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I'm Sorry Bro

Chapter Text

He wasn't stupid. No matter what the others thought. He wasn't. So what if he wanted to be popular? So what if he was a bit childish at times? He wasn't dumb. No. The Great Papyrus was not a bonehead. Pap shuddered at his own accidental pun. Sans would of liked it… But Sans was the one who started this problem.

So like every time he had an argument with Sans, Papyrus would go to see his best friend.

Flowey was in the forest clearing like always. A splash of yellow against the white snow. Papyrus had to wonder if the flower ever moved. (Although normal flowers didn't move… but Flowey wasn't exactly normal…)

His friend smiled and waved a vine when he saw papyrus. Papyrus waved back still lost in his thoughts. While talking flowers weren't unusual for Papyrus, this one didn't repeat everything he said.

“Papy! Buddy! How are you?” The flower's energetic voice called over to him. “Haven't seen you in a while!”

*****

The skeleton sat down gently. Papyrus's manners were impeccable. Sitting slowly not to harm Flowey. As the flower was thinking this. Papyrus suddenly started crying. How annoying, so much for manners .

“What’s wrong pal?” Flowey asked through gritted teeth that hopefully still resembled a smile. Flowey regarded the skeleton as he waited for him to stop crying. With some surprise Flowey found that instead of the moronic 'battle body’ that Papyrus always wore, he was wearing a long sleeve shirt and regular pants. Still had that ridiculous scarf, but this was a bit refreshing to see. “Sans and I…” the skeleton sobbed. “We had a fight…”

Flowey fought back the urge to roll his eyes. How stupid.

Papyrus was still sobbing. What was it this time? Sans napped on the job? Sans didn't read him a bedtime story? Or worse…. The dreaded sock.

“Sans called me an idiot.”

Flowey reeled back in surprise. This hadn't of happened before. How interesting… “Golly! What did he do that for? That's really um… strange…”

Papyrus huffed. “Today started out normally enough… but Sans just seemed upset. So I decided to make him spaghetti. I… mashed the veggies a little too hard, and some of it got on the ceiling.”

Flowey hid his smile with a vine. Papyrus’ cooking stories could never get old.

At least for now.

Flowey tuned back into the conversation. Cursing quietly to himself for missing some of it.

“And when I looked up…” Papyrus sniffed. “The stove was on fire. I stepped into the fire and put it out, but…” Pap held out his arms rolling up the sleeves showing Flowey the burns on his bones. “Then Sans rushed in and…” A new set of sobs started up in the skeleton, and he buried his skull in his burned arms.

This was strange. Flowey thought to himself, raising a vine to pat the crying figure's back in a way that was hopefully comforting. Maybe this would finally stop his idiotic tears. Papyrus set fire to the kitchen in countless resets… and yet Sans had never called Papyrus an idiot.

Flowey quickly found himself tired of the back patting. Time to try something else. He saved just in case he wanted to come back. This was new and who knew when he would get another run like this? Flowey used his vine to hold Papyrus’ head up. Making him face the flower's petals.

“Papyrus… this only happened because.” He broke out into his wide smile. The one that broke his face into an overwhelming amount of teeth. “You are IDIOT.”

“No…” the skeleton brother whispered. He looked betrayed in a way that Flowey hadn't seen in a while. It was invigorating.

Flowey leaned back, letting his vine slip from Pap's jawbone. Papyrus looked broken, and without the support of the vine, fell back into the snow. Now, what to do. What to do… He could load, start a route where he encouraged the brother instead, or he could continue on this path, breaking the skeleton even farther…

Or he could go back to his save and enjoy that look on Papyrus’ face again.

The world stuttered.

He gripped Pap's jawbone even harder this time. Pulling him closer to the flower's own face. “Papyrus, that happened because,” the skeleton looked confused. “You’re an I D I O T.” Flowey spat in Papyrus’ face that time to emphasize his point. The green goo landed on his teeth. The chlorophyll making the skeleton's betrayed face even more pitiful and hilarious. The flower allowed himself a good laugh before resetting.

Again.

And again.

And again.

Each time trying to get the face to look even better than the last.

One time he popped up behind Papyrus. Scaring him out of his metaphorical skin.

Another he snapped a finger off to accentuate each letter. “I snap. D scream. I stop! O please! T snap, crackle, pop.

You idiot.” A vine stabbed through the soul.

Eventually he just started killing him over, and over.

And over.

But eventually, even this became dull.

After all, Flowey was just a child. One could get tired with a new toy after playing too long.

Flowey became bored.

Just one last time.

Chapter Text

The world stuttered.

Papyrus was becoming tired.

The world stuttered.

He didn't even remember why he was crying anymore.

The world stuttered.

Sore. Why was he so sore?

The world stuttered.

His hand especially.

The world stuttered.

A pounding skull ache was forming.

The world stuttered.

Forming? It was already there in the first place.

The world stuttered.

His soul hurt. It hurt so much.

The world stuttered.

On and on it went. This moment was lasting forever.

The world stuttered.

He was so sick of his friend's face.

T h e W o r l d S t u t t e r e d .

“STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT!” Papyrus screamed.

“Idio- what? What did you say?”

The flower Papyrus had once called his friend looked confused. “I SAID TO STOP.” He shivered violently. Fear and adrenaline was rushing through the skeleton's bones.

The flower looked even more confused. “Since when were-?” Pap stood up wobbling back and forth. Unsteady on his sore legs.

“I DON'T!” He took a deep breath. “I don't know what is happening, but when I first came here I was sad, but other than that and the burns, unharmed.” He was shaking even harder now, his bones rattling. “Now I hurt everywhere! I can't stop shaking and I just want to go home!”

Flowey's eyes were huge. As if he couldn't believe his petals. “What? This has never happened…” He cut himself off and stared up at Papyrus.

He smiled.

The smile made Papyrus feel worse than he already did. Since when did flowers have so many teeth? Pap fell into the snow, exhausted. His eye sockets clenched tight. As he passed out he felt vines wrap around his body. Dragging him below ground.

*****

He woke up on a bed of flowers. He could barely open his eyes. It was so bright. It was also hot, but pleasantly so. He looked up and saw an opening out of the underground, a great light surrounded by blue was shining through it. Am I dead? His eye lights started to burn. And he covered his sockets with his hand. Moving his bones so quickly, he discovered that he was still filled with extreme pain. Definitely not dead.

“So… you're just like that smiley trashbag aren't you?” Flowey sneered. “How long have you been hiding that?”

Papyrus sat up quickly and felt sick to his non existent stomach. “I-I don't k-know what y-you mean.” Flowey rolled his eyes “Y-y-you don't?” the flower mocked. “Who are you now, that stupid lizard scientist?” Papyrus flushed. Breathing in he calmed himself. He was okay now… right?

“Where am I?” He asked. His voice only slightly wavering now. Flowey gave a fanged grin. “You're in my favorite place,” Flowey leaned over as if to whisper something. “You're sitting on my brother's grave!”

Papyrus gasped and scrambled to get up, only to fall back down onto the flowers. “What?” Papyrus couldn't quite understand. How could a flower have a brother? How could a flower have a grave?

Flowey laughed at Papyrus’ reaction. He popped up closer to him and laid a thorny vine over a shoulder bone. Pap flinched a little, unnerved from the last time Flowey was so close to him. “I know you probably have questions about me, but I have questions for you first.” Flowey held up a leaf. “One: what do you know about what just happened?” Or better yet! When did you notice?”

Pap shaded his eye sockets, still unused to the light from above him. “Notice what? Notice when Sans started acting like I was stupid? Or notice when the headache started?” Flowey sighed. “ Oh. Right . The smiley trashbag is what started all this… well why don-” Pap held up his other hand to stop Flowey. “You. You and Sans. The two of you always treat me like a child. Not letting me finish speaking or-”

“Technically you're the one who didn't let me finish talking”

“I DON'T CARE!” Papyrus would of stomped his foot if he wasn't sitting. “I'm not stupid. I can tell when Sans is lying, or when you get angry with me!” The skeleton found tears running down his cheekbones and onto his teeth. Despite not having tear ducts… “Even Undyne. Even she thinks I'm stupid. That's why she won't let me in the royal guard.” Papyrus fell silent after finally admitting this to himself, and then fell into sobbing.

*****

Flowey wasn't good with this. Feelings weren't something that he had dealt with in a long time… However… There was someone that was good with this whole “comforting” business.

*****

Toriel wasn't in her house. She had gone on one of her child searches. Wandering up and down the ruins to see if anyone else had fallen down, and to see if they could be saved.

She was walking through the spike puzzle when she heard something. Someone had said “ Mom ” she stopped dead in her tracks. Her heart was beating out of her chest now. Unsure to be scared or hopeful. She descended down deeper into the ruins.

Mom ” There it was again. It was closer. She started to run towards the grave. Where else could it have come from?

She started puffing. She wasn't used to this. She had gotten out of shape thanks to snail pie and sitting by the door listening to knock-knock jokes.

She heard crying, and started to slow down. Crying from Chara? No. Impossible. Chara wasn't there. It must be another fallen child.

“Hello?” Toriel walked through the doorway and stopped when she saw the most peculiar sight; a monster was sitting in the sunlight. Not only was it a monster, but it was a skeleton as well. She hadn't seen a skeleton since… since…. Since she couldn't remember when.

He was startled when he saw her, he had gotten to his feet, but quickly fell back down one hand clutching at his skull, and his other to his ribs. Not his ribs, his soul! Toriel rushed to his side. “My… child? Are you alright?” The skeleton simply gazed up at her. “King Asgore? When did you shave your beard?” He then promptly collapsed altogether. His eye sockets closed.

When Tori got over the initial shock of not only seeing a skeleton, but also being confused for her husband, she examined the monster closer.

* ??? 8 ATK 2 DEF

* 470/680 HP

* Has burns on his bones

* Doesn't feel very great

She would have to heal him. As she checked the poor monster, she noticed that he was rather scuffed up. His clothes were torn, and he was caked in dirt. Through the ripped holes in his shirt, she noted the burns on his arms. Who had done such a thing to him? Toriel kneeled down and scooped the skeleton into her arms. He wasn't a fallen child, but he did need her help.

As she picked him up she found that he was very light. Poor thing he's all sk-... All bones… She laughed at these thoughts. (She'd have to tell the man on the other side of the door.) And carried the poor thing back to her house.

Chapter Text

Sans waited by the door for several hours. Every once in a while he'd knock and see if She was there. He would of normally gone home by now, but Pap…

“You know what Bro? Anyone who burns down a kitchen, heck, anyone who burns themselves… they're idiotic.”

“What are you saying? The Great Papyrus-”

“No Papyrus. You're not great. You're an idiot.”

Sans sighed and sank deeper into the snow. I'm the idiot. He knocked again on the Lady’s door.

“Knock-knock.” He muttered. The fight was all because of the last reset. Some of his memories still remained. Someone had been killing all of the monsters in the underground. He and Pap had evacuated everyone they could to the true lab. After they were all gathered, Sans found a note written by Papyrus. It was long winded, like his brother, but basically came to one simple point: Papyrus was going to face the Flower that had started all of this.

Sans should have stopped him.

Sans was the idiot.

And then Pap had almost killed himself after burning down the kitchen.

Sans was the idiot.

He didn't go after Papyrus when he had ran away.

Sans was the idiot.

What was Sans going to do? He had to go find Pap, but where could his thick-skulled brother have gone? Undyne had royal guard duties with the king, and Alphys was…. Alphys. The only other friend Papyrus had was...

The world stuttered.

He found himself in mid knock. His hand was closed into a fist as he hit the door. He didn't remember raising his hand again to knock. He tried to focus. When was the last time he had rapped on the door? Maybe a couple of minutes? He hadn't moved, but this feeling of Deja Vu was strong…

The world stuttered.

Sans eyes went dark as he realized what was happening. The flower was doing it. Again. Why he was doing it was the question. What was he resetting?

The answer hit him faster than his clouded mind was expecting.

Papyrus.

The world stuttered.

“Papyrus!” Sans got to his feet and began running. Where was he? Papyrus had headed out into the forest. Maybe he could see if one of the dogs had seen him. He started out towards the guard shacks.

The world stuttered.

He was back at the door. What was he doing? He had to teleport to the stations, teleport before-.

The world stuttered.

Alphys. She had cameras everywhere. If he could get to the lab-

The world stuttered.

“Sans? W-w-what are y-you doing here?” Sans walked past Alphys straight to the giant screen. “I have to find Papyrus.” He growled trying to keep his memories, the headache was really getting overwhelming.

The world stuttered.

He had to-

The world stuttered.

Papyrus needed him-

The world stuttered.

It was going too fast now, he couldn't keep up. His skull was threatening to split open.

The world stuttered.

Why? Why even try anymore? San's head hit the door as he lost consciousness.

*****

When Toriel was finished tucking the skeleton into the spare bed, she had decided to make a pie for her guest. Eating something would heal him right up. Hopefully. Tori didn't really feel comfortable using her own magic to heal him. Not with the burns on his arms.

She set to making the pie. Butterscotch , She decided.  Better start him off with that instead of snail pie. She paused as she got out the ingredients. She didn't really know if this kind of monster could eat. She could ask the stranger… he was fond of skeleton jokes… but she couldn't really control their meeting times. Plus if she did talk to him, she had the feeling that she would be talking for while. But she couldn't.

There was a pie to make.

If he couldn't eat… more for her, she supposed. Maybe she would actually find the courage to open the door and give a piece to her friend. A soft smile came across her face.

No Tori you can't expose yourself. If He knew where I am… he'd surely come to take me back. And that thought was enough to dismiss the idea. Again. At least until the next time the thought would reach her mind.

*****

When he opened up his eye sockets, he had no idea where he was. Or what he was. Or who he was. This was not good . He rubbed his eyes and noticed something.

He had no eyes.

He didn't have skin either.

He was just bones… and yet that didn't really surprise him. It felt very normal to him. It definitely wasn't unusual. Maybe others were the unusual ones. Blood and skin and stuff. The skeleton shuddered, rattling his bones. Rattling his bones felt… comforting. It reminded him of… of… someone.

The skeleton examined the room he was in. He appeared to be in a bed, beside the bed were stuffed animals. At the bottom of the bed was a chest with what he presumed was more toys. The rest of the room had furniture belonging in a bedroom as well. He got out of the bed gingerly made it, and then walked to the door. When he reached it. he turned around to make sure he wasn't missing anything that might bring back his memories. When he turned he saw something that put him on edge.

It was a picture of a flower.

The drawing of a yellow flower shouldn't of made shivers go up and down his spine, yet it did, it filled him with dread. It terrified him.

He heard footsteps coming from outside the door. He started to open it and was rewarded to the sight of a monster. She was tall, but not really intimidating. This was probably because of how fluffy she appeared. She looked like… a goat?

“My child! What are you doing out of bed? You have injuries that need to be attended to!” She scurried inside and pushed the skeleton back to the bed.

She smiled patiently while the confused skeleton sat on the bed.

“Perfect! Now I have something for you.” The goat monster's smile was a little off putting for some reason, but that reason quickly disappeared into the back of the skeleton's mind.

“Tada!” The goat said holding out a pan full of something. “This will fix you up, easy as pie!” She laughed at her own joke, as he winced at the pun. Wait… why did he think that was a pun? Why did he wince at this pun? The lady was still talking. “I was going to heal you up myself, but I don't think you'd like flame magic on those burns. Even if it was healing flames…” she frowned as she sliced a piece of the… quiche? He didn't really know what it was, but it did smell good to his non-existent nose.

*****

Tori hummed as she slid the piece of pie onto a plate. “How exactly did you get those burns?” She tried to ask nonchalantly, but it was still a troubling question to the monster according to his reaction. Tori! She scolded herself, you need to be more subtle. She smiled. “What am I saying? First I need to introduce myself! I am Tor- er-” She cut herself off. Wait! This skeleton knows who Asgore is. If I say who I am he might tell him…   “My name is Tora. Just Tora.” She tried to put on an convincing smile hoping to fool him. “And you are?”

The unknown skeleton blinked. Opened his teeth and then shut them again frowning. “I um…” he scratched the back of his skull. “I don't really know.” Toriel's eyes widened. She wasn't expecting this…

“Do you know where you are?”

“No. I'm afraid not.”

“How did you get here?”

“I'm not sure…”

“Do you have any family?”

This response took a little longer than the last.

“I don't really remember.”

Tori stopped for a moment.

“Do you know who the king is?”

He shook his head. “I didn't even know there was a king.” The skeleton looked at her, eye sockets wide. “Can you tell me what's going on?”

Toriel sighed and handed him the piece of butterscotch pie. “I’ll answer the ones I can. You're in the ruins underneath a mountain. The king is a monster named Asgore.” She saw no recognition in his eyes. “Here, you must be thirsty. I'll fetch you a glass of water.”

