked up at the adults annoyedly.

 

Nightmare raised a brow at the kid. He pulled Cross closer to him. "What do you want from him?" he asked lowly.

 

Cross buried his skull into Nightmare's shirt with a small whimper when he heard Chara's voice.

"We want to beat him up." Chara replied. Cross had left his notebook on their shared table and that just wasn't acceptable.

 

"And why would I let you hit him?" Nightmare asked the child with a frown. He slowly rubbed Cross' back to comfort him.

 

Cross leaned into the touch slightly, slowly calming down a bit.

"I'm sorry, Chara, I didn't mean to.." He mumbled softly.

"Like hell you did!!!" Chara shouted. "You put your damn notebooks onto our table for the last time!!"

 

Nightmare smiled and looked down at Cross. Oh how right they were. Cross would be putting his notebooks there for the last time. "They're right. Your misbehavior here stops young man."

 

Cross looked up confusedly. Nightmare was on their side? No. Why was he smiling. That phrasing sounded off...

"What...?" He asked hesitantly.

 

Nightmare smiled reassuringly down at Cross before looking up at the child Cross had called Chara. "You didn't answer my question. Why should I let you hurt him?"

 

"He's younger than us. We're allowed to hurt him." Chara explained.

Cross looked up at Nightmare, still very confused.

 

Well that was another fucked up thing Cross had to go through. Well not anymore.

Nightmare smiled wider, a tad of mischief in his grin. "Let me rephrase that. Why should I let you hit my child?"

 

Nightmare's child? Cross looked up. Did that mean...?

"Are you really here to adopt me...?" He asked, a hopeful gleam in his eye lights.

Chara frowned. They'd lose their punching bag?

"Do you really want to have... him?" They asked doubtfully.

 

"Of course." Nightmare answered both their questions. "Why wouldn't I?"

 

Cross hugged Nightmare tightly.

"Thank you." He mumbled happily, smiling brightly.

"You need to get your stuff first." Chara reminded with an evil grin. They were going to lock Cross up somewhere so he couldn't leave.

 

"I promised didn't I?" Nightmare whispered softly down at Cross. He looked back at Chara. "Actually I asked one of the caretakers to get Cross' stuff for him."

He shrugged a bit uncaringly. "They'll miss a lot of Cross' stuff but those don't matter. Cross said he never keeps any sentimental items. I can buy things for him if he needs anything. Speaking of which..." he pulled out a chocolate bar and handed it to Cross.

Okay, he was being petty and was purposely antagonizing the other kids. But who cared? They wouldn't hit him and he wouldn't let Cross be hit.

 

Cross smiled up at Nightmare happily. Nightmare had kept his promise to keep him safe. He was so happy. This was the best day in his life. He didn't even have to get his stuff. It kept getting better and better. He took the chocolate bar with a big smile.

"Thank you." He whispered, unwrapping the chocolate and taking a bite.

Chara frowned and turned around. They'd have to find a new punching bag then.

 

Nightmare smiled wider and rubbed the top of Cross' skull slowly. He also felt extremely smug at the jealous looks Cross was receiving. His own way of revenge for what Cross had to go through.

"Come on." he said softly as he turns around. "I already have your things. It just took a while to find you in this place."

 

Cross leaned into the touch happily, taking another bite of his chocolate. He nodded slightly. He'd never thought he'd leave this place before he got kicked out. He let Nightmare go to walk next to him.

 

Nightmare lead the way to his car. His arm gently placed on Cross' back to make sure everyone knew who's child he was. No one would hurt Cross again.

He opened the door and let Cross inside, closing it behind him and getting into the car himself.

 

Cross smiled as Nightmare put his arm onto his back.

He climbed into the car, looking excited to finally leave that hellhole behind. He buckled himself up clumsily.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly at Cross' excited face. He buckled himself up and started the car.

"Are you ready to go home?" he asked Cross softly.

 

"Yeah, Mr. Nightmare." Cross replied, taking another bite of his chocolate bar.

 

Nightmare sighed softly at the name as he started to drive away from the orphanage. He still kept a smile on his face. It was fine. They had plenty of time. Cross would call him dad one day. Just not so soon.

 

Cross looked at the orphanage which quickly got smaller and smaller. He cheered internally, looking to the front with a small smile.

He shifted a bit nervously. Had Nightmare really thought all of this through? He was quite the handful...

 

Nightmare drove silently, internally happy that he'd finally got the paperwork finished. It had been gruelling and tiresome but it had been worth it. He could finally call Cross his son

 

Cross frowned slightly as he looked around. Was Nightmare really sure he wanted him?

 

Nightmare turned his skull down to looks at Cross. "You okay? You look nervous."

 

"I'm just thinking. I'm a handful and... are you sure you really want me...?" Cross asked hesitantly.

 

"You are a handful at times." Nightmare said before making jazz hands at Cross with a smile. "But I have two."

 

Cross laughed. Right. Nightmare would manage to take care of him. He'd already done that at school.

"And you should control the steering wheel." He reminded.

 

Nightmare chuckled and quickly gripped the steering wheel again. Fortunately the car hadn't moved when he'd let go.

"I care about you Cross." Nightmare said softly. "A little problem with confidence but that's all. I won't regret adopting you. I know I won't."

 

Cross smiled slightly.

"Okay..." He replied quietly.

 

~~~

 

Cross looked up when he felt the car slow down and looked around. They seemed to be in a really nice neighbourhood.

 

Nightmare pulled up in front of a double story house and stopped the car. He got out and grabbed Cross' things.

 

Cross stared at the house amazedly and got out of the car.

"That's where you live?" He asked.

 

Nightmare looked up and sighed. He unlocked the door after locking his car. "Yeah. I used to share it with Dream before he left. My parents left it to us. It feels empty right now with just me in it."

 

Cross hummed softly, smiling a bit.

"Now we're both in it." He replied with a smile.

 

Nightmare smiled at Cross before nodding and opening the door. "Yeah."

 

Cross smiled happily. He really hoped Nightmare wouldn't regret his decisions but he had a feeling he wouldn't.

Chapter Text

Cross smiled slightly as he walked into the cafeteria. He wasn't wearing his run-down clothes anymore but new ones and he had a lunch box in his bag that Nightmare had made him.

 

The canteen was full of children. No tables were free and no one wanted Cross to sit with them.

Except one free table far away from everyone.

 

Cross walked to the free table, humming a quiet tune he'd heard on the radio when Nightmare had driven him to school.

 

The other kids looked at Cross as he passed them. They began whispering among each other and pointing towards Cross with either looks of disgust or giggles.

 

Cross ignored them successfully and sat down at the empty table. He put his bag onto his lap and searched through it, putting his lunch box onto the table with a small smile.

 

The other kids began whispering. Some making faces while others glared at Cross. Everyone looked at the student with mixed emotions.

 

Cross ignored everyone, excited to see what Nightmare had packed him for lunch. He opened the box.

 

Inside were two handmade tacos filled generously. A small bar of chocolate to the side as a treat.

 

Cross gasped happily, smiling brightly. He'd thank Nightmare later in Math class.

He hummed happily as he took a bit of the taco.

 

A student walked up to the table and waved at Cross. He had black tears marks down his cheeks and no eye lights. He looked scary. "Hi there! You're Cross right?"

 

Cross looked up and nodded.

"Yeah." He replied. He just hoped that this person didn't want to start trouble. He was pretty sure he didn't want to do that though.

 

He smiled happily. "Hello there! My name's Killer. We met in a few classes?"

 

Cross' eye sockets widened in recognition.

"Right. You wanna sit with me?" He asked.

 

Killer looked at Cross in surprise. "C-can I? I mean, you look like you love space. And I don't wanna make you uncomfortable."

 

"It's okay. I would really like to talk to you since you don't seem to hate me on first sight." Cross replied with a small smile.

 

Killer smiled shyly at Cross and rubbed his skull. "W-well, you didn't run away from me either because of my eyes so..."

 

"Your eyes are really cool." Cross complimented with a smile. Killer's eyes weren't normal. They looked amazing.

 

Killer smiles shyly but happily. "Th-thanks. No one ever said that except Horror."

 

"Do you want to sit down?" Cross asked. "I can share my chocolate with you." He offered.

 

Killer smiled happily and nodded. He sat down beside Cross. A lunch box in his hands.

 

Cross smiled and put the bar of chocolate into the space between them.

He took a bite from his taco, humming happily.

 

Killer smiled when Cross didn't flinch away. He opened his lunch box revealing a bento that had rice, chicken, vegetables and a few cut up fruit to the side. There's a note on the rice made with food colouring that said 'Have a nice day at school tyke! <3'

Killer blushed and covered his face. Stars Cross would surely laugh at him for that.

 

Cross looked over, smiling brightly.

"That's so sweet." He said.

 

Killer chuckled nervously as he put his hands down onto the table. "Sorry. Horror does that sometimes. It's sweet but… the other kids teased me constantly about it."

 

Cross frowned slightly.

"Don't listen to them. It's really nice of Horror to write you messages like that. Nightmare does it too sometimes. Especially on chocolate bars." He replied with a smile. He turned the chocolate bar around to see if Nightmare had left a message for him.

 

The chocolate read 'Each bite means a hug from me. Have a great day Cross.'

Killer read the note and chuckled softly. Horror and Nightmare could be good friends.

He paused before looking at Cross with wide eyes. "Wait, Nightmare. Mr. Nightmare? The maths teacher?"

 

Cross smiled brightly when he read the message.

He looked up at Killer and nodded.

"Yeah. He adopted me a few weeks ago." He replied happily.

 

Killer smiled brightly. "You're so lucky! Nightmare is so amazing! He even helped me a few times with my own troubles. Not just in math either."

 

Cross smiled excitedly.

"He's awesome!" He agreed before frowning slightly.

"Bully problems?" He asked.

 

Killer shook his skull and looked away, grabbing a spoon and playing with the chicken. "Fighting problems."

 

Cross frowned slightly.

"Can I touch you?" He asked hesitantly, not wanting to cross any boundaries.

 

Killer tensed and shook his skull. "No. I-I'm sorry. I just... I don't want to accidentally hurt you."

"I have a fighting problem." Killer admitted softly. "I used to fight a lot of kids because they made me mad. So... I don't want to hurt you."

 

"It's okay. I don't like to be touched much either." Cross replied.

"I guess I have a problem with fights too but I don't initiate them." He explained.

 

"Oh..." Killer said softly, staring at Cross. "Bullies huh?"

 

"Yeah." Cross agreed. He hummed thoughtfully.

"Do you like books?" He asked, trying to steer the conversation into a more pleasant direction.

 

Killer smiled and nodded. "Yeah. I... I'm kinda slow at reading but I love books. Especially mystery books!"

 

Cross gasped excitedly.

"I like those too! But sometimes the people solving the case are a bit stupid." He chuckled.

 

Killer chuckled and nodded in agreement. "Yeah. Hard to find good mystery books these days huh?"

 

"Yeah." Cross agreed. "We could visit the bookstore if you want to. I found an amazing one." He explained happily.

 

Killer smiled happily before he remembered something. "Oh. But... I have to ask Horror first."

 

"Right. I'll have to ask Nightmare first too. Maybe he can drive us..." Cross mumbled thoughtfully.

 

"Hopefully." Killer said before eating his food. He smiled and closed his eyes happily. Stars he loved Horror's cooking.

 

Cross took his taco and took a bite, humming happily. It tasted so good!

 

Killer finished his lunch a few minutes later and grabbed one of the sliced fruit. An apple. He handed a slice to Cross.

 

Cross looked up, smiling thankfully as Killer gave him some of his lunch.

"Thanks." He said, taking a bite of the apple.

 

Killer nodded happily as he ate his treat. "Horror always give me snacks like this. Dunno why."

 

Cross shrugged. He had no idea either.

He hummed softly as he ate the apple piece.

 

Killer finished his snacks, sharing some with Cross before he closed his lunch box.

"So, what class do you have next?'

 

Cross hummed thoughtfully and got out his schedule, putting it onto the table.

 

Killer looked at Cross' schedule curiously. He gasped when he realizes they had math together as the final lesson.

 

Cross tilted his head slightly in curiosity. Did they have a class together?

 

Killer smiled at Cross. "We got math class together later before school ends." he informed him happily.

 

"That's cool." Cross replied with a smile. He wondered if Killer wanted to sit next to him.

 

Killer nodded before the bell rang loudly, signalling that lunch was over. "We have to get to class now." Killer said sadly. He really wanted to talk with Cross more.

 

"Yeah... Do you wanna sit next to me in Maths?" Cross asked a bit hesitantly.

 

Killer brightened up and nodded happily. "Yeah! See you at maths?"

 

Cross smiled happily.

"Yeah. See you there." He replied. Had he managed to make a friend?

 

Killer nodded before standing up and running towards his next class with a skip in his step. He was so happy. He forgot when he was this happy before.

 

Cross smiled brightly as he started to pack up his things and got to class quickly.

Chapter Text

Cross smiled slightly. He was at his locker, putting away the things of his last class before going home with Nightmare.

 

A few kids walked up to Cross. One of them had a large smirk on his face.

"Hey, you're Cross aren't you?" he asked, a mocking tone in his voice.

 

Cross frowned slightly and didn't turn around to face them, continuing to put things into his locker.

"I'm Cross." He replied.

 

They snickered and whispered among each other. "You're really close to Mr.Nightmare aren't you?"

 

"Yeah." Cross agreed, not knowing what they wanted from him. He closed his locker and put something inside his bag.

 

The leader grinned and pushed Cross to the lockers. "Teacher's pet." he sneered at Cross.

Another laughed and threw Cross' books away. "What? You think you're better than everyone else just because you're Mr. Nightmare's favorite?"

 

Cross winced as he was pushed against the lockers.

Teacher's pet? Nightmare was his caretaker.

"Hey!" Cross shouted as they threw his books away.

 

Another kid pushed Cross' shoulder hard, making him hit the locker and probably bruised the bone.

"Oh? Getting cocky aren't you?" the leader grinned before punching Cross in the face. "You think you're better than us. Just because a teacher favored you."

 

Cross grunted in pain as he was pushed against the locker, pain exploding in his shoulder. He trembled slightly. He didn't want to be beaten up again.

He staggered backwards when one of the kids punched his face hard, feeling tears collect in his eye sockets as he whimpered in pain.

 

One of them grabbed Cross by his jacket and lifted him up. "I think we need to remind him about his place."

The others agreed as they grinned menacingly. They didn't notice a very pissed off adult walking towards them.

 

Cross struggled, trying to kick his attacker as he was lifted up. He didn't want his jacket to tear. It had been a gift from Nightmare.

 

They laughed at Cross' struggles and were about to hit him when a shadow casted over them.

"What do you think you're doing?" Nightmare asked slowly with a glare and crossed arms.

 

Cross looked up, sighing in relief. Nightmare was here.

The bully holding Cross by his jacket quickly dropped him, making him grunt in pain as he fell onto the floor. They looked up hesitantly.

 

Nightmare kneeled down and slowly helped Cross back up on his feet. He glared at the students as he pulled Cross closer to him. "Why have you been hurting him?"

 

Cross smiled a small bit as Nightmare helped him up and clung close to him.

"He's a teacher's pet." One of the kids replied, earning a harsh slap to the back of their head from one of their friends.

 

Nightmare frowned deeply. They bullied Cross because he was a teacher's pet? No. Not a teacher's pet. Nightmare's son.

"All of you will be getting two weeks of detention." Nightmare said lowly and picked Cross up, standing up and glaring down at them angrily. "Unless you want to be suspended for causing a fight, which is not allowed in this school, you'll learn to behave from now on. And remember to stay away from my son."

 

The bullies gaped up at Nightmare. Two full weeks?!

Cross cuddled into Nightmare slightly as he was held close. He felt safe in Nightmare's arms.

They all flinched. Cross was Nightmare's son?!

Cross looked up surprisedly. Nightmare had called him his son? He smiled brightly, feeling extremely happy. He was Nightmare's son.

 

Nightmare frowned deeply at them. They'd take his words the wrong way. Kids always did. "Before you say I'm picking favorites because he's my son, don't forget that causing a fight can gain instant suspension in this school. I'm giving you a chance."

He glowered at them. "Go. Your detention stars today. If you skip any, I will find out and extend your punishment. Understood?"

 

The group of kids nodded, quickly going away.

Cross stared up at Nightmare amazedly.

 

Nightmare sighed softly before realizing what he had said. "Um... sorry Cross. I know you don't want anyone to know about-"

Nightmare stopped when he spotted Cross' face.

 

Cross was smiling brightly as he looked up at Nightmare, his eye lights practically sparkling.

"Thanks, dad." He replied, hugging Nightmare tightly.

 

Nightmare blushed, staring at Cross with stunned eyes. He smiled and nuzzled Cross as he hugged him.

"Anytime son." he said softly. "Now, what do you say about eating dinner?"

"Cross!" Killer exclaimed and ran towards Cross when he spotted him. "There you are!"

 

Cross leaned onto the touch, nuzzling back happily.

"I'd like that..." He replied softly.

He looked down when he heard Killer and waved at him. Did Killer want something from him?

 

Nightmare turns towards the student with a raised brow. He smiled down at the student. "Hello there Killer."

Killer stopped and stared up at Nightmare. He smiled and waved at Nightmare nervously. "Hello Mr. Nightmare! I just want to talk with Cross for a bit."

Nightmare turned towards Cross with a raised brow. "Do you know him?"

 

"Hi, Killer." Cross greeted.

He nodded in response.

"Yeah. We're friends." He replied with a smile.

 

Killer smiled at Cross for being called his friend. "So, I was wondering if we could hang out tomorrow?"

Nightmare smiled at Cross. He was glad his son had made friends with Killer. Killer was a good kid. He just lost his temper sometimes.

 

Cross smiled.

"I'd like that. Can we, dad?" He asked, looking up at Nightmare pleadingly. He really wanted to spend some time with Killer without any bullies around to pester them.

Horror walked towards them, wearing a beanie and a scarf despite the warm weather.

 

Nightmare smiled down at Cross. "Of course son."

Killer smiled happily before he spotted Horror. He smiled brightly and ran towards the adult.

"Dad!" he greeted happily before jumping into Horror's arms.

 

Cross smiled brightly.

Horror caught Killer with a chuckle.

"Hi, son." He greeted, hugging Killer close.

"How was school?" He asked.

 

"It was fun!" Killer said and pointed towards Cross and Nightmare. "I made a friend! Can we please hang out tomorrow?" he begged Horror.

Nightmare raised a brow and walks closer. He knew that skeleton.

 

Horror looked up. The small skeleton in the adult's arms looked pretty roughed up. The taller skeleton looked familiar.

 

Nightmare raised a brow at the skeleton. Then his eyes lit up in recognition. "Horror...?"

Killer blinked and looked between Horror and Nightmare. Did they know each other?

 

"Hi Nightmare." Horror replied. "Fancy seeing you here."

Cross looked over at Horror. Their dads knew each other?

 

Nightmare chuckled softly. "Didn't think I'd see you again. When was the last time we hung out? Graduation night?"

Killer tilted his skull at them. Horror knew Nightmare? When?

 

"Yeah." Horror agreed. "I was really sad that we hadn't managed to keep in touch."

Cross was so confused. Had they gone to high school together?

 

Nightmare nodded and looked at Killer. "I didn't know you were a father."

 

"And I didn't know you were a teacher. But you had the same stuck up attitude as one." Horror replied, holding Killer close.

 

"Oh ha ha, very funny." Nightmare said with a grin. He looked down at Killer before looking at his own child. "So who's the lucky monster?"

 

Horror looked down at the floor.

"Noone." He replied vaguely. He didn't want to confront Killer with the fact that his parents had left him at school.

"Oh?" Nightmare raised a brow. He smiled in understanding and reassurance. "Same as me. Did you... adopt Killer?"

 

"I'm his legal guardian." Horror replied.

 

Killer looked down for a moment. He still hated that his parents had left without telling him but Horror had been/was the best caretaker he could ask for.

Nightmare nodded and looked down at Cross. "Well, I just adopted Cross a few weeks ago. He and Killer are friends. Right?"

 

Horror rubbed Killer's skull gently.

Cross smiled up at Nightmare. Even though it had been only a few weeks he couldn't imagine living without Nightmare again.

"Yeah." He agreed.

Horror hummed in thought, looking down at Killer.

"Do you want to take your friend to eat ice cream?" He asked.

 

Killer leaned into the comforting touch. He smiled up at Horror before nodding happily. "Yeah!"

Nightmare smiled fondly at the duo. "Actually, we're about to leave to eat dinner. Do you want to join? My treat."

 

"Sure. Would you like to join us after that?" Horror suggested. He loved ice cream and he knew Killer did too.

"Please?" Cross asked, looking up at Nightmare.

 

Killer looked at the math teacher pleadingly.

Nightmare chuckled softly. He gently rubbed the top of Cross' skull. "Of course we'll join you."

"Yay!" Killer cheered happily from Horror's arms.

 

Cross cheered.

Horror chuckled, rubbing Killer's skull gently.

 

Nightmare smiled fondly. "So what do you want to eat?"

 

"Tacos?" Cross asked despite having had tacos for lunch. He loved tacos.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly and looked at Horror for confirmation. "Tacos for dinner?"

 

"Sounds good." Horror replied with a small smile.

Cross giggled quietly.

 

Nightmare nodded, internally commenting on his little giggling son. "Alright. I'll lead the way."

Killer smiled happily. He could eat with his friend!

 

Cross smiled happily. He could eat tacos with his friend!

Horror nodded and followed Nightmare.

 

~~~

 

Cross hummed happily as he took a bite of his taco. It tasted so delicious! He loved it!

Horror tried to eat slowly. The tacos were too damn good!

 

Nightmare looked over at Cross and smiled as his son ate happily. He looked towards Killer who ate just as happily.

"Hey Cross, Killer," he called softly. "There's a little play area over there. When you finish you up you can go."

"Really?" Killer said and looked at Horror for approval.

 

Cross looked over excitedly. He really wanted to go there.

"Sure." Horror agreed. It was near enough that he could keep an eye on Killer.

 

Killer cheered happily and ate his food with a little more energy.

Nightmare smiled fondly at the children as he ate. It was a surprise when he decided to adopt Cross but it was a good change. He was happier with Cross at home. He wouldn't change it for the world.

 

Cross smiled as he finished his tacos, waiting for Killer to finish eating.

Horror looked down at Killer, smiling softly.

 

Killer finished his tacos and looked at Cross. He nodded and stood up to go play. He looked at Horror for approval.

 

Horror nodded in approval, gently smiling down at Killer.

Cross got up and hugged Nightmare for a few seconds.

 

Killer smiled up at Horror happily. He waited for Cross to finish hugging Nightmare.

Nightmare smiled at the hug and rubbed Cross' skull gently. "Be safe."

 

"Okay." Cross agreed before letting Nightmare go.

 

Killer smiled at Cross before running towards the play area as the other followed him.

Nightmare smiled at the two kids before turning back towards Horror.

 

Cross giggled quietly and ran after Killer.

Horror watched the kids with a smile. He was so glad Killer had made a friend.

 

"So..." Nightmare started softly. "since the kids are gone, we can catch up a bit."

 

Horror looked up.

"Sounds good." He agreed. He was pretty bad at small talk though...

 

Nightmare smiled at him. "So, you're still wearing the beanie and scarf whenever you go out huh?"

 

Horror nodded, playing with the end of his scarf nervously.

 

Nightmare nodded in understanding, his hand going up to touch his black bone. "People fear you for how you look, don't they?"

 

Horror nodded slightly.

"You too, right?" He asked.

 

Nightmare nodded with a sad smile. He looked over at Killer who was playing without a care with Cross. "How's Killer taking it? The... lack of parents. What happened to them?"

 

"He's... getting better." Horror replied softly.

"They just up and disappeared one day." He explained, playing with the end of his scarf.

 

Nightmare hummed softly as he looked down at his finished food. "Any idea where they went?"

 

Horror shook his head.

"I tried to search for them but there was no trace anywhere." He replied quietly.

 

Nightmare nodded sadly. "I'm really sorry. For both of you. It must have been hard."

 

Horror frowned slightly.

"We managed to support each other." He replied. The first few years had been the hardest ones but he was glad they were getting better.

 

Nightmare nodded with a small smile. "I'm really glad he's doing better. He used to get in a lot of fights but in my opinion, those bullies deserved it."

 

Horror nodded with a small smile.

"I saw that Cross was pretty roughed up. Does he get in fights too?" He asked, sounding a bit worried.

 

Nightmare hummed and smiled sadly. "No. If anything he doesn't fight back. Bully problems. Especially this morning with a few kids."

 

"Maybe they will be left alone if they stick together." Horror hummed thoughtfully.

 

"Hopefully." Nightmare said with a smile before he frowned when a thought came to him. "So, I need your opinion on something."

 

Horror looked at Nightmare attentively.

"Yeah?" He asked.

 

"When Cross first came to school for our private lessons, he was... nervous." Nightmare started softly before his eyes darkened with thought. "No. Not nervous. Frightened. He would flinch at every movement I made. Cry at some questions. Hell, he panicked when he got any question wrong. He thought I was going to hit him."

Nightmare's hands clenched on the table. "I thought he was just bad at math, some kids are. But I asked him the same question format the next day and he got it right. I don't know if I'm reading it too much but I have a bad feeling about his behavior. That it was... something from trauma."

 

Horror frowned as he listened to Nightmare.

"That does sound like some sort of PTSD..." He said thoughtfully. He really hoped that wasn't the case though.

 

Nightmare nodded grimly. "I don't know what to do. I'm not sure about this but I found some records. Of Cross' previous school."

 

Horror frowned as he listened to Nightmare.

"And...?" He prompted quietly.

 

"I got curious when the orphanage said he was a trouble maker. Said he got plenty of complaints from his old school. So I asked for a copy of Cross' previous school name." Nightmare pulled out his phone and showed it to Horror. It was a report of said school. "The school was shut down because the teachers were abusive to the students. Many went to the hospital with severe physical injuries. Many more needed therapy for mental ones."

 

Horror frowned as he took the phone and read over the article.

"That's horrible. You should maybe try to talk to him about it. Knowing the orphanages he didn't receive any therapy." He said. He wondered how Cross could function like that.

 

Nightmare nodded in understanding. He should talk to Cross soon. "I'll try. I just hope he didn't receive the worst of that school."

 

"I hope so too." Horror replied as he handed back the phone. He'd talk to Killer to make sure he'd try to protect Cross.

 

Nightmare took the phone back and stared at the article. He couldn't help but think of the worst. What had Cross had to go through in that school? Or better yet, what had he gone through to receive such trauma?

 

Horror glanced over at Cross and Killer. They were both laughing and playing like normal kids. He really hoped it would stay that way.

Chapter Text

Cross carefully placed a piece of his 1000-part jigsaw puzzle down, connecting it with another part. He smiled slightly. He was almost done. He only had two dozen pieces left.

 

Nightmare sat across the table with a stack of papers beside him to grade. Unfortunately he was going through it slower than he usually did. It really didn't help when he had accidentally cracked his red pen with all his biting.

He flinched at the noise and pulled the pen away. He examines the crack. One more hard bite and he would have had red ink all over him.

 

Cross looked up at the noise, noticing Nightmare's frown.

"What's wrong?" He asked softly.

 

Nightmare looked up when Cross spoke and shook his head with a small smile.

"Just cracked my pen." he replied and continued to mark the papers. His students were improving but they got so confused at some questions. He'd have to make some exercises for them later.

 

"Okay." Cross replied, refocusing on his puzzle. He wondered why Nightmare had cracked his pen. He put another puzzle piece into its designated spot.

 

Nightmare looked up at Cross with a worried frown. He really wanted to ask but... he worried. Besides, Cross could tell on his own time. There was no need for Nightmare to pry.

 

Cross smiled slightly as he managed to place two pieces correctly. He breathed in deeply, quickly turning his head to the side before he sneezed. It wasn't particularly loud but it cut through the silence like a knife through butter, startling Cross a bit.

"Sorry." He apologised quickly. He hoped he hadn't disturbed Nightmare.

 

Nightmare startled slightly and looked up when Cross sneezed. He smiled softly and reached over to gently rub the top of Cross' skull.

"It's okay." he said softly. "You can't really control sneezes. I wish."

 

Cross winced slightly when Nightmare touched his skull, almost expecting him to hurt him. He shook his head a bit, rubbing his itching nose. Nightmare wouldn't hurt him.

"Okay..." Cross mumbled quietly, frowning slightly.

 

Nightmare looked at Cross with curiosity and worry. He pulled his hand away from the younger. "What's wrong?" he asked softly.

 

"Sorry." Cross apologised quietly. He hadn't meant to flinch.

"I guess I just startled myself a bit..." He lied, looking down at his puzzle. He felt guilty for lying to Nightmare.

 

Nightmare frowned slightly, he knew it was a lie but he nodded. "Okay." he relented before grinning. "But I still wish I can control things like sneezing. The awkward meetings I could avoid making it more awkward."

 

Cross flinched slightly. It sure made things awkward. He didn't want to be hit... No. Nightmare would never hurt him.

 

Nightmare looked away as thoughts ran through his head.

One question wouldn't hurt. Right?

"So, you never told me about your old school." he prompted softly. "I'm a bit curious."

 

Cross' normally rather big eye lights shrunk into tiny pinpricks. His... old school...?

He looked away, staring at the wall dejectedly as he shivered slightly.

"It... wasn't nice...." Cross mumbled softly.

 

Nightmare tensed when Cross looked fearful and pulled away completely. He had hoped...

"Oh. You- you don't have to tell me. I understand." Nightmare assured softly with a small smile.

 

Cross looked up at Nightmare fearfully.

"Okay..." He mumbled quietly, playing with the strings of his hoodie jacket anxiously.

 

Nightmare felt hurt *His eye flashing brighter at the look. His wide smile grew wider-* at that fearful look directed at him.

"How about we just continue- *"Why don't we play a little game?" he grinned sadistically-* -with your puzzle okay?" Nightmare smiled softly.

 

Cross flinched back, his eye sockets widening in fright as he toppled over with the chair. He grunted in pain as he hit his skull on the floor but tried to get away anyways.

"No, please..." He whimpered quietly. It had felt like someone had pushed him.

 

Nightmare gasped in shock when Cross toppled over. He rushed to Cross' side in worry.

"Cross?!" he called out in- *"No struggling?" he cooed happily, a sadistic type of joy in his tone. "That's better. Now hold-"* -worry. "Are you okay?!"

 

Cross felt tears collect in his eye sockets. He tried to get up but he was dizzy and nauseous, the whole room spinning around him.

 

Nightmare felt his Soul beat rapidly. He kneeled down and gently pulled Cross into a soft loose hug. He didn't know why. But it felt right.

He whispered at Cross. "Shh... it's okay. *"Don't cry too loud-"* I'm here. *"I'll never lea-"* I won't hurt you. *"I'll fi-"* I promised I wouldn't. I'll protect you Cross. From whatever- *"You won't ru-"* -or whoever tries to harm you."

 

Cross sobbed quietly and tried to push Nightmare away a bit. He slowly calmed down, his words calming him but he tensed every time the other voice broke through. He hid his face in Nightmare's shirt, trying to hide from his past.

 

Nightmare rubbed Cross' back and skull slowly. "Shh....*"Keep screaming. No one can hear-"* It's okay. *"I'll find-"* I'm here. *"No one's-"* I'll always be here. I love you Cross. And I will always- *"No one will ever-"* -protect you."

 

Cross looked up at Nightmare with flickering eye lights, tears rolling down his cheek bones. He leaned into the touch slightly, flinching when he heard his old Maths teacher's voice.

 

Nightmare gently wiped the tears away with his thumb. His face soft and gentle as he hushed the younger.

"Shh.... I'm here. I'm right here. I won't let anyone hurt you again. Okay? Do you trust me?"

 

Cross sniffled softly, his vision still a small bit blurry. He hated how impacts on his skull tended to do that.

"I... I trust you..." He mumbled softly.

 

Nightmare smiled happily and hugged his son close. "I'm glad."

 

Cross hugged back, closing his eye sockets as he buried his face into Nightmare's shirt.

 

They stayed like that for a few minutes. Nightmare gently pressing Cross' skull to his chest where his Soul laid underneath.

 

Cross' breathing calmed and he slowly felt less dizzy as he listened to Nightmare's soulbeat.

 

Nightmare looked down and smiled. "Now, let's continue with the puzzle okay? I want to take a picture when you're done. Maybe even frame it."

 

Cross looked up at Nightmare confusedly. Why would he want to take a picture? He decided that it didn't matter as long as it made Nightmare happy. He really wanted to continue his puzzle too.

"Okay..." He mumbled quietly.

 

Nightmare smiled and slowly stood up, picking up Cross with one arm and fixing the chair with the other. He gently placed Cross back on the chair and pushes him towards the table slowly.

 

Cross let himself be moved without struggling. He knew Nightmare wouldn't hurt him. He looked down at the puzzle, noticing that there were only a few pieces left.

 

Nightmare walked away and sat back down on his seat. He picked up his red pen again and tried to mark the papers. But his focus was somewhere else. It looked like he'd have to postpone giving his class the marked papers.

 

Cross placed down a few puzzle pieces, frowning slightly. Why was he always hearing those voices?

 

Nightmare tried his best to mark, something that would have taken him seconds now took a minute with how distracted his mind was.

 

Cross smiled slightly as he placed the last puzzle piece down. Normally he would have cheered happily but he wasn't really in the mood for it.

 

Nightmare looked over at Cross and smiled happily at the finished puzzle. "You did it!"

 

Cross nodded slightly. He didn't feel as happy or accomplished as normally...

 

Nightmare's smile fell slightly when Cross didn't look excited or happy. Usually he would be overjoyed.

"Are you... still thinking about earlier?" he asked tentatively.

 

Cross looked down.

"Yeah..." He replied hesitantly. He didn't want to dwell on his past but he couldn't help but do it anyways.

"Sorry. It's just..." He sighed.

 

Nightmare shook his skull. "No. It's fine. It's hard to get past something traumatizing. I can understand that. You don't need to force yourself or be sorry for it."

 

"Okay... If... If there's ever a really tall, mean looking skeleton that shows up... Please protect me..." Cross mumbled hesitantly.

 

Nightmare raised a confused brow at the description. "That... would be helpful and I would comply right away but skeleton monsters are normal in this part of the city. So... I apologize but I need some more description."

 

"His... his eye lights are purple crosses and... He always wears a dark purple suit... w-with weird shoulder pads and... a white tie..." Cross stammered quietly, closing his eye sockets tightly.

 

Nightmare nodded and immediately told Cross to stop gently. "Okay. I'll keep an eye out for him if he ever comes. Alright?"

 

Cross looked up at him.

"Thanks..." He mumbled softly. He was glad that Nightmare was taking him serious.

 

Nightmare smiled softly at Cross. "Of course. I promise I'd protect you didn't I?"

Besides, if it meant protecting him from his abuser, Nightmare would do anything.

 

Cross couldn't help the small smile on his face. He was so glad that Nightmare had found him before XGaster. He didn't know if he'd be alive if he'd found him first.

Chapter Text

The classroom was empty. Devoid of other children and staff alike. There was barely another sound, just a feeling of dread and fear. The only people around were Cross and a tall skeleton at the teacher's desk.

 

Cross trembled harshly as he tried to focus on the textbook in front of him, the fear of failure almost paralysing him.

 

The teacher grinned and pointed towards the board where a math question was written.

"Answer this one." he said with a large grin as he pointed to the illegible handwriting on the board. "Do your best. I get angrier with every wrong answer."

 

Cross stared at the board, shivering harshly. He couldn't read what was written on it! He tried his best to decipher the numbers but he just couldn't read it. The illegible numbers floated around on the board, making it even harder to read.

 

The teacher frowned when Cross took too long.

"Answer. The question." he said, his voice harsh and clipped. "Or are you too stupid to understand?"

 

Cross flinched harshly.

"F-fifty-two..." He mumbled quietly, saying the number he always said when he didn't know better.

 

The teacher paused before glaring at Cross with a large sadistic grin. He slammed his hand on the desk in anger, the impact making a resounding boom echo in the empty room.

"Wrong!"

 

Cross flinched harshly, staring up at the teacher with empty eye sockets.

 

The teacher grinned wider, the smile almost splitting his face in half. "Try again. And make sure to get it right."

 

Cross whimpered quietly, tears collecting in his eye sockets.

 

"I'm waiting." The teacher frowned at Cross. "I'm not here to see you cry like a baby bones."

 

Cross trembled in fear, wiping his eye sockets.

"Fifty-three...?" He asked hesitantly, not even trying to decipher the numbers anymore.

 

In an instant, a hand swung and hit Cross' cheek hard enough for him to fall off his chair.

"Wrong!" the teacher growled as he waved his claws, the tips stained with red liquid. "Why can't you do better? Is it that hard for you? Or are you just too stupid to count?"

 

Cross grunted in pain, the tears spilling over and rolling down his cheek bones, making the injury hurt worse.

He sobbed quietly. He was so stupid.

 

The teacher frowned at Cross with a look of disgust. He kneeled down and gripped Cross' chin tightly, pulling it to face him.

"I'm giving you one last chance." he grinned and stood up, letting go of Cross' chin roughly. "If you get this wrong... do you know what happens?"

 

Cross groaned in pain as his skull slammed against the floor. He didn't want to know what would happen.

 

The teacher ignored Cross and asked the question. The question replaced with static and sound. "What is ₩₩₩ plus ₩₩₩?"

 

Cross stared up at the teacher fearfully. He couldn't hear the question.

"I... I don't know...." He replied quietly.

 

The teacher frowned. "Well then, you have to face the consequences."

 

Cross shook his head frantically, sobbing hysterically as he tried to get away.

 

Hands reached out and grabbed Cross' arms, pulling him up without resistance and began walking to a small closet on the wall.

 

Cross tried struggling but the teacher was much too strong for him. He didn't want to be locked into the closet. He sobbed loudly, trying to twist himself out of the teacher's grip.

 

All the struggling only made his grip tighten hard enough to crack the bone.

He opened the door with inevitable hand and threw the student inside. He grabbed the doors with a large smirk directed down at Cross.

 

Cross screamed as his arm was broken, trying to shield his skull when he was thrown. He whimpered quietly as he stared up at the teacher, holding his injured arm close.

 

"Maybe after a bit of time out you'll find a revelation." the teacher grinned down at Cross. "Have a nice nap Cross."

"Cross."

-----

"Cross!"

 

Cross sobbed loudly, not even noticing that he had woken up as he squeezed his eye sockets shut tightly.

 

Nightmare looked at Cross in worry. He had heard Cross cry and had come to wake him up.

"Shh... it's okay. It's okay."

 

Cross opened his eye sockets carefully, his breathing hitching on sobs as he looked up at Nightmare. He was scared. He didn't want to be locked into that closet.

 

Nightmare relaxed slightly when Cross opened his eyes. He gently rubbed Cross' cheek with a small smile. "Shh... don't cry. I'm right here."

 

Cross unconsciously leaned into the touch as he looked up at Nightmare, slowly calming down a bit.

"Don't let him l-lock me away..." He sobbed quietly.

 

Nightmare felt confused at the request but he nodded anyways. He'd figure out what Cross meant soon. "I will. Nobody will lock you anywhere."

 

Cross sniffled quietly.

"Thanks. I don't wanna go into the closet again..." He replied quietly.

 

Nightmare felt his Soul stop in his chest. In the article, he had read about multiple reports of bloodied closets. Could... could Cross have?

Nightmare gently pulled Cross into a hug. That just painted a terrible picture. "Shh... no one will ever lock you inside a closet again."

 

Cross clung to Nightmare, shivering harshly.

"I hope so..." He mumbled quietly, sniffling softly.

 

"I promise so." Nightmare said while embracing Cross. "And even if anyone did, I'll always get you out."

 

Cross thanked him quietly, burying his face into Nightmare's shirt. He was so tired. He didn't think he'd be able to fall asleep after that though...

 

Nightmare continued to rub Cross' back and skull slowly.

"Do you want to go back to sleep?" he asked softly.

 

Cross shook his skull slightly. He really didn't want to have another night terror. He'd just... stay awake until the morning. But he had to go to school...

 

Nightmare nodded in understanding. He could only imagine what Cross dreamt of if he was sobbing in his sleep. "Okay. Why don't we get a snack first? Chocolate milk and some snacks always make me feel better."

 

Cross' eye lights lit up slightly at the mention of chocolate milk.

"Okay..." He replied quietly.

 

Nightmare smiled and gently picked Cross up. He carried the younger outside the bedroom and into the kitchen. He gently placed Cross on the kitchen island before going to grab some chocolate milk and some snacks.

"What do you want for a snack?" he asked Cross curiously.

 

Cross held onto Nightmare, burying his face into his shirt. He suppressed a whine when Nightmare placed him onto the counter.

He shrugged slightly in response, not really sure what he wanted to have. He yawned quietly.

 

Nightmare smiled and pulled out an apple. "How about some fruit salad? We can keep the leftovers for tomorrow."

 

"Sounds good..." Cross replied quietly, rubbing his eye sockets sleepily.

 

Nightmare nodded and began washing and chopping the fruits, putting them in a bowl with some yogurt.

After a few minutes, he placed the bowl of fruit salad on the kitchen island and a large glass of chocolate milk. He grabbed a fork and handed it to Cross with a smile.

 

Cross blinked sleepily.

"Thank you..." He mumbled softly, taking the fork carefully. He took a big sip of the chocolate milk and placed the bowl onto his lap, eating slowly.

 

Nightmare smiled happily. "You're welcome." he said.

He sat down beside Cross and waited for him to finish. He couldn't help but wonder what had happened. Cross had been sobbing. More than that, what had he gone through in his old school?

It was obvious after today that Cross had been the one who had been locked in a closet and bleeding. There had been pools of blood found in the closet, multiple times. To what extent did his injuries go? How long had he spent crying in that small dark space in pain? How had he been hurt, hurt enough to bleed?

Questions that he asked himself but he was too afraid to know the answers to.

 

Cross leaned onto Nightmare slightly. His skull felt kinda heavy and he was so tired. He hadn't been able to get a good night's rest in a few days.

 

Nightmare wrapped an arm around Cross to keep him safe from falling. Another hand held the bowl steadily.

"Do you want to sleep with me tonight?" he asked softly.

 

"Can I?" Cross asked softly as he closed his eye sockets, leaning onto Nightmare.

 

Nightmare nodded and gently took the bowl away. Cross looked sleepy already. "Of course."

 

"Thanks..." Cross mumbled sleepily, cuddling into Nightmare slightly.

 

Nightmare smiled and gently picked up Cross. He put the bowl in the fridge before turning around and handing Cross his chocolate milk. "Finish that and then we can sleep."

 

Cross cuddled into Nightmare, resting his skull on his shoulder. He nodded slightly and took the glass, drinking the chocolate milk slowly.

 

Nightmare rubbed Cross' back slowly as he waited for the younger to finish his milk.

 

Cross tried to put the empty glass onto the counter but his arms were too short.

 

Nightmare chuckled and leaned down slightly to help Cross. He hoped Cross would stay like this. Carefree. Happy. Not haunted by the past.

 

Cross mumbled out a thanks and cuddled into Nightmare.

 

Nightmare smiled and carried Cross to his room. Inside was spacious and neat, the air smelled like a sea breeze.

Nightmare placed Cross on the bed before he joined beside the younger, hugging him close with one arm.

 

Cross tensed up slightly when Nightmare let him go for a second but relaxed when he hugged him. Cross cuddled into Nightmare.

 

Nightmare smiled and laid back on the pillow, Cross under one arm to comfort him.

 

Cross closed his eye sockets, breathing softly as he slowly drifted off.

 

Nightmare held Cross close as he slept, as if he was a shield to protect the younger from anything and everything. Even night terrors. Just like he'd promised.

Chapter Text

Cross walked down the hallway, on his way to his class.

 

Nightmare was standing a few meters down the hallway talking to someone from behind a door.

 

Cross clutched his books close. He hoped he wouldn't be stopped by any bully.

 

Nightmare looked at the person with slight annoyance and irritation. His mouth moving as he argued but with Cross' distance, he couldn't hear anything.

Students watched Cross with mixed expressions but stayed away from the other. Word spread fast and they didn't want to be snitched on by a teacher's child.

 

Cross was pretty happy that he had been left alone in the last few days. He looked around, trying to spot Killer.

 

"And why am I the one who should greet them?" Nightmare bit angrily at the principal.

 

Cross frowned slightly as he heard his dad. Why did he sound so annoyed?

 

"Because we need to set a good example." the principal said calmly at the annoyed teacher.

"I have classes." Nightmare pointed out with gritted teeth. "And a child waiting for me to go home."

"I understand that but-"

"If you say the school comes first I will quit." Nightmare threatened, already feeling frustrated with the conversation.

 

No. He didn't want Nightmare to quit! School would be horrible without him!

Cross shivered slightly at the thought. Who knew what a new teacher would do to him.

 

"Look," the principal said calmly. "Just show him around. Tell him about our school. The normal stuff. You'll be home before you know it."

Nightmare sighed harshly and pinches the bridge of his nose. "Why is he here again?"

"He's our new math teacher."

 

Nightmare would have to stay longer?

Cross flinched slightly. New Maths teacher?!

 

Nightmare frowned and crossed his arms. "You're replacing me now?"

"No no! Not at all!" The principal reassured. "He's just a replacement if you ever get sick or need some time off. You certainly deserve it."

"And leave my class to an unknown?" Nightmare frowned deeper. "Not a chance."

 

Cross sighed in relief. Nightmare was a really good teacher. They couldn't just replace him.

 

"Just give him a chance?"

Nightmare sighed harshly. "Fine."

"Wonderful!" the principal said happily. "He'll be at the entrance in a few moments."

"What about my class?" Nightmare asked.

"I'll take care of it."

 

Cross walked a bit away, not wanting anyone to notice that he had been listening in. He'd ask Nightmare about it later anyways.

 

"Fine." Nightmare sighed softly before looking up at the principal. "Cross. Come here please."

 

Cross flinched slightly at being found out. He walked to Nightmare, trying not to focus on the principal too much. He was still a bit wary of him.

 

Nightmare looked at Cross as he approached while the principal looked at him in surprise. "Well, is this your child? I never thought you had adopted the new student."

Nightmare nodded. "Yes well, it feels right to do so."

 

Cross tried to subtly hide behind Nightmare. He didn't like it when people talked about him like he wasn't there but Nightmare's words made him smile slightly.

 

Nightmare moved slightly so that he could hide Cross from view. "Since it'll be my final class, and that you had agreed to take care of it, I'll take Cross with me to meet the new teacher."

"Wait but-"

Nightmare frowned at the principal with narrowed eyes. "You placed this job on me suddenly. I can take my child with me and after I show the new teacher around, we'll be going home."

 

Cross hid behind Nightmare, listening attentively. He really hoped that he could make a good first impression on the new teacher.

 

The principal sighed before nodding reluctantly. "Alright. I hope you can make a good impression on the teacher."

Nightmare nodded and turned around. "I'll try my best." with that he began walking down the hallway with Cross following him.

 

Cross walked after Nightmare, wondering what the new teacher was going to be like.

 

Nightmare turned his skull to look down at Cross. "Eavesdropping is a very bad habit Cross." he scolded softly.

 

"I'm sorry. I'm still working on it." Cross replied quietly. He had used to eavesdrop on any adult to make sure they weren't angry at him. Old habits die hard.

 

Nightmare nodded and gently rubbed the top of Cross' skull. He could understand that. At least Cross was trying to fix that habit. "It's okay. You're trying. But I would like if you didn't do it. Eavesdropping will only get you half the conversation and will mostly lead to misunderstandings."

 

"You're right." Cross agreed softly, leaning into the touch slightly. He'd try his best to change that habit.

 

Nightmare smiled happily. "Good."

He paused when he spotted a tall skeleton at the entrance. He was wearing a dark purple suit with shoulder pads, a white tie and was looking around curiously.

Nightmare frowned and rested his hand on Cross' back. That skeleton. It fit Cross' description. Oh how lucky he was.

 

Cross smiled up at Nightmare slightly. His smile fell as he looked at where Nightmare was looking.

No. Nonononono.... He whimpered quietly, staring at the skeleton fearfully.

 

Nightmare rubbed Cross' back slowly to comfort him as he approached the other skeleton.

"Are you the new teacher?" he asked politely.

The skeleton turned before smiling at Nightmare. "Ah yes! My name is XGaster. A pleasure to meet you." he said while holding a hand out.

Nightmare took it and shook politely. "I share the sentiment."

 

Cross trembled as he stared up at XGaster. He hid behind Nightmare, his eye lights tiny and shaking in fear.

 

XGaster looked down and smiled widely at Cross. He let go of Nightmare before leaning down to face Cross. "Oh. Is this my new student? He looks... smart."

Nightmare moved slightly to hide Cross behind him. "He is smart. But he's not your student. I apologize if the principal misled you but you are not teaching any class or anyone."

 

Cross flinched back, tears collecting in his eye sockets. He didn't want to be anywhere near XGaster! He relaxed slightly as Nightmare stepped in front of him.

 

XGaster frowned up at Nightmare. "Well, that is... terrible news. I had thought of teaching bright minds about the wonders of math."

The tall skeleton grinned down at Cross before holding a clawed hand out. "Why don't you introduce yourself little one?"

 

Cross stared up at XGaster.

"I'm Cross..." He mumbled quietly, not reaching out to shake his abuser's hand. He managed to get his trembling under control and wiped the forming tears away.

 

XGaster frowned at Cross, his eyes flashing briefly in anger. "Well? Aren't you going to shake my hand? Or do you not have any respect."

Nightmare frowned at XGaster. "He's not comfortable with touch. He won't be touching anyone if he doesn't want to."

 

Cross flinched slightly as he saw XGaster's eyes flash. Had he made him mad already?!

He looked up at Nightmare thankfully.

 

XGaster frowned at Nightmare before straightening up and fixing his clothes. "Isn't that a bit rude for children to not give adults the respect?"

"Respect may be given, but I prefer it if it was earned." Nightmare retorted and crossed his arms, staring at XGaster defiantly.

 

Nonononono! He didn't want XGaster to lash out at Nightmare. Cross looked around fearfully. There was nobody around. Nobody to stop XGaster should he get too angry.

He quickly stepped forward and extended a trembling hand, looking at the floor.

 

XGaster looked down before grinning. He grabbed Cross' hand, a bit too tight but subtle.

"That's better." he praised and shook the smaller's hand.

Nightmare frowned and gently pulled Cross away from the other. "Shall we go? I have been given the task to show you around."

XGaster looked between Nightmare and Cross before nodding, an odd look in his eyes. "Let's."

 

Cross winced slightly when XGaster squeezed his hand. He looked up at Nightmare when he was pulled away from the other teacher. At least his dad wouldn't get hurt...

 

Nightmare turned around to lead the way but before he did, he picked Cross up and held him close. He slowly rubbed Cross' back to comfort him, making sure to push the smaller's face to his chest to hide.

XGaster frowned at the behavior as he followed the other teacher. "I didn't know carrying students around was... normal."

"He may be a student but he is also my child." Nightmare responded.

 

Cross relaxed slightly as he was picked up and leaned into the touch slightly, hiding in Nightmare's shirt thankfully.

"Thanks, dad..." He mumbled, his voice only loud enough for Nightmare to hear it.

 

XGaster frowned at the new information. Wasn't Cross an orphan? This made it harder. But he wouldn't give up his favorite student that easily.

"Oh? Who's the lucky monster?" he asked.

Nightmare smiled at Cross before it fell at XGaster's question. "No one. I adopted him."

"Ah." That made sense. "How long?"

"Almost a month now." Nightmare replied before turning to show the new teacher a room. "This is the meeting room. Meetings are held at the end of every month."

 

Cross cuddled into Nightmare slightly, trying to drown out the voice of his old teacher.

 

XGaster nodded in understanding.

Nightmare rubbed Cross' back before continuing the tour. They reached the canteen. "Here's the canteen, you know thwarting function-"

"Where are the classes?" XGaster asked curiously.

 

Cross closed his eye sockets. Maybe he could block out the teacher better that way. He tensed every time XGaster spoke.

 

"Classes are in the other block." Nightmare responded. "Since we came from the north entrance. That's where the science labs are."

XGaster nodded in understanding. "I see."

"Right. I'll show you the other rooms." Nightmare said and began walking away with XGaster in tow.

 

Cross really hoped he'd never have to bear XGaster's teaching methods again. Maybe he'd just leave...

 

The tour went on for half an hour, Nightmare quickly becoming bored of it all. He just wanted to go home and have fun with Cross. He finally had some free time and of course someone had to come. Fuck his life.

"Are you sure you will not let me take over some of your classes?" XGaster asked curiously. "You seem awfully busy and stressed. Perhaps a lighter load will help?"

 

Cross tensed at the thought. He didn't want anyone to have to go through even one of XGaster's lessons.

 

"Never." Nightmare replied immediately. "I believe that's all for today. If you would go to the principal's office-"

"Why not?" XGaster interjected. "I can even help you. Those students must be a handful."

"I enjoy what I do." Nightmare replied with a strained look. "I wouldn't want anyone to replace me. Temporary or otherwise."

 

Cross sighed quietly in relief. He was glad that Nightmare felt the same. He cuddled into him slightly.

 

XGaster frowned at the answer. "Well, the principal got me to assist you. The least I could do is watch over your class while you teach."

Nightmare felt his eye socket twitch at the reminder. He was not overworked! Why were people so insistent on getting him things?!

 

Cross cuddled into Nightmare to calm him as he noticed he seemed tense.

"Mr. Nightmare is doing fine on his own..." He replied quietly.

 

XGaster gave Cross a quick harsh glare before smiling kindly at Nightmare. "Still, it's the principal's orders for you to take it easy."

Nightmare gritted his teeth in annoyance. "Fine. But I will talk to him about this. I will not take it easy if it means my student's success."

 

Cross didn't even notice the harsh glare, his skull still hidden. He frowned slightly as he wondered what exactly the principal had been thinking.

 

XGaster nodded. "I admire your passion."

Nightmare sighed and checked the time. "Speaking of passion, it's time for me to leave. I'll see you tomorrow." he dismissed with a polite wave.

XGaster waved back before frowning deeply. It seemed Cross had a new protector. No matter. He always found a way to get what he wanted.

 

~~~

 

Cross was breathing heavily by the time they had gotten to the car. He tried to keep his tears at bay as he shivered slightly.

 

Nightmare put on his seat belt before looking at Cross. His expression shifted into concern. "Are..." he shook his skull and reached over to rub Cross' skull slowly.

"Shh... it's alright. He's not here now."

 

Cross curled in on himself at the reassurance but leaned into the touch slightly, starting to sob quietly as he trembled harshly.

 

"Shh..." Nightmare hushed and unbuckled the smaller. He pulled Cross into his lap and continued his motions to try and comfort the distressed child. "Shh... he's gone. He's not here. He won't hurt you."

 

Cross relaxed significantly as soon as he was in Nightmare's arms and sobbed quietly as he clung to him tightly.

Nightmare was safe. Nightmare would protect him.

 

Nightmare held Cross close, curling slightly as if he could protect the younger from harm.

"Do you want me to play the radio?" he asked softly while rubbing Cross' back. Music sometimes helped him calm down.

 

Cross closed his eye sockets as he buried his face into Nightmare's chest. He nodded slightly. He liked music.

"Quiet, pl-please?" He requested shakily as he sobbed quietly.

 

Nightmare nodded. "Of course."

He reached over and turned on the radio, making sure to lower the volume enough to be heard clearly. He leaned back and embraced Cross gently, letting Cross calm down slowly.

 

Cross tensed slightly when the radio was suddenly turned on but he relaxed quickly as he tried to listen to the songs. They were pretty calming. He cuddled into Nightmare slightly.

 

Nightmare kept up the calming motions, seeing that Cross was slowly relaxing. He couldn't help but frown in worry. That had to be Cross' abuser. But how far? How much had that skeleton hurt his child?

 

Cross sniffled softly, wiping away the last of his tears. He still didn't feel okay, normally that would be all he needed to calm down but his Soul was still pounding quickly in fear.

 

"What's wrong?" Nightmare asked gently when he noticed Cross had slowly calmed down. "Talk to me."

 

"I... I don't want to be hurt anymore..." Cross mumbled softly. "... and I don't want him to hurt anyone else either. It's enough that he did that to me..."

 

Nightmare nodded in understanding. "Did... did he only do anything to you?"

 

Cross nodded slightly. He'd managed to keep XGaster's focus on himself and had protected the other students that way.

 

Nightmare frowned deeply. That... sounded concerning. It seemed Cross was XGaster's main focus. That was worse than if he had done that to everyone.

There was a chance Cross was still his target.

"Well, let's not think about that anymore." Nightmare said softly to try and change the subject. "Let's call Killer? I believe I promised some playtime at an indoor playground with dinner afterwards?"

 

Cross' eye lights brightened up slightly as he was immediately distracted by that information.

"I'll call him." He volunteered, sounding a bit excited.

 

Nightmare nodded and pulled out his phone. He picked a contact and phoned Horror. The latter picked up by the third ring.

 

Cross looked up at Nightmare, feeling much better than before. Maybe he could forget all about XGaster while playing with Killer.

 

Nightmare spoke to Horror for a bit before handing Cross the phone.

"Hey Cross!" Killer's voice spoke happily from the other line.

 

Cross took the phone with a tiny smile.

"Hi, Killer." He greeted.

 

"Horror said Mr. Nightmare is taking us to an indoor park playground thing!" Killer said happily. "Do you know what that means?!"

Nightmare smiled and let Cross sit on his lap as he pulled the car from the driveway. Cross was small enough and he was tall so it wasn't a bother.

 

"Yeah!" Cross replied happily. He really wanted to go there as soon as possible.

They could play there and there wouldn't be any bullies around. Even if there were, his dad was with them.

 

"What do you think will be there?" Killer asked curiously but joyfully. "I'm hoping for a trampoline!"

 

Cross gasped.

"A trampoline would be so awesome!" He replied excitedly.

"Maybe there's even something to climb on!" He loved climbing.

 

"There's always something to climb on!" Killer laughed joyfully. "I really can't wait! See you there?"

 

"Yeah! See you there!" Cross replied happily. He couldn't wait until they got there!

 

"Bye!" Killer said before ending the call. He couldn't wait to see Cross! They could have fun together without worry!

 

Cross smiled as he put away the phone and hugged Nightmare.

"Thanks, dad." He mumbled softly.

 

Nightmare smiled happily but he couldn't embrace Cross back due to driving. "Of course. A little fun after a long week is relaxing."

 

"Yeah." Cross agreed softly, cuddling into Nightmare. He just hoped he wasn't distracting him from driving.

 

Nightmare smiled down at Cross happily and continues driving. "We'll head home first to clean up and then we'll meet Killer and Horror, okay?"

 

"Sounds good..." Cross agreed softly.

 

~~~

 

Nightmare looked at himself in the mirror. He was wearing a light blue short sleeved button up shirt with a fluffy jacket over it, a pair of loose pants and some black shoes. He looked over at his bed where a pile of papers laid. He knew he'd said they'd be playing but he also wanted to talk about something with Horror.

 

Cross waited for Nightmare in the living room, wearing a thin red hoodie and black sport shorts.

 

Nightmare let out a soft breath before walking towards the papers. He put them in a file before putting it in a black backpack- that had a crescent moon on it- with a few books, bottled water and other necessities.

He put the bag on before walking out of his bedroom. He smiled at Cross. "Are you ready to go?"

 

"Yup!" Cross replied happily. He put on his fingerless climbing gloves with a small smile as he stood up.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly and walked towards the front door, opening it to let Cross outside first.

 

Cross walked outside, heading to the car with a small smile. He held a book close that he wanted to read while they were driving there.

 

Nightmare closed the door and locked it. He walked up to the car and unlocked the doors, stepping inside and buckling up his seatbelt.

 

Cross got into the car and buckled himself up, opening his book with a smile.

 

Nightmare rubbed Cross' skull for a moment before he starts up his car. He placed the bag into the back seat because it was difficult to drive with it. He slowly pulled the car out of the driveway before driving down the road.

 

Cross leaned into the touch with a small smile before he started reading.

 

After about half an hour of driving, they finally reached a large mall. Nightmare lead the car inside to park. He knew this place had a floor dedicated for playing so it'd be a good place to distract the kids for a while.

 

Cross looked up when the car got slower. Were they there already?

 

Nightmare drove around the enclosed area to find a place to park. The place was packed.

 

"There's a parking spot!" Cross called, pointing at the free parking spot.

 

Nightmare looked over and smiled. "Thank you Cross."

He parked the car carefully into the free parking space.

 

Cross smiled back as he put his self-made book mark into his book and closed it.

 

Nightmare turned off the engine and got out the car, grabbing the bag in the process. He walked to the other side and waited for Cross.

 

Cross opened his door carefully after unbuckling his seatbelt and got outside, leaving his book in the car.

 

Nightmare smiled when Cross got out the car. He locked the vehicle before gently taking Cross' hand and walking towards the entrance leading towards the mall.

 

Cross smiled as he followed Nightmare. He was really excited for this indoor playground.

 

Nightmare lead Cross to the elevator and looked down at Cross. "Have you ever been to a mall?"

 

Cross nodded, looking up.

"Yeah. Once." He replied.

 

Nightmare nodded, Cross was probably referring to the time they went shopping for his stuff after the adoption. "Well, this one is much bigger."

The door opened and he gently pulled Cross inside the elevator, pressing a button to the second top floor.

 

"Even bigger?" Cross asked amazedly. The mall they had gone to had been enormous already.

 

Nightmare nodded as the elevator went up. "This one has a whole floor dedicated to movies. And one for a large playground."

 

"Wow!" Cross gasped. It sounded so awesome. He couldn't wait to see that playground.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly before the elevator dinged, signalling that they had arrived.

The doors opened and Nightmare pulled Cross out of the elevator. All around them were play areas, both large and colourful. When he looked up there was even a rollercoaster rushing around with people screaming. There was a small train. A little trampoline area. Rock climbing. Everything they could fit in this one floor.

 

Cross looked around, his eye lights glowing brightly. It was so awesome! He was mesmerised as he stared at all the different things.

 

"Cross!" Killer called happily from the counter. He was wearing a grey-blue shirt with a dark grey hoodie and white shorts with black sneakers. He waved at them.

 

"Hi, Killer!" Cross replied, smiling brightly as he waved.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly and walked over to them. He needed to buy the tickets from the counter.

"It's so cool, right?!" Killer said joyfully, pointing towards the play area and screaming from the rollercoaster above them. "I haven't seen this before!"

 

Cross nodded happily.

"It's awesome!" He agreed. He was so happy that Killer was there too. His presence made everything even cooler.

Horror smiled slightly as he waved at them. He was wearing a dark green beanie and a hoodie in the same colour with brown pants and a beige scarf.

 

"I can't wait to play!" Killer said happily.

Nightmare turned towards them sternly. "Eat a snack first."

 

"Sure, dad." Cross replied. He was pretty hungry.

Horror nodded in agreement.

 

Killer pouted before he nodded in understanding. They needed the energy before they could jump around and play.

Nightmare nodded for Horror to stand beside him while he bought the tickets.

 

Cross smiled and took a steps back before running towards the counter and jumping on top of it next to Killer.

Horror walked next to Nightmare and bought the tickets for him and Killer.

 

Nightmare grabbed two bracelets for himself and Cross. He turned his skull to look at the latter when he jumped up on the counter.

He gently took Cross' hand to put on the bracelet on his wrist. "I know a sandwich shop around here where we can go for a snack."

 

Cross smiled up at him.

"Sounds great." He replied softly as he let Nightmare put on the bracelet.

Horror took two bracelets and stepped up to Killer, putting the bracelet onto his hand gently.

 

Killer smiled up at Horror as the adult placed the bracelet on his wrist. He couldn't wait to play! But first, food! "Can we get a chicken sandwich?"

Nightmare smiled with a nod. "I bought us tickets for the whole day until closing. So you can have fun as much as you want."

 

Cross cheered happily. It would be so awesome.

Horror nodded with a smile.

"Of course." He agreed.

 

Killer cheered happily.

Nightmare chuckled at their antics and gently took Cross' hand. "Let's go." he said and lead the way.

 

Cross smiled and jumped down the counter, following Nightmare happily.

Horror smiled and walked after them.

 

Killer trailed after Horror and grabbed his sleeve to keep up.

Nightmare lead them down the path until they reached a small sandwich shop. They could smell fresh bread and smokey chicken coming from it.

 

Horror looked down and offered his hand for Killer to take.

Cross looked at the sandwich shop excitedly. He could already smell something really good.

 

Killer smiled up at Horror happily and took the offered hand.

"Let's go inside." Nightmare said softly and walked inside the shop. There weren't many people around so Nightmare picked a secluded spot near the door.

 

Horror smiled down at Killer, leading him inside the shop gently.

Cross walked after Nightmare, sitting down next to him with a smile.

 

"Why don't you two go pick a sandwich." Nightmare suggested with a smile. "I'll share with Cross. If you're okay with that?"

Killer nodded and looked up at Horror for permission.

 

Cross nodded. That was a really good idea because he didn't think he could eat a whole sandwich anyways.

Horror nodded at Killer as he sat down and handed him some money.

 

Killer smiles happily as he took the money. He looked at Cross joyfully. "Come on! Let's go buy a foot long!"

Nightmare smiled as he watched them take off.

 

Cross smiled and ran to the counter.

Horror smiled at them. He was glad that they both were happy.

 

Nightmare's smile fell when the kids were out of earshot before he looked at Horror. He played with his hands for a bit. "So... I kind of lied when I said I only came here to let our kids have fun."

 

Horror looked up.

"Did something happen?" He asked worriedly.

 

Nightmare nodded grimly and tried to control himself from being angry. But he was extremely worried. "Cross' abuser... he came today."

 

Horror stared at Nightmare shockedly.

"Where?" He asked quietly.

 

Nightmare sighed. "Our school. Just before we called. He applied for a teacher and got the job. My job. Said he'd replace me if I wasn't there- which won't happen but concerns me."

 

"Stars, that sounds horrible..." Horror mumbled. He couldn't even fathom how bad it must be for Cross to be around that person. He really didn't want Killer anywhere near that guy either.

 

Nightmare nodded. "Cross... didn't take it well. He broke down when the bastard was finally gone. But... I don't know what to do."

 

"You should talk with the principal." Horror replied. He'd even send in a complaint. Anything to get rid of that bastard.

 

"I would." Nightmare sighed. "But I don't have proof that the guy did anything bad. Plus the principal is a stubborn bastard."

 

Horror sighed, about to reply when the kids got back to the table.

Cross carefully placed a sandwich onto the table.

 

Killer followed behind and placed a sandwich in front of Horror with a smile.

Nightmare nodded happily at Cross. "Good job. Thank you."

 

Horror smiled at Killer and rubbed his skull gently.

Cross smiled and got onto his chair, closing his eye sockets. He smiled happily as he held a really small knife in his hand and used it to cut the sandwich.

 

Killer smiled happily and leaned into the touch.

Nightmare raised a brow at the small knife. "You can do that? That's cool."

 

Horror's smile brightened up a bit.

Cross nodded slightly, pouting a bit when the knife immediately vanished.

