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The EMV Anthology

Chapter Text

Red had a love-hate relationship with the holiday season.

The whole 'peace on earth' crap was pretty nice, like the world unanimously decided that for one month, it was going to try to be nice to itself, even though everyone knew it was right back to the same old hateful bullshit after new years. However, that same month was a time management and financial nightmare. And Red, for some reason he couldn't understand, kept getting dragged into odd jobs here and there that had him wearing a fluffy red suit and a stick-on beard.

So there he was at the mall, sitting on a thrown of holiday fantasy and candy cane lies. Before him was a long, unbroken line of patrons, mostly parents hold the hands of inexplicably excited little children, waiting their turn to sit on his knee and tell him their greatest giftmas wish, deflecting questions like 'Where did all your skin go?' with answers like 'Cuz' santa's real old 'n went a little to crazy with the cosmetics t' get rid o' th' wrinkles'.

To his left was a similarly cursed individual, a skinny skeleton in green tights and a pointy hat that made him look like just as big of a dingus as Red's getup did for him. Comic didn't seem to care one way or another how he looked, so Red supposed it didn't matter, but he loathed the santa outfit they kept stuffing him in.

"ok kiddos, who's next to see santa?" Comic hummed, unhooking the little red gate that stood about zero chance of actually keeping anyone who wanted in their little bubble of christmas hell out. Red could never see from his spot who was actually on the other side until the gate opened (the setup made to look like two big snow-covered double doors and opened inward to reveal him in all his stupid whimsical glory), but he could feel exactly who it was anyway. Comic pulled the doors open, and Red saw the children in line bounce and giggle and scream in excitement at the fleeting glimpse of his display (he had to admit, seeing those squirming little brats so excited and happy was pretty damn satisfying -- probably why he kept coming back to this dumb job).

However, it was the two people who stepped inside that captured and held Red's attention.

Dance was grinning from ear to metaphorical ear, eyelights sparking in delight. He was wearing an ugly giftmas sweater, a gaudy bright green color with an effigy of santa doing some kind of snowboard trick on the front, complete with big red letters saying 'LET IT SNOW-HO-HO' embroidered over the pouch pocket in the front. Red was rather proud of it (having knitted it himself), even if the color was dumb and he only did it because its what Dance wanted. Lust, hanging on his arm, was dressed in a more revealing version of Red's own suit, red crop top and matching miniskirt with white trim, complete with a matching hat and black boots. He too was beaming at Red.

"oh my god, the rumors were true," Dance wheezed as Comic closed the red gate, the amusement that had been building in him for the last hour he'd been in line finally overflowing into a visceral gratification.

"red, baby, you look amazing," Lust assured him, meaning every word, echoes of his pride and sentimentality almost enough to sooth the ache of Red's own embarrassment.

"th' f- what th' h- why 'r ya here?!" Red hissed low, gripping the arms of his little chair-throne tight in his gloved fists.

"why, to see santa, of course!" Lust purred, making his way over to Red and settling on his lap (not an unusual occurrence, but certainly not one that had ever happened while Red was in costume). Red naturally found his arm stabilizing Lust, going around his waist and selling his thumb in that nook between his spine and iliac crest. "daddy said i was a good boy this year~"

Dance stepped up a bit closer, fingering the bell hanging from his neck. It hadn't wrung (yet), but just him touching it, like he was toying with the idea, had Red sweating nervously in his seat.

"i think yer both fixin' t' get on th' naughty list," Red grumbled.

Lust smiled sweetly, twirling the end of Red's false beard between his fingers, tugging lightly, just enough to put a gentle pressure on Red's bones where the adhesive was keeping it in place. "aww! but i was trying really hard to be a good boy!" He nuzzled closer, his other hand wrapping around Red's back and prodding at his spine through the padded material of his suit, before slipping up to tease at the back of Red's neck, the one spot undefended by the suit.

"we've been naughty, huh?" Dance parroted, almost sounding bored (almost, almost, but Red knew better, he knew that look in Dance's eyelights, that smile, the way he so casually began to creep closer). "whatever did we do, santa?"

"comin' t' bug santa while he's tryin' to work comes t' mind," Red growled, knowing he was poking the proverbial bear.

Red really needed to learn to keep his fucking mouth shut.

Dance grinned wider, leaning over Red despite the difference in their sizes, the hand not holding that bell settling on Red's shoulder lightly for balance. "oh, really? and here we just wanted a picture and a hug. isn't that why you're here, santa? to make some holiday memories?"

