One of your assistants managed to get hired based completely on forged paperwork.
It’s Asgore who brings it to your attention, awkwardly, over tea. He apologizes for not knowing before you hired the young monster, apparently the woman in charge of personnel background checks fell down recently and her department’s been a mess. Which might also be the reason they can’t seem to find any real records attached to one of the very few skeletons left in the underground.
You, politely, ask to be updated if they find anything more and to be given some time to choose how to handle this. Asgore trusts you and grants you full authority over the case. You leave the throne room with your stomach swirling with conflicted worry as you contemplate the assistant in question, running through what you know of the monster.
Comic Sans Serif, goes by Sans. 24, single father of one. Laid back, perpetually exhausted, and easy to get along with. The only time there’s real energy in his voice is either when he talks about his child or when he gets into the real theoretical work with Alphys or yourself, eyes bright and hands flailing as ideas bounce between the three of you. You like him.
All of his paperwork is a lie, birth certificate to highschool diploma to degree, false. A life told in papers gone. Decent lies, you’d called the references he’d listed and hadn’t noticed anything wrong.
He’s just a, smart, nice young man.
You wonder what all you’ve missed.
You’re on edge at work, and everyone can tell because when you’re on edge the more liquidy parts of your body always end up bubbling, vibrating, and occasionally sucking in small pieces of lab equipment. Dr. Sans and Dr. Alphys are the only ones who don't avoid you when you get like this. Partly because they're technically you’re personal assistants despite the fact that they work on a lot of their own projects. Partly, just, they’re friends, they like you - you like them.
You need to figure out what’s going on with Sans. By the third offer of various types of poorly prepared tea from both him and Alphys you decide that you can probably just talk to him about it in private and hear his side of things. You know him, maybe this is all just some kind of wild misunderstanding.
You wait until he’s done with the round of tests he’s working on before asking him to follow you to your office. He dose, concerned, but not the reasons he should be.
When you get into you office he flops right into the guest chair and widens his grin at you “hey dings, everything ok? you’ve been stressed all morning, are you gonna like, ask me to cover for you as you make a daring escape from work?” you’re not sure how someone with no eyebrows can give off the impression of wiggling them, but he manages. “cos i’m game, i can probably get wiggly’s powder cycle to explode again or something.”
You find your face stretching a bit more into your own perpetual smile at the thought, but shake your head and gesture for him to sit. “No that is not why I’ve asked to speak with you Sans. It’s -” you falter and find yourself staring at him, trying to figure out how you want to ask him about this. He still looks more confused than concerned but is starting to noticeably sweat. “I was informed this morning that their seems to be a problem with your documentation.”
Sans freezes, eyelights fixed on you as sweat continues to bead on his forehead. When he speaks his voice is higher and more uneven than you're used to “o-oh? what kind of problem, doc?”
You squirm a little, oddly embarrassed “Ah. It seems that all of the paperwork you turned in when you applied for this job is forged. The background checks department is somewhat of a mess right now so it took a while to figure out.”
It’s like flipping a switch, Sans’ eyelights go out as he sinks back into the chair. “oh. welp.”
You fiddle with your hands, bubbling awkwardly. “So well, I was hoping we could discuss that?”
Sans just stares at you, smile wide and sockets dark. He is staring at you right? Can he see anything with his eyes off like that? This interaction is freaking you out enough that your edges are spiking wildly, which probably does not make you look especially comforting.
“Sans, it’s -”
“doc.” You're not even sure he realizes he cut you off, he looks, scared you think. Wild. “doc i, fuck, i know you don't owe me shit but we were - we’ve been kind of friends right?”
You hesitate for half a second, then nod. He's not wrong but you're not sure where he's going with this.
Your bubbling and spiking increases in speed as he, inexplicably, slides off the chair and onto the floor. His patellas hit the floor as he raises his hands towards you, clasped so tights you can see strain on the metacarpals. He's begging, and you don’t know what’s going on at all.
“please. papyrus can't go to his next of kin. please. they'll listen to you if you vouch for us, i'll go quietly, but alph can take him. or fosters! anything, just -” he's shaking, his eyelights only coming back in brief flickers.