 

Killer got into the seat and handed Horror the sandwich.

"Oh, you can keep that up for long?" Nightmare asked curiously.

 

Horror smiled happily. The sandwich looked incredibly tasty.

Cross looked up at Nightmare.

"Only if I concentrate on it. Maybe I'll get better at it if I train more but right now my record is eleven minutes and a half." He explained.

 

Nightmare smiled wider and gently rubbed Cross' skull. "That's impressive. You'll get better at it. Maybe last half an hour?"

 

Cross smiled happily.

"I hope so." He replied. With enough training he'd maybe even be able to use that small knife to defend himself.

 

Killer smiled brightly at Cross. "I'm sure you'll be able to do it!" he said encouragingly.

Nightmare nodded in agreement. "With a little practise, you will."

 

Cross smiled happily. He just needed a little practise.

Horror gave him an encouraging thumbs up.

 

Nightmare chuckled before grabbing the cut up sandwich. He took a bite and hummed happily. "You made a good choice Cross."

 

"Thanks." Cross replied with a smile and took a piece of the sandwich, taking a small bite.

 

Nightmare smiled happily and ate the sandwich. Killer split his with Horror and ate happily. He loved chicken sandwiches.

 

Horror smiled as he started eating. He loved chicken. It was so delicious.

Cross ate happily, the earlier pain forgotten.

 

~~~

 

Nightmare looked at Cross from the floor who was playing on the rock climbing wall with Killer.

 

Horror looked up. Both kids were climbing really well.

 

Nightmare turned towards Horror. He nodded at the giggling children "We need to talk. Distract them."

 

Horror looked at Nightmare.

"I think they're distracted enough." He replied.

 

"We can't leave them on a wall." Nightmare pointed out. He didn't want them to fall.

 

Horror looked around. What would keep them distracted enough...

 

Nightmare looked around too before spotting a large playground area. It was open and packed at the same time. Perfect.

"How about there?" he asked pointing towards the large playground.

 

Horror looked over.

"Yeah. That will keep them distracted for pretty long." He agreed.

 

Nightmare nodded before calling up at Cross. "Cross! Wanna play at that playground over there? I need to talk to Horror to catch up!"

 

Cross carefully adjusted his grip to be able to look down. He stared at the playground for a few seconds before nodding.

 

Killer looked over at where Mr. Nightmare was pointing and nodded happily. He wanted to play there too!

He carefully climbed back down. He didn't want to fall after all.

 

Cross smiled slightly as he climbed down carefully and jumped down the last few feet, pushing himself off the wall as he turned himself and did a roll to avoid any injury.

 

Nightmare tensed when Cross fell before smiling. "You're really skillful."

Killer smiled brightly from the wall. "You need to teach me that!"

 

Horror smiled. Cross was really good at climbing and parcour related things. He wondered why.

Cross smiled up at him as he stood up.

"Thanks." He replied happily. He looked up at Killer.

"Sure." He responded excitedly.

 

Killer smiled and slowly climbed down, landing on the floor. He looked at Cross excitedly. "Let's go!"

 

Cross smiled brightly and dashed off to the playground.

 

Killer laughed as he rushed after Cross.

Nightmare smiled before nodding towards a table and bench where they could sit and watch the kids.

 

Horror nodded and walked to the bench, sitting down.

 

Nightmare sat beside Horror and sighed tiredly, leaning onto the table as if he had a large weight on him.

 

Horror looked at Nightmare worriedly.

"We'll find a way to get rid of that bastard that hurt Cross." He said quietly.

 

Nightmare hissed and rubs his skull. "It's not that simple." he sighed out harshly.

 

Horror looked at Nightmare concernedly, waiting for him to elaborate.

 

Nightmare put down his backpack and pulled out stacks of papers. "I've searched and tried to find evidence to get rid of Cross' abuser. Even before I knew who he was. I was trying to find anything to put him behind bars. But there's NO evidence."

 

Horror sighed.

"Does Cross have any scars because of him?" He asked.

 

"I'm not sure." Nightmare sighed out softly. He straightened up slightly from his slumped position. "He won't let me see him unclothed. I've only seen his ribs once. They're... marred with scars and badly healed broken bones. I tried to fix what I could, once. He's been very careful to hide them."

 

Horror sighed. He wasn't sure if the court was willing to take only a kid's fear as evidence.

"Did he hurt anyone else?" He asked.

 

"Just Cross!" Nightmare bit out in frustration as he stared at the table with one glowing eye. He felt so mad. No kid deserved to go through what Cross had gone through.

He sighed. "Just him. No one else. No one has the same level of mental and physical abuse he's been through. At least from what I've seen and gathered."

He waved at the papers. "As my research shows."

 

"I really hope Cross won't be targeted." Horror sighed.

 

"You and I know he will be." Nightmare said softly. "They always come back to their victims."

 

Horror sighed.

"I know..." He mumbled. "Any chance he can use his magic to defend himself?" He asked. He wondered if there were magic blockers or alarm systems in the school.

 

Nightmare shook his skull. "Magic isn't as common anymore. Much less fighting magic. Hell, Cross can only do little knives and they shatter after a few moments. Can they really protect him?"

 

Horror sighed. It had been worth a shot.

 

"I just- I don't know what to do." Nightmare said in distress.

 

"You're doing great so far. Just look at him." Horror explained, pointing at Cross who was laughing happily as he chased Killer around.

"He met his abuser today but you managed to calm him down and found a way to make him laugh."

 

Nightmare looked at Cross and smiled at the happy look on his face. "I... I guess. I just... I don't know how to take care of him. I haven't taken care of an abused kid before. Not even Dream has anxiety!"

 

"Like I said, you're doing great. Make sure he knows you're there for him and everything will be fine." Horror explained.

 

Nightmare looked up at Horror and smiled slightly. "Thanks. That I can do. I just..." he trailed off, looking down slightly. "I just wish he won't be in danger from him anymore."

 

Horror sighed quietly.

"Stick close to him when he's at school. Killer's got his back too." He explained.

 

Nightmare looked down in thought. "I can't keep an eye on him all the time. Only during recess and classes. Can... can Killer keep him safe?"

 

"Yeah. If he tries anything, Killer will most likely try to get him to a safe space before getting you or he'll start screaming. We went through some scenarios because Killer told me he'd probably get really pissed if someone tried to hurt Cross." Horror explained.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly. "Yeah, I can see him do that. I'm glad he's trying not to be violent."

 

Horror nodded with a smile.

"Me too." He agreed.

 

Nightmare smiled before turning serious. "I wanted to ask. When... when did he start getting violent?"

 

Horror frowned.

"He never took it well that his parents just left him and he got angry easily. First it was just little things but when some kids bullied him and said that his parents didn't want him, it escalated and he got violent. That was... when he was eleven." Horror explained.

 

Nightmare sighed sadly. "It's... sad. Killer is such a good kid. He had to go through losing his parents... too early. What do you think happened to them? They wouldn't just abandon Killer at school like that."

 

"I'm not sure. They loved Killer really much but there's no trace of them. I'm starting to think that they didn't disappear but someone made them disappear..." Horror replied quietly as he stared at the table.

 

Nightmare bit his lower lip. He had a good intuition, occasionally it saved him from so much trouble. And his intuition was telling him that,

"Maybe you're right." he said softly. "But... why? And who?"

 

"I think they knew too much about something. His dad was always very curious, being a detective and all. Maybe he investigated something, did some brainstorming with Killer's mom and they came to a conclusion that somebody didn't like..." Horror explained quietly.

 

Nightmare clenched his hands at the thought. "Stars...." the very thought...

"Let's- let's not jump conclusions." he said quickly. "We don't know what happened. Let's just... wait."

 

Horror sighed quietly and nodded. Nightmare was right. He shouldn't just jump to conclusions.

 

Nightmare looked up when yelling came and saw the rollercoaster swung by, following a windy trail attached to the walls and ceiling. It ran by every few minutes followed by joyful screaming. Nightmare wanted to ride it but he had Cross to take care of.

"I hope Dream never went on that. He's scared of those things and would most likely cry/puke after the ride." he mumbled.

 

Horror chuckled slightly.

"I'd always thought Dream would love something like that up until we went on a field trip to the amusement park." He explained.

 

Nightmare laughed at the reminder. That had been so long ago. Dream had gotten so sick he had to stick to slow kiddy rides for two hours. Nightmare had had to comfort him and make sure he wouldn't hurl everywhere again. "That was a fun field day."

 

Horror laughed.

"Yeah. Remember how that one kid that always bullied us cried after the haunted house? Sweet, sweet revenge."

 

Nightmare laughed, covering his mouth to muffle the sound.

"It probably made it sweeter since we were in there at the same time and he thought we were part of the attraction cause were skeletons!"

 

Horror chuckled. That had been priceless.

 

"Hey, remember one of our classmates went on that boat ride?" Nightmare asked Horror with a grin.

 

Horror grinned back.

"Moved too much and tipped over." He chuckled.

 

Nightmare laughed at the mental reminder. "Oh how scared were the ducks. They had to use the lifesaver cause the pond was deep and they couldn't swim."

 

Horror laughed. It had been a glorious day for them.

 

Nightmare shared a laugh with Horror, his Soul feeling happy for once.

 

"I think we were the only ones nothing bad happened to." Horror chuckled.

 

Nightmare chuckled. "Not true. Others didn't have bad times. But we were the only ones who got to see everything."

 

Horror chuckled. He'd loved that field trip. He gasped quietly.

"We could take Cross and Killer to an amusement park." He suggested.

 

Nightmare smiled at the suggestion. "Great idea."

He looked at the laughing children and smiled wider. "But maybe next month. They're already having fun and they do have school."

 

Horror nodded, smiling brightly as he watched Killer and Cross. He noticed a kid in a blue hoodie jacket approach them, the hood flipped up to obscure their face.

 

Dust walked around the playground with his head tilted down sadly. He had his hands in his pockets and avoided looking at anyone. They'd run away because of his eyes.

 

Cross looked up when a kid walked into their direction without realising they were doing it. They didn't look like they were having any fun...

He nudged Killer slightly and nodded at the kid.

 

Killer looked over when Cross nudged him and followed his gaze. He tilted his skull curiously. That kid didn't look happy.

He looked at Cross. Should they... invite him?

 

Cross nodded slightly. It would be unfair for everyone to have fun except that kid. He walked towards them, smiling slightly.

 

Killer chuckled and followed after Cross.

Dust looked up when he heard someone approaching. He winced and hid his skull again with his hood.

 

"Sorry, did we startle you?" Cross asked sympathetically when he saw the wince, stopping to approach.

 

Killer paused when Cross stopped, staring at the kid.

Dust looked up slightly before looking back down with a shake of his skull. "N-no."

 

Cross smiled slightly.

"We only wanted to ask you if you want to play with us." He explained softly.

 

Killer nodded in agreement.

Dust looked up uncertainly. "You're.. inviting me to play?"

 

Cross nodded with a smile.

"Yeah. Do you want to?" He asked.

 

Killer looked down at the kid with a hopeful smile.

Dust looked between them uncertainly before he nodded, a tiny smile growing on his face. "Y-yes. Um... my name is Dust."

 

Cross smiled brightly.

"Hi. I'm Cross." He introduced himself happily.

 

"I'm Killer." Killer said happily.

Dust lifted his head slightly and smiled, showing off his multicoloured eyes.

 

"Woah!" Cross gasped softly. "Your eyes look so cool!" He complimented.

 

Killer smiled at the other. "Really cool!"

Dust flinched back in fear when he realized that they saw his eyes. He looked down immediately, fearing rejection. He looked up at them in surprise. "You're... not scared?"

 

"Nope." Cross replied. "Why would we be scared?" He asked confusedly.

 

Dust looked down sadly. His sockets brimming with unshed tears as his voice trembled. "B-because everyone is. E-even mom and dad."

 

Cross' eye sockets widened in shock.

"Do... do you want a hug?" He asked. Hugs were supposed to make things better, right?

 

Dust looked at Cross fearfully before shaking his skull. "N-no. Please."

Killer frowned angrily. Why would any parent do that? Even his parents loved- had used to love- him despite his looks. That... sounded wrong for any kid to go through.

 

"Okay. We won't touch you without your permission." Cross tried to calm him down a bit.

"Do you want to play with us?" He asked softly.

 

Dust looked at them for a moment in surprise before nodding with a small smile. "I'd love to."

Killer smiled happily. They'd show this kid a good time!

 

Cross smiled.

"Cool. Any preferences?" He asked softly. He didn't know anything about Dust and what he might like to play. They couldn't play tag because that involved touching... Maybe hide and seek?

 

"Um..." Dust mumbled softly. "I don't know. I've... never played anything before."

 

Cross gave him an understanding smile.

"Would you like to play hide and seek?" He suggested with a patient smile.

 

"How do you play that?" Dust asked curiously.

Killer smiled. "It's a game where one of us counts to ten while the others hide." he said before turning towards Cross to continue the explanation.

 

"When those ten seconds over, the person counting starts to search for the others. The seeker wins when he finds all people and the hiders win when the seeker can't find them in ten minutes. First one to get found is the seeker in the next round." Cross explained with a smile.

 

Dust raised a brow at the explanation. "That... sounds like an odd game."

Killer smiled. "Yup. But it's fun.

 

"Yeah. But if you want to play something different, I'm sure we can come up with something." Cross suggested with a smile.

 

Dust shook his skull. "N-no no. That sounds fun. Uh... is there a limit to where we can hide cause..." he looked around at the enormous indoor playground- which honestly was actually an amusement park with how much stuff was in there. "This place is huge."

 

Cross looked around.

"Huh... Maybe only the playground we're in now?" He suggested.

"And we'll meet here when the ten minutes are over?"

 

Killer nodded. "Sounds good."

"But... who's keeping time?" Dust asked uncertainly.

 

Cross pointed at the large digital clock on a wall.

"That thing." He replied with a smile.

 

Dust looked up where Cross was pointing. "How did I not see that before?"

Killer chuckled softly. "My friend is very perceptive."

 

"Yeah." Cross agreed with a bright smile.

"So.. who's the seeker first?" He asked.

 

Killer raised his hand. "Can I be first?! I really wanted to play hide and seek for a while now!"

Dust nodded in agreement. He was fine with anything.

 

"Sure." Cross agreed happily. He was already scoping out the area for hiding places.

 

Killer smiled happily and counted while covering his eyes. "One. Two. Three..."

Dust looked around and ran, hiding under the slide.

 

Cross bolted off to a promising looking hiding spot and climbed onto a wall, hiding on top of it behind another wall.

 

~~~

 

Cross looked up when he saw Nightmare and Horror approach. He smiled happily.

 

Dust saw adults approach them and hid behind Killer fearfully, hiding his face with his hood he tried to make himself smaller.

 

Cross looked over at Dust.

"No worries. That's my dad and Killer's dad." He tried to reassure their new friend.

"They're really nice." He explained.

 

Dust looked at Cross uncertainly. His hand grabbing onto the back of Cross' shirt.  "You sure?"

 

"Yeah. My life was really shitty but my dad saved me. He's awesome." Cross explained with a soft smile.

 

Hearing that, Dust tentatively came out from behind Cross, looking up at the adults fearfully.

Nightmare smiled as he walked closer to them. "Hey boys. How are you doing?"

 

"We made a friend!" Cross explained excitedly.

Horror smiled happily. He was glad Killer was making some friends.

 

"Oh?" Nightmare smiled at them before turning towards Dust. "Hello there."

"H-hello." Dust mumbled softly.

 

Cross smiled happily. Dust seemed really shy which made sense if everyone he knew, even his parents judged him because of his eyes.

"Hi." Horror greeted softly, smiling at the kid.

 

Killer ran up to Horror and grabbed his shirt, looking up at Horror happily.

"Where did you come from?" Nightmare asked gently.

"Um... my... parents brought me here while they... meet someone." Dust informed slowly.

 

Horror chuckled and picked Killer up, hugging him gently.

"Your parents just left you here without supervision?" He asked.

 

Killer snuggled into Horror happily. He looked at Dust with a sad frown.

Dust looked down sadly and nodded. "They... often do that."

Nightmare frowned. "How often?"

Dust bit his lower lip. "Every day."

 

Cross frowned slightly. That wasn't good. Was it because they were scared of Dust's eyes? Just because of that?

Horror's eye sockets widened slightly. He glanced over at Nightmare.

Cross asked Dust if he went to the same school as them to distract him and maybe cheer him up a bit.

 

Nightmare's face was gentle but his eye held a bit of darkness in them. Why would any parent leave their kid alone? That... sounded horrible.

Dust looked at Cross before nodding. "Y-yeah. I believe I'm a grade below you guys?"

 

Cross nodded with a smile. He was so glad that they were going to the same school.

"Maybe we can meet up at lunch break? We always use that small table at the very back." He explained.

 

Killer nodded in agreement. "Yeah. It'd be fun to eat together."

Dust looked at them in surprise before he smiled happily. "I'd like that."

 

Cross smiled brightly. He was really glad that Dust liked the idea.

"Cool." He said happily.

 

Nightmare smiled slightly. "Well, I apologize but it's almost time for this place to close. Where are your parents?"

"Oh uh..." Dust trailed off. "They're.... picking me up outside later."

 

Cross frowned slightly. It wasn't safe for someone their age to be all on their own.

"Dad, can we wait with him?" He asked, looking up at Nightmare.

 

Nightmare nodded, already having had the same idea. He turned towards Horror and Killer. "Can you two buy some snacks? I think we'll be staying a while."

Dust looked up at them in shock. They would.... they would stay with him? For what?

 

Cross smiled, feeling relieved.

Horror nodded.

"We'll meet at the exit?" He asked, holding Killer close.

 

Killer stared at Dust with worry but it was tinged with anger. He gripped onto Horror's scarf to calm himself.

Nightmare nodded at Horror. "Yeah. We'll have to postpone dinner until the kid's parents come."

 

Horror nodded and held Killer close, dashing off to the nearest shop that sold food, hoping it was still open.

Cross looked at Dust with a small smile.

 

Nightmare held a hand out for Cross before doing the same to Dust. No way he'd let them out of his sight. Bad people could take them.

 

Cross took his hand happily, smiling up at Nightmare but there was a small sad undertone in it. He'd talk with his dad about Dust later.

 

Dust looked at the offered hand uncertainly before slowly reaching out and taking it. He winced, waiting for the adult to flinch or pull away. But when he looked up he only saw Nightmare smiling softly down at him. He couldn't help but feel... shocked. And loved. He smiled happily.

Nightmare smiled back. That look mirrored Cross when Nightmare had said he'd never hurt him. Doubtful but happy. As if he didn't believe it was real.

He really wanted to have a talk with Dust's parents.

 

"Dust is super good at hide and seek! He won three rounds because we couldn't find him." Cross explained with a smile, trying to brighten up the mood a bit.

 

Nightmare looked at Cross in surprise before he smiled. "That's good. I imagine you had lots of fun? Both of you are so skillful."

Dust blushed at the praise and looked down shyly with a small smile. Stars that felt... good? He felt happy.

Nightmare gently walked towards the entrance to leave with the two boys in his hands.

 

Cross smiled happily and nodded.

"We had loads of fun!" He agreed. He might not have known Dust for a long time but he was really cool.

 

"Y-yeah." Dust agreed softly. "I had fun too."

"That's good." Nightmare smiled happily. He gently pulled the kids outside, watching as children and adults alike dispersed from the area as it began to close.

 

Horror held Killer close as he ran up to them, carrying some snacks.

 

Nightmare looked up when he saw Horror approaching. He felt slightly relieved when Horror carried some snacks with him.

"Hey Horror." Nightmare greeted. "What did you get?"

 

"Everything that I could get." Horror replied, holding up a few sandwiches, packs of chips, popcorn, chocolate and some more things.

Cross' eye lights lit up when he spotted the chocolate.

 

Dust looked at all the food in surprise. Stars that was a lot...

Killer chuckled softly. "Dad literally ran down the aisles and grabbed everything."

Nightmare shook his skull with a fond smile. "And how much did they cost?"

 

"Not much. They gave me the sandwiches and the popcorn for ten cents each because they'll go bad until tomorrow." Horror explained, smiling.

Cross stared at the chocolate.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly. "Well that's a deal I'll take right now."

He followed Cross' eyes and smiles fondly. "We better find a place to sit down while we wait."

 

"Sounds good." Horror agreed, looking around for a bench.

"How about there?" Cross asked, pointing at a bench.

 

Nightmare looked over and nodded. "That should do it."

Killer looked at Dust from Horror's arms. He looked.... sad. "What's wrong Dust?"

 

Cross looked over at Dust curiously, frowning worriedly when he saw that he looked sad.

 

Dust looked up at them. "W-well, why are you doing this? My parents will come later, they always do. But... why are you wasting your time keeping me company? I don't... understand."

 

"It's not safe for kids our age to be alone for long." Cross explained. At least that was what Nightmare always said.

 

Nightmare let the kids talk as he gently pulled them towards the bench.

Dust looked at Cross uncertainly. "But... my parents always said that I'm older now and that I have to learn to be independent."

 

"You're still a kid. It's dangerous." Cross replied. He'd gotten abducted once but he hadn't told Nightmare about that yet.

"There's some really sketchy people around." He explained.

 

"But..." Dust wanted to protest but Killer cut him off.

"Cross' right. Bad people will grab kids if they have the chance." Killer frowned. "I don't wanna lose you! You're my friend!"

 

"Yeah." Cross agreed. "Don't ever let any of those catch you."

 

Dust looked surprised before he nodded. "Okay."

Nightmare smiled and sat down. The bench was large enough to fit all of them. "You should sit down. We'll wait for your parents together."

 

Cross smiled brightly and jumped onto the bench.

Horror sat down, placing Killer on his lap and hugged him while giving a chocolate bar to Cross.

 

Nightmare chuckled and rubbed the top of Cross' skull.

Dust climbed up and sat down beside Cross, looking down at his feet as he waited.

Killer leaned into Horror happily as he was hugged.

 

Cross smiled up at Nightmare, leaning into the touch. He ripped open the wrapper of the chocolate bar and took a bite, humming happily.

Horror smiled, holding Killer close.

 

Nightmare looked at Dust. "Do you want something to eat? We have plenty."

"Oh... um... just a sandwich?" Dust asked uncertainly.

 

Horror handed Dust a sandwich with a smile.

"If you wanna have anything else, just ask."

 

Dust took the sandwich with a small thank you. He opened the wrapper and took a small bite.

 

~~~

 

Cross smiled as he showed Dust an awesome game on his phone.

Horror noticed someone approaching them and tapped Nightmare to make him aware of it.

 

Dust smiled happily as he played the game Cross had showed him. He was terrible at it but it was fun. Killer watched them play happily, content with watching.

Nightmare looked up from his math book- yes he'd brought one to find some exercises for his class- when Horror tapped his shoulder. He frowned at them and unconsciously neared the kids in case he needed to protect them.

 

Dust's mother frowned as she saw someone sitting near Dust.

Cross looked up when his dad moved closer to him.

 

Nightmare stood up when they walked closer. "Can I help you?"

Dust looked up and flinched when he saw his parents. He hid his face with his hood.

 

"We're here to pick Dust up." Dust's father replied.

Cross frowned as he looked at them. They had waited almost three hours...

 

Nightmare raised a brow at them and put down his book. He frowned deeply and crossed his arms. He hated how some people treated kids. "You're three hours late. Your son waited for three hours. What would happen if he waited that long alone?"

 

"We forgot him." Dust's mother explained as if that would make anything better or excuse their actions.

Horror frowned. How could someone forget their kid?

"That doesn't excuse your actions. Who forgets to pick their kid up for three hours?" Cross said with a frown.

 

Dust flinched and looked down sadly. Of course. They were so busy that they had forgotten he was here. Even though they'd left him here.

Killer gritted his teeth angrily. He looked at Dust before scooting closer to him for reassurance.

"Forgot him?" Nightmare gritted out.

 

Dust's father's eye lights flashed dangerously, making Cross flinch slightly.

"Do you not have an ounce of respect?!" He growled.

Horror suppressed a growl and left the talking to Nightmare, not trusting himself not to lash out.

 

Dust flinched at the scream and curled up fearfully. He hated it when his dad got mad. He always hurt him if not worse.

Killer growled at the adults but tried to control himself.

Nightmare stepped in front of the kids. "While I would agree, my son has a point. You cannot make an excuse like that because it will risk Dust's life. Not only that, I excuse my son for speaking out because 1) he has a point. And 2) he may be a kid but he is smarter than you."

 

Dust's father's eye lights flared brightly as he stared at Nightmare hatefully.

Cross looked at Dust worriedly, his fear forgotten as he saw that his friend was in distress.

"Are you alright?" He asked carefully.

 

Dust looked at Cross with tears in his eyes. He hated being here. He hated knowing that his parents had forgotten him because they didn't care. He hated all the screaming. He was... scared.

Nightmare stared back defiantly. He was so done with assholes. "Let me ask you something, do you even love Dust?"

 

"Shh... It's okay.." Cross murmured softly.

"Do you want a hug?" He asked quietly.

"Why should that concern you?!" Dust's father growled.

 

Dust sniffed and nodded, immediately hugging Cross and hiding his face. Especially when his dad yelled.

Killer frowned and hugged Dust, as if his body could protect the other from his own dad.

"Because I'm a teacher from his school!" Nightmare raised his voice slightly, not screaming but loud still. "I called the principal for information and he said Dust got left at school so often that eventually one of the teachers had to send him home! Every day! Does that sound like good parenting to you?!"

 

Cross hugged Dust gently, whispering soft reassurances. He hoped to maybe make this a bit more bearable.

Horror stood up, moving next to Nightmare as he glowered down at the two horrible parents.

"We don't have time for him." Dust's father growled lowly.

 

Dust flinched at the words his father spoke. Killer was holding back his anger. Oh his punching bag would need to be replaced when they got home.

Nightmare frowned deeper. "Then why do you have him?"

 

"We wanted a kid but not that kid!" Dust's father hissed.

Cross winced in sympathy, holding Dust closer.

"Don't listen to him, you're awesome..." He whispered softly.

Horror growled, forcing himself to stand still. He did not want to punch someone in front of Killer.

 

Nightmare felt his eye glow brightly with anger. How dare they. He was about to yell at them when Dust spoke.

"Then why don't you just give me away to them?!" Dust screamed tearfully, staring up at them through blurred vision.

 

Cross held Dust close, shushing him softly.

"Fine! Don't come crawling back to us again!" Dust's father screamed.

 

"I won't!" Dust screamed back. His voice was hitching with sobs as he futilely wiped away his tears.

Nightmare frowned and stared at the kid in worry. Fuck. If a kid would be brave enough to say that then something had to be wrong. But after seeing the parents... Nightmare didn't blame him.

Besides, he knew what it was like to be hated by everyone. He'd raised Dream when their parents were gone- left them. He understood.

 

Dust's father glared at his son before taking his wife's hand and walking away.

Cross held Dust protectively.

 

Nightmare reached out and grabbed the father's shoulder. He handed him his number card. "For legal stuff later. Once it's done, you won't see him again. And he won't see you anymore. That's a promise."

 

Dust's father grabbed the card.

"I'll drop his stuff off at the school." He growled before walking away.

"Everything's gonna be okay..." Cross murmured softly.

Horror stared at Dust's parents angrily.

 

Nightmare watched them leave and clenched his hands into a fist. His eye glowing brightly with anger.

Dust watched as his parents left before crumbling to his knees and sobbing, almost wailing as he tried to hide his face in his hoodie.

Killer watched Dust cry with tears in his eyes. His hands clenched as he gritted his teeth. Those fuckers didn't deserve Dust. He kneeled down beside Dust and gently rubbed his back slowly.

 

Cross sat down next to Dust and hugged him gently, tears stinging in his eye sockets.

Horror stared after them, his eye lights flaring. How could they do this to a kid?!

 

Dust cried loudly, his soul tearing itself apart in pain. "They- they n-n-never w-wanted me!"

Killer frowned and wiped away his tears. "They don't deserve you."

Nightmare turned around to look at Dust sadly. Poor kid. It was hard to know that. To know that the people who were supposed to love you just gave you up.

 

"Shh... It's not because of you..." Cross murmured softly, holding Dust close. Killer was right. They didn't deserve Dust.

 

Dust didn't respond. His voice hitched with every sob as tears dripped down his face like a stream.

Nightmare turned to Horror with concern and sadness. "Do you want to take him? I don't mind if I do but.... I'm afraid to ask him myself." he whispered at the other adult.

 

"I would gladly but I don't have enough room." Horror explained.

 

Nightmare nodded before kneeling down in front of Dust. "Hey," he called softly.

Dust looked up, tears streaming down his face without ending.

"Let's go eat first okay?" Nightmare said softly, gently wiping away Dust's tears with his thumb. "We'll sort this out soon."

Dust sobbed and clung onto Nightmare, trying to get any ounce of comfort he could take. "P-p-please don't l-leave me a-alone."

 

Horror kneeled down next to Nightmare, rubbing Dust's skull gently.

Cross looked at Dust worriedly.

"We won't leave you." He murmured softly.

 

Nightmare nodded and gently rubbed Dust's back. "Cross is right. We won't leave you."

"Never." Killer promised.

Dust's crying softened and he looked up at them. "L-let me s-s-stay with you?"

Nightmare nodded with a small smile. "That's the plan. They don't deserve you. Don't forget that what today happened wasn't your fault. It will never be your fault."

 

Cross smiled slightly, hugging Dust gently. He really didn't want Dust to return to his parents.

 

Dust cried softly before a tiny smile grew on his face. "O-okay."

Nightmare smiled back sadly. "Now, it's getting late. No one is here so let's go eat dinner outside? What do you want?"

 

Cross smiled slightly. Dinner sounded awesome.

"I'll pay this time." Horror volunteered. Nightmare had paid their last dinner.

 

Dust smiled before looking down. "C-can we eat... s-something light? I- I don't think I can stomach anything."

Nightmare nodded. "Of course. Where?"

"I-... I don't know." Dust admitted. "My pa-... They never take me anywhere to eat except at home."

 

Cross frowned thoughtfully and pulled out his phone.

"Any specific wish?" He asked.

 

Nightmare looked at Cross before gently pushing the phone down. "Let us handle this son."

Dust smiled slightly at the interaction. "Um.... maybe some pizza?"

 

"Okay." Cross agreed, putting his phone away. His dad always had the best ideas after all.

Horror's eye lights lit up brightly at the mention of pizza.

"Pizza sounds amazing." He agreed.

 

Killer nodded in agreement.

Nightmare chuckled softly. "Okay. Pizza it is."

He stood up and gently took Dust's hand and Cross' hand with a kind smile. "I know a shop nearby that's both cheap and delicious."

 

Cross jumped up with a smile. He really liked pizza.

Horror took Killer's hand with a smile and stood up.

 

Killer smiled and latched onto Horror, leaning up to whisper softly. "Am I justified to be mad?"

Dust looked at Nightmare in surprise before he smiled and stood up too. He loved being held. Even if it was just holding hands. He felt... loved. Cared for. He felt happy.

Nightmare smiled down at them before turning around to lead the way.

 

"Yeah. I'm mad too." Horror whispered quietly, hugging Killer for a few seconds. "But I don't want to scare Dust and I'm sure you don't want to either."

Cross smiled happily as he followed Nightmare.

 

Killer nodded in agreement. "Okay. But I'm still going to destroy my punching bag when we get home. I'm still so mad."

Nightmare lead them through the empty floor to the elevator, pressing the button to take them to the parking space.

 

"I got a spare punching bag in my room." Horror replied as he walked after Nightmare.

 

"Good." Killer hummed and nuzzled Horror. "Thank you."

Nightmare watched as the elevator doors closed and it moved downwards towards the parking space. Dust clung onto Nightmare uncertainly, not knowing what to expect.

 

Horror smiled, holding Killer close as he nuzzled back.

 

~~~

 

Nightmare and the others sat in the booth of a small pizza shop. Three large pizzas with different toppings laid out in front of them. Nightmare ate one carefully while Killer ate happily. Dust was slow while eating, occasionally letting a few tears fall.

 

Cross scooted a bit closer to Dust as he ate his pizza slowly. It tasted really good but Dust was really sad which was understandable.

Horror smiled as he ate his pizza. It tasted amazing.

 

Nightmare looked up at Dust after a moment and sighed softly. He hated doing this. "So, you'll be staying with me and Cross from now on. If... if that's okay with you I mean."

Dust looked up and wiped away his tears, nodding slightly. "Y-yeah. Okay."

 

Cross laid his pizza slice down and hugged Dust.

Horror looked up, following the conversation attentively.

 

Dust leaned into the touch with a sad look.

Killer watched them but didn't try to intervene. Cross had it covered.

"What's wrong?" Nightmare asked softly.

Dust sniffed sadly and wiped away his tears. "They- they never wanted me. They just... gave me up. They don't look like they regret it either."

 

"They didn't deserve you." Cross mumbled softly, holding Dust close.

"My parents didn't want me either but Nightmare took me in and made everything better." He explained softly.

 

Dust looked at Cross in confusion. Did he have to go through what he had to go through earlier? "Did... did they leave you to Nightmare?"

 

"No. They abandoned me at birth and left me at an orphanage." Cross explained.

"The people there were... not nice..." He mumbled quietly.

"But dad saved me a two months ago." He added with a smile.

 

Dust sniffed sadly and frowned at Cross. "That... sounds terrible."

He looked up at Nightmare who was looking at them kindly. "You... saved him?"

Nightmare nodded. "Well, I only adopted him. He insisted on the word 'save'. But I promised I'd take care of him and protect him. I can do that for you too, if you want."

 

Cross smiled slightly as he hugged Dust gently.

 

Dust let Cross hug him, looking down in thought. "You'd... love me? And care for me?"

Nightmare nodded. "Like a parent should."

 

Horror smiled slightly. He really hoped Dust would accept.

 

Dust looked up at Nightmare uncertainly. "I... okay. I'll, I'll stay with you."

Nightmare smiled happily and reached over to gently rub the top of Dust's skull. "I'm glad you accepted. I promise, you won't be treated like before."

Dust smiled at the show of affection and nuzzled into the touch happily. "Okay."

 

Cross smiled softly, hugging Dust gently. He was really glad that he wanted to stay with them.

 

Dust smiled at them. He hoped everything would get better. At least, he'd be happier.

Chapter Text

The school bell rang loudly, signalling the end of the school day.

Dust walked out of the school with his head tilted down to avoid everyone's stares and whispers. He'd been getting that a lot that day and he didn't know why.

 

Cross looked around the school for Dust but he just couldn't find him.

Maybe he was already waiting outside? It was worth checking.

 

Dust looked up and froze when he saw his dad at the school. He flinched when he saw how his dad took out whatever he had from his old home and just... threw it on the floor.

He felt tears dot the corners of his eyes.

 

Cross' eye lights lit up in relief when he saw Dust.

"There you are!" He called out.

 

Dust flinched and turned around to look at Cross, tears collecting in the corners of his eyes. He tried to wipe them away.

 

Cross' eye sockets widened as he looked down at Dust.

"What's wrong?" He asked worriedly, approaching him slowly to give him a hug.

 

Dust leaned into the touch and pointed towards his father with a shaky hand. He sniffed sadly and winced at how his father just... threw his stuff to the ground.

 

Cross winced. That had to be Dust's stuff. He picked the shorter skeleton up, noticing how concerningly light he was as he walked to where Dust's things were strewn about.

 

Dust latched onto Cross for comfort, flinching when Cross walked closer towards his father. He didn't want to go near him.

"L-let's wait for Nightmare." Dust stuttered softly.

 

"But he's..." Cross sighed.

"I'll call him." He agreed, pulling out his phone as he stayed a safe distance away from Dust's father.

 

Dust relaxed slightly when Cross stopped walking. He would rather not talk or confront his dad after what had happened a few days ago.

"Yes?" Nightmare's voice said when he answered.

 

"Dust's former caretaker is in front of the school and throwing all his stuff onto the ground." Cross explained.

 

Nightmare tensed at his sons words. "Alright. Wait there. I'll get there quick. Don't engage, Cross, I mean it."

 

"I won't." Cross agreed, ending the call.

"He'll be here soon." He explained, cuddling Dust close.

 

Dust sniffed and nodded in understanding. He cuddled into Cross and hugged him close.

 

"Shh... We'll get your stuff back." Cross murmured softly as he nuzzled Dust gently.

 

"It's not the stuff I'm worried about." Dust mumbled into Cross' jacket.

Nightmare speed walked towards them with a firm gleam in his eye.

 

"What are you worried about then?" Cross asked.

He looked up when he saw Nightmare approach.

 

Dust didn't respond, not wanting to tell him how he was worried his dad would lash out at Cross.

Nightmare frowned at Dust's former father as he approached. He gently rubbed the top of Cross' and Dust's skull as he passed them.

 

Cross smiled slightly as Nightmare rubbed his skull slightly and held Dust close. That might get a bit loud. He took a few steps away.

 

"What are you doing?" Nightmare asked Dust's former father with crossed arms.

 

Dust's father looked up.

"Just throwing the trash out." He replied.

 

Dust flinched at the words and curled into Cross.

Nightmare frowned at him. "You could have just laid it out. Not throw it on the ground."

 

Cross frowned and cuddled Dust close.

Dust's father smirked slightly.

"No fun in doing that."

 

Nightmare sighed softly and pinched the bridge of his nasal canal. He knew this would hurt Dust, if it hadn't already.

"Fine." he said before looking up at the person. "I brought this to court. We'll meet at Saturday to fight for Dust's custody."

 

"We don't want him. You can have him." Dust's father replied as he got one last box out of the car.

Cross held Dust close.

 

Dust felt more tears drip down his face and absorbed by Cross' jacket. He bit his tongue to keep quiet.

"Even so," Nightmare forced out. "we have to go through legal issues."

 

Cross rubbed Dust's skull gently, holding him close.

Dust's father shrugged, spilling the things in the box onto the floor.

 

Nightmare sighed at the behavior.  "See you Saturday."

 

Dust's father got into the car and drove off without another word.

 

Nightmare shook his skull and looked down at the stuff scattered on the ground. It was... not even much. Just normal things like clothes, books and some papers. Nothing special.

Nightmare kneeled down and picked up one of the books. A chemistry book. Dust was into chemistry?

Dust cried silently when he heard his dad drive away.

 

Cross frowned, staring at the car hatefully. He held Dust protectively as he walked over to Nightmare.

 

Nightmare looked up at his kids when they approached. He frowned when Cross was carrying Dust and he could hear the small sobs.

He turned around and gently took Dust into his arms, hugging him softly while hushing him.

 

Cross handed Dust over carefully before hugging Nightmare gently.

 

"I-" Dust sobs. "I didn't think he would d- do that."

 

Cross frowned. He really wanted to comfort Dust but he was much too short.

 

"You don't need to worry about that anymore." Nightmare assured. "They don't deserve you."

"But..." Dust sniffed softly.

"Hey, let's clean this up and put it all in my car?" Nightmare suggested. "We can put everything in the spare room when we get home."

 

Cross started picking up Dust's clothes, noticing that most of them were too small to fit Dust properly.

 

Dust wiped away his tears and nodded.

Nightmare placed him down and helped pick up the stuff off the ground.

Dust kneeled down and picked up his picture frames and papers.

 

Cross collected Dust's books, putting them into his bag.

 

Dust picked up some more papers and figurines he'd collected/made when his parents hadn't allowed him to buy toys. He put them all in his bag.

Nightmare picked up some books and clothes, holding them close as he stood up. "I think we have everything. Maybe we need to get a box to collect the rest of the clothes, bedsheets, pillow cases and blankets."

Dust nodded. He didn't have much stuff to begin with.

 

Cross stood up and put his bag on again, holding Dust's clothes close.

 

Nightmare walked towards his car. His kids following behind him.

He looked down in thought. Kids. He'd have two kids by the end of next week. Cross and Dust. He'd never thought of getting kids before, let alone two. But... he didn't regret it.

Nightmare smiled to himself. He didn't regret taking both of them in. He'd struggle, a lot, but he wouldn't give up on them. They needed him. And he'd give them the love and care they deserved.

 

Cross stood in front of the trunk, waiting for Nightmare to unlock the car.

 

Nightmare pulled out his keys and unlocked the car. He went to the trunk to unlock it and pull it open. He put the stuff inside before turning away. "I'll go get the rest. You can continue with that okay?"

Dust nodded and began placing his bag full of items into the trunk, unconsciously cleaning and organizing it to make it more spacious and clean.

 

"Okay." Cross agreed, putting Dust's clothes onto the pile of clothes and his bag next to Dust's.

 

Dust helped Cross organize the stuff inside the trunk as they waited for Nightmare.

The math teacher came a moment later with his arms full of folded fabrics like blankets and pillow cases. He looked at them in surprise before smiling softly, but he was worried.

He threw that to the side for a moment as he walked closer and placed the folded items inside.

He closed the trunk before going towards the driver's seat and starting the car.  "Go inside the car kids. I'll go in later after I grab some paperwork."

 

Cross smiled slightly as Nightmare approached.

He nodded and got into the middle backseat to be able to comfort Dust. He was sure Dust needed it after that fiasco.

 

Dust got into the back seat with Cross. He sat down on the seat and wiped away his tears, his Soul hurting after what had happened.

 

Cross hugged Dust gently, nuzzling him softly.

"Do you maybe want to play something?" He asked quietly.

 

Dust leaned into Cross as he wiped his tears. He shook his skull. "No. I don't feel like playing."

 

"That's okay." Cross murmured softly as he held Dust close.

 

Dust buried his face into Cross' jacket to hide. He didn't want to face anyone or anything. He just wanted to be alone for now.

 

"Shh..." Cross mumbled softly, rubbing Dust's skull gently as he held him close.

 

Dust sniffed and closed his eyes. He hated them. He hated how his eyes looked. If he was normal, maybe his parents wouldn't abandon him like that.

 

Cross rubbed Dust's back soothingly, trying to provide some comfort.

 

A few minutes later, Nightmare opened the car door and placed his papers on the passenger seat since the kids were in the back seats. He got into the car and closed the door.

"Are you doing okay?" he asked tentatively at them as he turned his skull.

 

Cross carefully used one hand to buckle Dust and himself up, still holding the shorter close.

 

Dust shook his skull. "No. C-can we just go home? Please?"

Nightmare nodded. "Of course. We'll go straight home."

 

Cross cuddled Dust gently, nuzzling him softly.

 

Dust curled up as much as he could into Cross as Nightmare drove the car. It was a silent ride, only when Nightmare turned on the radio softly did the car feel less silent.

 

Cross relaxed slightly when Nightmare turned on the radio. It always had a calming effect on him.

He hugged Dust, rubbing his skull gently.

 

Dust tried to focus on the music and the car moving. It was better than his own thoughts. He relaxed slightly when Cross rubbed his skull. It was... better. It still hurt but he felt... better.

 

Cross nuzzled Dust gently. He hoped that he was helping him a bit.

 

Dust relaxed under the gentle attention. Soon he began dozing off until he fell asleep, leaning onto Cross.

 

Cross held Dust close, cuddling him gently as he noticed that he was falling asleep.

 

Nightmare turned his skull to look at his boys. He sighed softly. He doubted this would go well with Dust's mental health.

He turned back towards the road. "Hey, Cross?"

 

Cross looked up, still cuddling Dust close.

"Yeah, dad?" He asked softly, not wanting to wake up Dust.

 

"You... you wouldn't mind if you met Dream every week, would you?" Nightmare asked softly, gripping the steering wheel. "I know I shouldn't ask but... Dream has a degree for a psychologist. He's a therapist. And... well, if you're okay with it."

 

Cross tilted his head slightly as he thought about it. Dream was pretty nice and he knew he wasn't exactly normal.

"Could he help me get rid of my night terrors?" He asked softly.

 

"That... I'm not sure." Nightmare admitted. "He helps as much as he can. I can't promise anything but hopefully, if you want to, then maybe he'll help you get better. But not at school. At home. Since... you know."

 

Cross hummed in thought. If it could help him get better then it would be worth a shot. It would be helpful just to get rid of those weird hallucinations he seemed to have sometimes.

"Okay..." He replied quietly.

 

Nightmare smiled happily. "I'll talk with my brother if he could spare some of his time. Maybe... maybe he can help Dust too. But... later. Not now. It's too soon."

 

Cross nodded slightly, cuddling Dust close.

"Okay.." He mumbled softly.

 

Nightmare felt relieved but... he still felt wrong.

"I... I'm sorry." he apologized. "I'm sorry for what happened to you and Dust."

 

"It's not your fault." Cross replied quietly, nuzzling Dust softly.

"You helped us out of bad situations and we're really thankful for that."

 

"Still..." Nightmare said softly as he looked down, still keeping an eye on the road. "I wish those things never happened to you two. You don't deserve it."

"And... I doubted both of you wanted to be with me if you had never gotten into those situations in the first place."

 

"Don't be ridiculous. You're the best dad I could wish for." Cross explained. Even if he had only been in the orphanage without any bad things he would have still been happy to have Nightmare as his dad.

 

".... But still," Nightmare felt a tear slip down his face. Not that they could see. "The situation was desperate. I just.... I wished you had a better life. You and Dust. Not.... here."

 

Cross smiled sadly.

"Positive thing is, it can only get better now..." Cross mumbled softly.

 

"I hope so." Nightmare sighed softly and wiped away his tears discretely. He doubted he could help them with his own problems but... he'd try. They deserved it.

 

"We got you now." Cross replied, cuddling into Dust slightly. Everything could only get better when they got someone as awesome as Nightmare watching over them.

 

Nightmare was silent for a moment before chuckling softly. "You put so much hope in me."

 

"Of course." Cross replied with a small smile. "We trust you." He explained.

 

"I hope I deserve your trust." Nightmare said softly. "I'm not a perfect candidate to be a parent. Trust me on that."

 

"You did great up until now." Cross replied, smiling slightly. Nightmare had been so kind to them. How could he think he was not the perfect candidate?

 

"All I did was protect you and comfort you." Nightmare pointed out. "I'm not a great father. I have too many problems of my own that I still can't deal with. I'll mess up, Cross, I know this. I mean, I'm telling you all this when I shouldn't. Is that what a father should do?"

 

"I think it's really smart of you to tell me that. Because you're telling me the truth and I think that's important." Cross explained.

 

Nightmare was stunned at Cross' words. Smart? Telling things that adults shouldn't tell to a child was smart?

"But... you shouldn't know any of this. In retrospect, maybe I should have just kept this to myself." he said mostly to himself.

 

"No. I'd rather have you tell me things like that." Cross replied. It would be easier to help his dad that way.

 

"... If you say so Cross." Nightmare said. "I should not be your father. Protector is... a much better title since I'm not fit to be the former."

 

"I'm gonna call you dad cause you're wrong. You're my dad and you're the best person I could imagine for being my dad." Cross replied, sounding a small bit upset as he cuddled Dust close.

 

Dust shifted sleepily into Cross when he was pulled closer.

Nightmare was silent for a moment. He smiled slightly. "Okay Cross. I'll... try my best to deserve the title you see me as."

 

Cross rubbed Dust's skull gently.

"Good." Cross replied, smiling slightly.

 

Dust leaned into the touch before falling back to sleep.

Nightmare sighed silently. How could Cross put so much trust in him? He didn't deserve it. He was not fit to be a father.

Besides, he'd be dead by his own hands if it wasn't for Dream's help.

 

Cross nuzzled Dust gently, cuddling him. Dust needed some rest.

 

After a few minutes, Nightmare parked the car in front of their house. He stopped the car and turned towards his kids. "Okay, let's get out and unpack okay?"

 

Cross nodded in response, using one hand to unbuckle their seatbelts carefully. He hugged Dust close and picked him up, carefully getting out of the car.

 

Nightmare got out of the car and looked at Cross and Dust. He frowned slightly.

"How.... how light is he?" he asked.

 

"A bit more than half my weight?" Cross asked more than responded because he wasn't really sure. It was definitely worrying though, making him frown.

 

"And you can carry him without difficulty?" Nightmare asked as walked towards the back he opened the trunk.

 

"Yeah." Cross replied, walking after Nightmare as he rubbed Dust's skull gently.

 

Nightmare hummed lowly in thought. That was very concerning. Cross himself wasn't that strong. So if he could carry Dust- who was only at least a year younger than him- then that was very concerning.

 

Cross frowned slightly as he nuzzled Dust.

 

Nightmare grabbed as much as he could from the trunk. "I made a doctor's appointment for you and Dust next week on Thursday. We'll need to check your physical health, something I had admittedly forgotten to do until Dream pointed it out." Nightmare admittedly sheepishly.

 

Cross flinched slightly. He didn't like doctors.

"O-okay..." He mumbled quietly.

 

Nightmare looked at Cross worriedly as he opened the door. "It's nothing to be worried about. The doctor is a trusted friend of mine. Besides, I'll be with you the whole time to make sure nothing goes wrong."

 

"Okay..." Cross mumbled quietly as he followed Nightmare. He hoped the doctor was nice.

 

Nightmare placed the items on the floor before turning around to get the rest. "Go and rest first Cross. I'll call you when I finish making dinner and we can get started on your homework."

 

"Okay." Cross responded and walked inside. He kicked off his shoes and carefully manoeuvred Dust to take off his shoes too.

He didn't really want to leave Dust alone. He carried him to his room and laid him down on the bed, climbing in next to him and hugging him gently.

 

Dust didn't stir the whole time he was carried and moved. Only sleeping and leaning into Cross' touch.

 

Cross hummed softly as he cuddled Dust close and put the blanket over them both.

 

Dust curled up into Cross, feeling something over him and relaxing into the warmth.

 

Cross closed his eye sockets as he held Dust close, slowly drifting off.

Chapter Text

Cross smiled as he told Dust and Killer a joke, not noticing the person standing in the otherwise empty hallway.

 

Killer laughed while Dust chuckled softly at the joke. Cross was pretty funny when he wanted to.

XGaster looked over and smirked when he saw his favorite student coming closer. He looked around the empty hallway. Perfect.

 

Cross smiled happily. He should try to tell more jokes. It suited Dust a lot better to laugh.

He looked up and froze completely in his steps, his eye lights shrinking in fear.

 

Killer paused when he noticed how scared Cross looked. "What's wrong?"

Dust looked up and saw a very tall skeleton. He knew him. That was XGaster. He was supposed to be the new maths teacher but because Nightmare had refused, he was just a substitute teacher.

XGaster smiled down at Cross. "Don't you have to go to class?"

 

Cross breathed deeply, forcing down his panic but Killer replied before he could say anything.

"We were on our way there." Killer responded, trying not to get angry. This person's presence alone was making his friend so scared...

 

Dust nodded in agreement but even he was wary of XGaster.

XGaster ignored the other two and focused on Cross. "I believe you have class with Mr. Nightmare later correct?"

 

Cross nodded slightly. What was XGaster hoping to achieve from that conversation?

Killer tried to ignore the fact that he was being ignored.

 

"I believe he told me he was going to do a math test today." XGaster said with a smirk. "A very difficult math test."

 

Cross' eye lights vanished. Difficult? He couldn't do difficult. There was no way he'd pass! Nightmare was going to hate him when he failed to pass, he just knew it.

Killer frowned worriedly as he watched Cross closely. Why was he reacting so badly? Had it been something XGaster had said?

"Leave him alone!" Killer hissed.

 

Dust looked at Cross worriedly and walked closer to him. What was happening to him? "Cross? Cross??"

XGaster smirked. "Do you think you're smart enough to pass his test? Or are you just as stupid as you were before? Nightmare puts too much trust in someone like you."

 

Cross flinched back, his senses completely narrowed down to XGaster.

He was too stupid to pass the test. He'd disappoint Nightmare and then he'd get taken back to the orphanage. He felt tears collect in his eye sockets.

Killer took Cross' arm.

"We're leaving." He announced.

 

Dust nodded and quickly followed them.

XGaster frowned at their retreating forms. "Well, aren't you rude. Didn't your parents ever teach you manners?"

 

Cross flinched harshly, tears dripping down his face. He didn't resist as he was dragged away.

"Guess you didn't learn any manners either." Killer growled. "Go pick on someone your size."

 

"You mean someone who has the ego as tall as me?" XGaster said. "Because you seem very rude for a small child."

 

Killer only growled angrily in response, gently taking Cross with him. He walked towards Nightmare's office.

 

XGaster huffed before walking away. He'd get another chance.

Dust walked close to them but he didn't dare speak. Killer looked so angry. He didn't want to bother him. But he was worried for Cross. What had happened earlier? Why did he look so upset?

 

"That person abused Cross." Killer explained, trying to reign in his anger.

Cross started sobbing quietly, trying to cover his face with his free hand as he followed Killer.

 

"A-abused?" Dust asked horrified. "A-are you sure?"

 

Killer nodded.

"I'm pretty sure he used some kind of trigger to make Cross break down like that..." He said, sighing in relief when they finally reached Nightmare's office. He knocked on the door loudly, accidentally leaving a dent in the door.

He turned to Cross and hugged him gently.

Cross flinched slightly at first before relaxing a bit as he held onto Killer.

 

Nightmare opened the door a second later with a frown. "Killer, what did I say about knocking so ha-"

His words stopped when he saw Cross. He kneeled down in front of them in worry. "What happened?"

 

"Sorry." Killer replied, looking up at Nightmare worriedly. "XGaster triggered him." He explained.

Cross clung to Killer as he sobbed quietly. He was going to fail that test.

 

Nightmare frowned and looked at Cross. "Cross? Cross, can you hear me?"

Dust stayed back, staring at the elder in worry. He didn't know what to do.

 

Cross didn't respond, stuck in his mind.

"He was talking about a test you were doing..." Killer explained quietly as he held Cross close.

Cross flinched slightly at the mention of the test.

 

"What test?" Nightmare asked and touched Cross' skull. "Cross? What's wrong? Please tell me."

 

"You're not doing a test?" Killer asked. Had that just been a lie?

Cross flinched slightly as Nightmare touched his skull but didn't respond at all.

 

Nightmare shook his skull. "I'm not. Just a simple exercise today. Cross? Cross please talk to me."

 

"N-no.. test...?" Cross asked shakily, his voice extremely quiet as he stared up at Nightmare with empty eye sockets.

 

Nightmare shook his skull reassuringly. "No tests. Cross, please. Don't be scared."

 

Cross sobbed quietly, squeezing his eye sockets shut tightly as he hugged Killer.

He wouldn't disappoint Nightmare.

 

Nightmare pulled away from Cross looking hurt but understanding. Killer was probably the best comfort Cross could have right now. But it still hurt.

"Do you feel well enough to go to class?" Nightmare asked them.

 

Cross' breathing hitched when Nightmare pulled away. He reached out for him, looking up with dim eye lights.

Killer nodded slightly. He'd probably break his pencil though.

 

Nightmare paused before smiling softly. He gently took Cross into his arms and pulled him close, rubbing his skull slowly.

Dust nodded. "I- I should probably get to class too."

 

Cross closed his eye sockets as he clung to Nightmare tightly, his whole body shaking a bit.

Killer offered his hand to Dust. He'd accompany him to class. He didn't want to take any chances.

 

Nightmare stood up while holding Cross close, staring down at the other two. "Thank you. Tell your teacher you were with me if they ask why you were late."

Dust took Killer's hand with a grateful smile. He looked up at Nightmare and nodded. That saved him detention.

 

"Thanks." Killer replied with a small smile.

Cross sniffled quietly as he closed his eye sockets.

 

Dust nodded and began walking to class, pulling Killer with him. Cross needed to be alone with Nightmare.

Nightmare pulled Cross close and hushed him softly as he walked into his office.

 

Killer walked after Dust. He hoped Cross would be okay. But he was with Nightmare so he'd most likely would be okay.

Cross calmed down a small bit as he held onto Nightmare.

 

Nightmare sat down on the couch and held Cross close, comforting him as much as he could.

 

Cross shivered a small bit as he slowly calmed down, wiping his tears away.

 

Nightmare rubbed Cross' back slowly. "You okay now?"

 

Cross sniffled softly, shaking his head slightly.

"I.. I feel better... but I don't think okay..." He mumbled quietly.

 

Nightmare nodded and pulled Cross closer. He rubbed Cross' skull and back slowly to comfort him. "Okay. I'll tell your teacher that you can't go to class today."

 

Cross wanted to protest but he felt too exhausted to do so. He nodded slightly, cuddling into Nightmare a bit.

He felt so tired...

 

Nightmare frowned in worry as he let Cross rest. He'd get in trouble with the other teachers for sure. But he'd find a way to placate them. Besides, Cross was more important.

He couldn't help but worry. XGaster clearly knew what he was doing to Cross. He'd purposely said those words. Which only solidified his worry that XGaster was still targeting Cross.

He'd try his best to protect Cross. If not, the others would. He couldn't let XGaster hurt Cross again.

 

Cross closed his eye sockets as he cuddled into Nightmare a bit. He was so tired...

He fell asleep after a bit, the close proximity to Nightmare calming him.

 

Nightmare looked down at Cross when he noticed that the latter had stopped moving. He sighed softly. Whatever happened must have taken a harsh toll on Cross.

He looked at the time. Hopefully he'd feel better when class started in half an hour. For now, Nightmare would let him rest.

 

~~~

 

Cross stirred slightly when he heard someone calling his name. Was it time to wake up?

 

Nightmare shook Cross gently. Class would start soon and he couldn't have Cross tardy his records. "Cross? Cross...? It's time to wake up. Class starts in five minutes."

 

Cross looked up, his eye lights a bit hazy.

"Class...?" He asked softly. Which class? Weren't they at home?

He looked around a bit. They were in Nightmare's office. He'd fallen asleep.

 

Nightmare smiled fondly down at Cross. "We have my class next remember? You feel okay now?"

 

"Right." Cross mumbled sleepily.

"I feel fine." He responded softly.

 

"Are you sure?" Nightmare asked in concern.

 

Cross nodded.

"A bit tired but I'm okay." He mumbled softly as he cuddled into Nightmare a bit.

 

Nightmare smiled happily. He rubbed the top of Cross' skull slowly.  "That's good. Now, get up. We're gonna be late."

 

Cross nodded and stood up, blinking sleepily. He rubbed his eye sockets slightly before he looked for his bag.

 

Nightmare sat up, stretching a bit to get rid of the soreness from sitting for a long period of time.

He pointed towards the end of the couch where Cross' bag was. "There."

 

"Thanks..." Cross mumbled softly, taking his bag and putting it on. He yawned quietly.

 

Nightmare stood up and walked towards his desk, gathering some paper and his bag. He turned towards Cross and smiled slightly.

"Maybe fix your clothes first. You look like you've just woken up." Nightmare said softly.

 

Cross nodded, smiling a small bit as he fixed his clothes as well as he could.

 

Nightmare waited until Cross was finished before walking towards his door and opening it. He waited for Cross to go first.

 

Cross looked up and walked through the door, moving a bit slowly.

 

Nightmare closed the door behind him before walking beside Cross towards his class.

He looked down at the younger. "Sleepy?"

 

Cross nodded slightly.

"Yeah. I'll try my best to stay awake." He promised softly.

 

Nightmare hummed softly. "Tell you what, if you can stay awake long enough, I'll buy you some chocolate ice cream after school."

 

Cross' eye lights lit up immediately.

"That sounds great!" He replied happily with a small smile.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly. "Dust will have one too. Just to be fair. I wonder what his favorite flavor is?" he wondered aloud.

 

"We should ask him later." Cross replied, slightly excited. Ice cream was awesome!

 

Nightmare nodded before he looked up at the door. They'd arrived.

He opened the door and noticed that only a few people were inside. He sighed softly. Some of them tended to be so late. He walked inside calmly.

 

Cross smiled slightly when he saw Killer and walked to him, ignoring the whispers of his classmates.

 

Nightmare took his seat at his table and pulled out his papers. The exercises he'd planned for today's class.

Killer tapped his fingers on his table nervously before looking up and smiling happily. He stood up and hugged Cross tightly. "Cross! You okay?! Are you hurt anywhere?! Did he hurt you afterwards??!"

 

Cross smiled as Killer hugged him and hugged back gently.

"I'm fine. I slept for a bit and I'm okay now." He replied quietly.

 

Killer smiled happily and pulled away to sit down. He didn't want to get in trouble for being rambunctious again. "That's good. Hey... you hear the other students whispering lately?" he asked curiously.

 

Cross put his bag onto the table and sat down next to Killer, getting out his things.

"Yeah, I did." He replied. He wondered what they were up to.

 

"I'm... not sure what they're whispering about." Killer admitted softly. "They've been doing that a lot and... I'm kind of worried."

 

Cross looked up and nodded.

"I hope it's nothing bad." He mumbled softly, looking at his classmates. They immediately looked away, continuing their conversations.

 

Killer scoffed. "Like it's ever been good. Still... I hope it's nothing too bad. I wouldn't want you to get hurt."

 

"I don't want you to get hurt either." Cross replied, looking around a bit nervously.

"I really don't like our classmates..." He mumbled softly as he opened his pencil case.

 

Killer smiles slightly. "Yeah. Me neither. But hey, we got your- uh. We got Nightmare to make sure nothing goes out of hand."

 

"Yeah." Cross agreed with a smile. "I'm really glad about that."

He opened his notebook and wrote down the date.

 

Killer smiled at Cross.

"Alright class." Nightmare spoke as he stood up. "Today we'll be doing some simple exercises."

A few students groaned causing Nightmare to smile fondly. "Don't worry, I'll help you along the way."

 

Cross smiled slightly. Simple he could do. He wondered why the others were always so unwilling to do some exercises.

 

Killer gave an annoyed smile. While he could do the exercises, it got kind of boring after a while.

Nevertheless, he got out his book and wrote down the date as Nightmare wrote the questions on the board.

Chapter Text

Cross hummed quietly as he got some books from his locker before closing and locking it. He put his books into his bag and put it on.

 

Dust spotted Cross and smiled "Hey." he called as he walked over to the elder.

 

Cross looked up and smiled as he saw Dust.

"Hi." He replied, happy to see Dust.

 

Dust smiled at Cross. "Cross, what class do you have?"

 

"I got art class now. I think..." Cross hummed. He opened his bag and got out his schedule. He nodded slightly. Art class.

 

Dust noddded. "Cool. I've got science. See you at lunch?"

 

Cross nodded.

"See you at lunch, bro." He replied with a bright smile as he put his schedule back into his bag.

 

Dust blushed at the title before smiling happily at Cross and waving goodbye. "Bye..."

 

"Bye." Cross replied with a small wave and a bright smile.

 

Dust smiled brightly and walked away for his class. Now, don't get him wrong. He didn't hate the class. It was just that the teacher who taught him was.... odd.

 

Cross closed his bag and headed for the art room, thinking about what he wanted to draw. He liked drawing.

 

~~~

 

Cross carefully drew some lines on a piece of paper, trying to sketch his dad. He hummed happily as he was satisfied with it and started drawing a smaller skeleton.

 

Ink was walking around the classroom looking at his students' artwork. Occasionally helping someone with their work or praising them for what they were doing.

 

Cross smiled slightly. It was coming along better than he had anticipated. He used the eraser to erase a small mistake before continuing to concentrate on drawing.

 

Ink was stopped by a few students who wanted to show him their art. One of them was a sketch of a flower. Another was a watercolour forest. And another was an abstract painting. He smiled at them and praised them for doing so well.

 

Cross smiled to himself as he finished drawing Dust, his small hand holding Nightmare's. He started drawing himself.

 

Ink looked around his class and smiled when he saw everyone drawing or painting something. He'd have to grade their art later.

 

Cross hummed softly as he sketched himself, smiling happily when he was done. He got a darker pencil and drew the lines.

 

Ink walked past a student and paused. He looked over curiously when he spotted a familiar person.

"Hey, what are you drawing there?" Ink asked the student.

 

Cross winced slightly, looking up when Ink suddenly talked to him.

"I.. I'm drawing my family.." He replied softly.

 

"Family?" Ink asked curiously and looked at the drawing. "Is that Nightmare?"

 

Cross nodded slightly. His drawing should be good if Mr. Ink could identify Nightmare.

 

Ink smiled brightly. "You must be Cross! Everyone's talking about you."

He looked over and pointed towards a smaller skeleton. "Who's that?"

 

Cross nodded slightly. Everyone was talking about him...? That thought made him a bit nervous.

"T-that's Dust..." He replied quietly.

 

Ink smiled happily. "Is he your brother?" he asked curiously.

Did Nightmare adopt two kids? Well, now that he had solid proof, he could tease the stoic math teacher all he wanted! Finally! He could get back at Nightmare for all the teasing he'd done to Ink!

 

Cross nodded slightly. Nightmare had said he still needed to do some stuff to make it official but Dust was his brother.

 

"That's good." Ink said happily. "Your drawing looks good too. Are you happy being with them?"

 

Cross smiled a small bit. Ink thought that his drawing was good? That made him happy.

He nodded. He was really happy to be with them.

 

Ink smiled down at Cross. "That's good. I hope you'll stay happy Cross." He said before walking away to check on the other students.

 

Cross looked down at his drawing. He hoped so too. And he hoped that Dust would stay happy too.

