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Three Times They Didn’t Notice What Went On With Lancer (And One Time They Did)

Chapter Text

Rouxls Kaard was proud of himself.

Well, he was usually proud of himself, because he usually deserved it, but today in particular he had single-handedly fixed a most disastrous issue. It involved some heinous fiend who had decided to put up instructions to one of his puzzles. Which was practically cheating!

So he was preening as he paraded out into the hallway, and nearly collided with a small monster.

“Augh!” Rouxls Kaard exclaimed, and jumped backward, and the little monster looked up at him, it’s eyes overshadowed by it’s hood. “Young Prince, dost thou not looketh where thou art going?!”

“Sorry, Duke,” The little prince answered, tugging on his glove. Rouxls Kaard‘s eyes narrowed. Prince Lancer had been looking at his hand instead of watching where he was going? And what for?

Lancer seemed to guess what Rouxls Kaard was thinking, because he winced and held out his arm. “My glove’s been bothering me a little bit.”

The Duke of Puzzles huffed in annoyance.

“And thou expecteth me to fix it?” He snapped, but before Lancer even could take back his hand, Rouxls crouched down onto his knees. He pulled the glove gently off to see what the problem was.

Lancer’s wrist was bruised. Rouxls Kaard sucked in a breath softly and turned the princes’ arm over, tracking the black and blue marks all over Lancer’s forearm.

“Young Prince,” Rouxls Kaard asked quietly, “how didst this happen?”

Lancer shrugged. “Father was in a touch of a bad mood today.” He grinned up at Rouxls, showing his blue tongue. “He’s been kinda crankier then normal lately, huh?”

Rouxls Kaard did not know how to respond. How could he explain to this young monster that it wasn’t normal for someone to take their anger out on their children constantly? How could he explain that this was not simply a ‘bad mood’, but a very serious situation?

After all, it had only gotten worse as Lancer had gotten older... and had less excuses for being so soft and non-malicious.

But saying any sort of word against the King was most certainly forbidden, and definitely high treason.

“Indeed, my Prince,” Rouxls Kaard sighed, and he pulled out one of his rolls of bandages to try and relieve the friction of Lancer’s glove. When he finished wrapping the injury, Lancer beamed, and bounced up, squeezing Rouxls’s arm.

“Thanks ‘Lesser Dad’!”

Rouxls Kaard stood immediately, frowning and brushing the Prince off.

“We art NOT relatedeth,” he snapped, turning and walking away.

“I know!” Lancer agreed, before bounding back the way he came.

The Duke of Puzzles sighed. This child was going to be the death of him.

Chapter Text

The tall monster grinned, flashing her near-yellowing teeth. They were sharp and long and imposing—just how a monsters’ should be. She flicked her pink hair over her shoulder.

“Of course, dude,” Susie exclaimed. “We can absolutely get doughnuts as part of our evil plan.”

“Really?” The short little monster beside her perked up, the most he had in almost all the time she’d known him. Susie couldn’t see it, but his eyes lit up under the shadow of his hood.

“Really,” Susie said, causally leaning on the rock formation behind her and sharpening her nails on her axe. That probably looked pretty badass.

Lancer beamed in excitement. He always seemed excited. Exited in a weird way, though, about the weirdest stuff. Like being allowed to hang out with Susie or jump on furniture or eat doughnuts. It was almost as if he’d never done those things before.

The small prince bounced up and down, pulling on his own hood excitedly.

“I’ve always wanted to try jelly filled,” he admitted, scuffing the ground with his boots. Susie saw that look on his face (well, the half she could see anyway) and got down on one knee so that she was roughly the same height as Lancer.

“Dude,” Susie said, looking at him with a fiery intensity, “we are going to get the BEST damn jelly doughnut they have, and you are going to try it if it’s the LAST THING WE DO.”

Lancer let out what sounded like an exited squeal, and Susie laughed and lifted him up to spin him around and set him back down, grinning. She pat one of his shoulders, hard, and was surprised when Lancer suddenly flinched and reached for his neck.

“Oh, man, did I hurt you?” Susie asked, trying not to sound too worried.

Lancer squirmed for a moment, forcing himself to bring his hand down. “What?! Of course not! I just... I don’t like having my neck touched.”