You don't know what you expected him to ask of you. But it wasn't this and you have no idea how to handle it. In somewhat of a panic you flail your hands until they're in a raised non-confrontational position. You carefully edge around your desk and melt to the ground until you’re at his eye level.
He's breathing too fast and when you move your hands again to start talking, he sucks in a wheezy gasp and jerks back about half an inch before what you're saying seems to register. “Sans, Sans listen to me, breath. Can you do that? Just focus on me.” You wait until he's eyelights flick back into mostly steady, lights trained on your hands before continuing. “No one is going to take your child from you? Not for this anyway, I do not believe.”
There's confusion mixing into the panic on his face and it's a bit of a relief. “i-i’m, not sure kids are allowed to accompany their guardians the big house when they’re br-” He cuts himself off. “dad. fucks up, doc.”
You pause to consider this. You suppose it’s good that he's not taking this lightly - you half expected him to brush it off with a laugh and tell you everyone lies on their paperwork. But, “I am not currently pressing charges, Sans. But I do need you to explain how this happened.”
He laughs, harsh and uncontrolled before slapping a hand to his mouth. “i uh, would you believe that i didn't quite finish my PhD so i faked a few of my doc-uments?”
You tilt your head to the side and consider him “I mean, yes, you could probably have spun that in a way that I would have believed. If you could have come up with an explanation as to why your whole identity has been faked.” Two of your hands grab each other, rubbing and stressing the fingers. “But I would really prefer the truth, if you’re in some sort of trouble I would like to help much more than I would like to have you arrested. Or fired.” You consider for a moment and then gently take a skeletal hand one of yours. When he doesn't jerk or protest you take it as permission to help him back into the chair, more of your hands helping him stumble up and then lowering him back. You wait.
He’s, quiet for a few moments and then he takes an approximation of a deep breath, rattling as the air hisses back out his teeth. “i just needed a job, doc. i, i swear it wasn’t anything else. we don’t, i don’t have access to my real birth certificate or anything, and even if i did i couldn’t get anything good enough to support us.” He laughs again, dry wheezing huffs “‘fourth grade dropout’ isn’t really something to put on a resume.”
Absently you rub a thumb along Sans’ hand as you try and figure out what to ask and how carefully to do it. “Well, as someone who came into existence before schools were taylorised, I’m not generally one to toot the benefits of it as a measure of competency. But as it is the place where most children these days learn quantum mechanics.” You tilt your head, “I do wonder how you learned.” You also wonder how a fourth grader managed to dropout of school. What his guardians were doing.
He shrugs, eyelights not off but flickering fairly rapidly. “the library first, librarians don’t get as suspicious if it looks like you’re doing school work, and science has always been interesting and then -” he takes a deep breath looking conflicted, and then slowly “alph, taught me what I needed to know for the job. she wasn’t involved. i mean, i lied to her too, she just thought she was helping out a student.” his eyes have remained a steady glow fixed on your face since he said ‘alph’ and somehow, you’re pretty sure that means he’s lying. You be willing to bet that Alphys was the one who actually forged his documents, and that she knows more about this than you currently do.
“And you’re ah, references?”
He rolls his eyelights and it’s somewhat of a relief, at least he’s not completely panicking anymore. You are somewhat surprised at what he says though. “doc, i don’t actually have vocal cords, i could sound like the king if i wanted. hell, this isn’t even my real voice.”
Your goop spikes in surprise and you take a moment to consider your next words. “That, hmmm. That actually is a feet that takes a considerable amount of magical control. monsters with no vocal cords are more likely to have my particular branch of difficulties then they are to have that kind of skill.” And to maintain a false voice to the extent he has is, impressive. You wonder how much he’s studied of monster biology to brush off that ability.
“oh, uh, i didn’t mean to impl - sorry doc.” he looks sheepish and you wave off the misstep absentmindedly, mind racing.