Lust's warm fingers stroked along the curve of Red's skull, dipping lower and lower until they were rubbing soothingly at his cervical vertebrae. His pets' love and affection and amusement (even with their mischievousness there to warn him), coupled with Lust's body heat and Dance's voice, were starting to get to him. Red relaxed, the grip on the arm of his chair going completely slack, holding Lust just that little bit closer. His breathing slowed in anticipation of what he knew was coming, Dance's intent burning into him through his hand like a branding iron, the intent that signaled Dance was about to tell him exactly what he wanted.

Never did figure out the name of that intent. Red supposed it didn't matter. Whatever worked for him to make his pets happy.

Dance pressed his frontal bone to Red's, viscerally pleased with something.

"all i want for christmas is you," Dance murmured, flicking his wrist just right to ring the bell.

Red heard the little twinkle, heat shooting up and down his spine as he read between the lines, knowing exactly what Dance meant by the seemingly innocuous statement.

Lust giggled, purring softly. "oh, red~ is that rudolf in your pants, or are you just happy to see us~" He said softly, keeping his voice low and rough, his one leg sliding in to knee gently at the softly glowing tent in Red's trousers.

It was Red's face's turn to glow, an indignant rumble building in his ribs. "yer both on th' naughty list!! no presents!! go choke on yer coal!!"

Dance snickered, pulling back, offering his hand to help Lust up. They were both grinning with enough self-satisfaction to drown a small country. "ok, ok, we're going. you know where to find us when your break rolls around. merry giftmas, santa."

Red watched his pets leave, taking a deep breath to subdue his agitated magic, quelling the glow in his joints (and especially his groin).

"so, uh," Comic's voice came in low, curious and clearly amused. "that why ya insisted on no jingle bells?"

Red felt his face heat all over again, wishing the stupid ass beard didn't completely hide his snarl. "ya didn't see nothin'!"

Comic snickered. "no judgement here. if a certain someone shows up today you'll probably see me go all heart eyes too."

"i did NOT make no fu-"

"alright kiddos! whose next to see santa??"

Red snapped his teeth shut, growling low. He took a deep breath, focusing on the excited noises the little brats were making and changing his posture to be more welcoming. Damn them. Assholes. Dance was a bad influence on Lust.

...But it was nice to see them so happy.

Chapter Text

Papyrus had been on edge (yes, yes, its a pun, go ahead, laugh) for days now.

He had been in the middle of a stakeout, waiting for a couple of gang members to lead him to their hideout. Word on the street was that they were illegally peddling some kind of narcotic substance called 'Ell Tea', and the higher ups were having a bitch fit about it. So, naturally, they hired their best man (Papyrus, the Great and Terrible) for the job, but did not bother to even tell him what the fuck he's looking for or what it fucking does, because, 'oh, sorry Edge, that classified!!' Papyrus knew human code, he knew that that meant, 'fuck if i know, i just know my pretty scientist is having a panic attack in the break room and you better fucking fix it'.

Not that it mattered in the long run. Papyrus found out what it did. And like hell he wanted that shit just floating around in his city. His city, where his brother lived, his brother who was still struggling with night terrors (and how bad did they have to be, to make Sans wake up screaming in the dead of night, after the kind of horrors they had witnessed together every day?) and an addiction problem. No way in hell was Papyrus going to let that happen.

So he had sat there, in an aesthetically criminal-looking black van, the tinted windows rolled up, a coffee in one hand that he sipped idly, on an inconspicuous corner in the Black District. He'd been there for a few hours now, watching the occasional passerby (most of them locals keeping their heads down and their hands in their pockets). And he tried not to be distracted by the fact that his 1HP brother was three blocks away, at Grillby's casino.

He did a damned good job of it until he felt the collar come off.

And with it, Papyrus' assurance that Sans was still alive.

Papyrus had whipped out his phone fast (he couldn't say it was faster than he had in his life, not when he knew that was a lie, that he'd hit his peak phone utilizing speed long ago out of necessity) and texted Sans' number. He knew the rule, ten texts, then he could drop everything and come running. So he did, sending request after silent request.

Papyrus: STATUS?
Papyrus: YOUR COLLAR CAME OFF.
Papyrus: WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED??
Papyrus: REPORT, FUCKFACE.
Papyrus: YOU HAVE UNTIL THE COUNT OF FIVE, AND THEN I AM HAULING ASS AFTER YOU.
Papyrus: ONE.
Papyrus: TWO.
Papyrus: THREE.
Papyrus: FOUR.

Papyrus was just about to send 'FIVE', was just about to launch himself out of the vehicle window and start running (because he could have gotten there faster on foot than any car, never mind the garbage heap he was disguising his greatness with for the sake of stealth), when he felt the collar reconnect, felt his brother's vitals come in loud and clear. A few minutes later, Papyrus got another text.

