Two years. Two years since the barrier broke and the monsters were given free reign of the Surface world. It had been two years since Frisk, the young man who had freed them, been made as an Ambassador of sorts to these guys. And it had been two years since he'd released the monster mafia onto the world.
While not all of the monsters were part of the mafia, the more terrifying monsters most definitely were. That included the King, or the Don, of them, Asgore. His wife, who had rejoined his side after many centuries apart, Toriel. Then there was the Boss, who was head of the Royal Guard. Undyne, who was his right hand girl. Alphys was rumored to have terrifying amounts of knowledge, the scientist. But there was one everyone feared more than any of them.
And that was the Judge.
The name alone could clear out a store in a matter of seconds. No one really knew what he looked like. And those who did usually ended up dead, or were at least never seen or heard from again. The only thing anyone really knew about him was that he was dangerous and often a last resort for the Don to go to in the first place.
While he ran an empire with an iron fist, he was still a soft hearted monster. While no one would dare admit it out in public, they often whispered it. And no dared get on his bad side. He didn't give out warnings often, and he only gave it to the people who had generally helped them when they came back from the Underground. And even they were on a short stack as it was.
I lived in a fairly safe part of the city. My parents lived all the way out in the country taking care of horses and such. By the time the barrier had broken, I had already moved out into my own apartment and had even gotten an old black cat from the kill shelter nearby. While the city I lived in was still pretty bad in crime, the mafia had their hands in deep here. And everyone knew it. They stayed in Ebott City for that reason.
While my parents worried, I knew they trusted me to make better decisions than the people on the news. Keep your head low and if you see a monster known to be part of the mafia, try and go a different direction. Don't make eye contact with them, and keep your nose clean. Mom had definitely been keen on that rule.
I ran around the apartment, juggling a couple things while I got ready for a surprise makeup shift at work. While the apartment was nice, it was still a little rundown and the landlord was sleazy. I didn't like dealing with him and only did when I had to pay rent once a month. And even then I tried to run as soon as the money exchanged hands. But I liked having receipts so he couldn't say shit if it ever came down to it.
Soldier, the black cat, was sitting on the arm of the couch, watching me with a half lidded gaze that screamed “traitor”. I paused a couple times while getting ready to give the old warrior pets, but then I went right back to getting ready. And the entire time I apologized to him for being such an asshole for leaving him on my day off.
I usually didn't work my days off unless it was an emergency or someone called off last minute. But there had been news buzzing around the last week that the Judge was supposed to be in town today to visit my boss. Plus, it would help me catch up on a few hours that I had missed from being sick a few days prior.
I paused in my manic running around and sighed, rubbing my forehead with the flat of my hand. I loved working for Grillby at the bar, but sometimes the uniform he chose drove me insane. It was a pain to wear with drunken workers glaring at my ass all the time. Tight fitting pants and a corset like top to match it off. I usually wore tennis shoes, but Grillby told me boots would work just fine. So long as they had good grips and I didn't fall and bust my head.
I loved my boss, but I hated wearing the blasted corset. While I wasn't exactly graced with a big bosom, others were, and it blatantly pointed it out. Other patrons would, too, if they were drunk enough. But Grillby was a good boss. If there was someone making you uncomfortable, you best believe he'd be right there making sure you were good. There were a few occasions where you had to tell people you were spoken for, despite the fact you hadn't had a boyfriend since high school.
And even then, sometimes it never worked. Working in a bar could really blow.
I finally got back into motion and made my way through the apartment to gather the things I needed. At the door, Soldier strolled up to me and gave me a small, deep petulant meow. I bent down and gave his fur a few strokes before standing back up and blowing him a kiss.
“I'll be back in a few hours, baby,” I said as I opened the door. “I know you wanted cuddles today, but I can't. Grillby needs me and you're a strong independent cat, who don't need no human.”
I was just met with a blank stare.
I waved him off and closed the door, locking it before heading for the stairs. I took them down two at a time and ran out the front of the building, waving to the people moving about. I jogged down the street, keeping my purse close to me. I hated carrying one, but I was in a hurry and didn't want to drop my phone or wallet by accident.
