When the wind blew, ripples moved across the surface of the ocean, chasing one another like children at play. Palm trees grew thick along the vegetation near the boardwalk, a dense stand of them with leaves and dirt littered on the ground beneath. And in between was the sand. Your father used to tell you that in every beach, in every desert, and in every eave headland, a grain of sand tells a story. A story of the earth, a story of every human and monster that has set foot on land.
You had the pleasure—in some cases, displeasure—of viewing these stories yourself.
As the gates of the Underground opened, and civilization flourished with monsters trying to make peace with humans, your little business bloomed as well. Monsters of all kind came to you for your aid. For your healing, some called it. You healed the mind. Watered it, nurtured it, but careful not to overstep any sort of boundaries. You once asked yourself, "What if you were always stuck in a single place? Your mind always spinning, unable to go forward, because some answers wouldn't concede themselves?" And soon you realized that some answers aren't simply meant to be viewed, to be available.
Perhaps, you could offer a solution instead. A substitute.
You had a guest. It was a sticky Thursday evening, and you had fans in every corner of your cramped apartment. It was as if the sun had been torn open and split in two. You poured lemonade in two glasses and handed one to your guest, proffering her a welcoming smile.
"What brings you in, Ms. Dreemurr?"
She was a kind, towering monster who took small and genial steps, as if a strong wind could, at any time, whisk her up into the clouds. She had eyes of rubies; love, sensitivity, and willpower. There was almost a sense of determination.
She was also your neighbor.
"Thank you for having me," she said shortly after sipping her drink. "but I'm not having any alterations done of my... memories. Perhaps not now."
You reclined yourself back in your seat. "I'd be more than happy to give you all the time you need, Ms. Dreemurr. We can have a consultation, if you'd prefer."
Toriel set her drink down on the table, careful not to scratch the surface of the glass. "I'm not here for any of that, actually."
"Oh," you raised an eyebrow. "is everything alright? Have... I done anything wrong?"
"Goodness no, child," she shook her head. "As curious as I am about your profession, I'm here for reasons other than that. You know my child, Frisk?"
A smile belied your face. "Of course! I'm fond of them. They're absolutely adorable."
"Thank you. I'm glad. I'm here because... well, while I teach at the same school they attend, I don't want Frisk to stay there for the entirety after. I'm often there until late afternoon or evening. I do have some friends who are willing to pick Frisk up from school, but as of lately they have been busy. I understand if you are, too, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask for some extra help."
You were quick to answer. "I'd be glad to help, Ms. Dreemurr. I'll pick them up if my schedule is completely cleared, or if my day's work has been finished. What time does the school end?"
Her eyes lit up. The rubies sparkled, and you felt pure and unadulterated happiness radiate from the mother. "Thank you so much! I can't tell you how relieved I am. They get out at two o'clock everyday. I can pay you, too, for the time you pick them up and watch over them."
"No," you said. "don't worry about paying me. You're a mother—a single mother, and I know the struggle. I may have not experienced if, but I can understand the weight." You leaned over to set your own glass down on the table next to hers. "I'll let you know ahead of time if there's a day I can't pick them up. Other than that, I have full availability this week."
The sun beamed through the sitting room window, and turned Toriel's fur so vibrant and gold that it didn't even look like a color anymore. You found yourself somewhat guilty, in a way. You lived in your apartment for quite some time, only allowing your neighbors quick and curt greetings. A good morning, or a brief conversation of the weather. Toriel lived adjacent to your own flat, and frequently you'd see her child run down the halls with stifled giggles escaping their mouth. A monster caring for a human, you thought one day. It wasn't a terrible thought. If anything, it was endearing. But you wondered the legalities, taking in the consideration of some tensions between monsters and humans.
You decided that it was best to not pry into the scandal, if it was even one to begin with.
"I'm grateful," Toriel folded her paws together and rested them on the apex of her thighs. "I really am. But don't expect me not to pay you. Money, food, company—name it at any given time, child."