Susie frowned, a little confused, but then she shrugged, because it really wasn’t any of her business anyway. She tried not to feel too guilty for picking him up by the throat hardly an hour earlier.

“That’s cool with me, man,” Susie confirmed, spinning around her axe and sticking it back into her belt. “You should always let people know when you’re uncomfortable. Make ‘em BACK OFF, yaknow?”

“Of— Of course,” Lancer agreed halfheartedly. And quietly. And even though Susie couldn’t see his eyes, she had a feeling that he was staring at his boots.

So she slapped him on the back and started shouting about her plan to cheat Kris and Ralsei out of doughnut money, which seemed to put Lancer back in a good mood immediately.

Over the course of the next few hours, Susie forgot about that little event.

Chapter Text

He was alone.

And, well, being alone wasn’t always a bad thing. Being alone often meant that he could work on important projects, like— preparing for the Lightener’s arrival, or... preparing for the Lightner’s arrival.

Ralsei really didn’t fancy being alone, when he thought about how much fun it would be to talk to someone.

Imagine that! Speaking to someone, to find out information!

It’d be just like in his fantasy books.

 

In the meantime, Ralsei has taken to wandering the castle halls. It was all very big, and very empty, but lately he’d been challenging himself to try and get a photographic memory for the place.

See, here— just here— there’d be a crack in the stone just around the corner.

Oh. No. That must be the next hallway.

It was starting to get a little boring. Ralsei has already memorized his whole bookshelf, and he’d prepared as much as he could for the Lightner’s arrival. He’d made the training dummy just last month when a shipment of straw came in, and he’d made the manual years ago by now.

So, when Ralsei stopped at the door to the rest of the Dark World, he had very little reason to NOT simply go through and talk to someone.

He went back to his room.

But, the very next day, he was there again, sighing as he stared up at the great door, and innerly scolding himself as he pushed it open. He’d even baked for the occasion— little mini travel cakes, about the size of drinking glasses... he’d call them “mug-cakes.” They were stored carefully in his red riding hood like basket.

It’d taken only about six minutes for Ralsei to match up the area with maps he’d memorized, and he was off. The place was actually quite beautiful, if he was honest. It’d been a very long time since he’d seen anything really colorful.

Ralsei has just barely reached the Field of Hopes and Dreams when he got to hear the odd birdsong. How strange the birds sounded... like wailing ghosts.

Or... maybe that actually WAS wailing. And so Ralsei grew concerned, and searched the field until he found the teardrop-headed monster responsible for the sound.

The child was sitting in the grass, almost hidden from how incredibly short he was. A blue hood was pulled down far over his eyes, and his back was to Ralsei.

The furry monster stepped carefully around until he could see the child’s face— well, the half that wasn’t hooded anyway— and realized who it was.

“Oh. You.” Ralsei said simply.

The Spade Prince looked up at Ralsei, sniffling. Ralsei didn’t know what to do. Here was a child in need, obviously, but— the other Prince? How awkward. Weren’t they supposed to be rivals? They certainly weren’t allowed near each other.

“It’s me,” Lancer agreed, rubbing his face. “What do you want?”

Ralsei stared at the younger prince and coughed. “Well, it, uh, seemed like something was wrong. With you.”

Lancer’s face seemed completely blank and unfocused for a moment as he registered the question.

“Oh. I’m sorry I worried you, I was just, uh, hungry.”

Ralsei perked up. “You’re hungry? That’s perfect! I’ve got the best solution to that!”

He pulled the mug-cakes out of his basket, setting them down on the grass and sitting criss-cross next to the Spade Prince.

Lancer eyed the cakes feverishly for several long seconds.

“Um, you can have some...” Ralsei explained, and no sooner were the words out of his mouth then those cakes were in Lancer’s. The goat monster gaped as nearly all of his prepared goods disappeared at once.

“Sorry,” Lancer apologized with a full mouth. “I was hungry.”

“I bet,” Ralsei agreed jokingly, packing up the empty containers, “when was the last time you ate?”

Lancer appeared to actually think about it for a good minute, his face still oddly tired and slack. “Uhh... three days.”