She exited the room wondering what happened to the poor boy, and why he couldn't remember anything, even how he got here.

Chapter Text

Flowey didn't know what to do next, which in all honesty was quite unusual for him. He had called for Toriel, and had watched as she took Papyrus away. Now he was outside the house with no ideas on how to get in.

Sure, there was the whole 'break open a window and let myself in’ technique, but…. He needed Toriel's trust. He needed to talk to Papyrus without angering her. He had heard through a window about the apparent loss in Papyrus’ memory, and wanted to see if that was true.

And if it was, what FUN they would have.

He'd start off easily enough. Becoming friends again... 

What could he do to him? He could mentor him, or he could bully him behind Toriel's back, perhaps he could even make him hate his own brother!

But all of these could be done without this strange beginning.

Still… he could load anytime he got bored of a path. He was that powerful.

What was it he had read in one of Alphys’ comics? “ With great power comes great responsibility.” ? How lame. Only an idiot would buy into that crap

An idiot.

An idiot that gained power…

A smirk came over Flowey's face.

The plan slowly formed in his mind.

It could be so very entertaining.

*****

Sans had almost given up hope. It had been a week since he had seen his brother last.

A week.

He checked everywhere these past days.

All of Snowdin, Undyne's house, the ghost farm, the rest of Waterfall, through all the puzzles of hot land, the lab, the secret lab, and New Home.

The dogs were no help. Sure, they sniffed around, and helped him search the woods, but…

Nothing.

If there was no sign of Papyrus tonight… he was giving up.

Giving up wasn't a big deal for Sans. He gave up all the time. In fact he was pretty sure he gave up in every timeline. He only had one thing to live for after he lost Papyrus.

Revenge.

The only thing keeping him hopeful about seeing his brother again in this timeline, was because of the flower. Flowey always bragged about killing Papyrus. Always. Sans couldn't remember that much from the timelines, but something he could remember from almost every timeline was loosing Pap.

And the laughter that followed.

The last timeline was still burned in his memory. It was one of the flower’s more brutal runs.

“Hello Smiley Trashbag.” Sans was standing in the great hall. The sun was rising and it was giving the red and gold room a pinkish glow. When suddenly the flower had just nonchalantly popped out in front of him. “Fancy seeing you here.” He had grinned. Sans stepped back, a lump rising in his soul.

“Did you know Papyrus is actually quite strong? When he chooses to fight, that is.” Sans raised a hand ready to use his blue attack. “Oh Sans, that only works on someone that has a soul!” He said as if reading his thoughts. “But again, about your brother. At first he didn't want to fight me. The idiot.”

Then the fight had begun. A dance between bones and vines.

“But after a few choices he decided to change his mind.” Flowey narrowly avoided a blast from a gaster blaster. It was his turn now. He chose to act instead of fight. “The choice was, to fight me one on one to the death. Or…” Flowey slid his way through a long series of bones. Act. “Or, see his precious brother die in front of him. Pretty fun right?”

Tears were blinding Sans’ dark eye sockets. But he kept fighting, trying to get a hit on the horrible weed.

“Did you know if you cut just the right way you can decapitate a skeleton quite easily?” Sans was now going through a literal blind rage. And if he wasn't trying to kill something he probably would've laughed at his own joke.

“Your brother was so strong he survived a little while after I cut off his head!” Sans gasped and slumped to the floor. This new information leaving him numb. “You wanna know what his last words were?” Flowey said readying a vine. “What?” Weezed Sans. Flowey paused for dramatic effect, “‘I'm sorry brother’.”

A vine went through Sans’ soul.

“How lame is that?”

*****

“Helllooooo beauties!” The metallic sound of Mettaton's voice called through the audience. “Welcome to MTT TV!” The crowd cheered for the glamorous rectangle. “We have a guest today my lovelies.” He turned to the entrance of the recording studio they were in. “He's a devastated skeleton looking for his brother, here's Sans the Comic!”

Televisions were all over the underground. Maybe, somehow, Papyrus could see this.

At least that's what Sans was hoping.

“Alright darling, what is happening?” Sans sighed. He really hated working with Mettaton. The flamboyant robot constantly got on his nerves with his pet names, and how outgoing he was. He probably wouldn't have even of thought of going on air without Alphys.

“Sans, M-m-mettaton has a large fan base, if you go on one of his shows there's a slight chance P-p-pap could see it.”

A slight change. Yet that slight chance held all of the hope Sans had left of his brother being alive.

“Heya, thanks for having me Metta, thanks a ton.” The pun left a bad taste in his mouth, but the audience laughed anyway.

“Ohoho Sans, that pun never gets old.” The robot lied. “Now, now, you said you had something important to share?”

Sans gritted his teeth. “Ah, yes, see my bro and I got into a fight, and I haven't seen him since.” A “aww” went through the crowd of monsters, and Mettaton put his hands to his screen in faked surprise. “How horrible darling! I'm so, so, sorry. Is there anything we can do?”

Sans turned to the camera. “Just if you see him,” he gulped. “Tell him I'm sorry. I'm sorry for everything I said, and I just want him to come home.” Another “aww” went through the crowd. And Mettaton wiped an imaginary tear away. “We'll now take calls!” He clapped his hands. “Anyone who has information, please ring us now!”

The phone rang.

“Hi! We just called to say, we're like, really sorry for the short guy, and that we love you Mettaton!”

The phone rang.

“I just wanted to call to say I haven't seen Papyrus at all.”

The phone rang.

“Nyah, I'm just calling to let Sans know that we, The Royal Guards, are still looking for Paps.”

The phone rang.

“Howdy! Am I on air? How interesting!” The voice froze Sans, and sent shivers up his spine. No, not him…

“Yes, you're on MTT TV darling! Talking with THE Mettaton.”

“Golly! I guess I better say something! I guess I have seen Papyrus recently…” Mettaton perked up in his chair, not noticing Sans’ dark eyes. “Ooh! Do tell us everything!”

“Yeah! I saw him! Talked to him even!”

No. Please.

“I talked to him, we had a nice conversation before I killed him.”

The laugh. The laugh Sans had been dreading for so long.  

The laugh that haunted Sans’ dreams.

The laugh that signaled the end of Papyrus, the end of everything worth living for.

Everything except for killing that damned flower.

*****

Toriel sat by the door and waited for the man to knock. It had been a while since they last talked, but he could have been busy this last week. She certainly had been. After a week with the skeleton she had come to one conclusion.

He was a delight to be around.

When he had healed up, (thanks to pie and sleep) they had found that, unfortunately, he still hadn't regained his memory.

So what do you do with a stranger skeleton in your house?

Apparently the answer was to cook.

After they had finished talking about his memory loss, she had grown hungry. “I'm going to go cook us up something, I'm afraid if I don't eat soon I'll pasta away. Then wouldn't you be in a pickle? ” She was going to continue the puns, but she had found that there were tears running down the poor thing's cheekbones. “My deepest apologies! I didn't know you disliked puns!”

The skeleton raised up a hand. “I don't know if I dislike them or not… but…” he wiped away the tears. “The pasta one… I feel like I know it. Like someone close to me told me it once.”

Tori looked at the skeleton, he kept surprising her. That's for certain.

“Well, if it is your desire to eat a pasta dish, I could make one-”

“Spaghetti.”

This unexpected outburst about a food dish had unsettled her initially, but the excited look on his face made her laugh. “Spaghetti it is!”

His way of making spaghetti was...strange to say the least… but in the end the dish did taste pretty good. Back in the present she snorted in laughter against the door. She had to stop him from burning down her kitchen, but it was nice that he was finally remembering some things from his past. Even if it was just making spaghetti.

“Knock-knock.” A low voice said from the other side of the door.

Tori found herself elated at the sound of the beginning of her friend's joke.

“Who is there?”

“Orange.”

She grinned. A classic. “Orange who?”

“Orange you glad I'm back?”

Toriel still gave a good chuckle at the joke, but she could sense something was off about her friend. His voice was hoarse, strained even. “You do not sound well, what is the matter?”

“Heh. You can tell huh? My um, brother.” He coughed, trying to clear away the hoarseness unsuccessfully. “My brother was killed.”

Tori gasped color draining from her face. “I-I am so sorry! What happened? If you do not mind me asking?”

The voice was monotone. Almost as if he was dead as well. “I don't really know. He was killed by a-” he stopped himself. “Killed by some soulless creature.”

*****

A certain soulless flower was standing by Toriel's front door. Waiting for the right moment. She had left to talk with the smiling trashbag a while ago, and should have been back by now. Flower was tired of waiting. In fact he would have asked to come inside already, if he wasn't so sure that Papyrus wouldn't let him in.

Now Toriel…

Toriel wouldn't hesitate to let him in, take a flower pot and put him by the fire.

So where was she?

Another hour passed.

That's it. I'm sick of waiting. Consequences be damned. He was able to wait this long because Sans reaction to his phone call was oh so entertaining. But that had worn off by now.

Time to put on a performance. A performance to fool an idiot that is. Not the hardest thing.

He beat wildly on the door. Letting a piercing scream out of his mouth. “Please let me in! I can't stay out here!” Flowey rolled his eyes, trying not to laugh. “Please!” He tried to get out a few tears, as he wailed, still pounding on the door.  

Papyrus opened the door. His eye sockets wide with fear. “What's going on?” He rasped, he looked like he just woke up from a nap.

“They killed him! Please save me! Let me in!” Flowey sobbed. Hmm… maybe he should dial it back…

“Oh my gosh!” Pap yelled. “Quickly! How can I get you inside?”

Too easy.

“I don't know, maybe there's a flower pot? Or something?” Hopefully Papyrus didn't notice his sarcasm…

“Of course!” Pap nodded. “But I don't know if I should leave you alone to go get it.” The urge to roll his eyes was nearly unstoppable. Nearly. “If you hurry it'll be alright. I think I lost him.”

Papyrus’ eyes narrowed, but he said nothing as he went to find a pot.

Idiot.

Papyrus soon returned with a flower pot in his hands, a tense look on his face.

Flowey allowed himself to be dug up, and with some dirt he was comfortably in his new “home.”

The kitchen looked worse than Flowey had ever seen. Which was so exciting! This run… is quite amusing. There was tomato guts on the ceiling, the stove was slightly burned, and there was friggin spaghetti noodles on the wall. Before Flowey knew it, he had let a chuckle out of his mouth.

Pap set him on the slightly messy table. And turned to the noodles on the wall. “If they stick that's when you know they're done.” He explained, like this was completely normal. Flowey looked to the floor and found several uncooked noodles littering it. “I see.” Flowey said giving Papyrus a smile.

Papyrus shivered at the sight of it, but still sat at the table. Interesting… Flowey decided to a check.

* ??? 8 ATK 2 DEF

* 680/680 HP

* Is uneasy

* Doesn't trust you

He really doesn't remember anything? This could make things harder, or easier...

“So…? Tell me about what happened to your brother. If you don't mind sharing.” Pap clasped his hands together and gave a encouraging expression. Ugh.

Flowey saved. Just in case. He thought. I really don't want to wait by the door for so long again…

“My b-brother was killed by someone, I barely made it out alive, thank you so much for your help.” Flowey squeezed out a tear for dramatic effect.

“Oh no!” Pap shook his head. “That's so sad… my condolences.”

The urge to roll his eyes was back. “Thank you.” Flowey pursed his lips. Time to try something… “The monster who killed him… his name was Sans.”

Chapter Text

The amnesiac skeleton reeled back. Sans? My brother? Memories came flooding back into his head. Sans, the fight, his own name, and… “Flowey! What's going on?” Papyrus yelled. “I… I lost my memory, but now I have it again, and, and…” He clutched his skull. “You!”

“Me?” Vines flew to Flowey's mouth in faked shock.

“You. Somehow you're the reason the whole world stutters, why my head hurts, it's because of you!” Pap got out of his chair and held it protectively in front of himself.

“So you do know about the resets! How much do you know?” Flowey was practically overflowing with glee. He looked way too happy for what Papyrus was accusing him of.

“Resets? All I know is that you do something to make the world stop. It's not long, but… it's there.” The skeleton rubbed his temple. “It makes my head hurt.”

“Anything else?” Flowey asked looking over a vine that came out of the pot.

“If I did know something else I wouldn't tell you. You lying flower.” Papyrus started backing away still holding the chair defensively, then was stopped by something. Something was poking out of his ribs, out of his soul.

“Let's try this again.” A sickly sweet voice called from behind him.

The world stuttered.

*****

Flowey had found that Papyrus’ memories came back after saying: Sans, Flowey's name, Papyrus’ own name, and “idiot”.

The last one was to be expected if Flowey was honest with himself.

Through Flowey's “methods” he discovered that Papyrus couldn't quite remember the resets, at least not in the way his brother did. But that didn't mean the skeleton didn't remember in other ways.

Take his soul for example, after Flowey stabbed it the first time, Papyrus kept rubbing his chest. After Flowey broke his legs to keep him from running, Pap stumbled the next time he tried to get away. It all came to one conclusion in Flowey's head.

Papyrus’ memories of the resets weren't mental. They were physical.

Of course. That idiot wasn't useless. He was just… different. And a different toy was intriguing.

Flowey drew in Papyrus’ ashes with a vine. Drawing a flower like the one he did for his bedroom. When he was alive. Now that he had the information, he just needed to incorporate this new knowledge into his plans.

Flowey loaded.

“My brother was killed by a Froggit. We were just talking, when out of nowhere it attacked.”

Pap frowned. “I don't believe you. You're lying… I'm going to get Tora. She'll kno- gack.” Papyrus choked as the vine went through his windpipe and into his jaw. “You have to make everything so hard, don't you?” Flowey had to remember that, at least in this run, Papyrus could tell when people were lying. Mostly at least. Half-lies were apparently fine.

The world stuttered as Flowey loaded.

Flowey made tears run down his face this time. “My brother was killed by… another yellow flower monster.” Papyrus gasped. “Oh no! That's so sad. My condolences.” He shook his head.

So that's the same… he must believe me.

“Yes, I um… was attacked too, but I was able to make it to here.”

Papyrus’ nodded sadly. “I see… Well, small flower, I had better help you.” He stood up rubbing at his throat. “I too came here for help, you see I have no memory of my past. So Tora has been letting me stay at her house.”

So that's what she's been calling herself. That was good to know. “So do you even know your own name? Or where you came here?”

The skeleton shook his head no, and gave an apologetic smile.

I have to call him something. Flowey thought to himself. So this doesn't become confusing, but also in case I mess up and call him by his own name. “How about I give you a new name?”

Papyrus’ clapping his hands together, “Oh! That might be fun! What do you suggest?”

Flowey paused for a moment. What would he come up with... “How about Smile? Because you're always smiling!” The flower almost gagged by how cheesey he was being.

Papyrus’ eye sockets lit up. “Wowie! I love it!” He gave a goofball smile. “Thank you!” Flowey smiled back.

“Anything for a friend.”

*****

Toriel didn't know what to make of the flower at first. Part of her didn't believe that there was a new type of plant monster that she had never seen in all her years. The other part…

He was so… familiar.

She was a little shocked at the sight of a sentient flower, (mostly because of all of her flower picking in the past.) But his story all seemed to make sense.

And, she supposed, if a talking skeleton is able to materialize out of thin air, then I guess a talking flower can as well.

“My child… what might I call you?”

“Just call me,” it stopped and snuck a look at the skeleton. “Just call me… Buttercup.” He winced.

“What an adorable name!” Toriel smiled as she pet the flower's petals.

*****

Days went by and slowly the skeleton and the flower became friends.

They were also slowly eating up Toriel’s supplies.

She found she really didn't care though. They were happy, and she was happy. They formed a family of sorts. A strange mismatched family. And Toriel wouldn't have it any other way.

She had forgotten what it was like to not be alone.

Yes, the froggits kept her company at times, and so did some of the other monsters. They kept her from going over the edge of socal depravity, (along with the stranger) but she couldn't have this with them. This warm feeling. This feeling that she had so missed. It felt like…

Home.

Days turned into weeks, and Toriel soon was completely out of her food stock. She smiled to herself. My supplies usually last for months. But thanks to these boys… she glanced at Smile and Buttercup who were arguing over a book. It's quite rowdy nowadays.

It was wonderful.

She didn't want to leave.

And yet she must. Only for a grocery run. She would be back soon. And yet… everytime she said this to herself, she remembered the last child. He hadn't been very old, twelve in human years at most.

He said he was going to be a cowboy.

He wanted to go back to his home very badly. Do she had tried to make a new home for him. A new home with her. It had almost worked. He stayed with her for a month. They became close.

Then she had ran out of food.