You opened your mouth to respond, but pressed your lips together swiftly after. While your mother was never in the picture, you knew how stubborn or pressing they could be in certain matters. It was both a curse and a blessing for any child.
"I won't agree to your terms yet, Ms. Dreemurr," you grinned. "but thank you."
She shook her head. "Please, call me Toriel."
You finalized the schedule with Toriel and saw her out, locking the door behind her as she left. You walked back to your study and lurched the curtains to gather a more suitable look outside. You could never get enough of sunsets, no matter where you go. Everything was scarlet, and the clouds were like flames, so wild and alive. The sea and land served as a mirror. The stones by the boardwalk were warm with maroon. Pink crests of waves were pushed onto the sand, merging with the foam.
Just outside, a cardinal flew and perched itself at the lower trim of the window. It flapped its wings and gawked at you through the glass. Slowly, almost tentatively, you pressed your hand against the window. The bird stabbed its beak on the glass where your hand rested, and for a second you wondered how far this bird had traveled from its home, and of all places why it ended up here.
Frisk wanted to walk on the beach after school. They had finished all their homework during class time, and you made sure and checked over it when you arrived back to your apartment. Toriel insisted that if no work is finished, they should finish it at home or while at the beach. But the beach is not a place to work. The beach is not a place to read, to write, or to think.
And so you watched Frisk from afar. Summer was dwindling and merging into autumn, and you donned a simple, worn cardigan to shield yourself from the subtle breeze. You grinned, and observed the child run, leaving small footprints in the sand. They picked up seashells and sea glass, pebbles so smooth and so white. The wind blew again and the surf hissed warm over your toes, sucking the sand from under your soles. The rhythm, the pulse of the sea soothed and electrified.
You loved kids. And by watching Frisk, you wanted to watch this child grow. You came to the conclusion that whatever happens in the rest of the summer, whatever happens in the rest of their life, it is important that they are happy.
You wanted them to become the person you couldn't be.
Your thoughts were interrupted when Frisk ran to you and tugged on your cardigan, trying to pull you from your stance towards the opposite direction.
"What's up, Frisk?" you laughed, and took their small hand and let them guide you. Up the cobblestone stairs of the boardwalk was a hot dog stand that was not there before. It smelled so nice, and your stomach groaned. "Are you hungry? We can have hot dogs for dinner."
There was no one behind the stand, and Frisk went ahead and grabbed some buns and reached for a hot dog on the grill. You began to wave your hands, and reached over to stop them. "Wait, wait, we can't just—"
A voice behind you startled you, and you took a sharp inhale of breath when you saw the skeleton. Your heart thumped like the hammer on a clock, and he began to laugh.
"what? never seen a talking skeleton? trust me, it won't be the most humerus thing you'll see."
Your brain turned and stifled like gears until the joke registered. You were rendered silent, especially when the skeleton walked to Frisk and ruffled their head. They giggled and rested their head against his upper arm.
"You know Frisk?" you asked, relaxing your shoulders.
"yep. and their mom, toriel. we go way back. nice to meet'cha," he held out his bony hand. "i'm sans."
You were about to reach and shake his own, until Frisk grasped Sans' wrist and put it down. Your eyebrows knitted together, until they lifted his sleeve to reveal a gag. A hand-buzzer. Sans let out a laugh.
"man, way to ruin a joke, kid. you're gettin' bone dry."
The puns were clicking in your head, and you didn't know whether to groan or laugh. Instead, you smiled, and Frisk walked back to your side, drowning their hot dog in ketchup.
"I'm ____. It's nice to meet you, Sans."
"yeah. want a dog?"
"Sure," you pulled out your wallet, and took out enough cash to cover for you and Frisk. "how much?"
He walked behind the stand, and waited for Frisk to sit down on a pull-out chair beneath a rather large beach umbrella. They were a little away from them, and his voice deepened. "actually, the dog for the kid is on the house. you gotta pay for your own."