Ralsei dropped his tray. “Wh-what?”

Lancer grinned around the mug-cake in his mouth. “Thanks for the—“

“Why haven’t you eaten?!” Ralsei blurted. Lancer still seemed slow to react, and, now that Ralsei thought about it, there was a very good reason.

The Spade Prince shrugged. “My dad’s been kinda super busy with work lately. Running a kingdom and all. He just forgot to make any meals for me.”

“Oh,” Ralsei said, because he wasn’t sure what else to say. It sucked that Lancer hadn’t been eating because his father hadn’t gotten him anything. But really, who was Ralsei to judge? It’s not like he really knew what fathers... did or were supposed to be like anyway.

Lancer shrugged again, running his tounge over his teeth to get the frosting. “‘S fine. Lesser Dad gives me worms a lot of the time.”

Ralsei visibly cringed, closing his picnic basket. He stood up as well, preparing to finish his walk.

“Well, uh... if you’re ever in need of cake... maybe come see me?”

“Okay,” Lancer agreed, without showing any intention of actually doing anything.

And Ralsei waved, and walked on his way, only partially saddened, and mostly confused, by what he’d discovered.

Chapter Text

Oh damn.

 

Kris was watching, with nervous sympathy, as Lancer was picked up by his throat.

 

His THROAT.

 

On Kris’s list of not okay things to do, parents hurting their children was pretty far up there.

 

Kris could hardly even IMAGINE something like this happening. Toriel was literally the kindest being alive, the most loving (and occasionally smothering) woman in existence.

 

There’d been... signs, of course, that Lancer didn’t have the best home life.

 

That one time he’d thought that having a few glasses of milk was a perfectly acceptable dinner.

 

That other time he’d mentioned “not needing another dad”, and Kris had written it off as a joke.

 

The time that Rouxls Kaard has admitted that sometimes the king FORGOT TO FEED his OWN SON.

 

Honestly, this had all been building up very obviously. Kris, being a very perceptive person in general, was frankly surprised it couldn’t come to bite them in the ass sooner.

 

So, the only motion that the seventeen-year-old’s body held while standing on the roof of that castle was shock.

 

The storyline, all slamming together at once, freezing Kris into place.

 

Then, pure, unbridled rage from the SOUL.

 

Seriously, what was up with that? Today had STARTED out mostly normal, but then Kris had started... feeling things that didn’t make sense.

 

The desperate need to befriend Susie and unlock her Tragic BackstoryTM, despite the fact that all she’d ever been was a bully.

 

The complete calm, and even excitement at being sent on a long and tiring adventure.

 

The knowledge of how exactly to pacify most monsters down here quickly.

 

The strange, indescribable feeling that we’d done this before.

 

Feelings that didn’t belong to Kris.

 

And now, those weird SOUL feeling were back in full force, prompting every bone in the teens’ body to kick King’s greasy ass hard.

 

And, for once, Kris more or less agreed with it.

 

Susie was FURIOUS. That was to be expected, she was the closest to Lancer, and therefore the most upset when he was being held up by the throat. She was threatening King with her axe now— oooh, and saying something pretty rebellious to him. Nice.

 

Ralsei, on the opposite end of the spectrum, looked scared out of his wits. He was definitely very confused— Kris gathered that he didn’t know much about parenting in general, but he DID know that hand around throat equals BAD.

 

Good, Kris needed him onboard when they BEAT THE ABSOLUTE HELL OUT OF LANCER’S FATHER.

 

Lancer was— ohmygod— King was dangling Lancer over the edge of the roof. Threatening to “make him go splat”.

 

Kris was very suddenly torn, wanting simultaneously for Susie to stand down to let Lancer survive and wanted her to kick King anyway.

 

It didn’t matter what Kris thought, because Susie dropped her axe and got down on one knee with Kris and Ralsei.

 

And then— oh shoot, they were all gonna die.

 

Kris knew from the moment the three of them heard the buzzing of the Spade magic above their heads.

 

Then there was a SHANG, and a gasp, and Lancer dropped to the floor, running past Kris with an oddly Determined look on his face.

 

And the worrying idea that this wasn’t something unusual for his father.

 

Boy, was this King gonna have HELL to pay.