When I got to the bar, it was flowing out the doors. People stood around the entrance, trying to peek inside and shout at each other. I rolled my eyes, put my pinkies in the corners of my mouth and blew. The loud piercing whistle caught all their attentions, and I glared at all of them.
“Knock it off,” I snapped. “Ya'll will get to see whatever you want. Be fuckin' patient, would you?”
I moved past them and a few people got out of my way. I heard a few of them whisper about my eyes, but no one made a direct comment to me about them. I was used to it; the things they said were nothing new. I liked my eyes enough to not wear contacts to cover them.
I finally managed to make my way to the bar. I went into the back and stuck my purse in the safe with the others' things and came back out, rubbing my hands together. Grillby was busy at the far end of the bar, tending to one of the more rowdier patrons. I tied my apron around my waist and looked over at him. He glanced back me and nodded.
Looks like I was helping to bartend.
Without a word, I went around and made sure people had their drinks. A few people were still waiting for food, so I went into the kitchen, where everyone on staff was hard at work. I walked over and started calling out orders, getting told a few of them were just about ready.
I took them out to their proper places and whistled for one of the other girls. Annie, a bright eyed eighteen year old made her way over to me to grab the stuff she needed. Then I helped Grillby with the drinks.
People watched the way we worked. We slid around each other easily, not speaking a word. I need a lime, one slid my way. He needed the vodka I had, I slid it right at him. We moved around each other and easily got out orders at the bar and for the others seated in the other parts of the bar. A few times he would stop and glance up as if checking for his friend, but when there was no sign of him, he would right back to work.
After about an hour of this, the din in the room was silenced. Grillby stopped what he was doing and placed a hand on my shoulder, giving me pause. I looked toward the door, where everyone else was looking and struggled to see what they were staring at. With a deep chuckle, the fire elemental lifted me up by the waist and sat me on the top of the bar. I shot him a grateful smile before turning back to the spectacle of the day.
The skeleton monster that stood in doorway was...short. Though he was short, he also carried a big presence. He wore a three piece, all black except for the vest and handkerchief in the breast pocket. His hands were shoved into the pockets of his slacks. His eye lights were red, bright and wide in the black sockets they nestled in. There was a fedora sitting atop his head. I was more impressed with the fact he managed to make it stay on such a smooth surface. He was definitely bulkier than a human skeleton, too. I wouldn't say it would be like having a belly if he had skin, but he definitely had power behind him.
He came into the room, his shiny leather shoes out of place on the bar floor. No one spoke, no one even moved. To my eyes, it didn't even look like anyone was breathing. It was like he was some kind of rare animal. Which, in a sense, I guess he was. It was a chance to see him and not die. Who wouldn't take that offer?
He sat at the far end of the bar, and most people toward that area shifted so they weren't sitting near him. They all eyed him from the corners of their eyes and made no move toward him. If he noticed any of this, he didn't comment or seem to give a shit.
The others had come back around and I noticed Julian, one of the waiters that didn't work too often because of work, had scooted a little closer to the other girls. Annie and Phoebe seem captivated by him, their eyes like big stars. I rolled my eyes and moved off the top of the bar, Grillby helping me ease myself down.
I moved around him as he went to go say hello. The others went back to their jobs, heading into the kitchen or back out on the floor. I moved to end of the bar where someone had finally moved, waving me over.
For the better half of two hours, I moved around the back of that bar by myself, filling drink orders for people at the bar on the floor. At one point, I paused to grab a bottle of scotch off the top shelf and a couple of shot glasses. I slid them down the bar, both of the monsters catching something. I also noticed when he lit up a cigar, the smell of cherry floating through the air. I slid an ashtray down his way, which he also caught without pausing their conversation.
It was days like this that I was glad Grillby trusted me enough to run the back area by myself. While I was shit on the floor because of my horrible temper, I did fairly well behind the counter. I remember when I had finally turned twenty-one, he had instantly picked up on it and moved me behind the bar, training me himself. Within months, he was watching me with an approving eye before jumping in with me.