 

~~~

 

Fresh smiled slightly as he watched his students do the exercises he'd showed them a few minutes before. They were doing really great.

"Good job everyone, five minute break to drink some water!" He announced.

 

Dust almost sagged in relief. While he loved doing the exercises, he had very low stamina and got tired easily. Thankfully he'd get to rest soon. He was starting to get tired.

 

Fresh chuckled softly as he heard some students cheer. He walked over to his water bottle too and took a sip.

 

Dust stopped and panted softly as he tried to catch his breath. A bit of sweat forming on his skull.

He wiped the sweat away as he relaxed. He would get something to drink but he hadn't brought any. So he'd just have to try and get his breathing back to normal.

 

Fresh looked around and saw everyone heading for their bottles but one student. He took one of the extra bottles he always brought in case someone had forgotten theirs and approached the student.

 

Dust wiped his skull free of sweat as he finally got his breathing back to normal. He looked down at his clothes. They were... a bit small but thankfully he was able to fit in them. Despite it being the same shirt he'd worn years ago. He'd... never grown that much over the years.

 

"Dust? Did you forget to bring your water bottle?" Fresh asked. That happened pretty frequently.

 

Dust looked up at the coach in surprise and nodded. That was a lie. He hadn't even brought it. His parents frequently forgot to give him food or water for school. Sometimes even pocket money.

"Y-yeah. Sorry coach." Dust mumbled softly.

 

Fresh rubbed Dust's skull gently and handed him the water bottle.

"You just have to ask, buddy." He reminded him.

 

Dust looked up at Fresh in surprise when his skull was rubbed before taking the bottle. He smiled happily. "Thank you coach!"

 

Fresh smiled.

"No problem." He replied happily.

 

Dust smiled and tried to open the cap. He grunted as he tried to open the bottle but he couldn't open it. He frowned unhappily and huffed. Stars why was he so weak?

 

"Do you need some help?" Fresh asked gently. He couldn't help but notice again that Dust was really small and weak for his age.

 

Dust looked up at Fresh, back down at the bottle before looking up at Fresh again. He nodded shyly and handed him the bottle.

 

Fresh smiled at him and took the bottle, trying to open it. Damn how had he closed it like that? He grunted softly as he tried to open it.

"Gosh, that's shut tightly..." He mumbled to himself. He cheered quietly when he managed to open it and handed the bottle to Dust.

 

Dust took the bottle happily. "Thank you!"

He took a sip of the water, feeling better at the cool liquid down his throat.

 

Fresh smiled slightly.

"No problem." He replied, happy that he could help.

 

Dust smiled as he drank the cool water. Stars that felt so good.

He pulled away after drinking a quarter of the bottle. He handed it to Fresh. "Thank you."

 

Fresh smiled brightly as he took the bottle.

"Just tell me whenever you're thirsty." He reminded him, rubbing his skull gently. Dust really reminded him of his own boy sometimes.

 

Dust leaned into the touch with a small happy hum. Touch felt good, when it was not hurting him that was. "Okay coach." he said softly.

 

Fresh smiled, looking at the clock. Five minutes were over. He put his bottle away.

"Break is over!" He called out.

 

Dust straightened up and ready for the next exercise. A few students groaned but complied.

 

"Watch me and do the same when I give you the signal." Fresh explained. He ran towards a bench, jumped over it and ran to the wall, touching it before running back.

 

Dust felt his face fall slack in shock. He was sure his mouth was open. He couldn't do that!!!

But the other students were cheering and excited to do it.

 

Fresh leaned against a wall, smiling slightly.

"Form a line!" He called out, happy with how fast his students obliged.

 

Dust bit his lower lip and stood at the end of the line, playing with his hands nervously. Stars he couldn't do that. He couldn't.

 

Fresh observed the students, noticing that Dust seemed really nervous.

"Go!" He called, walking towards Dust.

 

The student in front ran speedily towards the bench and jumped over it a bit clumsily before running towards the wall and put a hand on it, pushing themselves off and running back.

 

The other students cheered.

"Everything okay, Dust?" Fresh asked his student he gently.

 

Dust looked up at Fresh nervously. "I- I can't do that." he said weakly. "I'm... I'm small. I can't jump like them. I- I'll fall."

 

Fresh rubbed Dust's skull gently.

"You don't have to do it if you don't think you can do it." He replied softly. He didn't want Dust to get hurt.

 

Dust sighed in relief and leaned into the touch. "Thank you."

Another student ran and did the jump perfectly.

 

Fresh smiled at him.

"You did really great today." He praised softly. Normally Dust would have been completely tired already.

 

Dust looked up in shock and confusion. "But.... I didn't do anything."

 

Fresh smiled.

"Your stamina is higher than normal today." He explained. He wondered why.

 

Dust looked slightly surprised before looking down in thought.

"M-Mr. Nightmare has been feeding me lately." Dust said without telling Fresh that he had been essentially adopted by the math teacher.

 

Fresh frowned slightly.

"You didn't get enough food before?" He asked quietly. He'd have to talk with Nightmare a bit.

 

Dust flinched at Fresh's words. "N-no. I got food." he dismissed softly but weakly.

 

Fresh winced slightly at the reaction.

"Sorry." He apologised. "Nightmare's your dad?" He asked, trying to steer the conversation into a different direction.

 

"I..." Dust stuttered softly before his eyes looked firm. "He will be."

 

Fresh smiled. So Nightmare planned to adopt another kid. He should talk to him later to tell him that he'd help him if he ever needed help.

"That's amazing." He replied, rubbing Dust's skull gently.

 

Dust looked up at Fresh in surprise. "You're... not mad?"

Usually people- kids his age alike- would gasp and say how bad he was for abandoning his own parents like that. That he was a bad kid for doing so. That he was wrong for wanting to be adopted by Nightmare.

 

"Of course not." Fresh replied with a small smile. He wondered who would be mad at Dust for being adopted by Nightmare. He'd tried to talk with Dust a bit about his parents but he hadn't wanted to open up but he knew Dust's parents weren't treating him well.

"I'm happy for you." He added with a smile.

 

Dust smiled brightly at Fresh. "Thank you Mr. Fresh."

 

Fresh smiled back happily, looking up when he noticed that the others were doing their third lap. Woops.

"New exercise!" He called out with a grin. He'd try to do something a bit more easier because his students looked a bit exhausted already.

 

The students paused and looked at Fresh for their new exercise. Some were panting a bit but all in all they were having fun.

 

"Two students get the bench away and we'll play a game." Fresh announced.

"Do you think you can play too?" He asked Dust quietly.

 

Dust looked up at Fresh before nodding. He wanted to try. Even though he knew he wouldn't be able to play because nobody would want to play with him. "I want to play too!"

 

Fresh smiled, rubbing Dust's skull gently. He was glad that Dust had more energy than normally.

 

Dust smiled happily at the touch. Honestly Fresh was like Nightmare with all the touching.

All the students ran around to line up.

 

Fresh told the students to form a line and split them in two groups.

"So... What should we play?" He asked. They only had twenty minutes.

 

Everyone complied to Fresh's orders.

They looked around at each other.

"Dodgeball?" one suggested.

"No! Basketball!" another said.

 

"Let's vote." Fresh decided.

"Who wants dodgeball?" He asked.

 

Half the class raised their hand. Dust didn't.

 

Fresh sighed. He really hoped they'd be able to decide for one game.

"Who wants to play basketball?" He asked.

 

Half the class raised their hand. All except for Dust.

Dust didn't know what to pick. He was terrible at both and never got picked anyway.

 

Fresh sighed. Figures...

"We'll split the room and each game gets half the room." He announced.

 

Everyone cheered happily and dispersed to play their game. All that was left was Dust in the middle.

He looked around before walking towards the basketball group.

 

A kid looked up when Dust approached them, frowning.

"Shit, the freak wants to join us!" They called out loudly.

 

Dust flinched at the scream and steeled his nerves. He'd said he'd try. He'd said he'd at least try.

He smiled at them as he approached but he was nervous. "Hey, can I join you?"

 

"Hell no!" Another kid replied with a frown.

Fresh looked up when he heard an argument and walked over.

 

Dust flinched and looked down. "O-okay then. Um... goodbye."

Dust quickly backed away from them and sighed dejectedly after he was a few feet away from them. He rubbed his eye sockets, hating how they looked.

 

Fresh looked down at Dust sympathetically. He knew what it was like to be judged for your eyes.

"Are you alright?" He asked gently.

 

Dust looked up to see Fresh and forced a small smile. "Yeah. I'm fine coach."

 

Fresh smiled sadly.

"Should I get Nightmare?" He asked softly. He could see that Dust wasn't okay.

 

Dust immediately shook his skull. He didn't want to bother Nightmare with something as small as being rejected.  "No. No it's fine. I can handle it. There's no need to call him."

 

"Okay." Fresh replied, adjusting his shades slightly.

 

Dust smiled up at Fresh before walking towards the other side where everyone was getting ready to play dodgeball. He hoped he'd at least get a chance or even not be turned away so harshly.

 

A student had been watching them and winced slightly when Dust went over to them. They tapped someone on the shoulder and pointed in Dust's direction, whispering something.

 

Oh stars. Dust took a breath to calm himself before continuing to walk towards them. Maybe they were discussing that he should join. Maybe that was it.

Yeah, lie to himself. It was better than facing harsh reality.

 

Fresh watched Dust worriedly.

The student scoffed at Dust.

"Why don't you play basketball?" They asked annoyedly.

 

Dust winced at their harsh question. "I tried. I'm... not very good at it." he said softly, a little lie but somewhat true.

 

"We don't want you on our team." They replied, glaring down at him.

Fresh winced in sympathy.

 

"Oh." Dust said softly before nodding. "Okay. Have fun playing your game."

He backed away before turning around and walking fully towards the end of the field, where he admittedly spent most of his time during Fresh's class.

 

Fresh glanced at the two games going on. They seemed to be alright on their own. He walked to Dust.

 

Dust sat down and sighed softly, playing with his hands as his mind went away to daydream or think. What else could he do? It was better than being hated for forcing himself to join.

 

"They're still bullying you because of your eyes, huh?" Fresh hummed as he sat down next to Dust.

 

Dust looked up at Fresh in surprise. He looked down to hide his eyes. "You knew..?"

 

Fresh hummed in agreement.

"Don't listen to them. Your eyes are special. They're just jealous." He murmured softly.

"That's what your dad said to me when I showed him my eyes." He added quietly.

 

Dust looked up at Fresh in shock. His eyes were... beautiful? Jealous?

"Who's.... who's your dad?" Dust asked softly before he added quickly. "If you don't mind."

 

Fresh looked down. His dad had died a few years ago.

"He died a few years ago." He replied quietly.

 

"Oh." Dust said softly. "I'm so sorry for asking."

 

"It's okay." Fresh hummed. "Just remember, your eyes are awesome, kid."

 

Dust smiled up at Fresh. He didn't believe it, but it was nice to hear it from someone. Maybe one day he'd truly believe it. "Thank you coach."

 

Fresh smiled slightly. He hoped he wouldn't regret what he was about to do.

He took off his shades and put them into his pocket as he watched the students.

 

Dust looked up and gasped at the sight. Fresh's eyes.... they were beautiful. One of his eyelights was an upside-down heart. Both eye sockets burning a soft lavender like an ember.

"Woah..." Dust said softly in awe.

 

"That was my exact reaction to your eyes." Fresh explained softly.

 

"Huh?" Dust voiced out in confusion. "But- but your eyes are much better than mine! They sparkle and flame up!"

 

"And almost everyone is scared of them." Fresh added, getting out his shades to cover them again.

 

Dust frowned angrily. "That's not fair. Your eyes look amazing! They're jealous they don't have eyes as beautiful as yours!"

 

Fresh chuckled slightly as he covered his eyes.

"The only opinions you should take seriously is from the people you trust." He explained.

"So... thank you."

 

Dust blinked up at Fresh confused. "You... trust me?"

 

"Yeah." Fresh replied with a small smile. He trusted Dust.

 

Dust smiled brightly. "Thank you. For trusting me."

 

Fresh smiled back happily. He looked at the clock reflexively, noticing that there were only five minutes left for them to change their clothes before the bell rang. He stood up, holding his hand out to Dust.

 

Dust looked up at Fresh before taking his hand slowly, letting the elder pull him up to his feet.

 

Fresh smiled slightly as he helped Dust up. He took a step away from him before addressing the class and telling them that they should go change their clothes. He made the students who had bullied Dust clean up.

 

Dust watched as Fresh gave our orders. He noticed that Fresh was giving all the hard work of cleaning up to the people who had yelled at him.

"You don't have to do that." Dust said softly to Fresh. "They didn't hurt me."

 

"Maybe not physically but still." Fresh replied, rubbing Dust's skull gently.

 

Dust leaned into the touch with a small hum.

"Tch, teachers pet." one student scoffed while the other snickered. Dust tried to ignore them but eventually pulled away from the touch.

 

Fresh looked up at them.

"I'll censor you." He threatened calmly.

 

The students flinched. "Sorry coach." they said before running off.

Dust smiled slightly at the sight. It was kind of funny.

 

Fresh smirked slightly. That always worked.

 

Dust looked up at Fresh. "Thank you coach. I'll see you next class!" he said before running off to change.

 

"Have a nice day, kid!" Fresh replied, smiling brightly as he followed the students. He had lunch so he needed to change his clothes too.

 

Dust waved at Fresh as he ran, a happy smile on his face. That was quite fun, even without actually playing. He loved talking to Fresh.

He shook his skull to get rid of those thoughts. He needed to change before his next class starts.

 

~~~

 

Nightmare sat down in his seat at a table in the teachers eating lounge. He pulled out his lunch- a homemade chicken salad wrap- to eat it. Today was a normal day, nothing interesting so far.

 

Fresh brightened up a bit when he saw Nightmare and sat down next to him. He wanted to talk to him about Dust a bit.

 

Nightmare looked over when he felt someone sit next to him. He sighed softly. "Yes Fresh?"

 

"I just wanted to tell you that Dust got bullied in my class. I talked to him a bit and I think he's okay now but you should probably talk to him too." Fresh said quietly.

Ink approached the two.

 

Nightmare tensed when he heard that Dust had been bullied. He sighed softly and nodded. He should probably try and talk to Dust. Though... he was not sure how.

"Thanks Fresh." he said softly before realizing something. "Wait... why'd you come to me instead of Dust's parents?"

 

Fresh looked up at Nightmare.

"Cause you're going to adopt him." Ink butted in. He'd told Fresh earlier after his conversation with Cross.

"I'm really glad about that." Fresh mumbled quietly. "If you ever need help, just tell me."

 

Nightmare turned towards Ink in surprise. He tensed at his words.

"And how'd you know that? I never told anyone." he said slightly defensive in shock. How did people already know he was going to adopt Dust???

 

"Sorry..." Fresh mumbled quietly, taking a sip of his milk.

"Cross told me!" Ink replied with a smile.

 

Nightmare sighed softly. "Of course."

He turned towards Fresh. "Don't be sorry. I was just surprised you knew. I never told anyone."

 

"Okay.." Fresh replied softly.

Ink smiled brightly as he thought about the drawing Cross had made for Nightmare.

 

Nightmare looked at Fresh for a moment before taking a bite of his food.

"So," he said after swallowing. "Anything else you want to share?"

 

"Um.. Dust is really self-conscious about his eyes... but I think you know that already..." Fresh replied softly. "And like I said, if you need any help, you can ask me."

 

Nightmare nodded in understanding, taking another bite of his wrap and swallowing after a moment of chewing.

"Thank you for the offer Fresh." he said softly. "I'll be sure to take you up on that."

 

Fresh nodded with a small smile before he refocused on his food.

 

Nightmare ate his food silently, wondering how his boys were doing. Hopefully Dust was doing well after the bullying Fresh mentioned. And Ink had said Cross told him? He wondered how that was brought up. Cross wasn't the type to outwardly say things about his personal life.

 

Ink sat down at the table and got out his lunch, starting to eat.

 

Nightmare ate silently until he finished his wrap. He looked at the time. Still fifteen minutes before class started. Plenty of time. To do what? He was not sure yet. He couldn't bother his kids while they were eating. They needed their space. Besides, if they were in trouble, they'd know where to find him.

 

XGaster walked into the teachers lounge and looked around. It was a lot more spacious than his former classroom. But better. The school was really advanced.

 

Fresh looked up when someone walked in. Oh stars, it was the new teacher. He quickly looked back at his food. He didn't like the new teacher. He didn't like new people in general but he disliked this teacher's aura.

Ink looked up, noticing the new teacher. He waved at him with a smile. 

 

Nightmare looked up and his hands immediately clenched into fists when he saw XGaster. He really wanted to punch that monster in the face but he couldn't risk it. He'd go to jail and he couldn't do that to Cross and Dust.

XGaster looked at the table where Nightmare was and grinned. He waved back politely at a teacher and walked closer. "Pleasure to meet you again Professor Nightmare."

"No one calls me that." Nightmare said while looking up at XGaster.

 

Ink smiled happily when the teacher waved back.

Fresh winced slightly as the new teacher approached them.

 

"Oh?" XGaster raised a curious brow. "Didn't you earn that title? Why won't you use it?"

"One, because it sounds tacky and arrogant. Two, it scares the students." Nightmare said towards XGaster, his arm going behind Fresh to rub his back comfortingly.

XGaster frowned. "I see." he turned towards a teacher with one star eye.  "And who are you?"

 

Fresh relaxed slightly when Nightmare rubbed his back. It was really calming. He concentrated on his food, trying to ignore the new teacher.

Ink smiled brightly.

"I'm Ink." He introduced himself.

 

XGaster smiled kindly and offered a hand out to shake. "XGaster, the substitute math teacher. And you are...?"

 

Ink took his hand and shook it with a bright smile.

Fresh flinched slightly when he was addressed.

"That's Fresh. He's kinda shy around strangers." Ink explained.

 

XGaster nodded. "Hello there." he said politely at Fresh.

 

Fresh shivered slightly. He hoped that teacher would just go away. He sounded weirdly fake too.

Ink frowned slightly. No greeting? Normally Fresh managed a small hi.

 

Nightmare frowned at the taller. "I believe it's time for you to leave us alone to eat in peace. You must have your own lunch?"

XGaster stared at Nightmare for a moment before smiling. "Ah yes. I should be leaving. Thank you for your company. "

"Likewise."

 

Fresh closed his eye sockets tightly. Why couldn't he just leave?

Ink waved at him with a bright smile.

 

XGaster left without another word while Nightmare glared at him hatefully. He slowly rubbed Fresh's back to calm him down.

 

"Thanks..." Fresh mumbled quietly, his voice trembling a bit as he took deep breaths. He could deal with new students no problem but new teachers always put him on edge.

"I don't like that guy..." He mumbled.

 

"Me neither." Nightmare said with a frown before looking at Fresh in concern. "Are you okay?"

 

Fresh nodded slightly.

"I'm... I think I'm fine..." He mumbled softly, breathing deeply to try and stop shivering.

"What happened? You're not like that normally?" Ink asked.

 

Nightmare frowned at Ink. "You don't feel that something's wrong with XGaster? Not even a little?"

 

Fresh closed his eye sockets and took off his glasses for a second to wipe away some tears.

"No?" Ink asked more than replied. "His aura was a bit off but otherwise..."

 

Nightmare frowned and looked at XGaster from across the room. He looked back at his table.

"I don't like him." he said. For obvious reasons. But he wouldn't embarrass Cross like that.

 

Ink hummed thoughtfully. Nightmare and Fresh both had a good judgement of character.

Fresh put his shades back on, taking a sip of his milk.

 

Nightmare looked at Fresh in concern. "If you need any help, you can call me. I don't want you to be hurt. Especially from an unknown."

 

Fresh nodded slightly.

"Thanks..." He mumbled quietly. He wondered if he would be able to teach in his condition.

 

Nightmare looked at Fresh with concern. "Do you need anything Fresh?"

 

"Just like... no social interactions with that teacher ever again..." Fresh mumbled softly as he stared at the table.

 

"I can't promise you that." Nightmare sighed while shaking his skull. "But.... I'll try to make sure he doesn't bother you. Come to me if he tries to mess with you."

But he honestly doubted it. XGaster had never made a move to anyone except Cross. Hopefully no one would get hurt.

 

Fresh nodded.

"I'll tell you if he tries anything..." He mumbled softly. The aura he had felt from that teacher had been malicious.

 

Nightmare nodded with a small grateful smile. "Thank you Fresh."

 

Fresh smiled slightly as he stared down at his food. He hadn't eaten much yet. He started eating again, trying to distract himself from his rapidly pounding Soul.

 

~~~

 

Cross hummed happily as he got out his folder and searched for the drawing he had made for Nightmare.

 

Nightmare was busy cutting the vegetables for the stir fry while the marinated chicken laid beside him on a plate to cook.

 

Cross smiled when he found the drawing. He'd coloured it and tried to shade it a bit. He put it on Nightmare's place at the table.

 

Nightmare poured a little bit of oil in the pan as he heated it up. He washed the vegetables to fry them. "So how was your day?" he asked the duo.

 

"Pretty good actually." Cross replied with a smile. He hadn't gotten bullied and he'd drawn something.

 

Nightmare nodded with a small smile. "And you Dust?"

 

"I got bullied in P.E. but Coach Fresh was really nice." Dust explained.

 

Nightmare smiled happily, already knowing that. "That's good. I'm glad he's nice to you."

 

Dust nodded happily.

"I got a surprise for you, dad!" Cross cheered happily.

 

"Oh?" Nightmare said with a small smile, happy to be called that name. "What is it son?"

 

Cross smiled brightly as Nightmare called him his son. He pointed at the picture happily, excited how his dad would react.

 

Nightmare looked over at the table as he poured in the vegetables and his eye widened in shock. He wiped off his wet hands on his apron and picked up the artwork.

He smiled happily, his eye shining brightly in joy. He looked at Cross with a look of awe and love. "Thank you Cross. This means a lot."

 

Cross smiled brightly, feeling his very Soul hum with happiness.

"I made it in art class." He explained happily.

 

Nightmare smiled and turned around to fry the vegetables with one hand. "It's very pretty Cross. Thank you."

 

Cross smiled happily.

Dust peered at the drawing, gasping softly. Cross had drawn him too! He smiled brightly.

 

Nightmare handed Cross the paper. He needed to cook but he had a happy smile on his face.  "Go place it on the fridge."

 

Cross smiled happily and walked to the fridge, using two magnets to put his drawing on it.

 

Nightmare put a few spices into the stir fry to add the flavor. He really liked that Cross saw them as a family. Even adding Dust into the picture. It really meant a lot to him.

 

Dust stood up and went to Cross, hugging him.

 

Nightmare turned his skull towards his boys and smiled happily at the sight. He was glad Dust was happy too.

 

Cross smiled happily as he hugged Dust back, cuddling him close.

Chapter Text

Nightmare looked at the two monsters in front of him with a passive look. They'd gotten through the trial to fight for Dust's custody, it hadn't even been a fight since they'd given Dust to him willingly. Now all that was left was the paperwork laid out in front of them in a neat pile.

"I'm going to need you to sign here, here, here and here for each paper." the lawyer said pointing at the dotted lines on the paperwork.

 

Dust's former caretakers looked annoyed that they had to do that much work but seemed glad to finally give Dust away.

 

Nightmare watched as they wrote down their signatures. They looked so happy to finally be rid of Dust. He wanted to know why.

"So, is there a reason you want to give him away to a complete stranger?" he asked nonchalantly.

 

"Because we don't want him." Dust's former female caretaker replied.

 

"Any reason for that?" Nightmare asked again.

 

"His eyes." Dust's former male caretaker replied, shuddering a bit. Dust's eyes were creepy.

 

"And....?" Nightmare prompted with a raised brow.

 

"He's creepy, he's not able to make friends and he stares at us all the time." She replied, frowning.

 

"Maybe because you figuratively cut out his tongue?" Nightmare snapped softly at them while he took the finished paperwork to sign. "He gets bullied by other kids for the same reason you are giving him away."

 

She shrugged.

"Well, that's your problem now." She explained.

 

Nightmare sighed softly at her words. He signed the papers with an indifferent look on his face. "Yes he is. But I think I'm lucky for that."

 

"You'll give up soon enough." He said, taking his wife's hand.

 

"Actually no." Nightmare said before looking up at them. "Because I want to actually be a good parent to him. A good parent will never give up on his kids. No matter what. They are supposed to support them, not shun them out."

Nightmare finished the paperwork before standing up, looking at the former caretakers with one glowing eye. "You can have as many kids as you want. But if you keep giving up on them, you'll never find what you're looking for. That being said, I wish you both luck."

 

They frowned at Nightmare.

"It's you who's gonna need the luck." She replied as they both left.

 

Nightmare watched them leave silently, waiting until they left the room.

"We'll see about that." he said to himself before straightening up. He walked towards another door where his new official child was waiting for him with Cross.

 

Cross hugged Dust gently. He really hated Dust's parents. They had been such... assholes.

 

Dust leaned into the hug, trying to fight back tears. He shouldn't feel sad but... he did. It hurt so much which he knew he shouldn't feel.

Nightmare walked into the room his kids were waiting in and smiled at them when he spotted them on the bench.

 

Cross held Dust gently. He looked up when Nightmare entered, smiling sadly. He was glad that it was finally over.

"Dad's here, bro." He mumbled softly.

 

Dust looked up when Cross spoke and smiled up at Nightmare, though it had a sad undertone to it.

Nightmare smiled back and sat down beside them. He wrapped his arms around his kids, pulling them close. "It's done. You are officially my son."

 

Cross smiled slightly as Nightmare hugged them.

"And officially my brother." He added, nuzzling Dust gently.

 

Dust's smile grew more joyful at the names he was called with. He looked up at Nightmare "Thanks. For adopting me."

"Of course." Nightmare smiled down at his son. "I wouldn't let you live like that if I could."

 

Cross smiled brightly as he cuddled his dad and brother close. He was really happy.

 

Dust smiled up at Nightmare before looking down sadly. "You didn't have to bother taking me in."

"Hey, don't start that." Nightmare scolded softly. "I wanted to take you in and I did. That's in the past now. Now we focus on today and the future. Okay?"

Dust looked up at Nightmare in surprise before smiling. "Okay.... dad."

 

Cross smiled brightly. He was so glad he had talked to Dust at that indoor playground.

 

Nightmare smiled happily down at Dust and gently rubbed his skull. "Now, let's go home. I've had enough legal talk to last a year."

Dust chuckled softly and leaned into the touch. "Okay." he agreed. He was tired too.

 

Cross beamed happily. Maybe they could watch a movie? That'd be nice. But it was Dust's call.

 

Nightmare stood up and stretched, feeling his bones pop back into place. Stars he was sore from sitting all day.

He turned towards his kids. "Any plans at home?"

Dust shrugged. He didn't know what to do. He looked at Cross for help.

 

"We could watch a movie?" Cross suggested softly, looking at Dust to see whether he wanted to.

 

Dust smiled happily. "A movie sounds nice. I really like watching movies."

Mostly because his former caretakers hadn't allowed him to watch movies.

Nightmare nodded. "Movies it is." he said and gently took his sons hands to walk out of the building.

 

Cross smiled brightly. He'd never gotten to watch many movies before Nightmare had adopted him. He stood up and followed his dad happily.

 

Nightmare lead his new family to the car happily. He had two kids now. Two kids to care for and protect.

Well, now he did have his hands full. Both hands.

Chapter Text

Error got out a pen to use for class, sitting a bit in the back but not enough to be noticeably far away from the class.

 

Dust was sitting near the front of the class while the teacher spoke about their lesson. Occasionally writing down notes silently.

 

Error wrote down a few notes on a piece of paper, only a few words to remind him of the lecture.

 

"Alright class." Blue said with a bright smile. "Pair up in twos and we can start a little exercise."

Immediately everyone got up to pair up with their friends but Dust was upset. No one wanted to pair up with him. So... what could he do?

 

Error sighed quietly. He didn't even want to get up to try and find anyone to team up with. They'd just make fun about him again. He pushed his glasses up a bit and stood up, trying to find someone who didn't have a partner already.

 

Dust looked around and frowned sadly when he noticed everyone had a partner. He sighed and looked down at his book. Just as expected.

 

Error noticed a kid who seemed to have no partner. He quickly jumped over his table to get to him before anybody else could.

"dO yOu havE a paRtnER?" He asked. Normally he avoided talking because of his glitched voice.

 

Dust jumped when suddenly there was someone beside him. He looked at the new kid for a moment, noticing how odd he looked and how amazing he looked before shaking his skull.

"N-no. I don't have a partner." Dust answered.

 

"i dOn't havE OnE EithER. wanna tEam up?" Error asked. He hoped the kid would say yes.

 

Dust brightened at that. "O-of course! Uh... I'm Dust." he said holding his hand out to shake.

 

Error shook Dust's hand a bit hesitantly.

"i'm ERROR." He replied. He was so glad that Dust had agreed.

 

Dust smiled happily, glad someone wanted to partner with him. Though he could already hear the whispers from his classmates, he ignored them.

"So how come I've never seen you before?" Dust asked curiously.

 

"causE i'm an invisiblE ninja." Error replied even though it was only because he didn't talk much and kept a low profile.

 

Dust snickered softly at the obvious joke. "Okay Mr. Ninja. Nice to finally see you."

 

Error smiled slightly.

"wE can bE ninja buddiEs if yOu want tO. i didn't sEE yOu bEfORE EithER." He replied with a grin.

 

Dust chuckled with a large happy smile. "Well I'm always at the front and I'm so tiny. Plus no one wants me so it's kinda given I'd either be hated or unknown. You?"

 

"i'm cREEpy and my vOicE is glitchy sO nOOnE wants tO spEnd timE with mE." Error explained. "and i dOn't talk much." He added.

 

Dust frowned slightly. "Oh.... I... understand being judged as creepy."

He smiled at Error. "I want to spend time with you. You're nice."

 

Error tilted his skull slightly.

"hOw aRE yOu cREEpy? yOu sEEm likE a cinnamOn ROll tO mE." He explained. Dust was really nice.

"and i'd REally likE that." He added.

 

Dust blushed lightly at being called a cinnamon roll and grinned nervously. "W-well, they hate my eyes. Basically. Even my own parents did and they abandoned me."

 

"but yOuR EyEs aRE REally cOOl." Error replied, not seeing how anyone could hate those eyes.

"wait. yOuR paREnts abandOnEd yOu bEcausE Of yOuR EyEs?" He asked incredulously.

 

Dust winced and nodded. "Y-yeah. They gave me up. Literally. No remorse or hesitance."

 

Error frowned, noticing how uncomfortable Dust looked.

"sORRy fOR asking." He apologised quietly.

 

"No, it's fine." Dust waved him off with a small smile. "They never loved me anyway. I have a new family now. A better one, because they actually care about me."

 

"that's gOOd." Error replied, a small smile on his face.

 

"Yeah." Dust smiled back.

"Alright class!" Blue said from in front of the class. The board having something written on it. "Today we'll be practicing a little roleplay! I'll hand out the papers and you and your partner will practice speaking to each other!"

 

Error sighed. Talking. The one thing he sucked completely at.

Oh stars, he hoped they wouldn't have to talk in front of the class!

 

Dust tensed at that. Talking? He could do that but please no performance! He'd freeze up!

He raised his hand slightly, waiting for Blue to call him.

"Um... do we have to t-talk in front?" he stuttered nervously.

Blue shook his skull. "Oh no! No need for that. This is just a little exercise. We'll discuss the dialogue later."

 

Error sighed in relief, nodding at Dust thankfully. He didn't know what he would have done if they would have had to talk in front of the class. He would have probably faked his death.

 

Dust smiled happily. He winked at Error in return. Anything for a fellow friend who also happened to hate talking in front of class.

 

Error smiled slightly at Dust before looking at Mr. Blue. He wondered what their task would be.

 

Blue picked up a stack of papers from his desk and walked around to give each student a piece of paper.

Dust picked up the paper and looked over the contents. It was a dialogue. Go figure. But... it was not that bad.

 

Error took a paper, glancing over it quickly. He sighed. More talking than he would have liked but at least it was pretty easy to talk to Dust.

 

Dust looked over and smiled. "Want to try?"

 

Error nodded. He really wanted to try it.

Maybe Dust and him could be friends...

Blue looked at Error and Dust. He was really glad that they were getting along.

 

~~~

 

Blue was smiling brightly as he walked into the teacher's lounge. His eye lights turned into stars as he saw Fresh and Nightmare. He was so excited to tell them about their sons.

He walked to them as calmly as possible, not wanting to scare Fresh.

"Hi." He greeted happily.

 

Nightmare turned his skull when he heard someone and saw Blue. "Hello Blue."

 

Fresh looked up.

"Hi Blue..." He greeted softly.

"I got awesome news." Blue said with a bright smile.

 

"What news?" Nightmare asked as he turned around to face Blue fully.

 

Fresh looked up at Blue attentively.

"Dust and Error are friends now." Blue told them excitedly.

 

Nightmare raised a brow at Blue but he was happy for the news. "Really? When?"

 

"I did a group activity with them today and they teamed up and they got along immediately. Error didn't seem to be uncomfortable talking to him at all." Blue explained happily.

Fresh looked at Blue. Error had talked to Dust? That was great news! He smiled happily. He knew how hard it was for Error to talk to anyone.

 

Nightmare smiled happily at the news. Dust finally having a friend to talk to? That sounded amazing in his opinion. Finally he wouldn't be shunned out by everyone because of his eyes. He now had someone he can rely on.

"Thank you for your help Blue." Nightmare said before turning towards Fresh. "You should reward your son Fresh. I know it had to be difficult for him to talk to someone."

 

"Already planning to." Fresh replied with a smile. He'd take Error to the movies and then they could get some ice cream and go to that awesome chocolate shop.

Blue smiled happily.

 

Nightmare smiled at Fresh before turning towards Blue. "Any other good news I should know?"

 

"I want to ask Dream out on a date." Blue replied.

Fresh stared at him. He would finally try to ask Dream out?

 

Nightmare raised a brow at Blue. "You want to ask my brother out?"

 

"Yup." Blue replied, rubbing the back of his skull awkwardly, a small blush on his cheeks.

Fresh wondered what Dreams answer would be.

 

"Do you have an idea on how to ask him out?" Nightmare asked Blue. He was happy for him, really, but sometimes a big brother needed to be a little protective.

 

"I got some flowers for him in my office and I want to ask him if he wants to go to the movies with me. He told me yesterday that there was this movie he wanted to see." Blue explained.

Fresh smiled. That sounded like an awesome plan.

 

Nightmare nodded at Blue's idea. "Okay. Bring him back before ten, okay?"

 

"Sure." Blue agreed with a smile.

Fresh smiled happily.

 

"Okay." Nightmare said before the bell rang loudly. He checked the time on the clock mounted on the wall.

 

Blue looked up. Dream and him had both lunch the next lesson. He could finally ask him!

Fresh packed up his things. He had to teach now.

 

"I have to go grade the papers from my previous class." Nightmare said and turned around, pausing before he left. "Good luck Blue. Have a nice day Fresh."

 

"Thanks!" Blue replied with a bright smile.

"Thanks, you too.." Fresh replied quietly as he stood up.

 

Nightmare nodded and walked away towards his office. He wondered how Cross and Killer were doing?

 

~~~

 

Blue knocked on the door to Dream's office, the flowers for Dream hidden behind his back.

 

Dream opened the door a moment later, looking at Blue in surprise before smiling. "Hello there Blue! What brings you here?"

 

Blue looked at Dream with a smile, blushing slightly.

"I wanted to ask you if you'd like to go to the movies with me." He explained, handing him a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

 

Dream flushed at the request and the bouquet. He took it slowly, smiling down at them. "Is... is this a date?" Dream asked Blue hopefully.

 

"Yeah." Blue replied with a bright smile. He hoped Dream would say yes.

 

Dream smiled wide with a golden flush. "Of course! When?"

 

"Whenever you have time. I'm free every evening this week." Blue explained.

 

Dreams chuckled softly. "You planned this for a while huh? How about tonight?"

 

Blue flushed brightly.

"That sounds amazing." He replied with a happy smile.

 

Dream smiled happily at Blue. "I'll see you tonight at 7?"

 

"Sounds good." Blue replied happily. "I'll pick you up from your house."

 

Dream nodded before walking inside his office. He smiled at Blue, leaning close to press a quick kiss to his cheek before pulling away. "See you tonight Blue."

 

Blue smiled, flushing brightly when Dream kissed his cheek. His whole face was blue as he nodded slightly.

 

Dream smiled at Blue before closing the door, his Soul pulsing loudly in love.

 

Blue let out an embarrassed noise as he covered his face with his hands, his Soul pulsing wildly.

Blue was so happy that Dream had said yes. He really hoped he'd like what he had planned.

 

~~~

 

Three kids walked up to Dust, one of them pushing him hard.

 

Dust grunted in shock when he was suddenly pushed, landing on the ground hard. He pushed himself up with his arms weakly, still dazed and confused about what had happened.

 

The three students laughed at him, making a circle around him to cage him in.

Error frowned angrily when he saw someone push Dust and ran over immediately.

 

One student grinned down at Dust when the latter tried to stand up. He kicked Dust's ribs hard making him grunt in pain and fall back down.

"That's right. Stay down like the dirt you are!" the student said with a large grin.

 

Error sprinted as fast as he could and tackled the kid that had kicked Dust hard, knocking them to the ground.

 

The student yelled in shock when they were suddenly tackled to the ground. The others jumped in shock before rushing to pull the duo apart.

Dust looked up in confusion at the sudden yell.

 

Error's eye lights flamed up brightly as he stared down at the shivering bully.

"dOn't yOU fUckIng dArE hUrt my frIEnd!" Error growled, his voice glitching harshly. He summoned a few strings and tied the bully up tightly.

The kid shivered in fear as Error stood up, glaring at the two other kids.

 

They backed away from the feral skeleton fearfully, not knowing what to do to save their friend.

Dust looked up and gasped. He quickly stood up and ran towards Error.

"Error stop! Please! You'll get in trouble!" he cried out desperately.

 

Error blinked as he looked at Dust, glitching slightly. What had he been doing just now...?

The bullies saw their chance and pushed Error to the ground roughly.

 

"Hey!" Dust screamed at them when they pushed Error down. He stepped in front of his friend protectively, ignoring his own fear as he stared up at them. His eyes starting to smoke a dark lavender colour. "That's enough! Or I'll tell my dad what you did!"

 

Error winced slightly, looking up at Dust.

One of the bullies winced and stepped back while the other just laughed.

 

"We aren't scared of your dad." one mocked before laughing.

"Yeah! When does he ever care about a freak like you?!" Another said.

Dust felt tears collect in his eyes. It was true. His former biological father didn't care. But Nightmare did!

 

Error stood up, his eye lights flaring.

"I wOndER what my dad will think Of this." He threatened, standing next to Dust.

One of the bullies winced, trying to tell the others to flee.

 

"And we should be scared because?!" One asked sarcastically.

"Because-" Dust started but a bully interrupted him.

 

"I bet their parents don't even care at all!" A bully interrupted Dust.

Error growled lowly, glaring at them angrily.

 

Dust growled at them angrily before turning towards Error. "Let's just go. I don't wanna get in trouble with our dads."

 

Error glared daggers at the bullies before nodding and making his strings disappear.

 

The bullies grinned. "Scared? What a bunch of weaklings!"

Dust frowned and gently took Error's wrist, pulling him away from the group. He wouldn't get mad. One, because he was weak. And two, Nightmare would be upset that he'd gotten into a fight.

 

Error was about to shout something at them, glitching harshly as Dust pulled him away.

The bullies laughed at them.

 

Dust kept pulling him away until they were a good distance from the bullies. He let go of Error and stood awkwardly.

"Sorry for touching you without permission." he apologized.

 

"it's Okay..." Error mumbled. He only had a bit of haphephobia and he didn't mind if Dust touched him.

"thanks fOR pulling mE away..." He replied.

 

Dust smiled at Error slightly. "W-well, I don't want us to get in trouble because of them. My dad would be really upset with me, and probably yours too."

 

"my dad wOuld pRObably gEt pREtty mad." Error agreed. "but i think wE shOuld tEll thEm that wE wERE attackEd fiRst bEfORE thEy spREad liEs..." He explained, his voice getting quieter the more he talked.

 

Dust nodded in agreement. Those bullies would get him and Error in a lot of trouble if they spread lies.

"Let's go then." Dust said towards Error. "My dad's probably in his office."

 

Error nodded. He didn't know where his dad was so Dust's dad was their best bet.

 

Dust smiled at Error and walked towards his dad's office. Making sure Error was following him.

 

Error walked after Dust silently. He didn't know what had come over him when those assholes had kicked Dust. He'd just gone completely rage mode.

 

Dust turned around to look at Error, noticing how upset he looked. "What's wrong?"

 

"sORRy fOR flipping Out likE that..." Error apologised quietly. He played with his hoodie strings anxiously.

 

"No, it's fine." Dust said softly, smiling at Error. "If you didn't do that, who knows what they would have done to me."

 

Error smiled slightly.

"Okay..." He mumbled quietly. Dust was right. He'd only protected his friend.

 

Dust smiled happily at his friend. "Besides, your magic was really cool. I've never seen anything like that before."

 

Error blushed slightly with a small smile.

"thanks..." He mumbled softly. His strings were really useful.

 

Dust smiled wider at the blush on Error's cheek. He paused when they reached Nightmare's office. He knocked on the door, slightly hesitant. He didn't want to bother Nightmare.

 

Error stood behind Dust, watching the door attentively as he played with his hoodie strings.

 

Nightmare opened the door a moment later, staring down at Dust in surprise. "Dust, it's recess. Why are you here?"

Dust looked down at his feet. "Um, some bullied attacked us earlier."

 

Error stared up at Mr. Nightmare nervously.

 

Nightmare frowned. "Who?"

"I'm- I'm not sure." Dust said. "They- they pushed me suddenly. E-Error stepped in and- and used his magic. B-but he was protecting me!" Dust immediately defended.

Nightmare nodded. "Alright. Thank you for telling me. And thank you Error, for protecting him."

 

Error nodded slightly. He was glad that Dust was doing the talking and that he was defending him.

 

"Are you hurt anywhere?" Nightmare asked, kneeling down in front of them. "Either of you?"

Dust shook his skull. "Just a little sore from the fall but I'm not hurt."

 

Error shook his skull slightly. He was fine. He was glad that Dust was okay too.

 

"Are you sure?" Nightmare asked again.

"W-well, my ribs feel a bit sore." Dust admitted while rubbing his aching ribs. "They kicked me."

Nightmare frowned. "I'll make sure they get punished. I'll check it when we get back home, okay?"

Dust nods with a small smile. "Okay dad."

 

Error nodded slightly. His back hurt a bit but he was okay.

 

Nightmare smiled down at them. "Now, go and eat. Error, you better tell your dad. And sugarcoat it a bit. Your dad tends to get mad at any type of bullying."

 

Error tilted his skull slightly, frowning a bit. But dad always said he shouldn't lie. He'd think about it over lunch.

 

"You don't have to lie." Nightmare said, knowing that look on Error's face. "Just.... don't go into any details. Tell him I'll deal with them. Wouldn't want your dad to scare them with his censor magic right?"

 

Error kind of wanted his dad to censor them... But he nodded anyways.

 

Nightmare nodded with a small smile.

Dust smiled at Error. He wasn't sure what Fresh's magic was like but from what he'd heard, it was probably scary.

"Now, go and eat you two." Nightmare said softly.

Dust nodded. "Okay dad."

 

Error nodded slightly. He was pretty hungry already. He wondered what his dad had packed him for lunch.

 

Dust smiled and walked away with a small goodbye. He turned towards Error to start walking. He still needed to grab his lunch.

Nightmare smiled and stood up, closing his door. He'd need to talk to the boys that had hurt Dust and Error before Fresh found them.

 

Error waved at Mr. Nightmare before he followed Dust.

 

~~~

 

Error waited at his dad's car. He wondered where Fresh was.

 

Fresh came a moment later, panting softly as he ran up to his car and saw Error.

He grinned at him. "Sorry sport. Had some issue to deal with." he apologized and unlocked his car.

 

Error nodded.

"it's Okay." He replied, opening the door. He got into the passenger seat, putting his bag onto his lap as he buckled himself up.

 

Fresh got into the seat and put on his seat belt, turning on the engines and checking the mirrors.

He pulled out of the parking space and drove down the road out of the school towards the direction of their home. "I heard you've made friends with Dust."

 

"yEah." Error replied with a small smile.

"but wE gOt bulliEd tOday..." He mumbled, looking at the ground.

 

Fresh tensed and clenched his hands on the steering wheel. "What?" he said calmly. "Who bullied you?"

 

"i'm nOt suRE but i stOppEd thEm fROm bullying dust." Error explained.

 

Fresh calmed down slightly. Even though he was mad at the kids who had hurt his son, knowing that Error had been brave enough to face them to save his friend made him happy. "That's good. Are you hurt?"

 

"my back huRts a bit but i'm finE. thEy knOckEd mE Off balancE." Error explained.

 

Fresh frowned angrily. "I'll check it later. I'll also find whoever did this and make sure they get punished."

 

"mR. nightmaRE alREady gOt it cOvEREd." Error replied.

 

Fresh relaxed slightly but he was still mad. "Okay. I'm glad you're safe though. So.... how do feel about eating some chocolate ice cream before going home today?"

 

Error's eye lights lit up in joy.

"chOcOlatE icE cREam sOunds awEsOmE!" He agreed happily.

 

Fresh chuckled softly. Error loved chocolate so much. It was a nice reward after today.

"Alright sport. Let's go eat some ice cream." Fresh said and took a detour to his desired ice cream shop.

 

Error smiled brightly. He loved chocolate ice cream. It was so wonderful.

 

"So, I heard there's a new rocky road flavor they have." Fresh said as they drove down the road. "Do you want to try them? With chocolate drizzle and shavings too?"

 

Error stared up at Fresh with wide eye sockets.

"yEah!" He cheered happily. He'd love to try it.

 

Fresh smiled happily. "Alright. Let's go then."

 

~~~

 

When they reached home, the others were putting their bags beside the table to get out their homework.

Nightmare turned towards his second son. "Dust? Can I check you for injuries?"

 

Dust looked up from his backpack.

"Sure." He agreed. Maybe Nightmare had something to dull the pain of the kick a bit.

 

Nightmare kneeled down in front of Dust. "Take off your shirt and jacket please?"

 

Dust nodded slightly and took off his jacket, putting it onto the table. He pulled off his shirt next, revealing a nasty bruise and some scarred ribs.

 

Nightmare hissed at the bruise and touched it gently, trying to see how serious it was.

 

Dust flinched in pain. It hurt pretty bad. He hadn't even noticed how much it actually hurt.

Cross watched Dust worriedly as he readied both their things for doing homework.

 

Nightmare looked up and Dust before standing up and going towards the kitchen cupboard to get something. He pulled out a small jar and walked back towards Dust.

"This won't do much but it'll quicken the healing process." Nightmare said as he opened the jar and scooped some up.

 

Dust watched Nightmare curiously.

He nodded slightly, bracing himself for the pain.

 

Nightmare gently spread the gel over the bruise, making sure it was covered. It was not sticky so it wouldn't be uncomfortable or stick to Dust's clothes. But it was difficult to come by.

 

Dust winced slightly when Nightmare put the gel onto his bruise. It was a bit cool and felt soothing.

"Thanks, dad." He thanked Nightmare.

 

Nightmare smiled at him and put the gel away. "You're welcome."

 

Dust was really happy that his dad cared so much about him.

 

Nightmare wiped the excess gel away with a tissue. "There. That should heal in a few days. You can put on a shirt now."

 

"Okay." Dust agreed, putting on his shirt. He put on his jacket too.

 

Nightmare nodded and stood up, walking back towards the cupboard to keep the jar.

"Go do your homework. I'll cut some apples for you two." Nightmare said.

 

"Okay, dad." Dust replied, turning back to the table when he saw that Cross had already readied his things.

"Thanks." He said with a smile.

"You're welcome, bro." Cross responded happily.

 

Nightmare smiled at the interaction and opened the fridge to pull out a red apple- the kind that was crisp and sweet. He washed the apple before pulling out a knife.

"Do you want it peeled or not?" Nightmare asked his kids.

 

"Normal is fine." Dust replied as he looked over his homework.

Cross nodded in agreement as he filled out some of his literature homework.

 

Nightmare nodded and began cutting the apple into slices. He also cut and scooped out the seeds from the slices and cut the stem.

 

Cross and Dust both focused on their homework, the younger occasionally asking the other for help.

 

Nightmare placed the sliced apples in a bowl and poured two glasses of juice. He walked towards his boys and placed the snacks on the table.

 

Cross looked up and smiled a bit.

"Thanks, dad." He said as he took an apple piece.

Dust thanked Nightmare and took a piece too.

 

"Anytime." Nightmare said before walking towards the kitchen island and pulled out a stack of papers from big bag he had placed there. His own homework. Grading papers.

 

Cross took a glass and drank some of the juice before glancing back down at his homework. It was pretty easy. He'd be done soon.

"Dad? Can we practise our magic when we're done?" He asked.

Dust looked up. He really liked that idea. He'd never been allowed to use his magic before so he had no idea what kind he had.

 

Nightmare looked up from his papers before nodding. It would be good for them in case they needed to protect themselves. "Sure you can. You can practice in the backyard."

 

"Cool! Thanks, dad." Cross replied excitedly, smiling as he looked back at his homework.

 

Nightmare nodded. "You're welcome."

He looked back down and focused on his grading. After this he'd need to do a survey to see which questions his students got wrong to make more exercises for them. So far they'd all done well, even Cross. Especially Cross.

 

Cross hummed happily as he was done with his homework. He glanced over to Dust to see if he was done too.

 

Dust played with his pencil as he thought over his final question. He was stuck.

 

Cross watched Dust and scooted closer to him, looking at the question. That was a pretty tough one.

 

Dust looked up at the elder when he came closer. Maybe Cross could help? "Can you help me please?"

 

"Sure." Cross agreed. He helped Dust find the answer by himself instead of just telling him the answer, much like Nightmare always did when he helped Cross.

 

Dust did find the answer after a few moments with Cross' help. He smiled brightly when he found the answer and looked at Cross.

 

"Good job." Cross praised proudly. His bro was really smart.

 

Dust brightened up immensely at the praise. "Thank you!"

 

Cross smiled at him.

"Let's go practice our magic." He said excitedly and stood up.

 

Dust nodded happily and stood up, packing up his stuff and putting it in his bag. He looked at Cross expectantly.

 

Cross had already put away his things so he waited for Dust.

He smiled when the younger was finished and dashed to the door to the backyard.

 

Dust laughed and ran after Cross, stumbling slightly before continuing out the door.

"Be careful!" Nightmare called as they ran past him, still focused on his work.

 

Cross stopped in the middle of the backyard, smiling at Dust.

 

Dust stood opposite of Cross a few feet away. He had a large excited grin on his face.

 

"What's your magic?" Cross asked as he focused on his hands, trying to use his magic.

 

"I- uh..." Dust trailed off slightly. "I'm not sure. I wasn't allowed to use magic so I'm not sure what kind of magic I have."

 

"That's so exciting!" Cross replied with a smile.

 

"I guess?" Dust said uncertainly. "But I'm not sure what to do."

 

"I can show you." Cross suggested excitedly.

 

Dust smiled at Cross thankfully. "That'll be amazing. Please?"

 

Cross smiled.

"You gotta hold out your hand and concentrate on it really much and then you close your eyes and just... Hm.. Well... Think of something that makes you happy and try to focus that energy to your hand." He explained, doing what he was saying.

 

Dust nodded and did just that. He closed his eyes and concentrated on how happy he was right now. How happy he was with his new family.

His eye flamed up brighter before the magic around his hand expanded throughout his body, making him feel hyper and agile.

 

Cross watched Dust intently, not wanting to distract him by talking.

 

Dust tried to make anything before he huffed in frustration. He opened his eyes and lowered his hand, not noticing the faint purple magic surrounding him.

"It's not working." he said.

 

"You're glowing." Cross whispered amazedly. He wondered what Dust's magic was.

 

Dust looked at Cross in confusion before looking down at himself. His eyes widened when he saw his own lavender magic surrounding him, over his arms and legs.

"Wow!" he gasped in amazement, looking at his body. "What does it do?"

 

"Not sure." Cross replied. "Try running?" He suggested, looking down at his knife. It had gotten a bit bigger!

 

Dust nodded and got into a running position. All of a sudden, the moment he took a running step, he was faster.

He ran for a moment, feeling the wind around him before stopping back where he started after running around the backyard. He panted softly, looking down at himself after what just happened.

"Whoa." he said softly in awe. "I've never been this fast before."

 

Cross stared at Dust amazedly.

"Wow! That's so cool!" He said excitedly.

 

Dust panted softly, looking up at Cross with a tired smile. "Yeah... I guess... Still tired...."

 

"Do you want to sit down?" Cross asked worriedly, throwing away his knife.

 

Dust nodded before he collapsed onto his knees. Standing had taken way too much effort. He felt so tired, even if he had only ran around the backyard. He had low stamina anyways.

 

Cross gasped and quickly kneeled down next to Dust.

"Stars, I'm so sorry. Are you okay?" He asked worriedly.

 

Dust nodded as he panted. "I'm... fine. Low... stamina..."

 

"Should I get dad?" Cross asked worriedly. Was it bad that Dust had such low stamina or was his magic just really exhausting?

 

Dust shook his skull. "N-no. I... I can handle it. Just... need to catch my... breath."

 

"Can I do anything to help you?" Cross asked gently.

 

Dust shook his skull as he panted before he paused. "Water..?"

 

"Sure." Cross agreed. He jumped up and ran to the door, looking slightly panicked.

 

Dust let Cross get some water as he slowly got his breath back. It was so hard for him to run or do exercises for long when he had such low stamina but it had been fun. Even if he needed to take a moment and breathe.

 

Cross burst into the house, running past Nightmare as he headed straight for the kitchen to get a glass or bottle of water.

 

Nightmare looked at Cross in surprise before he continued his work. While he wanted to know what was wrong, they could come to him if they needed help. He was sure of it. He trusted them.

 

Cross quickly grabbed Dust's glass and filled it with water, carefully bringing it back outside.

 

Dust had somewhat gotten his breath. He looked up when he heard Cross coming back.

 

Cross sat down next to Dust and handed him the glass of water, looking at him worriedly.

 

Dust took the water and took a few sips, relaxing when he felt his body regulate its temperature and making him feel better.

"Thank you Cross." he said and gave his brother a small smile. "That helped."

 

Cross smiled back, happy that he had been able to help.

"Always." He replied.

 

Dust smiled at Cross and stood up, albeit shakily. "I... I think I'm okay now."

 

Cross stayed close to Dust, ready to catch him should he fall.

His knife was still laying on the ground.

 

Dust looked at the ground and spotted a red knife. "Hey, is that yours?"

 

Cross looked at the floor, surprised to see his knife.

"Yeah. It should have disappeared long ago." He replied. He wondered why it wasn't gone yet. He picked it up curiously.

 

Dust smiled at Cross. "I like your magic. It's cool."

 

"Thanks." Cross replied with a smile, looking at the knife. He tested the blade, which was normally very dull, with his finger. It didn't cut him at all even though it looked very sharp.

"Weird..." He mumbled.

 

"What's weird?" Dust asked curiously as he walked over to Cross shakily.

 

"I tried to test the sharpness of the blade but it didn't cut me at all..." Cross replied. He hummed and slashed the knife at a thick branch that was laying on the ground.

The knife cut through the wood easily, as if it were butter. Cross stared at the knife amazedly.

 

Dust tensed and looked at the cut up branch in surprise but a good surprise. "Well, I'm not sure either. Haven't known about magic since no one told me. Maybe dad knows?"

 

Cross nodded.

"We should ask him." He agreed. He didn't know much about magic either, only knowing how to summon it.

 

Dust nodded in agreement. "Yeah, let's go ask."

He turned around and walked back towards the house, his movements less shaky.

 

Cross walked after Dust, staying close to him just in case, his knife clutched close.

 

Dust walked towards Nightmare who was still only halfway through his stack of papers.

"Dad?" Dust asked softly.

Nightmare hummed and looked at them. "What is it?"

 

"My magic is behaving weirdly. My knife is bigger than before and I left it outside for five minutes or so and it's still there and it can't hurt me." Cross explained, holding up the sharp-looking knife.

 

Nightmare looked at the knife and he brightened. "That's good. It certainly looks better than before."

Dust watched in confusion when Nightmare reached out to touch the sharp end of the blade before pulling away sharply, a bit if blood dripping from a cut on his finger.

 

Cross smiled at the praise. It did look much better.

He winced when Nightmare cut himself and dropped the knife.

"You okay? Sorry, dad." Cross said, sounding really guilty.

 

Dust looked at Nightmare in concern. Should he do something?!

Nightmare smiled at Cross, unaffected by the cut. "It's fine son. That's just how magic works. It doesn't hurt the user but everything else. That's why I got cut and you didn't."

 

Cross frowned but felt glad that his dad seemed unaffected by the cut. He stared down at his knife.

 

Nightmare reached out with his uninjured hand and gently rubbed Cross' skull. "It's a good thing Cross. It means you're getting better at your magic. I'm proud of you."

Dust smiled at Cross and nodded in agreement. He was glad Cross got his magic down. He was still trying.

 

Cross looked up when his dad touched his skull. He managed a small smile.

"Thanks, dad." He replied softly, hugging him gently.

 

Nightmare smiled and hugged back with one arm. He looked at Dust. "What's your magic Dust?"

Dust looked at Nightmare with wide eyes before looking down nervously. "I- uh. I-it's not as amazing as Cross'."

 

Cross relaxed when his dad hugged back.

"Your magic is awesome, Dust." He protested, looking over at him.

 

Nightmare looked at Dust with anticipation and curiosity. "What is it?"

"It's- I- I can cover myself in my magic and run really fast." Dust mumbled while looking away.

Nightmare smiled at Dust. "That's amazing."

 

Cross nodded in agreement. Dust would be able to run away from bullies. That was amazing.

 

"I- I guess but... I get tired easily." Dust said softly. "I have low stamina. The- the magic only made me super tired after a few moments."

Nightmare hummed in thought at the new information. "What if we heighten your stamina?"

 

That seemed like an awesome idea to Cross.

 

Dust looked at Nightmare in surprise. "How?"

"Well," Nightmare started, standing up to grab a bandaid from the cupboard as he cleaned his finger under running water in the sink. "Fresh is the PE teacher. I'm sure he can spare a few pointers on how to increase stamina."

 

Cross smiled. That sounded like an awesome idea. Maybe he could help Dust a bit.

 

Dust smiled up at Nightmare. "That sounds good."

Nightmare nodded and wrapped a bandage around his finger. "I'll talk to Fresh tomorrow. For now, I have work. Why don't you go play until I'm done and you can help me make dinner if you want."

 

Cross nodded. That sounded like a good idea. He walked to his room, leaving the knife on the floor.

 

Nightmare looked at the red knife still on the floor. "You should probably dispel that. Someone could get hurt."

 

Cross looked back.

"How?" He asked. Normally it went away by itself.

 

Dust looked at the red knife. If anyone would step on it; that would be very painful.

"Magic hasn't changed much over the years." Nightmare explained as he sat back down. "It's all about intent. Close your eyes, you need to want it to go away."

 

Cross nodded slightly and closed his eye sockets, willing the knife to go away.

 

Dust watched the knife when Cross closed his eyes. It still didn't go away.

"How about thinking of a reason for it to go away." Nightmare suggested. "Unconventional but for now it'll do. Think of why it needs to go away. Why it needs to go before it hurts anyone."

 

Cross hummed in agreement and quickly thought of how his knife had cut his dad. He didn't want that to happen again.

 

The knife flickered for a moment.

"Almost there Cross." Nightmare encouraged. "Just a little more."

 

Stars, what if the knife hurt Dust?! He wouldn't be able to forgive himself if that happened.

Cross started trembling slightly.

 

The knife disappeared with Cross' intent.

"That's it." Nightmare said, noticing how distressed Cross looked. "That's enough Cross. It's gone."

"Cross?" Dust voiced worriedly.

 

Cross opened his eye sockets, trembling slightly. He wiped away a few tears. He didn't want to hurt his family.

 

"Cross?" Nightmare asked in worry.

"Cross? Can- can I hug you?" Dust asked hesitantly. Cross' hugs usually made him feel better.

 

Cross sniffled slightly, his body shaking in distraught.

He looked at Dust and nodded slightly.

 

Dust walked forward and gently hugged Cross, leaning into him as he gently rubbed his back. "It's okay. It's okay Cross. It's okay now."

 

Cross sniffled quietly, trying to hold back his tears. He didn't want to hurt the people who meant the most to him.

 

"Cross?" Nightmare called and stood up, walking towards his kids. "What's wrong? Was it something I said? If so, I'm sorry."

 

Cross shook his head.

"S-sorry. Just.. I don't want to hurt you with my magic." He explained quietly.

 

"And you won't." Nightmare said softly, gently rubbing Cross' skull. "As long as you don't intend to, your magic will never hurt us."

Dust nodded in agreement. "Dad's right. And I trust you."

 

Cross leaned into the touch slightly as he sniffled quietly.

"Th-thanks..." He mumbled. He'd really needed to hear that.

 

Dust smiled at Cross and hugged him a little tighter, showing how much he cared for him.

"How about I make some hot chocolate for you two?" Nightmare suggested. "You both had a tiring day."

 

Cross smiled slightly and hugged Dust back. He was glad he had such a caring family.

"I'd like that..." He mumbled quietly.

 

Dust nodded up at Nightmare. "Yes please?"

Nightmare nodded and pulled away to stand up. "Alright. I'll call you when I'm finished okay?"

 

"M-hm..." Cross hummed, closing his eye sockets. He was going to protect his little bro.

Chapter Text

Cross hummed softly as he put away some of his books in his locker.

 

XGaster walked down the empty hallways, looking around as he walked. He was looking for one particular person.

He grinned when he spotted his target and walked closer but kept silent.

 

Cross smiled as he spotted the book he had been looking for and put it into his bag.

 

XGaster walked until he was behind Cross, smirking down at him. He pushed the smaller inside his locker and shut the door quickly.

 

Cross yelped as he stumbled forward, being pushed into the dark locker. He couldn't turn around, he was being squished by the walls and the door was locked! He tried to kick the door but he couldn't move much and only tapped it lightly, panic creeping into his Soul.

 

"Now now," XGaster purred lowly. "There's no need to cause such a racket child."

 

Cross froze completely when he heard that voice, a shiver tearing through him as he tried not to cry. XGaster had locked him up again...

 

"Now, that's better." XGaster smirked wider when Cross stopped struggling. "I believe this suffices as a replacement for the closet of shame."

 

Cross trembled harshly. The.. closet of shame? He felt tears roll down his cheek bones.

"You... You can't do that..." He mumbled, his voice shaky.

 

"Of course I can." XGaster replied with a smirk. "I'm your teacher. If not, I'm much older than you. I can give whatever punishment I see fit for your misbehavior. Like talking back to others and being rude the other day. Do not think I have forgotten."

 

Cross sobbed quietly. He was such an idiot. Why had he done that?

"I.. I'll tell Nightmare..." He whimpered quietly, holding his bag close for comfort.

 

"No you won't." XGaster said firmly. "If you tell him, I'll just go after someone else. This school is filled with idiots like you. I already have a target. What was that kid's name again? Dust? If I remember correctly."

 

Cross flinched harshly. XGaster wanted to go after his brother?!

"Don't!" He shouted quietly, his voice trembling.

 

"Then stay quiet about this." XGaster replied sadistically. "I might not be able to hurt you anymore, but locking you up is something I can do. Now, will you talk about this to your precious father?"

 

Cross sobbed harshly. He didn't have a choice.

"I.. I won't..." He replied.

 

"Good." XGaster said before walking away. "Good luck getting out, Cross." he said his name like it was an insult.

 

Cross sobbed harshly, flinching when he dropped his bag. How was he going to get out? Would XGaster come back to give him a beating?

 

How was he going to get out of here? No one cared about him enough to free him. And he couldn't call for help because it'd attract XGaster.

 

He could... He could call Nightmare and just tell him he got bullied or something...

Cross pulled out his phone, calling Nightmare.

 

Nightmare walked around the hallways searching for Cross. Cross' classes should have ended by now. He'd already asked the other teachers but they'd said that they hadn't seen Cross. Nightmare felt so extremely worried. What if something bad had happened to him?

His phone rang and he picked it up, relaxing when the contact was his son. "Cross, where are you? I've been looking for you everywhere."

 

"Sorry..." Cross sobbed quietly, wiping away his tears.

"Just... got locked into my locker again..." He mumbled quietly.

 

Nightmare tensed before speed walking towards Cross' locker. "Okay. Okay Cross. I'm coming. Stay calm. I'm on my way."

 

Cross sobbed quietly.

"O-okay..." He replied.

 

It didn't take long for Nightmare to find Cross locker. He kneeled down in front of it. "Cross? Cross are you in there?"

 

"Y-yeah..." Cross sobbed quietly, burying his face in his hands as he cried. He couldn't ask Nightmare to protect him.

 

Nightmare pressed a hand on the locker door, hushing Cross softly as he fiddled with the lock.

"It's okay Cross. It's okay now. I'm here. I'm right here." Nightmare hushed until he finally got the lock and opened the locker door.

 

Cross sobbed quietly. He didn't want to lie to Nightmare.

He stumbled backwards a bit when the door was opened, right into Nightmare.

 

Nightmare gently caught Cross and pulled him close to his chest, hushing him softly.

"Shh... shh... I'm here now. I'm right here. I'm here. Shh..." Nightmare hushed softly as he embraced Cross.

 

Cross sobbed quietly as he relaxed a bit. XGaster couldn't do anything to him as long as he was with Nightmare.

 

Nightmare pulled Cross closer and rubbed his back slowly, hushing him softly.

"It's okay. It's okay Cross. I'm here. I'll protect you." Nightmare didn't notice XGaster watching them with a smirk- but Cross did. "What happened?"

 

Cross stared at XGaster, starting to breathe heavily. He couldn't say the truth. He was a terrible liar.

 

"Cross?" Nightmare asked worriedly, pulling away to look at Cross' face. "What's wrong? Please tell me son."

 

Cross shook his head. He couldn't tell Nightmare but he had no idea what to say either.

 

Nightmare frowned but he didn't push him. "Okay. Shh... don't cry. I'm right here. Let's go to my office okay? No one will bother us there."

 

Cross nodded slightly and hugged Nightmare tightly.

 

Nightmare hushed him softly and gently picked him up. He walked towards his office.

 

Cross hid his skull in Nightmare's chest, sniffling quietly. He wanted to tell the truth but he couldn't endanger Dust.

 

Nightmare carried Cross to his office and closed the door. He gently placed Cross on the sofa, wiping away his tears.

 

Cross sniffled softly, slowly calming down. He was still crying as Nightmare placed him on the couch but he seemed in a bit of a better mental state.

 

"Do you need anything Cross?" Nightmare asked softly as he rubbed Cross' skull.

 

Cross looked up at Nightmare with teary eye sockets. The only thing he needed was to tell Nightmare the truth. But he couldn't. He would put Dust in danger. 

 

Nightmare gently wiped away Cross' tears with his thumb, staring at him softly. "Cross? What's wrong?"

 

Cross' breathing hitched slightly.

"I'm s-sorry but I can't... I can't tell you, d-dad... I'm so sorry..." He sobbed quietly.

 

"Shh... Shh..." Nightmare hushed as he rubbed Cross' skull gently. "Why? Why can't you tell me Cross? You know you can trust me."

 

Cross leaned into the touch, shivering a bit less. He sniffled slightly.

"I.. I trust you... but... I just.. can't..." He replied quietly.

 

Nightmare exhaled quietly before he nodded with a small smile. "Okay. Cross. You don't need to tell me if you can't. But do you want anything? I believe I have another chocolate bar for you."

 

Cross felt really relieved that Nightmare wasn't prodding for answers. He perked up slightly at the mention of chocolate. That might be just what he needed after that.

"Chocolate and a hug, please?" He asked softly.

 

Nightmare nodded happily with a smile. "Of course."

He went to his desk to grab a chocolate bar and walked back towards Cross. He sat beside the younger and pulled him into an embrace, handing him the chocolate bar.

 

Cross watched Nightmare, relaxing slightly as his dad hugged him. He sniffled slightly, taking the chocolate gladly.

 

Nightmare hugged Cross warmly as he gently rubbed Cross' skull, comforting him as best he could.

 

Cross opened the wrapper, relaxing into Nightmare's hold and started eating the chocolate slowly.

 

Nightmare let Cross eat his chocolate, checking the time. Dust should be finished with his classes soon. Then they could go home.

 

Cross closed his eye sockets, leaning into Nightmare as he ate the chocolate.

 

Nightmare wondered what had happened to Cross. Why couldn't Cross tell him what was wrong and what had happened? Did someone threaten him? If so, with what? Cross was brave, what would make him shut his mouth?

So many questions. Nightmare hoped they could be answered soon. He wanted to protect his family, but it was hard to do so when he didn't know what was threatening them.

Chapter Text

Cross kept close to Dust as they had recess, still really worried about XGaster hurting his little brother.

Error followed Dust silently.

 

Killer walked beside Cross, uncertain why the latter decided to follow Dust today.

Dust looked at the playground where everyone was for recess. He looked behind him. "Does anyone want to play on the swing with me?"

