Red went into the kitchen before answering his phone. He took in the little space of Levy's, his eyes roaming over the small stove top and the little counter space she had. There was a microwave taking up a small bit of it, and the fridge was too tiny to even be considered a full sized one. When he peeked into the freezer, he nearly fainted at the small amount of space there was in there. And there wasn't even anything in there!
Part of him was scared to see how small everything else was in the apartment.
He answered the phone with a curt, “what izzit?”
There was a snort and a small curse on the other end before the Don's voice greeted him. “Sans. I apologize if I caught you at a bad time.”
He instantly regretted not looking at the caller ID before answering and smoothed his voice out. “not a problem, sir. what c'n i do fer ya?”
There was some noise on the other end of the phone before his boss spoke. “I apologize again, if this is a bad time, but Frisk wanted me to call you about something he found odd about this...girl you fancy.”
He was definitely listening now. He whispered for them to hold on for a moment. He quickly poked his head into her living room, his eyes searching her out. She was still sitting on the couch, talking sleepily with the cat on her lap. He moved back into the kitchen, leaning against the counter, his fingers gripping his phone tightly.
“whatcha got fer me?”
“Well, it seems her family was in high debt a few years back,” the Don mused. Red heard rustling papers in the background. “They were on the verge of losing their farm, their home, the whole nine yards, my boy.”
“does it mention why?” he muttered, trying to keep his voice down.
“It does not, sadly,” his boss murmured over the phone. “But it does say here it was paid off. All of it was, in fact, and then not even three days after, your young Levy had disappeared.”
He felt his soul twist in the most unpleasant way possible. “what d' ya mean, sh' disappeared?”
His eyes snapped to the kitchen, where Levy leaned against the wall that separated the living room and the kitchen. Her eyes were narrowed and she was gripping the wall beside her so hard her knuckles were white. She seemed to be shaking, and from her expression, and the way both of her wonderful eyes flashed at him, he knew she had heard something.
The Don's smooth chuckle on the other end of the phone. “I'll speak with you later, my boy. Sounds like you have a wildcat to take care of.”
The dial tone sounded in his ear and he moved the phone away from his skull, never breaking eye contact with the girl in front of him. Her eyes were flashing their anger, and had she been able to put both of her feet on the ground, he knew she could have easily been standing there with one hip out, her arms crossed. He could see the mental image in his head and it took everything in him to not chuckle.
“Red, what were you talking about?” she demanded.
Her voice was trembling slightly. That was always one of the first clues Red had when someone had something they wanted to hide, and keep hidden. He was close to uncovering something, and he knew it. She knew it, too. But he needed to approach this carefully. He wanted her bad, but he needed to play his cards right.
“jus' some job th' don wanted me t' do.” The lie slid off his ethereal tongue effortlessly.
She continued to glare at him, her fist at her side tightening. Then she sighed, shaking her head. She turned, using the wall to help her limp back to the living room and onto the couch. He followed her, entering the room just as she sat on the couch and cuddling the cat close to her.
He really wanted to be that mangy feline.
Neither of them said anything, but he could feel her suspicion. It hurt, but he knew why. She didn't completely trust him, and she knew he dealt with some shady shit. So it wouldn't be a far shot for him to have the Don call him about something. But maybe she heard something before he even knew she was there.
He looked out the window and watched at the sun began to kiss the horizon, starting to move behind the mountaintops. He looked back at her.
“get ya shit, sugar,” he gruffed out. “we gotta get goin' now.”
I really hoped it was the latter option.
Soldier stay curled up, purring on my chest. His eyes were partially closed, resting steadily on Red. His tail was tucked underneath him and his paws were resting comfortably on my chest. The old tomcat was resting, but keeping his guard up around the stranger.
Not wanting to move him, I muttered, “Go where?”
“back t' th' house,” he said simply, his back leaning against the wall. “yer not even able t' stand on yer own. ya think 'm gonna letcha be here by yerself?” He snorted. “yer insane.”
I was just thinking the same thing about him.
“Red, I'm fine here on my own,” I argued.
“th' fuck ya are,” he snarled suddenly, moving off the wall.
Soldier whipped his head upward, baring his teeth and emitting a low growl. I placed my hand on his head and looked back up at Red, narrowing my eyes at him.