Tori had opened the door to get out of the ruins. She left during the night when he was asleep. If I had just checked. But no, she was hurrying to get the ingredients and then leave. Back to the ruins. Back to her family.

The boy had followed her.

Out of the woods. Out to Snowdin town. Out to the rabbit's shop.

Out to his death.

The Royal Guards saw the boy before she did. The Guards killed him. They killed him in front of her. They killed him and took his soul to Asgore.

There was no Justice for his soul.

She didn't want to leave.

However if she thought logically about this… Smile and Buttercup were monsters. There was no reason for them to be killed if they went out with her.

 

It was such a pale yellow.

 

She made up her mind.

*****

“I will be going to get some food supplies.” Toriel said as she got dressed into different clothes than the ones she usually wore. It was a black robe that reminded Flowey of the River Person.

Now that he thought about it, this made sense to him. He'd never seen Toriel getting supplies before, and neither had the townsfolk. Toriel didn't get food at the shop. The River Person did.

And no one questioned the River Person.

Flowey was actually impressed by his mother. He hadn't expected that sort of deceit from someone like her.

She must really hate his father.

“Can I come?” Papyrus jumped to his feet. “I'm really kind of interested in what's outside the door.” Flowey saw for a split second a twinge of fear in the goat mom's eyes. I would like to see where this goes… he thought to himself. But I need Toriel's trust. “Let's not, Smile.” Flowey hated that nickname. (Even if he's the one who came up with it.) “I want to hang out here with you!”

Papyrus looked like he wanted to object, but nodded in agreement. “Alright…” He switched his attention on to Toriel. “Maybe next time?”

Toriel's face softened. “Perhaps.” She pulled up the hood. “You boys be good!”

Flowey had to bite his tongue to not say “Yes mum!” like he used to. Back when he and Chara- No. That's done and over with. He turned his gaze to Papyrus. This is what's happening now.

“What did you want to talk to me about?” Pap smiled as he plopped down into Toriel's chair by the fire.

Flowey saved. It was time to start his plan.

Chapter Text

“Have you ever felt… different? Like you have some great power?” His friend asked.

The skeleton thought to himself. A power? Something I have?

“Let me try again.” The flower rubbed his stem with a vine absentmindedly. “Where did you come from?”

This question was even harder than the last one. “Tora said that I must have fell from the surface. It would explain why my clothes were all ripped up.” Smile, (as he was getting used to being called) looked down at his clothes. Tora had done a good job on repairing them, but you could still see where it used to be torn and burned.

Buttercup sat back in his pot. “You don't say… In our world, there's a prophecy about an angel that comes down to the underground. They come down to set all the monsters free.”

The skeleton studied his petalled friend. From what he could tell, Buttercup wasn't lying. Yet like always there was a voice in the back of his mind that said not to trust the flower.

He silenced that voice.

He took the pot into his hands and settled down by the fire. “What if I told you that you were that angel? And that you could save us all. Smile, would you believe me?”

I can't imagine… how could I have such a power? He thought to himself boney hands tapping on the pot. “Wait… why does the underground need saving?”

“Because, we're running out of food, and space out beyond the ruin's door. We'll die hopeless and alone if we don't get out soon.” A green tear slowly went down his companions face. “Won't you save us? Pa-Smile? Be our great hero?”

Smile frowned as he wondered what else his friend was going to say, but that thought was quickly replaced with daydreams of him, The Great Smile: Hero of The Underground. He stood up lifting the flower to his eye socket height.

“I'll do it!”

*****

Papyrus’ exclamation and the sudden elevation of his person, took Flowey off guard. And then realization hit. Perfect. Pap took the bait. Hook, line, and sinker.

“However, how do I use this power Buttercup? What even is it?” Pap tilted his head and sat into Toriel's chair.

Now here came the difficult part.

“Your power, is the power of time travel. You can go back in time to where you 'saved’. You have to use it wisely.” Flowey looked at the ground hoping that his lie would work. I should add some truth into it… make it more believable. “Now then, it does have some rules.”

Papyrus was surprisingly silent. Not a good sign.

Flowey continued. “You have to be within earshot of me, and you won't really remember the time before you loaded.” What a nice little lie sandwich.

Pap nodded rather confusedly. “How do I save and load? And what is the use of my power if I can't remember anything?” Crap… I should of planned this better. Flower thought to himself. Think… think… what am I doing this for?

For his own amusement. What else?

“To 'save’ You have to prick yourself on one of my thorns.” He pulled a vine out of the flower pot, and waved it around. “And for remembering the time before the load, you have a muscle memory, in a way.” Flowey winked. “Funny for a guy who has none, huh?”

“Wowie! But wait… you didn't explain how I load still.”

Flowey winked again. “That's easy! You just have to kill yourself!”

*****

Toriel had already gone to the bunny's shop to get cinnamon, flour, and other pie making ingredients. Now she was walking into Hotland for the tomatoes. When she got back into the ruins with them, she would cook them and then preserve it in jars. Maybe the boys will help me! This thought made her giddy as she hurried to the growing center that was by the lab.

Toriel had already gone to the bunny's shop to get cinnamon, flour, and other pie making ingredients. Now she was walking into Hotland for the tomatoes.

Tori suddenly had the feeling of Deja Vu.

How strange.

*****

The world stuttered.

Sans felt nauseous. For some reason the weed was using his power. And Sans didn't know the reason.

He was in the secret lab, reading the reports on Flowey again. How a human's determination could turn a plant into… something worse than a monster. No matter how many times Sans read this, he still found it hard to accept.

That they were the ones responsible.

He had helped make the thing that killed so many people.

Yes, Alphys wrote the notes, but Sans helped make the DT extractor. He was the one who put the red syringe into the stem that awoke Flowey. He worked right next to Alphys and Ga-

The world stuttered.

Great. Just what Sans needed. More time to reflect on his sins.

*****

Papyrus was doing well. He was a quick learner, and didn't ask that many questions. He kept at it pretty willingly.

Even when he died.

The first time was a little rough, to be expected, but Papyrus made it through alright.

“So all I have to do is prick my finger?” Pap had asked hesitantly.

“Yep!” Flowey had been holding out a vine. “After you do that, we'll have to do something you'll have a muscle memory about… how about….” Flowey looked around the room and spotted the fire. Sure. Why not? This route had begun with burns, why not continue the trend. “How about putting your hand in the fireplace?”

Papyrus had looked stressed, and started to say something. Probably backing out.

“Remember Smile! We NEED you.”

Papyrus nodded. His mind made up, The idiot may of lost his memories, but he still wanted to help others. He poked his thumb into the vine's thorn. He winced as the razor sharp edge cut into his bone.

Flowey saved.

“Alright. I'm ready.” The skeleton walked over to the fire and stuck his left hand in. “How long do you think I should leave it in?” He asked, his health bar slowly depleting.

Flowey was marveling at the sight. Papyrus willingly hurting himself for “the greater good of monster-kind.” Who knew? If this route kept going like the way it was, he might get the kind hearted fool to actually kill someone.

And wouldn't that be out of character?

“Just until it's a bit charred.” Papyrus clenched his teeth at this response, and steeled himself to not pull away from the thing that was causing him such pain.

Flowey leaned in closer to get a better view of the bones turning from ivory to a burnt brown. How delightful.

Eventually Papyrus couldn't take it anymore, and withdrew his phalanges. He blew on them softly as a tear snuck down from his eye.

“You're doing so well Papyrus! Now say something you can try to remember after you load.” It can't just be his body that remembers… right?

Papyrus gazed down at the flower. Eye sockets tired. “I hate this.” He whispered.

Flowey tried not to grin. “Now you just have to die!”

The skeleton gulped. “How do I do that?” Dummy! It's easy! I've done it thousands of times.

“How about we go into the kitchen and grab a knife? Your hp is pretty low thanks to the fire!”

“I-I don't know…” He was trying to back out again!

“We've come so far Smile, why don't I help you?”

Friendliness pellets surrounded the doomed monster. “DIE.”

0/680

Flowey loaded.

“It worked…” Papyrus said in disbelief. “My hand feels like it’s burned, but there’s no sign of it.” He looked to Flowey in amazement. “Wowie…”

“Did you doubt me? Flowey would have puffed out his chest, if he had one. Instead he just wiggled his stem. “For shame Smile!” He grew to Pap’s height from his place on the floor. “By the way, do you have any idea what happened besides the burning of your hand? Anything you think you might of said?”

The skeleton slumped. “No, I don’t recall anything like that.”

Phewy. This would make things more difficult. Flowey was banking on that Papyrus would have some other inclination of the resets besides pain. All well. Better just keep going with it. No helping that now. “Well Buddy, We should try it again. You need to get the hang of it as soon as possible. All of monsterkind needs you.”

After a little more encouragement, Pap was convinced to prick his finger again, and they began the ordeal once more.

That left them here.

Papyrus was laying on the floor of Toriel’s kitchen. He had just loaded a moment ago, and the idiot collapsed from the pain. “You did really good today friend! Another week or so, you’ll have this completely down!”

Flowey was delighted with this progress. The second time they tried it, Pap actually held a knife to his soul before backing down. The third try he actually started to cut before breaking down and crying.

The fourth time he actually did it.

Flowey knew it would take a little time, but Papyrus really surprised him. Just four times, it had taken Flowey two times as long to just get used to the idea.

However, it did get easier the more times you died.

Flowey should know. He’d died plenty of times. Most were the fault of the trash bag. Sans had ended him more times then the flower could count.

Maybe that’s why Papyrus was his favorite toy.

“Hey, Smile.”

“What?” A muffled moan came from the floor.

“You’re doing great.”

*****

Tori was getting worried about Smile. These last few days he was certainly looking worse for wear. He was slouching, which was something the skeleton never did. He also had dark eye bags, as if he wasn't getting a good night sleep.

Smile had been a lot more reserved recently. Not really matching his name. He seemed… depressed almost.

“What is going on with you, my child? Are you not feeling well?” Tori asked one day while they preserved the tomatoes and other veggies she had gotten. “Please do tell me, perhaps I can help you.”

The skeleton stopped stirring the pot of produce, and contemplated. He then looked around as if someone had entered the room while he was not looking. “Tora, can I ask you a question or two?”

“Of course my child.” Toriel took over the stirring, hoping that the bottom hadn't burned. “Please, ask away.” The trick to perfect stewed tomatoes was to keep moving them around the pot. And to-

“What is the state of the underground?”

Toriel paused at this question. “What made you think about that subject?” She turned away from the pot, to look at him. Hoping she didn't know the answer to her own inquiry.

“I just want to know, if it's… Okay? Out there?” He looked at the ground embarrassed. “If that makes any sense…”

Well he didn't say he wanted to leave, so that's good at least. Toriel sighed. “It is… complicated in the underground, my child.” She turned down the heat on the stove. ‘We are slowly running out of food. The royal scientist started a garden to start growing resources, but it's hard work without the sunlight and space needed.”

Tears started to form in the former Queen's eyes. “Monsters need hope to survive, without this… we fall down.” She blinked the tears away and looked at him. Eye to eye sockets.

“The King is not handling this right. He is trying to keep hope alive by opening the barrier that seals us here. He's taking human souls to use.” The tears came anyway. “He's killing innocent people for his own gain.” She wiped at her eyes furiously. “I can not stand to see him do this… so I left.”

The skeleton wrapped his arms around her. “Thank you for telling me.” He whispered. “I know what I have to do now.” He gently pet her head until her sobs slowed. She gripped his shirt and buried her face into it. “Please. If you are to leave me, never join him. Asgore cannot be trusted, not for someone as pure as you, my child.”

Toriel released Smile, going back to her slightly burned tomatoes. Not knowing the weight she had put on his chest.

Chapter Text

“Knock-knock.”

Sans rapped his knuckles against the door. He had been leaning against it for a while now, but had finally gotten the courage to knock.

The back and forth gesture shook some of the snow that had lightly dusted him. How long have I been sitting here? I should've gone home. Now I'm knocking and I barely even have a joke. Maybe she's not nearby and won't hear it.

“Who is there?”

Damnit.

“Amish”

A soft chuckle came through the door. “Amish who?”

“Aw yer a sweetheart.” Sans quipped. “Amished you too.” Sans heard a snort come through with more laughter. He smiled. Pained that she was here, yet grateful for the company.

“Knock-knock.” Came the gentle lady's voice.

“Who's there?”

“Deja.”

“Deja who?” Sans felt his vision go dark.

“Knock-knock” The lady chortled away, but Sans couldn't bring himself to laugh. The flower had been resetting too much lately. His skull was still pounding from Flowey's activity earlier.

“Heh.” He finally managed to choke out.

“It's been the strangest thing.” Her muffled voice went, not seeming to notice Sans’ lack of humor in her joke. “I've been experiencing so much Deja Vu lately.”

Sans slid away from the door into the snow. “You don't say.” He positioned himself to a more comfy position. “How so?”

He heard the lady settle down as well. “It's just Deja Vu. I'll be putting a pie in the oven, only to think 'have I not just put a pie into the oven?’ Ha ha. It is quite silly.”

“Yeah.” So, Flowey was resetting so much that even she noticed.

They rested in comfortable silence. It was kinda nice. This was what Sans needed. Time to just be with someone that understood him. At least partially understood him.

“My er, housemates, have become very good friends. They go out into the ruins for hours.” She laughed fondly. “I'm glad. They both seemed so lonely.”

Sans smiled. This was exactly what he needed. Idle chatter to help his mind.  “Heh heh. Tell me about your housemates, it's been a while since you met them, and you've barely even told me anything about them.”

“Well, first there's Smile, I still don't quite know where he came from. I initially thought that he came from the outside, but then again, I thought all of the monsters were sealed inside the mountain.”

Sans closed his eye sockets. “You can't just ask him about it?”

A sigh came from the door. “I am afraid not. Smile seems to have no memory left in his skull.” She snorted again.

Probably an inside joke. 

“He's darling however. Loves to cook, and has been getting better at it recently. We came up with his name thanks to the bright smile on his face. A cliche, is it not? But it fits him rather well.”

“And the other one? What's his story?”

“Buttercup is rather strange at times.” The lady hummed. “He’s very sweet, but something feels… off about him? Oh, what am I saying... the poor dear lost his brother recently.”

Sans sat up, curious. “You don't say?”

Another sigh from the door. “Yes, such a sad affair. I suppose the reason I find him a little strange is that I've never seen a flower monster quite like him before.”

Sans’ vision went dark.

The lady was continuing to talk, but Sans couldn't focus on what she was saying.

Flowey.

Flowey's with her. I have to save her. I have to kill him. Thoughts ran rapidly through his brain. How would he get in? How could he explain what he had to do? The “Smile” guy was friends with the weed. Would he try to protect him? Would Sans have to kill him too?

“However I must be going now, otherwise my pie might burn my house down, before Smile gets to.” The lady laughed.

She was leaving? So soon? He had to tell her. He had to warn her! Calm. He has to act calm. “Hey lady, can I… come through the door?”

The silence behind the door was deafening to Sans.

“I-” She stopped herself. “No. I cannot let you in. Not right now. If He finds out...”

He? Flowey? He's already threatening her? “Please?” Sans’ voice cracked. Please I need to help you. You're the only one I have left.

“Goodbye, my friend. I will talk to you again.”

“But what if you don't?” Sans whispered as the sound of her footsteps slowly got farther and farther away.

*****

The skeleton rubbed at his chest. He had found that the easiest way to load quickly was to stab his soul. All the other ways he had tried ended up being too long and painful. Nyeheh . He thought sadly. It was just loading now. That's all. Nothing more, nothing less .

Smile looked at his surroundings, now rubbing at the immense pain in his skull. No matter how much he did this, he'd probably never get rid of the headache loading always gave him. He was standing by the patch of yellow flowers. High above him was the “sun” making his bones warm to the touch.

“Howdy!” Buttercup popped up out of the ground. He would be hard to tell apart from the other flowers, except for the fact the other flowers didn't have mouths… or eyes... “Smile. I'm so proud of you! You really did it! You mastered resetting! You're so cool.”

Pap rubbed at his soul again, and looked up at the sun. “I did? Wowie.” He tried to sound enthusiastic, but all he really did was sound a little less tired. “What are you planning on us doing now?”

He looked at the flower that was doing an innocent, yet fanged, grin. “We celebrate! Duh! You've done so well. Tonight you get to relax!”

The skeleton raised an eyebrow. Or at least where an eyebrow would be. “Only tonight? What's tomorrow?”

The flower bobbed up and down happily. “It's a surprise!”

Of course it was.

By the time they got back to Tora's house, dinner was already done. Tora was bustling away in the kitchen still. She was trying her best to act cheerful, but was failing. Smile sat down at the table. “What's wrong? Can I help you with anything?” However the question he posed sounded hollow to him.