You were okay with those circumstances, but the tone of his voice sent a roll of shivers down your back. "That's not a problem." Handing him the cash, he prepared you your meal and held it out, but sharply pulled it back when you reached for it.
"what's your business with the kid?"
You had seen a lot in your twenty-two years of living. You had seen death, you had seen the bringing of life, and you had seen countless of sorrows. You formed a shell over your skin, carrying the pain from those memories that were not yours. You learned to mask the pain, the fear, the dreams that you carried. You were seen as someone who tried not to show fear. But at that moment, you felt it. The curdling fear that the skeleton left inside you was... uncomfortable. The pitch of his voice, the cyan sphere deep within his socket. You lowered your hand down to your side.
"I was asked by Toriel to pick them up and watch them, just until she gets home." You said, voice low and diminutive. "Is... there something wrong?"
He hummed. "nothin' much. just find it weird that toriel is asking a human for help, when she can ask any of us."
With us, you thought it meant monsters, but you recalled when Toriel mentioned having some friends whose schedules were getting busier and hectic. "Toriel said that some friends of hers were busy, and she didn't want to bother them too much. I don't think she wanted it to be a burden to any of you."
"oh, it ain't a burden to any of us. frisk isn't the problem," he shrugged. "but you. other humans. that can be a burden to us."
Like a switch, his mood changed. He handed you the hot dog and his grin seemed to widen. After, he walked to Frisk and ruffled their hair again, and the child giggled with their mouth full. The sun started to lower and kiss the horizon, and the sky blushed. It was a lovely mix of pink and orange hues, with whispering beginnings of stars dotting the sky. It would have been breathtaking if it weren't your mood.
You were scared. You didn't know the his power, and yet he didn't know yours either.
You walked to the table and joined them, and you tried to smile. You tried to hide your emotions, just as you always did.
Setting your hot dog on the table, you stared at it for quite some time, and suddenly you realized that you weren't hungry anymore.
thank you everybody for all your encouragement! your comments and thoughts keep me going. please enjoy this chapter. feedback is very much appreciated.
You steadied yourself once you got home, trying to remember how to breathe normally. Inside, your apartment unfurled its dim cloak of claustrophobia, used furniture pressed into cramped corners. The kitchen smelled of tea you had made prior your time with Frisk. Dusk crept into the narrow slips of your blinds. You realized, between the gaps of your incessant and overcast thoughts, that while your living conditions weren't excellent, you had certainly seen much worse.
You recalled memories that weren't yours. One-room hovels with sod roofs, overgrown with moss and scattered branches. Abusive spouses, choked sobs, bruises like jewels, evictions—you were, in one word, grateful.
The newspaper near your sofa contained an article of tension between monsters and humans. The rising of gangs against monsters, groups against the peace with humans, and you wondered if that was the reason why your first meeting with Sans was unpleasant. Perhaps he wanted to remind you who you were, and who he was, and where each other's place belonged.
But you cared. You saw humans and monsters as equals. They had a mind, heart, and soul—just like you. Just like everyone else. It was a shame that some couldn't use all three correctly.
He was an odd one, that skeleton. Such a distinctive physique; holding himself with a lackadaisical hunch, not terrifying but not strikingly handsome at once. A demeanor so intimidating, but not one to draw attention.
You sat on your couch and held your head in your hands, trying to steady your thoughts. The people. The memories.
Night mustered in the beach. Shadows lengthened across the path and you could barely see where the boardwalk began, and where it ended. The half moon looked like it was dissolving in the clouds. The cardinal by your window called out. Leaves rustled among worm-shapes of trunks. Something shook the branches.
You adjusted so you laid on the couch, hobbling yourself to get comfortable, eager to push the memories away, to root out the faces of people you knew and didn't. At the end of every single day, you fall asleep to the thought of determining what is real and what isn't.
The electric kettle wheezed and clicked off. Toriel got up to rinse her cracked white mug, then crouched by the fridge to get the tea bags out from the bottom drawer.
"Which tea would you like, Sans?"