???: m fine bro

Papyrus ground his teeth, setting his coffee down and texting vigorously.

Papyrus: IF THIS IS A JOKE I WILL FIND YOU AND FUCKING MURDER YOU.
???: status lasagna
???: promise
???: m stil at grilbz

Relief washed over Papyrus, and he sucked in a breath, not realizing he'd stopped breathing in the first place. Only he and Sans knew their code words.

Papyrus: WHY ARE YOU TEXTING FROM SOME RANDOM ASS NUMBER?
???: crd gam gon bad lost fon in bet
???: stol fon frm doggo fr a min
???: gona b here til i get my fon bak
???: jus wantd t let u no so u dont cum runin k gtg by

Papyrus sighed. It was reassuring seeing his brother's grotesque chatspeak gibberish that Papyrus barely understood. It was a relief hearing from him. He knew Sans would delete the text string from the dog's phone before returning it to wherever it was he'd gotten it from (probably borrowed while the blind canine's back was turned). He also knew his brother wouldn't have texted him unless he was trying to hide something.

However, since it was no longer technically an emergency situation, Papyrus couldn't quite justify dropping everything to go investigate (which had probably been Sans' plan, damn him).

Papyrus went back to his stakeout. His only consolation was that he caught the drug dealers.


That had all been three days ago.

Now Papyrus was on a different kind of stakeout. He settled back in the cushioned chair of the restaurant, confident and just a smidgen more at ease with his back to the wall. He was early (as always), but especially because of what tonight was.

He was having second thoughts already. Even thought this had been planned a week in advance, Sans was still stuck at the grease pit and Papyrus wasn't worried in the least, the fat fuck was just fine, he could feel it, it didn't matter that he hadn't gotten a single text since the emergency one from the stolen phone...

Maybe now wasn't the best time to be trying the tiny human's idea. Maybe it would never be a good time. It wasn't like he was lonely or anything, fuck no, he was the Great and Terrible Papyrus, hear his name and tremble!!

He didn't care that he came home to an empty apartment.

The restaurant door opened, and in walked a tall skeleton monster. He was likely going for something subdued and modest, wearing a simple white sweater and dark blue jeans, but his navy blue scarf drew attention from even the most oblivious of bystanders. It was embroidered with gold and white, detailing (with what Papyrus could only imagine was laser accuracy) the many constellations that decorated the sky. He could pick out one of the dippers, and cancer, and a part of cassiopeia (not that he was particularly well educated in astronomy, but he'd picked up a few things here and there thanks to his brother's studies). The attention from the others in the room seemed to bring a mixture of delight and anxiety to his face, his grin widening while his body language made him shrink in on himself.

A feat, since he was incredibly tall, taller than Papyrus even in his heels (except maybe his six inch-ers, but Papyrus rarely wore those nowadays, his twos and threes more than suitable for his everyday needs).

More importantly, though, he was wearing a gaudy party hat, the agreed upon sign for Papyrus' blind date.

Papyrus stood up, waving the newcomer over, gesturing at the fedora he himself was sporting (his agreed upon signal). The other monster caught sight of him, and quickly made his way through the crowded restaurant. Papyrus waited for his date (yes, his date, because thats what he got himself into when he damn well knew better, when he knew he should have been focusing on work, on his brother, on something other than a frivolous whim encouraged by a pre-teen and their buttercup sidekick, Flowey, you traitor, look what you've done, setting up his fucking tinder) to sit down, eyelights scanning his body for any sign of weaponry or disingenuousness. What he found was the other monster's bone structure was... odd. Admittedly, Papyrus hadn't seen that many skeleton monsters (more in the last few months than he had in his entire life), but even so, this particular monster's bones were anomalous. They were so thin, thin and light and fragile like a bird's. The monster walked with a grim determination in his stance, as if he expected every step to be accompanied by pain (an expression Papyrus himself had probably worn more than he would care to admit, given the hazards of his position back underground).

The other monster brought his hands up and began to gesture with them, signing in a way Papyrus hadn't seen in a long time (since underground, since he and his brother had needed to communicate without being overheard, speaking in hands, a language he always associated with safety, so nobody could use their words against them).

'I AM SO SORRY!!! DID I KEEP YOU WAITING LONG???'

Papyrus immediately answered in kind, years of responding to hands with hands, of keeping two conversations going for the sake of safety, kicking in like it was only yesterday. 'I ALWAYS ARRIVE EARLY TO SECURE THE MOST STRATEGIC LOCATION.'