Tora brought over the freshly made snail pie. “Nothing is wrong my child, I just… didn't have the best conversation with my friend. Nothing for you to worry about.” A weak smile came over her face as she served the pie.

Buttercup leaned forward. “Friend? You mean the tras- the guy you talk to through the door?”

Tora gave him a curt nod and started to eat.

Smile joined her. Even though he actually didn't like the snail pie. He wished he had a nose to hold.

“Hey Tora? Smile and I have something to tell you.”

The goat mom looked up at the flower. “And what would that be?” Buttercup held her gaze. “We're going to go out of the ruins.”

Tora looked at Smile her mouth slightly agape. “Is this true?”

He gave her a half-hearted shrug. “I... Yes. We're leaving. There's something I have to do.”

Tora stood up. Her chair making noise at the abrupt way it was moved back. “And why is that?” She was practically shouting, tears that had been held back, being finally released.

“I have to remove the barrier. Only I can do it.” He looked down, not meeting her eyes.

“What do you mean? Remove the barrier? Why is it only you?” She sobbed. “How is it only you?”

Because only I can load. 

“Because only I can defeat Asgore.” He whispered barely making her gaze. “I can free us.”

*****

Flowey felt like he needed popcorn. Papyrus and Toriel! Battle of the year! How fun. How entertaining. How different.

It almost made him feel something.

He sank back into the dirt of his flowerpot. Just enjoying the fireworks. Sure, Pap almost ruined the plan by mentioning Asgore, but Toriel seemed too invested in crying to actually understand.

Their voices rose. Flowey didn't actually know his soft-spoken mother could get this loud. Papyrus was, of course, always this loud. At least when excited.

Speaking of which, Pap really didn't seem to that excited lately. I wonder why…

Well, maybe seeing his brother soon would make him cheer up.

*****

Sans had fallen asleep with his non-existent ear against the door. He had stayed up all night trying to hear anything from the lady. Screams, yelling, a cry for help. Anything.

But nothing happened.

So he did what he did best:

Sleep.

Falling asleep was lazy, however, his dreams were anything but. His friends dying in front of him, monsters melting together, an unknown man behind the door of a hallway that didn't exist. His brother being killed. Over and over.

The worst part was, that these things weren't actually dreams. But memories.

Memories that would always be gone when he'd wake up.

But they were there. Somewhere inside his head.

Someone sitting down against the door woke him up. He heard crying through the door. She actually came back.

“Knock-knock.”

A pause in the crying. “How long have you been here?”

“Who.”

“What? I don't- Who… who?”

“Heh. I didn't know I was speaking with an owl.”

Sans felt relief when he heard her laugh a little through her tears.

“Tell me, why are you crying? Expechally at this hour of... night?”

“Can I ask you to promise me something?”

Sans sighed. “Depends. What is it?”

“If someone ever comes through this door, can you promise me just one thing? Watch over the one that comes through the door. Can you do that for me?

Sans contemplated in the dark. Yes, it was his job as sentry to report what happens in Snowdin, but since when did that matter? True, after he dealt with Flowey, it was very unlikely that he would be here to watch the door… but the lady didn't need to know that.

The lady.

The lady who listened to his horrible jokes, and actually laughed. The lady who he talked with for hours. The lady who honestly liked bad knock-knock jokes. The lady who was his friend.

“I promise.”

“Thank you.”

He hated making promises.

But for her, he'd watch over anyone who came through the door.

He'd just have to make sure Flowey never got through the door in the first place.

Chapter Text

Papyrus was slowly walking behind Flowey as they travelled to the beginning of the ruins. Flowey had asked to be let out of the pot again, and was now popping up every few feet to make sure the idiot was following.

Flowey grinned to himself as he saw the skeleton's nervousness. Papyrus was still not over the fight he had with Toriel. Dumbass .

When they finally reached the flower patch, the sun was already high enough in the sky to be seen inside the mountain. After leading Pap into the room, the flower tried to block the entrance without the other monster's knowledge.

“What are you doing Buttercup?”

Damnit. Of course Papyrus noticed.

“Nothing, friend!” Flowey winked at him sticking out his tongue. “I just wanted to speak to you. Alone. Without anyone coming here and bothering us. That's fine with you, right?”

Pap looked down and twiddled his fingers. “Yes, Buttercup… it's alright... I suppose.”

Flowey finished blocking off the opening. “Actually Papyrus, I want you to call me something different…”

Papyrus’ head snapped up to look at the flower. “W-what d-did you c-call me?” All of his movements gone he just stared at him. Eye sockets wide with shock.

“Ah, poor Papyrus… forgetting his own name. And stop calling me Buttercup. You should know my name is Flowey.” The soulless monster rolled his eyes. Next route I really need to think of better names.

Papyrus stood still as a statue, his idiot brain trying to figure out what Flowey had said no doubt. His memories seemed to be coming back slower than the first time. Perhaps it's because he's been without his memory longer than just a week.

“It can't be… no!” Papyrus suddenly shouted and tried to run out of the room. Straight into Flowey's vines.

“What are you doing Papyrus?” The flower asked incredulously as he slithered over to his friend. “You've been doing so well lately, I thought you deserved the truth.” He gave him a big toothy grin.

“Sans.” The skeleton squirmed in the thorny grasp. “I have to see him, tell him I'm okay, and that I'm so sorry.”

Flowey rolled his eyes again and tut-tutted at his toy. “What do you have to be sorry for? Sans was the one in the wrong. Besides don't you have bigger fish to fry?”

“The resets.” Pap stopped struggling in realization.

“Bingo!” The flower laughed and patted his captive's skull. “You're the only hope for this world.” Flowey brought Papyrus closer to him, eye to eye socket. Pap was basically laying on the floor to match the flower's hight. “So what are you going to do?”

“I have to get away from you. You've killed me so many times, I have to.” Papyrus stopped struggling. A determined look across his face.

This idiot…

“Alright, say you get away, how are you planning to save the underground without my help?” Flowey came closer to the skeleton. If they both had noses they'd be touching. “ Y o u  n e e d  m e.

It was true, considering that as far as Papyrus knew, he couldn't save without Flowey's thorns.

Not that Pap could save at all…

“So, you have to decide, friend. Save the underground with your newfound power, or… kill me, and go back to your worthless brother. Only to slowly starve to death with all of the other monsters. Your choice.”

This was too much fun for the flower. Either option was an entertaining one for him. And the confused look on Papyrus’ face only made things better.

Wait… confused?

“Flowey, I would never kill you. You're my friend. You've helped me learn so much about myself.” Papyrus chuckled softly. “To be honest, I don't think I could kill anyone.” He smiled. “So of course I'll save everyone. I forgot who I was for a while there, nyeheheh. But I finally remembered. I am the great Papyrus!”

Damn him. Why? Why was he like this? Flowey had worked so hard to break him. So why?

Why wouldn't he break?

In all of the timelines he had never gotten Papyrus to kill anyone.

In this timeline, Flowey was actually getting him to kill. Albeit it was Papyrus himself, but still. Progress!

Progress all down the drain.

Flowey could load, try to continue with his previous save…

Or he could just keep at breaking him.

Chipping away at him piece by piece.

After all, one could only kill themselves so many times before loosing who they were inside.

Goodness knows Flowey learned this lesson.

Papyrus already had a good start… he just had to keep going.

All Flowey had to do was support him.

*****

The great Papyrus was waiting for Flowey’s response. He had been quiet for a while, and Papyrus hoped he hadn't done something to his friend.

Suddenly the flower started to sniff. “You really want to save me? After all of the horrible things I did to you?” Green tears were rolling down the flower's face.

Relief hit Papyrus. “Yes! We're friends aren't we? Friends forgive each other.”

Flowey released Papyrus from his thorny embrace. “I-I apologize Papyrus. What I did wasn't right.”

Papyrus gave the flower a big smile. “Nyeheheh! I forgive you.” He patted the delicate petals of his pal.

“We better get back to Tora and tell her the good news!”

*****

Tori was surprised at the fact that all of a sudden, Smile- er... Papyrus had gotten back his memories.

“Tora, let me introduce myself properly, I am the great Papyrus. It is nice to make your acquaintance.” The skeleton jested. He seemed… lively. More than he had been in a while.

Toriel smiled in return. “Nice to meet you, sir skeleton.” It felt nice to be cornily joking with each other. Especially with the argument they had last night.

They ate spaghetti that Papyrus made. He was a lot better now than when he first arrived. Although his cooking methods were still quite unconventional. “My friend Undyne taught me how to cook. She says to picture the veggies as enemies. And then punch them in the face.” Papyrus laughed. “I think she just watches too much anime. Nyehehehe!”

His laugh was unlike any others that she had heard. It was absolutely adorable, but she didn't think the skeleton would like it if she told him so.

After the meal, Papyrus was washing the dishes while Toriel dried them. “It's funny how much you remind me of someone…” He said as Tori took a plate from the dishrack.

“I'm always game for a good chuckle, how is it funny?” Smiled at him as she wiped at the dish with a cloth.

Papyrus passed her another plate. “Uh, it's just that you both act so nice, and you both have the same… feel?” Pap stopped washing a fork. “It’d also probably because you both look alike. You and King Asgore, I mean.”

The plate Toriel was wiping fell to the floor with a crash. She just looked at the broken pieces that laid there.

“Oh my gosh!” Papyrus carefully guided her out of the mess of shards that had formed. “Here, I'll clean this up, it wouldn't be good for you to get any pieces stuck in your feet.”

Tori murmured her thanks to him, and took a seat at the table.

“I'm sorry for bringing that up. I didn't know that it was a difficult subject.” Papyrus started picking up the fragments.

Toriel was about to apologize herself, when the boy suddenly began speaking again. “Undyne says that grunt work, and cooking lessons are all apart of becoming a royal guard. I know she actually is just lying to spare my feelings.” Papyrus stood up and let the pieces of ceramic fall off this fingers into the trash bin. “I don't really mind though. I know that I couldn't of joined anyway.” He closed his eye sockets, and gave a soft “Nyeheheh.”

Tori observed the skeleton closely.

* Papyrus 8 ATK 2 DEF

* 680/680 HP

* Is quite fond of you

* He's starting to feel like himself again

“Smile- um… Papyrus, I… I used to know Asgore quite well. We were very close... I suppose.” Toriel pulled out the seat next to her in offering to him.

“What do you know about the two princes?” She asked him quietly after he sat down.

Papyrus looked down at the table in thought. “They died long before I was born. I think Sans told me that they both died on the same day? And that the Queen died not so long afterwards.”

Did I now? Toriel thought sourly.

“Undyne said that humans killed one of the princes, and that the Royal Guard was created after that.” Papyrus finished.

Asgore you foolish monster, why go to such lengths?  “I suppose you never heard that one of their children was a human?”

Papyrus’ dark eyes widened. “Wowie.” He whispered. “No I didn't.”

Toriel's heart hurt, but she continued on. “Asgore was kind once, but after the loss of the children, his compassion turned into anger. He declared war on all humankind. Asgore iis no longer the monster I once knew.” Tori closed her eyes and sighed. “ Do not let him deceive you.”

*****

They were at the door. It was very early in the morning, or very late in the night. It could've gone either way at this point.

The flower had wanted to leave yesterday, but Toriel had convinced them to stay a little while longer. “I guess this is goodbye, my child.” She smiled sadly.

“Well, not forever!”

Oh I do hope so, my child.

Papyrus hugged her. It was warm, and nice. His bones sunk lightly into her fur. “Thank you for everything, Tora.”

Her soul sunk with guilt. He still didn't even know her name. Even after so long. Tori, you coward . “Can I ask you something Papyrus?”

“Anything.” His eyes shone.

“Do you know how to remove the barrier?”

A crease formed on Papyrus’ forehead. Somehow. “Flowey said it was something to do with souls? I don't really remember…”

Toriel looked at him with dismay. “The barrier is broken with seven human souls. However, King Asgore only has six out of the seven.” Her eyes turned desperate. “I don't know how you plan to open the barrier, perhaps I do not wish to know. But I implore you.” She choked, thinking of all of the children she couldn't save. “Free the souls afterwards.”

Tori's voice was cracking, but she continued on. “Please. Asgore has kept them trapped for so long. Please, let them rest in peace.” Don't be like the others. I beg of you, Smile.

“I will.”

Theskeleton beamed at her. He said it so easily, yet full of conviction. "I'll set us all free, and them.”

Then you truly are a better person.

“You are far kinder and braver than I could ever be, Papyrus.” She opened the door. “I believe in you.”

*****

Flowey had forgotten how cold Snowdin was compared to the ruins. After being in the sunlight of the grave room, and beside Toriel's fireplace, the warmth had spoiled him in the two months they had spent there. Now, as Papyrus carried the pot Flowey was in, he was aware of how utterly weak this form was.

There was a full out blizzard going as Papyrus made his way through the woods. Flowey would have preferred to have burrowed into his tunnel system to escape the furious weather, but Papyrus just kept trudging them further into the woods.

As they walked Papyrus noticed that his puzzles had fallen into disrepair. Flowey was afraid that he would try to fix them, but instead he just muttered underneath his breath. Eventually they made it to the bridge. None of the dogs had been in their guard posts to stop them along the way.

And Sans was nowhere in sight.

It was rather disappointing. Flowey was planning on different ways to taunt the skeleton when they saw him, but that never happened.

How dull.

*****

Papyrus was thrilled to be back.

The crisp air was wonderful against his bones, and the snow crunched softly underneath his feet. The little snowflakes pelted him as he walked.

However he was not thrilled at the state of his puzzles. Sans really didn't recalibrate any of them while I was gone. The thought of this was sad to him. Perhaps Sans was so busy he just didn't have time.

Or maybe Sans didn't even notice he was gone.

Worse yet, Sans could be still angry with him about the kitchen. That was the last thing they had talked about.

And by talked he meant yelled.

But still, he had been gone for who knew how long. Surely Sans had cooled down by now. Surely.

Papyrus found that he was now practically running down the path to Snowdin. Flowey was being joseled with every step. I need to think about others. Not just Sans. He forced himself to slow down to a walk.

A fast walk.

Paps was hoping to talk to Doggo about his brother and puzzles, but he couldn't find any of the dogs. Dogamy and Dogaressa, Lesser Dog or Greater Dog. One or two he could understand. That was pretty normal.

But all of them?

When he made it to the bridge he was paranoid. Even the annoying dog would've been a welcome sight.

But nobody came.

Papyrus rubbed his eye sockets with one hand and sighed. It was likely that he just had not seen Greater Dog in all of the snow. After all, he did like to nap in snowpoffs. Yes. That was it.

Welcome to Snowdin . The sign read. “Flowey.” Papyrus shook the flower lightly. “We're here.”

“I noticed.” Flowey said nodding towards the sign. He was looking a little blue, which definitely stood out on the yellow flower.

“Let's get you inside.” Papyrus mentally scolded himself for not seeing his friend's discomfort earlier. Grillby's should warm him.

As Papyrus made his way to the restaurant he noticed how silent it was. Just the sound of wind rushing met his non-existent ears.

In fact no one was out here.

Where is everyone? He asked himself. He considered looking around for other monsters, but Flowey was now violently shivering.

“Aren't you a bit cold out here buddy?” The flower's teeth were now chattering. 

“We'll be at Grillby's soon.” Papyrus replied to him, but was stopped by the sight of someone short coming over to them.

Sans?

“Yo? Who's there? It's way too cold to be out here, guy.” Monster kid asked, as he tripped into the snow.

Chapter Text

Papyrus watched as the young monster got back to his feet with no arms. It was always a mystery on how he did that. “Do you need any help MK?”

“Nah, I'm good. By the way, who are you and how'd you know my name?”

The blizzard had worsened while the two monsters had traveled, and now it was hard to see at all. Papyrus had forgotten that monsters with eyeballs couldn't keep their eyes open with all of the pelting snow.

“Oh! Sorry, it is I, Papyrus!” He struck a pose before he again remembered that Monster Kid couldn't see him.

“Dude, if that's a joke, it isn't funny.”

Papyrus stopped posing. “What?”

“I said that's not funny, dude.” Monster Kid's voice was now displeased.

“I wasn't trying to be funny, I'm actually quite serious.” Papyrus was now very confused. What did he mean?

“Look, we gotta get inside so I'll only tell this to you once. My ma said that it's not okay to joke about the dead. Disrespectful, is what she called it. So stop.” The kid started to walk away. “If you keep going straight you'll reach Grillby's. I'm going home. Bye.”

Paps just stood there in shock. Dead? They thought he was dead? Why? Papyrus shivered. The cold wind sinking into his bones.