"nah, don't worry 'bout me," he waved his hand. "i've had plen-tea to drink already."
She chuckled, pouring the steaming water in her mug and letting the tea bag soak. "I should have expected that. What brings you here?" She raised a brow. "It's rare that I see you out and about, and winding up in my home out of all places."
"who's that lady who watched frisk yesterday?" He was quick to get to the point. "that human girl, ____. i think that's her name, i dunno."
"Yes, ____," Toriel smiled. "She lives next door to me. She's very sweet."
"you know that there were custody issues with frisk, tor," he argued. "you see how humans look at you when you walk with frisk. they think that... y'know, that you kidnapped 'em or something. that you're gonna eat them. shit like that. you don't know what the human—"
"____. She has a name."
"yes, her, whatever—" he brushed away the correction. "—toriel, you don't know what she thinks. you don't know if she has some sort of motive. for the sake of frisk, and for the sake of you, don't just... hand 'em over like a toy."
"And who are you to tell me what to do, Sans?" her voice grew firm and stiff. "Are you the one who lives here? No. Are you the one who gets to see how the humans act day by day in here? No. I've observed her for quite some time, and she may be a bit reserved, and she may be a bit... odd. But I don't feel in danger when I'm around her. I don't feel that Frisk is in danger, and I wouldn't have let her watch Frisk if I feel she couldn't protect them."
Sans sat back and sighed, resting his elbow on the arm of his chair and rubbing his temple. "and what does she have that can protect them?"
"That," Toriel reached for her tea after some time and sipped it. It burned her tongue. "I cannot disclose. I'm sure that, in due time, you'd come around and figure it out for yourself. She is unlike other humans I have met."
He was silent for a long time, before he stood up and balled his fists into the pockets of his sweater, in which he hasn't washed in weeks. "i don't speak in code, toriel," he sighed and closed his eyes. "but i'll trust you in this. you know how i am with other humans, ever since we came from the underground. living here is dangerous. i know that asgore is sending you money to help with the place, and i know that all the money you get is for frisk. but you can't trust them. you can't trust her, not even a little bit," he started to head for the door. "and if you do, it can't be for too long."
"I know," Toriel looked down at her tea, feeling the steam dampen the fur on her face. "but maybe she can help us, even if it's for a little bit."
Your father used to quote Shakespeare. When he was dying, he murmured in your ear, "For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come?" For years, you took that in a literal sense. At first you were confused. You wondered if it was just the daze from his medication making him ramble nonsense.
You sat out on your balcony and lit up a cigarette, sharply inhaling it and letting the smoke fester in your lungs before letting it loose. You looked up and frowned a bit, remembering the sky where you grew up in the country, when stars leaned together like birds of a feather, and when the moon made you question how it felt to be so full.
Living in the outskirts of the city, you could still see the stars. But they were not as clear as they were as a child. Children often see everything in light. Children are full of splendor, so full of vision and wonderment. As a kid, you always had what you imagined were fascinating thoughts, but you never said any of them. You were notoriously curious about everything, only to be destroyed by the helplessness of adults, trying to mold you into tiny versions of them.
Maybe that's why you liked Frisk.
You saw yourself in them, and maybe that's why you wanted to protect them.
You were twelve when your father died, and it was an awful age. Not only you handled such selfish grief, but you were also in a stage between who you had been and who you were about to be. Who you wanted to be. Instead of growing up, you grew down. That night, the stars faded into specs of dust. The moon didn't shine as bright.
When someone dreams, they might know what to expect. Colors, sounds, images, people. But when none of those exist after death, they don't know what to dream. After your father died, you gave it a long thought and soon wondered if he was scared—scared of the fact that he may have been horrified to see nothing after his death.
It was the only memory that you knew, for sure, it was yours.
You took a long drag of your cigarette and kept the smoke inside you for a bit, looking at your nails, the white polish chipping away. You picked at them nearly out of habit, and continued to do so when deep in your thoughts. You exhaled the smoke through your nose, and it burned.