 

"Yeah." Cross agreed immediately.

Error eyed Cross curiously. He wondered why he wasn't running around with Killer like normally.

 

Dust smiled and walked towards the swing where it was empty. He sat down on one and pushed himself off, swinging around happily.

Killer looked at Cross. "Do you want to play anything?"

 

Cross followed Dust, watching him carefully.

He looked at Killer, shaking his head.

 

Killer frowned but nodded. He didn't know why Cross didn't want to play today. He always wanted to play.

Dust swung on the swing happily, looking at Error. "Wanna join me?"

 

Error looked up at Dust. Cross was a bit intimidating so he kept a bit of a distance.

He shrugged slightly. He didn't know if he wanted to come closer.

 

Dust frowned slightly and slowed down to a stop. "Do you want to play something else?"

 

Error shrugged slightly. He didn't mind.

Cross watched Dust worriedly.

 

Dust hummed in thought. "What about the slide? Do you want to play that?"

 

Error shrugged again, gesturing for Dust to decide.

 

Dust frowned in thought. "I'm not sure either."

Killer looked at them. "Maybe some hide and seek?"

Dust smiled at Killer. "That's a great idea!'

 

Error nodded slightly. As long as nobody touched him, he was fine with whatever.

Cross looked briefly troubled. He didn't want to let Dust out of his sight.

 

"Can I join?" Killer asked them.

Dust nodded. "Of course! Do you want to join Cross?"

 

"Y-yeah..." Cross replied quietly.

Error raised a brow ridge at Cross. Something was decidedly wrong.

 

"Who's the one searching?" Dust asked while looking at them.

"Seeker. And I can be it." Killer volunteered.

 

Error nodded.

"nO tOuching." He reminded Killer.

"Sounds good..." Cross replied quietly.

 

Killer nodded in agreement. "Okay. You guys go hide while I count."

Dust nodded in agreement, smiling happily.

Killer turned around and closed his eyes, counting to ten.

 

Error ran off, trying to find a good hiding place as soon as possible.

Cross looked at Dust, hesitating a bit before he climbed onto a wall to keep an eye on his brother.

 

Dust looked around before running and hiding under the slide, out of sight as he grinned.

Killer counted until ten. "Ready or not, here I come!" he called and looked around for his friends.

 

Error quickly dove into a small artificial cave.

Cross tried to watch Dust without getting seen.

 

Killer looked around before spotting Cross on the wall. He walked towards the wall and looked up at Cross. "Uh... how did you get up there?"

 

Cross looked down, noticing how high up he was. He shrugged slightly.

 

"You should get down before the other teachers see." Killer said worriedly.

 

Cross nodded. He held onto the edge of the wall and slid down a bit, his back to the wall, pushing himself off and doing a roll.

 

Killer watched Cross in awe before smiling brightly. "That was so cool!"

 

Cross smiled, managing to stick the landing perfectly.

 

Killer smiled at Cross, about to say something when he heard a loud cry.

"NO! CROSS!!!"

Killer snapped his skull towards the direction of the sound and ran. That was Dust!

 

Cross felt his blood run cold at the cry. He didn't waste a second and ran into the direction.

Dust!

 

Dust whimpered as he was held up by the front of his shirt. His cheek having a bruise forming from when he was hit earlier.

"No one is coming for you freak!" the bully yelled at him before throwing him to the ground. Dust winced and tried to move away but a foot on his leg made him cry out in pain. "Now, I told you to get lost! And I found you making up an excuse about playing?! On MY slide?!"

"P-please!" Dust begged through tears. "I- I'll leave. J-just lemme go!"

 

Cross let out a warcry as he tackled the kid to the ground, his eye lights blazing bright red.

"Leave my brother alone!!" He growled, sounding completely pissed.

Error ran towards them.

 

Dust whimpered when he heard Cross yell and curled into himself. He only uncurled when Killer touched him and helped him up, gently wiping away his tears.

"Hey! What the heck! Are you insane?!!" the bully screamed at Cross.

 

Error moved next to the bully and tied his hands together with his magic, smirking slightly.

"hE's cOmplEtEly sanE." He replied.

Cross stood up and brushed off his clothes slightly, nodding at Error in thanks.

 

"Hey!" the bully yelled at them when he was tied.

"Dust?" Killer called worriedly.

Dust sniffed and tried to wipe away his tears. He looked at Cross and cried. He wanted his brother!

 

Cross looked back at Dust, his worry instantly skyrocketing.

"Everything's okay now, bro..." He mumbled softly, hugging Dust.

 

Dust whimpered and hugged Cross, sobbing into his fluffy jacket that smelled like home. He was trembling harshly, his cheek and leg hurt.

 

"Shh... Killer, can you get Nightmare?" Cross asked softly as he held his little brother close.

 

Killer shook his skull. "I can't. If I remember correctly, Nightmare has a meeting right now like he has every month. That's why he's not in class all day."

 

Cross nodded slightly. He'd forgotten that. Was Coach Fresh in the meeting too?

He turned to Error.

"Is your dad at the meeting?" He asked, nuzzling Dust gently.

 

Dust sniffed and leaned into the comforting touch, still trembling.

 

Error shook his skull.

His dad had volunteered to watch the classes and he had purposely avoided the new teacher for some reason. Error hadn't asked because he trusted his dad's intuition.

"Could you get him real quick?" Cross asked softly, holding Dust close.

Error nodded and quickly ran off to get his dad.

 

Killer looked at Dust worriedly before looking at the tied up, yelling bully. "What do we do with them?"

 

Cross nuzzled his brother gently and sat down with the shorter on his lap.

"I'm not sure. Think we scared him enough that he'll leave us alone?" He asked.

 

"Knowing people like him?" Killer said while sitting down in front of them. "Never."

 

Cross nodded slightly. He looked down at Dust and cuddled him gently.

"We could report him to Coach Fresh." He suggested.

 

Killer chuckled lowly while the bully's face was filled with fear.

"Oh I would love to see that." Killer chuckled.

 

Cross tilted his head slightly in confusion.

"See what?" He asked.

 

"See coach flip his cap." Killer chuckled at the mental image. "Coach gets mad whenever the topic of bullies pops up. Bullies learned not to mess with him."

Dust sniffed and nuzzled closer to Cross for comfort.

 

Cross nuzzled Dust softly, rubbing his skull gently. He smiled slightly at the mental image.

 

Fresh ran towards them with Error in tow. He slowed down and looked at the tied up student with a frown.

"What happened here?" he asked seriously with his arms crossed. His shades saying "I'M_MAD"

 

Error ran after his dad as fast as he could but Fresh had much longer legs and was faster.

Cross looked up.

"We were playing hide and seek when that guy hurt Dust. So I tackled him and Error tied him up." He explained, holding his little brother close.

 

Dust looked up when he heard Cross speak and looked at his coach. He sniffed sadly, tears streaming down his bruised cheek.

Fresh frowned deeply and wordlessly picked up the bully and walked away. "You four go to the nurse's office. I'll call your dad. Error," he paused and gently rubbed Error's skull. "Good job."

 

Cross nodded in agreement.

"I'm going to pick you up." He warned his little brother gently.

Error smiled up at Fresh.

"thanks, dad." He replied, leaning into the touch slightly.

 

Killer nodded at Fresh's orders and stood up, waiting for the brothers.

Dust sniffed before nodding and bracing himself. If he could walk, he would. But he was shaking too much and his knees felt weak.

 

Cross picked Dust up gently and held him close, nuzzling him softly.

"Where's the nurse's office?" He asked. He'd never been there and nobody had told him.

"i'll lEad thE way." Error replied, doing exactly that.

 

Dust clung onto his brother, still crying silently.

Killer followed Error and looked around, glaring at the other kids who were looking at them.

 

"Shh..." Cross murmured softly, holding Dust close.

 

Dust sniffed but tried to calm down. It was easier with Cross hugging him but he also wanted his dad. Nightmare always made him feel safe. He wanted Nightmare.

 

Error knocked on the door to the nurse's office.

Cross stood behind him and gently rubbed Dust's skull.

 

Killer stayed behind them with his hands in his pockets, watching them and staying alert.

The door opened and a bunny monster looked out. "Yes? Is there an emergency?"

 

Error nodded and pointed at Dust.

"Yeah. My brother's hurt." Cross explained, taking a step forward.

 

The bunny looked at Cross and Dust before opening the door wider. "Come inside. Let me see him."

 

Cross nodded slightly and walked inside, holding Dust close.

 

Killer followed after them and sat on the chair the room had for visitors.

"Put him on the bed." the bunny said, gesturing to the bed pushed against the wall.

 

Cross gently set Dust down, taking his hand gently.

Error walked in after them, staying near the door.

 

Dust whimpered when he was released and held onto Cross hand.

The nurse went closer and inspected the bruise on his cheek and the one on his leg. "A little ointment should lessen the bruise." she said, taking out a small jar filled with cream. "Should I call your parents?"

 

Cross frowned slightly and looked down at Dust. He seemed really distraught.

"Yeah, please." He requested.

 

The bunny nodded and gently put some cream over the bruises. Dust tried hard not to flinch. It didn't feel as good as Nightmare's healing gel did. It was sticky and cold.

"What's your mother's number?" the bunny asked while wiping the cream away and pulled out her phone.

 

Cross looked up at the bunny.

"We don't have a mom." He replied and proceeded to tell her their dad's number.

 

She looked at him in surprise. "You're Mr. Nightmare's kids? I never would have thought." she smiled and put her phone in her pocket. "If that's the case, your father will be here on his own in a few moments. He often does."

 

Cross tilted his head slightly in confusion but nodded.

Error stepped away from the door a bit.

 

The moment Error stepped out of the way, the door opened revealing a panting worried Nightmare.

"Where is he?!" he asked panicked before spotting his sons. He sagged in relief and kneeled down in front of them, touching their cheeks. "Thank stars you're alright."

 

Error jumped when the door opened suddenly and quickly hid behind Killer.

Cross flinched slightly when the door slammed open but relaxed immediately upon seeing Nightmare.

He smiled slightly as his dad touched his cheek.

 

Killer calmly stood in front of Error, he himself was only internally startled. But he had expected Nightmare to burst in. He always did whenever he heard someone he cared about was in trouble.

Dust relaxed when Nightmare touched him and leaned into the hand.

"What happened?" he asked them.

 

"A bully hurt Dust. I tackled them and Error restrained them. Fresh is handling the bully." Cross explained, hugging Dust gently.

Error sighed in relief when he noticed it was only Mr. Nightmare.

 

Nightmare smiled and gently pulled his boys in a hug. "Good. That's good. Thank you Cross, for protecting Dust."

Dust nodded in agreement.

 

Cross smiled slightly and hugged back. He was glad that he'd been able to help Dust.

 

Nightmare pulled away after a moment and looked at the nurse. "Thank you for taking care of them."

He looked at Error and Killer before smiling. "Thank you too, for being with them."

Killer nodded with a small smile. Anything for a friend.

 

Error nodded slightly. Dust was his friend.

 

Nightmare stood up and gently took Dust and Cross' hands. "I still have a meeting. Do you two think you can survive half a day? I can take you all to eat ice cream after this."

 

Cross nodded, looking over to Dust to see his answer.

 

Dust nodded with a small smile. He could handle half the day. Besides, he'd get ice cream after this.

"I can take Cross to class." Killer volunteered. "I'll make sure no one bothers him along the way."

 

"Thanks." Cross replied with a small smile. He was so glad that Killer was his friend.

 

Error nodded at Dust. He'd do the same for Dust.

 

Nightmare nodded at them. "Okay. I trust you two."

Dust smiled happily at Error. He knew Error would protect him. He'd seen that rage. Error cared about him enough to protect him from bullies.

Nightmare reluctantly let them go to their friends. He had left rather abruptly but to be honest, he was getting tired of XGaster arguing about not being a teacher or that Nightmare should take a break. Yeah, like that was gonna happen.

 

Error smiled back slightly. He was pretty anxious with that nurse in the room.

 

Dust dropped onto the floor, wincing a bit at the strain on his leg before smiling up at Nightmare. He gave Nightmare a quick hug before walking towards Error for class.

Killer looked at Cross expectantly, he was not pushing. He'd give Cross as much time as he needed.

 

Cross cuddled into Nightmare for a moment before walking to Killer.

Error watched Dust worriedly, staying close to him.

 

Dust waved goodbye towards Nightmare before going out the door and looking towards Error to wait for him. He wanted to walk together.

"Ready to go?" Killer asked Cross with a small smile.

 

Error walked after Dust, staying as close to him as possible. He didn't want him to fall and hurt himself.

Cross nodded slightly and lead the way.

 

"Bye kids." Nightmare sighed softly as he watched them leave. He looked at the clock before groaning. He still had that insufferable meeting. "Kill me already."

Dust lead the way to class, smiling all the while knowing he had such great people caring for him. That was more than his old life had.

Killer followed Cross with a small smile. He was happy he was walking with Cross again. He missed his friend even if they did hang out.

 

Error followed Dust closely, glaring at everyone who looked at them funnily. He was going to protect his friend. He was so glad they were friends.

Cross fell into step next to Killer, smiling at him slightly. He was glad that Dust was okay.

Chapter Text

Cross tapped his foot against the floor anxiously, messing with his hoodie strings nervously. He'd never been to a real doctor and he hadn't exactly planned on it.

 

Dust wasn't any better as he sat beside Cross. He had never went to a doctor, his old caretakers had never cared to take him despite how sick he'd been. He wasn't sure what to expect.

Nightmare came to them a moment later and sat beside them. "So they'll call you two when the doctor is ready." he said and looked at his boys. "Are you okay?"

 

"Not really..." Cross replied honestly. "I've never been to a doctor..." He admitted, looking at the floor.

 

"Me neither." Dust admitted. "I'm scared. I don't know what to expect."

 

Cross nodded in agreement. Additionally, the doctor was someone they didn't know, making him an unknown, potentially dangerous subject.

 

Nightmare nodded in understanding. "It's okay boys. No need to be afraid. The doctor is a friend of mine. And they will just check your temperature, weight and health. A simple check up, nothing too serious."

 

"Okay..." Cross mumbled quietly, putting his hands into his hoodie pocket as he stared at the floor.

 

Dust was still worried. What if he got hurt? Or panicked?

"Hey," Nightmare said softly and gently rubbed their skulls. "It'll be okay. I'll be there with you."

 

Cross relaxed slightly when Nightmare rubbed his skull, feeling a bit reassured.

 

Dust smiled up at Nightmare, feeling glad for the reassurance. "C-can we have fruit salad tonight dad? You make them taste so good."

Nightmare nodded with a smile. "Of course Dust. We'll go on a short shopping trip to get some more fruits okay?"

 

Cross smiled. His dad's fruit salad was amazing. A shopping trip sounded good too.

 

A moment later, the nurse opened the door. "Dust and Cross?"

Dust flinched at his name being called.

Nightmare stood up and gently took their hands to comfort them.

 

Cross winced slightly and held Nightmare's hand tightly as he stood up. He really didn't want to.

 

Nightmare gently pulled them towards the doctor's room and sat Dust on the singular chair beside the desk while he sat with Cross in front of the desk.

A skeleton smiled up at them. His arms had thin scars but they were covered up by little stickers. Even his skull had small scratches.

"Hello there Nightmare." he greeted.

"Hello Azzy." Nightmare greeted. "Nice to see you again."

"Likewise. Now, who do we have here?" Azzy asked while looking at Dust.

 

Dust sat down, looking at Nightmare longingly.

Cross sat down next to Nightmare, studying the floor intensely.

Dust flinched slightly as he saw that Azzy was looking at him.

"I.. 'm Dust..." He mumbled quietly.

 

Azzy smiled softly at Dust. "Hello there. I'm Azzy. Do you know why you're here?" he asked softly as he grabbed an object that looked like a short, white and blue scientific laser gun.

 

Dust shook his head, pulling his hood over his skull. That thing looked dangerous...

Cross watched worriedly. What was that thing?

 

Azzy noticed how nervous Dust looked and smiled. "Well, you're here for a check up. Your father is very worried about your health."

He tilted the thing in his hand. "This will help me check your temperature by pointing a harmless laser to your skull."

 

Dust nodded slightly. He'd already known that much but he was too scared to talk. He stared at the device. That really wasn't dangerous?

 

"Now hold still please." Azzy said softly while he put the device on Dust's skull. There was a little beep before he pulled it away with a smile. "There we go. It's done now. And your temperature is normal."

 

Dust looked up when it was done. He sighed in relief.

 

Nightmare smiled at Dust. He was doing well.

Azzy pulled out a stethoscope and put it on his skull. He held out the metal disk to Dust. "This will help me hear your Soul. Don't worry, it won't hurt but it is a bit cold."

 

Dust nodded slightly. He wanted everything to be over as quickly as possible.

 

Azzy pressed the disk on his clothed ribs, just over his Soul and heard his Soul.

After a moment be pulled away with a satisfied nod. "Your Soul is healthy."

 

Dust tensed when Azzy touched him and relaxed a bit when he backed up. At least his Soul was okay.

 

Azzy stood up and smiled at Dust. He walked towards a wall where a scale sat. "Let's check your height and weight okay? Can you stand here?"

 

Dust nodded slightly and stood up, walking over hesitantly.

 

Azzy smiled softly down at Dust. "Please take off your shoes and stand on the plate."

 

Dust nodded and kicked off his shoes, stepping onto the plate.

 

Azzy looked at the scale and frowned slightly in worry. He got out the measuring pole attached to the scale and took measurements. He felt his worry spiking.

He pulled away and gave Dust a small smile. "That's good. You did a good job."

 

Dust watched Azzy work, frowning slightly as he noticed that the adult seemed worried. Was something wrong?

He tilted his skull confusedly. Something had seemed to be wrong a moment ago but he'd done a good job? He was so confused.

 

"Can you sit back on the chair? I need to test your reflexes." Azzy said as he sat down on his own chair.

 

Dust nodded slightly and looked at his sneakers, not really sure if he could put them on or not.

 

"You can put your shoes on now." Azzy said.

 

Dust nodded and slipped into his grey sneakers, walking over to the chair. He didn't know what reflex testing involved. He hoped it wasn't painful.

 

Azzy got out a small hammer which had a point and rounded head. It didn't look like it could cause any damage. But still.

"This won't hurt at all." he assured with a smile. "I'm just testing your knee jerk reaction."

 

Dust stared at the hammer with wide eye sockets, his eye lights flickering. He didn't want that thing anywhere near him.

 

"I promise it won't hurt." Azzy assured. He tested it on his hand a few times and showed it to Dust. "See? No pain."

 

Dust pulled his hoodie strings tightly, hiding his face a bit. He looked up at his dad and his brother.

Cross frowned slightly and took a deep breath.

"Could you..." He gulped. "Could you demonstrate it on me first?" He asked quietly. He didn't want Dust to panic.

 

Nightmare gently rubbed their skulls to show his support. He could understand the worry. Dust had been hurt so much, they both had, and it was scary to be near anything that could hurt them. But Cross was being so brave.

"Wow, you're so brave." Azzy praised with a smile before he nodded and stood up, walking over to Cross and kneeled in front of him. "This won't hurt. I promise."

 

Dust sighed in relief when Azzy walked away and watched Cross intently.

Cross nodded slightly, trying to stay as relaxed as possible. He glanced at Dust and smiled reassuringly.

 

Nightmare embraced Cross with one hand while the other rubbed Dust's skull to comfort him.

Azzy smiled and knocked the rounded end on Cross' knee which caused the leg to jerk. "Well your reflexes are good."

 

Dust relaxed slightly and took off his hood, leaning into the touch.

Cross relaxed a bit at the hug. He looked down, a bit surprised that it didn't hurt.

 

Azzy smiled at Cross. "Good job for being so brave for your brother."

Nightmare nodded in agreement and nuzzled Cross' skull.

 

Cross nuzzled back with a small smile.

Dust looked relieved that Cross hadn't gotten hurt.

 

Azzy stood up and kneeled in front of Dust with a smile. "See? It didn't hurt. Are you ready to try now?"

 

Dust nodded. If the hammer didn't hurt Cross, it shouldn't hurt him either.

Cross smiled at him encouragingly.

 

Azzy gently knocked the hammer onto Dust's knee and it jerked. He hummed in thought before doing it again. He nodded and sat back in his chair. "That's good. You did so well."

 

Dust braced himself a bit, looking up confusedly when it didn't hurt at all. That hadn't been so terrible. He smiled slightly.

 

Azzy nodded and wrote something onto a piece of paper quickly. "Alright, it's your turn now." he said towards Cross.

 

Cross nodded and stood up. Dust quickly bolted off to Nightmare.

Cross smiled at his little brother as he walked to where the younger had been not a second ago.

 

Nightmare embraced Dust when the later ran towards him. He smiled and nuzzled Dust. "You did so well. Good job Dust. You did good."

Azzy smiled at the other. "What's your name?"

 

Dust cuddled into his dad, relaxing slightly.

"I'm Cross..." Cross greeted quietly, hesitantly reaching out his hand.

 

Azzy brightened up and gently shook Cross' hand. "Hello there Cross. You are one brave kid aren't you? I'm sure your dad is proud."

"I am." Nightmare said proudly. "For both of them."

 

Cross shook Azzy's hand gently before putting it back into his hoodie jacket. He looked down shyly at being called brave.

Dust smiled. He was proud of Cross too.

 

Azzy smiled and picked up the temperature gun again. "I'm going to check your temperature okay?"

 

Cross nodded in response, thankfully already knowing what to expect.

 

Azzy pressed the gun to Cross' skull and after a beep, pulled it away. He smiled at the readings. "Good and healthy. Now, I'm going to check your Soul okay?"

 

Cross smiled slightly.

He nodded a bit. He had a feeling that those results wouldn't be too good.

 

Azzy pressed the metal disk over Cross' clothes ribs and frowns slightly. He heard for a moment before pulling away with a smile. "You're doing well. Now, I need to take your height and weight."

 

Cross nodded, standing up. He'd been right. The results hadn't been very good. He walked over to the scale and took off his shoes, stepping onto the weird thing Dust had already stood on.

 

Azzy walked over and checked Cross' weight before checking his height. He looked a bit worried but he nodded. "That's good. You can sit down now."

 

Cross nodded in response, not missing that Azzy looked troubled. He took his shoes and sat back down, putting them on.

 

Azzy wrote something down on a piece of paper before smiling at the family. "You both did so well. And for your bravery, you get a treat."

Azzy reached under the desk and pulled out a basket full of suckers in different colours. "Go ahead. Pick one."

 

Cross looked up at Nightmare for permission. His dad always said they shouldn't accept any candy from people they didn't know.

Dust looked up at Nightmare in question.

 

Nightmare nodded at them with a smile, giving them permission. "Go ahead. Just one though."

 

Cross nodded in agreement and reached over, grabbing a red one.

"Thanks." He said with a small smile.

Dust took a purple one and thanked Azzy too.

 

Azzy smiled happily at them. "You're welcome."

He put the basket back where he got it and looked at Nightmare. "Can I speak with your father privately? You can wait outside. It's only for a moment."

 

Cross nodded and stood up, taking Dust's hand to lead him outside.

 

Azzy smiled at the kids before he looked at Nightmare seriously. "So, their weight and height are very concerning. Dust is slightly underweight and short compared to his age, signs of malnutrition and fatigue. He's also very nervous and fearful. And Cross he's about the same but his Soul is slightly unstable, like he's been through trauma."

 

Nightmare sighed. He'd already expected that.

"They were both abused." He explained, looking at the closed door worriedly.

 

Azzy frowned before nodding in understanding. "I see. How long ago?"

 

"I adopted Cross a few months ago but his abuser is at the school and I got Dust out of his situation a month ago." Nightmare explained.

 

Azzy frowned deeper at the information. "How was Dust's situation? And that's not good for Cross. Is there any way to get of the abuser?"

 

"Complete neglect and hatred from his biological parents." Nightmare replied.

"There's nothing I can do..." He said quietly.

 

Azzy sighed softly. "I'm afraid of that. Has the abuser done anything to Cross recently?"

 

"Not that I know of..." Nightmare replied unsurely. He had a feeling XGaster was testing the waters.

 

Azzy nodded in understanding. "Well, so far you're doing good. They're slightly underweight but I assume it's because you are slowly getting them back to their normal weight?"

 

"Yeah." Nightmare agreed. It was hard to convince them to eat a small bit more but it was most definitely worth it.

 

"That's good." Azzy nodded with a satisfied look. "Do they take any vitamins?"

 

"They eat vitamins but only the ones in the food I cook them." Nightmare explained.

 

Azzy nodded with a smile. "That's good. I don't see any reason to give them supplements then. Did you give them a lot of calcium?"

 

"Yeah." Nightmare replied. His boys drank a lot of milk, especially chocolate milk.

 

"That's good." Azzy said and wrote something down. "That's all I think. If you need any assistance, don't hesitate to call old friend. Come back in three months."

 

Nightmare nodded. He'd go to the receptionist and get an appointment immediately.

"Thanks for your help." He thanked Azzy with a smile. He was glad that his boys weren't sick.

 

Azzy smiled back and shook Nightmare's hand. "Anything for a friend. Take good care of those two okay? They're precious."

 

Nightmare smiled.

"I will." He agreed, a thought coming to his mind.

"Is there anything I can do about scars?" He asked. He'd seen a few on Dust and a lot of them the one time he'd seen Cross' ribcage.

 

Azzy looked down and hummed thoughtfully. "Well, not much can be done but I have a solution that can lessen the scars."

He wrote something onto a small piece of paper. "It won't be as visible. I'll ask the nurse to give you the bottle. It's a powder that has to be applied on their bones."

 

"Thanks, Azzy." Nightmare replied with a relieved smile. It would be no problem getting Dust to agree to that but he'd have a bit of trouble with Cross.

 

"Anytime." Azzy smiled. "Go and greet your sons now. They must be worried."

 

Nightmare nodded and took the paper, walking outside.

 

Dust sat on the chair beside Cross, sucking his candy nervously. What did the doctor want to talk about with Nightmare? Was it about his weight? Azzy had been frowning when he checked his weight.

 

Cross was holding Dust's hand gently, deep in thought. Azzy had probably found some things wrong with them...

Nightmare quickly went to his boys and hugged them.

 

Dust relaxed when Nightmare hugged them and leaned into the touch. He felt better with Nightmare's comforting embrace. He felt safe.

 

Cross looked up when Nightmare hugged them and hugged back with a small smile.

Nightmare smiled at them.

"Remember that promised ice cream?" He asked.

 

Dust immediately brightened up at the mention of ice cream. He nodded happily. "Can we get some after this dad? Please?"

 

Cross' eye lights brightened up immensely. He loved ice cream.

"Sure." Nightmare agreed with a smile.

 

Dust smiled happily and nuzzled Nightmare. "Do we have to grab medicine first?"

 

"It's not really medicine but yeah." Nightmare replied, picking up his two sons.

Cross smiled and held onto his dad.

 

Dust clung onto Nightmare with an understanding nod, still sucking his candy. He hoped it wouldn't be painful. His old caretakers had threatened to give him painful medicine a long time ago if he didn't behave and it scared him. He knew it couldn't be true but it scared him still.

"It won't hurt, will it?" he asked nervously.

 

Nightmare shook his head.

"It's just some powder for your bones." He explained, nuzzling Dust gently.

 

"Okay." Dust said and smiled at the gentle affection. He trusted his dad. If Nightmare said it wouldn't hurt then it wouldn't hurt.

 

Cross cuddled into Nightmare, glad that the whole experience was over.

Nightmare walked to the receptionist desk.

 

The nurse behind the desk looks up at his approach before smiling. "Hello there. You're Mr. Nightmare correct?"

 

Nightmare nodded and put the piece of paper onto the table.

"I need an appointment in three months." He explained.

 

The nurse nodded and grabbed the paper, reading it for a moment. She checked something in her computer for a moment before writing something down on two pieces of brown rectangular hard paper before handing it to Nightmare. "Those are their appointment cards. Bring them for every check up."

She reached behind her and pulled out a large white plastic bottle before labelling something and handed it to Nightmare. "Apply this once every week after showering. It should fill any scars in a few months."

 

Nightmare nodded. He didn't have a free hand though.

Cross quickly noticed and took the cards, wincing slightly when the topic of scars came up. He took the bottle too.

 

Dust looked at Cross before holding a hand out to offer his help. He wanted to help too.

The nurse smiled at the kids. So precious. "Thank you for coming sir and please return if you have any problems." she said kindly with a cheerful smile.

 

Nightmare smiled and carefully walked to the door.

"Dust, could you please open the door?" He asked as he held them both close.

 

Dust smiled brightly at the request and nodded, reaching over to push the door open for his dad.

 

Nightmare smiled. The doctor was right. His sons were precious.

"Thank you." He said, nuzzling Dust gently. He nuzzled Cross too.

 

Dust nuzzled back happily, his Soul humming with joy. He was glad he was doing something good for his family. He felt useful and special. And especially loved.

 

Nightmare smiled. His boys deserved ice cream now.

Cross cuddled into Nightmare slightly, the topic of scars bouncing around in his skull.

 

~~~

 

Nightmare looked at the many ice cream flavours as he waited in line. He was holding both his sons by their hands.

Cross stood on his tiptoes to see some of the ice cream flavours. Maybe there was a new one?

 

Dust looked at the flavors with his tongue out slightly. He can't see much because of his short height. He hoped they have his favorite flavor!

 

Nightmare picked Dust up once he had looked at everything.

"What flavour do you want?" He asked.

 

Dust smiled when Nightmare lifted him up and looked over the flavors. He pointed to his favorite flavor, strawberry marshmallow with chocolate swirls.

 

Nightmare smiled as he saw the flavour.

"What about you, Cross?" He asked.

"Chocolate!" Came the immediate reply.

 

Dust chuckled happily and fondly at Cross' immediate response. Of course Cross would choose that. It felt good to hear that from his brother.

 

Nightmare smiled, rubbing Cross' head gently. He'd already expected that.

Cross smiled up at them.

 

Dust smiled down at Cross happily. He was glad Cross is happy. It suited his brother.

 

Cross looked in front of them, noticing that it was their turn.

Nightmare stepped forward and quickly ordered for them all.

 

Dust clung onto Nightmare excitedly. He loved ice cream, though he knew it was bad to eat too much. He was glad Nightmare was buying them some.

"Thank you dad!" Dust said while smiling up at Nightmare.

 

Nightmare smiled happily and nuzzled Dust gently. He handed him his ice cream with a bright smile.

 

Dust cheered happily when he was given ice cream and- since he was still being held by Nightmare- in pure love and affection for his father, he gave Nightmare a kiss on the cheek.

 

Nightmare smiled happily and nuzzled Dust softly.

He took Cross' ice cream and handed it to him.

Cross smiled and took the ice cream happily.

 

Dust laughed softly in joy. He loved this. He never wanted this to end.

 

Nightmare smiled happily as he paid and took his own ice cream.

Cross spotted an empty bench. He pointed over at it. They could sit down there.

 

Dust looked over at the bench and nodded. It would be perfect to sit there.

 

Nightmare smiled and walked after Cross to the bench.

 

Dust licked his ice cream happily, offering Nightmare a taste with a happy expression on his face.

 

Nightmare smiled, tasting Dust's ice cream.

"Tastes amazing. I think I have a new favourite ice cream flavour." He said happily.

Cross hopped onto the bench, eating his ice cream happily.

Nightmare sat down next to him.

 

Dust practically glowed at that. Nightmare liked his favorite ice cream flavor?

Dust looked at Cross and offered his ice cream for Cross to taste.

 

Cross smiled and licked the ice cream, humming happily at the taste.

"Tastes really good." He said with a smile. If he'd ever manage to eat two scoops he'd take that one.

 

Dust smiled brightly, his eye lights briefly having hearts in them. "Thank you!"

 

Nightmare stared at Dust for a second before cuddling him close. His son was so adorable.

 

Dust hummed questioningly when he was hugged but he didn't protest. He licked his ice cream happily.

 

Cross smiled, leaning onto Nightmare as he ate his ice cream. It tasted really good.

Nightmare regretted not having more arms as he ate his ice cream.

 

Dust licked his ice cream happily, his Soul humming joyfully.

 

Nightmare was really happy that he had decided to eat ice cream with his boys.

Cross focused on his ice cream, his eye lights shining brightly with joy.

 

"Dad?" Dust looked at Nightmare with a smile.

 

Nightmare looked down at his son happily, nodding for him to continue.

 

"I'm glad you took me in." Dust said sincerely with a bright smile and brief little hearts. "I'm glad I have a good father. I'm glad I have a good brother. I'm happy. I'm happy here. With my family."

 

Nightmare stared at Dust for a moment before hugging him tightly.

"I'm glad I took you two in." He murmured softly.

Cross smiled, tears in his eye sockets as he hugged his little bro tightly.

 

Dust giggled happily and leaned into the hug, taking a quick lick from Nightmare's melting ice cream mischievously.

 

"You're the best family." Cross mumbled softly. He was so happy that he had Nightmare and Dust.

 

Dust nuzzled his family happily. He was happy. He was so so happy.

"We should eat before our ice cream turns into just cream." he said playfully.

 

Cross nodded and pulled back a bit, quickly trying to salvage his ice cream.

Nightmare smiled, rubbing Dust's skull gently as he licked his ice cream.

 

Dust enjoyed his ice cream happily, licking the cold treat.

Chapter Text

Cross stayed close to Nightmare as they waited for the others. There were many people but he was so excited!

Dust held Nightmare's hand, looking around for their friends.

 

Nightmare looked around at the crowd of people. Usually he'd be worried for his boys but they seemed to be distracted by the sheer size of the amusement park. Once in a while he could treat his boys, not often.

 

Cross gasped and waved when he spotted Killer and Horror.

Dust looked into the direction Cross was waving in, smiling when he spotted Killer and Horror.

 

Killer looked at the others and smiled happily, waving at them as he tugged on Horror's hand to make him walk faster.

 

Horror smiled at Nightmare, quickly weaving his way through the crowd to get to them.

 

Killer reached his friends and smiled happily. "Hey guys! Did you wait long?"

 

Cross smiled.

"Not at all." He replied happily, giving Killer a hug. He was really happy that Killer was there.

Horror looked at Nightmare. Maybe they could go on a rollercoaster. He loved rollercoasters.

 

Nightmare smiled at his kids before looking at Horror and grinned at the look. "Rollercoaster?"

 

"Rollercoaster." Horror agreed with a matching grin.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly. Of course Horror would choose that. "We'll invite Fresh too when he and Error get here."

 

"Sounds good." Horror agreed.

 

Nightmare nodded and waited for their two friends.

Killer smiled at Cross and Dust. "Isn't it exciting?! An amusement park! Where do you wanna go first?"

 

"I've never been to one before so I don't know." Cross replied. "Where do you wanna go?" He asked, his eye lights shining brightly.

Error pointed at their friends, glitching a bit as he was carried by Fresh. There were so many people...

 

"I want to try the laser rides!" Killer said excitedly. "There's this ride where you can shoot lasers at these creatures like mummies and gigantic fake spiders!"

Dust smiled happily. That sounded fun. He already knew it was fake, but just in case he'd stay close to Cross.

Fresh looked to where Error was pointing and smiled, walking towards them.

"Hey bros. Sorry I'm late. Traffic." Fresh said and gently put Error down beside his friend.

Nightmare smiled at him. "It's fine. We were about to go inside."

 

Cross smiled brightly. That sounded amazing!

"That sounds so cool!" He replied happily.

Horror nodded. He had just gotten there too.

Dust smiled brightly when he spotted Error.

"Hug?" He asked, not sure if Error wanted a hug when there were that many people around.

Error nodded, hugging Dust.

 

"We should get inside now if we want to play all day." Nightmare said pointing to the reception area. They'd already bought their tickets online so it wasn't a problem. Amusement parks tended to be expensive with food so he'd brought plenty in his backpack.

Fresh nodded in agreement. "Sounds good to me!"

 

Horror nodded, taking Killer's hand. He didn't want to lose his son.

Error smiled and quickly ran to his dad, taking his hand.

Dust and Cross walked to Nightmare.

 

Killer smiled up at Horror and held his hand obediently. He didn't want to get lost. Especially in a place like this.

Fresh took Error's hand with a smile and a short rub over his skull.

Nightmare took both Dust's and Cross' hand as he lead everyone to the entrance.

 

Error smiled happily, leaning into the touch.

Cross took Nightmare's hand, staring at the amusement park, completely mesmerised. He just hoped he wouldn't get lost.

Dust looked around with brightly glowing eye lights. He was so excited!

 

Nightmare showed the person behind the counter their online ticket. They nodded and let them pass with a map for each of them when Nightmare requested.

Nightmare looked around before smiling at everyone. He knew he'd stir a lot of reactions, and he was prepared. "Now, how about we let the kids run around?"

 

Error frowned at Nightmare. That didn't sound like a good idea to him. There were much too many people. He shook his head. He didn't want to get lost.

Horror stared at Nightmare.

"You're aware of the fact how many people there are?" He asked.

Cross looked up at his dad unsurely. There were too many people to do that safely.

 

Fresh shook his skull, he didn't want to lose Error.

"I'm aware." Nightmare nodded with a mischievous smile. "I gave Cross and Dust a phone each, emergency contact. People are less likely to kidnap people when they're in a large crowd and if the kids are in a large group. Also,"

Nightmare leaned closer towards the adults. "It's better if we don't act like helicopter parents. Which by the way, can damage them mentally. They're safe if they're together. They can have fun without us constantly hovering over them."

 

Horror frowned at Nightmare. Killer had a phone too but he still thought it was a bad idea.

Cross shifted nervously. He didn't want to be kidnapped again...

 

Nightmare noticed their looks and smiled softly. "Neither of you have to do it. It's just a recommendation."

He looked down at Dust and Cross who looked fearful. "You don't have to do it either."

 

Error shook his head. He really didn't want to.

"I don't wanna get kidnapped again..." Cross mumbled quietly.

 

"Wait what?" Nightmare tensed in shock. His worry shot skyward. "You've been kidnapped before?"

 

Cross looked up at Nightmare and nodded. He had been in a group too but someone had just snatched him up and drugged him with a sedative. He had only managed to escape because the kidnappers had been too drunk to stop him.

Dust stared at Cross shockedly. His brother had gotten kidnapped?

The others stared at him with varying degrees of shock and worry.

 

"W-when? How?" Nightmare stuttered in shock. He couldn't believe that anyone would kidnap Cross. How did it happen?

 

Cross shrugged slightly.

"About a year ago. Someone just took me while I was on a field trip with my old school and made me fall unconscious with some drug." He explained calmly. He'd been told that it was normal but he really didn't want to repeat it.

 

Nightmare took a breath to calm himself from an instant attack due to stress and worry before he picked up Cross and Dust, hugging them close. "Forget what I said. I'm taking my kids wherever I go."

 

Cross looked up when Nightmare picked him up. Everyone looked really worried. Was that because of what he had told them?

Dust hugged Cross close.

 

Fresh forced himself to relax and pulled Error a little closer. He really didn't want that to happen to anyone. "Yeah, we're taking our kids."

Killer looked at Cross worriedly. He was glad his friend was safe but he doubted being kidnapped was a good feeling.

 

Error stepped closer to his dad and hugged him.

Horror nodded in agreement. He wasn't going to let Killer out of sight.

 

"Alright." Nightmare said after a moment of regaining his thoughts. He gently put his kids down but he held their hands. "Where do we want to go first?"

Killer opened the map he had been given and examined it. The map showed different coloured sections that had rides on it labelled with numbers. "We could go through it periodically? It's in zones and it's all a tiny bit connected with a main path."

 

"Sounds good." Cross agreed. That way they could do everything without missing anything.

 

Killer smiled and handed Dust the map so that he could show it to Nightmare without letting go of Dust's hand.

Fresh smiled and nodded. It sounded like a great idea.

 

Dust took the map and held it up for Nightmare to see.

Error got out his map and nodded in agreement. That sounded like a good plan.

 

Nightmare smiled thankfully at Dust before reading the map. "It looks like the first zone is urban themed. There's a few game stands, rock climbing wall, a boat racing/car racing ride, a rollercoaster-" Horror cut him off before he could finish.

 

"Rollercoaster!" Horror shouted excitedly with a big smile. "Let's go!"

 

Killer chuckled at his dad's enthusiasm and nodded happily.

Fresh smiled at the idea of a rollercoaster. Admittedly, he was a bit of an adrenaline junkie and rollercoasters were the best.

Nightmare nodded at them. "Alright, let's go." he said before leading the way.

 

Dust and Cross followed Nightmare, staying close to him at all times.

Horror walked after them, holding Killer's hand gently.

"dad, can yOu caRRy mE?" Error asked. He didn't want to risk having a panic attack.

 

Fresh smiled and did just that, holding Error close. "Of course sport. I won't let anyone kidnap you. Let them try." he said with a slightly manic and dangerous grin.

 

Error smiled, cuddling into him. His dad was an amazing protector.

 

Nightmare lead them to their first ride. The rollercoaster. It was a medium sized one that had turns and speed drops but nothing else. It was a basic one.

 

Horror's eye lights were glowing brightly as he saw the rollercoaster. It looked awesome.

 

Nightmare looked at his kids. "Can you ride this? You're old enough and tall enough, even Dust."

Killer looked at the rollercoaster with the same expression as his dad.

Fresh was smiling when he saw it. It was decent. Certainly a good first time rollercoaster. "Are you ready to ride it Error?"

 

"tOtally." Error replied with an excited smile.

Cross nodded. He really wanted to ride it but there was one thing that bothered him.

"We're seven people." He pointed out.

 

Nightmare counts the cars as they zoomed past him on the track. "Four on one car and there's three. We can fit."

 

"Okay." Cross replied. They should probably join the line.

 

"Let's get in line." Killer suggested excitedly. "It seems to be going moderately instead of slow like usual rides do!"

 

Cross smiled and quickly pulled Nightmare along, the others following them.

 

Nightmare chuckled fondly when he was pulled and stood in line with the others behind him.

 

Cross was almost vibrating in excitement. He'd get to go on his first rollercoaster!

Dust smiled happily, glad that he was tall enough for the ride.

 

Fresh took this time to give Error some affection. He had been a bit busy lately and hadn't gotten the time to truly love his son. Today was the perfect day to do so. He might give Horror and Nightmare a present for this idea. Definitely deserved it.

 

Error relaxed as Fresh held him, nuzzling him gently.

 

Killer looked at Cross and smiles. "So Cross? What are you hoping from this rollercoaster ride? Other than the rush of course!"

 

Cross shrugged slightly. He didn't know what to expect.

 

"Do you want to sit in the front or back?" Killer asked again, trying to strike up a conversation.

 

Cross hummed in thought.

"I think I wanna sit in the front." Cross replied with a small smile.

"You?" He asked.

 

"Of course the front!" Killer said happily. "It's so much fun! Plus you get to see the tracks! And everything else!"

 

"That sounds so cool!" Cross replied happily.

"Look, we're so close already!" Dust pointed out excitedly.

 

Killer almost jumped in excitement. So close~!

Nightmare smiled fondly at the kids. He was happy they were so excited. They deserved to be happy.

 

Horror smiled. He was just as excited as the kids, if not more.

 

Nightmare looked at Horror. "Should we have eaten something light before going on this ride?"

 

Horror shrugged. He knew he wouldn't have any problems regarding that and he'd made sure Killer ate something relatively light.

"Probably." He responded.

 

"We should grab a snack after this." Nightmare said as they neared the end of the line for their turn.

 

Horror nodded in agreement. He was getting a bit hungry.

 

"Next!" The worker called.

Killer smiled excited and looked up at Horror.

Nightmare walked forward with the others following behind him. They all took their preferred seats.

 

Cross smiled excitedly, getting inside and putting the weird seatbelt thing on.

 

Nightmare decided to sit behind Cross and Killer, next to Dust.

Fresh sat in the back with Error and Horror sat at the very back.

"Ready boys?" Nightmare asked with a smile.

 

"Ready." Cross and Dust said in unison, smiling excitedly.

 

The car moved and Nightmare smiled, leaning back. "Here we go boys."

 

Horror cheered happily as the car moved.

Cross leaned back a bit, smiling excitedly as the car slowly moved up a small hill.

Error chuckled. This was going to be fun.

 

Killer was practically bouncing in his seat as the car tilted upwards to gain momentum.

Fresh smiled and adjusted his shades so that they wouldn't fall.

Nightmare smiled and waited for the fall, feeling a slight rush from the vertigo.

 

Error held onto his glasses, not wanting to lose them.

There was that moment when the car was all the way up and tilted slowly before rushing down.

Cross held onto the belt thingy tightly, smiling brightly.

 

Nightmare was smiling when the air rushed around him as they descended.

Killer cheered loudly when they fell, raising his arms and relishing in the rush.

Fresh was the same, laughing as the wind blew past him as the fell.

 

Horror laughed, throwing his arms up. He absolutely loved rollercoasters.

Dust thought it was a bit scary at first but when they were halfway down, he smiled.

 

The ride went through a few turns, rising and falling with a little tilt on one turn. It went around two times before slowing to a stop.

 

Cross was giggling happily.

"Again, again!" He chanted with a bright smile.

Dust joined in after a second.

Error smiled brightly. He'd really liked it.

Horror chuckled. Seemed like the kids were enthusiastic about rollercoasters.

 

Nightmare chuckled before stepping out of the car.  "We'll ride the other rollercoasters first."

 

Cross cheered, getting out of the rollercoaster.

Dust followed Nightmare, taking his hand with a bright smile.

Horror walked to them with a happy smile.

 

Fresh got out with Error happily in his arms.

Killer jumped out and latched onto Horror with a bright smile. "More rollercoasters??!"

 

Error smiled brightly, hugging his dad gently.

Horror chuckled.

"Yeah!" He agreed happily, cuddling Killer close.

 

"Let's go have a snack first." Nightmare- being the voice of reason- said. "We don't want to get sick from all the rollercoaster rides or other rides we will get on."

 

"Sure. Food sounds good." Horror agreed, clearing the exit area by taking a few steps away.

 

Nightmare nodded and looked for a free spot. He pointed to a line of free benches. "How about there?"

 

"Sounds good." Horror agreed, walking there with Killer.

 

Fresh walked over there and sat down, placing Error beside him with an arm wrapped loosely around his kid to protect him. Daring anyone to try and approach his child.

Killer smiled happily as he followed Horror.

Nightmare walked towards the benches and sat down on one, taking off his bag and pulling out a large container full of sandwiches.

 

Error cuddled into Fresh's side slightly.

Cross and Dust sat next to Nightmare watching him as he got out their lunch.

 

Nightmare handed Cross and Dust a sandwich each before distributing it to everyone else.

 

Cross smiled and thanked him, leaning against Nightmare slightly as he ate the sandwich.

"Thanks, dad." Dust thanked him, taking the sandwich gratefully.

 

Nightmare nodded and ate his sandwich silently.

 

~~~

 

Nightmare lead everyone through ride after ride. It had been fun. They had yet to play any stall games but they'd play soon enough.

Killer looked around and he lit up, grabbing Horror's sleeve and pointing to a rollercoaster, this one larger than the first. "Dad look!"

 

Horror gasped when he saw the rollercoaster. He definitely needed to go on that.

"Wow! We need to ride that!" He said excitedly.

Cross looked up. The rollercoaster was so big!

 

Fresh looked at the rollercoaster and smiled with an agreeing nod. That looked fun.

Nightmare looked over before nodding. "Sure." he said before pulling his sons towards the ride.

 

Error smiled slightly. That was going to be really exciting. It had so many twists and turns.

Cross cheered happily, a bright smile on his face.

Dust walked next to Nightmare, looking at the rollercoaster excitedly.

 

Nightmare walked towards the entrance before he was stopped by a worker.

"I'm sorry but he can enter." The worker said sorrowfully, pointing towards Dust. "He's too short for the ride."

 

Dust stared at the worker for a second before sighing sadly.

 

"Guess I'll go sit on that bench over there..." He mumbled.

"i'll gO with yOu!" Error said. 

 

Killer frowned at Dust sadly. That's not fair. He was old enough to ride.

Nightmare frowned before rubbing Dust's skull. "Don't worry. I'll keep you company too."

 

Cross frowned. That was really unfair.

"wE'll find sOmEthing REally fun tO dO." Error promised with a small smile.

Dust nodded slightly, managing a small smile.

 

Nightmare smiled and looked at the others. "You all go ahead. Watch Cross for me."

Fresh nodded, rubbing Error's skull for being so kind and staying back with Dust.

 

"Will do." Horror agreed with a smile.

Dust and Error walked to Nightmare while the others joined the line.

 

Nightmare looked down at the kids with a small smile and gently rubbed their skulls. "Let's go sit while we wait."

 

Error winced a small bit at the touch. He wasn't completely used to Mr. Nightmare yet. He trusted him but he still needed to get used to him.

"Okay.." Dust agreed quietly.

 

Nightmare pulled his hand away from Error when he noticed the wince and gave him a soft smile.

He lead them to an empty bench and sat down.

 

Error looked up at Mr. Nightmare gratefully.

Dust sat down next to Nightmare, hugging him. He was still kind of sad.

Error walked to the bench and sat down next to Dust.

 

Nightmare rubbed Dust's back sympathetically. "Don't worry, you won't be short forever. I promise."

 

Dust looked at the floor, kicking his feet that didn't even touch the ground.

Error frowned slightly, looking around to find something interesting to cheer Dust up.

 

Nightmare rubbed Dust's back as he tried to comfort his son.

 

Dust leaned into the touch slightly, glad for the reassurance.

Error smiled slightly as he saw someone sell cotton candy.

"lOOk."

 

Nightmare looked at where Error was pointing and smiled. "We could get some cotton candy. Want some Dust?"

 

Dust hummed.

"What's cotton candy?" He asked curiously.

"yOu tOtally missEd Out On sOmEthing. it's puRE sugaR and it tastEs amazing!" Error explained with a smile.

 

"It's coloured sugar spun into strings." Nightmare explained. "It's like.... a fluffy sugary spider web on a stick. Without the spider."

 

"That sounds so cool!" Dust gasped with a big smile.

Error grinned. They absolutely had to get some.

 

Nightmare smiled and stood up. "Let's go. We should get some for the others too."

 

"yEah!" Error agreed, taking Nightmare's hand without flinching.

Dust smiled. Cross would probably like that.

 

Nightmare smiled at Error before taking Dust's hand and pulling them towards the cotton candy stand.

 

Error dodged a few people that came too close to touching him for his liking as he walked after Nightmare.

Dust smiled brightly. He couldn't wait to try cotton candy.

 

Nightmare walked to the stand and bought seven small cotton candies in different colours. The worker nodded and got to work getting the seven cotton candies.

 

Dust gasped mesmerisedly as he watched the worker make the cotton candy. So amazing!

Error smiled, glad that Dust wasn't sad anymore.

 

Nightmare smiled at the look of wonder in Dust's eyes. He grabbed one cotton candy from the worker and handed it to Dust before grabbing another for Error.

 

Dust took the cotton candy with a bright smile and thanked Nightmare.

"thanks." Error said happily as he took the cotton candy.

 

Nightmare nodded and the worker put the rest of the cotton candies- except one- in a plastic bag each to make sure they wouldn't stick to each other before handing it all to Nightmare. Nightmare nodded and paid the worker before he took it all including his own.

 

"i can hElp yOu caRRy thEm." Error offered.

Dust nodded. He could help too if his dad needed help.

 

Nightmare smiled at the kids and handed them some. "Thank you boys. You're very helpful."

 

Dust smiled brightly as he held the bagged cotton candy and ate his own. It tasted so amazing.

Error smiled, licking his cotton candy.

 

"Let's go sit okay?" Nightmare said and took a bite from his cotton candy. It did taste good. But it was so sugary.

 

Error nodded, walking to the bench they had been sitting on, dodging people left and right.

Dust followed Error. There were so many people. It made him a bit uneasy.

 

Nightmare lead the way and sat on their previous bench, letting the kids sit beside him. He knew so many people around made them nervous. He hoped their confidence would improve but maybe they could practice that at a smaller scale.

 

"It tastes so good." Dust said happily as he sat between his dad and his best friend.

Error nodded in agreement, hoping that he wasn't making anyone uncomfortable using his multiple tongues to eat the cotton candy.

 

Nightmare nodded in agreement. "It does taste good. I'm glad you like them Dust. You too Error."

 

Error smiled slightly. He loved cotton candy almost as much as chocolate.

 

Nightmare ate the treat silently, waiting for the others to finish their ride. The line went fast so hopefully they wouldn't have to wait long.

 

A few minutes later the others walked up to them.

 

Nightmare looked up when they arrived and smiled with a wave. "How'd it go?"

Killer smiled at them. "It was fun."

 

Horror nodded excitedly. It had been awesome.

Cross smiled and nodded in agreement.

 

"It was rad." Fresh said before smiling brightly and picked up Error, nuzzling him gently. "I'm sad you guys missed it."

 

Error smiled brightly and nuzzled back happily.

"wE gOt cOttOn candy!" He called excitedly.

 

Killer smiled wider. "Cotton candy?" he looked up at Horror for permission.

Nightmare nodded and pointed towards the packeted candies. "I got enough for everyone."

"That's rad bro!" Fresh smiled wide at Nightmare. "Thanks!"

 

"Thanks!" Cross said happily, taking a cotton candy. He'd only tasted it once before and it was amazing.

Horror smiled, thanking Nightmare as he grabbed one.

 

Nightmare nodded and handed Fresh a cotton candy alongside Killer.

"Where do we want to go next?" Nightmare asked with a smile.

 

Error got out his map, looking down at it. If they followed their system...

"that way." He announced.

 

Nightmare nodded and stood up, ready to lead the way.

Fresh smiled and ate his cotton candy, nuzzling Error gently. "Thanks for being brave and keeping Dust company."

 

Error smiled.

"hE's my bEst fRiEnd, Of cOuRsE i stayEd with him." He replied, nuzzling back gently.

Dust smiled happily.

 

Fresh hugged Error happily as they walked. "Well then you are a very good friend."

Killer nodded in agreement at Error.

 

"The best!" Dust agreed happily.

Error smiled brightly.

 

Nightmare lead them to another game.

Killer smiled happily. "I hope you'll get to ride the next one Dust."

 

Dust nodded. He really hoped so too.

Cross smiled. Rollercoasters were cool but they were even better with his brother.

 

~~~

 

Killer looked around as they walked, trying to find something interesting. He stopped when something caught his eye. In one of the stalls was a stuffed hedgehog.

He bit his lower lip nervously and gently tugged on Horror's sleeve.

 

Horror looked down at Killer, raising a brow ridge.

"Yeah?" He asked.

 

Killer looked down shyly and pointed towards the game stall that had the hedgehog hanging as a prize. He wanted that. He loved hedgehogs and that one was so big and soft looking. "Can we play dad? Please?"

 

"Sure." Horror replied with a smile. He looked at the game. That was a rather difficult looking game...

 

Killer smiled brightly and hugged Horror. He hadn't thought Horror would let him. "Thank you!"

 

Horror got out his wallet and handed Killer some money to try the game.

 

Nightmare looked over at Horror. "You're going to play the games?"

Fresh looked over and looked at the prizes. Some were pretty good but they were difficult to win.

Killer smiled happily and took the money, pulling Horror to the stall with him.

 

Horror nodded in agreement, following Killer.

Cross looked at the game. It seemed pretty hard but he was sure Killer could do it.

 

Killer payed the worker and got five ping pong balls. He had to throw the ball into a red rimmed cup to get the big prize.

Killer reared his hand back and threw the ball. It bounced off the rim of the cup. He frowned and tried again.

 

Error frowned slightly. That looked really hard. He didn't think he'd be able to do that but maybe Killer would manage to do it.

 

Nightmare watched as Killer played the game, handing Cross and Dust some money to try the other game stalls.

 

Cross took the money confusedly. What was he supposed to do with it?

 

Nightmare looked at his kids and nodded towards the game stalls. "Go and play something."

Killer threw another ping pong ball and it went in the wrong space. He huffed in frustration and grabbed the last one.

 

Error looked up at Fresh.

"can i gO play sOmEthing tOO?" He asked quietly.

Cross smiled and turned towards Dust who was waiting for Error.

 

Fresh smiled down at Error and gave him some money. It was good he was trying something new. Error was so shy. "Go ahead Error. Have fun."

 

Error smiled up at Fresh as he took the money.

"thanks, dad." He replied happily. He ran to Dust, a smile on his face.

 

Killer frowned when he missed the hole and got a pen as a small prize for the hole he did get. He took it sadly and looked at the plush toy longingly.

 

Horror frowned slightly.

"Let me try..." He mumbled, walking up to the counter. If his son wanted that plushy he'd do his best to get it for him.

 

Killer looked up at his dad in confusion and stepped aside, still looking slightly sad.

 

Horror took the pingpong balls, staring at his target intensely. He threw the first ball.

 

Killer watched as his dad played the game. Would he win?

 

Horror smirked slightly as he managed to score two points. He concentrated as much as he could and threw the third ball.

 

Killer watched in awe as his dad played the game. He smiled slightly. Horror was good.

 

He cheered silently as he scored a third point.

Horror threw another ball, smiling as it went in easily.

 

Nightmare turned his skull and spotted Horror winning at a game. He smiled slightly. Horror looked like he was having fun.

 

Horror threw the last ball, staring at it in shock as it rolled on the rim of the cup for a second. He cheered when it went inside.

 

Killer smiled when his dad won the game and got a lot of points. He looked up at Horror. "You won!"

 

Horror smiled down at his son and rubbed his skull gently.

 

Killer leaned into the touch happily. "What prize are you going to pick?"

 

"The plush hedgehog of course." Horror replied with a smile, taking the prize from the worker and handing it to Killer.

 

Killer looked at the plush handed to him in shock. He took it and looked up at Horror. "You got it.... for me?"

 

"Of course." Horror replied happily, rubbing Killer's skull gently.

 

Killer smiled brightly and hugged Horror tight. The hedgehog in one arm as he hugged Horror. "Thank you. So much."

 

Horror hugged back happily.

"Always." He replied.

 

Killer gave one last squeeze before pulling away with a large smile. He looked at the plush and hugged it close.

 

Horror let his son go and smiled when he saw how happy Killer looked.

 

Nightmare smiled at Horror teasingly. "Softy."

 

"Don't mind being one for him." Horror responded with a smile.

 

"Aw." Nightmare said with a grin before looking at his own boys. They were doing fine on their own. "I have no place to judge though. I'm one for them too."

 

Horror nodded. Nightmare sure was.

"Do you want to go play with the others?" He asked Killer.

 

Killer looked up from his plush and looked at the others. He shook his skull with a smile. "No. They look like they're having fun on their own. I want to stay with you!"

 

Horror smiled.

"Can I pick you up?" He asked. He really wanted to cuddle with Killer a bit.

 

Killer brightened up and nodded, raising one arm towards Horror.

 

Horror picked Killer up and cuddled him close, nuzzling him gently.

 

Killer nuzzled Horror happily, holding his prize close.

Nightmare chuckled softly before looking at his boys and how they were progressing on their turns.

 

Dust and Error were cheering Cross on as he was playing a game. He seemed to be winning.

 

Fresh looked at Nightmare as his kid cheered for his friend. "Cross is skillful isn't he?"

 

"Yeah." Nightmare replied. Cross was skillful at many things.

 

Fresh hummed with a nod. "I'm sorry for asking but, is it possible to enroll Cross in any of the school sports? He's good at a lot of them and it'd really help our school. If he wants to of course."

 

"He can do that if he wants to. You should ask him." Nightmare replied. He was happy to hear that Cross was good at sports.

 

"I would but," Fresh glanced at Cross. "You know him. He would not think highly of himself when I asked. He'll just refuse, saying he isn't good enough."

 

Nightmare frowned slightly.

"I'll talk to him about it when we get home." He replied.

 

"Thank you Nightmare." Fresh smiled at him before looking at the kids having a good time. "Your kids are amazing by the way. I'm just sad that they had to go through so much."

 

Nightmare smiled sadly.

"I'll help them as much as I can." He replied. It was a promise to himself too.

 

"I'll help them too." Fresh said with a smile. "If you need help, the offer is always open."

 

"Thanks, Fresh. I really appreciate it." Nightmare replied with a small smile.

 

"Anything for a friend." Fresh said before a loud cheer made him look back at the kids. Had they won?

 

Cross cheered happily as he managed to win the game.

 

Dust cheered happily when Cross won. "Good job Cross! You won!"

 

Error applauded him, smiling brightly.

Cross smiled at them before looking over the prices.

 

There was an array of animal plushes ranging from a frog, fish, dolphin, seal, turtle, skunk and bear. There was also a single cartoonish cake, the only non animal plush.

 

Cross smiled brightly when he saw the cake. It even had eyes on it.

"I'll take the cake." He said happily.

 

The worker nodded and handed Cross the cake plush. It even was a chocolate cake.

Dust smiled happily at Cross. "That's so cute!"

 

Cross hummed in thought.

"I could get one for you too." He offered with a smile as he hugged the cake.

 

Dust looked at Cross in surprise before shaking his skull. Cross shouldn't do that for him. He was not worth it. "N-no. You worked hard for that. Besides, I don't really deserve a prize."

 

Cross frowned.

"No. You definitely deserve one. Which one do you want?" He asked, handing the employee some money to play another round.

 

Dust looked down for a moment before reluctantly looking over the toys. He knew Cross wouldn't take no for an answer so he had to pick one. At least to satisfy him. "Um.... the dolphin? The black one cause it looks kinda like you."

 

Cross nodded, smiling slightly.

"Can you hold that for a second?" He asked, holding out the cake to Dust.

 

Dust nodded and took the plush cake, looking at Cross intently. Was he going to win again?

 

Cross smiled slightly. He'd found out a small trick to win. It might be cheating but he really wanted to win that dolphin for Dust.

 

Fresh looked at Error when the other didn't win anything. He walked up to the younger. "Do you want one?"

 

"thE bEaR's kinda cutE but it's Okay." Error replied.

 

Fresh grinned before walking up to the worker on another stall that had a bear plush and paid them.

 

Error followed his dad. Fresh really didn't have to do that but he was happy that he did.

 

Fresh took a ping pong ball and threw it in a curve, landing in the cup perfectly.

 

Error smiled excitedly. His dad was awesome at things like that.

 

Fresh picked up another and threw it the same way, getting another one of the higher points.

 

Error smiled happily, cheering his dad on.

 

Nightmare chuckled at Fresh, hearing his sons cheer happily when they won. "Isn't that cheating?"

Fresh grinned at Nightmare as he threw another ball perfectly. "Not if it's skill."

 

Error nodded.

"dad's thE bEst!" He agreed happily.

 

Fresh chuckled softly and threw the last ball, getting another high point perfectly.

He looked at the worker. "That bear please."

The worker nodded and handed Fresh the plush bear which he handed to Error. "There you go sport."

 

Error smiled happily, cuddling the bear before hugging Fresh.

"thanks, dad." He mumbled softly.

 

"Anytime Error." Fresh said and rubbed the top of Error's skull.

 

Error leaned into the touch happily.

Cross smiled brightly as he handed the dolphin to Dust.

 

Dust smiled brightly and took the dolphin, handing Cross his cake back. He looked at Cross happily. "Thank you!"

 

Cross smiled happily and hugged Dust.

"No problem, bro." He replied.

 

Dust nuzzled Cross happily, opening his eyes when he heard a camera click.

Nightmare stood there grinning with his phone pointed at them. "So cute."

 

Cross nuzzled back, looking up at the click.

"I'm not cute..." He grumbled with a small pout.

 

Nightmare only grinned wider. "I beg to differ."

He pocketed his phone and looked at everyone. "Let's go and get on some more rides."

 

Cross pouted some more before he nodded. That sounded like a good idea.

"Sounds good." Horror agreed, cuddling Killer gently.

 

"That's all okay with me!" Fresh said as he hugged Error with one arm.

Nightmare nodded and gently took Cross' and Dust's hands. "Then let's go."

 

Error smiled, cuddling into Fresh slightly.

Cross held Nightmare's hand happily. He wondered what else was in the park.

 

~~~

 

Dust followed his dad as they walked down the main path. According to the map, they should be arriving at the next zone.

He looked to the left and saw a large building that had a technical design to it with large gears and circuit board. He looked through the large window and paused.

 

Cross looked over when he noticed that Dust had stopped.

"What's wrong?" He asked.

 

Dust pointed towards the building as an excited smile slowly grew on his face. "Robots. Robots!"

 

Cross looked over, smiling brightly. That looked awesome.

"You like robots?" He asked.

 

Nightmare looked down at Dust curiously.

"Um," Dust looked down shyly. "Not as much as chemistry but yeah, a bit."

 

"I think robots are really cool." Cross replied with a smile.

 

Fresh stopped and looked over at Nightmare. He looked where Dust was looking. He looked at Nightmare. "Robot building?"

Nightmare nodded. "Robot building."

Fresh smiled and nodded. "Let's go."

 

Error looked up. Robots were really cool.

Cross smiled happily.

 

Killer looked up at Horror, he wanted to try one too.

Nightmare and Fresh gently tugged their kids towards the building. Nightmare pushed open the door and saw a few tables with a box of materials in the middle of each table. A few had a group of kids building cars, robot cats or snakes. It even moved.

 

Horror smiled at Killer, following the others into the building. It looked really amazing.

Cross gasped. "Wow. So cool!"

 

Dust nodded rapidly. He looked up at Nightmare. "Can we play dad?!"

Nightmare nodded. "You all can play on one table."

 

Cross smiled brightly, walking over to one of the tables.

Error waited next to his dad for a second before following Cross.

 

Killer hugged Horror for a moment before walking towards the table with the others.

Dust followed Cross and looked at the parts with excitement. What could they make?

 

Cross smiled brightly as he looked over the parts and sat down. What kind of robot should they make...?

 

Dust looks at the others, still hugging his plush. "So, what should we build?"

Killer shrugged. "Usually they give a little tutorial book. I'm sure our dads are paying for us playing and grabbing said book right now."

 

"thEn wE'll wait, i guEss." Error mumbled.

 

Killer nodded and played with his plush.

Dust played with his dolphin and smiled at it, hugging it close. He loved this plush. Especially since Cross had won it for him.

 

Cross smiled. He was really happy he'd been able to win the plush for his brother.

Error looked at the parts curiously, holding his plush close.

 

"Do you think we can have a playdate someday?" Killer asked, looking at everyone and their plush. "Maybe we can hang out at each other's house or something instead of going outside or meeting at school?"

 

"That sounds really cool." Cross replied. "We should ask our dads."

Error nodded slightly. He liked that idea.

"slEEpOvER?" He asked softly.

 

Dust looks at them in confusion. "What's a sleepover?"

 

Cross looked kind of confused too.

"it's... um... whEn yOuR fRiends slEEp at yOuR placE.. bEcausE it's fun..." Error replied, his voice getting quieter the longer he talked.

 

Killer looks at Error and decided to help him. "Basically it's where kids like us go to our friend's houses and hang out. We have fun doing things and at night we sleep at their house together."

 

Error nodded slightly in agreement.

Cross smiled. That sounded awesome!

 

Dust smiled slightly. "It sounds cool. Maybe we can watch a movie?"

 

"That would be so cool!" Cross agreed excitedly.

Error nodded.

