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The Night Monster

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Mom was always telling you that monsters would eat you if you didn’t behave. That they came in the night and ate children, leaving their beds empty come morning.

So, you haven’t been sleeping much, at least not until sunrise. Your sibling, Chara, sleeps fine, but you…not so much. Chara had always been stronger than you in battling fear, but they’re dear to you and give you good advice most of the time.

Still, you sit with your flashlight in hand, covers pulled in a cloak around your body as you watch the window. It’s the only way into the room from outside.

Of course, nothing has come from there in the many nights you’ve watched.

Until now.

The window glows softly blue, then opens, and as your eyes grow wide in fear, a large skeletal hand pulls up on the windowsill. It pulls the body it’s attached to up and into the room, and the creature’s appearance makes you pause.

Though the hands are clawed and there are fangs in its mouth, this skeleton is smiling placidly, lights in its sockets that glow a soft blue like the force that opened the window. It wears a blue jacket that is big even for its large form, but it is open and exposes his ribs and the gel-like substance that makes a small tummy under the bones. He tilts his large skull as he notices you, and his sweet smile is heightened by a crinkling of the bone around his sockets.

It takes you a moment, but then you flash your light at him repeatedly. There’s a startled noise, more confused than afraid, and the skeleton hides his face with his hands. You jump out of bed on the opposite side and rush around, quickly trying to get around him (?). The voice was deep, anyway, so for now, him.

You don’t know what to do, so you smack your flashlight on the back of his head. The creature collapses, but you see his ribs move in and out as you stand there, stunned at yourself. He’s down for the count, but alive, and you know you can’t handle him alone. So you naturally run to get your sibling.

Chara comes when Frisk uses their walkie-talkie, and the two children both look over the skeleton in the floor.

“I say we kill it,” Chara huffs, “then it can’t hurt us or anyone else again.”

“No!” Frisk flung themselves protectively over the big skull of their invader, “He didn’t hurt me, and I don’t think he’s bad. We should give him a chance, Chara.”

The older child sighed in frustration and crossed their arms, “Fine, Frisk. I’ve got the key to the shed outside. We’ll tie him up there and try your way first, but if he hurts either of us…” Chara glares at the skeleton, poking his belly with their foot, “I could probably pop this and that’d do it.”

“mmmn,” Frisk frowns, still holding stubbornly to his skull, “I’m not agreeing to that. But we do need to get him out before Mom sees.”

“Fiiiine,” Chara picks up the legs and long tail of the skeleton while Frisk tenderly bundles his hands together and picks up his skull as well. It’s heavy, but they are determined to carry the burden themselves.

Both of them are there the next day when the skeletal beast opens his sockets and those soft blue lights return.

Frisk smiles up at him, even though his wrists and ankles are tied by rope to the wall, “Hi! Um….why were you in my room last night, Mr. Skeleton?”

He tilts his head, confused.

“He’s a monster, Frisk, he can’t talk.” Chara pouted, looking up at the creature.

“Let’s try another way,” Frisk thought carefully, then patted their chest, “Frisk!” The child then put their hand on their sibling’s shoulder, “Chara.” They repeated the gestures a few times, as well as their names. Then, they asked softly, “You?” and pointed at the skeleton.

His eyes, having been following their actions with that same easy grin beneath them, brightened, and a deep, soft voice replied, “sans.”

“He talked!” Frisk giggled and clapped. “Sans!” The monster’s smile tips up a little further.

“frisk,” he repeats, chuckling a little.

Chara’s mouth hangs open slightly, then sets itself into an unhappy frown. “So he can understand us…a little. Okay, boney boy Sans, why were you in Frisk’s room?”

Sans sits up, leaning back on his arms and looking at Chara with interest, “hm?”

Frisk sighs, “I think that’s too complicated, Chara. Um….I know!” They gesture to him and Sans gives a soft purr, “Sans food?”

He jolts a bit and nods with enthusiasm, but makes a frustrated expression with knitted brow bones as he tugs at his bonds.

Grinning, Frisk skips off, “I’m gonna get stuff to feed him! Don’t hurt him while I’m gone, Chara!”