“sugar, ya can't even walk on yer own two feet, let alone stand up. ya think 'm gonna jus' walk out that door and leave ya t' try an' fend fer yerself?” He scoffed. “yer insane.”
I could tell he meant business, and I knew I wasn't going to win this. But I had to worry about Solider. And Grillby needed me to come in to help behind the bar since I was the only other person there who could help without getting in the way. No offense to the others, but they weren't exactly great on their feet.
“But, I have work. And Soldier...”
“ya c'n bring th' cat with us, and as fer grillbz, i'll take care of 'im,” Red grumbled. “'m not heartless, sugar.”
I sighed, leaning my head back against the arm of the couch. “Fine. I'll pack some stuff, and get Soldier in his carrier. He's not gonna like it, though.”
“fine. get yer shit t'gether while I call paps and let 'im know what's goin' on,” he said, bringing out his phone again.
I moved Solider off of my chest, to which he let out a deep whine. I gave him a little kiss on his forehead, and used the wall to help me as I made my way over to my room. I hopped my way inside and grabbed a couple of my bags from the closet. I could hear Red speaking to his brother while I moved around my room, using the wall and furniture for support.
I managed to hobble myself to the bathroom and grab my shampoo and stuff before my ankle started to throb. Red came around the corner as I was leaning against the wall, huffing and sighing. I looked over at him as he rose a brow plate, fighting off his usual grin. I glared at him, pointing the conditioner at him.
“Not a word,” I hissed.
He chuckled instead, and came over, helping me off the wall and getting me to my room. He deposited me onto my bed and moved around the room, gathering the rest of my things. I breathed out in a silent thank you and watched as he stuffed everything I needed in my bag. He finally zipped everything up and put them on the bed beside me.
“where's th' carrier fer yer cat?” he asked.
“Top of the closet,” I said, pointing.
He used his magic to grab it and bring it down, letting it trail behind him as he went to go find the grumpy old black cat. It was quiet for a minute before I heard the telltale screeching and hissing and Red's cursing. I couldn't help it, but I cracked up laughing. The cursing and hissing got louder as Soldier darted into my room, jumping onto the bed and turning to face the door. His ears were back and his fur was standing on end as he hissed at Red's approaching form.
“stupid, mangy...” Red growled, panting. Dots of red sweat dotted his skull as he put the carrier on the floor. “fine. we'll do this my way.”
Before I could say anything, red magic surrounded my cat. He was lifted and, amazingly, went into the carrier. When the door shut, the magic left the carrier as it settled on the floor by his feet. Soldier was growling, but not really moving. He knew he was caught, but he definitely didn't like it. I shook my head as Red came to stand beside me.
“look, I know ya don't like havin' t' leave yer home,” he said, kneeling in front of me, “but until yer on yer own feet again, this is something that has t' happen, okay, sugar?”
I sighed. “Fine. But don't expect me to depend on you and your brother for everything,” I said, crossing my arms.
He chuckled before grabbing the carrier and my stuff. He disappeared, a trail of thin red smoke left in his wake. Within seconds, he was back, shaking his head. Without a word, he moved back and grabbed me, one arm under my leg and the other under my shoulder blades.
The trip back was strange, and over before I could really comprehend what happened. We ended up in a room I didn't recognize, with Soldier's carrier rocking on the plush mattress in the room.
“'ts the spare room we keep fer when we have company,” Red gruffed out, setting me down beside Soldier. “since yer stayin' awhile, figured ya could use it yerself.” He scratched his cheek with a single digit. “ya know, since yer a girl an' whatnot.”
I smiled up at him. “Thanks. It'll give Soldier his own space, too.”
He nodded and went to leave. I noticed that the litter box and the cat's stuff was already here and set up in a corner of the room. Soldier's bed was beside mine and his food dishes were in the opposite corner of the room from the litter box.
Red was already gone when I turned my head to thank him. I hadn't even heard him shut the door. I let out a long sigh and looked around, grabbing my phone from my purse and dialing Grillby's number from memory. I put it on speaker as I wrestled with the door to Soldier's carrier.
“Levy!” Grillby's crackling voice came smoothly, if not slightly panicky, over the speaker. “Levy, dear, are you alright?”
“I'm...oof...fine,” I grunted, finally releasing the angry cat. “Red was there in the nick of time, I guess.”
“So it seems,” the fire monster mused quietly. “Are you home? I'd like to come see for myself that you're alright.”