 

Nightmare walked towards them with a clear basket full of parts, some instruments to build it with and a pamphlet.

"Here you go." Nightmare said and placed it on the table.

 

Cross smiled brightly.

"Thanks, dad." He said happily.

 

Nightmare nodded and sat down, watching them as Dust opened the box and put the tools on the table.

"What should we build first?" Killer asked as he looked at the pamphlet.

 

Error shrugged slightly. He didn't know what to build.

 

"Um...." Killer looks over the items. "What about a robot cat? It can walk."

 

Cross looked over at Dust to let him decide.

Error's eye lights brightened. He really liked cats.

 

Dust smiled. "Sounds good!"

 

Error smiled happily.

"Okay. What parts do we need?" Cross asked.

 

"It looks like we need-" Killer told them which part they need as Dust opened the bag of screws.

Nightmare looked over at Fresh and Horror who had just arrived. "How long did you pay them to play for?"

 

Error searched through the parts and put them on a small pile.

"They can play as long as they want to." Horror replied with a smile.

 

Fresh smiled happily as he watched their kids play.

"That sounds amazing but will we have time to play every ride in this amusement park?" Nightmare asked.

 

"The amusement park is enormous. I doubt we'll be able to do everything." Horror replied.

 

Nightmare nodded. "Yeah. You're right. So we'll play as much as we can I assume?"

Fresh nodded. "Don't worry. I'm sure we'll come back someday and finish this whole place."

 

Horror nodded. They probably needed five visits to do everything

 

Nightmare turned towards the others, making sure to keep his voice low so that the kids couldn't hear. "So, I wanted to ask you two something."

Fresh raised a brow and sat down. "Bout what?"

"XGaster."

 

Horror frowned.

"Did he do anything to Cross?" He asked, an obvious threat in his voice.

 

Fresh tensed at the name. He didn't like that teacher. He gave some bad vibes to him. He looked at Horror in shock. "Hurt Cross?"

Nightmare looked down with a frown. "That's the thing. I suspect it's him. Someone locked Cross in a locker again but... he acted different this time. He said that he can't tell me who had put him in the locker. If it's a student, he knows that they can't hurt him if they're expelled. But if it's an adult...."

 

Horror stared at the floor angrily.

"XGaster might have threatened him." He replied.

 

Nightmare scowled at his feet. "That's what I suspected."

Fresh looked slightly fearful and nervous. "Threaten? I- I don't know what you two are talking about."

 

"XGaster abused Cross and he's probably going to again." Horror replied, glancing at Cross who was happily playing with his friends.

 

"A-abused?" Fresh echoed in a small scared voice.

 

Horror looked up at that.

"Fresh? What's wrong?" He asked.

 

"I-I-" Fresh was speechless.

Nightmare looked up at Horror. "He doesn't know."

 

"Oh..." Horror mumbled, frowning slightly. He stared at the floor guiltily.

 

Fresh removed his shades for a moment to wipe away his tears. "I- he- how?"

Nightmare frowned. "He was Cross' old maths teacher. Cross became his victim. Beat him. Locked him in the closet, bleeding."

 

"He's got really bad night terrors from what Nightmare told me and an extreme phobia of messing anything school related up." Horror added.

 

Fresh took a deep shaky breath. "I thought he was just a creep."

Nightmare shook his skull. "He's more than that. But we can't do anything about it because we have no evidence."

 

Horror nodded sadly. They needed evidence to get that bastard behind bars.

 

Fresh was blank for a moment before he frowned angrily. "He needs to be stopped."

Nightmare nodded in agreement. "I wish we can but we don't have any idea how to catch him in the act. Whatever he did left no evidence and they don't take a child's words as enough proof."

 

Horror frowned in thought.

"Does Cross' phone have an audio recording function?" He asked.

 

Nightmare looked up and thought for a moment before nodding. "Yeah, he does. Oh...." he said in realisation.

 

"Yeah. That could be a way to gain some evidence." Horror replied.

 

"But..." Fresh said in a small voice. "Cross will have to." he stopped himself.

Nightmare frowned. "He'll be in trouble anyway. Might as well get some evidence after this."

 

Horror nodded. He really didn't want Cross to go through that again but...

 

"I hate this." Fresh said with a scowl.

Nightmare nodded. "I don't like it either. But if it'll make him get behind bars faster, it has to be done."

 

Horror nodded. It was something they had to do.

"Should we tell Cross about it?" He asked.

 

Nightmare nodded in agreement. "He needs to know. He... won't like it but..."

"It'll get that abuser away forever." Fresh growled angrily. "No bully will get away from abusing someone."

 

Horror nodded. They needed to do whatever was necessary to get XGaster away from Cross.

 

"For now," Nightmare said and looked towards the kids who were building with the parts. "Let's just have fun."

 

"Sounds good." Horror agreed.

 

Fresh nodded and watched as the kids are playing happily, building their toy with bright curious smiles on their faces.

 

~~~

 

Dust smiled happily as he held Nightmare's hand and walked to another ride. "It was so cool dad! It walked! When we switched it on, it worked and the legs moved in sync! If we had put a solar panel on it and put it outside it would have been a real robot cat!"

 

Cross nodded excitedly.

"It was so cool!" He agreed with a bright smile.

 

Killer smiled with a nod. "The circuits were very interesting. It's amazing how they fit all of that intricate pathways for electricity to go through in just a little green piece of plastic. All of those little nods have its own purpose and it was so cool!"

Nightmare smiled at the kids. "You all did so well on making it. So smart."

 

Cross smiled happily.

Error cuddled his plushy close, smiling shyly.

 

Dust smiled before grunting when someone bumped into him. He turned around and spotted a small kid on the ground holding its skull. A small plush cat beside it.

When the kid looked up, they had big beautiful green eyes. They looked cute.

Dust smiled and picked up the cat, handing it to the kid. "Here you go. Be careful next time."

 

"Thank you." They said sweetly as they took the cat plushy and cuddled it close.

 

Nightmare paused and smiled at Dust. He was so caring. Why did anyone want to abandon Dust? He was an amazing kid.

Dust smiled happily and gently picked the kid up, checking for injuries. "Are you injured? What's your name?"

 

"I'm fine and my name's Caroline." Caroline replied. "What's yours?" She asked.

Caroline's mom looked around worriedly, searching for her daughter. She frowned when she saw her daughter so close to that other kid.

 

Dust smiled. "What a beautiful name. It fits you. My name is Dust."

Dust looked around the crowded area. "Where are your parents? Did you get lost?"

 

"Thank you!" Caroline replied happily.

"I was trying to take a picture of a butterfly and I guess I ran off." She explained sheepishly.

"Caroline!" Her mom called out.

 

"I'm sure next time you'll get a picture of another, more beautiful butterfly." Dust assured softly with a smile before looking up at the call.

He flinched back with wide eyes at the sight of his former caretaker. He bumped into Nightmare when he backed away fearfully.

 

"Thank you!" Caroline replied happily, looking up at the call.

"Hi, mom!" She called out happily.

 

Dust flinched as if he was struck, staring between the child and his former caretaker. His Soul was pulsing painfully. "M-mom?"

 

Cross frowned at seeing Dust that distraught. He looked up, his eye lights blazing brightly with anger as he saw Dust's former caretaker.

He stepped in front of Dust, effectively shielding him from view.

Caroline's mom glared at Cross or more through him at Dust.

 

Nightmare looked at the other adult and frowns, turning fully with crossed arms. He dared the other to try and insult/hurt his child again.

Dust flinched at the glare and held Cross' jacket with one hand, the other hugging the plush close as he trembled.

 

Caroline looked around confusedly. Why did her mom look so angry?

Error noticed the hostile energy in the air and turned towards Dust worriedly. He stepped next to him.

"Oh hell no." Horror growled lowly as he recognised the person.

Cross glared up at the woman who stared down at him angrily.

 

Killer turned around when his dad growled and he frowned angrily, stepping beside Dust to protect him. Out of all days, that bitch had to come today?! She better not hurt his friend!

Fresh looked at everyone in confusion and worry. Clearly something was wrong here but he didn't know what. He didn't know what to do.

Nightmare stared at her calmly, even though he wants to pull son away right now, purposely and angrily. "It's best you take your.... daughter and leave, miss. Without a word. You wouldn't want to.... scar your child right?"

 

Caroline's mom frowned angrily and took her daughter's hand, dragging her away.

"Mom? What was that about?" Caroline asked, not receiving an answer.

"dust?" Error asked quietly, his voice really worried.

 

Dust sniffed and wiped away his tears, crying silently. His Soul felt so painful. It was like it was being torn apart.

Nightmare frowned sadly at Dust and kneeled down, gently pulling Dust into a hug which he took gratefully, sobbing into Nightmare's shoulder.

"That," Killer said with a frown. "Was Dust's former caretaker. They abandoned him and practically gave him up to Nightmare. They don't even care about him."

 

Cross watched Dust worriedly, not sure if it was okay to hug him.

"Can I hug you?" He asked quietly.

Error stared at Killer. That was horrible.

 

Dust nodded at Cross' question, still upset at what had happened.

Fresh frowned angrily. "That's not right. Is it because of his eyes?"

Nightmare nodded solemnly. It was the bitter truth. They had abandoned Dust because of his eyes. Because they thought he was weird because of something he couldn't control. They only saw his weird eyes, not his amazing personality and intelligence.

Killer frowned angrily. "They- they had another kid. They freaking replaced him like- like- argh!"

 

Cross hugged Dust gently. Those people didn't deserve Dust!

"thOsE asshOlEs..." Error hissed.

 

Fresh wanted to scold Error for using a curse word but he allowed it for now. Those people certainly deserved it.

"Nightmare, bro, both your boys need to see Dream." Fresh said bluntly and Nightmare nodded. Dream could help them. They'd been through too much.

 

Horror nodded in agreement. He really hoped Dream could help them.

Error glared at the retreating person that was Dust's biological mother.

 

"Come on." Nightmare said and picked his two boys up, hugging them close. "Let's go on some high adrenaline rides to get our minds off of it."

Dust nodded in agreement, snuggling closer to Nightmare. He wanted to forget how they replaced him so easily, with someone better and cuter than him.

 

Cross frowned and hugged Dust close, nodding slightly. Something exciting might be perfect for forgetting that whole thing for a bit.

"Sounds good." Horror agreed, taking Killer's hand.

 

Fresh nodded and gently took Error's hand. "I think I saw a long ride a few feet ahead. Let's go there?"

Nightmare nodded and lead the way. "Sounds good."

 

Error followed Fresh, still looking at the floor angrily.

Horror followed Nightmare, looking at Dust worriedly.

 

Killer was frowning angrily. He hated the person who had done this to Dust.

The walk to the ride was filled with tense angry silence.

 

The wait in line wasn't much better but they managed to get in earlier than they would have normally because everyone got out of their way, not wanting to anger them.

 

The worker let them pass, they had to go in four at a time so Nightmare, Dust, Cross and Killer went first.

Dust buckled up, still wiping away his tears. They left their plush at the shelves the place provided to put their stuff. He was still slightly upset but hopefully the ride would help him.

Nightmare buckled up and looked at Dust sadly. Since he was behind Dust, he reached over and gently rubbed his skull comfortingly. Dust smiled slightly at the touch.

 

Cross gave Dust a brief hug before buckling up and taking his hand. He really hoped that would help them all cheer up a bit.

Killer buckled up, looking a small bit excited.

 

The log they were one began to move and was picked up by the rails underneath them, rising up a slope in an angle.

Nightmare smiled excitedly. He loved the feeling of vertigo.

Dust smiled as he waited for the log to reach the top. He heard it was like a rollercoaster, only wet.

 

Cross smiled slightly. He looked around, noticing how high they were already.

Killer had a big smile on his face as they went even higher. That was going to be a big splash.

 

The log reached the top and a moment pause, filled with anticipation. Gravity took over and the log tilted and dropped down into a pool of water, splashing everywhere.

Nightmare chuckled as his clothes were slightly wet.

Dust laughed when water splashed around them.

 

Cross giggled happily. That sure was a way to cool down.

Killer cheered excitedly.

 

The log slowed down before it was taken by another rail track, doing a spin and went under a waterfall through the opening back to the start.

 

Killer laughed when they went through a waterfall and got really wet.

"Yay!" Cross cheered happily.

 

Dust laughed when water splashed around them. He loved this. It made him smile and happy.

Nightmare smiled at the cheerful laughter.

They stopped back at the start and unbuckled themselves, stepping out of the ride slightly wet and extremely happy.

 

Cross grabbed his and Dust's plushies, handing the dolphin to his brother with a smile.

 

Dust hugged his dolphin happily, muttering a small thank you to Cross.

Killer took his plushy and walked towards the exit with Nightmare and the others. Now they had to wait for the others.

 

Cross followed them, smiling at Dust as he cuddled his cake close.

 

"Did you have fun?" Nightmare asked them.

Dust nodded happily. "I did. Thank you dad."

 

"Yeah!" Cross replied happily, snuggling his plushy close.

 

"It was fun." Killer agreed.

Nightmare smiled and nodded. "That's good." he checked the time on his phone. "After the others are done we should get lunch."

 

"Sounds great!" Cross agreed happily.

 

Killer nodded in agreement along with Dust. Maybe food would make him feel better.

Now they just had to wait.

 

The others arrived a bit later.

Horror looked really excited and happy while Error was cheering slightly, quieting down when he noticed how many people were staring at him.

 

Fresh smiled and gently rubbed the top of Error's skull to reassure him. Error rarely got so excited so he was happy for the loud cheers.

Nightmare looked up when they arrived and smiled at them. "Had fun?"

 

Error leaned into the touch happily.

"Totally." Horror replied happily.

 

Nightmare smiled. "Well, we should probably get some lunch first before continuing."

 

"Sounds good." Horror replied, walking to them and hugging Killer.

"Enjoyed it?" He asked.

 

Killer hugged back happily. "I did. Thanks dad."

Nightmare stood up and stretched. "I looked up the size of the foods and how much it costs. A regular sandwich is, well, the size of a plate. It's flat too and costs a bit but if we buy at least two and split it we could all eat. Sound good? Or we can eat pizza. There's a pirate theme restaurant nearby."

 

Error shrugged slightly. He was fine with both.

Cross looked up at Nightmare. He liked pizza.

 

Nightmare looked down and chuckles at the look in Cross' eyes. "Pizza?"

Killer nodded with a smile. He was fine with anything.

Dust shrugged. He didn't mind.

 

"Pizza." Cross agreed happily, his eye lights shining brightly. He loved pizza.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly before nodding. He lead the way, gently taking his son's hands.

Fresh gently took Error's hand and followed Nightmare.

Killer hugged Horror as they walked.

 

Cross smiled brightly as he followed Nightmare.

Horror followed the others with a smile. Pizza was awesome.

Chapter Text

Nightmare was sitting in his brother's house with Dust and Cross, waiting for his brother to get ready for their therapy sessions. The amusement park they had gone to a few days ago had been fun. Unfortunately they hadn't been able to get on all the rides before closing but they still had fun despite the unexpected sight of Dust's former parents.

Nightmare looked down at his kids. "Are you ready kids?"

 

Cross looked at the ground, nervously playing with his hoodie strings.

"I'm not sure..." He replied quietly.

 

Nightmare nodded in understanding and turned towards Dust. "What about you?"

 

Dust shrugged slightly, kicking his feet nervously.

 

"What are you nervous about?" Nightmare asked gently, slowly rubbing their skulls comfortingly.

 

"I'm gonna have to talk about... it.. and I don't want to...." Cross mumbled quietly.

Dust nodded in agreement.

 

"You don't want to talk about what happened to you." Nightmare said softly with an understanding nod. "I understand."

 

Cross looked up at him. Nightmare understood? Did that mean something bad had happened to him that he didn't want to talk about?

 

Nightmare paused for a moment before smiling softly down at his boys, gently rubbing their skulls. "Opening up to someone about bad things that happen to you- especially to a stranger- is a scary thing to do. And you'll feel wary at first, like I did. But you'll get to know that they just want to help you. You don't have to tell them everything right away, it isn't like that. But little by little you can say what happened to you and they will help you get better."

 

Cross hugged Nightmare, nodding slightly. He hoped it would work.

Dust was still confused about the whole concept but nodded slightly.

 

"Don't worry." Nightmare said and hugged his kids gently. "Whatever you talk about will never be spoken outside the room and no one else will know."

 

Dust hugged back immediately.

"Okay..." Cross mumbled softly.

 

Dream came in a moment later with a smile. "Hello there! Sorry for taking so long, I had to prepare the room!"

Nightmare nodded. "It's okay brother."

Dream smiled before looking at the kids. "Cross, you can follow me inside to start first."

 

Cross nodded, hugging Nightmare for a second before standing up and following Dream slowly.

 

Nightmare watched as Cross left with a small supporting smile. Dream smiled at them before leading Cross to another room and closing the door.

Nightmare looked at Dust and gently rubs his skull. "It'll be okay."

 

Dust nodded slightly. He sure hoped so.

 

~~~

 

Nightmare looked up from his phone when Cross walked out the room. It had been half an hour since he walked in and Nightmare understood. These things took time and sometimes took longer than an hour.

"How'd it go Cross?" Nightmare asked gently.

 

"It went okay. Dream asked me some questions and I answered them." Cross replied, sitting down on the couch and hugging Nightmare.

 

Nightmare smiled and hugged Cross. "Good job. You were so brave."

"Dust," Dream said as he poked his head out. "Your turn."

 

Cross smiled slightly.

Dust looked up nervously. He stood up after a few seconds and walked to the room cautiously.

 

"You can do it Dust." Nightmare said with a smile.

Dream smiled kindly at Dust before walking inside and closing the door.

 

Dust smiled weakly and walked inside the room.

 

Nightmare watched as Dust left before looking down at Cross. "How about I make some tacos when we get home?"

 

Cross nodded.

"Sounds good." He agreed with a small smile, cuddling into Nightmare.

 

Nightmare smiled and hugged Cross, waiting for Dust to be finished.

 

~~~

 

The door opened half an hour later with Dust walking out.

Nightmare looked up and smiled. "How did it go?"

 

"Just some questions..." Dust mumbled quietly, walking to Nightmare and hugging him.

 

Nightmare hugged Dust and rubbed his back comfortingly. "Sh... you did so well Dust. You did so well. I'm proud of you. Both of you."

 

Dust buried his face in Nightmare's jacket, cuddling into him.

 

Nightmare looked up and met Dream's eyes. They locked eyes and Dream nodded in understanding. They'd talk about it later. Right now the kids needed to go home.

Nightmare smiled at Dream before standing up and carried both his kids. They had gained a bit of weight but they were still so light. "Let's go home."

 

Cross cuddled into Nightmare as he was carried. He couldn't wait to get home and eat tacos.

Dust smiled slightly.

 

Nightmare carried his boys back to the car and opened the door, placing them inside before getting into his own seat.

The drive home was uneventful and filled with radio music.

 

~~~

 

Cross smiled happily as Nightmare put the tacos onto the table.

 

Nightmare smiled as he put the tacos on the table and two mugs of chocolate milk beside it. He also put down a plate of leftover ingredients in case they wanted more cheese or tomatoes or lettuce. "Eat up boys."

 

"Thanks, dad." Cross replied happily, taking the taco with a smile. He absolutely loved tacos.

Dust smiled slightly.

"Thanks, dad."

 

"You're welcome." Nightmare said and sat down, taking a taco for himself and adding a lot of hot sauce and peppers on his.

 

Cross ate happily. His dad's cooking was amazing but the tacos were so good!

 

"Did you two finish your homework?" Nightmare asked them after he swallowed his spicy taco bite.

 

Cross nodded.

"Yeah. I got everything done." He replied with a smile.

Dust nodded slightly. He was done too.

 

Nightmare smiled at them. "That's good. So, do you have any plans for school?"

 

"Plans for school?" Cross asked confusedly. He had plans to pass tests but not more.

Dust shook his head. He didn't think he had any plans.

 

"Well," Nightmare started, looking at Cross. "Fresh opened up a spot in some sports competitions and he thinks you're a perfect fit Cross."

He turned to Dust with a smile. "As for Dust, there's a science convention coming up and if you make anything science related, you'll get a chance to go there."

 

Dust cheered happily. He really wanted to make a smoke bomb. Was that sciency enough?

Cross frowned slightly.

"I'm not good at sports." He replied quietly.

 

"You won yourself and Dust a plushie at the amusement park a few days ago." Nightmare smiled at Cross. "Fresh clearly sees talent in you. You're very skillful and you have so much potential. But it's your choice, I'm not going to force you."

 

Cross looked at the table. He didn't want the other kids bullying him again...

"I.. I could try?" He asked quietly.

 

Nightmare nodded with a smile. "Don't force yourself okay? Do it if you want to."

 

"I'd like to try but I'm not good at team sports..." Cross replied quietly. They never even gave him a chance.

 

"That's okay." Nightmare smiles. "I'm sure Fresh has some solo sports that will fit you."

He turned towards Dust. "Well, do you agree to try the science experiment Dust?"

 

Cross nodded slightly. It couldn't hurt to try.

"Definitely!" Dust replied happily.

 

"Any plans?" Nightmare chuckled softly at Dust's enthusiasm.

 

"I'm gonna do a smoke bomb!" Dust replied enthusiastically.

 

"A smoke bomb?" Nightmare smiled at Dust. "How does the science work?"

 

"There's gotta be something burning that makes a lot of smoke and then pressure and boom!" Dust explained excitedly.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly. "I'll leave it to you then. Sounds like a good idea."

 

Dust giggled happily.

"Thanks, dad." He replied with a bright smile. He was so excited!

 

Nightmare smiled and looked at both of them. "If you ever need help, or even support, you can always come to me. I'll help you as best as I can. Okay?"

 

Dust nodded happily. He'd probably need help.

Cross nodded in agreement.

 

Nightmare smiled before continuing his taco. For his sons, he would do whatever it took to show he loved them. They deserved it.

Chapter Text

Nightmare was sitting in the teacher's lounge sipping his coffee silently as he read something on his phone.

 

XGaster was sitting near Nightmare, watching him intently. He needed to be Cross' teacher to hurt him.

 

Nightmare ignored XGaster as much as he could. Showing suspicion and/or confronting the abuser was NEVER a good idea. If one wanted to do that, they had to be prepared with evidence and security in case hell broke loose.

"Nightmare!" someone called making Nightmare look up. They waved at him to come over and he sighed, standing up and leaving.

 

XGaster grinned when Nightmare left. He got a vial out if his pocket and put a few drops into Nightmare's coffee. He hoped the other wouldn't stay away too long and get rid of the coffee.

 

Nightmare returned a few moments later, sighing tiredly. He sat down and rubbed his skull, picking up his coffee and drinking from it.

 

XGaster stood up and left to hide his victorious grin.

 

Nightmare drank about half of his coffee before putting it down and leaving. He had about half an hour of free time before he has his next class. He has some paperwork to do.

 

~~~

 

XGaster raised a brow ridge as he heard something from the toilet and went in to investigate.

 

Nightmare was hunched over one of the toilets in the stall, puking up everything he had. He pulled away, breathing heavily before gagging and repeating it again. He felt terrible.

 

XGaster grinned slightly. Puking. So the drug had worked. He fought not to giggle and went straight to the principal's office to inform him that Nightmare wouldn't be able to teach.

 

Nightmare pulled away after another round of puking. He wiped his mouth free of bile and groaned painfully. His head was spinning, his throat was burning, he felt like gagging, he was nauseated.

 

The principal walked into the bathroom, searching for Mr.Nightmare.

 

Nightmare was still hunched over the toilet, breathing heavily trying not to puke.

 

"Mr.XGaster will take over your classes. You're going home." The principal ordered once he saw how miserable Nightmare looked.

 

Nightmare looked up and frowned. XGaster taking over his class? With Cross in it? Never. "No way." he said firmly.

 

The principal raised a brow.

"You can't teach while puking. Go home." He ordered.

 

"I'm not letting anyone else teach my class." Nightmare said firmly, gagging for a moment before shivering in disgust. "I can teach."

 

"Clearly not." The principal replied. "You're going home and that's an order."

 

"Yeah I'm gonna say no." Nightmare said before an idea came to him. A terrible, mischievous idea that would most likely hurt and make him suffer. He grinned at the principal and raised his pointer finger.

 

The principal raised a brow. Did Nightmare have a fever too?

 

Nightmare opened his mouth and poked his throat, immediately gagging and puking harder, groaning painfully. That felt terrible but it would be worth it.

 

"Are you making yourself throw up?" The principal asked, looking a bit disgusted by all the puke that was coming out of Nightmare.

 

Nightmare groaned, lifting his skull and nodded. That had been terrible but it would be worth it.

"If there's no more puke, I won't throw up in class right?" he grinned before doing it again. He gagged and hurled his guts out, this time there was less bile.

 

The principal frowned.

"While I admire your persistence you should really-" The principal cut himself off, trying not to get sick at the sight.

"Do whatever you want." He added quickly, leaving the room.

 

Nightmare grinned when the principal left, doing a little cheer.

"Yes!" he fist pumped before gagging and throwing up again. He checked the time. He had about ten minutes. Well, time to puke his literal guts out.

 

~~~

 

XGaster smirked as he walked into the class a minute before the bell rang.

Cross looked up when he saw motion at the teacher's desk out of the corner of his eye, smiling as he expected to see Nightmare.

His expression fell immediately when he saw XGaster instead. He shivered slightly, staring down at his desk.

 

XGaster smirked as he walked into Nightmare's class, standing behind the teacher's desk and looking over the students. All of them looked confused but his eyes were set on one.

"Class," he said calmly and in a professional tone. "Your teacher, Mr. Nightmare, went home because he was sick. Thus, I will be taking over this class for today."

 

Cross was trembling as he stared at his book.

No. He couldn't do this again.

 

XGaster smiled widely. "Now then, let's start with a quiz shall we?"

 

Cross breathed heavily, tears stinging in his eye sockets. A quiz?! He wouldn't pass. He couldn't pass. He was too stupid to pass.

 

"Now, let's begin-"

"Actually, there won't be a quiz today." Nightmare said from the doorway, looking calm but a little sick.

 

XGaster stared at Nightmare, not really believing what he was seeing. He collected himself quickly.

"It's good to see you, Mr.Nightmare." He said, not looking happy to see him at all. 

Cross' eye sockets widened and he managed a small smile when his dad walked inside. He wiped away his tears. His dad had arrived. Everything would be okay.

 

Nightmare walked inside, fighting dizziness and nausea. He turned towards the class. "Unfortunately I won't be able to teach because I am unwell. Thus, XGaster will be teacher for today and I will supervise."

 

Cross looked at Nightmare. He really didn't look good. As long as Nightmare was there it would be okay.

XGaster tried not to look too disappointed.

 

Nightmare looked a little triumphed, coughing slightly to hide his gag. He still felt like shit. He turned towards XGaster with a kind- fake- smile. "So, you'll be teaching chapter 6 of the textbook today. I'm positive you can handle it?"

 

"Of course I can handle it." XGaster replied, trying not to sound angry. He took the textbook and opened it.

Cross took his textbook and opened the right page.

 

"I'm just making sure." Nightmare said and walked to the back of the class and sat down in an empty seat; watching XGaster closely. And fighting off the urge to lie down in pain.

 

Cross tried not to panic when Nightmare walked out of his field of vision.

XGaster sighed and started teaching. He tried not to grin as he got an idea.

"What we'll learn today will be difficult and some of you-" He glanced at Cross. "-might not be able to get it." He explained.

 

"Please explain the topic properly XGaster. If they don't understand, you need to explain again. Some kids have a hard time getting it at a single run through." Nightmare said pointedly. "Class, you are allowed to ask him to repeat if you don't understand."

 

Cross tensed a bit, relaxing when Nightmare spoke.

XGaster huffed slightly. Right. What a buzzkill.

 

Nightmare hid his satisfaction when XGaster looked annoyed. Good. He was not giving the other a chance to harm anyone in his class.

He gagged silently and shivered in disgust. Good thing he had forced himself to puke everything out or else he'd be hurling in class right now. Though he had to go to the clinic after school to check what is happening to him. Had he eaten something wrong?

 

XGaster explained what they'd be doing in the chapter and how it worked with a few very complex calculations that probably noone managed to understand. Additionally he didn't use the whiteboard.

Cross tried his best to understand everything while he wrote down what XGaster was saying.

 

Nightmare watched as XGaster explained the topic with complex equations. He knew the students didn't understand it. Besides, there were better simpler equations with pliers calculations.

"You could use the other equation that's simpler like-" he explained the equation slowly, mostly for the class.

 

XGaster frowned slightly.

Cross smiled a bit as his dad explained, almost immediately understanding it.

 

Nightmare looked at XGaster when he finished explaining, still a bit dizzy. "I'm sure that should help."

 

Cross looked back at his dad, smiling. He had managed to understand it thanks to his dad's example.

XGaster nodded. It had helped the students but even Cross which was bad.

 

Nightmare smiled at Cross and winked, coughing softly into his hand. Hopefully this would deter XGaster from causing any more harm.

 

Cross smiled brightly, feeling reassured. He looked back at his book, feeling a lot more confident.

XGaster frowned when he saw that expression on Cross. He'd never seen him look like that before. He needed to do something about it...

 

Nightmare looked at XGaster and kept watch, making sure that the other teacher knew that he was watching him.

 

XGaster sighed. There wasn't much he could do about Cross' newfound confidence now. He'd have to wait until Nightmare wasn't there.

 

Nightmare watched happily as his class learned the lesson, understanding the topic and managing to answer the questions and follow the examples. He was so proud. Especially for his son who was doing so well despite having his abuser so close.

 

Cross managed to understand everything easily and was really happy and confident about it.

XGaster glanced at Nightmare a few times. How was the other able to do anything other than puke?

 

Stars Nightmare was glad he had emptied his stomach. He felt so sick and dizzy that he had to close his eyes for a moment to stop feeling terrible. He didn't rest though and kept an eye on XGaster, trying to focus on what he was saying. Thankfully, teaching was second nature to Nightmare- he'd been doing this for a long time.

 

XGaster thought there was a chance of Nightmare passing out for a second but the other was so stubborn.

 

"You skipped a question." Nightmare said when he noticed the question and how it was supposed to be solved. XGaster had skipped a step in their learning process. He couldn't let that happen. "They can't understand the question you gave them if they don't know how to solve the previous one first."

 

XGaster looked at the book. What a shame.

"Thank you for pointing that out." He said, not really sounding thankful.

Cross hid a smile. His dad was awesome!

 

Nightmare grinned smugly at him. "Of course. Anything to help."

Yeah he was just rubbing salt in the wound. It felt good.

 

XGaster had to fight to keep his composure.

Cross noticed and quickly looked down to hide a small giggle.

 

Nightmare raised a brow when he noticed something wrong with the question. "You added a + when it's suppose to be a -."

 

"No. The equation is correct." XGaster replied, making no move to correct the obvious mistake.

Cross frowned slightly. His dad was right.

 

"No, it would make the answer wrong considering that tests nowadays will be strict and would not take answers if the symbol is wrong." Nightmare said with a frown, explaining why it was wrong because he didn't want his students to fail.

"If the answer is -2 then it would not take 2 no matter what because it is considered wrong. If we're going by graft- like some questions ask you to do-, your whole graft will be wrong because of a simple careless mistake on your symbols. No matter what type of math you do, having the wrong symbol on any part of the calculation means the rest is automatically incorrect." Nightmare coughed a few times after his rant, the speaking had worsened his throat which burned slightly.

The students gawked at Nightmare in surprise. They did not expect that type of rant from their math teacher. He sounded irritated and professional, something they rarely saw.

 

XGaster frowned, reluctantly changing the symbol. Great. Now he had to admit he was wrong. He really hated Mr.Nightmare. He hoped the drug he'd given him would force him to stay home soon.

Cross quickly corrected it and solved the problem, looking at his dad a bit worriedly. He hoped Nightmare would be okay.

 

Nightmare groaned softly as his head spun. Talking had taken a lot out of him. He checked the clock. The class was almost over. But he had another one after this and he wouldn't leave any of his classes to XGaster.

He took a deep breath and beared the pain. He will pull through and keep an eye on XGaster. Even if he felt like passing out, he kept his focus.

 

XGaster noticed triumphantly how bad Nightmare looked. It would only be a matter of time until he'd pass out.

 

Nightmare never did pass out. Not even when the school bell rang signalling the end of class. He pulled through and still saw XGaster's mistakes clear as day.

 

Cross sighed in relief when it was finally over. He packed up his things and put on his bag. Cross walked to his dad, looking at him worriedly.

 

Nightmare rubbed his aching skull as he tilted his skull back on the chair. He was thirsty but drinking would only make him puke again. He was tired and dizzy but resting or going home would mean leaving his class to XGaster and he couldn't let that happen.

 

"Dad? Are you doing okay?" Cross asked worriedly, sitting down next to Nightmare to give him a hug.

 

Nightmare groaned and lifted his head up to smile at Cross, rubbing the top of his skull. "Just a little under the weather. You should go to your next class. I still have one more class to go."

 

"Are you okay to drive or should I ask Fresh?" Cross asked worriedly. He had P.E. now so he could ask.

 

"Better ask Fresh." Nightmare said before gagging and groaning in pain. "Later. After school. I have to work."

 

Cross nodded.

"I hope you'll feel better soon." He said, hugging his dad before walking off to P.E. class.

 

Nightmare smiled at Cross before nodding and watched his son leave. He felt slightly better knowing his son was safe now.

 

XGaster walked up to Nightmare's table with a frown.

"Don't you think you should go home?" He asked, no hint of concern in his voice. "You don't look good."

 

Nightmare shook his skull stubbornly, hiding the fact that he hated XGaster. "No. I have to monitor the next class. I can handle it."

 

XGaster bit back a comment about what a big, stubborn bastard Nightmare was.

"If you're sure."

 

"I'm sure." Nightmare said with a soft groan. He wouldn't give up easily. Not when it came to his students. Not when it came to his family and friends. He would bear through sickness and injury to help them.

 

XGaster tried not to look too disappointed and turned around, walking back to the teacher's desk.

 

Nightmare rubbed his aching skull as he tried to swallow another gag. His throat felt terrible. He felt terrible. What had he eaten?

He didn't get to ponder it when the students came inside the class.

 

XGaster prepared another lesson.

 

~~~

 

"Dad? Are you okay?" Cross asked worriedly from the backseat.

 

Nightmare could only groan tiredly, too tired and in pain to do anything. His throat hurt too much to make a sound. His head was pounding and spinning. His body felt weak. He was beyond sick.

 

Cross frowned worriedly. He really hoped that whatever Nightmare had wouldn't get worse.

Error looked at Nightmare, noticing how he seemed to be barely conscious.

 

Fresh turned his skull to look at Nightmare in concern. "You don't sound okay. Should we go to the cli-"

"No." Nightmare interrupted Fresh with a groan, closing his eyes tightly. "I have class tomorrow."

 

Cross frowned worriedly. Maybe Fresh was right. His dad wasn't well.

 

"You're not well." Fresh said firmly but his eyes was on the road.

"No. I need.... to..." Nightmare trailed off before he fell to the side, his skull hitting the window as he passed out.

"Nightmare?!" Fresh exclaimed in shock when he heard the thud.

 

"Dad!" Cross shouted, sounding really scared. Was his dad alright?!

Error looked at Nightmare in shock. He hadn't been expecting that.

"dad, pull tO thE sidE." He said. They were all shocked and it wouldn't help if they got into an accident.

Dust woke up, confused about what was happening. He'd managed to last the whole P.E. lesson for the first time but he was exhausted.

 

Fresh nodded and turned on the blinkers, slowly pulling to the side in a safe place. He unbuckled and got out of the car, opening Nightmare's door and caught the taller skeleton. He looked extremely sick, almost dying.

 

Error watched them worriedly.

"ambulancE?" He asked, already pulling out his phone. Nightmare had showed no signs of being sick the last few days so it had to be something severe.

Cross looked at his dad worriedly.

"What's happening...?" Dust asked confusedly.

 

Fresh nodded at Error and gently sat Nightmare up on the seat, lowering it down slightly.

"Cross, get your brother and go stand outside. I'll try to help him as much as I can." Fresh said and rushed to the back of the car to grab the first aid kit he always kept.

 

Error nodded and quickly called an ambulance, explaining the situation.

Cross unbuckled his and Dust's seatbelts and carefully picked him up, getting outside.

Dust looked around confusedly, still really tired.

 

Fresh got the first aid kit and lowered Nightmare's seat further until he was laying at a 45° angle. Fresh checked his temperature with his hand and hissed. He was burning up.

The P.E teacher opened the top buttons of Nightmare's shirt to help him breathe easily and cool him down. He grabbed a towel from the first aid kit and some water, dabbing it over Nightmare to cool him down.

 

Cross watched worriedly as he held Dust close. Was his dad going to be okay?

"thEy'll bE hERE in tEn minutEs tops." Error announced, trying to stay calm. "nEEd any hElp, dad?" He asked.

 

"Fucking hell ten minutes do they even care?!" Fresh cursed with a growl- which shocked the kids because Fresh almost never cursed.

"Yeah, I need you to-" Fresh told Error what he had to do calmly, reigning his anger.

 

Error stared at his dad for a second before nodding and doing what Fresh had said as quickly and carefully as possible.

Cross stared at Fresh shockedly. He'd never heard him curse.

 

After a few minutes of doing what he was taught to do, Fresh pulled away with a sigh. "That's it. That's all we can do until the ambulance arrives."

 

Error looked at Nightmare worriedly. He really hoped it was enough.

Cross watched them worriedly, quietly filling Dust in on what was going on.

 

"What happened?" Fresh asked, mostly to himself as he stared at his unconscious friend. "He was so healthy. This doesn't happen suddenly."

 

Error frowned. His dad was right. This shouldn't have happened.

 

Fresh frowned and discreetly wipes away his tears from under his shades. "I swear, if this was intentional."

 

"but whO wOuld dO sOmEthing likE that?" Error asked quietly.

"XGaster..." Cross replied shockedly.

 

Fresh looked up at Cross in shock. "What?"

 

Cross stared up at Fresh, clearly extremely scared.

"He already did that once. He poisoned a teacher who got into his way." He explained, his voice shaky.

 

"It-" Fresh shook his skull. No. He couldn't get himself into that frame of mind. "Let's not jump to conclusions yet. We'll have to check with the doctors first okay?"

 

Cross nodded slightly, trying to calm down. It was probably not like that. He surely hoped Nightmare hadn't been poisoned.

Dust looked at his dad worriedly.

 

The ambulance came a few minutes later and- safe to say they were worried when they saw Nightmare and got an earful, as much as he could, from Fresh.

Nightmare was taken in the ambulance while everyone else got back in the car. "Alright Cross, Dust, we'll go to your home first and drop off your bags, grab some of Nightmare's clothes and go to the hospital. He'll be detained for a day."

 

Cross nodded slightly, holding Dust close. They were both really scared for their dad.

Error frowned slightly and got into the car.

 

"Call your friend Killer and his dad." Fresh said as they drove down the road. "They need to know."

 

Cross nodded, pulling out his phone. He quickly dialed Killer's number, calling him.

 

Killer picked up at the first ring, laughing slightly. "Sorry Cross. You have such comedic timi-" Cross cut him off.

 

"Nightmare just passed out and we called an ambulance and he's being taken to the hospital." Cross explained quickly.

 

".... What?" Killer asked before standing up and muffled voices were heard. "You're on speaker. What happened Cross?"

 

"Nightmare was really sick at school today and... and Fresh drove us home and he passed out and w-we called an ambulance and now he's.. being taken to the hospital and.. I'm.. I'm scared..." Cross explained, letting out a quiet sob.

 

Killer gasped softly before speaking in a soft voice. "No no no, Cross no. It's going to be okay. Nightmare is being taken to the hospital. He'll be in good hands."

"Killer's right." Horror said softly. "Nightmare will be safe there. The doctors will cure him and you can see your father again."

 

Cross sniffled quietly, trying to wipe away his tears.

Dust hugged him tightly.

Error looked at Cross worriedly.

 

"Cross?" Horror asked softly. "Which hospital did Nightmare go to? Me and Killer will meet you at the entrance."

 

"I'm not sure." Cross replied quietly. He looked up at Fresh.

"Which hospital did they bring Nightmare to?" He asked.

 

"E-Star Hospital." Fresh answered as he drove.

 

"E-Star Hospital." Cross said quietly, hugging Dust with his free arm.

 

"Okay. Stay safe. We'll be there soon." Horror said before Killer spoke. "Hang in there Cross, Dust. Nightmare will be fine. I'll see you soon."

 

"Okay..." Cross replied quietly, ending the call. He hugged Dust close, trying not to start crying again.

 

"Don't worry Cross," Fresh said softly. "You'll see your dad soon."

 

"Okay..." Cross mumbled quietly.

Dust hugged him close.

 

~~~

 

An hour later, Fresh pulled over at the hospital's parking lot. He had driven to Nightmare's house to pick up and drop off some items. And now it was time to see if Nightmare was doing better.

He looked behind him at the kids. "Are you ready boys?"

 

Cross nodded slightly. He really wanted to see his dad.

Dust nodded.

"yEah." Error replied.

 

Fresh exhaled softly and unbuckled himself. He opened the door and stepped out.  "Okay, let's go."

 

Cross opened the door and unbuckled himself, getting out of the car. Dust and Error followed him.

 

Fresh lead them all through the parking lot and into the building. Killer and Horror were sitting on one of the waiting benches. Killer looked up, smiling brightly when he saw Cross. "Hey, over here!"

 

Cross immediately spotted them and walked over to them. Did they know if his dad was okay?

 

Fresh walked towards the counter to talk to the nurse.

Killer smiled. "Hey, how are you holding up?"

 

Cross looked at the ground.

"Not good..." He mumbled quietly. Dust hugged him. He really wanted to know how their dad was doing.

 

Killer frowned and gently hugged Cross. "I'm so sorry this happened to you. We'll find a way to fix this. Nightmare will be okay."

 

Cross sniffled quietly, hugging back. He sure hoped so. He couldn't help but think about the teacher who XGaster had poisoned.

 

Fresh came back a moment later. "They've diagnosed Nightmare and he's in one of the hospital rooms. Floor 2 room 121.

 

"Come on, bro, let's go." Dust mumbled quietly, hugging Cross.

Cross nodded. He really wanted to see his dad.

Horror stood up and walked towards the elevator.

 

Fresh followed them and stood in the elevator with a frown. He was really worried about Nightmare.

Killer looked at Cross. "Hopefully he's fine now."

 

"I hope so too..." Cross replied quietly.

 

The elevator dinged and the adults lead the way down hallways, past nurses and patients alike until they reached the room.

Horror pushed the door open and spotted Nightmare sleeping on the medical bed, an iv poking out from under his shirt- most likely attached to his Soul. Soul monitors were beeping steadily.

 

Cross wanted to run to Nightmare but he was sleeping so he walked inside quietly, Dust right behind him.

 

Killer followed Cross and Dust, standing beside Nightmare's bed worriedly. "Is he going to be okay dad?"

Fresh looked at the clipboard placed at the end of the bed and picked it up, reading silently.

 

Dust looked up at Fresh worriedly. Was his dad going to be okay?

 

"I'm not sure kids." Horror said softly. "The nurse said he's stable but he'll be unconscious for about a day or so."

Killer frowned and looked at Cross and Dust worriedly. "Who's.... who's gonna take care of Cross and Dust if Nightmare is in the hospital? We don't have room."

 

Cross nodded slightly, trying not to cry. He was extremely worried.

Dust frowned slightly. Where could they stay?

 

Fresh growled lowly at what he was reading, his eyes burning brightly under his shades in fury.

 

Error looked up.

"what's wROng, dad?" He asked quietly.

 

"It says here he ingested a type of drug named Soule Cactus." Fresh growled in anger.

 

"What does it do?" Dust asked quietly, looking up at Fresh worriedly.

 

"Symptoms of high concentrations of this drug include; puking, dizziness, nausea, pains, unconsciousness and on rare occasions, death." Fresh said before putting the clipboard down, trying not to slam it down.

"Thing is, that plant and/or drug isn't common here nor can Nightmare have ingested such a concentrated amount considering he's never touched a harmful drug in his life nor has ever gone near the plant. You need to ingested a kilo of the plant- processed and all- to get this much poison in you."

 

Dust flinched. Death? Nightmare wasn't dying, right?

 

Killer frowned and looked at Nightmare. "How did he get the drug inside of him?"

Fresh scoffed. "Drug? With the amount he ingested, it's straight up poison."

Horror frowned in worry and anger "How did this happen then?"

 

Cross frowned.

"I think it was XGaster." He explained quietly. "He poisoned another teacher before too and he had exactly those symptoms."

 

Horror scowled before growing lowly. "Shit. Shit!"

Killer frowned angrily. "He poisoned Nightmare."

"We need to tell someone." Fresh said before Horror stopped him.

"No. No, we don't have proof. Nothing physically ties this to XGaster." Horror said reluctantly.

 

Dust flinched slightly.

"But.. he wants to have Nightmare's job..." He mumbled. That could be the reason.

Cross nodded slightly.

Error frowned. Was that enough?

 

Horror thought for a moment. "There's a motive but it's not enough to put him behind bars. Sure the cops will get suspicious but then he'll go low and won't do anything until the cops stop suspecting him. It's not enough. We need solid, physical evidence."

"Well," Fresh said and pointed at the clipboard. "We have Nightmare's medical record. We can get a copy and keep this just in case another, more solid proof can tie the poison attempt to that unrad guy."

 

"If Nightmare stays here, he'll teach me. Nightmare told me about that audio recording plan and maybe that would be solid proof?" Cross asked, trying not to shiver at the thought.

 

Fresh immediately protested, not wanting anyone facing XGaster. "Nu uh. No way! I'm not risking a child's life to catch the guy! I refuse to let that happen!"

 

Cross frowned slightly. He was risking his life anyways by going to school, might as well collect evidence.

 

Horror frowned at Fresh. "There's nothing we can do. Nightmare is unconscious here and XGaster is teaching at the school. Cross will be in danger nonetheless and we might as well catch him in the act."

"Not if he doesn't go to school." Fresh retorted.

"Who can take care of them?"

"I can. I live in a house, a good sized one. I can take care of them for a couple of days. I won't let them get hurt again."

"He'll get suspicious." Killer spoke softly. "If Cross or Dust don't show up, he'll know that we know about him."

 

Cross frowned. If XGaster found out he had told someone he'd target Dust. He looked down at his little brother. He wouldn't let that happen.

 

Fresh frowned angrily. "So he has to go to school." he scoffed. "I don't like this."

"No one does but it has to be done." Horror said.

Fresh sighed. "Well, since I'll be taking care of them in the meantime, why not?"

 

"I'll try my best not to get hurt." Cross said. He couldn't promise that he wouldn't get hurt because he definitely would but he'd try his best to prevent that.

 

Fresh nodded solemnly. There was not much he could do.

"Let's just keep Nightmare company before we have to leave." Horror said and pulled a chair closer to the bed. "Hopefully he'll be okay soon."

 

Dust nodded in agreement and walked to the bed, giving his dad a small, gentle hug.

Chapter Text

Dream looked around nervously, trying not to panic too much. He hadn't known what to think when he was told that Nightmare was in the hospital. And poisoned?!!

Blue was talking to the nurse because Dream couldn't do it.

 

Blue tried his best to stay calm. He turned to Dream with a small, reassuring smile.

"I got his room number." He explained gently.

 

Dream could only nod. He didn't trust himself to say anything because he knew he was going to start talking and panicking.

 

Blue gave Dream a gentle hug.

"Come on, Dreamy." He said gently.

 

Dream closed his eyes and relaxed his shoulders slightly. He opened his eyes again and nodded at Blue.

 

Blue smiled softly.

"You're so strong." He said gently, taking Dream's hand. He lead his datemate to Nightmare's room.

 

Dream smiled back at Blue, flushing slightly. He didn't feel strong at all. But if Blue said so then he had to at least try to be brave.

He followed Blue towards Nightmare's hospital room.

 

Blue knocked on the door and opened it, walking through.

 

Nightmare was still unconscious on the bed, various monitors attached to him.

Dream choked on a sob at the sight, covering his mouth with tears forming in his eyes. Poor Nightmare. He was such a terrible brother to let this happen!

 

Blue frowned worriedly and hugged Dream gently.

 

Dream clung onto Blue and sobbed into his shoulder, his Soul feeling so heavy and torn with dread. Why had he let something like this happen to his brother?

 

"Shh.. Dreamy..." Blue hushed softly.

 

Dream calmed down slightly and hugged his mate tight, taking the comfort gratefully. He could never go through this on his own. He was grateful Blue was with him.

 

Blue rubbed Dream's back gently.

"He'll be fine..." He murmured softly.

 

"I hope so." Dream choked out sadly. He pulled away and wiped away his tears. He went to Nightmare's side and looked down sadly.

 

Blue frowned worriedly as he watched Dream.

 

Dream sighed softly as he looked at Nightmare. "I hope he'll heal quickly. I hate seeing him hurt like this."

 

 

Blue hugged Dream from behind.

"I hope so too." He agreed.

 

Dream relaxed into the embrace. He was really grateful for Blue's presence.

 

"Your brother will be fine." Blue said softly.

 

Dream frowned deeply. He was not too convinced. Nightmare was strong- he was the one who had taken care of them when their parents hadn't been around- but he was not strong enough to handle being poisoned.

 

"The nurse said he'll be okay in a few weeks." Blue explained.

 

"I hope so." Dream said softly. "I really want to see him get better."

 

Blue cuddled Dream gently.

 

Dream sighed softly. "How did this happen?"

 

 

"I don't know. But I'm sure they'll catch the culprit." Blue replied.

 

"They have to." Dream frowned angrily. It was not good to poison someone! Especially to the point of death! It was bad!

 

Blue rubbed Dream's back gently.

"They will." He replied gently.

 

Dream nodded and turned around to hug Blue, turning his face to hide his tears in Blue's shoulder. "Thank you for coming with me."

 

Blue held Dream close and rubbed his back gently.

"No problem. I'm your datemate after all."

 

"You didn't have to." Dream said softly before looking up to smile at Blue. "But I'm glad you did. Thank you."

 

Blue smiled softly.

"I'm not gonna let my mate go through that alone." He murmured gently.

 

"Thank you." Dream repeated again softly with a smile, nuzzling into Blue's neck.

 

Blue nuzzled back gently, kissing Dream's cheek bone.

 

Dream smiled and nuzzled Blue with closed eyes. He was so happy Blue was here with him.

He turned around to look at Nightmare and frowned softly. Nightmare looked so vulnerable like this. He was not used to seeing his big brother being sick or showing weakness. He'd always been the strong one. The one who had taken the punches for him when he had been young and the one who calmed him down during his bad days. Sure they argued but what family didn't?

 

Blue held Dream gently, doing his best to support his mate.

 

Dream couldn't take his eyes off Nightmare. He just couldn't.

"I'm sorry Nightmare." He whispered sadly. "I'm so sorry."

 

"Shh..." Blue murmured softly, holding Dream close.

 

Dream sighed shakily, tears forming in his eyes again. "I should have protected him. I'm a bad brother..."

 

"You can't blame yourself for this, Dreamy." Blue said softly, hugging Dream gently.

 

"He protected me, Blue." Dream said sadly. "He protected me and I couldn't pay the favour back by doing the same for him."

 

Blue frowned.

"It's not your fault. It's hard to fight against poison." He said softly.

 

"I should have noticed." Dream said, tears spilling down his cheeks. "I could have gotten him to the hospital when he first looked sick. I didn't do that and now-" he choked on a sob.

 

Blue hugged Dream close.

"It's not your fault, Dreamy." He murmured softly.

 

Dream didn't say anything, only crying silently as he looked at Nightmare's unconscious body. He should have tried more.

 

"Shh...." Blue hushed gently, holding Dream close.

 

It took a few minutes before Dream's crying ceased. He sniffed softly after wiping away his tears.

 

Blue held Dream close.

"Do you need anything?" He asked softly.

 

Dream shook his skull and turned around to hug Blue back. "Can we stay here until visiting time is over?"

 

"Of course." Blue agreed. "I might have to get you some food later though."

 

"Okay." Dream said as he hugged Blue for comfort. "You better sit down. There's a chair by the door."

 

Blue smiled softly. He pulled back a bit and went to the door. Instead of sitting down though, he took the chair and carried it next to the bed where Dream was standing.

 

Dream watched Blue curiously. Maybe he wanted to sit next to Nightmare?

 

Blue sat down and took Dream's hand gently, pulling him onto his lap. He hugged him with a small smile.

 

Dream blushed slightly when he was pulled onto Blue's lap before smiling softly. He gave Blue a quick kiss before sitting properly. "You sure I'm not heavy?"

 

Blue blushed and kissed back a bit.

"Yeah. You're light enough." He replied.

 

Dream smiled softly and leaned back into Blue, nuzzling his mate. He was so happy Blue was here with him.  "Thank you. So much."

 

Blue smiled, nuzzling his mate happily.

"No problem." He replied.

 

Dream smiles and watched Nightmare on the bed. He hoped his brother would be okay soon.

 

~~~

 

Blue opened the door, holding a bag full of food.

 

Dream had his head in his arms over the bed, staring at Nightmare sadly.

He looked up when Blue walked inside and smiled. "What did you buy?"

 

"Porridge and some pastries." Blue replied with a smile.

 

"Tasty." Dream chuckled softly and sat up straight. What had he expected from the hospital? Burgers? "What kind of pastry?"

 

Blue laughed.

"Strawberry." He replied.

 

"Nice." Dream said and stood up to gently and silently grab the table at the end of the bed. "Nightmare won't be mad if we borrowed this right?"

 

"Nah. We'll give it back later." Blue replied with a smile.

 

Dream chuckled softly but he was still anxious that Nightmare or the nurse would be mad at them for using the table meant for the patient.

 

Blue smiled encouragingly.

"It'll be fine." He said.

 

"If you say so." Dream said softly with a soft smile. He trusted Blue. So it should be fine. Right?

 

Blue smiled and opened the bag.

 

Inside was a large plastic bowl of warm porridge and a box of pastries beside it. There were also two spoons to eat the porridge with.

 

Blue put the bag onto the table and arranged everything.

 

Dream watched Blue closely. It kind of looked edible. They were sharing it seemed which was just fine with Dream.

 

Blue opened the box and took some of the plastic cutlery. He frowned a bit.

"Here goes nothing..." He mumbled and took a bite.

 

Dream watched Blue curiously. Was ire good? It was hospital food so it depended.

 

Blue swallowed with a small frown.

"Better than I expected at least." He said.

 

"Really?" Dream asked curiously, tilting his head. "Can I try some?"

 

"Sure." Blue replied, sliding the container to Dream.

 

Dream ate a small bite, humming softly. "It's not too bad. A bit plain."

 

Blue hummed in thought. He opened his jacket and got out two small packets. One for pepper and one for salt.

"We could season it a bit." He suggested.

 

Dream chuckled softly when he saw that. "Why do you bring pepper and salt packets?"

 

"Preparation for the horrible food here." Blue deadpanned before grinning.

"No, I carry them around all the time."

 

Dream chuckled softly at Blue. His Soul feeling a bit lighter despite the dread. "That's the reason why I asked. Why do you bring it around everywhere?"

 

Blue hummed in thought.

"You'll never know when you need it. My bag is stuffed with things I'll probably need twice in a year. But it's a nice feeling when we need it in the teacher's lounge for example and I can say that I have it with me." He explained with a smile.

 

Dream chuckled softly at Blue while shaking his skull. That explained the random things Blue could pull out of his bag. "True true."

 

Blue grinned.

"I'm perfectly equipped for everything. Except going up a mountain cause my bag weighs a ton." He said.

 

Dream laughed softly. "Are you sure you didn't switch jobs with Fresh from how much weight you're lifting every day?"

 

Blue laughed.

"Not sure." He replied with a grin.

 

Dream leaned over to look at Blue suspiciously. "Did you switch degrees with Fresh?"

 

Blue hummed thoughtfully.

"Nah. I'd rather be able to write some poems for you." He replied with a smirk.

 

Dream froze as his face exploded in a blush. Oh he recalled some of Blue's poems and they never ceased to make him feel like his female students.

 

Blue smiled happily. He was so glad that Dream enjoyed his poems.

 

Dream smiled nervously but happily. "I guess I have no complaints then."

 

"Well, I bet I can take care of you because I can push really hard." Blue said with a wink.

 

Dream looked at Blue confusedly for a moment his face exploded in a golden blush.

"B-blue!" he sputtered. "We're in the hospital!"

 

Blue chuckled, his face lit up with a small blush.

"Sorry, Dreamy." He apologised.

 

Dream pouted at Blue while fighting a smile.

He went to eat another bite of the hospital food, realizing that Blue hadn't put in the flavors yet. "Can I have some pepper?"

 

Blue nodded. He handed Dream the packet with pepper.

 

Dream grabbed it with a thank you and ripped it open, pouring the contents inside. He stirred it for a bit before tasting it. "Not bad. Do you have another?"

 

Blue smiled.

"Of course." He replied and handed Dream a second packet.

 

Dream ripped it open and added it in. He stirred it and took a bite, humming softly. "It's okay now. I think?"

 

Blue smiled.

"That's good." He replied and took a fork. He tried a bite and hummed softly.

 

Dream looked at the pastries that Blue had gotten. "Can I get some?"

 

"Sure." Blue replied with a smile. He ate some more.

 

Dream opened the box and grabbed one of the pastries, eating it with a hum. It was not that bad. A bit dry though.

 

Blue smiled. It didn't seem to be that bad.

 

They both ate their food for a while in comfortable silence, despite the unconscious skeleton laying on the hospital bed. Dream was grateful that Blue had come with him. He probably wouldn't have eaten until Nightmare had gotten better and forced him.

 

"Do you want to go on a date on Saturday?" Blue asked gently.

 

Dream looked up at Blue and smiled sadly. He wanted to but he couldn't stop worrying about Nightmare. "I can't. Not until Nighty is better."

 

"That's okay." Blue said with a soft smile. "Maybe I could stay at your place for a bit to make sure you're doing okay?" He suggested.

 

"T-that'd be alright with me." Dream blushed softly as he smiles. Blue staying at his place? Yes please.

Plus, Blue could make sure he wouldn't pass out from lack of food and sleep too. That happened more times than he'd like.

 

Blue smiled happily. He kissed Dream's cheek bone gently.

"And when Nightmare is okay again, I'll take you on an awesome date!" He promised.

 

Dream leaned into the touch happily, looking up at Blue. "I'll take you up on that."

 

Blue smiled brightly. He loved Dream so much.

 

Dream smiled back at Blue. At least he had someone to help him get through this. He didn't have to be alone now.

Chapter Text

Cross sat on the couch in Fresh's house, hugging Dust gently. He was really worried about his dad, a frown on his face.

Error looked at the two worriedly. He really wanted to cheer them up a bit.

 

Dust was looking at his hands sadly as Cross hugged him. He was so worried about Nightmare. What if he wasn't okay?

 

Cross stared at the wall, trying not to think about what would happen in the worst case scenario.

Error looked at his dad. They had to cheer them up a bit.

 

Fresh frowned at them sadly. They had been so sad since Nightmare had been in the hospital. There was not much he could do though.

 

Error frowned slightly. Maybe...

"dO yOu want tO play a vidEOgamE?" Error asked them quietly.

 

Dust looked up at Error in slight confusion. "Video game? Like the one Cross showed me on his phone?"

 

"pREtty much." Error agreed, sitting down in front of the TV. He might as well show them.

 

Fresh smiled at his son and stood up. "I'll get some snacks and drinks."

Dust looked at Error with a sad frown as the other did something. He cuddled into Cross sadly, still upset about Nightmare.

 

Cross held Dust close, watching Error.

Error smiled slightly when the TV screen lit up. Maybe they could play Mario kart. He put the game in and took three controllers, walking to the couch.

 

Dust looked at the tv curiously. It was a different screen now. There was another option than just tv and cd? He looked at the... things in Error's hands.

 

"this is a cOntROllER. i'll shOw yOu hOw thE gamE wORks." Error explained, laying the two controllers to the side and taking one into both hands. He selected the game and a character, taking one of the easier routes.

Cross watched curiously.

 

Dust watched Error choose some kind of cartoon character, a go-kart and a track. The whole thing was colourful and bright and happy looking.

Fresh came back with a bowl of mixed berries and three cans of soft drink, putting it on the coffee table.

 

Error smiled slightly as he managed to get a start boost and pulled first.

"yOu pREss 'a' tO dRivE and tilt thE cOntROllER tO cOntROl the caR. yOu can usE thE jOystick tO cOntROl it tOO." Error explained, driving skillfully.

Cross watched, looking really interested. That didn't sound hard. 

 

Dust watched intently as Error explained while playing. It didn't sound that hard and it looked kind of fun. He felt slightly better as he watched Error play.

 

Error cheered slightly as he got an item.

"yOu pREss this buttOn tO usE an itEm." He explained, shOOting a REd shEll bEhind him.

Dust watched, looking a bit excited. Error was winning.

 

Dust smiled slightly when Error hit a character behind him. He was winning.

Fresh smiled when Error got closer to the finish line. He'd been thinking about talking with Error about joining some E-Sport. He was good at video games. Maybe later.

 

Error cheered happily as he got over the finish line, winning by far.

Cross smiled slightly. Error was really good at the game.

 

Dust smiled slightly wider. "You're really good at that Error."

 

Error smiled shyly.

"thanks." He replied quietly, handing a controller to each of them.

 

Dust took the controller hesitantly. He didn't think he could play like Error. But he had to at least try. His d-dad... Nightmare would want him to try.

 

Cross took the controller, a bit hesitant.

Error set everything up and let them choose their characters and cars.

 

Dust looked over the selection and eventually picked a random character. He didn't know who these characters were so what was the point?

 

Cross picked a random character and built a car that was as colourful as possible.

Error chose his default character and motorcycle and turned off the bots. Less distraction that way.

 

Dust picked the car and themed it instead of making it colourful or with the best stats. Though he did change the wheels for speed and maneuverability.

"Now what?" he asked Error.

 

"nOw wE chOOsE a tRack." Error explained.

Cross looked over the tracks curiously.

 

Dust looked over the array of tracks. Each of them seem to have its own theme which was interesting. He looked over the tracks and pointed at the castle one. "How about that one?"

 

Error smiled.

"gOOd chOicE." He replied, selecting the track. He waited for the game to load.

Cross smiled slightly. It was really exciting.

 

Dust waited as the screen changed into some kind of loading screen. He waited nervously. "I-I'm not very good at games. Even Cross is better than me, he plays games on his phone."

 

"that's Okay." Error reassured him.

Cross was a bit nervous too.

 

The screen changed and showed the track they had picked. Dust began to get nervous at the sight of all the turns and traps it had. Maybe it had been a mistake.

 

"nO wORRiEs. it dOEsn't mattER whO wins." Error tried to reassure them.

 

Dust nodded his skull slowly. "O-okay Error. If you say so."

 

Cross nodded slightly.

Error concentrated on the screen. He'd give them a headstart.

 

The timer counted down and Dust moved. He smiled slightly when he was able to control the car easily.

 

Cross quickly started driving. It wasn't that hard, fortunately.

Error waited for a few seconds before starting.

 

Dust controlled the car and looked at the weird flowing coins. He ran into them but only got two or three out of the bunch.

 

"yOu gOtta takE thE cOins tO gEt fastER." Error explained quietly, driving skillfully. He was last place by much.

Cross smiled slightly. He was battling with Dust for the first place.

 

"Oh...." Dust said before nodding. He drove the turns a little slowly, not knowing how to turn properly without needing to go straight first. He hit a box and got a red box with a horn on it. "What's that?"

 

"usE it." Error replied with a bright grin as he watched Cross drive near Dust.

 

Dust raised a confused brow and pressed a button to use it. He looked surprised when Cross' car was knocked back by the box.

 

"it's an itEm that cREatEs a shOck wavE." Error explained as he watched Dust take the lead easily.

Cross stared at the screen confusedly, driving after Dust quickly.

 

"Cool." Dust said with a smile as he drove

 

Error discreetly got rid of his red shells by throwing them behind him.

"gOOd jOb, yOu twO." He encouraged them happily.

Cross hummed as he got a red shell and shot it at Dust.

 

Dust smiled before laughing when he got hit by a red shell. He drove towards the box and gained three bananas.  "Retaliation!"

 

Cross giggled quietly as he managed to hit Dust and quickly closed up to him. The game was fun.

Error smiled brightly, taking a few detours.

 

Dust smiled and threw all three bananas at Cross, laughing as he turned around Cross to pass him.

 

Cross smiled. He was so glad Dust was having fun too. He drove after his brother who was in the lead again.

 

Dust drove happily and spotted some coins. He went after them, smiling happily. "I'm rich!"

 

Error chuckled. The two were amazing for the first time playing.

Cross giggled quietly, chasing after Dust.

 

"Catch me if you can brother!" Dust exclaimed playfully as he drove and managed to gather all the coins.

Fresh chuckled softly and handed Error a can of soft drink. At least those two were feeling better.

 

Cross giggled, driving after Dust, dodging all the obstacles.

Error smiled up at his dad and quickly switched his grip to drive with one hand and took the can.

"thanks, dad." He said happily. He'd been getting kind of thirsty.

 

Fresh gently rubbed the top of Error's skull for a moment before pulling away, watching the kids play.

Dust smiled, giggling slightly when he accidentally hit a wall. "Oops."

 

Cross giggled as he managed to drive past Dust.

"Gotcha, bro." He said with a smile.

Error watched them both play, a happy smile on his face as he drove some circles.

 

"Nooo!" Dust exclaimed dramatically before chasing Cross. "I'm gonna getcha back!"

 

Cross smiled happily. He was sure Dust would manage to do that. He collected a few coins.

 

Dust smiled excitedly when he saw that the finish line was close. "I'm gonna win?!"

 

Cross drove into an obstacle right in front of the finish line.

Error watched them both curiously.

 

Dust crossed the finish line and cheered happily. He was so happy yet in disbelief. He didn't think he'd win. "I won! I won! I actually won!"

 

Cross smiled brightly as he came in second.

"You did it, bro!" He agreed excitedly.

"gOOd jOb, yOu twO." Error said happily as he crossed the finish line.

 

Dust cheered happily and hugged Cross. "I didn't think I'd win! I'm so happy!"

 

Cross hugged back happily, nuzzling Dust gently.

"Good job, bro." He praised happily.

 

Dust nuzzled back happily. "Yay~"

Fresh chuckled softly. So cute. Nightmare's kids were so precious.

 

Cross smiled brightly, cuddling Dust close.

Error silenced the TV and went back to the main menu. They should eat before continuing to play if they wanted to.

 

Dust looked at Error in confusion. "What do we do now?"

 

"wE shOuld Eat sOmEthing fiRst." Error explained, gesturing to the coffee table as he took a sip of his can.

Cross nodded slightly in agreement.

 

Dust nodded and reached over before pausing. He looked up at Fresh uncertainly.

Fresh smiled and nodded, giving permission for Dust to take one.

Dust smiled and grabbed a strawberry, looking at it in confusion. He'd heard of it but never tasted it.

 

Error put the can down and smiled slightly as he ate a strawberry.

"thEy'RE REally swEEt." He explained.

Cross took a strawberry and took a small bite. Error was right.

 

Dust looked at the berry for a moment before taking a bite. It was really sweet. Not his favorite but it was really good.

Fresh smiled at Dust.

 

Cross ate a few strawberries and stared at the can for a bit.

Error smiled, eating some of the berries.

 

Dust finished his strawberry and took a blueberry. He lit up at the taste. This. This was his favorite.

Fresh looked at Cross and smiled. "Go ahead Cross. It's for you."

 

Cross nodded slightly and took the can, eyeing it curiously. How was he supposed to open it?

 

"Do you know how to open it?" Fresh asked as he watched Cross. Dust was busy picking all the blueberries.

 

Cross shook his head. He had no idea how to open it.

Well, he did have an idea but he really didn't want to mess up.

Error looked over at Cross. His dad had it handled.

 

Fresh smiled and gently took the can from Cross.

"There's this little key thing." he said, pointing at the thing. "You grab it, push it inside to pop the little flap and done."

He handed the open can to Cross.

 

Cross nodded.

"Thanks." He replied, taking the can with a small smile.

 

Dust ate the berries happily and tried a grape, humming at the taste. He loved it so much.

Fresh nodded with a smile. At least it'd help keep their mind off Nightmare. If only for a moment.

 

Error glanced over at them. They seemed to be having fun. That was good.

 