Chara rolls their red eyes, but resolves to do as their sibling asked, an annoyed toss of their auburn hair the only signal they give. Sans simply watches them, curious about this big-small human.
Frisk returns to the shed with a sack of things they snuck from the fridge while their mother was in another room.

“Let’s see what Sans eats!” they pull out an apple and offer it to Sans, making sure their hand is only close enough to give it and not to be taken.

Sans looks at the fruit, but doesn’t move to take it.

“Not fruit, seems like,” Chara quips. “Why not try meat? What else are those fangs for?”

He did perk up when Chara said meat, and so Frisk pulls out two paper packages. They unwrap the first to reveal a cooked chicken breast, and hold it out to Sans.

The large creature sniffs at it, then sighs and looses a bit of mirth to his smile, pulling back. Frisk notices this and then unwraps the second package after recovering the first. This second offering is a tray of raw hamburger meat, and as soon as Sans sees it, he takes the foam tray with his magic and dumps the whole thing into his mouth, able to swallow it with ease. Frisk gasps, watching the lump slide down Sans’ glowing blue throat that seems to appear and disappear, only existing for the contents. He licks his teeth, purring as his formerly clear stomach turns opaque once the meat enters.

“He’s a carnivore, and likes it raw. I’m surprised he didn’t try to eat you when he had the chance, Frisk,” Chara smirks, watching their little sibling staring at the monster in various states of amazement.

“I dunno…” Frisk murmurs, staring up at Sans in the face. The skeleton leans down and nuzzles their head gently, thanking them for the food. Frisk giggles and grins; they have a good feeling about Sans.

Chara sighed and pulled Frisk back, “C’mere, goody-two-shoes, before you’re dessert. Now don’t go feeding him without me here, okay? Just…let’s just agree neither of us is coming in here with him alone.”

Frisk looks from Sans to Chara, then droops, “Okay….”

Sans makes a noise then sticks his blue tongue out at Chara, “not fun.”

Frisk laughs while Chara pouts.

Frisk is too curious. It’s clear Sans was going to do SOMETHING when he came into their room, and he can clearly eat them with his size, but he always treats them gently every time they speak with him. He’s even nice to Chara, though the older child isn’t too impressed even with a magical skeleton.

Frisk decides sneak out in the middle of the night some time later, their jump rope tied around their waist.

Sans is laying on his back when they come in, but he sits up and greets them when they enter, “frisk.”

“Hi, Sans.” Frisk smiles, shyly tying the long skipping rope to a pole, “Um….you…” They fidget, still unsure how to bring this up with the monster. They want to test if they really can get eaten or if their fears were just some silliness their mom told them.

Sans lays back down to be closer to their eye level, then smirks and licks their face. Frisk yelps, but giggles, making Sans purr softly. Even with those fangs, Frisk sees Sans as a lazy puppy mostly. He’d even too lazy to not eat the plates they’ve brought his food on, and they DO need those back.

He seems to understand gestures more than words, so Frisk gestures to him, then themselves, then points into their own mouth. Sans’s eyes spark bright and he purrs deep and loud. He likes that idea, it seems, and opens his mouth wide for them.

It’s not dark, like Frisk expected, and the blue glow encourages them. This is silly! Sans is nice, so there’s no reason to be scared. And besides, they have their rope to keep them secured and climb out if they have to. So they crawl in, and Sans waits a bit before scooping them up and swallowing them easily. Frisk was small for their age, but it was all the same to Sans. He just had to….yes, he got his magic around the rope and untied it from the support beam. He was going to let Frisk out on his own, when HE wanted to. Or, y’know, if they got scared or something, but until then he was going to enjoy this.

Yeah, he’d had fun playing pet monster, but Chara’s rudeness was irritating after a while. Frisk’s small squeak of surprise when the rest of the rope slipped down with them was adorable, and Sans cooed sweetly to them, “no hurt. soft. hugs?”

Frisk was a little nervous but…”Yeah. Okay.” They’d landed fine and cuddled into the back of his stomach. it was dry, warm, and soft here, and it made them feel sleepy. They decided they didn’t mind it so much after all, being eaten by a monster. At least if it was Sans.

