There were a million thoughts that scrambled through my head at once. The first thought was that Red was kissing me. He was somehow kissing me. I didn't think it was possible that skeletons could kiss people, what with the lack of lips. The other thought was that I wasn't stopping it.
I pulled myself away, almost falling on my ass as I moved. Red, without hesitation, held his hand up. The red glow of his magic surrounded me, and I could feel myself momentarily stuck where I was, watching him with widened eyes. He didn't seem put off or miffed, he actually seemed kinda smug. The glow slowly faded and I managed to keep myself upright.
There was a moment of silence between us. I felt myself beginning to rub my wrist again, that nasty habit rearing its head. He said nothing still, those red eye lights remaining on my face. He moved to open the door and offered his hand.
I took it cautiously, letting him bring me close. He leaned down by my ear.
“we'll talk later, sugar,” he murmured, breath fanning my ear. “right now, we need ta get ta paps. he gets impatient real quick.”
Just as the sentence left his mouth, I could hear Papyrus himself stomping around downstairs before hollering up at us, demanding to know where we were. I gave a weak chuckle and nodded, letting Red help down the stairs of their home. From what I've seen so far, it was a big home, but it still small and quaint nonetheless. It was like they knew they had cash, but they didn't want to flash it everywhere.
For that, they had my own respect.
When I managed to hobble my way into the kitchen, Papyrus was putting down plates of food on the table. I noticed it wasn't spaghetti, but I didn't comment on it. Instead, I felt my mouth watering at the smell of the steaks that were still had steam rising up from them.
“I FOUND A COOKBOOK IN THE STORE JUST A FEW DAYS AGO,” Papyrus declared. “I FIGURED YOU COULD BE MY TEST SUBJECT TO TRY THEM.”
It had been so long since I had steak. Hell, it was welcome after I used to live off of frozen TV dinners and ramen. This was something I was definitely willing to try.
Red sat me in a chair, bringing around another one. Papyrus placed a cushion on it before he helped me lift it up and place it in a comfortable position. My eyes wandered to the plate, eyeing the food in front of me. There was the big slab of steak that would cost her an arm and half a leg, a big heap of mashed potatoes with some gravy and a side of green beans. It all looked so good.
I took my fork and tried the potatoes first. I got a little gravy on them and stuck the food in my mouth. It practically melted on my tongue, the taste of butter and beef gravy mixing perfectly. There was a hint of salt and pepper in there as well. Even some garlic. But there was something else there she could taste, something she couldn't quite place her finger on.
I nearly jumped at Papyrus's voice. I looked between the two brothers, blinking a few times. “Monster food?”
“it'll help ya heal a li'l faster, sugar,” Red commented, taking a bite of green beans. “it contains th' cooks magic, usually some kinda healin' magic. paps isn' too powerful wit' it, but he's gotten betta at it.” He motioned to my ankle. "at least i think so."
Papyrus seemed to beam with pride, his grin wide as he cut into his steak. I turned back to my food and did the same, picking up the steak knife and cutting into it. Only a little bit of blood oozed out of it; medium rare, just how I liked it. I stuck the small piece in my mouth and bit back a moan. This single piece of meat tasted like heaven.
The rest of the meal was spent with light talk. Papyrus was asking me random questions about seasonings and such, which I was almost no help with. I was terrible in the kitchen and couldn't cook to save my life. When he found out I worked at Grillby's, the loud skeleton snorted.
“THAT USED TO BE SANS'S FAVORITE PLACE TO GO,” he declared. “EVERY NIGHT JUST TO DRINK HIMSELF INTO A BOTTLE OF SPICY MUSTARD.”
I almost spit out the iced tea that I had been given with my meal. After a small coughing fit with Red's hand patting my back roughly, I looked up at the taller of the two with wide eyes, tears pricking the corners.
“Did...did you just say 'spicy mustard'?” I sputtered.
“sure did, sugar,” Red said, catching my attention and waving a bottle of it in his hand.
Then, in one fluid motion, I watched as he tilted his head back and squirted some into his mouth. I didn't know if I should be shivering in disgust at the mere look of it, or laughing at the total absurdity of it all. Just the look of the bottle of mustard in his hand had a grin forming on my lips. Papyrus, however, only shook his head.
And that's how it went. We talked over some of the silliest things. I learned more about them both, and I couldn't help but find it strange how...domesticated Red looked, for lack of a better word. He was this big bad ass out in the world, but here, in the confines of his home, he was almost like a docile puppy.
It was bewildering.