The other monster paused, blinking at Papyrus' gloved hands, expression one of clear surprise and delight. 'YOU SPEAK HANDS!! HOW WONDERFUL!! I AM SO SORRY, I DID NOT EVEN ASK IF YOU UNDERSTOOD HANDS. USUALLY I HAVE TO USE CONVENTIONAL SIGN LANGUAGE BECAUSE OTHERS DO NOT UNDERSTAND HANDS VERY WELL!! BUT YOU DO!!!! YAY!!!'

'I DID NOT KNOW IT WAS SOMETHING ANYONE ELSE UNDERSTOOD.' Papyrus replied carefully as he and his date both took their seats.

'ME EITHER!!! BUT HOW CONVENIENT!!' The other monster removed his party hat, setting it aside politely on the seat of the third chair at their table. Papyrus removed his fedora, hanging it on the knob protruding from the back of the same chair.

The waiter came over to take his and his date's order. Papyrus' date was able to hear and understand spoken words without issue, but speaking them himself was a struggle. He made a small noise, choked and flimsy, a sound that in a more material creature might have been a sign of choking, before sheepishly trying to sign his order in the more common sign language. The waiter blinked, uncomprehending, at the gestures.

"HE WANTS SPAGHETTI AND A GLASS OF MILK, IF YOU HAVE IT," Papyrus translated.

The waiter looked to Papyrus' date for some kind of confirmation, which he got in the form of a nod, before noting it down and running off.

'THANK YOU. Papyrus' date's expression was grateful, if a bit embarrassed.

'NO TROUBLE,' Papyrus assured him, leaning back. 'SO, ASSIDE FROM YOUR USERNAME, WHAT SHOULD I CALL YOU?'

'YOU CAN CALL ME ORBIT,' Papyrus' date answered, spelling out the name.

"ORBIT." Papyrus tasted the name aloud on his tongue, raising a brow ridge in his date's direction, quietly asking if he had pronounced it correctly.

Orbit beamed in recognition and confirmation. 'IT IS A NICKNAME GIVEN TO ME BY A DEAR FRIEND, AND I HAVE BECOME QUITE TAKEN WITH IT. I THINK IT SUITS ME!!'

Papyrus smirked. 'BECAUSE EVERYONE JUST GRAVITATES TOWARDS YOU?'

Orbit started to sign back a pleased affirmative, before freezing mid-gesture, his eyelights bugging out of his head. 'NO!!! MY BEAUTIFUL NICKNAME OF FRIENDSHIP, TARNISHED BY PUNS!!'

Papyrus snickered. 'YOU HAVE PROBABLY HEARD THAT ONE PLENTY OF TIMES.'

'I HAVE,' Orbit admitted. 'IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER.'

'THEN ALLOW ME TO ATTEMT SOMETHING MORE ORIGINAL.' Edge cracked his knuckles, letting his magic spark in his joints to make the noise that would have been otherwise silent. 'I MUST BE AN ANARCHIST, BECAUSE YOUR NAME SCREAMS REVOLUTION AND I WANT MORE OF YOU.'

For a moment, Orbit just sat there, staring at Papyrus' now stilled fingers. Then, then he started shaking in silent laughter, a vibrant flush of color flooding his maxilla and zygomatic arches, rainbow hues speckled with bright white sparkles. Freckles of light.

Papyrus liked that.

'A PUN AND A FLIRTATION. YOU ARE TWICE THE TERROR.'

'THEY DO NOT CALL ME GREAT AND TERRIBLE FOR NOTHING.'

'IS THAT WHAT I SHOULD CALL YOU? OR DO YOU HAVE A NAME?'

Papyrus hummed. 'MOST CALL ME 'BOSS'. HOWEVER... MY FRIENDS HAVE PERMISSION TO ADDRESS ME AS "EDGE". FOR THAT IS A NAME AS GREAT AND TERRIBLE AS MYSELF.' Papyrus spoke his nickname aloud as he signed.

'MORE FOR YOUR CUTTING REMARKS, NO DOUBT.'

It was Papyrus' turn to laugh, rasping and unpleasant as it likely was. Orbit didn't seem to mind, smirking proudly at his own word play.

This was nice, Papyrus decided. It was nice to have someone to banter with besides Razz. Even if the date didn't lead anywhere, at least he could attempt a platonic relationship. Maybe thats all he really needed.

Orbit was in the middle of sharing a story from work when Papyrus' phone went off. It was Sans' ringtone. He quickly, without looking away from Orbit's hands, without missing a beat, flipped it open and answered. "YOU FINALLY GOT YOUR PHONE BACK." Papyrus said, signing at Orbit (who had frozen mid-sentence when Papyrus pulled his phone out) to 'PLEASE CONTINUE.'