Sans didn’t know what he was going to do, exactly, other than enjoy that Frisk wasn’t scared of him anymore. He should’ve let them see him sooner, or spoke. He’d been coming and feeding of Frisk’s natural magic for a few years now, but they’d always reacted with fear before. He’d been concerned, but he’d wiped their memories of the event as usual with any other feeding. But..it’d been too long since they’d first found him. Frisk was going to remember him one way or another, so….he was glad it was positive. And hey, he wasn’t saying no to willing, cuddly kids. He’d deal with Chara somehow, but later. Right now…he just wanted to rest and concentrate on this success with Frisk.

Chapter Text

Chara hadn’t been happy in the morning when Frisk wasn’t in their room. And they’d been even less happy when they found their little sibling nestled in the belly of the skeleton in their garden shed.

Of course, Frisk was fine and was instantly released while Sans grinned teasingly at Chara from above the little child while they explained. And now that he was free, Sans could easily pick up Frisk and cuddle them, too. They were a good kid, and the fact that they were now giggling after last night meant they weren’t scared anymore. He was so glad.

And something clicked in his mind. Oh. OH.

“frisk?” He asked, watching Chara exit the shed in disgust. Perfect. He didn’t want the little angry one around for this.

“Yeah, Sans?” Frisk responded, looking up as he set them back down again.

“gon’ leave. come back. be good.” He grinned and stood up, giving them a wink as he vanished.

There was someone else who’d want to meet this little miracle child.

Chara was by the front door when Frisk walked out of the shed, a little sad. “So? What did you and the gobbler talk about?”

“He left…” Frisk said softly, fiddling with their fingers. “Just…poofed away.”

“Well good!” Chara growled, crossing their arms angrily, “He ate you! He could’ve killed you!”

“Chara, I told you. It was safe and really nice in there,” Frisk explained, close to tears. They really really liked Sans; he was different and gentle with them and…and something told them he’d been with them a long time before they’d ‘caught’ him. Frisk didn’t want to lose him. “Sans didn’t hurt me.”

“Frisk…” Chara sighed deeply and pulled the younger child close, “Ugh you’re too nice. But….if it’s gonna make you cry, I guess I won’t hurt him. If he ever comes back, that is.”

This made Frisk cry for real, clinging to Chara’s sweater. They’d be really lonesome if they never saw Sans again.

Sans sighed, reiterating his point [paps, the kid isn’t scared anymore.]

Beside him was a taller, more gangly skeleton with a longer skull and no stomach to speak of, just gleaming white spine in his center. This skeleton huffed and replied [I DON’T MEAN TO BE RUDE, SANS, BUT HOW CAN I BELIEVE YOU? YOU HAVE BEEN GONE FOR DAYS AND WHEN YOU COME BACK YOU HAVE THIS RIDICULOUS STORY ABOUT THE CHILD WHO WAS TERRIFIED OF YOU BECOMING A WILLING MEAL? PREPOSTEROUS!]

Rolling his eye lights, Sans crossed his arms over his chest, [bro, just come meet them. if they’re scared, you don’t have to do anything. you’ll be safe even if you have to stay there for a while to recover.]

The other monster looked uncertain, his smile turning down and empty, narrow sockets glancing to the side, [WELL…I SUPPOSE MEETING THEM WOULDN’T HURT. BUT YOU MUST LET ME AT LEAST LEAVE FATHER A NOTE. HE WAS WORRIED SICK WHEN YOU DISAPPEARED!]

Chuckling,Sans hugged him, nuzzling his face into the other skeleton’s scarf, [thanks, bro. i won’t let the old man worry any more.]

Frisk sighed and played with their sheets. Their teddy bear was forgotten beside them as they watched the window. Sans had said he’d come back, right? Or was that just his way of saying he needed to go home since he couldn’t speak properly?

They were getting dispondent when there was a familiar rattling noise.

“Sans?” Frisk whispered, going to the window. On the other side was their skeletal friend, his placid smile in place. “Oh! You came back!”

He chuckled, easily opening their window and crawling in. “said would. frisk~” Sans hugged them, making them giggle as they hugged back.