~~~

 

Cross shifted uneasily next to Dust, his expression fearful.

 

Dust slept silently, unaware of his brother's distress.

 

Cross started whimpering quietly. He didn't want to be locked in the closet...

 

Dust stirred slightly at the sound, being a light sleeper due to habit in his old neglectful home.

 

Cross moved a bit, trying to struggle. He knew it was futile though...

 

Dust opened his eyes at the shifting and looked around the dark bedroom in confusion. What time was it?

 

Cross whimpered fearfully, tears rolling down his cheek bones.

 

Dust turned around and gasped when he saw Cross in distress. He sat up and gently shook Cross awake. "Cross? Cross wake up. You're having a nightmare."

 

Cross tensed up a bit at the touch. The voice made him relax a bit though. He opened his eye sockets, looking at Dust with hazy eye lights.

 

Dust looked at Cross worriedly. He looked a little scared too. "Cross? Brother, are you okay?"

 

Cross' eye sockets widened slightly. He had to protect Dust. Had he scared him?

"Are you okay?" He asked back, hugging Dust.

 

Dust looked up at Cross in confusion when he was hugged, sniffing softly. "Me? What about you? You were crying..." he said in a small voice and hugged Cross.

 

"Sorry. Just... dreamt about some stuff I'd rather forget..." Cross mumbled, wiping away his tears.

 

Dust looked up at Cross in concern, still hugging him gently. "What is it about?"

 

"I..." Cross stared down at the floor. "... A closet..." He mumbled hesitantly.

 

"A... closet?" Dust repeated in confusion before he realized what Cross meant. "Oh."

He nuzzled Cross softly. "It's okay. It's not real. You're here with me."

 

Cross relaxed slightly, nuzzling back a bit. He felt exhausted but didn't think he could sleep.

 

Dust hugged Cross, closing his eyes as sleep slowly called his name. He relaxed against his brother, knowing that Cross would protect him.

 

Cross held Dust close as the other drifted off. He wouldn't be able to fall asleep so he might as well protect Dust.

 

Dust leaned into Cross as he slowly drifted off. He forced his eyes open to look at Cross. "Hey, Cross?"

 

"Yeah?" Cross asked, looking down at Dust.

 

"Will," Dust shifted into Cross for comfort. "Will dad be okay?"

 

Cross looked down at Dust uncertainly.

"I'm.. I'm not entirely sure but I think so." He replied quietly.

 

Dust frowned worriedly and buried his face into Cross' shirt. "I miss him."

 

Cross nodded.

"I miss him too..." He mumbled, holding his little brother close.

 

"I want dad." Dust sniffed and wiped away his forming tears. "I want him. He feels safe and he's kind and- and- Cross can we see him tomorrow?"

 

"I'll ask Fresh." Cross replied quietly. He wanted to see dad too.

 

Dust nodded and closed his eyes as he drifted off slowly. "Okay..."

 

Cross held Dust protectively, rubbing his skull gently.

 

Dust relaxed at the gentle touch and drifted off to sleep, laying on Cross as he slept soundly in the safety of his brother's arms.

 

Cross hugged Dust close. He thought a bit about the situation they were in. He hoped his dad would be okay...

Chapter Text

Fresh walked into the guest room where the kids were and smiled. Cross was holding Dust as both of them slept soundly. They must have moved last night because one of them had trouble sleeping.

Fresh walked closer and gently shook Cross awake. "Cross? Cross, wake up."

 

Cross stirred slightly, looking up blearily.

Right. School... Ugh...

"Hm...?" He hummed quietly.

 

"Do you want to join us on our morning run?" Fresh asked gently with a smile.

 

Cross tilted his skull slightly before nodding a bit. That sounded okay. He was a bit sleepy though.

 

Fresh smiled and looked at Dust, shaking him slightly. "Dust? Wake up."

Dust opened his eyes groggily with a groan. "Hmm?"

 

Cross rubbed his eye sockets, sitting up. He should get his sport things from his bag.

 

"Do you want to come with us on a morning run?" Fresh asked Dust softly.

Dust looked up before shaking his skull. He didn't think he could run so early in the morning. "Can I sleep?"

Fresh chuckled fondly before nodding. "Of course. We'll wake you up when we're done."

 

Cross smiled slightly, yawning quietly. He stood up and went to his bag, getting his sports clothes.

 

Dust grabbed the pillow Cross had been laying on and hugged it close, immediately going back to sleep.

Fresh chuckled softly at the sight.

 

Cross rubbed his face slightly on his way to the bathroom.

 

Fresh sat down on the bed, smiling as he waited for Cross

 

Cross quickly washed his face with cold water and put on his long sleeved sports clothes. It might have been too warm for them but he didn't want anyone seeing his scars.

 

Dust cuddled into the pillow sleepily, loving the idea of going back to sleep.

 

Cross yawned slightly as he walked out of the bathroom. He just needed to put on his shoes and he'd be ready.

 

Fresh looked over at Cross and smiled. "Looks like you're ready for a run."

 

Cross nodded slightly. He was ready.

 

Fresh stood up and smiled at Cross. "Alright, let's go then. Error should be downstairs already."

 

Cross nodded and walked down the stairs, still looking a bit sleepy.

 

Fresh followed Cross, after a quick skull rub to Dust, and walked downstairs. Error was on the couch already.

 

Error smiled when he spotted Cross and his dad.

"mORning." He called out.

"Mornin'..." Cross replied, sounding a bit sleepy. How were they so awake?

 

Fresh smiled at Cross and rubbed his skull affectionately, walking over to Error and doing the same. "How about we do 2km only for today? You can handle that Cross?"

 

Cross leaned into the touch with a happy hum.

Error smiled at the touch.

"Yeah." Cross agreed with a small nod.

 

Fresh smiled and walked towards the front door. He unlocked the door, putting on his running shoes while smiling at them. "Alright then, let's go."

 

Error and Cross followed him, putting on their shoes.

Error smiled back. He couldn't wait. Maybe they'd see the small kitten again.

Error followed Fresh quickly, putting on his running shoes. He smiled up at his dad happily. No better way to start the day than with running.

Cross walked after them, slipping into his sneakers.

 

Fresh closed the door and locked it, not wanting anyone coming inside and risking Dust's life. He started to do some stretches to warm up his body and prepare himself, not wanting to have sore bones later.

 

Error stretched a bit too.

Cross looked at them for a moment before copying them.

 

After five minutes of stretching, Fresh smiled at them before starting to jog slowly. They'd run around the neighbourhood before turning back when they reached the playground at the end of the road.

 

Error jogged next to his dad, smiling a small bit.

Cross quickly followed them, not having to struggle to keep up.

 

Fresh looked around as they jogged, breathing the sweet cool morning air and listening to the chirps of birds. One of the perks of running early morning, the cool calm air.

 

Error smiled happily as he spotted a few cats roaming around. He loved these morning jogs. So many cats!

Cross looked around a bit before deciding to speak up.

"Fresh?" He asked.

 

Fresh looked down at Cross with a hum. "Hm?"

 

"Can... can we visit Nightmare today..?" Cross asked quietly.

 

Fresh smiled at Cross before nodding. "Of course. We'll go after school okay?"

 

Cross smiled slightly, nodding happily.

Error gasped as he spotted the small kitten. He slowed down a bit to pet it. The kitten looked really hungry, like it hadn't been fed in a while.

 

Fresh paused when he noticed Error was falling behind and turned around. He sighed softly. Not again.

 

Cross looked behind them, seeing Error approach a cat slowly.

Error smiled slightly, sitting down and holding out his hand to the cat. The kitten sniffed at it curiously, recognising Error almost instantly. It climbed into his lap and cuddled into him, making Error chuckle as he pet the small cat.

 

Fresh walked up to Error with his brows raised in a knowing but scolding look. "Error..."

 

The kitten mewed, cuddling into Error slightly as it watched Fresh.

"sORRy, dad." He apologised, petting the small, hungry looking cat.

 

Fresh sighed softly and rubbed his eyes. "You're gonna ask if we can take it in, aren't you?"

 

"yEah." Error replied, looking up at his dad.

"lOOk, it's sO cutE." He explained, holding up a little paw. The kitten purred softly, rubbing its head against him.

Cross smiled slightly. The kitten was adorable.

 

Fresh looked at Error with a deadpanned look. "If I let you keep it...?"

 

"i'll takE caRE Of it and makE suRE yOu wOn't havE tO dO anything. i'll EvEn buy thE fOOd with my pOckEt mOnEy, but plEasE?" Error asked, cuddling the kitten gently.

 

Fresh gave Error a look. He sighed softly. He couldn't say no to him. Besides, they could handle another part of the family. "Fine. You don't need to use your money to buy the food. But you're buying anything else for the cat."

 

Error cheered quietly, trying not to startle the kitten. He smiled up at Fresh brightly.

"thanks, dad!" He said happily.

Cross smiled.

 

"Yeah yeah." Fresh sighed softly with a fond smile. "Don't let it scratch the furniture."

 

Error nodded happily, standing up carefully as he held the kitten close. He'd make sure the kitten was well behaved.

The kitten cuddled into him happily.

 

"Let's go back home." Fresh said towards them. "I doubt we can run while holding a kitten. And Dust would be worried if we stay for too long."

 

Error nodded happily, petting the purring kitten.

Cross smiled and petted the kitten gently.

 

Fresh walked back towards the house, leading the way. Dust must be worried. Or still asleep. Who knew?

 

The kitten mewed quietly. It was really hungry.

Error followed his dad home, petting the kitten gently. 

 

Fresh finally reached their house and unlocked the door with his keys, slipping off his shoes and stepping inside. "Dust? We're back!"

 

Error followed his dad, going straight to the kitchen.

Cross closed the door behind him. Was Dust up already?

 

Fresh looks at Cross. "Can you wake up your brother? There's a shower down the hall you can use."

 

"Sure." Cross agreed, walking up the stairs to wake up his brother.

 

Fresh watched as Cross walked up the stairs before walking towards the shower in his bedroom.

 

Dust was still sleeping soundly on the bed, hugging the soft pillow gently.

 

Cross sat down next to Dust, gently rubbing his brother's skull.

"Time to wake up." He mumbled softly.

 

Dust leaned into the touch happily before opening his eyes. Being a light sleeper as he was, the touch was enough to wake him up.

He looked up at Cross. "Hmm?"

 

"Morning." Cross greeted with a smile.

 

Dust smiled back sleepily and leaned into the hand on his skull. "Morning."

 

"Fresh will take us to dad after school." Cross informed.

 

Dust smiled wider and hugged Cross sleepily but happily. "Yay~!"

 

Cross smiled.

"And Error just adopted a cat." He added.

 

Dust shot up slightly in surprise and joy. "A cat?!"

 

Cross nodded with a smile.

"A little kitten. You gotta see it." He replied happily.

 

Dust smiled brightly and nods. "I want to see!"

 

Cross smiled and stood up, waiting for Dust by the door.

 

Dust stood up and followed Cross with a happy smile.

 

Cross walked down the stairs to the kitchen where Error was giving the kitten some watered milk.

Error smiled slightly as the kitten drank it all, mewing quietly.

 

Dust looked over and smiled brightly at the small kitten, stopping himself from screaming. "So cute~!"

 

Error looked up, smiling happily.

"i namEd hER mOlly." He explained, petting the kitten's head gently.

Cross smiled brightly, sitting down near the kitten.

 

Dust chuckled softly as he neared them. He kneeled down next to Cross as he looked at the kitten.  "Why Molly?"

 

"just lOOk at hER. shE lOOks likE a mOlly." Error explained as the kitten approached Dust curiously.

Cross smiled.

 

Dust looked at the kitten in surprise before slowly reaching a hand out to it.

 

Molly sniffed the hand curiously, rubbing her small head against it.

Error smiled. Molly seemed to like Dust.

 

Dust smiled brightly and gently stroked the cat's head. It was so cute! "She's cute."

 

Molly purred softly, leaning into the touch.

Error smiled brightly. Molly was so adorable.

 

Dust smiled brightly. He loved petting Molly. "Fresh let you keep her?"

 

"yEah." Error replied happily.

 

"That's nice." Dust said with a smile as he pet the cat.

 

Error nodded.

"wE shOuld gEt REady fOR schOOl." He suggested.

Cross nodded in agreement. He got up and went to get his clothes to shower.

 

Dust nodded and reluctantly pulled his hand away. "Right."

He stood up and followed Cross to get their clothes and shower.

 

Error picked Molly up and cuddled her for a second before going to his room.

Chapter Text

XGaster walked into class a few minutes before the bell rang. His expression calm and satisfied as he took his spot behind the teacher's desk.

 

Cross stared at XGaster for a second before looking down at his book.

He was so screwed...

 

"Alright class," XGaster smiled pleasantly at them. "your math teacher is currently unavailable due to health reasons. Thus, I will be taking over until he comes back."

'Which will be a long while.' XGaster thought gleefully.

 

Cross stared down at his book. He hoped his dad would be okay soon.

 

"So, let's start today's lesson with a pop quiz." XGaster grinned as he handed out papers to everyone. "This will be a difficult math test to see how smart you are. Some of you," he pointedly looked at Cross. "will not get the answer."

 

Cross breathing quickened. A... a test... A difficult test...?! He forced back his tears. He couldn't cry in class.

He would not be able to make it!

 

Some students began to panic when they saw the questions but chose not to speak out, fearing the new teacher.

XGaster handed Cross his paper with a grin. "I'm sure you can handle it, right? You are Mr. Nightmare's favorite student. He has high expectations for you."

 

Tears collected in Cross' eye sockets. He couldn't disappoint Nightmare. He'd done so well...

 

XGaster waited for a moment before scoffing. "I don't see why. You are clearly not smart enough to deserve his love."

He walked away to give the other students their papers after saying that, satisfaction growing inside of him.

 

Cross put his skull onto the table and hid his face with his arms, trying not to cry.

 

XGaster walked back to his desk and sat down, pulling out his phone. "You all have fifteen minutes to answer. Any wrong answer will result in punishment."

 

P-punishment....? Cross whimpered quietly, trying to see which kind of questions there were.

 

XGaster watched with glee as the students panicked and looked over the questions. One in particular looked close to tears which brought joy to the sadistic math teacher.

 

Cross stared at the paper, not able to read the numbers. He panicked, trying his best to read it but he just couldn't.

 

XGaster watched Cross closely as he panicked over the questions. He didn't even make them illegible this time. It was amazing how all of his efforts were rewarded with sweet fear and hallucinations when prompted.

 

A tear dripped down Cross' cheek bone as he wrote down fifty-two.

 

XGaster's phone went off exactly fifteen minutes later. The teacher grinned and stood up. "Times up. I'm picking up your answers now."

 

Cross pulled his hood into his face to hide that he was crying.

 

XGaster picked up the papers one by one before returning to his desk. He pulled out a red pen and began to mark it. "In the meantime, turn to page 78 and do the exercises. I want the work done before the bell rings."

 

Cross shivered, hiding his face in his hands as he cried, his whole body trembling.

 

XGaster marked the tests with ease, most of the students having gotten most of the questions wrong. But he was only focused on the one who got every question wrong.

 

Cross sobbed silently, trying to hide behind his book.

 

The other students reluctantly did the exercises that XGaster told them to, being extremely confused and lost when they had to do questions they hadn't learned yet.

 

Cross sobbed silently. He didn't want to disappoint Nightmare...

 

~~~

 

The bell rang loudly, signalling the end of class. All the students packed their things and finished the remaining questions, ready to hand it to their new teacher.

 

Cross looked up and quickly packed up his things, his sight blurry with tears.

 

All the students handed XGaster their work before leaving quickly, not wanting to anger the teacher.

 

Cross quickly put on his bag and tried to leave the classroom.

 

"Cross?" XGaster called with a grin. "Did you forget about your private lessons for math? The principal said you took them."

 

Cross' eye lights shrunk in fear.

"I... I don't... I don't need then anymore..." He replied shakily.

 

"Clearly you do." XGaster said and raised Cross' papers. The whole thing was marked in red and there was a big zero at the top. "You are still stupid at math it seems."

 

Cross flinched.

"I.. I'm not stupid..." He said quietly but he sounded unsure. Nightmare was going to be so disappointed in him.

 

"Your score says otherwise." XGaster grinned and put down the paper. "A zero on a simple quiz. I wonder what your score would be on a real test? Probably another zero. But that's what you are. A completely failure."

 

Cross fought back the tears. He wasn't a complete failure. He.. he just hadn't been able to read the numbers.

 

"Are you seriously crying?" XGaster frowned at Cross. "I'm not even doing anything and you're crying like a pathetic baby. A weakling. It's a wonder Nightmare cared for you."

 

Cross tried to wipe away his tears but only more came.

 

XGaster scoffed at Cross. "What a baby. Why don't you just leave school and go back to kindergarten with kids your age?"

 

Cross shook his head. He belonged in that school. XGaster did not.

 

"Whatever." XGaster said. "Fail if you want. Your life doesn't dictate mine. It would be a pleasure to watch you fail every test like the idiot you are."

 

Cross wiped away his tears. He wouldn't fail. He wasn't stupid. He turned around and tried to leave.

 

XGaster let him leave but not without one remark. "Your dad is dying, I heard."

 

Cross froze completely.

His dad was... d-dying.....?

What....?

 

XGaster grinned. "Yeah. The principal checked him and he was barely holding on. Whatever sickness he has must be severe."

 

Cross felt tears roll down his cheek bones.

 

"You better say your last goodbyes Cross." XGaster grinned sinisterly. "You might end up being an orphan again."

 

Cross flinched. He didn't want to lose his dad.

 

"You better get going." XGaster said with a smirk. "you wouldn't want to be late."

 

Cross walked outside, feeling tears drip down his face. He pulled his hood down further, trying to hide his tears.

 

Killer stood by Cross' locker before spotting him. He waved happily before he noticed the tears. "Cross?"

 

Cross shook his head and hugged Killer. He really didn't want to talk about it.

 

Killer looked confused but hugged back loosely, not questioning him. He gently rubbed Cross' back. "Shh... it's okay. It's okay. I'm here. Shh...."

 

Cross sobbed quietly, hugging Killer close.

 

"Sh..." Killer hushed softly. "I have a chocolate bar in my locker. Do you want it?"

 

Cross nodded slightly. He didn't know if he'd feel any better but it was worth a try.

 

"Okay. Let me get it." Killer said and gently pulled Cross to his locker to grab the chocolate.

He opened his locker and pulled out the chocolate bar, handing it to Cross with a smile. "Here you go."

 

Cross took the chocolate with a thankful nod. He opened the wrapper, his hands shaking a bit.

 

Killer rubbed his back slowly, hushing him softly. "Let's go wait for Fresh and my dad outside okay?"

 

Cross nodded slightly. He left the audio recording function on his phone on in case they'd encounter XGaster.

 

Killer gently pulled Cross outside, glaring at anyone who dared look at them wrong, and sat him down on a bench in the shade. He smiled at Cross and rubbed his back slowly, not asking questions or pushing him.

 

Cross was really glad that Killer wasn't asking him any questions.

 

"So," Killer started softly. "Fresh said Nightmare woke up a few hours earlier."

 

Cross looked up, looking scared.

 

Killer chuckled softly. "Fresh said the nurse had to strap him down because 'he is very hard headed and refused to rest saying he had to teach kids math'. Fresh literally said he had expected that because of how stubborn Mr. Nightmare can be."

 

Cross nodded slightly. That sounded like something his dad would do.

 

Killer smiled at Cross. "Your dad's awake so we can see him later after school."

 

Had XGaster been lying? He really hoped so.

"That's good... I got some evidence material too." Cross explained quietly, his voice a bit shaky.

 

"O-oh..." Killer said softly. "Did he... hurt you?"

 

"Not physically..." Cross mumbled quietly.

 

Killer frowned before hugging Cross gently. "Okay. I'm sorry he did that to you. I'm sorry I wasn't there."

 

"It's okay..." Cross mumbled quietly.

 

XGaster walked out of the school and spotted Cross with another student. He smirked and walked towards them. "Hello there. Aren't you supposed to be going home? The orphanage I mean."

Killer tensed and glare at XGaster hatefully. "He has a home."

 

Cross tensed, a small bit glad that he hadn't turned off his phone yet.

He looked down at the floor.

 

"Not for long." XGaster grinned. "Nightmare is dying isn't he?"

"No." Killer said firmly. "He's awake and alive."

"Is that so?" XGaster said before looking at Cross. "Then he'll be quite disappointed with his 'star student'. Cross got zero on the quiz earlier. Nightmare would be ashamed of you."

 

Cross flinched. His dad would really be disappointed.

 

"No he won't!" Killer protested. "Nightmare is proud of Cross. He's smart and kind!"

"I highly doubt it." XGaster said, grinning down at Cross. "He can't even defend himself. But we'll see won't we?"

With that XGaster left with a smug expression in his face.

 

Cross wiped away the tears that were collecting in his eye sockets.

 

Killer growled lowly before turning his focus to Cross. He gently rubbed his back, hushing him softly. "Hey... don't listen to him. You're smart and amazing. Nightmare is proud to have you as his son."

 

Cross hugged Killer gently. He really hoped that what Killer was saying was true.

 

Killer hugged Cross back, rubbing his back slowly to comfort him. "Sh... don't listen to him. Nightmare is proud to have you."

 

Cross tried to get his breathing under control as he held Killer closely.

 

Dust walked out of the school and spotted Cross and Killer on the bench. His older brother was crying. He ran towards the elders in worry. "Cross? What's wrong?"

 

Error walked after Dust, frowning worriedly when he suddenly took off. As soon as he saw who he was running to, Error sprinted after him.

Cross sniffled quietly, shaking his head slightly. He was too upset to talk.

 

Fresh looked at the kids in surprise before he understood why. He walked towards them sadly, he had a hunch what was happening.

Dust frowned worriedly and hugged Cross sadly. He hated seeing Cross like this. He should be happy, not sad.

Killer gave them a sad look. He really hoped XGaster would be in prison soon. He didn't like his friends being hurt like this.

 

Cross hugged Dust back, crying silently.

Error frowned. He moved a bit closer and hesitantly hugged Cross.

 

Fresh watched the kids sadly, feeling slightly angry that he couldn't do anything to help. They needed their father.

Their father...

"Hey," he called softly. "We're going to see Nightmare right? I called Horror and he said he'll be at the hospital waiting for us after school."

 

Cross looked up. He really wanted to see his dad... He wanted to see for himself that he was alright and hug him...

 

Killer looked at Fresh. "Dad's already there?"

"Yeah." Fresh said and looked down at the kids. "Are you ready to see Nightmare?"

 

Cross nodded. He was definitely ready to see his dad.

Error let Cross go.

 

Dust nodded, looking up at Fresh pleadingly. "Yes please?"

Fresh nodded and turned around to walk towards his car. "Let's go to the car. We'll go straight to the hospital."

 

Error followed his dad to the car, occasionally looking behind him to check on the others.

Cross got up, still trembling a bit and followed them shakily.

 

Killer and Dust followed Fresh, still looking sad and concerned for Cross.

Fresh lead them to the car and unlocked it, stepping inside and starting the car.

 

Cross got in the middle backseat, hugging Dust gently.

Error got in on the passenger seat, looking at Cross worriedly.

 

Dust hugged Cross back gently.

Killer sat beside Cross and looked at his friend worriedly. He hoped they would be okay.

 

~~~

 

Cross walked after Fresh, holding Dust's hand gently. They were at the hospital.

 

Fresh lead the way, holding Error's hand gently as he walked down the hallways.

Dust held onto Cross' hand, feeling reassured when all the people around him made him nervous.

Fresh finally reached Nightmare's room where Horror was talking to the nurse.

 

Error followed Fresh, looking around nervously. There were so many people...

Cross brightened up a bit when he saw Horror.

 

"Your friend there is very stubborn." the nurse said to Horror. Nightmare was laying awake on the bed looking anxious yet bored. "He refuses to rest despite being told many times that he needs to fight the poison in his body. On another note, he's fighting it rather well and he's making a full recovery."

 

Horror smiled slightly. He was glad Nightmare would recover fully.

"He's a teacher and he doesn't want his students to fall behind." He explained. It wasn't a lie but not the real reason Nightmare hated resting either.

"Hi." Cross greeted.

 

The nurse smiled at them. "That's good. I wish I had teachers like him. Though it is difficult to treat him when he tries to run."

Dust followed Cross and looked up at the nurse worriedly. "Is my dad going to be okay?"

 

Horror looked down at Cross and Dust. He looked at Cross worriedly.

"Doing okay?" He asked gently.

Cross shrugged slightly. He was doing better than before at least.

 

The nurse looked down at the kids in surprise. "They're Nightmare's kids?"

Fresh walked up to them and nodded. "These two are. They're very worried about their dad."

The nurse smiled when Dust nodded. "Well, he's doing well. He'll be sent home today with how far he's recovered. He's very strong."

 

Cross smiled, looking very relieved. He hoped his dad would be able to teach tomorrow. He didn't want to be selfish but he didn't want to get hurt.

 

Dust smiled up at the nurse. "Can we see him? Please?"

The nurse smiled kindly down at them. "Of course. He's inside. Don't make too much noise okay?"

 

Cross nodded in reply. They weren't loud to begin with anyways.

He stepped into the room.

 

Dust followed Cross happily, wanting to see his dad.

The nurse turned towards the other adult. "I need to speak with you two. The kids can go inside."

Fresh nodded and looked down at Error. Killer hugged Horror briefly before following Cross and Dust. He wanted to see Nightmare.

 

Horror nodded. He really hoped it wasn't anything serious.

Error hugged Fresh before walking after Killer.

 

Nightmare groaned in annoyance as his laid on the bed. He really needed to leave.

"Dad?" Dust called when he walked towards the bed. He stood beside Nightmare, looking up at him worriedly.

 

Cross walked next to Nightmare, looking at him worriedly. He was so glad that he was awake.

 

Nightmare turned his skull before smiling brightly. He reached forward and gently rubbed Cross' skull before doing the same to Dust. "Hello there, kids. How was your day?"

Killer stood beside Cross, smiling when Nightmare spoke. At least Nightmare was okay.

 

Cross leaned into the touch with a small smile. His day had been okay and then completely horrible.

"I collected evidence..." He decided to reply. He'd turned off the audio recorder in Fresh's car.

Error slowly walked to the bed.

 

Dust leaned into the touch happily.

Nightmare frowned slightly but nodded, gently rubbing Cross' cheek comfortably. "Okay. Did he hurt you? Are you okay? What did he do?"

 

"He didn't hurt me physically. He.. made me panic... and did a test and I… I hallucinated again..." Cross replied quietly.

Error looked at Cross worriedly. Hallucinating didn't sound very pleasant...

 

Nightmare nodded in understanding. "Okay. Don't believe whatever he says. You are very smart, my son."

Dust smiled and nodded. "You're very smart, brother!"

 

Cross smiled slightly before looking unsure.

"I got a zero on the test though..." He mumbled quietly.

 

"So?" Nightmare asked softly. "Failure is just an opportunity to try again. An opportunity to improve. You don't give up when you fail. You try again. And I know if you try again, you'll improve so much. You know why?"

 

Cross looked up at his dad hopefully.

"Why...?" He asked quietly.

 

Nightmare smiled and leaned down to kiss Cross' skull. "Because you're my smart little son. You're smarter than a stupid test given unfairly to you. You are better than XGaster. I believe you can do it."

 

Cross smiled, leaning into the touch happily.

"Thanks, dad." He mumbled softly.

 

Dust smiled and hugged Cross. "You're amazing!"

Killer nodded in agreement.

Nightmare smiled and nuzzled him gently. "Of course. I really can't wait to get out of here. Sitting in one place without doing anything is driving me insane."

 

Cross smiled and hugged Dust back. He was feeling much better already.

 

Fresh walked into the room with Horror, rubbing Error's skull as he passed him. "Unfortunately the doctor forbids you to go to work for a few days."

Nightmare looked up at Fresh in betrayal and slight panic. "What?! No way! I'm not staying home doing nothing!"

Fresh crossed his arms. "Too bad. It was hard enough to persuade them to lessen the time to a few days instead of a week."

 

Error leaned into the touch happily, following his dad.

Horror looked at Nightmare apologetically.

Cross tried not to look too disappointed and scared. He really didn't want to spend any more time with XGaster.

 

Killer looked up at Horror and hugged him, feeling a little upset that Cross had to deal with XGaster again and for a few days.

Nightmare frowned and gently hugged Cross and Dust. "I hate this."

Fresh gave a look of understanding. "I know. But it's better to recover fully instead of pushing yourself. You will end up having more days off than you'd rather have."

 

Horror picked Killer up gently and hugged him close.

Cross hugged his dad back. At least they'd have more evidence that way...

 

Killer snuggled close to his dad, relaxing slightly at the comforting touch.

Dust leaned into the hug. He hated it too but he wanted Nightmare to be better as quickly as possible. He hoped XGaster would give Cross some mercy.

 

Horror held Killer close, nuzzling him gently.

Cross closed his eye sockets and cuddled into Nightmare slightly.

 

~~~

 

Cross smiled slightly. He was really glad that his dad could go home already. He was sitting on the couch.

 

Nightmare was sitting on the couch beside Cross, looking both tired and happy as he sank in a familiar place.

Dust was cuddling him happily, glad that his dad was back home.

 

Cross smiled and hugged his dad, cuddling into him happily.

 

Nightmare smiled back and gently embraced Cross with one arm.

"It's good to be home."

 

Cross smiled happily, nodding slightly. It was amazing to have his whole family at home again.

 

Dust looked up at Nightmare. "Dad? Can we watch a movie together tonight?"

Nightmare looked down and smiled with a nod. "Of course. But only if you've finished your homework."

 

Cross looked up at Nightmare hopefully. He smiled when his dad agreed.

"We went to the hospital right after school so we didn't do any homework yet." He explained, letting Nightmare go. He walked to his bag and got out his notebook, checking if he had homework.

 

Nightmare nodded in understanding. "I'm glad you were worried about me. It means you care."

"Of course we do!" Dust said before sliding down to check his bag for any homework.

 

"We care about you a lot!" Cross agreed with a smile. He cheered when he saw that he only had homework in one subject.

 

Dust smiled when he only had to do one homework and it was a simple one.

Nightmare smiled happily. "I'm glad."

 

Cross quickly set up his things for his homework. He hoped he'd get done quickly.

 

Dust did the same and set his things on the coffee table to start his homework. He opened his exercise book and started doing his work.

Nightmare smiled and stood up. "I'll prepare everything for the movie."

 

Cross smiled up at Nightmare.

"Thanks, dad." He replied. He started doing his homework. Fortunately it was something easy.

 

~~~

 

Cross cuddled close to Nightmare as the movie started, a happy smile on his face.

 

Dust did the same, a fluffy blanket over them as he hugged Nightmare loosely.

The teacher smiled as his arms loosely held his sons. The coffee table had a plate of mini sandwiches and a bowl of nachos with three glasses of lemonade.

 

Cross watched the movie, relaxing completely as he hugged his dad close.

 

Dust watched the movie contently, happy that he had his family together again.

Chapter Text

Cross readjusted his clothes a bit as he walked down the hallway to the stairs.

 

Dust followed behind his brother closely.

He stopped at the bottom of the stairs and looked at the couch in confusion.

 

Cross went down the stairs only to stop and stare at the couch.

 

Nightmare was frowning at the coffee table with crossed arms as Horror stood beside him with an amused look.

Dust tilted his skull slightly in confusion. "Dad? What's wrong?"

 

Horror grinned.

"Your dad wanted to go to school and I'm here to stop him." He explained.

Cross frowned slightly. Nightmare should rest as much as possible.

 

Nightmare glared at Horror. "I hate this."

Dust frowned in concern and walked over to Nightmare, hugging his arm slightly. "Please don't push yourself. I don't want you to get sick again."

 

"I don't like it either." Horror replied.

Cross nodded in agreement, hugging his dad.

 

Nightmare looked down at his kids before sighing softly, gently rubbing their skulls with his other hand. "Alright, I won't push myself. Your lunches are in the kitchen."

Dust leaned into the touch happily before nodding. "Okay. Thanks dad."

 

Cross leaned into the touch, smiling up at his dad at that.

"Thanks, dad." He replied softly.

 

Nightmare nodded happily and watched as his sons ran to the kitchen for their lunchboxes before running towards Horror.

He looked at the other adult. "Take care of them. Drive safe."

 

Horror nodded.

"Of course." He agreed. "If you need anything, just give me a call." He added.

 

Nightmare gave Horror a deadpanned look. "Is acting as my kids body guard too much?" he joked.

 

"I would if I could but last time I tried to do that for Killer I was thrown out." Horror replied seriously.

 

Nightmare snickered softly in amusement. "Fair enough. Have a safe drive. Have fun you two." he addressed the kids.

Dust nodded happily. "Okay dad!"

 

Horror nodded.

Cross smiled up at Nightmare and gave him a hug.

"Thanks, dad." He replied.

 

Nightmare hugged back with a smile. "Remember that I love you Cross. You and your brother. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise."

 

Cross nodded. Nightmare loved him. He wouldn't be disappointed if he blew a test.

 

Nightmare gave one last nuzzle before pulling away. "Now go ahead. You'll be late for school."

 

Cross nodded and walked to Horror.

"Rest as much as you can." Horror said before he left.

 

Nightmare tilted his skull back with a pained groan. Right. He was stuck at home.

"Well," he said to himself in wonder. "I really need to clean the house."

 

Nightmare's phone vibrated, showing that he had a new text message.

 

Nightmare hummed in confusion and picked up his phone. He turned it on and opened the text, frowning in annoyance at the text.

 

The text was from Horror.

'Go the fuck to sleep and don't clean the house! >:('

 

Nightmare scoffed in annoyance and texted back angrily.

'Fine.'

 

'^^

And for the record, I'm not driving.'

 

'You motherfucker you better not be looking through my window.' he texted back.

Nightmare looked at the window to check.

 

Horror waved at Nightmare with a grin.

 

Nightmare frowned angrily. He texted Horror back.

'The kids are going to be late. Creep.'

 

Horror looked down at his phone.

'Fresh is taking them.'

 

Nightmare tilted his skull back with a groan. "You're not here to guard me are you?" he yelled loudly in despair.

 

Horror grinned.

'It's my day off.' He wrote, sending the text to Nightmare.

 

Nightmare checked the text and groaned loudly. Horror would certainly keep him in one place. "You motherfucker! This is bullshit!"

He was so glad his kids were gone. They shouldn't hear this.

 

Horror laughed.

'I can clean the house for you while you read a book.' He suggested.

 

"Oh you have got to be kidding me." Nightmare groaned in despair. There were no new books to read. He hadn't had time to buy any. "I hope the kids are doing better."

 

~~~

 

Cross was at his locker. First period had been okay, not as boring as normally.

 

XGaster walked down the empty hallway, grinning when he spotted his favorite student.

He walked behind Cross. "Hello there."

 

Cross flinched harshly when suddenly he heard that dreaded voice behind him.

 

"Did Nightmare yell at you?" XGaster asked with a grin. "For your failed grade I mean. He must be very disappointed at you."

 

Cross shook his head. Nightmare wasn't disappointed in him and he'd never yell at him.

 

"Are you sure?" XGaster asked with a grin. He kneeled down and spoke right beside Cross' skull. "Not even after you got a zero after he taught you so well? A zero, showing that you wasted all his hard work."

 

Tears collected in Cross' eye sockets. He'd gotten a zero...

He shook his head slightly.

"I.. I'm sure..." He replied quietly.

 

"Well, that's too bad." XGaster said before he pushed Cross inside the opened locker and closed the door, grinning at him. "Because I certainly am."

 

Cross gasped quietly as he was pushed inside the locker, tears dripping down his face.

 

"I'm sure you can find someone else who is willing to get you out." XGaster said before standing up. "Consider this your punishment for getting a zero on a simple quiz."

XGaster walked away with a satisfied smirk. "Have fun in the shame locker Cross."

 

Cross started sobbing quietly, sinking to his knees. He had failed. He deserved to be in the shame locker. There was noone willing to get him out.

 

~~~

 

Killer walked towards his locker with a frown. Today's lesson had been particularly hard. But he was worried. Cross never came to lunch.

He looked up when he saw Dust run towards him.

 

"Killer! Do you know where Cross is?!" Dust asked worriedly. He'd been searching everywhere but he couldn't find him.

 

Killer looked at Dust worriedly. He had a bad feeling about this. "N- no I haven't. Why? Where is he?"

 

"I'm not sure. I'm really worried." Dust explained concernedly. Normally Cross would have checked up on him already. He had a feeling that something bad had happened to his brother.

 

Killer frowned before he thought for a moment. "Where could he be? Maybe.... maybe somewhere he's not willing?"

 

"We should call him." Dust said. He was too worried to really think much.

 

Killer nodded and pulled out his phone. He called Cross and pressed the phone to his skull in worry.

 

Dust watched Killer attentively.

Cross picked up a second before it could switch to voicemail.

"Ye.. yeah...?" He asked, his voice barely audible. He didn't know how long he'd been in his locker but he felt horribly empty.

 

"Cross." Killer said relieved. "Where are you? We're worried."

 

Cross was silent for a bit.

"In.. in my locker..." He replied quietly.

Dust looked at Killer. Where was Cross?

 

Killer froze and quickly ran towards Cross' locker. He spoke softly. "Okay. Okay, I'm coming for you. I'm coming Cross."

 

Dust quickly ran after Killer, struggling to keep up with his low stamina.

Cross nodded slightly, wiping away his tear tracks. He felt numb.

 

Killer stopped in front of Cross' locker. "What's your code?"

 

"Zero-seven-one-seven..." Cross mumbled quietly.

Dust skidded to a stop next to Killer. Was his brother locked in his locker?!

 

Killer turned the knob to the code and the door opened. He looked inside and his face turned sympathetic and upset.

 

Cross wiped his tears away, only feeling empty. His eye lights were dim as he stepped out of the locker.

"Th... thanks...." He said quietly.

Dust watched his brother worriedly.

 

Killer put his phone away and gently hugged Cross, rubbing his back slowly. "Cross.... Shh...."

 

Cross winced slightly when Killer touched him but relaxed slowly, hugging back. He felt horrible.

Dust hugged his brother gently.

 

Killer hushed him softly. "It's okay. You're safe now. We got you out. We got you out."

 

Cross started sobbing quietly as he clung to his friend and his brother. His Soul hurt...

Dust watched Cross worriedly.

"Shh..." He murmured softly, nuzzling Cross gently.

 

Killer nuzzled Cross gently. "It's okay now Cross. It's okay."

He looked down at Cross. "Do you need to go home?"

 

Cross sobbed harshly, burying his face into Killer's jacket. He didn't give him an answer.

"Should I call dad?" Dust asked worriedly.

 

Killer nodded as he gently rubbed Cross' skull. "Call him. He can't continue school like this."

 

Cross clung to Killer, sobbing harshly as tears fell down his face. His Soul hurt so much...

Dust nodded and quickly got out his phone, calling Nightmare.

 

Nightmare was about to pick up the phone when Horror took it from him.

Ignoring Nightmare's 'hey!', he answered. "Hello?"

 

Dust was only confused for a second because it didn't matter.

"Cross is doing really bad and you have to take him home." He explained.

 

Horror paused at the tone Dust was using and stood up, grabbing the keys and signing something to Nightmare. "I'll be right there. Take him to the principal's office and tell him that he needs to go home now, it's an emergency."

 

"Okay." Dust replied, ending the call.

Cross was completely inconsolable, sobbing harshly.

"Horror's with Nightmare. He said we should get Cross to the principal's office." Dust explained.

Killer nodded in understanding, rubbing Cross' back slowly. He felt so angry that this had happened. He should have searched for Cross sooner. "Cross, can you stand?"

 

Cross didn't give Killer an answer.

"He's not coherent. I doubt he could walk..." Dust said quietly.

 

Killer nodded and gently picked Cross up, standing up and walking towards the principal's office. "Let's go Dust."

 

Cross didn't react to being held other than moving closer to Killer.

Dust nodded and followed Killer.

 

Killer speed walked down the halls and knocked on the principal's door.

The principal opened and looked down at the students in surprise. "Yes?"

"Cross needs to go home now. It's an emergency." Killer explained, holding Cross close to him.

 

Cross whimpered fearfully, clinging close to Killer. He didn't like that aura.

Dust frowned worriedly.

 

The principal looked down at Cross, studying him for a moment before nodding. "Alright. Just call your parents and tell them to come here."

"We already did." Killer answered.

The principal nodded and let them inside. "Go sit on the seats while you wait."

 

Cross closed his eye sockets tightly. His Soul hurt so much... He wanted his dad...

Dust lead the way and sat down on a seat, watching Cross with concern.

 

Killer sat down on the seat and cuddled Cross close, trying to comfort him as much as he could. He hoped Horror would be quick.

 

Cross calmed down only a small bit in the few minutes they waited. He was still not coherent.

Horror knocked on the door to the principal's office worriedly. He hoped Cross was remotely okay.

 

The principal opened the door and let the adult inside.

Killer looked up at his dad and handed him Cross carefully.

 

Horror looked at Cross worriedly and picked him up gently. He needed to get him to his dad as soon as possible.

Cross cuddled into Horror slightly.

Dust was really relieved to see Horror.

 

The principal frowns at Horror. "Excuse me, I can't allow you to take him. You aren't his parent or guardian."

 

Horror frowned down at the principal.

"If you've forgotten already, Nightmare is sick and can't pick up his son himself." He explained.

Cross clung to Horror, still tense but he relaxed a small bit.

 

The principal looked at Horror in surprise before reluctantly nodding. "Fine. But I will call Nightmare to check if you are allowed to take his child."

 

Horror huffed in annoyance.

Cross winced slightly.

 

Killer stood up and gave Horror a brief hug. "Goodbye dad. Take care of Cross please?"

 

Horror nodded.

"I'll take good care of him." He agreed.

Dust hugged Horror briefly. He was too short to reach Cross.

 

Killer smiled happily, feeling better at the confirmation. He stood up and waited for Dust to get to class. They were already late.

 

Dust walked out of the principal's office. He still needed to get to his locker to get his things.

Cross cuddled into Horror a small bit.

 

The principal frowned before nodding, letting Horror take the kid home.

Killer smiled and walked out to grab his stuff from his locker.

 

Horror sighed in relief and quickly speed-walked to his car. He needed to get Cross home.

 

Cross leaned into Horror for comfort. He really wanted his dad.

 

~~~

 

Horror gently held Cross as he carried him through the front door.

Cross was still shivering, looking really distraught.

 

Nightmare looked up from the couch and his eye widened at the sight of his son in Horror's arms.

"What happened?" he asked in concern, trying not to panic and run towards them.

 

Horror frowned. Damn, he'd forgotten to ask.

"I'm not sure." He replied quietly, walking towards the couch. He sat down and gently handed Cross to his dad, taking Cross' phone. He'd listen to the voice recorder to find out what had happened.

 

Nightmare took Cross in his arms and cradled him close, nuzzling his skull. He hushed him softly, using gentle words as he rubbed Cross' skull slowly. "Shh.... shh.... it's okay Cross. It's okay. I'm here now. I'm here. You're safe with me. You're safe."

 

Cross cuddled into Nightmare a bit, slowly relaxing a bit.

Horror got out his headphones and put them on top of his beanie, plugging them into Cross' phone. He stopped the voice recorder and listened to the newest recording.

 

Nightmare pulled Cross closer into a warm hug, hushing Cross softly and telling him soft sweet words to calm him.

 

Cross closed his eye sockets and relaxed a bit more, burying his face into Nightmare's shirt.

 

Nightmare relaxed, trying to calm himself down as much as he was calming Cross. He felt so guilty for not being there for Cross and knowing what had happened to him. He could have protected Cross.

 

Horror frowned, his eye lights blazing with anger.

Cross cuddled into his dad a bit more.

 

Nightmare looked at Horror in concern, hugging Cross close to his chest. "What's wrong?"

 

Cross closed his eye sockets exhaustedly. All that had taken a harsh toll on him.

Horror paused the audio and took off his headphones.

"Are you sure you will be able to listen to all of that without going on a rampage?" He asked seriously.

 

Nightmare looked at Horror then looked down at Cross. He looked back at Horror. "I'm holding Cross so I might be able to control myself for a moment. Why? What happened?"

 

"Cross got locked in his locker and XGaster destroyed his confidence." Horror explained. "He stayed in there for almost two hours, crying until Killer called him."

He'd skipped over everything really quickly but he didn't want to know what Cross was feeling now.

 

Nightmare frowned angrily and hugged Cross close, comforting him as he tried to reign his anger. "Shh... shh... Whatever he told you is wrong. Okay? Don't believe him. I love you."

 

Cross tensed up at Horror's words but relaxed into his dad, cuddling into him. He was so tired...

Horror frowned. He'd listen to the whole thing later.

 

Nightmare nuzzled Cross gently. "Go to sleep. You're tired. I'll be here when you wake up."

 

Cross nodded slightly, closing his eye sockets as he cuddled closer.

 

Nightmare held Cross close, comforting him until he fell asleep.

He looked up at Horror. "How bad?"

 

"Complete mental breakdown." Horror replied worriedly.

 

Nightmare frowned worriedly with a hint of anger. He gently rubbed Cross' skull. "I should have been there."

 

Horror frowned.

Cross shifted unconsciously, leaning into the touch slightly.

 

Nightmare scowled angrily. "I hate this stupid house arrest. They need me. Cross needs me. And I'm stuck here in the house while they suffered."

 

"I know... You can't do much right now though. You need to focus on getting better." Horror replied.

 

Nightmare sighed harshly. "I hate this."

 

"I know." Horror replied quietly.

 

Nightmare scowled before he sighed softly in defeat, all the tension in him releasing as he hunched slightly. Tears dotted his eyes as he tried to contain it. He'd never felt this helpless since he'd been young.

He nuzzled Cross close. "Keep the evidence. It should help bring XGaster to justice."

 

Horror gently rubbed Nightmare's shoulder.

"We'll get him behind bars." He promised quietly.

 

Nightmare took the comfort gratefully. "I hope it's soon. I can't keep letting this happen."

 

Horror nodded in agreement and hugged Nightmare and Cross gently.

 

Nightmare leaned into the touch and closes his eyes, holding his son close. They had to get rid of XGaster soon.

 

Cross cuddled into his dad unconsciously.

 

~~~

 

Fresh opened the door with a copy of Nightmare's key and looked inside. "Hello? We're home! I brought the kids!"

 

Nightmare was asleep on the couch, holding Cross close who was cuddled into him. Horror was hugging them both protectively. All three of them were fast asleep.

 

Killer walked inside in worry before smiling slightly when he saw Cross, Nightmare and his dad cuddling on the couch.

Fresh smiled at the sight. It looked like they were doing just fine.

 

Error looked inside, smiling slightly at the sight. Cross seemed to have calmed down completely and Nightmare was resting.

 

Fresh looked down at the kids. "You should go inside. I'll make some food for them when they wake up. Any requests?"

 

"Cross really likes tacos." Dust informed Fresh.

Error walked inside silently, putting his shoes and bag near the door.

 

Fresh nodded and walked inside, Killer following behind him. "I'll go see if he has any ingredients."

Killer sat next to Horror and hugged him, happy that his dad had taken Cross away from school.

 

Dust walked to the couch and hugged Cross and his dad gently.

 

~~~

 

Nightmare groaned softly as he opened his eyes, feeling his neck stiff from his strange napping position. He looked down when he felt someone nuzzle into him and saw Cross in his arms while Dust was hugging his side.

 

Dust was breathing calmly, clearly asleep.

Error was sitting next to Dust, leaning onto him slightly.

 

Nightmare looked around in confusion and spotted Fresh on the other couch with his headphones on and watching something- clearly colourful- on his phone. There's also a plate of tacos in front of him on the coffee table.

 

Error looked up at Nightmare. He had just been resting his eyemagic for a bit.

 

"Fresh?" Nightmare called the adult in confusion.

 

Error summoned a string and tapped Fresh with it to gain his attention.

 

Fresh looked up when he was tapped and saw Nightmare and Error awake. He removed his headphones. "Yeah?"

"When did you arrive?" Nightmare asked in confusion, looking at the clock.

"About an hour ago." Fresh responded. "The kids were worried about Cross so we came home immediately. Ink says hi by the way."

 

Error watched the exchange silently.

 

Nightmare nodded and looked down at the kids, smiling at Error. "Did you make tacos?"

Fresh hummed. "Yup. Figured you all would be hungry after a long day."

Nightmare nodded. "Thank you Fresh."

"Error helped."

 

Error smiled slightly. He hadn't been able to help much but he had helped a bit.

 

"Thank you to you two then." Nightmare said with a smile. "It's nice."

Fresh shrugged. "Anything for a friend. Mind if I watch a movie?"

Nightmare shook his skull. "No. Go ahead."

Fresh smiled. "Thanks homie. Error, go pick one for us."

 

Error looked up at Nightmare. He didn't know where they kept their movies.

 

"In the cupboards holding the tv up." Nightmare said when he saw the look of confusion.

 

Error nodded and slid off the couch, walking to the cupboards.

 

Nightmare watched as Error picked up the movie.

"XGaster was curious why Cross wasn't around." Fresh said, his face blank. "He was asking around what had happened. Principal told him Horror took Cross home. He looked.... strangely upset."

Nightmare frowned. Why would XGaster need to be upset. Was he upset about losing his victim?

 

Error frowned slightly as he put the DVD in, making sure to turn down the volume to barely audible and activate the subtitles.

 

"He's upset?" Nightmare asked.

"Somewhat." Fresh responded. "Didn't show it though but I kept an eye on his expressions. He hasn't targeted any students yet but I'm afraid he will be hard on Cross tomorrow because he went home."

 

Error frowned. He had a feeling that XGaster would try to target Dust if Cross failed to show up. That sadistic asshole!

 

Nightmare scowled. "Can't Cross stay at home?"

Fresh shook his skull. "I've dealt with this before. If Cross doesn't show, he'll just target someone else. Like it or not Nightmare, if we want to stop him for good Cross has to go. We'll lose him if XGaster targets someone else."

Nightmare felt his Soul clench as tears sting his eye. He hugged Cross close. "It's not fair."

Fresh sighed and nodded in agreement. "I know. I wish I can take his place but..."

 

Cross stirred slightly when Nightmare held him closer.

Error frowned, sitting down next to his dad.

 

Fresh gently rubbed Error's skull, looking up at Nightmare. "Is the evidence enough?"

Nightmare shook his skull. "We need a bit more. Maybe some pictures catching him in the act? That should solidify it."

Fresh frowned. "That's impossible. XGaster doesn't take action until no ones around, clearly."

 

Error leaned into the touch.

"i cOuld tRy tO takE sOmE pictuREs?" He suggested. He could be really stealthy if he wanted to.

 

Fresh and Nightmare looked down at Error in surprise.

"But... what if you get seen?" Fresh asked in concern.

 

"i'm small enOugh tO hidE On tOp Of thE lOckERs." Error explained. "and i gOt my magic." He added.

 

"But..." Fresh said uncertainly. He clearly didn't like the idea. Neither did Nightmare.

 

Error sighed quietly.

"if thE vOicE REcORdings aRE nOt EnOugh EvidEncE..." He said, trailing off. XGaster would know they knew about him and try to do something rash.

 

Fresh looked conflicted. He knew they needed the evidence but it'd risk another child. "You'll get caught."

 

Error shook his head. He wouldn't get caught.

 

Fresh fought with himself for a moment before sighing. "Fine. But please be safe. I trust that you can run away if you get caught."

 

 

Error nodded.

"i'll Run away immEdiatEly." He agreed. He was fast so it shouldn't be a problem.

 

Fresh sighed in defeat. "Okay. I don't like this but okay."

 

Error nodded. He wanted to help Cross and was really glad that his dad was allowing him to do that.

 

Nightmare sighed softly. "We should just watch a movie. I don't want to think about this anymore."

Fresh nodded in agreement. "Yeah. Let's watch a movie."

 

Error nodded slightly, looking at the TV.

Chapter Text

Cross sat in class, anxiously watching the door. XGaster would be here any minute...

 

As if called, XGaster walked through the door with a stack of papers in hand. He put down the papers and addressed the class. "Hello class. It seems Mr. Nightmare is still unwell. Thus I will be taking over today."

 

Cross frowned slightly. His dad wasn't unwell. He was completely fine.

 

"Today we will start a new lesson." XGaster said and picked up the textbook. "Open to topic 12. I must warn you, some of you will not get this. Especially for one of you." he said while looking at Cross with a grin.

 

Cross frowned. He knew he could do it. His dad believed in him.

 

XGaster began explaining the lesson, skipping over some steps and not using the board. He eyed Cross closely, waiting and watching.

 

Cross frowned slightly. He didn't get it. He felt really nervous and uneasy.

 

XGaster grinned and announced. "Now, let's try a question to test how smart you are. Who volunteers?"

 

Nobody raised their hand. Nobody had any idea what was going on.

 

XGaster grinned and pointed towards Cross. "How about Nightmare's favorite student?"

 

Cross flinched harshly. He couldn't do this!!

 

XGaster grinned wider. "How about a hard question? To test your intelligence Cross, considering Nightmare has such high hopes for you."

 

Cross flinched harshly and shook his head. Nightmare wouldn't be mad at him if he got it wrong!

 

XGaster smirked and reads out the question aloud, thinking Cross wouldn't be able to hear it because he'd panic.

 

Cross frowned slightly. That wasn't static... It hadn't been static.

He quickly wrote down the question.

 

XGaster stopped and looked at Cross. "Well? What's the answer?"

 

Cross frowned at the question and did his best to find a solution.

 

XGaster looked slightly confused. Had Cross actually heard him?

 

Cross looked at the textbook for an explanation and solved the problem in a matter of minutes.

 

XGaster looked surprised before slightly irritated. "That's... correct. But you need to be faster."

 

Cross flinched slightly.

At least he could tell his dad that he'd managed to answer a question all on his own.

 

XGaster frowned and continued the lesson, trying to think of another way to harm Cross.

 

Cross cheered silently. He'd solved it all on his own!

 

XGaster frowned angrily as he explained the lesson. When had Cross gotten this sudden burst of confidence? Nightmare. It had to be. He really hated that skeleton.

Well, there were ways to get rid of a nuisance.

 

Cross followed the lesson easily, feeling kind of happy that he'd managed that all on his own.

 

~~~

 

Cross sighed softly when class was finally over. He packed up his bag, ready to go home.

 

XGaster watched Cross silently, waiting for the others to leave. He didn't like Cross' sudden confidence and intelligence. Fortunately, Nightmare wasn't here to raise it up higher after he crushed it into dust.

 

Cross took his bag and put it on, walking to the exit.

 

"Stop right there Cross." XGaster called with a smirk. "I want to have a talk with you."

 

Cross flinched.

"I don't wanna talk to you though." He mumbled, walking to the door.

 

"Unfortunately," The door got shut by a floating white hand that had a hole in the middle. "You don't have a choice. You never did. Or have you forgotten Cross?"

 

Cross' eye lights disappeared in fear as the door closed.

 

XGaster stood up and stalked towards Cross. "You've been very rude as of late haven't you? Very, very rude. No ounce of respect or common courtesy from you. What changed? Is it this stupid school? Or was it your idiotic teacher you call a father?"

 

Cross winced but got agitated when XGaster insulted his dad.

"He's not stupid."

 

XGaster scowled and pushed Cross to the ground hard. "He is. Especially for trusting someone like you. Even more so when he adopted you. A waste of space who can't do anything right."

 

Cross yelped as he was pushed down, tears in his eye sockets.

 

"And now you're even more of a disgrace." XGaster said as he stood over Cross. "Not only are you useless. You're now rude and arrogant. It'd be better if you were gone from here. It will make everyone else's life better knowing that you are not taking up their oxygen."

 

Cross sniffled quietly, trying to hold back his tears.

 

XGaster paused for a moment before smirking. "No. It's not your fault. You can be fixed. It's your stubborn father that's at fault here."

 

Cross flinched. What was XGaster talking about...?

 

"Things were going so well." XGaster hummed. "I even found you after our old school shut down. But then I realized that you had been taken. Ever since he took you, you have been a very bad kid."

 

Cross flinched, shaking his head. He'd been really good. Nightmare had even said so.

 

"You can't lie to me." XGaster frowned angrily. "You talked back. You ran away. You refuse to do your work. You refuse to answer and now you have become rude. Your father is a very bad influence on you."

XGaster smirked suddenly, a sadistic look shining in his eyes. "But don't worry. I'll make sure he won't be a bad influence on you anymore."

 

Cross flinched, looking up at XGaster scaredly.

 

"I have to admit, he is stronger than I expected. Usually monsters would take weeks to recover from the drug but him? He only took a day. Really impressive." XGaster grinned down at Cross. "Well, I'll just have to use a large dose next time don't I?"

 

Cross flinched back harshly, his eye sockets completely blank.

No. No! He couldn't let XGaster harm his dad!

 

"Maybe this time he'll learn not to take something from other people." XGaster smirked down at Cross. "Maybe I'll have a little fun with him first."

 

Cross trembled harshly. He didn't belong to XGaster. He wasn't anyone's property...

He felt tears roll down his cheek bones. He didn't want Nightmare to get hurt.

 

"It will be a shame to lose someone like him. But-" a pointed finger tilted Cross' skull upwards. XGaster smirked down at Cross with a mock affectionate look. "you'll keep silent about this, won't you? You are a good student. Aren't you?"

 

Cross sobbed quietly. Of course he wouldn't keep quiet.

"L.. leave my dad alone." Cross tried to sound threatening but it didn't work at all.

 

"Oh you don't understand Cross." XGaster grinned and pulled away. "You don't have a say in this. As long as he is considered your 'father', he will corrupt you. So I'll just have to get rid of him."

 

Cross flinched harshly, shivering.

No! Nightmare was Dust's dad too!

 

"I believe he will return back to school tomorrow considering how stubborn he is." XGaster said while turning around and opening the door. "He'll be dead before he steps out of the school."

 

Cross gasped in shock and fear.

XGaster.. would kill his dad? He started sobbing fearfully. He couldn't...

 

XGaster opened the door. "Have a nice day Cross. Bring your father tomorrow will you?"

 

Cross shook his head slightly. He'd do his best to make his dad stay at home. He sobbed quietly, standing up quickly.

 

XGaster walks out the door calmly, as if he didn't just threaten someone's life to a child.

 

Cross quickly bolted out of the room, running down the hallway with tears dripping down his face.

 

XGaster watched him run before a grin overtook his face. He followed Cross silently. Maybe it was time to have some real fun.

 

Cross sobbed quietly as he ran out of the back door, slowing down after a bit. He practically collapsed on a bench, sobbing harshly.

 

Nightmare looked around the almost empty school for Cross, Dust right beside him. While Horror had been distracted, he'd snuck out to grab his kids and bring them home. At first he'd been bombarded by his students asking if he was okay which he said he was fine and he'd be back tomorrow.

He looked around and smiled when he spotted Cross on a bench. It fell when he noticed that his son was crying. "Cross?"

 

Cross looked up when he heard Nightmare, starting to sob more. He didn't want his dad to die...

 

Nightmare walked closer to Cross, unbeknownst to him that XGaster was right behind him and smirking. "Cross? What's wrong?"

 

Cross flinched harshly when he saw XGaster behind his dad.

"Watch out!" He tried to warn.

 

Nightmare looked confused for a moment before he turned around. He tensed when he saw XGaster. He gently pushed Dust behind him. "Hello there."

XGaster grinned. "Hello. Aren't you suppose to be at home?"

"I was just going to. I'm just picking up Cross." Nightmare said calmly.

 

Cross stared up at XGaster fearfully.

What if he wanted to get rid of his dad now?

 

"Since you're here," XGaster said with a grin. "Why don't you follow me? The principal wants to see you."

Dust held onto Nightmare fearfully. "Dad?"

 

Cross' eye sockets widened in fear.

"Don't-!" He tried to warn Nightmare but XGaster cut him off.

 

"I'm sure he'll be delighted to see you." XGaster smirked.

Nightmare took a step back before turning around. "No thanks. Tell him I'll meet him tomorrow-"

A hand wrapped around Nightmare's throat causing him to choke. "Unfortunately, you don't have a choice. And no one can see us nor hear here."

 

Cross eye sockets widened in shock and fear.

"Dad!"

He was frozen, he wanted to help his dad but XGaster would hurt him and... He sobbed quietly.

 

"Dad!" Dust screamed fearfully as Nightmare tried to remove the hand choking him.

"You have been a nuisance to me for too long." XGaster said before lifting Nightmare up and throwing him to the wall hard. Nightmare groaned painfully as he slid down the wall, looking up at XGaster.

"Leave him alone!" Dust screamed and used his magic to run towards XGaster and kick him. The adult only grunted before he growled lowly and kicked Dust away.

 

Cross' eye lights flared bright red as he jumped up and ran to his little brother.

"Are you okay?!" He asked panickedly, kneeling down next to him.

 

Dust whimpered in pain and shakily looked up at Cross tearfully. There was a scratch on his cheek that began to leak blood.

Nightmare narrowed his eyes at XGaster and stood up, glaring at him. "Leave my kids alone!"

"I will when they get out of my way." XGaster growled before hands appeared behind him, all of them having sharp spike in the middle where the hole was supposed to be. "They are nothing but a nuisance. Just like you."

 

Cross gently rubbed Dust's skull.

His eye lights flared as he stood up and stood on front of his brother protectively. His family was not a nuisance. They were awesome!

He summoned his knife, glaring at XGaster. Noone hurt his family!

The knife was much bigger than normal, glowing brightly.

 

XGaster looked at Cross with interest before he smirks. "You've gotten braver. Unfortunately some things never change. ₩₩₩₩₩ [right]¿!"

Dust's eyes widened in shock at the frightening sound. What was that?!

Nightmare's eye widened before he scowled angrily. "You've been screwing with him all this time! No wonder he can't hear anything when you speak! You changed your voice into static!"

 

Cross dropped his knife and stumbled back, flinching harshly. His eye sockets went dim at the sound.

He didn't want to be hurt again! Tears were streaming down his face.

 

"Cross!" Dust screamed panickedly and stood up, watching his older brother fearfully. "Brother?!"

XGaster chuckled lowly when he saw how distraught Cross looked. "It took a while to get the desired effect. But with Determination, anything [is] ₩₩ [possible] ₩₩₩₩₩₩₩₩."

"Stop it!" Nightmare screamed, watching his eldest with worry.

 

Cross flinched back, tripping over something and falling, whimpering quietly as he sobbed.

He didn't want to be hurt...

 

"Cross!" Dust kneeled down beside his brother. "Cross please! It's okay! Brother!"

Nightmare growled and tried to run towards his kids but a hand hit his shoulder. He screamed when the sharp spike pierced through his shoulder.

"Oh no. I'm not done with you." XGaster grinned wide as he watched blood drip down Nightmare's shoulder and soak his shirt.

 

Cross curled up tightly, sobbing hysterically. He didn't want to be hurt, he didn't want to be locked up...

 

"Dad!" Dust screamed fearfully, tears streaming down his face.

Nightmare grunted, looking at Dust.

"Now, when I'm done with you Cross will belong to me." XGaster grinned before looking at Cross. "He'll be perfect."

"No! That will never happen!" Nightmare screamed angrily. He looked at Dust. "Dust! Grab your brother and run!"

 

Dust sobbed quietly. XGaster couldn't do this!

He looked at his dad and nodded.

Cross sobbed as Dust tried to pick him up.

Dust used his magic to make himself stronger and quickly picked Cross up, running away as quickly as he could.

 

XGaster growled and tried to catch Dust but a black tentacle grabbed the hand.

XGaster turned around and his eyes widened when he saw Nightmare's eye glowed blue and black tendrils sprouted from his back. "I won't let you hurt my kids!"

 

Cross sobbed, curling into Dust slightly. His brother was safe...

Dust held onto Cross tightly, panting heavily. He was getting exhausted already.

 

Nightmare growled at XGaster, his tentacles flaring behind him. "You are not taking Cross!"

 

XGaster frowned. That was going less than ideal. He sent his spiked hands at Nightmare, trying to get a fatal hit.

 

Nightmare used his tentacles to wrap around the hands, stopping them from hitting him. His tentacles were strong, especially when he was mad. And he was pissed.

"You have been causing him too much harm. And for what?!" Nightmare screamed out in anger and pushed the hands back, taking a step forward.

 

Gaster frowned, glaring at Nightmare. He summoned more hands, sending them at Nightmare.

"Cross belongs to me!!" He shouted.

 

Nightmare dodged to the side and glared at XGaster hatefully. "He doesn't belong to you! And he will never follow you!"

 

XGaster growled angrily, launching himself at Nightmare.

How dare that bastard!!!

 

Nightmare grunted when he was tackled by XGaster. He growled and used his tentacles to wrap around the other's arms. "You will be brought to justice!"

 

XGaster growled when his arms were grabbed, kicking at Nightmare.

"Someone said the same. That couple were idiots for thinking they could stop me!! I killed them, just as I'll kill you! The look on their faces, that pure disbelief! I want to see that on you too! Maybe you'll be begging your sons for forgiveness for not being there just like they did for their kid Killer!!"

 

Nightmare's eyes widened with a gasp at the words. His Soul felt like it stopped in his chest. "You... you killed them. You're the reason Killer had been left alone crying that day. You're the reason Killer is alone!!!"

Nightmare screamed in anger and threw XGaster off of him. He stood up, his aura turning colder in fury. "I will make sure you'll pay!"

 

XGaster grinned.

It vanished when he got thrown off Nightmare. He quickly directed his spiked hands at him.

 

Nightmare's tentacles grabbed the hand and crushed it to dust. He glared hatefully at XGaster. "You will not harm anyone ever again!!"

 

XGaster flinched harshly when his magic was shattered. This was definitely not going as planned.

 

Nightmare was trembling with rage, his blue eye glowing brighter as the air felt colder. "I will show you what true Nightmare is."

He sharpened his tentacles and shot them at XGaster with the intent to harm. He needed XGaster alive but that didn't mean he wouldn't make him pay!