"sure did, boss," Sans rumbled, tinny through the phone receiver. The picture that flooded Papyrus' mind when he spoke, of his brother in a waiter's suit, looking haggard and wrung out and pissed beyond all reason, dispelled the last bit of Papyrus' irrational concern. "need t' change tho, so i'mma take th' collar off again. just wanted t' give ya a heads up this time."

Orbit kept still, waiting patiently despite Papyrus' insistence he could hold both conversations at once.

"GOOD. PUT IT BACK WHERE IT FUCKING BELONGS." Where he knows everyone can see it, where it is supposed to be, protecting his brother from his enemies and reminding him he had something to keep living for. Papyrus was not going to go through that again, he wasn't, he wasn't.

'LANGUAGE,' Orbit signed, leering at Papyrus defiantly.

'ENGLISH,' Papyrus retorted out of reflex, smirking.

"i'm workin' on it. talk later, boss."

"INDEED." Papyrus was going to wring every last goddamn detail out of his brother. Eventually. Let him stew, let him wait. Papyrus would have to catch him off guard, since Sans would likely avoid the 'unnecessary details' for a long as possible, damn him. He hung up the phone, returning the fraction of his attention he had allowed his brother back to Orbit, who appeared to be resisting the draw of apoplexy.

It was honestly the most entertaining thing Papyrus had seen since he found out about his brother's romance novel addiction.

Around then, the waiter came back with dinner, and the two of them fell into a comfortable silence. Papyrus knew he visibly flinched when his brother's collar came off again, and that his posture relaxed marginally when he felt it come back on.

'SO, WHAT MADE YOU TRY ONLINE DATING?' Orbit asked, politely ignoring what Papyrus knew probably seemed like odd behavior (this was clearly not a Black District monster, so he doubted Outer knew about such customs).

'JUST A WHIM. IT IS NOT AS IF I AM NOT BUSY. I HAVE PLENTY TO DO, PEOPLE TO SOCIALIZE WITH, HOBBIES TO INDULGE.' His apartment was empty, and he was finding himself disinterested in his usual hobbies, and Razz was even more of a workaholic than he was, and Sans... Sans had found himself pets. Lately work had been surprisingly slow, easy, leaving Papyrus more and more free time. He usually ended up slumped in his freshly deep-cleaned apartment at 3AM, working through a six-pack of sam adams as he stared defiantly at the television he refused to turn on, unable to sleep even if he wanted to and only grateful that Sans had stopped sleeping in that slum he was so goddamn attached to.

Frisk was not wrong when they said Papyrus was in a better place when he had someone to protect and 'fuss over' as they put it. He'd tried focusing on his brother, but that only ever made their relationship strain (Sans had this thing about not wanting help even when he obviously needed it, which Papyrus had yet to find a solution for). He'd tried focusing on Undyne instead, but she had her shit so put together after the wedding there really wasn't much he could even do, and while she did manage to take some of his time up, her curfew was midnight unless her wife came along. He liked Alphys, he did. She was a right genius and had been a respected contractor for security features for years even before the surface, despite her stutter and her obsession with children's cartoons that she rubbed off on Undyne. But she was Undyne's pet, not his, and as such he couldn't delve into the deeper aspects of care-taking.

He tried diving into work, but with the exception of time-consuming jobs like stakeouts or undercover ops (which he only ever rarely got), he was too efficient to let that keep him long.

It almost made him miss the underground, where there was an emergency at all hours and he was never wanting for something to do. Almost. Not really, but still.

Not that Papyrus was lonely or anything. Perish the thought. It was simply an observation that he had... increasingly more time to let his mind wander.

However, Orbit did not need to know all of that. Nobody did.

'YOU?' Papyrus asked, shaking his own despondency away like water off his back.

'I AM TIRED OF BEING COOPED UP AT HOME ALL DAY, NEVER MEETING ANYONE NEW OR DOING ANYTHING INTERESTING. AND BESIDES!! THIS IS AN EXCITING, RISK-FILLED MEANS OF DATING THAT REQUIRES THE KIND OF SOCIAL SKILLS ONLY SOMEONE AS SAVVY AS MYSELF COULD HAVE TO BE SUCCESSFUL!!' Orbit signed out crisply, making Papyrus think there was more to the story than was being overtly told. The emphasis on certain words made him think that Orbit had been isolated for an extended period of time. Maybe it had something to do with his health, since he seemed almost defiant at the admittance of the risk factor involved in online dating, like taking a risk was a luxury he had never been allotted before.

'WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE ME?' Papyrus asked.