 

 

...

 

 

Oh, and when it was all over?

 

Kris was gonna buy Lancer some doughnuts.

Chapter Text

He took a great, deep breath, and then let out a sigh.

 

Things were different, and strange now.

 

More strange then he’d like to admit.

 

It was... a lot for him to process. Maybe too much for him to process, if he was being honest with himself.

 

In fact, if he was being honest with himself, then he’d think about how very much unfit he was for ruling this kingdom.

 

The goat prince was stopping by every few days now. That was pretty considerate of him. The fluffy boy seemed to get flustered whenever he offered help, even if it was usually in the form of small little treats he called “mug-cakes”.

 

The King didn’t mind that too much, because in reality it probably was good for him to eat, once in a while. Something told him that he could order anyone to bring him any food, and they would— but that just didn’t feel right. 

 

He wasn’t blind. Or deaf, either.

 

He’d noticed that the people... didn’t particularly like him. They had  mostly followed his orders and waved the palm fronds at him because he was “King Spades’ Son”. Now they only listened to him because he was “The King”.

 

He knew they didn’t like him. He understood, and had mostly made peace with that fact, even if (against his own judgment) he still tried to befriend the citizens from time to time. It just... well it wasn’t really fair.

 

He wasn’t very good at anything. Why did they expect him to be?

 

Being King was... well, it was a lot more responsibility then he had realized. His subjects were constantly pestering him with questions about what was going on with the Fountain, was the world going to end, and (most importantly) where had the Lightners gone?

 

The King wished he knew. If Susie was here... well, she’d crack some joke about overthrowing the government that was just the right amount of angsty and dumb to warrant a happiness boost. Everyone would listen, and everything would be okay, just because she said so.

 

The blue human (who he’d neglected to learn the name of) seemed like a mighty fine leader. Although that particular human was very quiet, he got the feeling that if he asked for help with running a kingdom, he would get it— no questions asked.

 

He... kind of missed those two.

 

The one upside to this whole situation? Why, it was announcing itself right now— a few taps on the throne room doors.

 

“Come in, please!” The King called, almost tiredly.

 

Obediently Rouxls Kaard entered the room, carrying a very promising box in his hands. When the Duke saw the King he smiled a little, and brought the treasure closer.

 

“I hath brought your favorite, mine king,” The Puzzle Master offered, opening the box to reveal a few rows of jelly doughnuts.

 

“Thanks, Lesser-Dad,” The King replied with a soft smile, reaching in for one.

 

Being a King was hard, hungry work. It was exceptionally lucky that being a King also meant he was entitled to doughnuts whenever he chose.

 

He’d been... talking, to Ralsei lately. And the fluffy goat prince had some interesting things to say.

 

The most prominent of these was that... The former Spade King (Dad) deserved to be in jail.

 

He didn’t know how to respond to that. Father had been put in jail because... well, because they really didn’t have anywhere else to put him. He’d been a bad King, attacking Lightners (and Ralsei) like that. Do jail was the only manageable solution.

 

But the idea that... he was a Bad Person... that didn’t feel right.

 

The Fluffy little goat prince had tried to explain. That... according to what he’s read... Dads were supposed to... take care of their children. Love them, support them, feed them. Feeding was especially big on Ralsei’s list for some reason.

 

Apparently, it didn’t sit right with most people that The King had taken to storing salsa in unconventional places just so he could have a meal later on. Apparently, the punishments he received for disobedience... weren’t supposed to happen, either.

 

He didn’t know how to feel about that. So many people, offended on his behalf? And for what? A few bruises?

 

When you were bad, you got punished. That’s just how the world worked. That’s how it’d always been. It was completely reasonable, and even fair, for him to be punished for mistakes. 

 

That’s how the real world was, wasn’t it?

 

“Art thou okay, mine pr- King?” Rouxls Kaard asked, and the King sighed, stretching out in his seat. Slowly, he rubbed jelly from his doughnut off his face.

 

“Please,” he mumbled, so quiet it was hardly said. “Please just call me Lancer.”

 

Because ‘The King’... it just didn’t sit right.

 

Really, seeing as how so many things had gone wrong... he was the least fit to be King person in this entire kingdom.