After dinner, I scooted my chair back, carefully lowering my leg to the floor. I used to the table to help me stand, but began putting my dishes together, stacking everything on the plate. When I went to lift it, however, Papyrus's hand on my shoulder made me pause. I looked up at him, tilting my head in confusion.
“I'LL TAKE CARE OF THE DISHES. YOU CAN GO RELAX ON THE COUCH,” he said. “I WAS THINKING WE COULD HAVE A NIGHT OF MOVIES. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ANYTHING WITH METTATON?”
It had been after everything happened with my ex. I had felt lonely after spending so much time with people. I had been on my own for the first time in many years, and I thought maybe a dog would help me feel better. I was always around them and they brought a sense of comfort. But when they had taken me to see the animals, I saw Solider, sitting in the far corners of his cage, growling at everyone who walked by it.
Except for me.
He had stopped growling and approached me, even though I wasn't near the cage. When I had turned to look at him, those deep green eyes had captivated me. And something compelled me to forgo the dog and get this angry ball of fluff instead.
There was never a time since then I regretted the decision. He was a wonderful companion, and I would trade him for the world. He reminded me a lot of myself, in a weird way. He was picked up off the streets to have a better life. Only, I wasn't picked off the streets. And I did everything I could to get out of that horrible situation.
I shivered at the thought.
I shut that train down real quick.
When he made it to the bed, he looked over and up at me. He gave me a small meow, jumping up and curling into a pillow. He slowly began to sink into sleep, opening an eye every now and then to look around.
“Don't worry, bud,” I murmured, running my hand down his fur. “We'll be home once I'm able to walk on my own without falling over.”
He didn't even make it seem like he was paying attention. Just like he was to me, I was his rock and comfort. It had grown to be like that over the little amount of time I had been with him. And it was nice to think I could be a comfort with someone. Even if it was a cat.
After the Mettaton movie binge, Papyrus had excused himself to bed. Red hadn't said very much, cracking off the occasional pun. Papyrus had snapped at him numerous times for it, and it only earned him a shrug as I laughed like an idiot at each one. Red had helped me to bed, then excused himself to his own room.
From there, I had taken a long, hot bath. I kept my leg propped up, trying to think of where I could go nearby where I could grab a brace or something. In reality, I should be going to a hospital to get a cast put on it. The bone had snapped, but it didn't even look like it was deformed. There wasn't even an indication that the bone was still broken.
They did mention Papyrus trying to heal me, and that they couldn't heal everything. Maybe this was something they had been able to fix, but only the bone. Not the fact that the pain was still there. I couldn't even get out of the tub without lifting my ass up and over the side of it.
After barely managing to get dressed in my sweats and huge shirt, I hobbled my way over to the bed, where I now sat petting this snoring cat.
But my thoughts were still on just a few hours ago. My eyes drifted to the door, where Red had kissed me. His teeth against my mouth. While I didn't think about why he did it, I couldn't help but think how he did it. I knew magic was weird, but experiencing it in person is unique.
Kissing a skeleton is no different. I couldn't help but think back to what Grillby said only a day or two ago in his office.
“When Sans sees something he wants, he'll stop at nothing to get it. No matter what it is.”
Is that it? Did Red...want me? I mean, there was no way. He was in the mafia, for fuck's sake. He could have his take of any woman, monster or human, on the planet as of this moment. And I'm sure there had been plenty of women, monster and human, before me. So why the fuck did he kiss me? I couldn't make sense if it was because of a “in the moment” thing, or if he really wanted to try and win me over.
If he was trying to win me over, there was no way in hell that was happening.
I had been around the mafia once, before the monsters came to the surface. There was no way in hell I was getting mixed up in that again.
I looked over at Solider once more before moving him from the bed, carefully placing him on his own. He looked around for a moment, found me, and then curled back into a tighter ball, going back to sleep. Right as I moved to get under the covers, a small knock sounded on the door.
Red's voice carried through the door clearly, even if it was lower than normal. I looked down at the cat, who was still asleep. If he wasn't freaking out over Red being near the door, it should be okay.
Red opened the door slowly, his eye lights casting that weird ethereal glow around the darkened room. When he saw Soldier curled up in his bed, he came in quick, closing the door softly. After another moment of quiet, he turned and faced her, his eye lights dimming down some so it wasn't so bright.
I could only watch him, uncertain of what he wanted. Was he going to try and surprise another kiss on me again, or was he going to act semi normal and have an actual conversation with me? The possibilities were endless with him.
I tilted my head at him. “Sorry?”