'I LIKE A CHALLENGE,' Orbit smiled slyly, looking Papyrus up and down. 'AND YOU DID NOT PUT MUCH IN YOUR PROFILE ASIDE FROM YOUR LV AND THAT YOU ENJOYED BRITNEY SPEARS.'

'AH. SEDUCED BY POWER AND MY IMPECCABLE TASTE IN MUSIC. I SUPPOSE EVEN MY BEST ATTEMPTS TO SUBDUE MY IRRESISTIBLE CHARMS WERE FUTILE.' Papyrus laid it on thick, not because he honestly had such a grandiose self esteem (he had a healthy level of confidence in himself, thank you, but he wasn't Razz and he didn't need to spend fifteen minutes in the bathroom basking in his own reflection).

Orbit took it for the joke it was, shaking in his seat with silent snickers, his face sparkling.

Since when did shiny baubles seem so fascinating?

The thought didn't stay long at the forefront of his mind, because it was right then that he felt it; killing intent. Aimed at Sans. Papyrus felt every particle of dust in his body snap to attention, muscle memory making him jump to his feet and head for the nearest exit (the window, 8.125 feet away, meaning he would need to launch himself without a running start and roll dive to land on his feet to keep running-)

But he remembered his date. Papyrus quickly pulled out his cash-only wallet, throwing it at Orbit. "CALL ME," he said over his shoulder as he jumped out the window, shattering it with a flicker of his magic, keeping the shards from blowing back and hitting any civilians.

Papyrus took off at top speed as he used his BLUE magic to climb higher and higher off the ground, finally touching down on a rooftop and launching himself over to the next street, then the next, heading for the distressing beacon of still clinging life force that was his stupid asshole brother, the absolute dumb-fuck, he could have shortcut out by now, he could have gotten away from the what, 5, 10 people trying to kill him right now?! But he wasn't, which meant that his pets were there too and he didn't have a clean exit, of course not, the fucking prick!!!

It was now that Papyrus truly missed the underground. The underground was small. He had already covered enough ground to get from Waterfall to Snowdin and he wasn't even halfway to where Sans was, wasn't even halfway to saving his brother and why can't he teleport, what the fucking good was flight if it didn't get him there in time-

Papyrus felt someone actually land a hit, one that likely took whatever buffer to his brother's HP a good night's sleep could have given him and dwindled it to nothing. He felt the pure, visceral, primal fury in his magic sing, sparking in his joints and eyelights, shining in the night like he was on fire. He would kill them. He would kill them all and he would throw their dust into the nearest sewer to meld with the rest of the disease-riddled shit!! He would kill them, but it would be slow, so slow, he would hear them scream He would make them beg, they would count every last sin on their back, and position or not they would be judged and they would regret it with their last dust-filled breath that they dared to touch what was his-.

Papyrus bit down on that urge the moment it reared itself. He didn't have the luxury of having a Bad Day right now. He couldn't. The writhing flames of his blood crazed magic died slowly around him as he kept running, flying, focusing on that steady pulse of life that was his brother.

Sans was still okay. And Papyrus was going to keep it that way.

And woe betide anyone who got in the way of the Great and Terrible Papyrus.

Papyrus almost missed a jump, almost went careening into an apartment window instead of onto the fire escape to kick himself faster over the rooftop of the 8 story building that had the balls to get in his way, when he felt it- the intent to protect, to heal, to love, to defend with righteous retribution. And moments later, just when Papyrus had finally zeroed in on the area, on the little warehouse in the Black District he knew the rabbit gang liked to call home, his brother's signal jumped across town, to that little area in the purple district that Sans had been sleeping in every night.

Sans was safe.

Papyrus slowed to a halt in front of the warehouse, cracking his neck as he listened from the doorway.

"What the actual fuck just happened-?!"

"That thing is fucking with his stats-"

"If we wanna get that asshole we can't do it when that slut is around-"

"I thought with the Boss out of the way, this would be easy-!"

Having heard quite enough, Papyrus kicked the door open, letting his boots click against the cement floor.

And there they were, the rabbit gang, with Jerry and a few temmie joining in the fun.

"B-b-boss!" Drunk Bunny wheezed from his spot on the floor, clutching his arm where it look like he had been injured. A definite skeletal handprint disturbed the fur, the flesh beneath swelling around the injury as magic rushed to try and repair the damage.

"NO. PLEASE. DO GO ON. WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT ME BEING OUT OF THE WAY?"

Most of the under-leveled rabbits, as well as the temmies, tried to make a break for it. Papyrus made a big show of not moving an inch as he cast his area-wide BLUE magic attack, the crimson shimmer of his magic catching everyone in the room and pinning them to the floor. Jerry went down with a revolting wet noise that had Papyrus wrinkling his nasal ridge in disgust.