Sans…

“Papyrus! Hey Papyrus! You in there? I tried dropping hints, but you don't seem to get them. So I'll just say it: I'm cold. Let's go inside.” Flowey was now shivering violently in the flower pot, his face now shriveled up in a grimace

Papyrus nodded his head unthinkingly, and slowly marched over to Grillby's. As he walked his mind was still racing. Did Monster Kid make this up? Did Sans think this too? Yes, he was gone for awhile… but dead?

When he got to the door of the eating establishment his own shivering had gotten worse. His bones rattling and the pot he was holding shaking with him. He could barely open the door.

So Flowey opened it for him.

*****

Everyone in town thought Papyrus was dead.

Even in his half frozen state, Flowey was loving this.

When they first walked into the restaurant there was a “Welcome” then gasps and many Monsters talking at once. Flowey could only make out some words out of the commotion. “Papyrus” being the main one. Basically it all came down to the same thing.

Papyrus was alive in front of them.

As the residents of Snowdin inspected Pap, (poked and prodded at his bones, made sure he wasn't a ghost, asked him questions, asked each other questions...) Papyrus’ shaking got worse.

Each declaration of: “Sans said you were dead!” Or “It was all over the news! Mettaton did a really moving speech.” And the Dog's “We looked everywhere for you.” Only made Papyrus shake more than he had outdoors.

It was wonderful.

Papyrus had tried so hard to be popular in life, and only when he died did monsters actually care.

When Grillby got to them, and led the skeleton to the counter, Flowey was actually nauseous from all of the jostling. How fun.

The mob's inquiries kept coming in rapid succession, but Papyrus was still in a shocked state. Guess I'll be the one to answer all of these. Flowey thought interestedly.

The story Flowey had come up with was simple enough. Papyrus had been patrolling when he saw the flower close to danger of falling into the river. Flowey fell in and Papyrus heroically dived in to save him. They both woke up miles away from Snowdin, and had found that Papyrus had gotten a fracture in his leg. The story ended with them walking all the way back from who-knows-where after Papyrus had healed.

Simple, and over the years of resets and the lies that came with it, Flowey thought himself to be a pretty convincing actor.

He would never be able to fool Sans though.

Speaking of the trash bag it was only a matter of time until Sans found out about Papyrus. To be honest though, Flowey was surprised that the skeleton hadn't been waiting outside the door. That didn't matter now, they only had to wait for the right opportunity for the next part of Flowey's plan.

*****

Sans had fallen asleep.

It wasn't that unexpected. Sans had been camped outside the lady's door since he heard about the flower's appearance. He was in the trees, but still had a good enough position to use a blaster if needed. So he waited.

And waited.

But nobody came.

After years of being lazy, Sans had lost control of his sleeping habits. Even after a few minutes of using magic Sans could barely keep his eyes open. He knew someday that would be his downfall, but he couldn't help it.

That's just who he was.

A big boned, lazy idiot who couldn't protect his own brother from a flower.

So he decided to stay awake as long as he needed to. Decided to stay outside the door waiting for the perfect moment to strike the flower. He barely even blinked.

And then he fell asleep.

In a friggin blizzard.

For twelve hours.

When he woke up he found himself almost completely buried in snow. If he had skin, and the insides that came with it, he would have frozen to death.

Unfortunately not.

He stood up heaving off the powdery snow. He felt sore. P robably because I slept for hours on the ground. He mentally scolded himself. Papyrus wouldn't of done something like that.

Papyrus.

No. He couldn't delve down into those thoughts now. He had to get some food. He was starving, cold, and needed some ketchup. The flower wasn't going to show up. He most likely was outside the door anyway. While Sans was stupidly sleeping.

Flowey's laugh echoed through the forest and into his skull.

Speak of the devil.

Sans started running towards the sound of the flower's glee. Of course he was already through, Flowey never needed to use doors anyway. Idiot!

Sans puffed at the exertion, his bones were tired from before all of this. There was no way He was going to defeat Flowey in his condition.

But he has to try.

Flowey was in a clearing in the forest still laughing while Sans glared at him still panting. Shoulda taken a shortcut.

“Hey smiley trash bag. What are you doing here?” Flowey had an innocent smile on his face, but his eyes were empty.

Just like Sans.

“You know why I'm here.” Sans spat. “I'm going to kill you for what you did to my brother. If your friend even tries to interfere, I'll kill him too. He hated breaking promises.

The flower acted confused. “What I did to your brother? Why, you should be thanking me! Papyrus has never been better! Right Papyr-”

A flash of light and Sans’ blaster was already gone. Just the smell of charred vegetation was left.

Flowey sighed as some of the petals fell from his head. “Really? You didn't even let me finish speaking?”

Several bones tore through his stem. Sap dripped from the wounds. “Let you finish that time.” Sans growled before raising his hand again.

Another flash of light.

More bones shot at the flower.

More blasters.

Sans couldn't believe it. Flowey's HP was already more than halfway down. Just a few more hits and he'd be done.

Flowey wasn't even reacting, or fighting back. He was just rooted to the spot. Not fighting back, not acting…

Almost like he was sparing the skeleton.

But why would he do that? Unless...

“Sans! What are you doing to him?”

*****

Papyrus had gotten over his shock of being assumed dead, and now he just had questions.

Why did Sans tell everyone he was dead?

Was it because of the fight? No… Sans wouldn't do something like this because of a silly fight…

Was it because he went missing for so long? This was more likely, but… on the other side, Doggo told him that only a week had passed before Sans gave up on Papyrus being alive.

So why? Why had Sans say he was dead?

“Hey Papyrus, can you hear me?”

Papyrus was so deep into his own thoughts, that he hadn't heard the Flower speaking to him.

“The snowstorm is over, can you take me outside?” Flowey made a face. “My pot's getting stuffy.”

“Of course.” Pap replied unthinkingly. He scooped Flowey off of the table. They were still in Grillby's, and so were most of the other residents of Snowdin town. They had been trapped inside because of the blizzard, and instead of braving the outdoors, they stayed inside the warm building. Papyrus didn't blame them, Grillby did keep the place toasty. 

As Papyrus walked out of the establishment, he saw Grillby giving him a worried look, concern etched on the flame monster's face. Pap just gave him a reassuring smile. Don't worry. I'm not going to go off disappearing again. Hopefully.

The new snow crunched as Papyrus kneeled down to let Flowey out of his pot. Flowey sighed softly as he dug his roots into the ground. “Thanks buddy!” He gave the skeleton a grin before disappearing under the snow.

Pap stood back up and dusted the snow off of his patched up pants, and suddenly realized how grimy he felt. I'll head home to see if Sans is there, and take a shower. If he's not… well, I'll still take a shower.

The walk back to the skeleton brothers house was pretty uneventful. As he trudged through the snow, he saw other monsters stare at him confusedly, or sometimes even with fear. As if seeing a wandering spirit. Papyrus mused. That actually might be what they're thinking though.

He passed by the mailboxes and automatically opened his to see if he had gotten any mail. There was none as usual. Sans’ mailbox was overflowing, and it appeared that the mailman had just given up on trying to stuff it inside the box. Instead it was on the ground, so soggy that Papyrus wouldn't be surprised if the words were now unreadable.

He walked inside the Christmas light covered house.

Wowie…

He was expecting it to be bad… but not this bad.

The clothes strewn around the living room were to be expected. As were the instant noodle cups. But why…?

Why were there so many flowers?

Bouquets and bouquets of echo flowers, buttercups and the yellow flowers that grew in Asgore's garden. There were even some kinds of flower that Papyrus didn't recognize. Now that Pap got closer, they all had small little cards attached to them too.

Sorry for your loss.

“Sans?” Papyrus called. “Are you here?”

There was a rustling coming from the kitchen. Papyrus stepped over the piles of flowers to get there. As he waded through the dying flower path, he noticed that the sickly green couch had been slept in. Blankets strewn about, and messy laundry hanging off the arms.

Papyrus winced. Is this always how Sans was without him?

When Pap finally made it into the kitchen he didn't see Sans. Just the annoying dog playing in empty Spaghetti containers.

“Shoo.” Pap waved his hands unenthusiastically. “Get away.”

The dog ignored him and continued with his fun.

“Sans must not be home huh?” Papyrus muttered to the dog. He started to pick up the containers. His shower forgotten because of the mess. The containers were rancid, tomato sauce starting to mold inside the clear plastic innards.

Some of these are labeled from several months ago. Pap thought as he started to pile them in the sink. They're going back to almost last year . So that just begged the question:

Why?

Even Papyrus knew that his older cooking experiments were horrible. Sans was too polite to say anything, and just recommended that they put the leftovers in the fridge.

The fridge that Papyrus now checked to find empty.

The annoying dog apparently didn't like the fact that Papyrus was cleaning his play area, and so he took off with one of the plastic lids.

“Come back here!” The skeleton called after him and reached out to grab the dog.

He only managed to grab dog residue instead.

“Yuck! Get back here! Now!” Pap shouted, chasing after the barking animal.

The dog was already halfway up the staircase by now, and Papyrus again had to make his journey through the flower maze.

The white dog ran into the cracked door of Papyrus’ room by the time Pap finally made it up the stairs. That dog! It specifically states that no one should be going into my room. He angrily thought stomping his way to the entrance. He pushed his door wide open.

And stopped.

The annoying dog was on his bed, looking quite pleased with himself for getting up on the racecar. But that wasn't the reason Papyrus had paused in the doorway. The reason was because of the big blackboard standing in the middle of the room in front of his bookcase.

The presence of a blackboard was strange enough by itself, but the small writing on it made it even more curious. There were equations all over the black surface. Numbers and problems, that Papyrus couldn't even make out. Tiny chalk scribbles that were hard to read. And there was the last thing that made Papyrus freeze in his tracks.

On the table where once his action figures stood on heroically, now had been cleared to hold trays and trays of…

Dissected yellow flowers.

A hand drawn diagram stuck to the wall showed a flower and identified where things were in the plant. Papyrus stepped closer to get a better view. Annoying dog forgotten. The picture had been drawn and redrawn many times. Each part thoroughly detailed. A paper pinned by the picture had more squiggles of illegible handwriting. However Papyrus was able to make out a few words.

It lives… stab the bud… no feelings… kill… determination…

Flowey.

The last word on the page was definitely “Flowey” no doubts about it. Papyrus looked down at the remains of flowers past. What was Sans doing?

The annoying dog's bark drew Papyrus’ attention away from the mess. The dog was jumping off the bed to the floor, ready to start the chase again. Papyrus just shook his skull. He had no interest in continuing pursuit of the dog.

He flopped down on the racecar bed. I need to find Sans before he does something stupid.

He had to find Flowey first and see what was going on.

Papyrus was so tired.

*****

“Sans! What are you doing to him?”

Sans wheeled around to the voice that came from behind him. Blaster aimed, expecting Flowey's face sneering down at him. ready to taunt Sans again.

Instead he saw Papyrus.

“Sans! You can't! I need his help!” Papyrus tumbled down into the snow, desperately trying to get to his brother.

“Papyrus?” Sans whispered. He didn't dare believe that it was him. Yet there Pap was. Coming towards Sans as fast as he could in the deep snow.

Running to Sans.

Running past Sans.

Stopping in front of Flowey, arms raised protectively.

“Papyrus?” Sans said again. “Get away from him. He's dangerous.”

Sans’ eye lights went dark. He wanted to take his brother away from the flower as fast as possible.

“No, Sans, I can't. I'm sorry.” Papyrus’ voice was cracking, but he held his ground.

Sans knew he should feel angry at not being able to finish off the flower, but instead…

He was so happy.

He was so happy to see Papyrus alive, and looking back at him. Papyrus was alive. His brother was alive

Chapter Text

“What do you mean you can't get away from him?”

After the feeling of elation of seeing his brother again, Papyrus’ words were beginning to sink into Sans’ skull.

“I mean…” Papyrus stopped for a moment and looked at the flower. “I mean that I need him.”

Sans looked at the other skeleton in shock. Papyrus wasn't making sense. What did Flowey do to him? This thought only made Sans all the more anxious.

“I need him to help me.”

Flowey was smiling at Sans in a way that made him nauseous. Flowey's beady little eyes were narrowed, and he was exposing far more teeth than a flower should have.

Then again, flowers didn't typically have teeth.

Sans eye sockets narrowed as he glared at Flowey. “Why? Why do you ‘need’ him?”

Papyrus’ head drooped slightly as he inhaled the sharp winter air. “I need him to set everyone free.”

Sans’ blaster opened its mouth, ready to fire at the yellow flower. “Free everyone? How? Through death?” Sans’ eye sockets went dark as memories flashed through his mind. “I've seen it all before.” He whispered.

“What was that? Please tell me Sans.” His brother pleaded.

“It's nothing.”

“You always do this Sans.”

He didn't reply.

“Fine.” Papyrus put his hands up in a sign of surrender. “I'll just show you. Flowey, your vine please.”

The flower raised one of his thorny vines out of the snow, and held it out to Papyrus.

-1 hp

It all happened so fast. Papyrus wincing from the prick on his finger, Flowey's delighted smile.

Sans firing his blaster.

“No!” Papyrus yelled. But it was too late. The bright light surrounded the flower as the magic pulsated, burning Flowey to a crisp.

The flower's petals wilted and fell off before completely disintegrating. Flowey's smile turned into a grimace as Sans’ blaster tore him apart.

“You idiot.” He told Sans with his dying whisper.

Papyrus looked at his brother in horror as Sans rushed to his side. “Are you okay Paps? I'm so sorry, I'll never leave you alone again.” He started checking Papyrus for injuries besides the prick. “I-I need to heal you and-”

“Sans! What did you do?” Papyrus slapped away his brother's hands. “What if this doesn't work without him? What was all that training for?” Pap stepped back from the other skeleton. “I… I need to reset.”

Sans’ eyes went dark. What did Papyrus just say?

“And then we can start over, okay?” Papyrus started reaching for something in his pocket.

“Start over, Papyrus? I don't understand…”

-999 hp

Sans looked up only to see his brother losing all of his health.

“I'll explain everything you.” Papyrus promised as he turned to dust.

The world stuttered

“Papyrus! No!” Sans crumpled to the snow, his skull cradled in his hands. I was too late. Flowey already got to him. 

It was all Sans’ fault.

“Sans?”

How…?

“Are you alright?” Papyrus knelt down next to him. “Are you worried about me? It's just a cut.”

Sans stared at the alive Papyrus. He appeared to be unharmed. Yet... he was clutching at his soul.

“Papy?”

*****

Flowey was having the time of his life. The brothers were so ridiculous. He was actually slightly worried that his inner laughter would escape.

Yes, ‘dying’ did upset him a little, but Sans’ reaction to Papyrus stabbing himself was priceless.

Still… Flowey had cut it pretty close. Sans almost killed him. It must of been Papyrus’ shouting that kept him from remembering that to dispose of a weed...

You have to kill the roots.

Now the brothers were just staring at each other in confusion. Sans because of the whole reset shabang, and Papyrus probably because he didn't understand why Sans was so upset.

Papyrus did have a hand held up to his chest, which was a sign that he felt pain from where he stabbed, but he still looked very confused.

And that was most likely from his plan not working like he expected. He was so pleased with his pitiful idea. “Just tell him about the saving and loading. If that doesn't work, we can just show him!” Did that numbskull even know his brother? That would destroy him!

And that's exactly why Flowey went with it.

Now the former tough skeleton was like a ragdoll in the snow. Flowey wouldn't be surprised if he was crying.

The baby.

Papyrus was crouched next to him, trying to somehow comfort his failure of a brother, and yet being the problem. 

Sans was too easy to break.

So Flowey just waited while the brothers reunited.

He waited while they got up out of the snow.

He waited as they stumbled to their house.

He waited as they went inside without him.

That was fine. He would wait. As long as he needed to.

Papyrus would break. Flowey was sure of it.

*****

“So why did we have to leave Flowey outside?” Papyrus asked Sans. His arms were crossed and his foot was tapping on the checkered kitchen floor.

He needs to stay away from you. Farther than the void.

“No reason, I just wanted to talk to you alone.” Sans’ voice was still a little shaky from the terror that had unfolded earlier, but he continued on. “After all bro, we haven't seen each other in a month.”

Papyrus turned away. “I see you kept up your mess in the house.” He grumbled. “But why so many flowers?”

Crap… “Uh they were gifts… from the neighborhood.”

Papyrus sniffed. “And I see you still haven't picked up your sock.” He kept his back towards Sans.

“I forgot.”

“You certainly made a mess of all the leftover spaghetti.” Papyrus opened the fridge.

“I ate it… it was good.”

“Right.”

They stood in silence.

“Sans…?” Papyrus tilted his head as he continued to stare in the fridge, back still turned to the other skeleton.