However, Sans was not alone. Another skeleton, bigger and thinner, crawled in after him, but looked exhausted. This skeleton had a red scarf around his neck, and red gloves with matching boots on his hands and feet. No claws to be seen, no sharp edges anywhere except his angular face.

“Who’s this?” Frisk asked as Sans set them down.

“I *huff huff* AM THE GREAT *wheeze* PAPYRUS,” replied the skeleton on the floor, rolling onto his back and groaning. “AND I AM EXHAUSTED.”

“You can talk! A lot!” Frisk was elated, running over and patting Papyrus’ skull.

Papyrus’ expression became happier, though he still had deep grooves under his sockets, “YES. LADY TORIEL TAUGHT ME AND I HAVE PAID GREAT ATTENTION TO YOU HUMANS’ SPEECH. UNLIKE A CERTAIN LAZYBONES BROTHER OF MINE.”

Sans shrugged and sat on the floor, closing the window behind him. He garbled something that Frisk couldn’t understand, and Papyrus responded back in kind, looking irritated. Not knowing what else to do while the brothers talked, Frisk just gently stroked Papyrus’ skull, which seemed to make him sleepy.

After a long conversation in which Papyrus kept getting louder and more agitated, he finally sighed and looked apologetically at Frisk, “LITTLE HUMAN, I APOLOGIZE, BUT MY BROTHER SEEMS TO THINK YOU ARE NOT FRIGHTENED AT THE IDEA OF US EATING YOU.”

“Oh? No, I’m not scared at all.” Frisk smiled at the astonished expression Papyrus had, big white eyes appearing for a moment just to pop comically out of his sockets.

“W-WELL, EVEN SO, I AM…FAR TOO TIRED TO DO THAT TONIGHT. BUT MIGHT WE STAY WITH YOU FOR A NIGHT?” He seemed embarrassed, cheeks blushing a sickly orange as Frisk continued to pet him.

“Sure! Sans lived in our shed for a long time, but you can stay in my room, Papy,” they giggled softly. “But, um, why do you guys eat kids anyway? Or is it just for fun?”

“need to. food. energy.” Sans listed off, getting comfortable right where he was.

“YES, MONSTERS NEED TO DRAW OFF HUMAN MAGIC TO BE HEALTHY,” Papyrus sighed and wriggled a bit to be closer to Frisk, “WE TAKE THE LITTLE ONES IN FOR THE NIGHT, SINCE THEY NATURALLY HAVE SO MUCH EXTRA, AND ERASE THE MEMORIES IN THE MORNING TO MAKE SURE THEY AREN’T TRAUMATIZED.”

“Oh! Okay,” Frisk got up and threw one of their extra blankets over Papyrus, throwing a spare pillow at Sans, who just let it hit him in the face. “Well, when you’re not so tired tomorrow night, you can take me in, Papyrus. Sans already did it once, so it’s your turn!”

“OH WOULD YOU? COULD I REALLY?” Papyrus seems desperate and Frisk frowns, “U-UM, THAT IS, IT WOULD BE AN HONOR, HUMAN FRISK.”

Nodding, they say goodnight and get up in their bed, snuggling up with their teddy. “Goodnight, Sans.”

“night,” Sans mumbles, then scoots over to be next to Papyrus

“Goodnight, Papyrus,” Frisk grins at the new skeleton.

“GOODNIGHT, HUMAN FRISK. SWEET DREAMS!” He seems elated, but is quickly asleep from how very tired he is.

“There’s two of them.” Chara whispered frantically as Frisk brushed their teeth. “Two giant skeletons in our shed right now!”

Spitting out the tooth paste, Frisk asked, “Would you rather they stayed in my room and Mom find them?”

“No!” Chara groaned and held their head, “I want them gone! I want them to leave us alone and disappear and never come back!”

Frisk washed their mouth out and hopped down. “Well, they’re my friends, and Papy’s too tired to leave. So you’ll just have to wait until I can help him.”

“By letting him eat you?”

Nodding, Frisk watched Chara go about the morning ritual, “Well, yes. But I’ll be fine and then he can go home and Sans will probably go with him.”

“Probably?” Chara paused, toothbrush almost to their mouth, “You don’t know?”