"B-boss!! What are you doing here???" Drunk Bunny exclaimed in what was likely an attempt to sound innocent, voice quivering with dread.

Papyrus pulled the brilliant red leather of his favorite gauntlets (which he didn't even remember slipping on in his haste, likely having taken them from his pocket from sheer habit and slipped them on some time between then and when he had thrown himself from the restaurant window) tighter on his hand, enjoying the sound of the fabric straining with the motion.

Drunk Bunny alone had LV13. Counting the others in the room, if Papyrus killed them all, he calculated that he would go up a level in the process. He couldn't in all honesty afford that just to make a statement. On top of which, he had promised the human he would avoid killing unless absolutely necessary, and Papyrus was a monster of his word if nothing else. Taking both of these facts into consideration, it meant that, if he wanted to emphasize his message to these monsters, he would have to get a little more creative. A little more hands-on. It would be slow, and messy, and painful, and probably take all night to work his way methodically through every last one of them.

How fortuitous, that he had all the time in the world.

"Oh great. We're all gonna die. Thanks a whole fucking lot, Dizzy," Jerry groaned into the floor.

Papyrus didn't like getting his hands dirty.

But that was what gloves were for.

Chapter Text

Stretch was lounging on his couch, enjoying a flavorful vape (since he had no idea when his brother would be coming home and Blue hated when he smoked for real in the house). Blue had come home in a rush earlier that night, fussed in his room for nearly half an hour, then rushed out again, dressed up like he was going to a party.

Stretch didn’t have a good feeling about it.

Blue came home later, a few hours, only to slump against the front door and let out a high pitched noise of excitement, clutching at his shirt and grinning like an idiot, his eyelights sparkling like great neon star signs.

“how was your night, bro?” Stretch asked, blowing some orange flavored smoke into the air.

“IT WAS- IT WAS-“ Blue launched from the door and spun around the room. “IT WAS AMAZING COMIC IS SO NICE I GOT SO MANY GENUINE COMPLIMENTS AND HE WAS SUCH A GENTLEMAN COVERING THE BILL OH MY STARS PAPY I THINK I REALLY REALLY LIKE THIS GUY HE IS SO SWEET AND GENEROUS AND FUNNY — BUT DON’T YOU EVER TELL HIM I SAID THAT — OH MY GOODNESS I NEED TO START DINNER FOR TOMORROW OR I WILL NEVER GET THE SPICES RIGHT!!”

Stretch watched as Blue lunged for the kitchen, starting his carefully prepared gourmet taco seasonings.

No, Stretch didn’t like this at all. Blue was really getting attached to this ‘Comic’ fellow. It was bad enough when it was work related, but Stretch certainly didn’t want him making it personal!

The next day, while Blue was at work, Stretch started a bit of cooking of his own. He wasn’t a chief by any means, and he knew it, but he certainly wasn’t going to let Blue spoil some creeper with his best dish. When Blue came back to finish the tacos, Stretch waited until he was done, waited until Blue had gone upstairs to fuss over his clothes again, before switching the containers in Blue’s basket with his own.

Blue was in such a rush to leave he didn’t even check them.

Blue didn’t even notice as Stretch shadowed him all the way to the park.

Stretch watched as the little creeper Blue was meeting with made goo-goo eyes at his brother. It irked him, irked him something fierce and vicious in a way he couldn’t explain. If he were honest, Comic hadn’t actually done anything wrong other than be the subject of Blue’s attention. Even so, Stretch got a bad feeling about him. So he was practically rubbing his hands in anticipation for the moment little mister perfect opened that basket and showed himself for the creepy asshole-

...

He ate them.

He ate them with a goddamn smile.

“you fuckboi,” Stretch heard himself hiss, before squirming his way out of his hiding place in the trees. He was gonna get spotted if he stayed much longer, and the last thing he wanted was another one of Blue’s lectures.

At least he had Blue’s bomb ass tacos to enjoy. And Slim to enjoy them with.

Chapter Text

Pink looked at his watch (a lovely hot pink, sparkly monstrosity with rodent ears and a goofy cartoon creature with a pretty pink bow that TonTon had gotten for him on their mini-vacation out of town, which twinkled a cute little ditty at whatever time he set the alarm), surprised. His brother was usually rather consistent about his time of arrival. Today, however, he was a almost twenty minutes late. Concerned, Pink again considered calling him, but decided against it. He was probably just sleeping in. The two of them had all day together. He wouldn't pressure his brother, not when he knew how sensitive he was about, well, everything.