Sans took a few steps forward. “Yes Paps?” Please just get angry, cry, shove me, hurt me, yell at me.

Something.

“Could you get me ingredients for spaghetti. We're all out.”

Please.

“Sure bro.”

*****

As soon as heard the front door shutting Papyrus leaned against the fridge, slowly sliding to the ground.

“Damnit!” He yelled striking the tiles with a closed fist.

Why? Why was this so hard? Why couldn't he just make up with his brother? Why were things so awkward? Why couldn't they just make up? Why was he just nagging Sans like nothing had happened?

Didn't his plan work? The sharp pain in his soul and the headache told him that the reset plan had happened. So why did Sans react the way he did? Why did he crash into the snow when Papyrus loaded?

All of the questions gave only increased his headache. In the end he just sat there, a mess of bones on the floor.

It had all gone wrong. Their reunion was supposed to go differently. They were to meet each other in pleasant circumstances. The house perhaps. They'd forgive each other, and Papyrus would tell Sans about his power. If Sans didn't believe him, than Papyrus would demonstrate it.

That was the plan at least.

Papyrus pushed himself off the floor, and started to clean while the events kept flashing through his mind.

He didn't know if he could've found Flowey if it wasn't for the sound of Sans’ blasters firing. He had ran into the woods randomly, trying to find his friend, and/or brother, ask them about all of the strange things in his room.

He had found the two of them fighting, or rather, Flowey sparing Sans while his brother kept attacking him. He had stopped them, and then… he saved… and then… he couldn't remember.

Just that his soul stung in the usual way from in the ruins.

“Sans…” Papyrus whispered. “What's going on with you?”

*****

Sans took a shortcut as soon as he walked out of the house.

Papyrus… why'd you kill yourself? And why did he side with Flowey over his own brother?

The whole thing confused him. After he had killed Flowey, the world didn't immediately stutter and go back. It didn't until… Paps…

But that didn't make any sense to him either. How could his brother be responsible for the resets? He couldn't be.

Sans absentmindedly picked out spaghetti ingredients from the bunny's shop. She surprisingly had tomatoes.

“You know I keep a couple in the back only for you boys.” The monster smiled.

He hadn't actually, but that was probably because Papyrus usually was the one who usually bought the things.

As the Bunny rang him up she again broke into his thoughts. “You know, the whole town is so happy that Papyrus is alive. We had all noticed that Snowdin lost a lot of energy with him gone. Rumor has it that he's a hero too!”

“Rumor?” Sans inquired.

The bunny was eager to gossip. “Yes! He saved a monster that fell into the river.” She shook her head and tut-tutted. “He swam for days with the flower on his back.”

She continued talking, but Sans couldn't keep up. Once she had finished, he thanked her and headed outside.

It was getting late, and the residents had already started turning off some of the lights to make the town darker for the ‘night’. Not that they actually knew what that was. Sans walked home trying to postpone the coming argument that he assumed was going to happen with Papyrus. Plus he wanted to see if Flowey was around.

*****

Papyrus didn't see the Flower watching him through the window as he cleaned up. He was too focused on his problems, barely seeing past his own nasal bones.

The kitchen was pretty spotless by the time Sans got back from the store. “Sans! You lazybones, I have been finished with the dishes for a while now.”

“Heh. You're so cool bro.”

Tears wanted to well up in Papyrus’ eye sockets. It had been so long since he had heard those words from his brother. “Of course, I am the great Papyrus after all.” He finally choked out.

Tension melted some in the room as they laughed. It felt nice to laugh with his brother again.

“Do you want to help me cook?” Papyrus asked hopefully. Usually his brother detested cooking, and preferred to go straight to Grillby's after sentury work.

“Yeah, sounds nice.” Sans replied.

Papyrus slumped. “Was that sarcasm?”

Sans chuckled. “Heh, nah bro. It really does sound nice.”

*****

Sans was surprised with how much Papyrus had improved at cooking. The skeleton had actually set the stove to an acceptable level, which was something that Undyne was still incapable of doing. He still mashed the sauce with his bare fist, but… baby steps, baby steps.

They cooked in comfortable silence. Only talking to tell each other instructions. Eventually when the sauce was done, and the noodles were boiling, they sat on the lumpy couch.

“So…” Sans began. “Where have you been bro?”

Papyrus shifted uncomfortably next to him. “I… you… first, tell me why you told everyone that I was dead.”

Sans winced, but he had realized that he would have to explain things sooner or later.

“I uh, looked for you for a while.”

“A week.” Papyrus interjected. His tone bitter.

Sans’ eyes went black. “Yeah. A week. I looked everywhere for you. I searched the whole underground. I, heh, even went on Mettaton's show to ask about any information about you.”

“So why did you give up?”

“On Mettaton's show… we uh, got to the calls.” He paused and gulped. “I got one from someone that said they killed you.”

Papyrus’ eye sockets widened as he gasped at this news. “Who…? Who was it that called?”

Sans looked to the floor. “It was Flowey. I recognized his voice.”

*****

Papyrus couldn't believe his ear holes. Flowey? Why would Flowey do such a thing?

Or at least that's what he might say if he heard this a month ago.

Now he knew all too well Flowey's sadistic side, and the suffering that came with it. Papyrus had died enough times to be able to tell when he died from a knife wound or a vine.

Sans was still staring at the carpet, away from Papyrus’ gaze. “You probably don't believe me, but-”

“I believe you.” Papyrus interrupted. “That seems like something Flowey would do, and you don't lie to me. Right?”

Sans turned to Pap, but didn't meet his eyes. “Right.”

Well then…

“So you, uh, wanted to know where I went?” Papyrus changed the subject.

Sans finally met Papyrus’ gaze. “Yeah bro, I er… heard in town that you dived into the river? Glad you're alright.”

Papyrus clasped his hands together and sighed. “That story's actually made up by Flowey.” He leaned back into the couch. “The truth is, I found myself behind the door in the forest. The Ruins.”

Sans blinked as his smile widened slightly. “You don't say…” he muttered.

“I don't know how I got in, but I… sort of passed out? And woke up inside.” Papyrus decided to not tell about Flowey in the clearing. At least for now.

“So you were the one the lady was talking about…” Sans started, but was interrupted by a timer.

Papyrus got up. “Noodles are done.” He grinned.

Chapter Text

Sans raised an eyebrow bone at the sight of the noodle flying across the room only to land with a splat on the wall. “It stuck!” Papyrus exclaimed, apparently very pleased with himself at this fact. Sans just gave him his usual smile. “Sure did bro.”

Pap drained the pasta, and then began scooping it out onto plates.

“When I woke up in the ruins, I couldn't remember anything.” Papyrus told him as they made their way back to the couch again. Sans ate while Papyrus was talking about the ruins and the lady.

“Her name is Tora, and she took care of me when I had lost my memories.”

Tora huh? Nice to know your name, Lady.

“She also taught me to make better spaghetti.”

And Sans had to admit, Papyrus had gotten better at cooking. He should thank the La-... thank Tora, the next time he went to the door.

Sans scooped another forkful of noodles into his mouth. He was starting to relax. Just savoring eating with his brother.

He stopped eating when Papyrus started talking about Flowey, and how to reset.

Papyrus had tried to talk about it jokingly, but Sans could hear the stress in his voice.

“Took me a while to get used to the idea.” Pap twisted his fork in the pasta, wrapping it around and around. “Someone can completely mess with the timeline? Sounded like a fairy tale to me, but you've always been into this kinda thing, so I figured you would know about it.”

Sans couldn't see anything. “You might say that I have some knowledge on the subject.” He muttered.

Papyrus clapped his hands together before returning to his food. “Great! So you know all about the details? Saving, loading, the sacrifice, everything…?”

“The what?” Sans set his plate on the floor.

“Uh… you know… what you do to load.” Papyrus was starting to sweat.

“I don't.” Sans gritted his teeth. “What does that entail?”

Papyrus stopped twirling his noodles. “To load, you er, have to… prick yourself on Flowey's thorn… and then... die.”

Sans was barely able to hear the last part. Not knowing if he even wanted to accept what his brother was telling him.

Die?

Sans didn't think he could eat another bite. He didn't have the stomach for it.

In normal circumstances, Sans would have enjoyed his own pun, maybe even share it with Papyrus to get a groan out of him. But Sans was to horrified by what Papyrus was telling him to do anything at that moment.

“Don't you get it brother? I need Flowey so I can save. I can get through the barrier and get the last soul.” Papyrus stopped and frowned. “Please don't tell me you're upset about this.”

Suicide .

Sans gave his brother a shaky smile. “Nah, bro. I'm just a little concerned about you.”

He kills himself. Just to “load”.

“Same difference.” Papyrus shrugged. “It's okay though. I got used to it. It got easier to do after a few times.”

Sans tried to keep his voice calm.

But failed.

“H-how many times?”

He couldn't see anything, his vision was too dark for that. His eye lights were completely gone, and now he was working to not have any blue shine through the left socket.

“I don't remember really… I must have lost count.”

He would kill that flower.

Rip it up into tiny pieces. Petal by petal. All of it.

This image was the only thing keeping him sane at the moment.

“I… need to take a walk.” Sans said. He practically ran out the door. “I'll be back soon. Don't… don't go anywhere.”

As soon as he was far enough from Papyrus, he did start running. “Dammit. Dammit. Dammit!” He screamed. “Why? Why him?”

He ran deep into the woods, running until his legs gave out. Tumbling into the powdery snow.

“Come here Flowey.” His voice was getting hoarse. “I know you're here, you bastard.”

Flowey popped out of the ground. “He told you?” His devilish grin wide.

Sans response was a blaster to the flower’s face.

It knocked a couple teeth out, but the flower's smile didn't fade.

He fired again and again. Taking away Flowey's petals and chunks of stem.

“You might want to stop.” Flowey said during his turn. “I'm very close to losing all of my health.”

Sans next turn came. His bone patterns were completely erratic. Flowey was barely dodging any of them. 

It was Flowey's turn again. “Like I was saying, trashbag. If you kill me again, Papyrus will just kill himself to bring me back.” He laughed maniacally. “Don't you get it? You can never win against me!”

Flowey's face was a mess. He leaked sap from his wounds. All his teeth were gone or laying on the snow. Yet he still smiled, toothless and battered.

*****

Papyrus had just finished finished getting dressed from his shower by the time Sans got back from his walk.

Pap found his scarf and put it on, delighting in the way it felt. He had missed it in the ruins. The rest of his battle body soon followed.

The dissected flowers still disturbed him. Sans hadn't gotten to talking about it yet. Although Papyrus already had a idea why these were here.

All in due time. We just reunited earlier today. Pap reminded himself. We can get to talk about it more later.

He went downstairs to find Sans pacing in the living room.

“What's up bro?” Sans asked when he finally saw him.

“What's up with me? What's up with you? You hate exercise.”

Sans just smiled tiredly at this retort. “Heh, I'm just trying to think…”

“No! Sans don't you dare!” Pap pleaded.

“On my feet.”

Papyrus sighed, and rubbed his temples. “That wasn't even a joke Sans.”

Sans shrugged at him. “Made you wince, so… mission accomplished.”

Papyrus just shook his head at his brother, and laid an arm across the other skeleton's shoulders. A difficult task considering the height difference. He inhaled deeply, gathering up his courage.

“Sans?”

“Hmm?” Sans had stopped the pacing, but still looked far away in his thoughts.

“Could you…” Dang it Papyrus! Nothing's changed between us… it's fine. “Could you read to me again? Like you used to?”

Sans turned his head to Papyrus. “Read?” He grinned. “What do you want? Fluffy Bunny again?”

Papyrus pretended to be annoyed. “Sans! I haven't made you read that story in years!”

Sans sat down on the couch. “Well? Any suggestions then?”

Papyrus grabbed a racecar magazine from underneath the television, and then plopped down next to his brother.

Maybe… just maybe… things could just go back they were. Just for one night.

*****

How dull. Flowey thought as he peered into one of the windows of the house. He had been hoping for another fight, an argument at least. But nooo… they're just reading together. Completely forgetting about me.

After all the damage Sans did to him, there the skeleton was. Just acting like nothing happened. It had taken Flowey a while to heal himself too. Now they were just reading?

This was slightly infuriating to the flower.

He wanted action! Drama! Conflict! Something to help further the plot.

But what did he find?

The brothers in their house. Acting like nothing mattered.

And if Sans got his way… Flowey figured. They would just stay that way.

Time to stir the pot.

*****

The Lab's garden was pitiful at best.

The heat from Hotland was making most of the plants wither. Even the King's green thumb couldn't save some of the veggies. There wasn't much of a choice of where to put the garden though.

Snowdin couldn't grow anything, the Core was too dangerous, and New Home held too many monsters to even think about a garden.

Asgore wouldn't even consider the flower garden being dug up. He considered his son's grave too sacred. The fool.

Flowey burst out of the ground next to a carrot patch. Alphys and the other helpers were keeping the soil fairly well taken care of. He rooted himself in the dirt and swayed back and forth thinking.

Saying that he was going to cause trouble was one thing. Actually doing it was another. He could just randomly start messing with things… but Flowey didn't quite know where to start. After all he didn't really have a plan for what he wanted to come next. The worst part was that he couldn't try different things and then load. He no longer had that luxury. Papyrus needed to 'control’ the resets now if this route was going to work correctly.

Flowey grumbled to himself annoyed, as two Royal Guardsmen walked over to sit near the garden.

“Hey bro, would you tell Undyne if we took a break for a while?” One black armored figure asked the other.

“Ha! Nah dude. It's hot as hell out here.”

Flowey glared at the newcomers. How dare they interrupt him?

“Dude did you hear that rumor about the monster from Snowdin?”

The second moron shook his empty head.

“It's that one skeleton that always tried to join the Guards. Apparently he's a hero now.”

The bro didn't get to finish his story before he was hoisted high in the air alongside his friend. Vines wrapped around their legs wiggling inside of the metal suit he wore.

Flowey shuddered in disgust as his vine slid across sweat covered scales. He should have just wrapped around the armor, not under…

“What's going on?” The idiots yelled. “We're under attack!”

Flowey rolled his eyes. “Why don't you tell me exactly what you know about this hero gossip, and you might live.”

Flowey didn't know how far his river story had developed. Papyrus was now credited for saving a child from drowning, struggling down the raging stream for eight days straight. Eventually swimming them both to safety.

“Does Captain Undyne know about this?” Flowey asked, already getting bored with his prisoners.

“N-no. She's been in New Home all this week.

“Good…”

“Yeah… it's been great.” Moron one laughed sheepishly. “Are you going to let us down now? All of the blood has rushed to my head.”

If he was going to say more Flowey would not let him. A scream of agony burst out from his friend, as their legs were crushed beneath the armor. The other guard soon screamed as well as his own bones were crushed.

Breaking their bones was quite pleasing to the flower. After all this was just the beginning of what he wanted to do to Sans.

Sans wouldn't beg for mercy like these two though. Sans never did anything like that. Dullard.

Eventually the flower had his fill, and burrowed into the ground as the monster's dust fell softly on the garden's dirt.

As he tunneled a grin was forming on his little yellow face. He had an idea.

*****

Undyne just got back into her house and had sat at the table, when Dogamy burst through the door. It was strange to see him without his mate.

“Hey Dogamy, great timing! I was just about to make some tea. Do you-” She looked up to see the dog in tears. “What's wrong?” She spawned a spear, all senses alert despite the tired ache settling in her muscles.

“It's Dogaressa.” The guard panted. “She didn't come back home from her patrol last night. I can't find Greater Dog or Lesser Dog either.”

Undyne narrowed her eye. “Call for an emergency meeting. We need to see if anyone else has gone missing.”

Dogamy barked confirmation and started to run out the door.

“Wait!” She stopped him. “Bring the sentries as well.”

Undyne sat down as he slammed the door. She buried her face in her scaly arms. I'm not even home five minutes and something is already going wrong. She looked over to her melted stove and sighed. Her stomach was telling her to eat, but cooking only reminded her of Papyrus.

I can still make the tea. Undyne thought as she stood up from the table. As she waited for the kettle to boil her mind went back to what Dogamy had said. Dogaressa was probably just hanging out with the other dogs. No reason to worry.

Except for the lump in the pit of her stomach.

Her instincts said that something was wrong. Adrenaline was starting to pulse through her exhaustion. The visit with Asgore took too much energy thanks to the elevator not working. Leaving her tired and slightly sore, but now that feeling was fading.

Forgetting the tea, Undyne began walking around the room. She had told Dogamy to bring all the guards and sentries, however what if a human fell to the underground while they were away?

The fish monster sighed, scratching at her gills. While humans were a problem… finding the other members of the guard came first.