A noise broke away your recollections and you peeked down to see a man, tall, lanky and draped with a dark hoodie. The boardwalk was typically silent at this hour, and you were confused on why someone was out this late.
Another drag of your cigarette.
A faint call came from the man. A taunt, it seemed. His stance made you uncomfortable in your seat, and you shifted, flicking the ashes in the tray. You noticed a couple familiar figures in front of the man, and he slowly reached in his pocket.
You put out your cigarette, and ran down the stairs of your complex.
Given the situation, you weren't so sure how fast your mind would react, or your body. It was the adrenaline rushing through your veins, and quite possibly the nicotine as well. But the man had a knife, and threatened your neighbors. You clenched the folded chair tightly in your hands and you tried to stabilize your breathing, sweat matting your scalp and slowly trickling down the side of your face. The hooded man laid on the floor, unconscious, with a butterfly knife beneath his palm.
"____," a voice spoke your name, very softly and motherly. Toriel opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out of her mouth. Frisk hid behind her.
You dropped the chair and it echoed throughout the boardwalk, and your hands shook.
"____, are you..."
"I'm okay." You let out a shaky breath. "Are you guys okay?"
You looked up to see her nod, and you were relieved.
"Toriel, I need you to help me take him inside."
She had an inkling of what you may do.
"Are there cameras around here?"
"Let's hope not."
if you celebrated it, i hope y'all had a wonderful thanksgiving! thank you so much for all your love and support. enjoy this chapter! feedback is always appreciated.
"Put him on the couch," you said, with all the firmness you could muster. Toriel set him down, her strength proving to be above adequate, as well as impressive. You were the one who carried Frisk inside, and you set them down on top of the kitchen counter. Lithely, you brushed your hand over their face and moved their bangs away from their eyes. "Are you okay, Frisk?"
They nodded, and their expression remained blank as it nearly always was. Your eyebrows drew together, pondering on the child's blank appearance. Witnessing a sudden event like this would surely traumatize somebody a little bit, right? Maybe they were, and hid it very well behind a simple facade. Or maybe they had witnessed many calamities in the Underground, and was strangely used to it.
"____," Toriel's voice was heavy with concern. "what will you do?"
You walked to the couch and knelt by the man's unconscious body. "I hit him hard enough to knock him out. Let's hope that he's out long enough for me to do this." Your hand reached in his pocket to pull out your butterfly knife. Silver in color, brand new and was purchased for the sole ambition to harm. "Maybe this can work..."
"You're..." Toriel swallowed dryly. "You're going to erase... his memory?"
"Not all of his memories," you explained. "but just this one. I'll erase the memory of his interaction with you and Frisk. I'll erase whatever drove him to have that motivation to hurt you. There's going to be a gap in his mind, and likely what will happen is I'll merge his memories together. Instead of seeing you and Frisk tonight, he will just see the beach."
Toriel staggered herself a bit to Frisk, and lifted them up from the counter. "Is it safe for you to do it?"
"Yes, it is," you lied in a beat. You felt damned for lying to Toriel, but she wouldn't have allowed you to go further if you told the truth. You ran your finger over the knife, and you leaned to place your hand over his forehead. "This might take a little bit. Would you mind staying? Just in case he wakes up."
"Of course." she said in a voice barely above a whisper. Toriel opened her mouth to speak again, but promptly shut it once you closed your eyes. Curiosity was not enough to describe her emotions. After all the rumors, after all the strange guests showing up at your home, she could finally see what you were capable of.
And if she were to be honest with herself, she was also terrified.
The room radiated tension, as if the apartment had been built upon the skin of a balloon and someone was inflating it toward the breaking point. Heavy lids fell over your eyes, and you pursed your lips in focus. Eyebrows creased tightly, and Toriel could see how fast your eyes moved beneath your lids, almost frantically, like you were about to fall into a deep sleep. But were you going to sleep? Toriel thought. She had so many questions, and yet so little answers. The mother noticed that your breathing soon became so shallow and labored, and your hand trembled on the man's forehead.