“Well, no. But that’s because Sans hasn’t gotten to learn English as much yet.” It was just facts to Frisk, and they hummed as they left the bathroom.

Chara held back a sigh and quietly bopped their head against the sink a few times. How did Frisk even survive?

Night had settled, and the skeletons were once again in Frisk’s bedroom. Papyrus was much recovered and sat nervously in the corner.

Sans said something with a teasing grin, and Papyrus replied in annoyance, but went back to picking at his gloves.

“Why do you wear those, Papy?” Frisk asked, legs dangling over the side of their bed as they sat there in their pajamas. Sans only had his jacket on, after all.

“WELL,” Papyrus admitted reluctantly, glancing back and forth between Frisk and Sans, “WHEN I…UM…USED TO GO OUT TO TRY AND GET MY OWN ENERGY, THE CHILDREN WERE FRIGHTENED OF ME. SO I THOUGHT MAYBE I COULD JUST COVER UP MY CLAWS? BUT THAT DIDN’T WORK, SO I KEPT THEM ON TO MUFFLE MY MOVEMENTS.” He smiled, a little less nervous, “THAT WORKS BETTER. THE KIDS DON’T WAKE UP SOMETIMES, SO I CAN GET THEM IN WITHOUT SCARING THEM. I REFUSE TO TAKE IN A FRIGHTENED CHILD; IT’S CRUEL EVEN IF THEY WILL FORGET IT LATER.”

He glared at Sans who rolled his eye lights, “not healthy. too thin.”

Papyrus pouted, “I CAN’T HELP IT IF I CAN’T MAINTAIN A…AH…SUFFICIENT MAGIC STORE AT THIS RATE. I WILL NOT BE MEAN TO THE LITTLE HUMANS. I AM A GOOD MONSTER, AND SCARING CHILDREN IS NOT A GOOD THING.”

Frisk giggled, then came over, “I’m ready when you are, Papyrus. I trust you.”

Little sparkles appeared in his sockets, and he hugged Frisk to his sternum, “THANK YOU LITTLE FRIEND! HAVE A GOOD SLEEP.”

Sans purred softly, encouraging both of them, and Frisk nodded. Papyrus’s mouth was narrower than Sans’ but just as warm and soft, and he was even more careful about his fangs than Sans had been. Frisk was delighted to find it was orange inside instead of blue, as well. “Wow! So cool!”

The nervous skeleton whined a bit in embarrassment, but tilted his head back to let gravity help him in swallowing. Sans was watching, tail thumping happily as his brother’s throat materialized, guiding Frisk into place right under Papyrus’ ribs. Finally, after so long, his baby brother was going to get a decent meal more than one night in a row. He wasn’t letting Papyrus leave until he was healthy again, after all.

Frisk was surprised how tightly they were curled when they finally stopped. Sans’ stomach was roomy enough to adjust in, but Papyrus’….it was like being wrapped up in thick blankets like a cocoon. Maybe it was just a side effect of how hungry he was? “You okay, Papyrus?” the child asked.

The only response was a strangely dreamy hum and deep purring.

Crawling over, Sans asked [you feelin’ better now, bro?]

Papyrus nodded and blinked slowly, laying on his side as his own tail curled around himself, [THEY’RE SO WARM, SANS.]

Sighing contentedly, Sans lay down, too and pulled Papyrus close, [good. that’s because they want to help. intent makes it better, believe me.now you just enjoy this, paps. you deserve it.]

Papyrus nods and keeps purring, slightly dizzy at the rush of fresh magical energy after so long of running on fumes.

“Is he okay, Sans?” Frisk asked worriedly.

“fine. feel good,” Sans responded softly.

“SPAGHETTI!” Papyrus exclaimed, and laughed a bit, not quite at himself and just wanting to say SOMETHING to thank Frisk for their kindness and concern.

Both Sans and Frisk exploded in giggles.

Outside the door, Chara growled slightly and went back to their room. These monsters had charmed Frisk, but…they weren’t going to be so easy to win over. And nobody was taking their sibling away from them.

Chapter Text

Frisk had never been happier.