She should call Asgore…

*****

Papyrus didn't remember his brother tucking him in his bed, but when he awoke he found himself lying comfortably in the racecar. Papyrus leaned up and stretched his bones.

All of the weird stuff! Papyrus looked around the room alarmed. It's completely gone…!

The blackboard had disappeared, leaving no evidence that it ever existed. Same with the other mysterious objects. In all the commotion yesterday I never got to ask Sans or Flowey about it. Pap thought, sliding out of the bed.

His brother was downstairs making what appeared to be breakfast, maybe not from the way it smelled. “Good morning Sans!” Papyrus exclaimed. “How are you today?” He himself was feeling better that he had been all month.

Sans didn't get to say how he was feeling, because a knock at the door stopped him from answering. Pap turned away and slowly made his way to the door. Can I just have a few days to spend with my brother?

A guard from Hotland was standing outside the door looking very miserable. That miserable look turned to shock as they saw Papyrus.

“Papyrus! You're alive!”

The skeleton gave a uneasy smile. “So they keep telling me.”

“The Captain will be so thrilled!” The monster started, then his face turned sour. “Well, perhaps if we didn't have troubling events going on.”

Papyrus tilted his head at the guard inquiringly.

“Yes… we'll be talking more about it at the meeting, but all I can let you know now, is that some members of the Royal Guard are missing.”

Pap turned back to Sans, who returned a puzzled look. Somehow, deep down, they both knew that Flowey was behind this.

Chapter Text

“What do you mean 'the meeting’?” Sans asked, walking across the dying flowers to stand next to Papyrus.

The flame monster's face turned a shade of deeper red. “Oh! Right! I forgot. Because of these events, Captain Undyne is holding a meeting at her house for all of the guards and sentries.”

“Wowie…” Papyrus muttered under his breath. “Undyne… but what about if a human-”

The guard cut him off. “Royal Scientist Alphys is installing more cameras as we speak.”

More…? Papyrus turned to look at his brother only to find Sans nodding his head. Another secret I wasn't told. This left him a bitter taste in his mouth.

“In the unlikely event that a human gets down here we'll be prepared.”

“Where exactly is she installing the new cameras?” Sans asked.

The flame monster started tapping his foot. “Uh, behind a waterfall, in front of the weird door in the forest, a couple places in the core… listen I don't have time for this. I just need for you two to head over to Captain Undyne's house. ASAP.” He walked away shivering. “Sentries… do they know how many more stops I have to make?”

Papyrus watched the guard stomp off, and then leaned over on his brother propping himself on Sans’ skull. “I suppose we should begin to prepare ourselves for the trip.”

Sans twisted his head around trying to shake off his brother. “I really wanted to stay home for a while too…”

Sans shrugged, finally getting his brother off his head. “Hey, Paps? I'm going to go out for a while. You won't leave without me, right?”

“Of course not brother! I will drag you to Undyne's house if I have to.” Don't you trust me not to leave again, Sans?

“Promise?”

Papyrus sighed. “Yes, Sans.”

“Thanks bro. See you in a bit.”

*****

“Knock-knock.” Sans said, sliding into his usual spot. He couldn't stay long. Not with the new camera right next to him. “Hey, Lady? You here?”

Silence. Only the soft sounds of snow falling in the wind, and that was barely a sound at all.

Sans waited a few minutes before knocking again. He was getting a little impatient. Papyrus would probably be done by the time he got back. And that's if I leave now.

“Knock-”

“I am afraid I am not in the mood for jokes at the moment. My apologies.”

Sans’ smile slipped for a second. “It’s snow problem.”

He heard a giggle being muffled. “That includes puns.” Her voice feigning exasperation.

“Sorry, I'll try not to be so flakey.”

An abrupt snort sounded through the door.

“I just wanted to say thanks.” Sans said, scratching his head absentmindedly.

“Thanks? For what, may I ask?”

“Heh.” Sans closed his eyes. “Just for being someone I can talk to.”

“Where did this come from?”

“Eh… I dunno. I guess I just wanted to say it because I don't know if I'll…” Be able to ever hear you again.

“Pardon?”

“Forgetdabout it.

She didn't need to know about this.

About the flower.

About how Sans had helped create the atrocity that killed so many. How he would finally pay for his crimes.

“Very well then. I will leave it for now… however I do think something is troubling you my friend.”

Sans rubbed his hands together. “It's just because I'm going on a trip. I probably won't come out of it unscathed, or even alive.” He muttered the last part pausing to see if she noticed. “I wanted to say goodbye.”

The lady was silent. “I see.” Her voice was melancholic. “How about we say ‘see you soon’ instead?”

Sans pushed himself up with his elbows. “That's a pretty strange request. Considering we've never even actually seen each other face to face.”

“Could you indulge me? Just once more?”

“Is it another promise?”

“A request, more than a promise.”

Sans stood up patting the snow off his clothes. “Sure, lady. I'll try my best, but no promises.”

“Thank you.” Sounds came through as if the lady was also getting up.

“I will see you soon then.” Her voice floated down to him.

“Yeah. See you soon.”

Sans started walking off. “Oh, and Tora? Thanks for taking care of my little bro.”

He took a shortcut before he heard her answer.

*****

Papyrus knew that it wouldn't take that long to get to Undyne's house. Even faster if they used Sans’ magic. Heck, he knew Sans could teleport straight to Asgore if he wanted.

This absolutely terrified him. The fact he could be so close to the end goal was almost too much for him.

He couldn't face the king yet! He needed to… what was Alphys’ shows always saying…? Become stronger? He couldn't imagine talking to the king. Let alone fight him.

Even I know that Asgore won't just hand over the souls if I ask nicely.

Papyrus sighed and sat down on his bed. He was ready to go as soon as Sans got back, but there was no sign of his lazy brother anywhere.

Suddenly a wave of nausea washed over the skeleton. Sans. Where was Sans? Was he alright?

I need to save.

Papyrus started out of his bedroom, almost tripping over the annoying dog.

When was the last time I saved?

His chest felt tight. Anxiety gripping him tightly. Sans...

Papyrus vaulted down the stairs to then trample over the flowers, no longer concerned about them.

What if it's too late? And I save when he's already dead?

This thought made him stop in front of the front door. What would he do if that happened?

I'll make sure it never does happen. Papyrus swore to himself. I'm going to save everyone.

With this he swung open the door.

And saw Sans.

“Brother!” Papyrus yelled before grabbing his brother and hugging him close. “I was so worried. You were gone for so long, and… and-”

Sans stared at him confused. “Whatcha talking about bro? I was gone about five minutes.”

Only five?

Papyrus set Sans back onto the ground. “Right. Right. I was just… out of it. I guess.”

“Yeah…”

Papyrus pushed past his brother. “Are you ready to go? Undyne can get pretty impatient.”

“Yeah. Let's go.”

*****

Waterfall was as miserable as ever. Flowers grew here in abundance, same with fluorescent mushrooms and the light colored grass that only survived from the shred of light the mushrooms put out. The plants loved the damp humidity that was in Waterfall.

Flowey hated it.

He hated the stone floor that was almost impossible to tunnel through.

He hated the swampy parts that kept flooding any attempts at a path.

He hated the statue that played his mother's lullaby.

He settled in the midst of a group of echo flowers. Careful not to disturb any of them. Best not alert anyone of his presence.

Flowey knew that the brothers would be walking into Waterfall soon. Disturbed by the news that guards were going “missing”. The idiots were traveling by foot. Papyrus hated taking shortcuts.

Or so the skeleton told him once. A bit before this whole debacle started.

Back when they were "friends."

“You sure you don't want to teleport… bro?”

Flowey was able to make out a few words of what Sans was asking.

Papyrus shuttered. “I'm sure."

Flowey waited until they came closer to get into the brothers’ line of sight. He waved a vine lazily as Papyrus walked stiffly over to join him by the echo flowers.

“Flowey! What are you doing here?” The skeleton exclaimed, his voice being repeated as he bumped into the blue plants.

The flower froze for a moment. He hadn't really thought about how to explain himself to the idiot. He couldn't exactly say he'd been stalking their every move, and eavesdropping… but Papyrus could tell when he was lying sometimes.

Damn . It was time for more half lies.

“I was over there.” He waved his vine in a non-committal direction. “When you two appeared.” Now to change the subject to him. “I came over because I was was alarmed that you haven't saved in a while.

Every line felt like a gamble now. Unable to save, and yet… he was having so much fun.

He was starting to feel like a kid again. Like on Christmas morning, receiving gifts from his fath- Asgore in the abysmal santa suit he wore every year. Back when Chara was…

Alive.

Back when Asriel was alive.

Flowey’s good mood vanished. Not even when Papyrus pricked himself while Sans watched, livid. Nothing brought back the enjoyment.

Maybe he should go kill another guard.

“Flowey.” Sans glared. “Are you going to come with us? Or are you going to stay with all of your buds?”

“Sans!” Papyrus marched over to the comic.

Flowey went underground only to come out behind Sans. “Sure, I'll come with you guys! You can't do anything without me after all!”

Papyrus went ahead of them, his long strides taking him further.

“Why are you bringing me along?” Flowey whispered. “I thought you hated me.” He said rolling his eyes.

“Believe me, I do hate you.” Sans muttered back. “But I need to keep an eye on you in case you do anything stupid.”

“Right…”

They walked in silence after Sans caught up to Papyrus. Flowey popping out up ahead of them, only to go back under after they passed.

The traveling parts of Flowey’s routes, were always the worst parts. Monsters walk so slowly. Another reason why he enjoyed fighting Sans. The skeleton could teleport in an instant. No long waits between battles.

Papyrus passed through Waterfall's puzzles with relative ease. He was actually looking like he was enjoying himself.

The idiot never changed.

Eventually Flowey could no longer make his way through the hard ground. “Papyrus?” Flowey held up vines, feeling ridiculous for asking to be carried.

Papyrus picked up the flower. His bones were cold to touch. Although Flowey didn't know what he was expecting from a skeleton.

Papyrus, Papyrus . Flowey tutted wrapping his vines around the monster's spine. If only you were as cold on the inside as you are on the out.

Wouldn't that be interesting?

*****

Papyrus hummed as he made his way to the plaques that held the prophecy. Every monster knew about the legend of the angel. Except if they had amnesia. Apparently. Pap thought shaking his skull slightly.

“Anything bothering you, bro?”

Sans had picked up on Papyrus’ head motion, and was now slowing down. A quizzical expression on his face.

The younger skeleton turned to his brother. “Ah, just… do you think this old prophecy is real?”

Sans looked at the closest plaque on the wall. “‘Empty the underground’ huh?” Sans’ eye sockets went dark.

This always happened when he was serious or angry. His irises would disappear, and Papyrus would no longer be able to tell what his brother was thinking. It infuriated him more than his brother's puns.

“Tell you what, I don't know really, bro… I've seen this place go empty before, an-”

“Hey guys!” Flowey broke in to the conversation. “I thought we had to hurry! We're almost there!”

Papyrus nodded and started walking again. They did need to keep up the pace, he didn't know when the meeting took place, but the guard did say “as soon as possible” or something like that.

I've seen this place go empty before.

What did Sans mean by that?

He could just put it on the list of weird things his brother said, but this line felt different.

As they walked Papyrus could tell that Sans and Flowey were glaring at each other. He wanted to ask what was going on, but he didn't really know what was going on with himself.

His feelings were too complicated. His frustration with Sans for trying to kill Flowey, and agitation for Flowey tormenting his brother.

Papyrus let out a soft exhale through his non-existent nose, and turned his head up to the ceiling. The beauty of the gems in the stalactites usually made him feel better. Whether a fight with Sans, or after training with Undyne. The ‘stars’ lifted his spirits.

Now when he looked up he felt as hollow on the inside as he was on the outside.

*****

Undyne paced the small kitchen, rubbing her temples in an useless attempt to relieve herself of the stabbing pain of a headache. The headache formed by the constant talk of her subordinates.

They were clamoring around her dining table. Waiting for the meeting to start. The problem was that there were barely enough monsters to start the meeting.

More than half of the guards were missing.

Dogaressa, the two Hotland lab guards, Greater, or Lesser Dog… they had all disappeared.

Even Alphys’ cameras hadn't caught anything. Either that or they were smashed to pieces. The royal scientist was out replacing them now.

Undyne stopped in mid step. I have to start the meeting. She decided glumly. If the ones here are the only to show up, than all of us need to go out and search.

She materialized a blue spear and thumped it on the ground. Signaling the other guards to stop talking.

“My friends. I'm sure you know why we are gathered here today.” She started.

What am I starting? She thought during her pause. A wedding?

“Nyah. I might as well get into it.” She cleared her throat. “Our friends and family are going missing.”

Mutters went around the table. And Undyne raised a hand. “I know, I know. This has happened before with relatives and their disappearances.”

Dogamy and Doggo howled sadly. They had both lost loved ones due to the family member falling down, never to be seen again. So many monsters had given up hope at that time.

Undyne clenched her fist on the spear and continued on. “However the ones going missing are members of the guard.”

Outrage came from many monsters were sent to the meeting without prior knowledge of what was going on. She regretted not giving out more information.

“We do not know where these monsters are, or what happened to them.” She shouted over the commotion. “I gathered you all here so we could get a head count on who is missing, and to make a plan of action for finding them.”

The guards clattered around trying to see who was there, and who was not.

So many missing.

The Royal Guard was never very big to begin with. Now with more than half of them gone… she desperately needed new recruits.

As if an answer to her prayers, a knock sounded on the door.

No one around her seemed to notice. They were still moving around the room counting who was there, and generally making the entire process a lot harder than it needed be.

She made her way to the door, slipping outside before seeing who was out there.

She felt knuckles rapping against her forehead, completely missing the door.

“Oh, sorry Undyne”

“Nyah.” She growled before looking up at the visitor.

She dropped her spear. Not believing her eye.

"Papyrus..."

Chapter Text

Flowey gagged at the sight of Papyrus and Undyne’s embrace. At the last moment he had made it to the ground, barely getting down before getting squished in between the two.

“Papyrus! I...I thought you were dead! How…” Undyne started as they reluctantly backed away from each other

“I… I’ll tell you later.” Papyrus was pulling that pathetic face again. The one where his eye sockets somehow drooped, and you got the feeling that his permanent smile was actually a grimace.

Undyne shook hands with Sans and almost overlooked Flowey until his squeaky little voice gave a “Howdy!”

A spear instantly appeared in her hands. “Who are you?”

So scary… Flowey resisted rolling his eyes. “I’m Flowey! Flowey the flower.”

“He’s with us.” Papyrus chimed in.

“Right…” Undyne grabbed Papyrus’ arm and pulled him into the house. Effectively leaving Flowey with no way in.

“Don't look at me, weed. I'm not letting you leech off me like my brother.” Sans said walking inside without him.

That smiley trashbag bastard.

Flowey slithered over to one of the windows. He never could understand why Undyne lived inside of a house that was shaped like a fish. Or why the shadows behaved the way they did. Splitting the angry fish face in half. He settled in front of the shadowed window. Peering in, he saw the idiots falling over themselves after seeing Papyrus. Trying to see if it was really him that was standing in front of them.

They were all annoyingly affectionate towards the skeleton. At least in the presence of the the scaly captain. From what Flowey could make out, 'they were all so concerned about him', and other idiotic nonsense.

Eventually they finished talking to Papyrus, and started to get back to the meeting. Summarizing it all for the two newcomers.

Apparently the guards he had killed were affecting the Royal Guards more than he imagined. The deaths were treated like disappearances, but because of that all of the remaining manpower, so to speak, was used to search for the 'missing'.

Flowey sighed happily. Papyrus’ face was somehow paler than bone, and the Royal idiots were handicapped. Not bad for a night's work.

*****

“Doggo, you go with Dogamy, and see if you can sniff out Dogaressa. If we can get all three of our searchers, finding the others will go that much faster.”

Undyne waited for the last few guards to salute and leave before she collapsed into a chair.

“You want me to make some tea?” Papyrus’ brother asked her. “It's the leaf I could do.”

Undyne mumbled consent ignoring the pun and propped herself up, elbows against the table. “Papyrus… I'm just going to say it, what happened to you?”

Her friend jumped out of his skin, figuratively, at her sudden question. He shifted apparently uncomfortable. “Well Captain Undyne, I don't really know what to tell you. A lot of things have happened this past month.” He tried to smile, but failed miserably.

Undyne slouched back into her chair and made a face. “How about just today?”

Papyrus stiffened. “A lot of things have happened today as well.”

Obviously she needed to loosen him up before talking. Which was ironic in a way, usually she couldn't get Papyrus to shut up.

Now she needed to keep him from shutting down.

Damnit Undyne! She mentally scolded herself. I need to mention something else. Something that he likes… “I heard a rumor today.” Undyne tried. “One of the guards mentioned it.”