And in a blink of an eye, all movements of yours ceased. You were still crouched on the floor, hand on his skin and the other on the knife. But your breathing evened, your eyes stopped moving, and you looked almost peaceful.
"____?" Toriel called out your name.
She felt a chill—how quickly her voice was swallowed, how empty the room felt with you not entirely conscious.
This was not magic.
'This must be a gift,' Toriel thought. 'A gift and a curse.'
When you were inside someone's mind, the darkness that enveloped you would gather in pieces, almost like a puzzle. Everything was surreal and blurry. A dream. And once you would wake, you'd be pivoted with nausea. It took a toll on you both mentally and physically, and you hid it well. Too well, almost. But one day, you knew you'd end up like your mother. It was a warning given to you from your father.
You saw the man in his state of reflection. The thinness of his lips, the rocky line of his bottom teeth, and if agony had a color, it would be his eyes. You knew that, if you traveled further back in this man's conscious, you would very much see the reason behind his pain. You didn't give yourself time to brace yourself for that sort of misery. You knew you would retain that information, and you already carried so much weight on your back that you wanted to save some room for those who deserve to let that go.
Your heart was so tired. Your soul ached. You stopped traveling back once you saw the man sitting in front of his TV, colorful lights circling his face, eyes dead and sore. A knife collected dust next to him. The news covered stories of monsters and politics, biased information for or against those who emerged from the Underground. Riots and looting happened that entire week in fear of the creatures who wanted nothing more than to prove themselves worthy.
You erased that memory.
A flash. You were in an alley where the man hunched over a shadowed, trembling figure. His knuckles were spattered with bruises and flakes of dust.
The throwing punches stopped. The light of the moon hunched over his shoulders. Everything felt so still, and the city of Ebott seemed to float in a jar.
"Fuck you," the man whispered to the shadow. Was it dead? Was it alive? "Go back to where you came from."
He spat on the monster.
It disappeared. An object, one that looked similar to a heart, trembled like an earthquake above the monster. It shattered in two.
You felt your own soul, trying to remember the time before it began to split as well.
You erased that memory.
Resentment flooded through your veins. You felt his emotions, his hatred to a direct species, and yet you couldn't understand it. It buried and coiled itself deep inside you. You wondered, after all these years, how you kept yourself sane. It tortured you day by day. But you learned that the best way to hide something is in plain sight. If you never point it out, then someone would never notice. You were exhausted, erasing memories one by one, merging happier ones to others. You've seen over the years men and women, children and monsters, their thoughts stalking them like nightmares, and their regrets consuming their flesh.
They ran from them. They ran to death.
But sometimes, they ran to you.
A package you carried. A responsibility that you never wanted to carry in the first place.
A mountain of cold chill waited for you when you left his mind. Everything was spinning. Toriel's words fell on your deaf ears. Drizzles of rain came down in spades outside. Wet leaves slumped on your window. Sputtered on you was an affliction of guilt, and with a teary gaze you looked at Toriel. She held your face with both of her hands, and you felt a burst of warmth. You forgot what a mother's touch felt like.
You were nauseous. Toriel's mouth moved and you wondered what she was saying, but you paid no attention and looked over at the man who sprawled on your couch.
An average person may agree with the man's ideals, or somebody could despise him for everything he had done.
You wish you could feel either of those after every time you enter and exit someone's memories.
But in the end, you always felt bad for them.
The quiet is fretful and unnatural. It's what a mouse must feel, Sans thought; stepping away from its hole into the open blades of a meadow, never knowing what shadow might come cruising along.
In the near distance, he saw you and Frisk strolling along the shore, their tiny hand molded into yours. It was a week after he met you, and a week you continued to shed your guidance over Frisk. Toriel was working a late night again, probably continuously grading papers that she'd put off again. He may not show it, but he often worried about her.