During the day, they had Chara to protect them at school from the kids who didn’t understand them. And during the afternoon, they could go out to play with Sans and Papyrus in the shed.

Papyrus had become more and more energetic as the number of nights with Frisk went on, until now he even outmatched the young child’s enthusiasm. Sans would watch his brother play with Frisk until the sleepy skeleton nodded off, but he was pleased. His little brother had finally been pulled out of his starvation state, and now he didn’t have to worry.

For his part, Papyrus was incredibly happy. A new human friend, an end to the exhaustion that had hampered his ambitions, and all the affection he could ask for from both his brother and the little Frisk.

It’d taken about three nights before the taller skeleton had stopped being loopy from the energy transfer, but he was still very subdued and happy when Frisk agreed to spend the night. Sans…Frisk hadn’t asked where he’d been going after that third night, but they had a hunch.

Chara had been very grouchy lately, but when Frisk asked if they’d slept well, they’d just huffed and said they’d slept fine. No dreams or anything. And Sans seemed very smug….

Well, at least Sans wasn’t suffering in exchange for helping Papyrus. And Frisk was sure, as soon as Chara realized how nice and fun Sans was, they wouldn’t have to have their memories erased.

Frisk had also taken upon themselves teaching Sans (and somewhat Papyrus) about English. They’d started with words in general. Turns out Papyrus knew a lot of words, but didn’t know what they meant. Like Spaghetti, for instance. Frisk was very happy to explain things, and Papyrus was an eager student. Sans….not so much.

He would pay attention for a while, but the next thing Frisk would know, he’d be asleep again. “Sans!” the youngster would go over and shake the skeleton’s shoulder, “We aren’t done yet!”

“BROTHER!” Papyrus joined in, “THIS IS IMPORTANT! WAKE UP!”

Sans just grinned and continued to not pay attention, but Frisk wondered if this wasn’t just his way of absorbing things. His speech was improving, less stilted and caveman-ish by the day, so he was learning SOMEthing but definitely had a long way to catch up to Papyrus.

One night though, just as Frisk settled into Papyrus’ stomach for the night, Sans cleared his ‘throat’ and said, “frisk?”

“Hm?” the child was comfortable and snuggling against the wall, blinking out of the orange membrane (much roomier now) to Sans.

“me’n pap…uh….leavin’ soon.” He seemed sad about it, frowning slightly. “come’n back…but leavin’.”

Papyrus whimpered as he both heard Frisk’s sadness and felt the falter in the energy transfer. “SANS, DO WE REALLY HAVE TO GO?”

He sighed and nodded, “dad.”

“OH.” Papyrus nodded, the warmth and sleepiness that had become common with Frisk’s help stealing over him. “I SUPPOSE HE WILL WORRY. BUT WE’LL BE BACK SOON.” That was a statement, not a question. He wasn’t going to leave Frisk alone, and frankly didn’t want to go back to starving or relying on the orphans Lady Toriel had adopted.

“You *yawn* have a dad?” Frisk asked, eyes getting heavy as their energy dwindled and the soft glow around them lulled their senses.

“mmhm.” Sans grinned, “silly.”

“YES, I SUPPOSE FATHER IS SILLY,” Papyrus huffed softly, arm laying protectively over Frisk as he felt them getting more and more relaxed. “BUT HE LOVES US AND WILL BE SO HAPPY TO HEAR WHAT YOU’VE DONE, FRISK. YOU SAVED ME, AFTER ALL. YOU ARE A HERO!”

“Mmmn,” Frisk nuzzled in, barely awake.

[we’ll talk to them more when we come back.] Sans switched to monster speak, technically called Wingdings. [besides, a few nights without us will let them be fresh and full of energy to spare.]

Papyrus motioned for Sans to get closer. [BROTHER…I DON’T WANT TO LEAVE THEM, THOUGH. WHAT WILL THEY DO WITHOUT US?]

[they’ll be a kid, pap. play with chara, go to school, and probably sleep in the bed for once.] Sans gave his brother’s head a pat. [and like you said, we’ll come back as soon as we can. gotta show dad that cute belly you grew~] He grinned and tried to poke Papyrus’ stomach, but got his hand slapped away.