And that was when we got our rhythm down. While it had taken a few tries to get down, specially during the busy rushes on the weekend, I had easily picked up on how to move around him. Turn just that way, spin around just like that. While it was tedious those first couple weeks, it turned out to be like a dance lesson with the hottest monster around.
Hah, I crack myself up.
After about an hour and a half of frantically running around and making sure the kitchen was keeping a good pace, things finally started to slow down. Food orders had mostly stopped coming in, so I let the cooks go on a break real quick to get out all the adrenaline and get some air. When you told the patrons so, none of them were bothered by it. They had worked their asses off and they definitely deserved it.
Annie came up to the counter and rattled off some drinks. While you made them, Julian came up and sat on the stool beside her, groaning.
“What's wrong, Jules?” I asked as I shook the mixer. “Not used to the hustle and bustle?”
He snorted. “Hardly that.” He glanced over toward the two monsters. Grillby made a comment and the Judge was sent into a fit of laughter. I looked back over at the two of them and they both had their lips curled up in disgust, but true fear had settled into their eyes. I raised my brow at Annie.
“You were fawning over him just a couple hours ago when he walked into the bar,” I pointed out handing her one of her drinks.
“That was before I heard some of the stuff he's done,” Annie murmured, keeping her eyes downcast. “I don't know how you can murder someone and not feel bad about it.”
I shrugged. “You need to keep in mind that their way of life was way different down there. We don't know what happened or what was going on,” I said. “So don't point fingers and judge. I get he's done some awful things. But...”
“I don't give a shit,” Julian sighed. “I just don't like the way he's been watching you. Gives me the chills.”
I chuckled. “He wasn't. And if he did, Grillbz probably pointed something out to him and he was looking in this general direction.”
I gave Annie her drink and shooed them both off. I began wiping down the bar with a rag and moved my way around. When I drew close to the talking monsters, I paused, wiping my hands on my apron. I came up to Grillby and touched his hand, grabbing his attention. It was still weird to touch fire and not get burned. I had learned early on he only burned things he deemed a threat. And it wasn't very often.
“Everything's cleaned up and ready for your later rush,” I told him. “Do you need me to stay longer or do you think you'll be alright?”
While Grillby could talk with humans, it still sounded kind of garbled. While his voice was smooth, his human speech was a train wreck. I remember offering to learn sign language from him and had earned myself a playful swat from a rag.
“I think we'll be alright, thank you,” he finally said. He wrapped an around my shoulders and gave me a small squeeze. “I'd like you to meet an old friend of mine, actually.”
I looked toward the skeleton. I had noticed that since I came over, his eyes hadn't left my face. I shifted under the weight of his gaze, and started rubbing my wrist in my one hand. It was a bad habit I had when anxiety hit or when I felt uncomfortable. And I honestly didn't know which one I had right now.
He held out a hand. “nice t' meet'cha, kid. name's sans. sans th' skeleton.”
I gave him my hand and, shockingly, he brought it to those razor sharp teeth, pressing what could have been a kiss to the back of my hand. I noticed he had a thick gold ring of some sort on each hand, and each band was definitely different. Some had jewels inlaid in them and others were just a regular band. Those mixed with the bone of his hand were cool against your skin. I also took notice that his phalanges ended in claws instead of usual fingertips. Huh.
“I'm Levy,” I said softly.
He made a humming noise, giving my hand a squeeze before letting go. I took my hand back and started rubbing my wrist again. It didn't go unnoticed by him, as I saw those red eye lights flick down then back up, but he didn't make a comment. He didn't even comment on my eyes, which was the most shocking thing of all.
Everyone made a comment about those.
Grillby gave me another small squeeze. “You can head home, if you'd like. We should be able to handle the dinner rush just fine with us. But if we need you, I'll give you a call again.”
I was untying the apron from around my waist as I spoke. I went to the back and put it where I found it before gathering my things and heading back out to the front. Grillby had gathered some of the glasses I hadn't gotten to with a new rag and was polishing them. I stood on my tip toes and he bent down without missing a beat as I kissed his cheek.
“Thank you again for helping out,” he said as I adjusted my corset top. “I know it was such short notice.”