It was another five minutes or so before Pink's patience was rewarded. He saw the blur of color out the window, his brother stumbling out of an alleyway and crashing face first into the front doors. He stood, wobbling there, stunned for a moment or two, before composing himself and actually opening the door to walk in as if nothing had happened. There was a genuine smile on his face, a complete lack of tension.

Pink really was grateful for the two little darlings who made his brother that happy.

"sorry i'm late, bro," Lust hummed, sliding into his seat, scooping up the coffee Pink had gotten for him. It was cold by this point, but his brother was the type who didn't really care and would drink it anyway.

"I NOTICED," Pink said dryly, before giggling. "WHAT, HAVE AN EARLY MORNING QUICKY THAT TURNED NOT-SO-QUICK~?"

Lust blushed, his grin spreading as he pretended to be interested in the decals on the side of his coffee cup. "well, sort of. we didn't actually do much. we were... cuddling."

Pink had to fight back a squeel. His big brother was such a sap. "REALLY~? AND HOW WAS IT?"

Lust rocked from side to side for a moment. "it's... its my favorite part. it's just- ok." He took a deep breath. "i love being the one in the middle, when I get to snuggle with my back to red and be the little spoon, but also get to pull dance in and cuddle him like a plush toy. especially when dance is still half asleep and affectionate and likes to give kisses. it's just- i- pap, you don't understand, i..!!"

Pink just sat there, listening to his older brother stumble and ramble, grasping for the words to convey what he was feeling and why. Pink didn't really need him to say anything, since the answer was obvious to anyone with eyes (or eyelights as the case may be). His brother was so in love he was drowning in his own emotions, and every move he made was filled with it as he gestured.

"red is so gentle with me, you know? have i told you that?" Lust continued.

Yes, Lust had told him many times. Pink never got tired of hearing it. He gestured absently for Lust to continue.

"he- he wraps his arm around me and holds me against his side, and i feel so safe, you know? and calm. and sometimes when we lay together he starts purring and it's the most amazing sound, pap, i swear, it always puts me right to sleep. or at least hypnagogic. he taught me that word. he's so smart, and patient, and good with kids..!!" Lust held his face as if hoping to hide his blush, very much the image of an excited teenager with his first crush. "and he's so good with his hands~" The last bit came out in a stage whisper, hushed and reverent and thankful, yet conspiratorial.

Pink snickered. "IT IS OK TO SAY HE MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD."

Lust squirmed in his seat. He reached up and tugged on the collar around his throat, a habit he'd picked up ever since starting to wear the thing. Each little tug seemed to chip away at any tension in his posture, easing the strain in his smile. Not that there was much there that day, of course, but Pink was grateful for it still.

"oh, i'm sorry. i haven't even asked you how you've been, have i?" Lust remembered. "sorry, hows tonton?"

"WE ARE DOING FABULOUSLY." Pink answered. "I TOOK DANCE'S ADVISE AND UPGRADED THOSE PARTS, AND NOW HE'S MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE. SPEAKING OF WHICH, HOW IS DANCE?"

Lust practically giggled, before choking down what had to be disgusting, cold black coffee. On any other day it would have probably been just to make Pink shudder, but today he figured Lust was just too scatterbrained and distracted to notice or care. "he's amazing."

Before, Pink remembered how hard it was to get Lust talking about his relationships, how tension-riddled it had been. Now he only had to through a little conversation bait and wait.

"he's so confident now," Lust continued. "he still has these moments when, well, when i think he loses every drop of communication skill he has, but even when he does i think it's just really, really cute. he gets all flustered and turns the more attractive shade of blue. and he's- look, he's just- he knows what he wants and he goes for it, you know?"

Pink nodded, waiting for the punchline. He knew it was coming. Lust said it every time the topic came up. And Pink never got tired of hearing it.

"he still has that control complex going on, but he's so careful and thoughtful it drives me crazy. and he knows just when to be gentle and when to be rough. and he's so- he-" Lust took a moment to gather his words. "he wants me around. he holds my hand when we're in the park and steals little kisses and..." There it was, that dopey, distant smile, hooded sockets, throbbing eyelights, the vivid coloring of a blush as Lust looked into the middle distance. He'd officially stepped onto cloud nine. "he says he loves me. he says it."

Pink didn't know how to describe the desperate awe in his brother's voice. He only knew it was the greatest gift he could ever have asked for.

Pink was so glad that those two had come into his brother's life. He should think about getting them a thank-you gift. Maybe a fruit basket. Or a car. Or a dildo. What was appropriate to give to the one you were hoping would be your in-law?

He'd figure it out. Eventually. In the meantime, he got to enjoy coffee with his brother and hear all about how happy he was. What a great way to start the week.