[DON’T TEASE ME, SANS! I SWEAR I WILL DISOWN YOU.] he pouted, as much as a skeleton could, and Sans just chuckled before getting up.

[i’m goin’ next door to play with chara. night bro.]

[GOODNIGHT SANS. PLEASANT DREAMS TO YOU BOTH.]

“So, you finally had enough?” Chara was playing with their pocket knife as Sans sat at the end of their bed, unimpressed.

“no. just dad.” Sans hated trying to communicate on his truncated vocabulary, but Chara needed to know this.

“Psh, whatever. I knew you’d leave eventually and break Frisk’s heart. That’s why we don’t make friends. They never stay.” Chara’s voice was heavily jaded for someone so young.

Sans growled, “coming back. no leave frisk. never.” He really disliked how Chara reacted to literally everybody.

“Tell me another one, Sansy,” scoffed the child, even as they brought up their knife to remind him they had it.

After taking a deep breath to calm himself, Sans used his magic to fling their pocket knife away as he pounces on Chara. “fine. in now.”

Though they struggle, Sans is easily able to swallow them up and curl up on their bed. Chara hisses, “I hate you, Sans.”

Sans doesn’t even bother responding. They hate everyone, after all, as far as he can tell.

As much as they hated to admit it (especially after Sans left them with that lovely parting gift of retaining their memories of being eaten) Chara noticed how sad Frisk was without the skeletons around.

They were listless, more quiet than ever, and clung to their older sibling at any given opportunity. Chara liked that Frisk needed them, but not to this extreme. Especially when even their hugs and games did little to brighten the younger child’s mood. Whether Chara liked it or not, Frisk loved Sans and Papyrus, and was going to be sad until they came back.

Luckily, neither child had long to wait

In an attempt to ease Frisk’s loneliness, Chara had started sneaking into Frisk’s room to sleep. So when the window slid open that night, Chara and Frisk both sat up.

First came Papyrus, eager and cooing softly, “Friend Frisk! We return! And sooner than expected.” The younger child shot out of the covers and wrapped their arms around Papyrus’ skull, nuzzling his face as they hummed and giggled in joy.

“Papy!” Chara felt the warmth in their heart as their precious baby sibling finally was happy again. It was worth dealing with stupid Sans and who knows what else to see Frisk so excited.

“I missed you as well, my friend,” Papyrus whispered (for him anyway), not able to help the soft purr as he softly lifted Frisk in his gloved hands while he sat up.

“aww, me?” came Sans’ deep, lazy drawl as he slid in as well, giving Chara a wink before Frisk was handed to him and cuddled close to his chest, “miss me?”

“Yes, Sans! I missed you and Papy so much it hurt!” Frisk babbled quickly, clinging to the dirty jacket that hung around Sans’ bones still.

“My, this child is incredibly attached to you, my sons,” came a new voice, and a more elegant, cautious skeleton made his way inside. “Oh. And the sibling is here as well. Good evening, children.” He was tall like Papyrus, but his skull more rounded off and solid like Sans’ though it was much thinner and longer.. He also had two black cracks running up from one socket and down from the other.

“Who the heck are you?” Chara bluntly pointed at him. “I’ve never seen you before.”

“Naturally,” the skeleton nodded, his voice smoother and very minimally higher than Sans’, “I am Dr. W.D.Gaster, and these two are my sons. As a scientist, I’m usually much too busy to come so far from the monster realm for these nightly excursions, but I wanted to thank Frisk personally for saving Papyrus’ life.”

“FATHER, PLEASE…” Papyrus blushed and curled in on himself, “YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME.”

“Oh, don’t be ashamed, my son,“ Gaster chuckled, his laugh more lilting than either of his boys’ “your kindness is admirable, as is your dedication to upholding your beliefs. I’m simply stating facts. We’re all glad you’re finally healthy.”

“Wait, monsters have parents?” Chara’s mind was blown.

“yeah?” Sans tilted his head, “does everyone?”

“Yes.” Frisk nodded, letting go of Sans and going to stand next to Gaster, who was cloaked from head to tail in a long black robe, “I’m Frisk. It’s nice to meet Sans and Papy’s dad. I like you.” They offered their hand, and Gaster delicately shook it with his thumb and forefinger.