I smiled at the phone. “No. I'm not. Red isn't letting me stay at home. I...well, I can't walk right now.”
There was a long pause. I had to press the button on my phone to flash it back on to make sure it didn't cut the call or anything. But Grillby was still on the phone. Just probably trying to take in all the information.
“Levy,” he said slowly. “What do you mean he isn't letting you stay at home.”
Oh, I was in for it now.
The next thing I did was take a good look around the room. There was a closet by the door, and a bathroom attached to the room beside that. When I went into the bathroom, it was pretty big for one person, but the extra space meant I could keep my stuff more spaced out. And I'm sure it would help me be able to keep my leg up somehow.
I placed my favorite blanket on the bed before moving to put my toiletries away. I placed them how I would have at home before shutting off the light and moving back to put my clothes away. I sat down on the plush carpet as I folded them, putting them in neat stacks.
Solider was sniffing around the room, slowly and ears back. He definitely didn't look happy, but he was exploring, and I knew he would get used to it all at some point. I wasn't sure if I would. I mean, I knew Red and his brother would never do anything to hurt me. But I didn't know about any of the others they...associated with.
There was still a lot of stuff I didn't know about. As I worked, I hummed to myself, trying to think over what I knew as of this moment.
I knew Red was the judge, and his brother Papyrus was known as the Boss. Both were very well known in the monster mob, and both of them were quite feared. Hell, Red's name alone put the fear of God in monsters and humans alike. But I didn't know anything about the people they worked with, or worked for.
Red had been talking to someone in my kitchen. I didn't know who, but it sounded like they had been talking to me. Sadly, with my busted ankle, I couldn't exactly, move quick enough to hear who or what they were talking about. Red had said it was some job his boss had wanted him to do, but with how fast the call had come to a stop, I couldn't really believe it.
Part of me wanted to believe he wouldn't go snooping into my past. But I knew better. The logical part of me knew much better than that. This wasn't my first rodeo around these types, but I really didn't want to go anymore rounds with guys like this.
Not after the last time.
It was the whole reason I was even in the city, and why Grillby felt he had to protect me. I looked out the window to my right, blinking slowly at the setting sun. I could remember all the events clearly in my head as if they had all happened yesterday, not years ago. Just the thought of it made my stomach roll.
It hadn't been a pleasant experience, but it shaped who I was at this moment.
It's admittedly probably the only reason I saw Red for who he was. Everyone made him out to be some horrible monster, and I guess in reality, he really was. But to me, there were two versions of him. Like I had told Grillby just a couple days ago. There were two of him, and I was just one of the few who only saw the gentler side of him.
I never wanted to see the Judge side of him.
I shook it off, slowly getting up and moving to put all my things away. A soft knock sounded on the door, setting Soldier off. He ran and ducked under the bed, crying.
“You were literally the most fearsome cat on the streets,” I berated him. “Now you're like a big baby. Well, I guess that's my fault.” I shook my head. “Come in!”
Red moved quickly, so the cat didn't get out of the room. He was back in his spiffy looking clothes, minus the fedora. He leaned against the closed door and surveyed the room, his permagrin set in a frown. When his red eye lights landed back on me, I used the dresser to help me stand back up. I opened one drawer with a gentle tug and bent down to grab a set of shirts I had neatly folded.
He didn't say anything as he came over, sighing, doing it himself. He did it all, including my pants and pajamas. I kept out a pair of sweatpants that I planned on sleeping in later that night before he closed the drawers and turned to look at me.
“ya should've asked fer one o' us, sugar,” he grumbled, moving to the door. “paps wanted me t' tell ya dinner was done if ya wanted t' come down.”
“Let me feed Soldier real quick,” I said, hobbling over to his food dish.
I paused halfway there, blinking slowly before turning to look at Red. It was already filled, with his water dish done as well. There was a tub next to his food, with Soldier's name scribbled sloppily on top of it. There was a bunch of water bottles next to it, same deal with his name. I turned to look at Red, raising a brow. He only shrugged.
He wiggled his phalanges at me, grinning now. “magic, sugar.”
I rolled my eyes and hobbled over to him. He grabbed me around the waist, but instead of opening the door, he studied my face. I looked up at him, bewildered.
“Red, are you--”
I didn't finish my sentence as his face filled my line of vision, his teeth on my lips.