 

XGaster screamed as his arms got skewered by the tentacles.

 

A tentacle wrapped around XGaster leg and swung him in a wide arch and down onto the pavement hard.

 

XGaster grunted in pain, his eye lights hazy with pain.

 

Nightmare walked closer and glared down at XGaster, raising a tendril high. "Good bye you bastard."

He knocked XGaster's skull hard, knocking him out.

 

XGaster looked up, a small bit of fear in his eyes. He lost consciousness immediately.

 

Nightmare panted softly as he looked down at XGaster. He was like that for a few minutes before the adrenaline wore off and he stumbled to his knees, holding his injured shoulder in pain. His tentacles retreating back to his back.

 

Horror ran towards Nightmare, Cross and Dust in his arms who both looked really distraught. Dust was worried for his dad and Cross was still very out of it.

Two cops were following him.

 

Nightmare looked up when he heard footsteps. He relaxed when he saw Cross and Dust safe in Horror's arms.

One cop looked between Nightmare and XGaster who was unconscious on the ground. He pulled out his walkie talkie and spoke into it.

 

Horror walked to Nightmare, sitting down next to him.

That wound on his shoulder looked nasty. He quickly sat the two kids in his lap and took off his jacket, ripping off a sleeve to wrap it around Nightmare's bleeding shoulder.

 

Nightmare hissed in pain as Horror tied the piece of clothing on his shoulder.

"You didn't have to do that." he groaned softly with a winch. "It's your jacket."

Dust reached forward and hugged his dad, his breath hitching as he fought not to cry. "Dad..."

 

"You're my friend." Horror replied simply.

Cross trembled harshly, still crying silently. His eye lights were dim.

 

Nightmare gave Horror a small smile. He looked at Cross and reached a hand out, the one that was not covered in blood, and gently rubbed Cross' skull. "Shh... shh... it's alright Cross. He's gone. He won't hurt you anymore."

 

Cross winced slightly but recognised the voice, relaxing immediately.

 

Nightmare winced when pain spread on his bleeding shoulder. "Stars that hurt."

He looked at Horror with sadness. "I... have something to tell you. It's about Killer."

 

Horror frowned. Something about Killer? He had a feeling it was nothing good.

 

"XGaster," Nightmare said with a frown. "He killed Killer's parents. They were trying to stop him. He found out and.... I don't know what he did to their dust. He said they begged Killer for forgiveness when they died, for not being able to be there for him anymore. Because... because they died."

 

Horror flinched, his eye sockets wide in shock.

XGaster had… killed them...?

 

Dust looked up at Nightmare in shock. Killer's parents were killed? Horror wasn't his dad? XGaster...

He frowned and hugged Nightmare harder, crying silently.

Nightmare tried to comfort Dust with his clean hand. Horror could handle Cross. "I'm sorry. I know you hoped they'd be alive."

 

Horror sighed quietly. He'd already thought something like that had happened. He stared at the floor, holding Cross gently.

 

Nightmare frowned at Horror sadly. He hated when his friend was silent like this.  "I'm truly sorry Horror."

 

Horror shook his head slightly and wiped away some tears, holding Cross close.

 

Nightmare sighed softly, gently hugging Dust.

He looked up when the officers came. "We need you to come with us for your statement. And some medical treatment."

Nightmare nodded and stood up shakily, holding Dust close. "I can't leave my sons behind."

 

Horror frowned. Nightmare was not in any condition to walk. He picked him up.

 

"Hey!" Nightmare protested when he was picked up. "I can walk!"

 

"You think you can walk." Horror replied curtly, walking to the police officers.

Cross looked down at the floor and bent down, picking up his phone. It must have fallen out of his pocket…

 

Dust smiled slightly at the sight as he followed Horror. He gently took Cross' hand and lead him.

The officers nodded before leading the way towards the police car, one of them carrying the unconscious skeleton.

Nightmare sighed and let himself be carried. He didn't have a choice really.

 

Cross took the hand gratefully, wiping away a few tears. He was clearly extremely distraught.

Horror frowned. There wasn't enough space in the car and he'd most likely kill XGaster if he was anywhere near him.

"Can we take my car and we'll follow you?" He asked.

 

One of the cops looked at Horror and each other, having a silent conversation before nodding. "Yes but please follow closely behind us."

 

Horror nodded and left to go to his car.

 

Dust followed him silently, pulling Cross with him.

Killer stood by the car worriedly when Horror didn't come. Where was he? Had something happened?

 

Horror carried Nightmare to the car, unlocking it from afar.

Cross looked up when he felt Killer's aura.

 

Killer looked up when the car was unlocked. He smiled when he saw Horror, it fell when he saw Nightmare.

"What happened?" he asked worriedly. He looked at Cross and Dust. They looked relatively unharmed but unhappy.

 

"Nightmare fought XGaster." Horror explained, opening the door to the back row. He was sure Nightmare would like to sit with his children.

 

Killer frowned in worry and nodded. He went to the other side of the car to get into the passenger's seat.

Dust went inside the car to sit down and waited for Nightmare and Cross.

Nightmare pushed himself into the car with a hiss when pain exploded in his shoulder. He'd need to throw this shirt away. It was completely soaked in blood.

 

Cross went into the car and sat next to his dad.

Horror helped Nightmare put on his seatbelt before going to the driver's seat.

 

Dust hugged Nightmare, nuzzling him gently. He was so worried. He hoped Nightmare would be okay.

 

Cross hugged Nightmare slightly after he'd put on the seatbelt.

Horror waited for the police car and drove after it.

 

~~~

 

Horror sat Nightmare down on the couch.

"I'll make dinner and you will stay here." He said in a warning tone before heading to the kitchen.

 

Nightmare frowned- pouted- at Horror but reluctantly stayed where he was.

Killer looked at Nightmare for a moment before following his dad to help.

Dust looked at Nightmare and sat beside him, pulling Cross with him.

 

Cross was still a bit shaken but he was doing much better. He hugged his dad silently.

 

Nightmare hugged back with his uninjured arm.

Dust hugged Nightmare and cuddled into him.

 

Cross closed his eye sockets, relaxing completely in his dad's touch.

"Thanks, dad..." He mumbled softly.

 

Nightmare smiled at Cross. "Anytime."

Dust smiled when Cross spoke and closed his eyes, relaxing into his dad when the toll of today weighed upon him.

 

"I'm glad you're okay..." Cross mumbled softly.

 

"I'm glad you're okay." Nightmare said, smiling down at both his kids. "Both of you."

 

Cross smiled up at his dad and cuddled into him.

 

Dust smiled and did the same, happy that his family was safe.

Nightmare smiled happily. "You were very brave Cross. You got enough evidence that can put XGaster behind bars."

 

Cross pulled out his phone.

"We got this too... I dropped it and it recorded the whole fight too." He explained softly.

 

Nightmare looked at Cross in surprise. "When did you do that?"

 

"I slipped out of my pocket when I fell..." He replied quietly.

 

Nightmare nodded and hugged Cross close. "Well, now we have more evidence. I'm proud of you two. Hopefully I won't be charged for child endangerment."

 

Cross cuddled into Nightmare.

"You didn't do anything wrong..." He mumbled softly.

 

"I knew about this and let this happen." Nightmare replied with a frown. "I know it's to bring XGaster to justice but I put you all at risk knowingly."

 

Cross cuddled into him.

"You kept us safe." He mumbled quietly.

 

Dust nodded in agreement.

"You still got hurt." Nightmare said softly and sadly.

 

"Don't be so hard on yourself, dad." Cross mumbled softly, nuzzling him gently.

 

"Yeah." Dust agreed and nuzzles Nightmare. "You did your best. We got XGaster to prison."

"After almost a month of abuse and suffering." Nightmare sighed sadly. "If only there had been another way."

 

Cross hugged Nightmare tighter.

 

Nightmare gently rubbed Cross' and Dust's backs slowly to comfort them. "Let's just hope it won't all be in vain."

 

"It won't." Cross mumbled quietly, leaning into the touch.

 

Nightmare smiled and hugged his kids close. "I hope so."

Dust smiled happily and leaned into the touch. "Can we watch a movie?"

Nightmare chuckled softly and nodded. "Of course. Go pick one."

 

Cross smiled slightly. He liked that idea. He buried his face into his dad's jacket.

 

Dust nodded and slid down to pick a movie.

Nightmare gently rubbed Cross' back. "I'm proud of you Cross. You did really well."

 

Cross smiled slightly, cuddling into his dad.

 

Dust put the cd in the player and turned on the tv. He sat back beside his dad and turned it on. The intro for Wreck It Ralph playing.

 

Cross looked up at the TV, looking a bit excited.

Chapter Text

Cross looked up when Error walked inside the room. He'd said he'd get his kitten but Cross couldn't see it anywhere on him.

Error smiled a bit as he sat down and got his kitten out of his hood.

 

The kitten looked around when Error pulled her out and looked at Cross. She meowed at the black and white skeleton.

"Aw~!" Dust cooed. "She likes you!"

 

Cross smiled happily, reaching out his hand to the kitten.

Error rubbed the kitten's head before putting her onto the floor gently.

 

The kitten looked content to be touched and looked around when she was placed on the floor. Walking, still a bit clumsy, around the new space.

Dust smiled at her before looking at Error. "Has she grown a bit?"

 

Error looked up and nodded.

"shE has gROwn quitE a bit." He replied with a smile. She didn't look like she was starving anymore either.

 

Dust smiled as he watched Cross pet the kitten who purred happily at the touch.

"She looks happy." he noted with a smile. He grinned at Error. "How much destruction did she cause to your dad?"

 

Error giggled a bit.

"twO shOwER cuRtains and One chaiR sO faR." He replied with a small grin.

Cross pet the kitten as gently as he could.

 

Dust chuckled softly as he watched his brother pet the kitten. The kitten purred as she laid on her back and closed her eyes. "She doesn't look like she can do much damage."

 

"wait a sEcOnd." Error told Cross. He already knew that this was a trap.

Cross decided not to question it and pulled his hand back.

Error pet the kitten's belly gently.

 

The kitten opened her eyes and attacked Error's hand, trying to catch it and bite it.

 

Error smiled as he quickly snatched his hand away and summoned a piece of string, holding it in front of his kitten's nose.

 

The kitten immediately attacked the string, taking it with her paw and pulling it to her mouth to bite.

Dust chuckled softly. "Feisty."

 

Error grinned and nodded, watching his kitten happily.

"She's adorable." Cross said with a smile.

 

Dust nodded in agreement.

The kitten twisted and turned, as if she was wrestling with the string.

 

Error tugged at the string gently, agitating the kitten some more.

Cross watched the small kitten amazedly.

 

The kitten immediately attacked the string with vigour, jumping on her feet and attacking it.

Dust chuckled softly as he watched the kitten. He had an idea. "Hey, do you think we can make her a cat toy?"

 

Error giggled quietly, letting his kitten run in a circle.

He looked up at Dust and nodded.

"That's an amazing idea." Cross replied softly.

 

Dust smiled happily at the praise from his brother, feeling so overjoyed. "Yeah. We can ask dad or Mr. Ink to help us make it."

 

"Yeah." Cross said happily.

Error hummed.

"dOEs OnE Of yOu want tO play with hER fOR nOw?" He asked, holding out the string. After all, he could play with her whenever he wanted.

 

The kitten watched the string as she leaned down, her eyes set on the piece of string like it was her prey.

Dust shook his skull with a smile before nodding at Cross. "Give it to Cross first. I'm not good with animals."

 

Error nodded and held the piece of string in Cross' direction.

Cross smiled as he took it, swishing it in front of the kitten teasingly.

 

The kitten did a little wriggle before she pounced on the string, her claws out and mouth open to bite it.

 

Cross smiled as he held the string still, letting the kitten attack it.

 

The kitten caught the string and laid on her back, biting it and pushing it inside her mouth with her paws.

Dust smiled at the kitten. "So.... does she ever sleep?"

 

Cross giggled softly.

"yEah. shE slEEps abOut fifty pERcEnt Of thE timE." Error replied with a smile. She would probably tire herself out soon enough.

 

Dust smiled. "I'm surprised."

He looked at the kitten still vigorously attacking the string. "What do you think our dads are doing?"

 

Error hummed thoughtfully.

"thEy'RE pRObably talking abOut sOmE stuff.." He mumbled.

 

~~~

 

Fresh sat at the table with Nightmare, taking a sip of his tea.

 

Nightmare looked down at his cup of tea, thinking. His shoulder was still sore from being stabbed. But it was not that bad anymore.

 

Fresh stayed silent, not wanting to push Nightmare in any way.

 

Nightmare raised his hand to touch his shoulder, hissing softly when pain sparked. He sighed softly and looked at Fresh.

"So... how much do you know?" he asked softly.

 

Fresh frowned worriedly. Was Nightmare okay?

"Um... Just that you were attacked and that you had to go to the hospital... And XGaster's trial." He replied quietly.

 

Nightmare nodded and put his hand down. "So, I confronted XGaster. He... he was about to manipulate Cross and... I couldn't let that happen. He attacked me."

He frowned and held his cup a little tighter. "He sent Cross into a panic attack when Cross tried to fight back. He... he manipulated his voice to static."

 

Fresh frowned. Seemed like Nightmare had come just in time.

"Static?" He asked quietly.

 

Nightmare nodded. "Cross... he panics whenever I say some words. Tests. Difficult. Things like that." he explained. "He always.... looks and acts like he can't see or hear the numbers after those words. No matter if I had written it or spoken the questions aloud."

"And.... from what XGaster had said, he purposely manipulated Cross into thinking that he's stupid. The static? I think maybe... maybe XGaster changed his voice after those certain words making it impossible to hear and understand. I bet he did something with the written questions too." Nightmare scowled at the thought.

 

Fresh frowned worriedly. He'd have to make sure never to say those words in Cross' presence. He'd talk to Error too.

 

Nightmare sighed softly, looking down at his tea. "Of course, I asked Dust to take Cross away. But... while attacking XGaster, I got stabbed."

He pointed to the shoulder that he had touched earlier. "His magic is making hands that have sharp spikes on the palms. One pierced through my shoulder."

 

Fresh winced. That sounded really dangerous and painful.

"Are you okay?" He asked worriedly.

 

"I'm fine now." Nightmare said softly. "It still hurts when I touch it. The doctor says that it will be healed completely in a few months. Until then, no rough activities."

Nightmare sighed softly with an annoyed frown. Which meant he couldn't do anything like lifting heavy objects and all that. It was such a hindrance.

 

Fresh nodded, looking relieved.

"If you need any help, just tell me." He offered.

 

"Thanks." Nightmare smiled at Fresh thankfully. He looked to the side. "Maybe just... help me carry some of my boxes and books and paper after school into my car?"

 

"Sure." Fresh responded with a small smile. He was happy to help.

 

Nightmare smiled back gratefully. "So... how's living with the kitten?"

 

Fresh rolled his eyes.

"She's adorable as all heck but sometimes she's a beast. She already destroyed two shower curtains and a chair." He explained.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly at Fresh's misfortune. "Yeah, kittens are a bit excitable."

 

Fresh nodded. They sure were.

 

"Is Error taking care of her?" Nightmare asked curiously.

 

"Yeah. He does almost everything that involves taking care of her. I only buy the food for her." Fresh explained with a smile.

 

Nightmare smiled happily. "That's great! So uh... do you think it's okay for my kids to help out? I want to teach them some... responsibility. Which is apparently what parents have to do, according to the books I've read." he muttered that last part.

 

Fresh giggled a small bit.

"I'm sure Error would be glad to have some help." He responded.

 

Nightmare smiled at Fresh gratefully. "Thanks."

He looked down and hummed in thought. "Maybe I can get a cat for them after they learn how to take care of one."

 

Fresh nodded enthusiastically.

"That's a great idea. I almost always had a cat. They're really great help if you need to calm down..." He explained. The purring helped a lot.

 

Nightmare smiled at Fresh happily. It was really good to know. It was perfect for Fresh. "That's good."

 

Fresh nodded with a smile.

Chapter Text

Cross watched Dust as the other gave Error's kitten some milk.

Error sat next to Dust, smiling a bit.

 

Dust tentatively put a bowl of milk in front of Molly. He kneeled down to make sure he wouldn't scare her.

The kitten sniffed the milk before she begins licking it happily, getting milk on her furry chin.

 

Cross chuckled softly. Molly was so adorable.

Error smiled. Dust was doing great.

"gOOd jOb."

 

Dust smiled brightly at Error. He felt so happy for the praise. "Thanks!"

Molly continued to lick the milk happily, purring softly.

 

Error smiled happily. Dust was great at handling Molly.

 

Dust looked at Molly with a smile, happy to see her drink happily.

"Do you think we can manage to convince dad to get us a cat?" He asked Cross hopefully.

 

Cross hummed thoughtfully.

"Maybe..." He mumbled softly.

"yOu guys aRE amazing at caRing fOR mOlly. i'm suRE hE'll agREE." Error said with a smile.

 

Dust smiled happily. "Yeah, I hope so. Taking care of a cat is fun. Despite all the poop." he joked with a grin.

 

Error chuckled softly.

Cross nodded with a grin.

 

Molly looked up, milk dripping from her chin, and meowed.

 

Error looked down at her and gently rubbed her little head.

 

Molly pushed her head into the hand and purred loudly in content.

 

Error smiled happily and petted her gently.

Cross watched Molly happily. She was so cute!

 

Dust smiled as he watched Error pet the small kitten. He would try, and was very tempted too, but he was afraid he'd get scratched.

 

Error looked up at Dust.

"yOu didn't pEt hER yEt." He said, pulling his hand away.

 

Molly looked up and meowed in disappointment when the hand no longer petted her.

Dust looked at Error before looking at the kitten. "I'm afraid she'll scratch me."

 

Error hummed.

"shE wOn't scRatch yOu as lOng as yOu dOn't pEt hER bElly." He explained.

Cross nodded. He'd noticed that too.

 

Dust chuckled softly before reaching out to the kitten. "Well that's specific."

Molly looked up when another hand reached for her

 

Error nodded with a smile.

 

Dust gently petted Molly's head in slow strokes. The kitten leaned into the touch with a content purr.

 

"nicE jOb." Error said with a big smile. Dust was doing great.

Cross nodded in agreement.

 

Dust smiled happily, a bit shy before his focus went to the purring kitten.

 

Error smiled back happily and reached out to pet Molly a bit.

 

Molly leaned into the touch with her eyes closed and purred louder, laying down on her stomach as her tail swished contently.

 

Cross decided not to pet the kitten. He could do so later.

Error smiled happily.

Chapter Text

Horror took some fries and ate them happily. They had ordered a literal mountain of fries, topped with chili, meat, tomatoes and cheese. It tasted absolutely awesome.

 

Nightmare smiled as he watches Horror eat, using a fork to grab a good amount of fries and toppings.

"Enjoying yourself?" he grinned at Horror before eating his forkful.

 

Horror smiled happily as he nodded.

"The fries are so awesome!" He said happily.

 

Nightmare smiled wider. "I'm glad. A little celebration after kicking XGaster's ass."

 

Horror frowned a small bit.

"But you got hurt in the process..." He reminded. "Are you feeling better?" He asked worriedly.

 

Nightmare hissed at the reminder and nodded, taking another forkful.

"It still stings when I touch it." Nightmare said as he looked at his food. "But it's healing. The kids help a lot. And they're a lot like you."

 

Horror smiled a small bit.

"That's good." He replied.

 

Nightmare smiled slightly. "It's worth it as long as that bastard is behind bars."

 

"Yeah." Horror agreed with a small smile.

 

"So," Nightmare started. "How is Killer?"

 

"Killer's okay. He's worried about you three though." Horror explained.

 

Nightmare frowned slightly. "The kids are more worried about me. They're fine though. It's just... how is Killer taking the news of his parents..." he trailed off sadly.

 

Horror sighed quietly. He'd hoped not to have to talk about this.

"Killer was shocked... but he said he was glad that they hadn't left him willingly. He used to think that his parents left because they didn't like him or something like that. Then he hugged me and cried." He explained.

 

Nightmare felt his Soul clench in pain at that. Poor Killer. He really didn't deserve that.

"I'm... I'm sorry." Nightmare said softly. "Killer.... I never wanted any child to face their parent's death. Or hear any news of it."

 

Horror sighed, a frown on his face.

"He'll be okay..." He mumbled. Or at least he hoped so.

 

Nightmare nodded and picked up another forkful of fries. "I hope so."

He ate his food with a small frown. "At least the killer is behind bars. Or waiting to be. The evidence was enough."

 

"Yeah." Horror responded, eating a few fries.

 

Nightmare decided to change topics. "So, any plans for tonight? The kids are having a sleepover at Fresh's house so we're free for tonight."

 

Horror hummed in thought.

"I'm free." He replied. He didn't have any plans.

 

Nightmare grinned at Horror. "Do you want to head to the arcade at the new mall? Remember how I used to beat you at Zombie Blaster 4?"

 

"Only because you cheated!" Horror replied with an exasperatedly annoyed expression.

 

"What?" Nightmare said innocently but the grin was nothing innocent. "I did not. You must be mistaken my friend."

 

Horror glared at him with mock annoyance.

"Oh yeah? Why'd I lose against you but to nobody else?"

 

"Oh... I don't know." Nightmare shrugged with a grin, eating his fries. "I'm innocent."

 

"Oh yeah? What about that time you kept making jokes until I laughed and couldn't play?" Horror asked.

 

Nightmare shrugged with a grin. "I was just having fun. It didn't prove anything."

 

Horror huffed exasperatedly.

"You once made a crowd of kids try to tickle me." He huffed.

 

Nightmare snickered at the reminder, covering his mouth. That was a fun day. It was easy too. The kids would do anything for a free game token.

"How do you know it was me?" he asked coyly with a grin. "Maybe they just wanted to have fun."

 

Horror glared at Nightmare.

"I'm one hundred percent sure it was you." He replied.

 

Nightmare shrugged with a grin before looking at Horror. "Want to play to prove who's the real winner?"

 

"Absolutely!" Horror replied. He'd win this time.

 

Nightmare nodded before taking another forkful of fries. "We'll go after lunch."

 

Horror nodded, a determined gleam in his eye lights as he ate some more fries.

 

Nightmare ate the fries in a slower pace than Horror, smiling in content.

 

Horror ate the fries happily. They were so delicious!

 

It took about half an hour to finish the fries.

Nightmare leaned back with a happy sigh. "That's filling."

 

Horror smiled happily and nodded.

"It was so delicious." He said happily.

 

Nightmare smiled and nodded. He drank his drink and pulled out his wallet to pay for the food.

 

Horror got out his wallet and searched through it for exactly half the money for the fries and money for his drink.

 

Nightmare payed for the rest and stood up, grinning at Horror. "Ready to lose?"

 

Horror stood up with a grin.

"I'm ready to win!" He replied.

 

Nightmare grinned at Horror.

"Then let's play."

 

~~~

 

Horror grinned. He was about to win. He gasped in indignation when Nightmare managed to beat him by four points.

 

Nightmare smirked at Horror. "Oh? What's this? I won?"

 

Horror huffed, crossing his arms.

 

Nightmare smirked smugly. "Looks like you owe me an ice cream cone."

 

"Only the cone?" Horror teased with a small smirk.

 

"Very funny." Nightmare deadpanned at Horror but he was fighting a smile. He walked away smugly. "You know how I like it. Now let's go. I want to cash it in."

 

Horror huffed a small bit but nodded, following Nightmare without any protest.

 

Nightmare walked towards the direction of the ice cream shop. He paused when he smelled something good. He turned and saw a pretzels shop.

Nightmare was tempted to get some. Chocolate pretzels....

 

Horror looked at Nightmare.

"Do you want a pretzel?" He asked.

 

Nightmare nodded. "You go and get the ice cream. I'll buy the pretzels."

"What kind do you want?" he asked Horror curiously.

 

Horror nodded with a smile. He hummed in thought and looked at the pretzels.

"Chocolate, please." He replied.

 

Nightmare smiled and nodded, walking towards the store to buy some chocolate pretzels. Those were so delicious.

 

Horror walked to the ice cream shop, buying Nightmare's and his favourite ice cream

 

Nightmare bought two large packets of chocolate pretzels and went to the ice cream shop for Horror. He couldn't wait to eat them! They were so good! Especially when they were warm, covered in chocolate and with ice cream!

 

Horror smiled when he spotted Nightmare. He was sitting on a bench, already licking his ice cream.

 

Nightmare passed him his pretzels and took his ice cream. "Thanks Horror." he smiled and ate a spoonful of ice cream.

 

Horror smiled as he took his pretzels. He took a few and put them into his ice cream.

 

"So," Nightmare said and ate a pretzel. "I've been thinking about a family day."

 

Horror looked at Nightmare.

"Sounds like a good idea." He replied, eating his ice cream happily.

 

"Yeah." Nightmare smiled softly as he thought about the happy faces of his kids. "But I'm not sure when and where I want to do it. I want to invite Fresh with us too."

 

Horror nodded. He hummed in thought.

 

Nightmare picked up a pretzel and ate it, thinking of a good place to hold the occasion.

 

"An arcade?" Horror asked.

 

Nightmare shakes his skull. "No. I wanted it to be more.... like a vacation. A one day vacation or two. Somewhere where we can laugh and make good memories. Maybe even test out your barbecue skills." he grinned at Horror.

 

Horror chuckled.

"That sounds amazing. Do you think the boys were at the sea yet?" He asked. It was only a two hour drive away.

 

Nightmare shook his skull. Cross had been in the orphanage while Dust had been neglected. He doubted they had ever been to....

"You think we could rent a motel at the beach?" Nightmare asked curiously.

 

Horror nodded with a smile. He'd done that with Killer once and it had been awesome.

 

Nightmare smiled happily. "I can't wait. When will we do it?"

 

"Maybe on a weekend?" Horror asked.

 

"Next weekend?" Nightmare asked with a smile. "I can clear my plans."

 

Horror nodded.

"I got time." He replied with a smile.

 

"What do we want to do there?" Nightmare asked, excited to plan.

 

Horror gasped.

"Did you ever surf? It's really cool." He said with a grin.

 

Nightmare shook his skull. "Nope. And not planning too. Remember how I broke my arm trying to skateboard?"

 

Horror nodded.

"When you surf, you only fall into water though." He explained with a grin.

 

"If you fall onto water at a certain height, it'll feel like landing on solid ground." Nightmare said factually.

 

"It's not that high." Horror replied. "I have to admit that I sometimes get caught under waves though and almost drowned a few times."

 

Nightmare shook his skull with a chuckle. "Yeah I'm not risking it. Besides, I'm sure the kids will want to learn though. I'm down for snorkling though."

 

Horror grinned.

"Perfectly safe." He replied. Maybe he could even teach the kids.

 

Nightmare nodded. "If you say so. Barbecue for dinner?"

 

"That'd be absolutely awesome." Horror replied happily. All the delicious food they could make...

 

Nightmare hummed in thought for more good plans. "Maybe we can play some games too?"

 

"Of course." Horror replied with a smile.

 

Nightmare ate his ice cream happily. "Any ideas?"

 

"Hm.. Do you think they'd enjoy DnD?" Horror asked, humming thoughtfully.

 

"What's....DnD?" Nightmare asked in confusion.

 

"Dungeons and Dragons. Don't tell me you never played any paper based roleplay games." Horror replied, staring at Nightmare.

 

Nightmare looked to the side, eating his chocolate pretzel with his ice cream. "I've heard of it. Never actually played it except Snakes and Ladders."

 

Horror had a gleam in his eye lights as he looked up at him.

"I'll get all my campaigns." He said, quickly getting out his phone to write himself a notification with his free hand.

 

Nightmare smiled slightly as he watched Horror get excited. He ate his ice cream contently. "I hope you won't make it too difficult for the kids to play."

 

Horror nodded.

"I'll use the easier campaigns but I'll add a few harder bosses in a few dungeons because Killer already knows how to play and has a leveled character." He explained, putting his phone away. He ate his ice cream happily.

 

Nightmare smiled wider. "Okay. You do that."

He looked down at his ice cream and ate happily.

 

Horror smiled happily and nodded. It would be so awesome if they all played together!

Chapter Text

Error tapped a few things on his laptop, quickly setting up a Minecraft world for all of them to play in.

Cross watched what he was doing curiously.

 

Dust was behind him watching Error with curious eyes.

Killer was beside Error watching him in awe. He was not this good at computers!

 

"dOnE." Error said happily.

"if yOu staRt up thE gamE and click multiplayER thEn all thE way dOwn thERE shOuld bE a wORld with a gREEn cOnnEctiOn sign Right bEsidE it." He explained.

Cross clicked onto the Minecraft button on the desktop and waited for it to load.

 

Dust went to his laptop- that Nightmare had given him despite his protests and tears of joy- and loaded the game.

Killer did the same and it loaded. He went to the world that has the green sign right at the bottom.

 

Cross clicked onto it twice, joining the world with a smile.

Error was busy chopping down a few trees to make them some basic tools.

 

Dust smiled when he spawned into the world and saw Error chopping down trees. He did the same to help out.

Killer logged on and went to get some food. Like apples!

 

Error quickly made a workbench and crafted a chest and a few wooden pickaxes to farm some stone.

Cross looked into the chest and took a pickaxe.

"Next thing's stone, right?" He asked.

 

Dust nodded as he crafted some building materials. "I believe so."

Killer took a shovel and a sword before running off to grab some food. Carrots, potatoes and beef sounds good! "I'm gonna get us some food to farm!"

 

"yup. dOn't dig dOwn stRaight thOugh. makE EithER a staiRcasE OR twO blOcks nExt tO Each OthER." Error explained as he dug down in a staircase-like way.

"likE this."

Cross nodded and did the same. He gasped when he suddenly fell down a bit.

 

Dust continued cut some trees to make planks to build a house for them to live in. It'd be night and he didn't want to die. He'd learned his lesson last time.

Killer was still hunting for food. Ooo cow!

 

Error hummed as he dropped into the same cave Cross had landed in. He made a new workbench and some stone equipment.

"wE fOund a cavE." He announced. He quickly ran back up the stairs and gave Dust a stone axe.

 

"Cool!" Dust said as he built a house. "Don't forget to come back up!"

"Killer grab some wool!" Dust said to Killer.

"On it!" Killer responded and killed a sheep that baa'd to its death.

 

"Yeah." Cross replied, quickly sorting his inventory when Error gave him some equipment.

 

"Watch out for creepers and skeletons." Killer said as he walked around. "Not the friendly ones like us."

"Should we be concerned about killing one of our own?" Dust grinned as he placed the blocks down.

 

Error giggled. He looked down when Molly laid down in the middle of the circle they had formed.

"nah. thEy can REspawn." He replied with a grin. He rubbed Molly's head gently.

Cross chuckled and started farming stone.

 

Molly purred and leaned into the touch happily.

Dust grinned. "If you say so."

"Aaah!" Killer screamed in surprise as he ran. "Creeper!"

 

Error chuckled as he walked further into the cave, farming some coal.

"Do you need a stone sword?" Cross asked.

"fORgEt stOnE. i just fOund iROn." Error replied with a grin.

 

"You need a stove." Dust said as he gathered some more wood.

"Hah!" Killer laughed when the Creeper ran after him. "It can't get me!"

"It'll explode." Dust said before hearing a scream from Killer. He smiled slightly. "Told you."

"I'm still alive!" Killer said.

 

Error giggled and went back to the workbench, making a furnace. He put it next to the workbench and put the iron and some coal into it before crafting some torches.

 

Cross walked down into the cave and looked around for some more ore.

 

Killer walked around and smiled when he found a village. He took all the food and raided the houses. "I feel like a criminal stealing all their stuff. Ooo armour!"

 

Error glanced over at Killer's screen as he went after Cross.

"nicE!" He said, smiling.

Cross smirked as he killed a zombie with his sword.

 

Killer smiled happily as he stole all the loot. He went back home, his mission well executed.

He ran home screaming when a skeleton began shooting at him.

 

Error giggled. He ran back up and used his stone sword to quickly take out the skeleton before throwing some stone equipment to Killer.

Cross went a bit further into the cave, yelping when he was suddenly attacked by a spider.

 

"Thank you!" Killer said panickedly as he grabbed the items and ran away. He spotted Dust's shelter and went inside to hide.

Dust looked confused before he got hit and went to follow Killer and hide.

 

"cROss, yOu shOuld pRObably cOmE back-... nEvERmind, hE's dEad." Error said as he saw a message in the group chat.

Cross huffed. That spider had torn him apart.

 

Killer snickered when Cross died by a spider.

"You okay Cross?" Dust asked when he saw the chat.

 

"Yes." Cross huffed and walked into the house.

Error followed him closely.

 

Dust smiled happily when Cross walked in and went to him.

"Hey bro." he said happily and threw him some materials to build some armour and weapons.

Killer looked at Error. "Any stone for a stove? I got food."

 

"Thanks, bro." Cross said.

Error nodded. He made a crafting table and crafted a furnace, placing it next to it. He put some coal inside.

"i'll gO gEt thE iROn REal quick." He announced before running off.

 

Killer nodded and went to make a hoe to plant some food. Unfortunately they were not near any water source that can be used. "Make a bucket. We need water."

Dust smiled at Cross before he went to craft some sticks. He needed to burn some wood to make some torches.

 

Cross crafted some stuff.

Error nodded and ran into the cave to get the iron. He skillfully took out a spider and picked up all of Cross' stuff too before he went back up.

 

"Any stone anyone?" Dust asked curiously. "I need to make torches and I wanna burn wood."

Killer shook his skull. "Not on me."

 

Cross nodded and threw some stone into Dust's direction.

"i gOt sOmE cOal." Error announced and gave it to Dust.

 

Dust thanked them and made another furnace. He started to burn some wood. "Killer, go get some wood."

"On it." Killer said and went out to get some wood.

 

Error crafted two iron pick axes. He put one into the chest and walked to the stairs and went back into the cave.

 

Dust got the charcoal and made some torches, putting it on the walls and outside to make sure no baddies would spawn.

 

Cross built some more chests and placed them in the room.

There was some silence from Error.

"fOund mORE ORE." He announced after a minute.

 

"Ooo~ More ore!" Killer joked with a chuckle as he cut down and planted some trees.

 

Error giggled quietly.

"sOmE iROn and a bit Of gOld." He explained, hitting it with his pickaxe.

Cross took the second iron pickaxe and went back to the cave.

 

"Why do we need gold?" Killer asked curiously and doubtfully. "It's useless as a weapon or armour."

Dust shrugged as he built more of the house, looking at the sky. "We should get inside soon. Killer, do you have enough wool?"

"For beds?" Killer asked gaining a nod. He shook his skull. "Not enough for one."

 

"gOld applEs. thEy hEal yOu." Error explained.

Cross dug up some coal in the meantime.

 

"Right." Killer said in realisation and went back to work.

Dust built the house as quick as he could to finish it. "We have to head inside now. It's turning to night."

 

Error nodded and made his way back up with Cross.

 

Dust went inside the house with Killer behind him. Killer went to the stove and took out the baked potatoes and beef for everyone to eat.

 

"did yOu kEEp sOmE pOtatOEs fOR faRming?" Error asked as he put the iron and the gold into the furnaces along with coal.

Cross took some of the food with a thanks.

 

"Yeah. Three potatoes." Killer said and distributes the food amongst them.

"We should make a bucket for the water." Dust said as he ate a potato.

 

Error nodded and quickly crafted a bucket.

 

"So..." Dust trailed off. "What now? We can't do anything until the sun rises."

 

"i cOuld dO a suicidE run tO gEt watER." Error suggested with a giggle.

 

Dust chuckled and shook his skull. "Not worth it."

Killer hummed and looked at the time. "We could stop for now and eat snacks?"

 

"Great idea." Cross replied with a smile.

Error nodded in agreement, picking up Molly and snuggling her gently.

 

Molly had been sleeping before she opened her eyes and cuddled into Error with a purr.

Dust closed his computer and stood up, Killer did the same.

 

Cross did the same.

Error left his laptop open so the time could pass.

 

Killer went down and saw Fresh in the kitchen making snacks. He smiled at the teacher. "Hello Mr. Fresh!"

 

Cross followed Killer and waved at Fresh with a smile.

Error cuddled Molly happily and waited for Dust.

 

Dust followed Error and gently petted the kitten's head with a smile.

Molly leaned into the touch happily with a louder purr.

 

Fresh smiled a bit.

"Hey. Do you want some snacks?" He asked.

Cross nodded.

 

Killer smiled and nodded, running up to the table. "Yes please!"

Dust smiled and nodded at the idea. Snacks were good. "Can Molly have a snack too?"

 

Fresh nodded. He put the plate of snacks onto the table.

Cross smiled. "Thanks." He called and walked to the table, Error following him.

 

Dust smiled brightly and sat at the table, reaching out to take a snack from the plate. He ate it happily. So good~

Molly purred in Error's grasp, content to lay there.

Killer took a snack happily.

 

Cross took something from the plate and ate it happily.

Error pet Molly gently, looking up at his dad when Fresh placed something in front of him. He took it with a smile and gave the snack to Molly.

 

The kitten opened her eyes when she smelled something. She sniffed the food in Error's hand for a moment before eating it happily, licking her mouth when she was done.

 

Error smiled. Molly was absolutely adorable. He continued petting her and took a snack, eating it.

 

Killer ate his snack and looked up at Fresh. "Mr Fresh? Do you think Mr Nightmare will be okay?"

Dust looked at Killer in surprise before looking at Fresh curiously. He lived with his dad but his dad could hide pain well. Maybe Dad had told Fresh something?

 

Fresh looked at Killer and nodded.

"He'll definitely be okay. He'll be in pain for a bit longer though." He explained.

Cross frowned. His dad was in pain?

 

Killer frowned but nodded. He didn't like Nightmare being in pain but he'd be okay. He looked down at his snack when a thought came to him.

"I never thanked him..." he said softly in realization.

Dust looked at him in confusion. "Thanked him for what?"

 

Cross frowned a bit. Was Killer referring to the times Nightmare had helped him at school?

Error looked up curiously.

 

Killer frowned and wiped away a tear in his eye. He sighed softly. "Nightmare.... he fought XGaster. I know it was to save you two.... but he put that murderer to jail...."

He smiled, a bittersweet feeling inside of him, a tear rolling down his face. "He locked that murderer away. The one who killed my parents. Avenged them. Told me the truth when I thought for so long that- that they hated me and left. He told me the truth. I never thanked him for that."

 

"Can I hug you?" Cross asked softly, looking deeply worried.

Fresh frowned in concern.

 

Killer smiled and wiped away his tears, looking at Cross. "I'm not upset. But I wouldn't mind a hug."

 

Cross smiled a small bit and hugged Killer gently.

 

Killer leaned into the hug with a small bittersweet smile. He was happy but so sad. Mostly happy. It was bittersweet. So bittersweet.

Molly opened her eyes and nuzzled her head at Killer's hand, trying to comfort him.

 

Error smiled a small bit when he saw that Molly was trying to comfort Killer.

Cross hugged Killer close.

 

Dust leaned over and rubbed Killer's back comfortingly. He smiled when the kitten tried to comfort him.

Killer smiled down at Molly and pet her gently. "Thank you. All of you."

 

Cross smiled.

"No problem. You're my best friend after all." He replied.

 

Killer smiled happily at Cross. He was happy Cross thought of him as his best friend. "Thanks. You too."

 

Cross smiled happily and hugged Killer.

"Thanks." He replied happily.

 

Dust smiled and took his hand away when he saw that Killer was happy again. He grabbed a snack and ate it contently.

Molly meowed curiously at Killer, tilting her head.

 

Error looked relieved that Killer was okay.

Chapter Text

Cross excitedly jumped out of the car as soon as it stopped.

 

Dust giggled and jumped after him, feeling so excited.

Nightmare chuckled as he got out of the car. "Slow down you two. First we put our stuff in our rooms. Then we have some fun."

 

Cross chuckled excitedly and nodded. He grabbed his backpack and put it on before going to the back of the car.

He tried to open the trunk.

 

Nightmare smiled and leaned down to open the trunk by flipping a switch.

Dust followed after Cross excitedly. He looked up at Nightmare with sparkling eyes. "Are we really staying for a whole weekend dad!?"

Nightmare smiled and nodded. "Yes we are son. Horror and Fresh are coming too. Which means..."

"Killer and Error!" Dust cheered excitedly.

 

Cross smiled happily.

"Yay!" He cheered excitedly, taking one of the bags inside the trunk.

 

Dust took another bag while Nightmare took the heaviest with his good arm. He checked the time. "They should be here soon. Let's go check in okay?"

 

Cross nodded and followed Nightmare with a happy smile.

 

Dust followed excitedly behind Nightmare. He'd never been to the beach before! He had always been jealous when his classmate bragged about going there. Now he finally got to see it!

Nightmare lead his kids to the reception area and told them to sit on one of the benches while he went to get their room key.

 

Cross tried to contain his excitement. He'd finally get to see the beach and the sea!

He walked to a bench and sat down.

 

Dust sat down beside his brother excitedly. "What do you think we can do at the beach?"

 

Cross hummed in thought.

"We could build a sandcastle!" He suggested excitedly.

 

Dust smiled excitedly. "That sounds awesome! Maybe we can see some beach creatures too? I want to see a crab!"

 

"Yeah! Sounds awesome." Cross agreed happily.

 

Dust smiled at Cross before he looked up when Nightmare walked towards them.

"Alright. We have the key. Let's go to our room." Nightmare said with a smile.

 

Cross smiled back happily and nodded, getting up. He followed his dad excitedly.

 

Dust followed close behind with a spring in his step.

Nightmare went to their room number- 03- and slid the card into the slot. It opened and he pushed open the door. He slid the card into a slot on the wall and turned on the lights.

He smiled at the decently sized room. It had two bedrooms, a bathroom and a living room connected to a kitchen. Good thing he brought some snacks.

"Go to the room with two beds kids." he said to them as he walked to the kitchen to get out the food he had brought.

 

Cross gasped quietly. It looked awesome.

"Okay, dad." He agreed and went to the room with two beds. He looked at Dust.

"Which one do you want to have?" He asked.

 

Dust looked between the two beds before looking at Cross. "Can I have the one near the window?"

 

Cross smiled.

"Sure." He agreed and walked to the other bed. He put his bag near it and his backpack on top of it.

 

Dust smiled happily at Cross before he went to his bed and placed his bag on top. He got out his plushy that he got from the amusement park and hugged it happily before putting it on the pillow.

 

Cross unzipped his backpack and got out his plushy, cuddling it happily as he let himself fall onto the bed with a soft sigh.

 

Dust looked over at Cross and smiled, going over to his brother and sat down on his bed. "I can't wait to play with Error! Do you think he brought Molly too?"

 

Cross looked up at Dust and smiled.

"Probably. They can't just leave her alone." He replied.

 

"Does this place allow pets?" Dust asked curiously. He'd seen a few cats around but those could be strays.

 

"I think so. I didn't see any sign that said that you can't bring pets." Cross replied. He'd seen a few cats too.

 

Dust smiled and hugged Cross excitedly, as much as he could from this position. "I can't wait! I've heard so much about having fun at a beach! I hope dad will let us play in the ocean!"

 

Cross giggled and hugged back.

"I hope so too but I'm not really good at swimming." He explained.

 

"I'm sure dad can teach us!" Dust said hopefully.

 

Cross smiled.

"That'd be awesome." He replied happily. He was sure Nightmare would teach them if they asked him.

 

Dust smiled and nuzzled Cross happily.

Nightmare knocked on the door with a small smile. "Hey, you're cuddling and you didn't invite me?"

 

Cross giggled.

"Sorry, dad." He apologised with a smile.

 

"You can join!" Dust smiled brightly at Nightmare and raised an arm to him.

Nightmare chuckled and went to his kids, picking them up and cuddling them happily.

 

Cross smiled happily and cuddled into Nightmare. His dad was amazing. He closed his eye sockets contently as he nuzzled Dust gently.

 

Dust nuzzled back happily, content being held by his dad.

Nightmare cuddled his kids for a moment before putting his kids on his lap. "The others will be here in fifteen minutes. How about we watch some tv while we wait for them?"

 

"Sounds good." Cross replied with a smile, cuddling into his dad happily.

 

Dust nodded happily in agreement.

Nightmare smiled and stood up with the kids in his arms. Dust was held by his injured one since he was the lightest. Nightmare planned to fix that.

The math teacher placed his kids on the couch beside him and picked up the remote, turning it on. "Any suggestions?"

 

Cross hummed in thought.

"Dust?" He asked.

 

Dust shrugged. "I don't know. Movies?"

Nightmare smiled and searched for a movie channel for something to watch. He paused when it showed Ready Player One. "This one?"

 

Cross nodded excitedly. He loved that movie. It was so cool.

 

Dust smiled and nodded.

Nightmare smiled and leaned back, arms around his kids as they watched the movie.

 

Cross watched the movie happily, cuddling into Nightmare with a soft sigh.

 

~~~

 

Nightmare checked his phone when he heard a notification and smiled.

"Looks like the others have arrived." he said with a smile. "Why don't we all eat before going to the beach to play?"

 

Cross nodded excitedly.

"Sounds great." He replied with a smile.

 

Dust smiled and nodded.

Nightmare turned off the tv and stood up, walking towards the door. "Do you need to bring anything for the beach?"

 

Cross shook his head. He didn't think so.

 

Dust shook his head too and followed Nightmare.

Nightmare nodded and opened the door, waiting for his kids to get out before taking the card off the wall and closed the door which locked instantly.

 

Cross followed his dad with a happy smile.

"Dad?" He asked.

 

Nightmare looked down at Cross with a hum. "Yes?"

 

"I'm not good at swimming. Could you teach us how to do it?" Cross asked, looking up at Nightmare.

 

"Me too?" Dust asked hopefully.

Nightmare chuckled softly and nodded, rubbing both their skulls. "Of course I will. We'll go swimming later at the pool before we go swimming at the sea tomorrow. We have a barbecue eat out today and guess who's cooking?"

 

Cross smiled brightly.

"Thanks." He said happily, hugging his dad.

"You?" He asked.

 

Nightmare snickered and shook his skull. "I'll help but Horror will be cooking. He used to be the cook in our class."

 

Cross looked up at Nightmare. He wondered what Horror would cook.

 

"They said they'll meet us at the cafeteria." Nightmare said as they walked. They passed a pool where some kids are playing in. "We have a full lunch for today and breakfast and lunch for tomorrow. The best part? All you can eat."

 

Cross stared up at Nightmare. All you can eat? Like those buffets he'd read about?

 

Dust looked confused. "Is it those buffets?"

Nightmare smiled and nodded. "Yeah. It means we get to eat however much we want. Have you ever had those?"

Dust shook his skull with a frown. "I never had the chance. My... old caretakers used to talk about it."

 

Cross shook his head. He'd never had anything even remotely similar to that.

 

Nightmare smiled and rubbed their skulls comfortingly. "Don't worry. You'll get your chance."

He looked up when they reached the cafeteria. He pushed the glass door and walked inside. There were a few people who also rented the motel to stay in. He spotted the others who waved at them.

 

Cross leaned into the touch happily and followed his dad.

He smiled brightly when he noticed the others and waved happily.

 

Killer looked up and smiled when he spotted the others. "Hey guys! We got food!"

Dust chuckled softly and went to the table with Nightmare in tow. He smiled brightly. "Are you excited?"

 

Error nodded in response. He was really excited.

Cross sat down next to Killer, smiling happily.

 

"Super excited!" Killer said.

Nightmare smiled at his kids happily and fondly. "We can chat later. Let's go grab some food first okay?"

 

"Okay." Cross agreed.

Fresh smiled. He was really excited too bit he was kind of nervous. There were a bit too many people around.

 

Nightmare smiled and looked at the other kids. "Let's go. Your dads can get the food after we're done. Can't have anyone taking our spot now."

Killer smiled and looked at Horror for permission.

 

Horror nodded in response.

Error looked up at his dad.

"Sure." Fresh replied.

Error got up and walked to Dust with a smile.

 

Killer smiled and followed Nightmare and his family.

Dust smiled at Error before he followed Nightmare to the food area to grab some food. He wondered what they had.

 

Error followed Dust happily.

 

~~~

 

Killer carried his plate which had a bowl of soup, butter bread at the side and a slice of pizza.

Dust was carrying a plate that had three slices of pizza and a chicken wing.

Nightmare had a plate of spaghetti as he watched the kids carry their food to the table.

 

Cross had a few slices of pizza on his plate.

Error had some pasta and some fries on the plate he was carrying.

 

Dust placed his food on the table with Killer shortly behind him.

Nightmare sat down with the food in front of him and smiled at Horror and Fresh. "You can go get something to eat now. We'll stay and keep guard of the table."

 

Fresh chuckled softly and nodded.

"Keep close watch." Horror chuckled as he got up. Fresh followed him.

Cross and Error put their plates down.

 

Nightmare grinned and gave them a two fingered salute.

Dust giggled slightly at his dad's behavior.

 

Cross smiled in amusement.

Error looked at his food and ate it slowly.

 

Killer smiled and began to eat his food, smiling happily at the taste. It was okay.

Dust ate his food happily. He looked up at Nightmare. "Can we make pizza at home one day?"

Nightmare nodded at Dust. "Of course. We'll make it when we have the time and ingredients."

 

Cross smiled happily. He'd always wanted to make pizza.

 

Killer looked up and at Error. "Did you bring Molly?"

 

Error nodded and pointed at his hood where Molly was sleeping.

 

Killer looked into Error's hood and smiled brightly. "Oh stars you literally brought her."

Dust raised a confused brow. "How is she so well behaved?"

 

Error nodded with a smile.

"i givE hER tREats EvERy timE shE slEEps in thERE and it's fluffy and cOmfORtablE in thERE." He explained happily.

Cross smiled when he saw Molly. So adorable.

 

Killer smiled as he looked at the sleeping kitten. "Now I feel jealous."

Dust chuckled softly. "Don't be. At least we can go and swim in the ocean tomorrow."

 

Error giggled and nodded. He loved the ocean. It was really cool.

Cross smiled.

"Yeah."

 

"Cross suggested building a sandcastle later." Dust said with a smile. "Do you want to join?"

Killer smiled brightly. "Definitely. Maybe we can make a small army of shells that want to attack our fortress."

 

Error gasped.

"can wE tRy tO build it aROund mOlly?" He asked with a small smile.

 

Killer laughed at the thought.

Dust giggled at the mental image. "If she can stay in one place, sure."

Nightmare grinned. "You know you have to clean the sand off her fur later right?"

 

"i dOn't caRE, shE's gOnna bE sO adORablE." Error said with a happy smile.

Cross giggled.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly. "Oh Fresh is going to have a bad time." he mumbled softly under his breath.

"Queen Molly!" Dust cheered happily.

 

Molly mewed softly.

Error giggled quietly and pet her.

 

Killer chuckled at the meow. "I think she agrees."

"Imagine her wearing a crown!" Dust said with a bright smile.

 

"We could make her a tiny paper crown like the ones we made in art class!" Cross suggested excitedly.

"yEah." Error replied with a happy smile.

 

Nightmare snickered as he watched the kids interact.

"Sounds like a plan!" Dust said happily before a thought came to him. "But we didn't bring any art supplies."

 

"i did." Error said with a bright smile.

 

"Really?" Killer raised a brow at Error. "Did you plan this?"

 

Error giggled.

"yOu'll nEvER knOw." He replied with a grin.

 

Nightmare snickered as he grinned cheekily down at Error. "I could ask your dad. Then we'll know."

Dust laughed at Nightmare's words with Killer.

 

Cross chuckled.

Error pouted a bit at that.

 

Killer grinned and gently rubbed Error's back. "Do you think we can glue some shells onto Molly's crown?"

 

Error nodded a bit.

 

Molly turned her head and gently nuzzled the back of Error's skull. She meowed quietly as she nuzzled him.

 

Error smiled a bit when Molly did that and rubbed her head gently.

 

Killer chuckled softly. "I wonder how she'll react when she sees a crab?"

"I heard there are a few crabs on the beach." Nightmare said with a smile. "Even some tiny hermit crabs. You can find some if you poke the little holes in the sand."

 

Error hummed in thought. He had no idea.

"That sounds so cool!" Cross said with a smile.

 

Dust nodded in agreement. He looked up when Horror and Fresh sat down with their food.

 

Horror and Fresh sat down.

Fresh rubbed Error's skull gently.

"Any plans you made without us?" Horror asked.

 

"Other than taking the kids to the beach?" Nightmare said with a smile.

Killer smiled up at Horror. "We're gonna make a sandcastle!"

"With queen Molly!" Dust cheered happily.

 

Fresh chuckled. Queen Molly? Nice.

Horror laughed.

"That sounds like an awesome idea."

 

Killer smiled happily. "We're going to make a kingdom for her!"

Nightmare smiled at them before looking at Horror. "Plenty of time to cook the barbecue right Horror?"

 

Error smiled happily. It would be so awesome.

"Yeah." Horror replied with a grin.

 

"We better eat quickly if we want to play at the beach." Nightmare said with a smile.

Dust nodded in agreement and continued eating his food. Killer followed, eating happily.

 

Cross nodded in agreement and ate quickly.

Error stared at his food for a second before continuing to eat.

 

Killer looked at Error and whispered. "What's wrong? You're not bothered by what Nightmare said are you?"

 

Error looked up and shook his head. He just wasn't really hungry.

 

"Error?" Killer asked worriedly. What was wrong with Error? Why wasn't he eating?

 

"i'm just nOt REally hungRy." Error explained.

 

Killer frowned worriedly before he reluctantly nods. Right. Some people just didn't eat much or ate little. He knew he used to eat so little that it worried Horror.

 

Error stared at his food absentmindedly.

Fresh glanced over at Error worriedly.

 

Molly- sensing Error's mood- nuzzled his skull and neck to try and comfort him. And beg for food. She smelled food.

 

Error smiled a small bit and picked Molly up, placing her on his lap to pet her gently.

 

The kitten purred happily when she was pet and relaxed on Error's lap.

Nightmare smiled when he noticed that Error's mood brightened slightly when he petted Molly. It was true that pets helped people.

 

Error ate a small bit more before looking up at his dad.

"can i gO fEEd mOlly?" He asked softly.

 

Nightmare smiled when Error ate some more. Clearly Molly helped the child a lot. He thought for a moment. Maybe getting a cat would help his boys too.

He looked at Fresh, wanting to see what he says.

 

"Sure." Fresh replied, rubbing Error's skull gently.

Error leaned into the touch and smiled.

 

Killer smiled when he saw that Error was feeling slightly better.

Dust watched them curiously, he didn't say a word.

 

Error picked up Molly and got off the chair, walking to the room he shared with his dad. He had a key card too.

Fresh looked after Error, looking a bit concerned.

 

Dust looked up at Fresh. "Can I follow him? To keep him company."

 

Fresh smiled at Dust.

"Sure. He probably won't talk for a while though." He explained.

 

Dust nodded and got off his chair when Nightmare nodded.

He caught up to Error and smiled at him. "Hey, mind if I keep you company?"

 

Error shook his head. He didn't mind at all.

 

Dust smiled and followed Error happily, content to just walk and keep his friend company.

 

Error walked to the room he shared with his dad and used the key card to get inside.

 

Dust followed him silently, waiting for Error to walk inside first. From his spot, he noticed that the place looked almost identical to their room.

 

Error walked inside and went to his backpack to get some food for his kitten.

 

Molly looked up at Error and nuzzled him, meowing softly as she looked up at him begging for food.

 

Error rubbed Molly's head gently and got out some food for her.

 

Dust watched with a small smile. Error was so caring towards Molly. "Anything I can do to help?"

 

Error nodded a small bit and gave Dust the can of food, going to the kitchen to get a bowl.

 

Dust held the can of cat food and follows Error with a small smile; happy to help in any way he can.

 

Error opened a few cabinets, searching for a bowl. He used his strings to get one from one of the upper cabinets and placed it on the ground.

 

Dust crouched down and carefully opened the can of cat food. Once it was open, Molly's attention snapped to him.

He chuckled softly in amusement and tilted the can to slide the food out of the can.

 

Error smiled a small bit and sat down, watching Molly.

 

The kitten walked towards the bowl of food and sniffed it before leaning down and eating vigorously. Her tail swished in content.

Dust smiled at the hungry kitten before looking at Error. "Can we play with her after this?"

 

Error nodded a small bit.

 

After a few moment, Molly finished her food and looked up. She meowed slightly.

 

Error used his magic and put some string in front of Molly's nose.

 

The kitten immediately saw the string and pounced on it, laying on her back and pushing the string to her mouth with her paws.

 

Error smiled and held the string out to Dust.

 

Dust smiled and took the string. He gently fluttered it over Molly teasingly who wasted no time attacking it like it was her prey.

 

Error let out a glitched chuckle. He winced a bit. The glitching hurt.

 

Dust looked up at Error, his hand still playing with Molly. "You okay?"

 

Error shook his head a bit.

 

Dust frowned slightly before giving him a comforting smile. "Okay. If you need anything, I'm here for you."

 

Error nodded thankfully. He got out his phone and wrote something down.

"The glitching just hurts sometimes. I can't talk or eat much."

 

Dust read before his eyes widened slightly in realization. He smiled at Error and nodded.

Molly turned around on her back and meowed at Error.

 

Error smiled a small bit. He looked down and rubbed Molly's stomach gently.

 

Molly latched onto Error's hand and bit him gently, not intending to hurt him and more of a playful attack. Her teeth were a bit too dull to do any real harm anyway.

Dust winced when Molly bit Error. "You okay?"

 

Error smiled a bit and carefully extracted his hand.

He nodded.

"Hurts way less than glitching." He wrote on his phone.

 

Dust smiled at Error but he was still concerned.

Molly looked up at Error and meowed at him.

 

Error rubbed Molly's head gently, smiling a bit.

 

Molly leaned into the touch and purred happily, her tail swishing.

Dust smiled happily as he watched them interact.

 

Error scritched behind Molly's ears gently.

 

Molly laid onto her stomach with her eyes closed and purred happily.

Dust smiled. "She seems happy. You're taking good care of her."

 

Error smiled happily and nodded, petting Molly happily.

 

Dust smiled before his phone had a notification. He checked his phone.

"Dad's calling us to the beach." Dust said before looking at Error.

 

Error nodded. He picked Molly up gently and held her close.

 

Molly opened her eyes when she was picked up and nuzzled Error happily with a purr.

Dust smiled and stood up to follow Error. "They're at the beach."

 

Error smiled happily and rubbed Molly's head, carrying her to the beach.

 

Molly laid content in Error's arms.

Dust followed right beside Error with a smile towards the beach.

He spotted the others and waved at his brother who was with Nightmare.

 

Error smiled when he saw the others. He cuddled Molly close as he walked over to them.

 

Nightmare smiled at them. "Hey kids. You can go near the water. It's safe."

He leaned down to grin at them. "And I think I saw a few hermit crabs scurrying about."

Dust smiled brightly and happily.

 

Error smiled happily.

 

Nightmare smiled and gently rubbed the top of Dust's skull. "Go with Fresh. He's at the beach with Cross."

He booped Dust's nose playfully. "I need to help Horror get the food."

Dust giggled slightly and nodded. "Okay dad."

 

Error smiled as he watched Dust and Nightmare interact.

 

Dust smiles at Error. "Let's go Error! We need to build the kingdom for Queen Molly!"

Nightmare stood up with a smile and looked at Horror. "Ready to grab the food?"

 

Error smiled brightly and nodded, walking to his dad.

"Yeah." Horror replied.

 

Nightmare lead the way to their rooms to grab the food from his and Horror's room.

Dust followed Error happily.

 

Horror followed Nightmare with a smile.

Error rubbed Molly's head gently.

 

Molly purrs happily at being petted.

Killer looked up from his spot beside Cross and waved at them. "Hey guys! I see you brought the queen!"

 

Error nodded happily.

Cross waved with a big smile.

"Queen Molly!" He called happily.

 

Molly meowed at the call of her name, looking at the others curiously.

Dust chuckled and crouched down beside his brother. "So have you started yet?"

Killer shrugged. "Somewhat. The sand won't stay."

 

Error smiled and pointed at the water. They had to use water to get the sand to stay.

Cross looked at Error confusedly.

 

Dust looked at the water before he understood. "Oh! We have to use the water to make sure the sand stays locked together! It's kind of like glue which sticks the sand particles together!"

 

Error nodded. He sat down and placed Molly on his lap, cuddling her gently.

Cross smiled and walked to the water.

 

Molly purred loudly and happily, nuzzling Error's chest.

Killer stood up and followed Cross to help him.

 

Cross winced a small bit when a wave reached him. The water was pretty cold. He picked up some wet sand and carried it back to the others.

 

Killer picked up a handful of wet sand, a little surprised at the coldness of the water, and carried it back to where the others were.

Dust looked up and smiled when they returned.

 

Cross smiled and kneeled down next to Dust, starting to build a wall.

Error watched them and gently set Molly down on his lap and used his magic strings to get some more wet sand.

 

The kitten laid curled up in Error's lap content and happy.

Killer joined in and helped build the wall. "What shape do we want our castle to be?"

Dust shrugged. "A pillow?"

 

Error grinned and nodded. A pillow sounded really good.

Cross started building a pillow which looked more like a sand rectangle.

 

Killer helped Cross make the shape of the pillow, helping to round it off.

 

Cross smiled happily when Killer helped him.

 

Killer went off to grab some more wet sand.

Dust looked around and spotted a seashell in the sand. He dug it out and picked it up. It was a beautiful pink cone shell. He held it to Error with a smile.

 

Error looked at the shell with a big smile. It looked absolutely beautiful!

"It looks amazing." He signed happily.

Cross followed Killer with a smile to get some more sand.

 

Dust smiled and showed it to Molly. The kitten sniffed at it curiously before closing her eyes again, seemingly uncaring about the shell.

Dust chuckled and placed it to the side.

Killer returned with a handful of sand and placed it on the square that would be their pillow.

 

Error smiled, trying hard not to laugh.

Cross followed Killer and shaped the pillow a bit more.

 

After a few minutes, Dust finding more shells in the meantime, the pillow was finished.

Killer leaned back and dusted the sand off his hands. "All done!"

 

Error smiled and petted Molly gently.

Cross sat down next to Killer with a smile.

 

Molly purred happily when she was petted, her purring loud enough for the vibrations to be felt.

Dust smiled at the sand pillow. "Nice job." he picked up his pile of shells. "Now we decorate."

 

Error smiled and took one of the shells, putting it onto the pillow gently.

 

Killer nodded and picked one up, starting to put it around the edge of the pillow. They were going to put a cat on it. Might as well make it pretty.

 

Error petted Molly happily.

Cross helped Killer.

 

After a moment, the sand pillow had been decorated with multiple shells.

Dust smiled brightly. "Looks good!"

 

Error nodded with a bright smile and placed Molly down on it gently.

 

Molly opened her eyes and sniffed around the new place. She shuffled a bit before curling up and going back to sleep.

 

Error smiled brightly and rubbed Molly's head gently. She was so adorable.

Cross smiled.

 

Dust chuckled softly. "I think she approves."

He looked up at the others. "Do you want to collect more shells?"

 

Error nodded. He really wanted to collect some shells.

 

"Then let's go." Killer said and stood up, brushing away all the sand.

Dust joined him. "I think I saw some down near the water"

 

Error smiled and got up. He walked towards Dust happily.

Cross smiled happily and went to the water.

 

Dust leaned down towards the water's edge and watched as the salty water washed away the sand. He picked up a shell from the sand.

 

Error smiled happily as he found a shell. He picked it up with a bright smile.

 

A child about six years old gasped when he saw a kitten sleeping on a pile of sand. He picked the kitten up not so gently and kicked the ugly sand pile.

He hugged the cat tightly making it yowl and hiss. "You're so cute!"

He ran towards his mom to show the kitten.

Chapter Text

Error looked up with a worried frown when he heard Molly hiss. He let out a glitched gasp and winced in pain when he saw some kid run off with Molly. He quickly got up and ran after them.

Cross frowned when Error suddenly ran away. He looked up.

"Guys!" He shouted to catch the others' attention and quickly got up.

 

They looked up in confusion.

Dust looked up and briefly saw a kid run away with Molly. He gasped and followed them. "Killer go get our dads!"

Killer nodded and ran to get their father.

 

Error's eye lights were blazing with anger.

"gIvE mE my cAt bAck!" He shouted, his voice glitching harshly. He winced in pain.

Cross frowned. He ran after the kid. Molly was Error's cat!

 

The kid turned around with his mother when someone yelled. He frowned and hugged the cat making it yowl and hiss. Clearly she was displeased at being held so tightly. "No! He's mine! I found him first!"

 

Error glared at the kid with tears in his eye sockets.

"She*S mY cAT_ i brOuGHt heR HeRe#" He tried to explain. He winced at how bad his voice was glitching. It hurt really much.

 

Dust frowned and put a hand on Error's back to calm him. He looked at the kid and frowned. "That's my friend's cat."

The kid frowned. "It's mine! I already named him! His name is Spots."

 

Cross skidded to a halt next to them.

"She's a female kitten. Her name is Molly." He explained, trying not to get angry.

Error tried his best not to start crying.

 

The kid frowned. "No he's not!" the kid held the cat up but the way he held her was painful for the kitten.

"Look at him! He has the colours of a boy!" the kid said factually.

Dust glared angrily. "She's a female kitten! She's Error's kitten!"

 

Fresh sprinted up to them, his eye lights glowing brightly.

"What are you doing with our cat?!" He asked angrily, all traces of his normal anxiety gone.

Error looked up at his dad, shivering a bit.

Horror arrived a few seconds later.

 

Nightmare tensed at the yell from the normally chill skeleton and rushed towards them, putting a hand on Fresh's shoulder.

"Don't scare them Fresh." he whispered softly to the angry father. "Calm down.... please. For Error."

Killer held his dad's hand, trying not to get mad and beat the kid up.

The mother frowned at them when her child whimpered. "How do you know it's your cat? It doesn't have a collar."

 

Fresh huffed and stared at the ground.

Horror held Killer's hand gently.

Error flinched slightly.

"dOesn*T LIkE cOLlarS." He tried to explain, wincing in pain.

Fresh picked Error up and held him gently, trying to calm him a bit.

Cross looked up at his dad. They had to get Molly back.

 

Nightmare nodded and looked at Fresh. "His father has a few pictures of Error and the cat. That's proof."

 

Fresh nodded thankfully and held Error comfortingly, using his free hand to get out his phone. He quickly opened the gallery and showed them various pictures of Error and Molly.

 

The kid frowned and held the cat closer causing it to yowl. "That could have been any cat!"

The mother frowned at the pictures and looked down at her kid. "Sweetie, it's their cat. Give it to them."

"No!" the kid screamed out. "He's mine! I found him!"

 

Error buried his face into his dad's shirt, his body glitching a bit. It hurt really bad.

Fresh looked at Error concernedly.

Horror frowned worriedly. The kid was hurting Molly.

"Let the cat go. You're hurting her." He tried to say as calmly as possible.

 

The kid frowned and held the cat tighter. Molly yowled in pain. "No!"

Killer tensed and immediately went to get Molly off the kid, pulling her and pushing the kid away. He backed away, holding the terrified kitten close. Molly clung onto his shirt, her claws digging into it but he ignored it to pet her gently and hush her.

"Hey!" the kid cried out before tears began falling and he clung onto his mother sobbing. "Mama!"

 

Horror gently rubbed Killer's skull and stepped in front of him a bit.

Error winced in pain, tears dripping down his face.

"Shh... It's okay..." Fresh mumbled quietly.

 

The mothers frowned when her kid started crying. "Look! He took Spots from me! Get him back mama!"

"Sweetie, it doesn't belong to you." the mother said softly but the kid only cried harder.

"He's mine and I want him back!"

Dust frowned and looked at his dad. Nightmare frowned and held his kids' hands gently.

"We better go." he said before turning around to leave, ignoring the child's crying and screaming.

 

Horror gently led Killer away from the two, looking back a few times.

Fresh followed them quickly, holding his son close.

 

Nightmare sighed harshly when they were back at their spot and the meat was still cooking. He quickly checked it before picking up his boys and placing them on a bench.

Dust looked up at his dad in worry.

Killer looked up and gently handed Error his kitten back.

 

Error was still preoccupied with his glitching body.

Fresh took Molly gently and sat down on a bench, placing Error and the kitten on his lap gently. He rubbed his son's head gently.

 

Dust frowned worriedly and looked at Fresh. "Can I help in any way?"

Nightmare looked at Error in concern, giving his kid's skull a gentle rub, before walking towards the grill.

 

Fresh looked down at Dust.

"Unfortunately we can only wait until it passes." He explained, frowning at Error worriedly. "But you can try to comfort him a bit." He added softly.

 

Dust got up and went to Error's side, feeling extremely worried. "Error? Error.... it's me. Shh.... Molly's fine. She's safe."

 

Error looked up, his eye lights completely gone and some error messages covering them.

"Shh..." Fresh murmured softly when he noticed that Error was trembling a bit.

 

Dust smiled comfortingly at Error. "Hey.... it's okay Error. It's okay. You're upset. That's okay. Just.... don't keep it to yourself. It's okay Error..."

 

Error's breathing hitched a small bit and he sniffled quietly.

"You're doing good. Both of you." Fresh mumbled softly.

 

Dust hushed Error softly. "It's okay Error. Just let it out. We're here. We won't judge you. It's okay to not be okay."

 

Error nodded a small bit, the error messages slowly disappearing.

 

Dust smiled happily. "That's it. You're doing an amazing job Error. You're doing so good."

 

Error slowly calmed down and blinked a bit, his eye lights hazy but there. He was extremely glad when he saw Molly. That kid hadn't taken her away.

 

Molly looked at Error and meowed softly, wanting to get his attention. Error didn't feel well.

 

Error looked down. He didn't want to touch Molly because he was afraid that his glitching might hurt her.

 

Dust looked at Error. "Shh.... please relax Error. It's okay."

Molly tilted her head to the side and went closer to Error and laid on his lap, curled up and nuzzled Error's chest.

 

Error looked down, a bit glad at the touch but he was worried he might hurt Molly.

Fresh murmured soft reassurances to his son, holding him gently.

 

Nightmare watched them sadly and frowned at the chicken he was cooking. Horror was beside him as he flipped the chicken, almost aggressively.

 

Horror frowned worriedly as he watched Error. He looked at Nightmare. He was equally worried about him.

"Do you want to talk about it?" He asked.

 

Nightmare sighed harshly and dampened the flames with a splash of water. "Too obvious?"

 

"Yeah." Horror replied with a frown.

"You handled the situation well." He explained.

 

"I barely did anything." Nightmare frowned sadly. "I was useless. Killer was the one who did something."

 

"You calmed Fresh down and got him to focus on comforting Error." Horror replied.

 

"He did that himself." Nightmare said softly. He shook his skull and looked at the food. "Well, at least I can give them something for them eat. Food makes them better right?"

 

Horror nodded with a smile.

 

Nightmare smiled back and continued to cook.

 