“Then the petulant one is Chara. I see,” Gaster looks at Frisk, “I owe you a great deal, for helping my sons, Frisk. Should you ever have need of anything, you can count on our assistance. Our dear Lady has already named you as welcome in our lands at any time.”

“tori’s super stoked that paps found something to eat.” Sans grins as everyone stares at him.

“YOU COULD TALK PLAINLY THIS WHOLE TIME?!?” Papyrus shrieked, then covered his mouth, “Sans, I AM SERIOUSLY GOING TO DISOWN YOU.”

“Son, have you been pretending to be a primitive again?” Gaster raised a brow bone at Sans.

“yep, and i woulda gotten away with it but i was too bone-tired of the gag,” Sans chuckled, rolling over as Frisk jumped on him and began banging on his chest with their comparatively tiny fists. “only pretended somewhat, though. took me the trip to figure out the correlation between wingdings and english sounds.”

Frisk yawned, as it was past their bed time, “What’s Wingdings?”

“Monster language, child,” Gaster’s expression softened and he stroked Frisk’s head softly, “And it seems we should leave you and your sibling alone now. You are tired.”

“Don’t!” Chara covered their mouth at the halting words.

All three skeletons looked at them in confusion, and Chara sighed, realizing the jig was up.

“Frisk was really sad without you. Don’t leave again. I can’t….I don’t know how to make them happy,” Chara slumped into the bed. “I’m a bad sibling, I know, but they really need you guys.”

“nah, kid,” Sans sets Frisk on the bed so they can cuddle their sibling (which they do, looking very determined). “you’re not bad. just hurting. i’m guessing someone left you before and so you don’t want anybody else to come in so they can’t leave. right?”

“Y….yeah…” Chara curled into Frisk and cuddled them. They couldn’t say it, but that’s what happened. Their dad had left….then Frisk’s dad left….nobody ever stayed, and Chara was always sure it was their fault. They were the one who needed medicine to keep from bleeding too much, they were the one who needed to talk to a doctor every month to make sure they didn’t get….violent. It was hard, and nobody wanted to stay for that. Except Mom and Frisk.

“Astute as always, Sans,” Gaster murmured, slipping closer to the bed as Papyrus tried not to cry himself, his lower jaw quivering. “Chara, child, the fact you were willing to defend Frisk, and put aside your own distrust of us for them, is a very positive sign. I am a doctor of many things, psychology one of them. You love Frisk, and want them safe. I can’t think of a better sibling than one who would do that.”

His large hands carefully touched Chara’s arm, making both humans notice the holes in the palms for the first time, and Frisk murmured, “I love you, Chara. I loved you first, so you get your turn most.”

The older child laughed and hugged Frisk tight, “Of course you’d think of it in turns! Stars, Frisk, you’re too nice!” They were crying, yes, but it felt like a release instead of a burden. They weren’t bad at something. They weren’t bad at all. It felt so good to be PRAISED for something from an adult.

“I don’t think we should separate them, Sans, not tonight,” Gaster murmured as the children huddled together.

“can’t say i disagree, old man,” Sans replied, just as softly. “we’ll just keep watch over them then. no problem.”

Papyrus could only nod in agreement as he scooted closer shyly, wanting to join in the cuddle party but realizing this was something private for Frisk and Chara. He still had big orange tear drops dribbling down his face, but Gaster gently wiped them away with the hem of his robe.

“There there. Now let’s all get some rest, my dears. Everything will look brighter in the morning,” with such gentle authority, all those present nodded and settled down. The children held each other close as Gaster tucked them in, and the skeletal brothers clustered close by, in much the same position. Gaster, sighing softly with affection and relief, lay down himself, though he did smile at the doorway before closing his eyes.

Frisk and Chara’s mother stood there, peering through the cracked door and smiling. This was more than she’d hoped, when she’d gone to the monsters to see if they could help her children. And now not only were they both safe and making friends, but Chara had opened up to someone outside the family. There was hope, and she closed the door with a soft “Thank you,” to the monsters there.