“fer kissin' ya earlier,” he said, rubbing his sternum. “i shouldn'ta done that. it was outta line, an' 'm sorry.”
I didn't say anything for a minute, regarding him. He was wearing a black shirt that stretched over his bones, and a pair of baggy sweats that almost covered his socked feet. There was a small bead of sweat on one side of his skull, colored red in the sim light of his eyes. I noted that he shifted slightly and something shiny glinted from his other hand.
Upon closer look, it was a collar. It was kinda thick, with spikes around it and a big metal loop in the front. The clasp was undone, and clinked lightly against his bones when he moved it.
I looked back up at him, realizing he had been staring at me, waiting for some kind of response. I swallowed the lump in my throat.
“It's alright,” I murmured. “Why did you do it?”
He gave pause, before blowing out a breath through his nasal cavity. It made a small whistling noise, which made Solider stir in his sleep.
“i don' know,” he finally answered. “i jus' felt i had to.”
I glared at him, but he didn't continue. I only made a small noise in the back of my throat and I looked down at my hands. There wasn't anything spoken for a long time. He just stood by the door, holding that strange collar in his hands. I still sat in my bed, keeping my legs under the covers while I glanced toward the window.
The moon was full, and even though it was late at night, I wasn't tired. And it seemed Red wasn't either. He seemed like he was lost at the moment, just watching her look out the window. Grillby's words came back to my mind, and I looked back over at him.
“I won't be with you, you know.”
My words seemed to jar him out of whatever he was thinking. It took a second for them to register, but when they finally did, he narrowed his sockets at her. For a split second, his eye lights brightened in the room before dimming again.
“whaddaya mean, sugar?”
“Grillby told me you'll chase what you want, and you'll get it no matter what,” I said, rubbing my wrist again. “I...I've already had my hand in the life you lead, and I'm not about to do it again. We will never happen, so don't even think about trying to win me.”
Something seemed to snap in him, and his grin seemed to turn feral. She didn't see him move until he was already at the bed, leaning over her. She heard Solider shift in his sleep, but other than that, there wasn't anything else from the cat. I looked up at Red, his red eye lights flashing at me and illuminating the area around us. The collar clinked together as it rested near me on the bed.
“'s that what'cha think, sugar?” he asked lowly, his voice deeper than it usually was. “ya think I won't try an' woo ya so hard, ya fall fer me? that ya won't try to stay even when i tell ya t' go? or do ya think i won't jus' win ya over at all? 'cause grillbz was right, sugar. if i want somethin', 'll get it, no matter th' hoops i gotta go through.” He hummed, studying my face. “but it's interestin' t' know ya've been through this before. jus' what, exactly, did ya go through?”
He didn't back away when he asked the question, and his claws dug into the duvet around me. I instinctively tried to back away, but my head bumped against the headboard behind me. I couldn't move if I wanted to. He had me trapped. And I didn't know how to answer him, because I didn't want to tell him what happened with Dominic.
He was still a sensitive topic, and the only person who really knew what happened was Grillby. It's why he was always so protective over me. Even with random strangers at the bar that were just passing through the city, he made sure I was watched out for. If he wasn't there to do it, he had Julian or one of the cooks keep an eye on me.
Dominic was the reason the mafia scared me as much as it did.
And why Red frightened me even more.
He was the Judge. He could easily tear anyone limb from limb without even thinking about it. And I didn't want to think what he would do to someone who hurt me. Even though he'd only known me for a little while, he seemed very keen on protecting me.
“That's none of your business,” I hissed lowly, trying to throw him off.
I didn't. In fact, my little act only seemed to make him laugh. It was quiet, and his lowered while he shook it. Suddenly, there was a loud crack as his hand shot out and hit the headboard beside my head. His head came back up and he regarded me another moment before the predatory air around him faded. He moved back, keeping the collar in his fist.
“we'll see about that, sugar,” he said, heading for the door. Before he left, he looked over and shot me a wink before closing the door behind him.
I sank into the bed, rubbing my arms against the sudden chill in the air. I had so many questions. But none of them would be answered. If it's one thing everyone knows about the Judge, he's got a lock on any answers you'd want unless he wanted you to know them. And while he seemed protective over me, he still didn't know me.
The moment he would learn of my past, which I'm sure he would whether it was from me or not, he would kick my ass to the curb and leave me alone. And that's what I needed. I didn't need him to be mixed up with more shit than he can handle.
I sank into the bed, closing my eyes. Even though I tried, sleep still evaded me, my thoughts running around the color red.