~~~

 

Error was feeling a lot better when the sun started setting. He was cuddling Molly gently, the glitching almost completely gone.

"Do you feel up to eating?" Fresh asked gently, receiving a small nod.

 

Nightmare smiled when he heard that. "Help yourself!"

There was a plate of chicken, beef, corn, hot dogs, broccoli, burgers and four different types of sauce. Ketchup, barbecue, cheese and chili.

 

Error smiled a small bit.

"thanks...." He mumbled quietly and took a hotdog. He'd probably manage to eat the whole thing.

"It looks amazing." Horror said with a smile and took some food.

Fresh started eating some corn happily.

 

Killer nodded in agreement. His mouth was full and a chicken wing drenched in cheese on his paper plate.

Dust looked up from his beef and broccoli and smiled at Nightmare. "It tastes amazing dad!"

 

Cross agreed. It sure did.

Error took a bite and nodded.

 

Nightmare smiled at them. "I'm glad you enjoyed them. I have a treat."

He leaned down and pulled something out of a bag. A box of crackers, chocolate and a bag of marshmallows. He grinned at them. "Any clue what these are for?"

Dust looked up in confusion and shook his skull. "Snacks?"

 

Error gasped softly when it clicked.

"smOREs?" He asked softly, looking up at Nightmare happily.

Cross looked at Error confusedly. Smores?

 

Nightmare nodded with a grin. "Exactly. We'll make some after dinner."

"What's a smore?" Dust asked in confusion.

 

Error smiled happily.

"all Of this tOgEthER." He explained quietly, looking excited.

 

"Not helping." Dust deadpanned playfully.

Killer chuckled. "You'll see."

Molly looked up at Error and meowed, begging for food.

 

Error grinned in response.

He rubbed Molly's head gently and got out a can of cat food from his pocket. He used an empty paper plate to give it to her.

 

Killer watched Error curiously. "Why don't you give her the chicken? She can eat those right?"

 

Error shook his head.

"sEasOning and stuff's nOt gOOd fOR hER." He explained. "i lOOkEd it up."

 

Killer nodded in understanding. "Oh.... I thought it was okay. I see people give it to cats all the time."

 

"thEy can gEt sick fROm it, EspEcially fRom sugaR." Error explained, taking another bite of his hotdog. He'd read a few books at the library too.

 

While they were talking, Molly happily ate her food. She was content with anything. More food? Yes please.

Nightmare smiled at Error. "I see you've done your research."

Dust nodded. "Yeah! You're super responsible!"

 

Error nodded. He blushed a small bit. He'd just done his best to make sure Molly wouldn't get sick or worse.

 

"I'm glad you're acting responsible Error." Nightmare smiled happily as he sat down with his own plate of food. "Not every kid is like that."

 

Error hummed quietly and petted Molly gently. He smiled a bit.

Chapter Text

Nightmare shuffled the deck of Uno cards as he sat in a circle with the others. They'd decided to play Uno for tonight. The plate of smores was in the middle of the circle with a whole tub full of barbecue at the kitchen counter.

"How many cards each?" he asked everyone.

 

"Seven?" Cross asked. Dust and him always used seven cards.

Error nodded a bit in agreement.

 

Nightmare smiled at them. "Seven it is."

Nightmare gave each person seven cards before putting the rest- split in two- beside a space where they'd put the cards.

Killer picked up his cards and smiled. He had a good hand!

Dust picked up his card and suppressed a groan. No power cards and they were all useless and random. Oh well. He had won with worse.

Nightmare picked up his and smiled. A few power cards which he could use to screw someone over.

 

Cross took his cards and looked them over. He had one power card.

Fresh kept his face blank as he stared at his cards. All except one were yellow... That was just his luck...

Error frowned slightly as he looked at his cards to throw the others off. It was actually a pretty good hand.

Horror grinned. A pretty good hand.

 

"So," Nightmare started. "How do we start?"

"We could go from left to right." Killer suggested.

Molly meowed softly from Error's lap.

 

Error nodded in agreement. That sounded good.

"shOuld wE staRt at thE yOungEst playER?" He asked, looking at Dust as he pet Molly.

 

"That would mean Dust. Then Error. Then me and Cross." Killer said softly, looking at the others. "Then Fresh, dad and Nightmare."

Dust looked at Nightmare in surprise. "You're the oldest?"

Nightmare chuckled softly and nodded. "I'm the oldest in this group. Just behind Horror."

Molly purred happily as she was pet, content as she curled up in Error's lap.

 

Error hummed.

"yOu lOOk a bit yOungER than hORROR..." He mumbled thoughtfully.

 

Nightmare snickered while Horror frowned but there was a hint of amusement in it.

"Yeah yeah, I'm too stressed for my own good." Horror said with a roll of his eye before playfully glaring at Nightmare. "Give me your genes."

"No way! Get your own!" Nightmare laughed.

 

Fresh chuckled softly.

Error grinned. Those two definitely were hilarious.

 

Horror rolled his eye. "Let's just start playing."

"Oh. Well, it looks like I'm first." Dust said and put down a red card with a number 3.

 

Error smiled and put down a red six.

 

Killer searched through his hand and put down a green 6.

 

Cross smiled and put down a green nine.

Fresh huffed and took a card from the stack. He didn't have anything that would fit. He looked at the card from the stack which was conveniently a green four and put it down.

 

Horror hummed and put down a green six. Now he had no green. At least he had a power card that could be changed into other colours.

 

Nightmare picked up a green card and placed it down.

It was a green plus two.

Dust frowned at Nightmare and picked up two cards. Now he couldn't have his turn. "No fair!"

Nightmare grinned cheekily. "That's how it goes."

"I've heard that this game is also called the game of betrayal." Horror said offhandedly.

 

Error nodded.

"sOunds accuRatE." He agreed with a grin. He placed down a green two and pet Molly gently.

 

The kitten purred happily, closing her eyes in content and intending to sleep.

Killer nodded and placed down a green seven. He grinned at them. A seven meant he can trade cards with anyone he wants.

 

Cross looked at the card. Great...

 

Killer grinned and looked at the others before settling on Cross. He gave Cross his cards. "Give it."

 

Cross huffed slightly before giving Killer his cards. At least he now knew what cards he had now.

 

Killer grinned smugly and took the cards. They were okay he guessed.

 

Fresh sighed and took a card. He still only had yellow cards and one blue one. The card he'd drawn was red.

 

Killer smiled at Fresh. Yes, more cards for others means wins for him.

 

Horror put down a green plus two card.

 

Nightmare huffed before grinning. He put down a plus two yellow card. "Four cards pick."

Dust groaned and picked up four cards. "You're not my dad anymore."

Nightmare chuckled softly and reached over to gently rub Dust's skull, making him relax. "Nevermind."

 

Cross placed down a yellow direction change.

 

"Yes!" Dust cheered happily and put down a yellow one. "Cross I love you!"

Nightmare chuckled softly and put down a yellow nine.

Horror smiled at Dust before putting down a yellow plus two.

 

Cross smiled happily.

"No problem." He replied.

Fresh sighed and took two cards which were coincidentally both yellow. Great. Yellow was the colour where he had the most cards and he couldn't use them.

 

Killer put down a plus four because he had no yellow cards. He grinned at Cross. "Challenge me?"

 

"Sure." Cross agreed.

 

Killer grinned and showed his cards briefly. No yellow.

"Pick up six cards Crossy." Killer teased.

 

Cross pouted as he picked up six cards. He was surely going to lose.

 

Dust put down two cards that were similar. "Jump in." he said.

He picked up a smore and ate it happily. It tasted so good. Marshmellow and chocolate.

 

Fresh frowned a bit. Wasn't it Error's turn?

"Error?" He asked.

Error looked up, having been way too busy with petting Molly to notice that he'd been skipped twice.

 

Molly snuggled closer to Error, purring happily. This was better than that other person who'd been mean to her.

Killer turned to Error before he realized something. "Did you forget it was your turn?"

 

"Oh... OOps..." Error mumbled, rubbing Molly's head gently.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly at Error. "Having fun with the kitten?"

 

"yEah." Error replied with a smile, cuddling Molly gently.

 

Dust smiles at Error. "Do you want to continue playing or-?"

Molly meowed, interrupting Dust.

 

Error looked down at Molly. She was probably hungry.

"can yOu cOntinuE withOut mE? i gOtta fEEd hER." He explained.

 

Nightmare smiled and nodded. "Sure."

Killer looked at Error. "If you're sure."

 

Error nodded. He had missed his turn anyways. He picked Molly up gently.

 

Molly purred and cuddled into Error.

 

Error smiled and held Molly close, going away to get her something to eat.

 

~~~

 

Cross grinned happily as he placed down his last card. He'd won!

 

Nightmare smiled at Cross, despite losing. He reached over to rub Cross' skull. "Good job."

 

Cross leaned into the touch happily.

"Thanks, dad." He said happily.

Fresh laid down his deck of yellow cards.

"You're really good at this game." He said.

 

Killer smiled and nodded, putting down his two, red five cards. "Yeah! I almost beat you!"

 

Cross smiled happily.

 

Horror put his cards down and looked around at everyone. "It's pretty late. Everyone up for some sleep?"

 

"Sleep sounds good." Fresh agreed.

Cross nodded with a yawn.

 

Dust nodded, rubbing his eyes.

Nightmare smiled and cleaned up the cards. "We should keep the leftovers. Maybe we can heat them again tomorrow for lunch?"

 

"Sounds good." Horror agreed. He got up and started packing up their things.

 

Nightmare packed the cards and placed it in a deck, handing it to Fresh. He stood up and gently picked up his kids. Still light. But heavier than before which was good.

He smiled at the others. "We'll see you at breakfast?"

 

Fresh took the cards with a smile and put them in his pocket. He helped Horror pack up their things.

Cross cuddled into his dad happily.

"You're not supposed to strain your shoulder." Horror reminded Nightmare.

 

Nightmare smiled at Horror and pointedly lifted Dust. "He's not that heavy. I'm exploiting it."

Dust frowned but nuzzled into Nightmare. He was glad that he was light but his dad shouldn't hurt himself.

 

Horror raised a brow ridge.

"I can walk, dad." Cross offered. He didn't want his dad to hurt himself.

 

"I...." Nightmare hesitated, looking between Horror and Cross.

 

Cross smiled up at his dad.

"I don't want you to possibly hurt yourself." He explained.

 

Nightmare looked at Cross face before sighing in defeat. He reluctantly put Cross down. "Alright. But you're holding my hand."

 

Cross nodded with a smile and walked to his dad's other side to take his hand.

 

Nightmare smiled and looked at Horror, Dust already dozing off on his shoulder. "Goodbye Horror."

 

"You still have to switch Dust to your other arm." Horror reminded Nightmare.

 

Nightmare sighed and did just that. Dust nuzzled into Nightmare sleepily as Nightmare took Cross' hand with his free one.

"Happy?" he asked but it was tinged with amusement.

 

"Very. Good night." Horror replied with a smile.

Cross looked up at his dad happily.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly and nodded. "Good night."

He turned around after walking out the door, heading to their room. He closed the door and lead his kids through the halls.

He watched his environment cautiously. He won't let anyone hurt his kids. Never again.

 

Cross smiled as he followed his dad to their room. He yawned. He was really tired.

 

The trip back to their room was safe and Nightmare unlocked the door. He carried his sleeping son inside while letting go of Cross to turn on the lights.

"Let's go to sleep okay?" he smiled down at Cross.

 

Cross smiled happily.

"Sounds great." He agreed happily. He was exhausted from the long day.

 

Nightmare smiled back and walked towards the kid's room. He gently placed Dust down on the bed, who was sleeping soundly. He pulled the blanket over his son and gave him his plush to cuddle with.

 

Cross followed his dad happily. He quickly changed into his pyjamas and laid down, cuddling his plushy happily.

 

Nightmare gave each of them a goodnight kiss and rubbed Cross' skull gently. "Goodnight."

 

Cross smiled happily and leaned into the touch.

"Thanks, dad." He replied sleepily.

 

Nightmare smiled before walking out the door. He shut off the lights but kept the door slightly open, turning on the hallway light in case they got scared. Hopefully they wouldn't. He'd be happy when one of them slept through the night without any night terrors.

 

Cross curled up happily and fell asleep after a bit.

Chapter Text

Nightmare blinked awake and looked around. He sat up on his bed and noticed that it was 7am. No kids in his bed.

He stood up and walked out the room and to his kid's room. He smiled when he saw Cross and Dust sleeping soundly. A whole night without a night terror.

 

Cross was smiling a bit in his sleep, curled around his plushy comfortably.

 

Dust smiled in his sleep, hugging his pillow and cuddled under his blanket.

Nightmare smiled at the sleeping kids. He really should wake them up.

 

Cross kept sleeping peacefully.

 

Dust cuddled into his plush happily.

Nightmare decided to wake them up. He walked towards Dust and gently rubbed his skull to wake him up. Dust was a light sleeper.

As expected, Dust woke up slowly from the touch. His eyes blinking up at Nightmare before smiling. "Morning..."

"Good morning." Nightmare said softly. "I need to wake your brother."

Dust nodded and watched as Nightmare went to Cross' bed and did the same thing he had done to Dust.

 

Cross mumbled something unintelligible and curled up tighter.

 

Nightmare smiled and rubbed Cross' skull again. "Wake up Cross. It's already morning. We need to meet the others."

 

Cross blinked sleepily.

"Mornin'...?" He mumbled quietly.

 

Nightmare smiled at Cross. "Good morning. Go shower you two. We need to meet with the others at breakfast remember?"

Dust smiled and nodded. "Okay dad."

 

Cross nodded a bit. He rubbed his eye sockets sleepily and got up.

 

Nightmare walked out the door. He should get the stuff ready.

Dust looked at Cross and got out of bed, putting his plush on the bed.

 

Cross cuddled his plushy close as he walked to their bag to get something to wear.

 

Dust went to his bag and searched for something to wear.

He didn't know what to wear.

"Cross?" Dust asked softly. "What are we supposed to wear?"

 

Cross shrugged a bit.

"Dunno... It's warm though..." He mumbled. He got out a thin long sleeved shirt and some long sleeved pants.

 

Dust hummed and nods. He rummaged through his bag and pulled out a black t-shirt, a short sleeved blue and black jacket and black shorts. He showed it to Cross.

 

"Looks good." Cross said with a small smile, still looking a bit sleepy.

 

Dust smiled brightly at Cross. "Do you want to go first?"

 

Cross nodded a bit.

"Thanks." He mumbled. He held his clothes and plushy close and carried his things to the bathroom.

 

Dust smiled and sat on the bed, picking up his plush and playing with it as he waited for Cross to finish showering.

 

Cross stepped into the room after a couple minutes. He was dressed in fresh clothes.

 

Dust looked up and gave Cross a thumbs up. "You look amazing Cross!"

 

Cross smiled happily.

"Thanks, bro." He replied. He was wearing long sleeves even though it would probably get very hot.

 

Dust smiled and put down his plush, grabbing his clothes and towels. He smiled at Cross happily before rushing to the bathroom to shower.

 

Cross smiled as he looked at Dust. He sat down on his bed, cuddling his plushy and waited for his brother.

 

Dust walked back into the room after a few minutes with some fresh clothes. He smiled at Cross. "What do you think?"

 

Cross looked up and smiled brightly.

"You look great!" He replied happily.

 

Dust smiled and thanked Cross.

"Let's meet up with dad?" he asked curiously. Surely Nightmare was done by now.

 

Cross nodded with a smile. He got up and left his plushy on his bed.

 

Dust followed Cross until they saw Nightmare reheating last night's barbecue. He turned and smiled at his kids, wearing fresh clothes.

He was wearing a short sleeved dark blue button down shirt and long black pants. "Hello kids. Did you have a good sleep?"

 

Cross nodded.

"Best in a while." He replied with a small smile.

 

Dust nodded in agreement.

Nightmare smiled down at them. "I'm glad. I'm cooking last night's dinner so that we can eat it later after breakfast."

 

Cross smiled.

"Sounds great." He replied.

 

Nightmare nodded and turned back to cooking. "We woke up pretty early so go watch some tv before we can leave for breakfast."

 

"Okay." Cross replied softly, a smile on his face. He walked to the couch and searched for the remote.

 

Dust followed Cross and sat on the couch. He felt something and pulled it out from under him. He smiled and handed Cross the remote.

 

Cross smiled happily.

"Thanks." He replied. He turned on the TV and flipped through the channels.

 

Dust leaned back and watched as Cross looks through the channels contently. He didn't mind what Cross picked. He rarely watched tv anyway. Even so, he didn't really enjoy some of the shows it had. He much preferred movies or cool documentaries rather than mindless colourful seizure inducing cartoons.

 

Cross hummed in thought and settled on some nature documentation. He really liked animals.

 

Dust smiled brightly and leaned onto Cross, watching the show with interest.

 

Cross hugged Dust gently and watched the show happily.

 

Dust relaxed into Cross happily.

Nightmare turned and smiles when he saw his kids getting along. He sneakily took a picture of them before going back to cooking.

 

Cross smiled brightly. He'd never thought his life would take a turn for the good but he was completely happy in that moment.

 

~~~

 

Nightmare turned to his kids with a smile. They'd just been chatting and having fun after breakfast and it was time to teach the kids how to swim before going to the sea.

"Kids?" he called. "Go change. I'm going to teach you how to swim. And Horror too."

 

Cross cheered happily. He got up quickly and went to the room he shared with Dust.

 

Dust smiled and followed Cross. He could finally learn how to swim! He'd heard that it was a really important skill to learn.

Horror chuckled softly and looked down at Killer. "You're going to swim too after we get changed."

Killer smiled and nodded.

 

Cross opened the door and went inside excitedly. He couldn't wait to learn how to swim.

 

Dust followed Cross excitedly; wanting to get their bags and clothes.

 

Cross reached their room first and sat down in front of his bag, starting to dig through it.

 

Dust followed afterwards and went to his bag to search for his clothes.

 

Cross smiled happily when he found his swimming clothes.

He frowned when he realised something. His ribcage would be bare. He had so many scars... He couldn't... He'd get beaten up...

 

Dust pulled out his swim clothes and looked at Cross. "Do you want to go first?"

 

Cross shook his head a small bit. He didn't.

Swimming didn't sound as amazing anymore...

 

Dust noticed how upset Cross looked and went to him in concern. "Are you okay? What's wrong?"

 

Cross shook his head. He didn't want Dust to think he was a freak...

 

Dust's concern grew. "Cross? Bro? What's wrong? Please tell me. I want to help."

 

"It's..." Cross trailed off. "It's okay. I just... don't want to swim..." He mumbled with a frown.

 

"Why?" Dust asked in concern. "You were so excited."

 

Cross sighed quietly as he stared at the ground.

"I just don't want to..." He mumbled quietly.

 

"Why?" Dust asked in confusion. He frowned slightly. "Maybe you can join us another way? I really want to swim with you."

 

Cross shook his head.

"Sorry..." He mumbled quietly.

 

Dust frowned sadly and looks down. "Okay. You'll still come right?"

 

Cross nodded.

"Sure.." He mumbled.

 

Dust smiled at Cross sadly but hopefully.

He went to the bathroom to change clothes.

 

Cross sat down on his bed and hugged his plushy close. He wanted to swim but he couldn't...

 

Dust came out a few minutes later with his swim clothes. He looked at Cross shyly. "So... how do I look?"

 

"Great." Cross replied honestly, holding his plushy close.

 

Dust smiled and went to Cross. "Please join. It won't be the same without you."

 

Cross shook his head, hiding his face in the fluff of his plushy.

 

Dust frowned slightly. "Why? Please tell me. I want to help."

 

Cross shook his head again, curling in on himself a small bit.

 

Dust looked at Cross in concern before sighing. He sat on the bed and gently hugged Cross, giving him some comfort.

 

Cross relaxed a bit and leaned into the touch.

 

Dust slowly rubbed Cross' back to comfort his brother. He might not understand why Cross suddenly didn't want to swim but he knew that he needed as much comfort as he could.

 

Cross closed his eye sockets and relaxed a small bit.

 

~~~

 

Cross walked to the pool with Dust, still looking pretty sad. He stared at the floor silently.

 

Dust walked beside Cross with a small worried frown. He hoped Cross will be okay.

Nightmare looked up from a bench at the pool, the others already in the pool or on the benches relaxing. He frowned when he noticed how downcast Cross looked.

 

Cross sighed quietly. He really wanted to swim but there was no way he could...

 

Nightmare sat up and waved his kids over to him. He wondered if he could help Cross.

Dust looked up and walked towards Nightmare.

 

Cross followed Dust silently, staring at the ground.

 

Nightmare reached over and rubbed Cross' skull gently. "Are you okay?"

 

Cross leaned into the touch a bit and nodded. He was okay.

 

Nightmare frowned slightly. "What's wrong? Why didn't you change?"

 

"I don't wanna swim..." Cross mumbled quietly, staring at the floor.

 

"But you were so excited." Nightmare noted softly and gently rubbed Cross' back. "What's wrong son? Please tell me."

 

Cross leaned into the touch a bit more.

"Just don't want to...." He mumbled.

 

Nightmare frowned, not believing it. Cross had been so excited to swim. What had changed?

Nightmare looked at Cross for a moment before he realized something. Right. His scars.

"Dust," Nightmare said to his youngest. "Can you go play with Error for a moment? I need to talk to Cross."

Dust nodded, still feeling worried, and walked towards Error. Molly was sleeping in Error's jacket on a chair.

 

Error looked at Dust a bit worriedly. Was something wrong?

Cross looked up at Nightmare. Had his dad figured it out?

 

Nightmare looked down at Cross softly. "Cross, tell me the truth. Did you decide not to swim because of your scars?"

 

Cross stared at the floor, rubbing his arm silently for a minute before nodding a small bit.

 

Nightmare smiled slightly and gently hugged his son, slowly rubbing his back. "It's okay. I understand. It's okay."

 

Cross stiffened a small bit before relaxing. He leaned into the hug and returned it.

 

Nightmare embraced his son gently, comforting him. He knew how Cross felt about his scars and that was understandable. But it was sad to see Cross being left out or refusing to do something he had been excited about because of his scars.

 

Cross closed his eye sockets and relaxed some more.

 

Nightmare pulled away after a moment, looking down at Cross. "Are you sure you won't want to swim? You can wear a long sleeved shirt if you want."

 

Cross looked up at his dad. He could do that?

"I want to..." He mumbled quietly.

 

Nightmare smiled down at Cross. "Then do it. You can join and hide your scars. If you want to of course. I won't force you."

 

Cross nodded. He hugged Nightmare gently.

 

Nightmare hugged back with a small smile.

 

Cross pulled away after a couple minutes and went back to their room to change.

 

Nightmare waited patiently for Cross to return. He hoped he could one day change Cross' mind about the scars. It'd take a while and Nightmare wasn't planning on giving up.

 

Cross came back a couple minutes later, wearing his swimming shorts and a long sleeved shirt.

 

Nightmare smiled at Cross and stands up, walking to the younger. "Ready?"

 

Cross nodded with a small smile.

 

Nightmare gently took Cross' hand and lead him to the shallow part of the pool, standing in the shallow water.

 

Cross slowly went into the shallow water. He knew a bit about swimming but he wasn't very good at it.

 

Nightmare smiled at Cross. "So, how much do you know about swimming?"

 

"Only a bit. I know what to do but I can't do it." Cross explained.

 

Nightmare nodded. "Okay. First let's try to float. Just spread your arms and slowly lie on your back. Don't worry, I'll hold you."

 

Cross nodded a bit. He tried his best to follow his dad's instructions.

 

Nightmare held Cross carefully, making sure he wouldn't sink into the water.

 

Cross trusted his dad completely. He relaxed a bit, keeping completely still.

 

Nightmare adjusted Cross gently and smiled when the other was completely on his back. "Just relax and breathe."

 

"Okay." Cross replied with a small smile. He relaxed, breathing through his nose.

 

"That's it." Nightmare said softly and slowly moved his hands away from Cross. "Keep doing that. You're doing well."

 

Cross' eye lights shrunk a bit in fear when Nightmare let him go. He didn't think he could do it alone.

 

"No no." Nightmare said softly and held Cross again. "You were doing so well. Just keep breathing."

 

Cross looked up at his dad and nodded a small bit. He could at least try but it was scary.

 

"You're doing well." Nightmare praised softly, looking down at Cross. "You're okay."

 

Cross relaxed, regaining his confidence a bit.

 

Nightmare smiled and slowly let go again. "Keep going. You're doing well."

 

Cross did his best to do that.

 

Nightmare pulled his hands away from Cross and smiles at his son happily. "That's it. You did so well."

 

Cross looked up at his dad and smiled a bit.

 

Nightmare smiled back at Cross.

 

~~~

 

Cross giggled as he splashed some water onto Dust.

 

Dust exclaimed cheerfully and splashed him back. He giggled happily. The pool wasn't too deep but deep enough to submerge his chest.

 

Cross shielded his eye sockets from water and splashed back with a grin. He giggled happily.

 

Nightmare looked at Horror and smiles. "It seems they're having fun."

 

"Definitely." Horror agreed with a smile. He was floating in the water contently.

 

Nightmare smirked and splashed Horror. "Lazy ass."

 

Horror grinned.

"I'm just tired from all the hard work I've been doing." He replied, moving a bit to drift closer to Nightmare.

 

Nightmare smiles and leaned back on the edge of the pool. "I know how you feel."

 

Horror smiled.

"We should do things like this more often." He replied, drifting around aimlessly.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly at Horror. "If only we could. I guess we'll settle for coffee for our boost."

 

Horror chuckled and nodded in agreement.

 

Nightmare looked at the kids and smiled. "So how is our life so far?"

 

"Kinda hard but I'm happy." Horror replied with a smile.

 

Nightmare hummed softly. "And with Killer?"

 

Horror smiled.

"He's the main reason I'm happy." He explained.

 

Nightmare copied Horror's smile as he looked at his kids. "Same. I never thought I would get children before marrying. Which is saying a lot since I never saw myself marrying anyone."

 

Horror smiled. He'd never thought that he'd ever want kids but he was glad to be Killer's parent.

Chapter Text

Cross smiled happily as he took his dad's hand and pulled him to the beach.

Swimming was still pretty difficult but he wanted to try.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly as he was being dragged by Cross. Dust closely following behind.

"Slow down Cross." he chuckled softly. "I don't want to pick sand out of your sockets."

 

Cross grinned and nodded a bit. He was just so excited. He slowed down a bit.

 

Nightmare smiled as he followed Cross. "I see you're excited about swimming at the sea."

 

"Yes!" Cross cheered happily, a bright smile on his face.

 

Nightmare smiled fondly down at Cross. "I'm sure the others aren't even ready yet."

 

"We can wait for them." Cross replied with a smile.

 

Nightmare chuckled. "And let you wait longer? You'll vibrate right into the sand."

 

Cross giggled.

"Maybe." He agreed with a grin. He really wanted to play in the ocean.

 

Nightmare smiled and gently rubbed Cross' skull.

Dust huffed slightly as he walked up to them, finally catching up.

"Stars! Next time carry me if you want to run!" he said in exasperation while panting.

 

Cross leaned into the touch happily.

"Sorry." He apologised to his younger brother.

 

Dust huffed and panted softly. "I really want more stamina."

"You'll get more." Nightmare assured and gently rubbed his skull. "You're getting better."

"I guess."

 

"Yeah." Cross agreed with a smile and hugged Dust gently.

 

Dust looked at Cross before smiling and nuzzling him in content.

Nightmare took a picture with a grin.

 

Cross nuzzled back happily as he held his brother close.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly and gently nudged the duo. "Let's go you two. The beach is calling us."

 

Cross looked up and smiled excitedly. He let Dust go.

 

Nightmare walked down the path leading to the beach, knowing his kids would follow him.

Dust followed Nightmare closely, finally able to walk instead of chasing them.

 

Cross walked after Nightmare with a big smile. He was so excited to swim!

 

After a few minutes, they finally reach the beach. Nightmare checked the flag people put up near the rocks and smiled. It was okay to swim in the sea.

"It's a bit cold." he warned as they walked closer to the shore line.

 

Cross nodded. He'd already been splashed by the ocean the day before.

Speaking of that...

"Dad. What do two oceans say to greet each other?" He asked with a grin.

 

Nightmare looked down at his son before grinning mischievously. "Nice to sea you?"

 

Cross giggled.

"That one was good too but I think they'd just wave." He replied with a grin.

 

Nightmare laughed at the pun. That was unexpected. And to think he had a one up against his son. "Okay. You got me."

"He shore did." Dust grinned, snickering softly.

 

Cross giggled happily.

"That one was great! Just like the great barrier reef!" He replied with a grin.

 

Nightmare nodded in agreement. "Maybe I can take you there one day. I'd love to swim with the sharks that roam the edges."

 

Cross gasped, his eye lights glowing brightly.

"Wow! That would be so cool!" He said happily.

 

Dust grinned nervously. "Sharks....?"

Nightmare noticed Dust's anxiousness and smiled, gently rubbing his skull. "Don't worry. Sharks rather eat seals and fish than humans. Let alone monsters."

 

Cross nodded with a grin.

"There are more people being killed by falling coconuts every year than from all shark and alligator attacks in that year combined." He explained.

 

Dust shuddered at the thought. Stars that was scary.

"That's because they're more aggressive." Nightmare said. Alligators were known to be able to eat humans so they were more dangerous than sharks.

"Coconuts are aggressive??" Dust joked with a grin.

 

Cross chuckled.

"Definitely more aggressive than sharks and alligators." He replied with a grin.

 

"Guess we should avoid the trees then." Dust chuckled softly.

Nightmare nodded. "Definitely."

 

Cross nodded in agreement.

"One can never be too sure." He said and looked at the trees suspiciously.

 

Nightmare chuckled and gently nudged his boys. "Now now. Stop glaring at the plants and go swim."

"Swim!" Dust cheered happily. Finally! Time to put his training to the test!

 

"Yay!" Cross cheered happily.

 

Dust approached the shore line, an excited smile on his face as the wind blew cool air from the sea.

 

Cross stood next to Dust and stared at the water. He tentatively took a small step inside and shuddered from the cold.

 

Dust watched his older brother before following him, shivering at the cold. "It's cold."

 

Cross nodded but braved the cold, going inside a bit further.

 

Dust stood watching Cross, hoping to get used to the cold before going any deeper.

 

Cross winced a bit when a small wave hit him and took a step back.

 

Dust giggled slightly when a wave hit Cross. "I think it wants to say hi!"

 

Cross chuckled softly.

"Definitely." He agreed.

 

Dust smiled and went a bit deeper, shivering at the cold with a grin.

 

Cross smiled as he followed Dust's example.

 

Dust sat down and let the water hit his chest.

 

"Brave." Cross said with a smile.

 

Dust shrugged, the water hitting him only reaching his neck. "It's not that bad. It's actually really nice."

 

Cross hummed and sat down. It was really cold. He was certainly happy to still wear his shirt.

 

Dust relaxed, sitting still as the waves washed cold sea water over him. It really was a beautiful day to be relaxing at the beach.

 

"It's pretty cold." Cross said as he relaxed a bit.

 

"Yeah but it's nice." Dust admitted softly, a small smile on his face.

 

"Yeah." Cross agreed with a smile.

 

Dust looked at Cross before grinning and standing up, running towards the sea and starting to swim.

 

Cross grinned and got up, running after Dust.

 

Dust swam in the ocean, floating lazily as he looked around. The water was nice and cool. He was careful not to swallow any sea water though.

 

Cross swam a bit but was extremely careful not to drift away.

 

Dust swam slowly, smiling at the water.

 

Cross swam next to Dust with a smile.

"This is so cool." He said.

 

Dust giggled at the pun. "Literally. Can we manage to drag dad to swim?"

 

Cross grinned.

"Let's do it." He replied.

 

Dust swam to face Cross. "How for you plan to do it?"

 

Cross hummed in thought as he looked at Dust.

"We could just ask him at first and then drag him in." He suggested.

 

Dust hums in thought. "Work together?"

 

"Yeah." Cross agreed with a grin.

 

"Let's go then!" Dust grinned mischievously.

 

Cross nodded and slowly swam back to the beach.

 

Dust followed close behind.

 

Cross stood up with a smile and ran to Nightmare.

 

Nightmare was sitting on the sand admiring the sea. He looked at Cross when he ran over.

Dust followed Cross excitedly.

 

"Dad! Do you wanna swim with us?" Cross asked excitedly, skidding to a stop in front of Nightmare.

 

Nightmare hummed and looked at Cross before smiling. "Sure."

He stood up and dusted off the sand stuck to him.

 

Cross cheered happily and went back to the water.

 

Dust smiled and took Nightmare's hand, pulling him towards the water.

Nightmare chuckled fondly and followed his two hyperactive kids.

 

Cross jumped into the water happily and looked at Nightmare.

 

Nightmare chuckled and picked Dust up, to his surprise and delight, before joining Cross in the water. He shivered a bit as he went deeper. "It's pretty cold."

 

"Yeah!" Cross agreed with a happy smile.

 

Dust giggled from on top of Nightmare. He hugged Nightmare's skull. "It's warmer with you."

"Really now?" Nightmare grinned and gently tickled Dust's neck making him giggle more.

 

Cross smiled up at them happily.

 

Nightmare eyed Cross with a mischievous grin. He wriggled his fingers at Cross. "Your turn Cross."

 

Cross looked up at Nightmare curiously.

What did he mean...?

 

Nightmare reached over and gently tickled Cross' neck.

 

Cross curled in on himself a bit as he giggled.

"Not tickles!" He laughed.

 

"Yes tickles!" Nightmare grinned as he tickled Cross, making sure he wouldn't drown or go too deep in the water.

 

"Nooo!" Cross said dramatically as he laughed.

 

"Not even ten minutes and you're already play fighting." Horror said as he walked towards them with the others.

Nightmare stopped and grinned at Horror. "Not my fault my kids are hyper."

 

Cross giggled and latched onto Nightmare happily, tickling him a bit.

Error smiled and walked into the water slowly.

Killer had no such reservations and ran to Cross, shivering a bit.

 

"Hey!" Nightmare said before laughing softly. He gently rubbed Cross' skull as he laughed to coax Cross to stop.

Dust waved down at Error from his spot on Nightmare's shoulders.

 

Cross grinned and stopped only to yelp when he was tackled by Killer.

Error smiled at Dust and waved.

 

Nightmare chuckled as he watched Cross being tackled. "Be careful."

He gently placed Dust down next to Error.

 

"Sure!" Killer called with a grin as he hugged Cross.

 

Nightmare looked over at Horror and grinned. Time to drag Horror to the water.

"Come here you big bear." he teased.

 

"You're the one talking, octopus." Horror replied with a grin.

 

"Don't make me use them to pull you into my element." Nightmare grinned at Horror, a playful feeling taking over.

 

Horror grinned and stepped towards Nightmare.

"Oh yeah?" He teased.

 

"Yeah." Nightmare grinned wider at Horror and stood up, taking a mock fighting stance.

 

Horror chuckled and mirrored Nightmare for a moment before tackling him with a smirk.

 

Nightmare yelped when he was tackled into the water and flipped Horror over so that he was back on the surface. He grinned down at Horror.

 

Horror grunted when Nightmare pinned him down. He stared up at him with a grin.

Horror pushed Nightmare to the side with his leg.

 

Nightmare chuckled and splashed Horror with a grin. "You think you can beat me Horror?"

 

"Yeah!" Horror replied with a smirk, splashing some water at Nightmare.

 

Nightmare blocked the water with his arms and hit Horror with a large splash. "No way! I'm going to make you beg for mercy!"

 

Horror laughed and shielded his head.

 

Nightmare laughed and splashed Horror again. It was these times he felt like a kid and not an adult with two kids and a job as a teacher.

 

Horror laughed as he shielded his face again and splashed some water at Nightmare.

"Feel the pain of saltwater!" He called.

 

"No!" Nightmare cried out dramatically as he shielded his face from the attack. He used one hand to splash more water at Horror.

 

Horror grinned and splashed Nightmare some more.

 

Nightmare suddenly had a mischievous idea. He then rushed towards Horror, splashing water everywhere before tackling him in a headlock.

 

Horror shielded his face with a grin.

He yelped as he was captured in a headlock.

 

Nightmare chuckled as he grinned down at Horror and playfully rubbed his skull. "Do you admit defeat?"

 

Horror winced when Nightmare rubbed his hat and managed to get the spot where he was missing a piece.

"Ow... Yeah." He replied.

 

Nightmare noticed and stopped, pulling away from Horror. He watched his friend carefully to see if he had hurt him badly. He wanted to play, not to harm. Intentional or not.

 

Horror relaxed a bit when Nightmare pulled back and pulled his hat down a bit more before grinning at Nightmare.

 

Nightmare smiled when Horror grinned. So he hadn't hurt him too badly. He'd check later though, after they were out of the water. "So, having fun?"

 

"Yeah." Horror replied with a smile.

 

"Glad I dragged you out here?" Nightmare grinned playfully at Horror. Actually, where had Fresh gone off to?

 

"Definitely." Horror replied with a smile.

 

Nightmare looked around until he found Fresh playing with the kids. He smiled and noticed how happy they all were.

 

Cross smiled brightly when he noticed his dad looking at them and waved at him happily.

Horror smiled.

 

Nightmare smiled wider and waved them back. He turned to Horror. "So what now? More water fights"

 

Horror hummed with a mischievous glint in his eye lights.

He splashed Nightmare.

 

"Hey!" Nightmare cried out and spit out some salt water that had managed to get into his mouth. He grinned at Horror. "Oh now you're gonna get it!"

And there began a water fight of epic proportions.

 

Horror laughed happily as he fought with Nightmare.

Cross watched the two adults play with a smile. He grinned as he got an idea and splashed Killer.

 

"Hey!" Killer exclaimed when he suddenly had a face full of water. He tried to wipe off as much as he could- thankful that his eyes wouldn't sting from the salt water- and looked at Cross.

 

Cross grinned mischievously.

 

Killer gave Cross a flat look before a smirk took over and he gave Cross a big splash.

 

Cross covered his face with his arms and giggled before splashing Killer again.

 

Killer laughed when he was splashed and return fire with rapid splashing. "I will not let you win!"

 

Cross giggled and quickly splashed back.

 

"Vengeance!!!" Killer cried and tackled Cross into the water, making sure he didn't accidentally keep Cross underwater.

 

Cross gasped and held his breath, quickly getting up for air. He laughed.

 

Killer joined in the laughter, his Soul feeling at ease for once. He loved being happy and having fun with his friends. He loved being happy.

 

Cross laughed happily, his eye lights glowing with joy.

 

~~~

 

Killer paused their water fight and began to walk towards the beach. He was a bit tired after all that. And he had just remembered that he wanted to collect some shells! There had to be plenty around.

 

Cross followed Killer with a smile.

 

Killer reached the shore line and looked at the sand. He smiled when he spotted a few small shells and began to pick them up from the sand, looking over them to find a non broken one.

 

Cross watched Killer curiously. What was he doing...?

 

Once Killer found a non broken shell, he put it in his hand and searched for another one.

 

"What are you doing?" Cross asked curiously.

 

Killer looked up at Cross when he was asked a question and showed him the shells in his hand. "Collecting shells."

 

Cross smiled.

"Wow." He said happily. "Can I help you?" He asked.

 

Killer smiled at Cross. "Sure."

 

Cross smiled happily and looked down, searching the sand for shells.

 

Killer leaned down and searched for any shells that he could keep. There were mostly small shells, rarely did he find a bigger one.

 

Cross picked up two pieces of a big shell. They miraculously fit together.

"Look! It's like a puzzle!" He said excitedly.

 

Killer looked over and smiled at Cross' find. "That's so cool. Maybe we can glue them together when we get back home?"

 

"That'd be so awesome!" Cross replied happily.

 

Killer smiled at Cross before he went to search for more shells. Maybe he could find a big one too?

 

Cross put the two pieces into his pocket.

 

Killer found a shell in the sand and picked it up, washing the sand away. He perked up when he saw legs inside and looked closer. "Cross!"

 

Cross looked over at Killer curiously.

 

Killer showed what he had found to Cross.

Inside the shell was a small hermit crab, legs wriggling in confusion.

 

"Aww!" Cross said with a smile.

 

Killer smiled and put the creature in his palm. It immediately hid back in its shell. "It's cute."

 

"It's adorable!" Cross agreed happily.

 

Killer smiled down at it. "We better put it back."

 

Cross nodded in agreement.

"You're right." He agreed.

 

Killer nodded and gently placed the crab on the sand. It didn't move for a moment before scuttling away.

 

Cross smiled brightly, watching the hermit crap happily.

 

Killer watched the little creature with a smile. "Adorable."

"Yup." Nightmare said from behind Killer before picking him up. Killer yelped in shock before he laughed slightly when he was lifted up to sit on Nightmare's shoulders. "What were you two looking at?"

 

Cross smiled up at Nightmare.

"There was a tiny hermit crab." He explained.

 

"A hermit crab?" Nightmare asked with a smile. "There's a lot of those creatures in these beaches. Mostly in holes. What were you two doing anyway?"

"Searching for shell!" Killer said happily, joyful at being so tall for once.

 

Cross nodded happily, smiling brightly.

 

"Sounds like fun." Nightmare said and gently put Killer down. Killer pouted when he was put down but didn't complain. "Anyway, I thought you wanted to build sand castles earlier?"

 

"We can use some shells to decorate it!" Cross suggested excitedly.

 

Killer nodded in agreement. "Yeah! We should find more shells then!"

Nightmare chuckled softly. "You do that. You don't mind if I drag Horror with me, do you?"

"Nope!" Killer shook his head at Nightmare. "Where are you going?"

"Dragging him to one of those cart things." Nightmare said, pointing towards a shack far on the beach. "I want to see how much I can scare him while riding that."

 

Cross giggled softly.

"Have fun." He said with a smile.

 

"I will." Nightmare grinned at Cross before walking away to drag Horror out of the water.

Killer watched Nightmare walk away. "You have a very playful dad. I kinda forgot he was our strict maths teacher."

 

Cross giggled.

"I know. He's absolutely awesome." He said happily.

 

Killer smiled at Cross, happy that his friend had a great dad. He turned around. "We should go find more shells."

 

Cross nodded with a smile and looked down to search for more shells.

 

~~~

 

Cross smiled happily as he laid another shell onto their big pile.

"Wow!" He said happily.

 

Killer smiled at Cross as he looked at the pile of shells they had collected together. "We did a great job."

 

Cross nodded in agreement.

"Let's make a sandcastle for them." He suggested happily.

 

Killer nodded in agreement and got started gathering the sand needed to make the sand castle.

 

Cross smiled happily and started helping Killer build the castle.

 

"What type of base do you want?" Killer asked. "What shape?"

 

"Can we do a star?" Cross asked.

 

"Of course we can." Killer smiled with a nod. It shouldn't be too hard.

 

Cross smiled happily and started building a tower.

 

Killer started to shape the base with as much sand and water as he could find.

 

Cross smiled as he made a small wall. It was coming along nicely.

 

Killer focused on trying to make the base star shaped

 

Error watched Cross and Killer curiously.

Cross smiled as he built another tower.

 

Killer smiled when he finally made the shape. But it needed to be firmer? Hmm....

"What else do we need to do?" He asked.

 

"Some more towers?" Cross suggested.

"can i jOin?" Error asked softly.

 

Killer nodded and turned to Error with a smile. "Of course you can!"

 

Error smiled and sat down near them, starting to build a small tower.

 

Dust came running towards them with a happy grin as he held a small plastic cup in his hand. "Guys! Look what I found!"

 

Cross looked up curiously.

"What's up, bro?" He asked with a smile.

Error looked at Dust with a hum.

 

"I found a fish!" Dust said excited and showed everyone the small brown fish swimming around in the cup.

 

"Wow!" Cross exclaimed excitedly. He watched the fish amazedly.

"That's so cool, bro." He said happily.

Error looked at the fish with a smile.

 

"So cool." Killer said with a smile.

Dust smiled happily. "I wish I can keep it. But dad says that we can't because it needs sea water."

 

Cross hummed.

"Maybe we can ask dad if we can have a pet fish?" He suggested with a smile.

 

"Can we?" Dust asked hopefully. "But... we already asked for a cat."

 

"Right! I don't think a fish and a cat would be nice to each other." Cross hummed.

 

Killer chuckled softly. "I heard if you're able to make a tank that the cat can't get to, they would watch the fish like a tv."

 

Cross chuckled.

"That'd be funny." He said with a smile.

Error nodded in agreement.

 

Dust smiled happily and looked down at the fish. "Well, I better return this little fish to the sea where they belong."

Killer nodded. "Good idea. Hey, maybe it'll grow up to be a big tuna!"

 

Error giggled and nodded.

"It's a small fishy for now though." Cross said with a smile.

 

"Yeah. Small fishy says bye!" Dust said with a bright smile.

"Bye fishy." Killer said with a smile.

 

"byE!" Error called happily.

"Bye, Fishy!" Cross replied.

 

Dust giggled and walked away with the fish.

Killer smiled fondly before looking at Cross. "I'm jealous of your adorable brother. Can I borrow him?"

 

Cross giggled.

"No. My brother." He said with a grin. "We can share him every now and then though." He added.

 

"Stars... oh well. At least I have Error to be my lil bro." Killer grinned.

 

Cross giggled.

 

Killer winked and continued their sandcastle.

 

Cross built another tower, smiling brightly. His brother was awesome.

 

~~~

 

Killer grabbed a handful of shells and started decorating the castle with it. He arranged them neatly around the castle and even made a little pathway.

 

Cross smiled brightly and put a few shells onto the towers.

 

"What should we name the kingdom?" Killer asked curiously as he decorated it.

 

Cross hummed thoughtfully.

"DECK land!" He said with a proud smile. "Dust, Error, Cross, Killer- land." He explained.

 

Killer laughed at the name, nodding. It was hilarious but just so golden! "Perfect!"

 

Cross smiled brightly, proud that he'd come up with it.

 

Killer's laughter died down to giggles. "And our ruler will be queen Molly!"

 

"Yes!" Cross agreed enthusiastically as he put a few more shells onto the castle.

 

"Speaking of the queen," Killer says and looked around. "Where's Error with Molly?"

 

Cross looked up.

"I'm not sure. He was helping us build a while ago. I think Molly stayed at the hotel." He replied.

 

Killer nodded. "Yeah, you're right."

 

~~~

 

Nightmare walked towards the kid from the water with Horror behind him, and Fresh being carried on Nightmare's shoulder.

Nightmare grinned smugly at the PE teacher before turning to the kids. "Let's go kids. It's getting hot and we have more activities to do."

 

"It's cool how strong you are but I don't think you should strain your shoulder like that." Fresh replied.

 

"To be honest, you don't weigh all that much." Nightmare chuckled at Fresh, grinning at him cheekily. "I mean, you're broad and all but you're both a skeleton, and you work out."

 

Fresh slapped Nightmare's good arm.

Horror chuckled at their antics.

 

Nightmare only laughed at the attempt and looked at the kids. "Come on kids. Before we all burn under the cruel sun."

 

Cross nodded and got up with a smile. The others were right behind him.

 

Nightmare lead the kids back to their room, reluctantly putting Fresh down since they didn't have the same room.

"Meet us at the dining area?" Nightmare asked. They had a full pass to today's breakfast and lunch buffet.

 

Fresh nodded in agreement. He smiled as Error walked up to him and went to their room with him.

 

Nightmare and Horror parted ways before he lead his kids to their room.

 

Cross followed his dad with a bright smile.

 

Dust followed Nightmare happily as they got inside their room.

"Go shower kids." Nightmare said to them with a smile. "And wear light clothing."

 

Cross nodded with a bright smile.

 

Dust nodded and raced to the bedroom for his towel and clothes. "I call first!"

 

Cross chuckled as he walked after Dust.

Chapter Text

Cross climbed onto a log with a bright smile. He helped Dust up happily.

"This was a great idea." Horror hummed.

 

Killer giggled as he jumped onto a large rock.

Dust smiled as he followed Cross.

Nightmare nodded with a smile as he watched the kids climb up. "It is."

Fresh skilfully walked up the inclined path a bit farther than the others. He was the one leading the group since he was the most athletic.

 

Horror smiled.

"You always got the best ideas." He hummed.

Cross smiled brightly as he climbed after Error who was trying to scale a large rock.

 

"Thanks for agreeing to any weird idea I have then." Nightmare smiled at Horror before he was reminded of something. "Hey, remember when I had the stupidest idea to throw salt into that bully's birthday cake?"

 

Horror chuckled.

"I remember." He agreed. "Absolutely hilarious."

 

Nightmare laughed at the memory. "It was a stupid idea but he had it coming. Then you went ahead and threw more salt into all of the drinks! It was pure luck they didn't know it was us! His bitch of a mom made quite a scene though."

He cleared his throat and made it high pitched and mocking. "That stupid baker made this cake salty! How dare they! I will sue them all for ruining my Angel's special day! Aaaaarrghh!!"

 

Horror laughed. It had been so funny.

"Oh no, they even messed up the drinks!" He mocked with a grin.

 

Nightmare laughed with Horror happily as he tried to keep up with the kids. "No one found out and it was funny how much that bully complained about it for three months straight! After that salty birthday, no one came ever again. Serves him right!"

 

Horror nodded with a grin.

"He didn't bully us for a few weeks. That was great." He hummed.

 

"Never mess with us!" Nightmare smirked at Horror with an eye brow wriggle.

 

Horror grinned and gave Nightmare a high five.

 

Nightmare returned the high five with a smile. "I miss when we were young and reckless. Being responsible ain't fun."

 

Horror nodded with a grin.

"I feel like a kid trying to take on the responsibilities of an adult." He hummed. "It's still hard."

 

"You're still young." Nightmare said and looked at Killer who was happily playing with the others as quietly as possible. "And you did a good job with Killer."

 

"We're the same age, Mr. I'm so wise." Horror reminded with a grin.

"You did an awesome job with your kids."

 

Nightmare chuckled and looked up with a thoughtful look. "Am I that young? Huh. I forgot."

He grinned at Horror. "Thanks. But I'm still learning. You've done this with Killer longer than me."

 

Horror chuckled.

"Yes you are." He replied.

"For just starting out you're doing really well." He hummed. "I remember that the first few months were awful."

 

"You still did well." Nightmare smiled at Horror.

"Adults keep up please!" Fresh called to them from further away.

 

Horror chuckled.

"You're an adult too." He called back.

 

"I'm younger than you by a year and I'm not the one falling behind!" Fresh called back while the kids giggled.

 

"We're old!" Horror called out.

Killer giggled.

 

"Then workout sometimes!" Fresh countered with a grin. "We could use a workout buddy every morning!"

"Please no." Nightmare chuckled. "I have work. My back can't handle it."

"All the more reason to exercise!"

 

Horror chuckled.

"I got my boxing. I'm working out." He said with a grin.

 

"Your arms but not your legs apparently. Hurry up!" Fresh said.

"Coming!" Nightmare called back and walked faster.

 

Horror grinned and walked a bit faster.

 

Cross giggles at his dad and nodded to Error. He was excited to reach the top! Fresh had said that they'd have an amazing view! He couldn't wait to see it!

 

Nightmare smiled as he followed them.

Error smiled brightly as he climbed onto a rock.

 

"Still, remember any other stupid things I dragged you to?" Nightmare asked Horror.

 

Horror grinned.

"Well, I do remember you dragging me to some haunted mansions." He chuckled.

 

Nightmare laughed. "You mean at the amusement parks? You scared them more than they scared you!"

 

"You did too!" Horror replied with a grin.

 

"Not may fault people are afraid of black!" Nightmare laughed.

 

Horror laughed.

"They're afraid of me too." He said with a grin.

 

"Shark teeth? Hole in skull? One big red eye and gravely voice? Who wouldn't." Nightmare laughed. "Unless they know that you're just a big teddy bear."

 

Horror chuckled.

"Yeah, yeah, octopus." He teased right back.

 

Nightmare pouted at Horror before smirking. "I see you're hungry for some calamari."

He winked at Horror.

 

Horror flushed a bit.

"Bears do love fish and similar food." He countered.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly. "Oh? Gonna cover me in mayonnaise? Eat me up? Whole?"

"Look kids! A forest mushroom!" Fresh said to the kids while pointing at the tree, sweating slightly.

 

Horror grinned.

"Honey." He corrected.

Cross gasped softly in amazement.

"Mushroom!" He cheered. "I bet I can find another one!"

 

"I'll fine one first!" Dust said excitedly before running off to find some mushrooms.

"Sounds sweet." Nightmare winked at Horror with a smirk. "Like a certain honey bear?"

 

Cross giggled and ran after Dust.

Error looked at Killer before zooming off.

Horror grinned.

"Exactly." He replied, his voice soft.

 

"Flirt at home!" Fresh called at them before running after the kids.

"We're doing a nature walk! Let this be romantic!" Nightmare laughed as he caught up.

"Not with the kids!" Fresh argued.

 

Horror chuckled.

"Aw. Why not?" He asked with a grin.

 

"At least keep it PG." Fresh said blankly.

Nightmare chuckled and nodded. "We'll try."

 

Horror grinned.

"We were only talking about animals." He replied.

"By the way." He hummed and looked at Nightmare, licking his teeth with a wink.

 

Nightmare chuckled and winked back, his tentacles forming from his back and curling around teasingly 

 

Horror flushed a bit and stuck out his tongue in retaliation.

 

Nightmare winked back with a smirk.

 

Horror winked at Nightmare.

He liked flirting with Nightmare. It was fun teasing him.

 

Nightmare grinned and licked his blue tongue over his lips teasingly. "Maybe after you're done eating octopus, I could have a taste of a sweet bear?"

 

Horror grinned.

"I'm sure you'd like that, Nighty." Horror teased.

 

"Why else would I ask?" Nightmare smirked at Horror.

"Dad! Dad!" Killer called while pointing to a patch of white mushrooms. "These ones can glow in the dark! I saw it on tv!"

 

Horror looked up and smiled.

"Good job, Killer!" He called back.

 

Killer smiled happily at Horror.

"Look! Butterfly!" Dust called happily.

 

Horror looked over at Nightmare.

"Kids are calling." He said with a grin.

 

Nightmare chuckles and nods. "We'll continue this later."

 

Horror nodded in agreement and walked over to Killer.

 

Nightmare went to his kids and Cross immediately started talking about all the new plants and animals he'd seen. He and Dust were so excited.

Fresh chuckled as he watched them and glanced at Error.

 

Error smiled as he scaled a tree. Climbing was great!

 

Fresh watched him closely. He knew Error was strong enough to climb. But he was ready to catch him in case he fell.

 

Error pulled himself onto a branch with a smile and sat down, rightening his glasses a bit.

 

The view was so much better from up here. He could even see the resort!

 

Error smiled brightly and let his legs dangle a bit.

So awesome.

 

After a few minutes, Fresh called.

"Error! Time to go!!!" Fresh yelled from below.

 

Error looked down and nodded.

He carefully climbed down, not bothered by the small scratches he got. His glitching caused him worse pains.

 

Fresh watched closely from below until Error was safely back on the ground. He gently rubbed Error's skull. "Good job sport."

 

Error smiled brightly.

 

"Let's go back down." Fresh suggested and checked his watch. "We've been out here for an hour and a half."

"Really?" Dust asked in confusion. "It didn't feel that long."

"You'll feel it tomorrow." Nightmare sighed. "Or I will."

 

Horror chuckled.

"You'll feel something el- Hey!" He cut himself off when Fresh boxed him.

 

Fresh glared at Horror warningly. "PG."

Killer looked at them in confusion. "What else would Nightmare feel?"

"Leg pain." Nightmare said with a nervous sweat. "I might take up Fresh's offer."

 

Horror grinned.

Cross hugged Nightmare.

"I hope you won't have any pain." He said.

 

Dust nodded and hugged Nightmare as well.

Nightmare smiled down at them. "I can't promise anything. But hopefully I won't."

 

"Do you think you can teach tomorrow?" Cross asked.

 

"I'm sure I can find a way." Nightmare smiled at Cross, gently rubbing his back slowly.

 

Cross smiled back, leaning into the touch happily.

 

Nightmare smiled at them. "We should get back down now."

 

Horror nodded in agreement.

 

Fresh nodded and lead them all back down the path they'd come.

 

Horror let himself fall back a bit to walk beside Nightmare.

 

Nightmare looked at Horror before looking at the kids. "You know.... I wonder if there's flowers around here?"

"I can get some for you!!" Dust offered.

 

Cross nodded happily and ran off.

 

Dust chased after him laughing happily.

Nightmare smiled before looking at Horror with a smirk and a knowing look.

 

Horror smirked back.

"Yes, octopus?" He teased.

 

Nightmare wriggled his brows teasingly at Horror.

 

Horror grinned and winked at Nightmare.

 

"Maybe I could use the flowers to decorate my dinner tonight." Nightmare said. "I'll give you a hint. It's big, huggable, and sweet. And I'm staring right at him."

 

Horror blushed softly.

"Maybe your dinner will bite you a bit." He hummed.

 

"Then I guess I'll have to bite back harder." Nightmare smirked at Horror with a wink.

 

Horror grinned and winked back.

"Looking forward to it." He replied.

 

Nightmare smirked and winked at Horror.

 

"Maybe we could take a nice walk at the beach, octopus." Horror hummed with a wink.

 

"Maybe..... during sunset?" Nightmare offered with a grin.

 

Horror winked at Nightmare.

"Sounds beautiful." He replied.

 

"Better ask Fresh to take care of the kids though." Nightmare smiled. "Unless you want them to join? I would love a good beachside picture before we all pack up and leave tonight."

 

Horror hummed.

"Sounds like a nice idea. Maybe they can search for some shells with Fresh afterwards." He replied. He wanted to thank Nightmare for this amazing idea in private.

 

Nightmare nodded. "We'll tell them later."

 

They all went down the path which took them 45 minutes as it was easier to go down than up.

 

Horror smiled as they reached the hotel.

 

"Let's shower and then meet up at the beach one last time before leaving?" Nightmare offered.

Fresh nodded. "Sounds good. We could get some perfect sunset beach pictures with the kids."

"Can we find more shells?" Dust asked.

 

Cross cheered happily. That sounded awesome!

Horror smiled.

 

"See you then." Nightmare waved goodbye before leading his kids to their room.

 

Horror waved at him and went to his room, taking Killer by the hand.

 

Fresh lead Error to their room.

 

~~~

 

Cross ran to the beach with a bright smile.

 

Dust chased after him joyfully.

Nightmare smiled as he watched his kids run around on the beach. The sunset painting it red and orange.

 

Horror walked up to Nightmare with a smile.

"Hey, octopus." He greeted.

 

Nightmare turned and smirked at Horror. "Hey bear. Where's Killer?"

 

Horror gestured at Killer who was running to Cross.

 

Nightmare looked over and nodded. He then looked at Horror. "Where's the honey?"

 

Horror grinned.

"Right here." He hummed with a wink.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly and smirked at Horror. "Alright then. Let's wait until were alone."

 

Horror nodded in agreement.

 

~~~

 

Horror smiled softly as he walked along the beach with Nightmare.

Fresh was searching for shells with the kids.

 

Nightmare walked alongside Horror with a smile, looking at his kids and taking pictures. The perfect scene.

 

Horror smiled softly.

He was glad that Killer was happy.

 

"Are you having fun?" Nightmare asked Horror.

 

"A lot of fun." Horror replied. "Thanks for this awesome idea." He said softly.

 

Nightmare smiled happily. "It's a good way to spend time with the kids. Glad you like it."

 

Horror smiled thankfully.

 

"Should we take a picture later?" Nightmare asked.

 

Horror nodded with a smile.

"Maybe with the sunset." He hummed.

 

Nightmare nodded. "Call the kids now or later?"

 

Horror hummed.

"Later. I want to talk to you a bit more." He replied.

 

Nightmare nodded with a smile. "Talk about what?"

 

Horror hummed.

"That's a good question." He replied with a chuckle.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly. "So.... Remember any other shit we did as idiotic kids?"

 

"A lot of idiotic shit." Horror replied.

"Remember the boat ride?" He asked.

 

Nightmare laughed at the reminder. "Yeah! We accidentally fell off and scared everyone else!"

 

Horror chuckled.

"Totally your fault." He teased.

 

"You wanted to look at the fish! I helped!" Nightmare countered with a smirk and a chuckle.

 

Horror chuckled softly.

"Okay, that's true." He agreed.

"Remember Dream's face?" He asked with a grin.

 

Nightmare laughed at the reminder. His brother had looked a mix of horrified and terrified. "Stars yes I do! I regret not having a camera!"

 

Horror grinned.

"Same. My phone died that day." He hummed.

 

Nightmare laughed. "You were too busy taking random pictures and playing games!"

 

Horror chuckled.

"And it fell into a lake." He reminded.

 

"I told you to leave it, but noooo." Nightmare said. "You're lucky it was fixable and that I caught it before it sank to the bottom."

 

Horror nodded in agreement.

"Thanks I guess." He hummed.

 

Nightmare smiles. "While it would be funny, it was your phone. I had to save it."

 

"Or else we wouldn't have been able to contact each other." Horror replied.

 

Nightmare nodded. "True."

 

Horror smiled.

"That would have sucked." He hummed.

 

Nightmare nodded and looked at the ocean. "Remember when we couldn't go to that awesome field trip to an aquarium and I took you to a fish pond instead?"

 

Horror smiled.

"That was awesome." He replied.

 

Nightmare chuckled. "It was something. Especially when you decided to JUMP in and try and catch one for shits and giggles."

 

Horror chuckled.

"That was fun." He hummed.

 

"Not for me when you decided to hug me!" Nightmare laughed. "You smelled like fish!"

 

Horror grinned smugly.

"You love my hugs." He retorted.

 

"Not when you're dripping wet and smelling like pond water!" Nightmare laughed.

 

Horror chuckled and hugged Nightmare.

"No pondwater now." He hummed.

 

Nightmare rolled his eyes fondly before hugging Horror. "This, I can handle. Teddy bear."

 

Horror smiled.

"Octopus." He teased.

 

"You sure its not calamari?" Nightmare grinned.

 

"Calamari is tasty." Horror hummed with a wink.

 

"Would you like to have a taste?" Nightmare smirked down at Horror with half lidded eyes.

 

Horror flushed slightly as he looked up at Nightmare.

He nodded a bit.

 

Nightmare chuckled and pulled away with a bright blush, looking away. "Maybe later."

 

Horror smiled. Cute.

"Alright." He agreed.

 

"We should call the kids for a picture before the sun is gone." Nightmare said after clearing his throat.

 

Horror nodded with a smile and looked at the sunset.

So beautiful.

 

"You call them or me?" Nightmare asked while turning to Horror.

 

"Can you do it while I stare at this?" Horror asked.

 

Nightmare chuckled softly and nodded. "Kids!! Time to take a picture before we leave! Hurry up!"

"Okay dad!" Dust said and quickly picked up a few more shells.

 

Cross looked up and smiled, running over to his dad.

 

Killer looked up and followed them with Dust in tow.

 

Error took his dad's hand and walked towards them.

 

Cross tackled Nightmare in a hug.

 

Nightmare smiled and hugged back happily. He turned to the others. "Ready for a last goodbye photo? The sunset is right there."

 

Horror nodded in agreement.

Error got out his camera and placed it on a rock, pointing it at them.

 

Nightmare arranged everyone to stand with their backs to the sunset.

They smiled and posed while Nightmare used a tentacle to press the button 

 

Cross smiled brightly. A perfect ending for a perfect weekend vacation.