Sans found himself out on those stars-flooded nights, shuffling his old shoes along dew-soaked lawns. Loud bursts of ambulances would go by in droves, interrupting the beauty of the surface. And yet never had Sans felt such a hunger to belong. Never had he felt so much desire to be a part of something so single-minded.
It had been a year.
He never achieved his wants.
Frisk left your side and noticed the monster, running up to him and crashing into his legs. He chuckled and ruffled the kid's hair.
"hey, kiddo," he said. "you're up pretty late."
You strolled up behind Frisk. "They want to wait until Toriel comes home," you offered a small smile to Sans. "I don't blame them."
You knelt down on the sand and put your hand on Frisk's shoulder. "Why don't you go find some sea shells for me? The ones you found last time were beautiful." The child nodded and sprinted towards the shore. "And stay out of the water! You just took a bath!"
He really didn't want to admit it, but you were good to Frisk.
"you should go home with frisk. it can be dangerous out here. don't want 'em getting hurt."
You stood up with a soft grunt, your knees popping lightly. At age twenty-two, you felt so old. Sans cringed at the sound.
"I've lived on the surface my whole life. I've lived in the city since I was twelve. I would know if there's danger," you looked away from the skeleton, and licked your lips. "And I would never intentionally put Frisk in danger."
There was a lick of sarcasm in his voice. You wanted to be mad or defensive, but you couldn't bring yourself to it. You crossed your arms over your chest and rubbed your hands up and down the sleeves of your white nightgown. Under the moon, Sans thought that you looked like a ghost. He stared at you with two voids of eyes, and you finally gathered the courage to look at the monster.
"Come, walk with me."
You turned on your heels and started to walk to the direction where Frisk was, but careful to stay far. You didn't want Frisk to be a part of the conversation. Sans followed suit, walking slightly behind you. The wind whipped your hair, and you smelled faintly like cigarettes and a scent that was specific to you.
"I know you don't trust me," you started. "but that's okay. I don't expect you to. Maybe I don't want you to." You stopped and dug your toes in the sand. "A human suddenly is a part of the lives of Toriel and Frisk. You have all the reason to be wary. I don't know much of your lives in the Underground, or what you've been through, and you don't have to tell me. Trust is like a knife—too much of it, and it can make your heart bleed."
He shoved his hands in his pockets. "what's your point?"
You wanted to grin at his distasteful pun.
You turned around and faced him. He seemed to be caught off-guard.
"listen, i respect that toriel trusts you with frisk. but i don't. and tibia honest, i don't even like you. i want you to stay out of my life. humans have done nothing but cause pain to us monsters."
You closed your eyes. You smiled.
He wondered why you smiled.
"That's okay, Sans," you spoke in an airy voice. You looked so tired. Your perseverance with him was admirable. "I told you, I don't expect you to trust me."
You looked over your shoulder to see Frisk with an armful of damp shells.
"Don't trust humans. In the end, we will always find a way to disappoint you."
Your words made his soul rumble beneath his ribs. It shook him to the core. He saw the sadness in your eyes, and he was soon thinking. What have you gone through? Shortly after, the child ran up to you and handed you a couple, and you grinned, taking them and soothing your thumb over the ridges of each and individual one.
"Do you know how seashells are made, Frisk?" Their eyes carried confusion, and they shook their head no. "They used to be homes for mollusks. It's not a part of them, but it was made to protect them. When they die, the wind up here. A gift for us, and we're here to keep them. See how unique each one is?" You pointed at them. Different colors, different shapes, different sizes. "They belonged someplace once, and we're here to protect it. A treasure, right?"
Frisk nodded, and you handed one back to them.
You looked at Sans.
"Why don't you take one?" You handed him a scallop shell. "It used to be a home, and now it finally needs one."
He took the scallop and stared at it for quite some time.
Sans nudged it inside his pocket.
"It was built to withstand the brutality of the sea, and yet it can be so fragile. Take good care of it, Sans."
He asked himself that maybe, in your own little way, you were talking about monsters.