“Hah, you're fine,” I laughed, smiling. “The one you should be apologizing to is Soldier. He was definitely not happy with me leaving today. But it helped me catch up on some of the hours I missed when I was sick.”
He nodded thoughtfully and gave me a kiss on my cheek in turn. He wasn't usually like this. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen him like this. I waved to the girls and Julian as I left, even saying goodbye to the...to Sans. Grillby told me to text him as soon as I made it home safe just as I left the door.
On my way home, the sky started darkening above. I let out a small whine in the back of my throat and started jogging home, the events of the day playing over in my head.
It was shocking to think that the Judge had a soft side. I had thought when he grabbed my hand he would be rough, but his touch was gentle. It took me by surprise, and I definitely had liked it. But I didn't think anything more of it as I thought about the way he had stared so intently at my face. Most people made comments on it. He hadn't said one word about, hadn't asked a single thing.
It was refreshing.
I ran the rest of the way home as thunder boomed overhead, a smile on my face.
Red had seen many a human woman, and had done enough stuff with human women, to know that she was definitely a rarity. The way she moved and the way she spoke, the gentle way she was with monsters. It was like someone could hit the jackpot with that one.
As she watched her walk out, her hips sashaying away, he couldn't help but think what they would feel like under his claws.
And those eyes.
He looked at his old buddy, blowing a flume of smoke from between his teeth. “so you an' 'er, huh?”
Grillby shook his head. “No, nothing like that. I'm just her boss.”
Sans snorted. “you ain't goin' fer it?”
He shook his head once more, using the flames from his body to examine the cup he was polishing. Red ashed the cigar in his fingers before gazing around the bar. It was set up just like the one down in the Underground, only there was a better TV plastered up in the corner, playing some kind of human sport. And there was a jukebox that actually worked. The waiter, who had been mean mugging him since he came in, was busy talking with a patron, one of the Big Mouth's that had come up and stayed in the city. The girls were busy talking to the Royal Guard dogs, who were deep in another game of poker.
He looked back at the door, as if waiting for her to make another entrance. But when she didn't come back, he turned back to face the fire monster, who was eyeing him warily.
“Sans, I would prefer if you didn't try and go after her,” he said suddenly, his monster speech much better than the garbled voice he had used earlier with Levy.
“an' why not?” he demanded. He took another hit of the cigar, letting the smoke out slowly.
“Because I will not have my hardest worker run off by you,” he said simply. “Plus, she's innocent. She might not act like it, but she most certainly is.”
That only sparked his interest more. The innocent ones were the most fun to break, to make beg. And in his head, that made her something he needed to have. But, unlike monsters, he couldn't just have his way. Humans were more delicate beings and didn't usually want monsters. Let alone one from the mafia.
He stubbed out the cigar, taking another shot from the scotch she had slid his way. Grillbz had often bragged about her, and he could see why. She definitely had a fantastic body. From the curve of her hips to her plump ass. Not to mention the way the corset pushed up her chest, he could already tell you were well evened out. He didn't like bitches with the big tits. They were usually fake and stank of chemicals. The way she moved while she had worked was amazing, like she was dancing and gliding rather than like she was running. The way her black ponytail moved and clashed perfectly with her sun kissed skin.
But what he couldn't get over were her eyes. They were two very different colors and one was a color he hadn't seen on a human before without the help of colored contacts. One was an icy blue, almost white in the flames coming from Grillby. The other was a dark royal purple. It would have almost looked black if the light didn't reflect on it. Plus, after years of being Underground, he had an amazing sight, and had seen the purple flashing perfectly.
Goddamn, she was fuckin' hot.
He had seen the way she fidgeting under his gaze. It wasn't promising, but it was a start. He knew from experience that stuff like that was always a way to deal with anxiety. He was shocked she didn't try eating her nails or some shit. That's what most bitches do.
“Sans, old friend, I'm only asking this one thing.”
He looked at Grillby, who wore a serious expression.
“Please. Do not bother her. She is a good girl just looking to survive, just like the rest of us.” He set down the glass he'd been polishing. “It is the only thing I ask of you.”
Red snorted and looked at the door once more. “no promises, grillbz.”