“We will need you to refill all of your paperwork with the correct information of course. You said you don’t have access to your birth certificate but went to school until the fourth grade? Do you remember the school? You expressed apprehension over Papyrus’ next of kin, is there a problem with your old bondmate?”
Sans looks entirely overwhelmed and a little like he wants to take a panic nap. “uh, nope, i did but who remembers that sort of thing, bondma-? oh, nah, not exactly.” he pauses and his sockets widen as he straightens in the chair “wait, you're letting me keep my job?”
You don’t have to think to hard about your next words, they just kind of bubble out. “Sans you've been here almost a year and you've proved yourself to be an asset to the team.” You approximate clearing your throat, releasing stress bubbles with a popping coughing like noise “And, ah, I mean. We were, we are still friends, I hope? I mean it is alright if not I just -” your hands fumble as what passes for your voice screeches like fingernails on a chalkboard. “CARE.” Embarrassed, you switch back to hands “About you. I mean. And Asgore left the situation to my discretion, so.” You can't look at his face so instead you focus on where his phalanges are bunching his lab coat.
“oh.” Is all he says at first. You're both quiet for a minute, intensely embarrassed on both accounts. “um. it was, the yellow new home elementary. the one like, the furthest away from Hotland.” you don't mention that he said he didn't remember the school earlier, just wait for him to go on. “i went by a different name then, renamed myself after my fonts when i left.” He hesitates for a long time, eyelights far away but steady. “renamed papyrus too. technically he's my brother.” And then less steady in a stumbling rush, “technically i might be guilty of kidnapping, they didn't file a report though i don't think. never had any guards sniffing at us at least and we wouldn’t have been that hard to find. ether didn't care enough or were worried about, like, child abuse allegations or something.”
That’s, a scary position to be in for him and his brother. You wonder how old he was when he left. “These were your parents?”
He can’t quite pull off a grimace with the permanent smile pulling his face back but the expression is close enough. “yeah.”
“I assume these are the next of kin you don't want to gain custody of papyrus?” Inside you’re boiling with an anger that you are not going to examine too closely right now, you are experienced being furious at people you’ve never met and for now you file the feeling away.
You nod. “Very well, I trust you.” And you'll drill holes in your hands before you'd be the one responsible for putting the child sans practically raves about in a dangerous situation. “Would you be willing to give a report to a guard?”
He shrugs “i mean if you want me to, sure.”
“Wonderful!” It’s not wonderful everything about this discussion has been so very much. “Now! Would you agree that this has been a fairly stressful conversation?”
Sans shrugs, “i mean for something that went way better than i expected it to, it was basically the worst yeah.”
“True! So now, if you would go and ah 'Get Wiggly's Power Cycle To Explode Or Something’ I will liberate Alphys from her circuits and we shall meet outside in ten minutes.”
Sans looks at you like he's maybe going to ask some questions but instead he just shrugs. “alright.”
Somehow setting up pranks for the staff to blow off steam turns into a plan to get ice cream, which turns into a haphazard plan to break into an elementary school.
You will admit to being a bit punch drunk, a release of one tension and the avoidance of others with the use of creative and somewhat irresponsible japes leading to a spiky buzzing happiness as you plan the break in.
“normally i'd say i'm short enough to break into an elementary school. unfortunately these guys know that bit too well by now so we're gonna have to come up with something else.”
Alphys raises her hand, “I'm u-uh, short?”
You consider her for a moment and then shake your head. “It will not work, you are too sweaty and they will realize that you have gone through puberty”
Sans nods in agreement. “yeah you seen more like a stressed out teacher then a kid, alph.”
Alphys sighs, “I-It’s true but you s-shouldn’t say it. What other i-ideas do we have?”
Sans squints at the school in concentration. “ok, here's the plan. we all stack into a trench coat and pretend we're a responsible adult here to pick him up for like, an eye exam.”
You shake your head again. “Your son does not have eyes Sans.” You pause “Ah, brother, I mean.”
Alphys rubs her eyes, exasperated. “C-Couldn't you just do that on your o-own? You’re his g-guardian??”
Sans shakes his head mournfully. “won't work, they know who i am as a person.”
You agree that that could be a problem. Considering the school for a final time you come to a decision. “We have been loitering in front of a elementary school for too long I am just going to go in.” With that you scoop each of your assistants under an arm, walk up to the school and kick the door open. You are faced with an empty hall and a door labeled ‘OFFICE’’ You kick that door down next, and are rewarded by the sight of a very startled looking monster behind a desk
You decide that this is a worthy moment for the use of your physical voice. You may not be able to use it much but you think you've gotten better at making it less grating.
I AM GASTER.
PLEASE DIRECT ME.
The monster yelps in both terror and pain and clutches their head. Hmm, maybe your voice still needs some work.
HE IS A.
AND WE REQUIRE HIM.
Sans waves from your armpit “hey. i gotta pick up papyrus they've got a uh, teeth, thing.”
The office person glares at Sans, their eyes streaming “Ms Bunny's class is in the cafeteria, if anything explodes you'll get another suspension.”
Alphys chokes on a surprised snort. “W-what kind of reputation do you have here????”
“aye aye captain.” Sans salutes with two fingers and you take off following his lazy directions to get to the cafeteria.
Busting into a school cafeteria as an adult carrying two more adults under their arms should probably be more embarrassing than it is. As someone feeling the giddy relief of a release of stress, and the endorphins that come from friendship you bust in with confidence. You examine the class for a moment, children with notebooks and a cat monster teacher wearing a shirt with a bunny on it. You then shriek at the top of your lungs and take advantage of the chaos that follows, using two of your extra hand to grab the only skeleton in the class and deposit them on your shoulders. You proceed to make your escape from the school as Sans shoots the teacher a thumbs up and Alphys groans to cover up the fact that she’s laughing.
It must take a moment for the shock to wear off because you’re halfway out the front doors before the child on your shoulders sucks in a big breath and shrieks.
Sans raises a hand. “present.”
Papyrus makes a valiant attempt to kick at him. “YOU KIDNAPPED ME FROM SCHOOL?!”
Sans turns his raised hand into a thumbs up and winks. “yup.”
You’re still booking it and don’t feel like slowing down to drop everybody so you decide to materialize two more hands in front of the child so they can see what you’re saying. “Science!”
“O-Oh, j-jeeze.” groans Alphys. “I-It’s not r-really science Papyrus w-we're just using the fact that the b-biochemical effects of sugar haven’t been fully e-explored as an excuse to go g-get nice cream.”
Sans pats Papyrus’ foot. “annnnd i thought, who’s a cool dude who deserves some ice cream? so we kidnapped you.”
The child considers for a moment, drumming a pattern into your head. “WELL I SUPPOSE I AM VERY GREAT AND I DO DESERVE ICE CREAM! BUT YOU STILL CAN’T KIDNAP ME, THE PRINCIPLE IS GOING TO SUSPEND YOU AGAIN!” Papyrus kicks his small feet into the goop of what passes for your chest.
Sans ignores the threat of principle wrath. “hey papyrus, do you know where you could learn to make ice cream?”
Papyrus kicks his small feet into the goop of what passes for your chest. “WHERE? PLEASE CONSIDER THAT I AM RAISING MY HOPES UP FOR FUTURE ICE CREAM MAKING. IF THIS IS A JOKE YOU REALLY NEED TO RE-EXAMINE YOUR QUALITY OF GUARDIANSHIP.”
“I CAN’T LIVE IN THIS HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT.”
The nice cream is good. The company is better. Sans ends up taking a stress nap in one of the infant swings at the park and you and Alphys have to pry him out in order to take him and his brother home. Tomorrow you will have to update the king, and talk to Alphys about her hand in falsifying the documents. You will have to talk to members of the guard you know you can trust and see what can be done about the fear in Sans’ voice when he begged you to keep his brother away from the dangers of the past. You won't sleep tonight, wired and worried for someone you care about.
The underground is both too small and big enough to get lost in, the darkness eating at its edges, held off by artificial light. When you think of Alphys and Sans, of little Papyrus, you hope that you can stay with them even in the dark.