No reaction.

Undyne closed her eye, trying to get the story right. “Um… it was about this monster that saved a child from going over the waterfall. The one that's not too far from here.”

Say something!

“He's said to carry the kid back to it's family.”

Please .

“Pretty cool, right? Like something from a tv show.”

“That didn't actually happen.”

Undyne opened her eye. “What?”

“Uh… I… I'm actually the monster the rumor's about.”

This didn't make sense. Papyrus? The wimpy skeleton she knew and loved, a hero? Or wait. He said that didn't happen…

"What?" She raised an eyebrow.

"I uh…" Papyrus wriggled in his seat. "The waterfall part isn't true. I just helped a monster… get out of the river."

"That's what you were doing? For a month?"

He wouldn't meet her eye. "Yeah."

Was Papyrus lying to her?

Undyne sighed, stretching her arms out, before standing up from the table. She loved Pap. He was like a little brother to her. She loved training him, cooking with him, just talking with him…

Papyrus wouldn't lie to her.

She made her decision.

"Pap. I don't know what's going on. But I trust you. Guards are disappearing left and right. Good people. I need you, Papyrus. You and Sans. Will the two of you become Royal Guards?"

*****

Papyrus looked at his friend. He was genuinely shocked. He was expecting Undyne to call him out, get angry at him for telling a lie, not this.

This.

Papyrus realized what this really was.

His dream. His dream of becoming a Royal Guard.

He'd waited so long for this.

Why wasn't he happy?

All of a sudden, he couldn't even remember why he wanted to be a Guard for in the first place.

Popular. He thought. I wanted to be popular.

This almost made him laugh.

Popular.

How ridiculous.

Looking back on it now, he realized how idiotic he really was.

He called himself The Great Papyrus, made puzzles for humans that would never come, generally made a fool of himself.

It seemed so long ago. Before he had this responsibly. The responsibility of saving the underground.

He needed to refuse, tell Undyne the truth about what was happening. Tell her that he had to kill… the king.

However, if I could become a member of the Guard. A voice said in the back of his skull. Getting to Asgore would be so much easier.

Papyrus wanted to silence that treacherous voice. Tell it to leave him alone. He knew though, it was right. He could easily get to the King.

"Well, Pap? Are you ready to be sworn in?" Undyne looked exhausted, yet happy.

Happy.

Why wasn't he the same?

"I need air." Papyrus tripped over his own feet making his way to the door. "I'll be right back."

The humid air hit his face as soon as he got outside the door. "Flowey?" He called. "I need help." He took to a path, looking for his friend and wishing he hadn't left him outside.

The yellow flower was nowhere to be found.

Papyrus wandered aimlessly trying to find his friend, the walk starting to clear his head.

How did I get here?

Papyrus wasn't talking about the snail farm that he seemed to be entering. When did it become my responsibility to save everyone? He leaned against a wooden fence looking at nothing.

Do you believe anyone could be a good person if they just try? Those words echoed around in his head, he hadn’t a clue where they came from, or why they felt so familiar. Just that they repeated. Over and over.

I can’t do this. I have to tell her the truth. I have to.

With these thoughts Papyrus got up and started to walk back to Undyne’s house. Determined.

“Howdy Papyrus! You called?”

A yellow flower popped out of the dirt at his feet. A sweet smile starting to form on his face.

“No, well, I did, but I made up my mind without you.” Papyrus stiffened as Flowey slowly wove his vines around the skeleton’s legs.

“You did? And what was that decision about?” The smile on Flowey’s face was beginning to make shivers run up and down Papyrus’ spine.

“I’m..” Papyrus gulped. “I’m going to tell the truth to Undyne. I’m going to tell her everything.” His hand closed tightly into a fist. “I’m going to turn down her offer of becoming a Royal Guard as well.”

Flowey’s smile didn’t fade. Didn’t even stutter for a second. “That would be such a shame though, Papyrus. We’ve worked so hard for this moment. You, training with the saving and loading, dying so many times… lying to your brother, to the whole town if you think about it.” Flowey laughed softly. “You’ve done so well.” He paused, taking time to wind around Papyrus’ waist. “I’ve worked hard for this too. You wouldn’t even be here without me telling you about the resets, and letting you save with my thorns, getting us out of the ruins, making you a hero to everyone. Not to mention what I had to do to those guards.”

Papyrus felt his soul sink. “Those guards?” He barely dared to ask. “Don’t tell me you…”

“I had to Papy! It was the only way to get you a guaranteed spot in the Royal Guard.”

“You killed them…”

“It’s not like they were innocent! Papyrus, what do you think the Royal Guards do?”

Papyrus’s mind went back to what Tora said as they were leaving the Ruins. Human souls. The rush and drama of Snowdin had kept him from thinking about it, or maybe he just didn’t want to.

“Are the puzzle pieces coming together? You idiot. Those murderers got what was coming to them.”

I looked up to them.

I respected them.

All this time.

You idiot.

Papyrus’ found himself in Flowey’s embrace. The flowers vines that wrapped around him were actually a hug the entire time.The shivering that had started somewhere down the line subsided.

“It’s okay.” Flowey whispered, a vine rubbing his skull. “We can make things right.”

*****

Papyrus looked different when he marched back into the house. Sans winced. He knew he should of followed his brother. Now the flower had gotten to him first.

But hey, what’s new?

Speaking of the devil, Flowey was perched on Papyrus’ shoulder, looking down smugly at the shorter skeleton.

Again, what’s new.

“Hey bro, yer back! How you feeling?”

Unlike Sans himself, Papyrus had never been a good actor. He clenched his teeth, and avoided any physical contact. It was endearing in a way, how his brother hated to lie.

"I feel fine." Papyrus walked past him before standing by the piano. Looking around the room uncomfortably. "Where did Undyne go?"

Sans pointed to the blue door. "Bed, she suggested that we do the same. Said we could share her couch if we didn't want to go home."

Papyrus nodded and numbly started walking to the far wall. When he reached it he turned back to Sans. "Wait… 'we'? You're not going to take a shortcut home?"

Sans shrugged. "Nah, I'll stay with you bro. You can have the whole couch if you want. You know me, I could fall asleep in a battle standing up." He trotted over to Pap, pulling him down so he could lay his skull against his brother's shoulder. "Besides, I need to keep an eye socket on you."

Pap pushed him off groaning. "Yes, but not literally!"

The weed looked sickened by this display. Good.

The night was uneventful. Sans forced Papyrus to put the flower outside before going to bed. It was a small relief, even if Flowey would just watch them from the window. Sans watched his brother as well. At least until he couldn't stay awake any longer.

Chapter Text

Sans awoke to the sounds of Papyrus and Undyne talking. He guessed from the smell of tea that it was morning. You couldn't tell from outside the window, it was as dark now as it was last night.

Sans stretched, it felt good even if it was pointless without muscles. He swung his legs off of Undyne's couch, rocking himself back and forth until abruptly heaving himself onto his feet. He started for the kitchen, already smelling the scent of breakfast spaghetti, and burnt tomatoes.

Mostly burnt tomatoes.

Sans walked into the kitchen as Undyne and Papyrus were putting out the fire. The fire that somehow melted the pot they were cooking with.

"Undyne, I told you to turn down the heat." Papyrus said while frantically scooping baking soda onto the flames.

"Oh come on Paps! Where's your sense of adventure?" Undyne's muffled speech came from under the counters, assumedly looking for a fire extinguisher.  

Flowey was watching on from inside one of Undyne's old boots filled with dirt. He was biting his lip in a attempt to not laugh.

The scene of Papyrus by the flames struck a chord with Sans. It was almost the same as last time. Papyrus so close to the fire that he could be burned at any time.

"Pap-"

Papyrus turned to only to be blinded by a white powdery substance.

"Ooh… sorry Paps." Undyne winced as she lowered the rusted fire extinguisher. "Did it get in your eyes?"

Papyrus wiped at his eye sockets fruitlessly trying to get the substance out of them. "Well yes, but seeing as I don't have eyes… no..?"

Undyne laughed, hugging the skeleton and rubbing his skull with her fist.

"Please do not noogie the skeleton!" Papyrus shouted over the laughter.

It was so nostalgic. Sans couldn't count how many times he had come to walk home Papyrus, only to find the two of them covered in white powder and still chuckling at the events of the day.

"Howdy Sans!" Flowey said alerting the two of them to his presence. "How long have you been standing there?"

*****

Papyrus twirled around to look at Flowey, then Sans. The skeleton felt a wave of nausea as he realized what just happened.

I did it again… the food we were cooking started a fire.

Images of the last time flashed through his mind in rapid succession.

"You're not great. You're an idiot."

Papyrus backed away. "I'm sorry." He whispered. "I'll clean it up." Sans stepped forward. Papyrus closed his eyes, ready for any cruel words that his brother might spout.

Instead he found himself being hugged by Sans.

"Sans?" Papyrus didn't dare believe that the shorter skeleton was clutching so tightly to him. "Brother! You'll get whatever this is all over you!"

"Mmnn smm hmmp ymm omk."

"What?" Papyrus leaned down to his brother, pulling Sans' face out of his shirt. "I couldn't hear that…" he said worriedly.

"I'm so happy you're okay." Sans grinned widely.

The younger skeleton was taken aback. He wasn't expecting this development… for some reason the corners of his eye sockets were stinging. Must be the chemicals.

"All right you dorks! It's time you told me your decision on becoming Royal Guards." Undyne yelled triumphantly.

Papyrus looked from Undyne to Sans to Flowey.  

"I accept your offer, Captain Undyne."

*****

Sans blinked in surprise at his brother's determination.

He was impressed of course, but also troubled by everything that had gone on yesterday.

He had wanted to follow Papyrus when he ran off, but Undyne had stopped Sans.

"He needs to figure out things by himself." She had grinned. "Besides you were going to make me some tea, right?"

She stood in front of him refusing to let him out. Before grabbing his arm and pulling him back to the table.

What had the flower done to him?

"I'll join too."

I won't leave you alone again bro.

Undyne clapped her webbed hands together. "Awesome! I'll swear you two in right now. Then… we'll go out to eat."

*****

Papyrus' first actual magic lessons with Undyne were strenuous to say the least. She saw him improving every day.

He was already strong to begin with, and with every sparring lesson, and magic endurance exercise… he was definitely getting better.

Sans on the other hand… he either was holding back on her, (which was unlikely,) or he had no magical prowess at all. And amazingly his 1 HP didn't go up in the slightest. Moreover he seemed to have no interest in getting better at his fighting.

When Undyne asked him about this, he only shrugged and told her some stupid skeleton puns.

Paps however… he was so resolved to improve himself. It really fired her up.

And she could only imagine what he'd be like when he gets LOVE

But Undyne didn't know exactly how to bring that up… She never exactly told him what the Royal Guards did. In a way, she had wanted him to keep his purity. His naivety was charming in this cruel underground world of theirs.

Too bad.

"Paps? Nyeh… I need to speak with you about something."

Papyrus stopped his training. His brow dripping sweat. Somehow.

"What is it, Captain?" He saluted, while backing up from the dummy he had been firing on.

"I… umm, wanted to tell you something."

Paps looked at her with his brow ridge raised before walking towards her.

Don't look at his puppy dog eye… sockets… I just need to tell him the truth. Undyne steeled her heart.

"Captain! We think we've found something about Dogaressa's whereabouts." Doggo and Dogamy rushed into the training site.

"We found a spot in the woods where her sent is extremely strong." Doggo was wagging excitedly now while sharing the news about his friend. Dogamy didn't look as thrilled as she thought he would.

"You need to come with us immediately." Doggo now circled Undyne blindly. Relentlessly trying to push her along.

Pap's talk could wait.

Undyne took a deep breath before taking the guard by the shoulders. "Alright. You and I will head out to the location. Dogamy, you stay here and get some rest." She looked the latter up and down. "You look like you could fall over at any time." Lastly the fish monster turned to Papyrus. "You keep a lookout for anyone coming through here, and keep training."

Undyne touched the skeleton's arm. "We'll talk later." Rounding back to Doggo she nodded at him, and they started off.

*****

As Papyrus watched Undyne and Doggo sprint into the distance he felt a pang of guilt. 

I'm the reason the others are dead, and I can't even tell them.

"Hey, snack." The voice behind him called. "What are you doing?"

*****

Flowey was spying on Papyrus and the fish stick when the stupid dogs ruined everything.

He had a feeling that Undyne was going to tell Pap the truth for once, and those smelly idiots ruined it.

Now it was just Papyrus and the mutt.

Maybe if I follow the others I can see if they can find the bitch's dust.

Bitch. Ha. That was a good one. He might tell Sans.

Just to piss him off of course.

"I said what are you doing?"  

Flowey's petals were almost underground when he heard this. The next thing he heard was a loud thud.

Flowey emerged, and was struck with a fascinating sight.

Papyrus' skull being forced to the dirt.

Dogamy had somehow tripped the taller monster, face planting Pap into the dirt.

"Ow." Papyrus' muffled voice came up. "What just happened?"

Dogamy stomped on the skeleton's hand, grinding the bones into the ground with his boot. "I was just thinking that you should stay where you belong."

A fight? Flowey peered out trying to get a better view of the debacle.

"W-what do you mean, Dogamy? Nyeheheh…" Papyrus gave a strained laugh, as if hoping that this was all a big misunderstanding.

"I mean ," the dog emphasized condescendingly. "That bones like you should be buried in the ground. No need for the weak."

He snarled continuing, "I eat snacks like you for breakfast. You're just a waste of nutrients." He aimed an attack at Papyrus' skull. Blue, so his prey couldn't move.

"You were only let into the guard because everyone's  going missing. It doesn't help that Captain Undyne has a soft spot for you. You should just die. You should be dead instead of my friends… my darling Dogaressa's dust. We were too late. Doggo couldn't see it, so he just thought it was snow that smelled like her. I knew the truth."

Flowey rolled his eyes. The mutt was such a drama hound.

"Step away from my brother."

Sans stepped into view, back from the guard duty Undyne had assigned him to.

"I thought Undyne would be with you, Paps. Guess I was wrong."

Soft sobs were coming from underneath the dog's feet.

"Shhh. It's okay bro, this will all be over soon."

*****

The fight was over almost as quickly as it began.

Sans had surrounded Dogamy's head with bones, one wrong move and he would be hit. Sans knew that 1 HP was a miniscule loss for the guard, but the skeleton's point made it across.

I'm not afraid to hurt you.

Dogamy most likely knew of Sans' infamy as the weakness monster in the underground. Of his miniscule amount of health.

Maybe that was the reason why the dog raised his hands in defeat.

"Hey, calm down Sans… I thought we were friends." Dogamy stepped off of Papyrus. "I was just messing with him." The guard lowered his hand to help the skeleton off the ground. "Right Paps?"

Papyrus ignored the hand and stood shakily to his feet. "R-right…" Mud was caked into the cavities of his skull. "I'm going to go wash this off."

Sans followed his brother into the fish's house.

As soon as they were inside Sans slammed the door behind them. "What was that? What is he doing to you? Pap-"

Papyrus held up his hand and smiled, dirt sticking to his teeth. "We were just sparring. Nothing big."

Sans' eyes went dark. I just said I would protect him.

It seemed that as long as he was a Royal Guard, guarding the one most precious to him was impossible.

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, light returning to his eye sockets. "Alright, bro. Just… stay away from him."

*****

Undyne barely had time to think during the days that passed. The loss of almost half of the Royal Guards was hitting hard.

She didn't even have time to mourn.

Through all of the paperwork, setting up new cameras, recruiting new members etc… the worst had to be breaking the news to everyone. If they found Dogaressa's dust, then the other missing guards... Dogamy stomped around in a gloomy rampage. Doggo couldn't believe it, he almost ended up quitting right then and there.

Papyrus was acting differently as well.

The skeleton was no longer his upbeat cheerful self. That's not to say that he didn't attempt cheerfulness. Oh no, Paps was trying his best to boost everyone's morale.

Emphasis on trying.

Sans didn't do much of anything, not that he did much before now, but now he somehow did less. The shortie just followed his brother everywhere.

Now that Undyne thought about it, so did that creepy little flower monster. He always seemed to be near.

I'm just overthinking things.

Undyne tugged her boots up and checked herself in the mirror before exiting her room.

Shit. I look terrible.

Her ponytail was greasy and the black tank top was rumpled.

When was the last time I took a shower?

Undyne sighed and turned away from the tired monster reflected in her mirror. Bloodshot yellow eye tearing up from the lack of rest.

As soon as she opened the door, Undyne was surrounded by Guards. Their voices rang loudly in her ears, amazingly hitting the perfect spot between her eyes. The headache that rested there increased in power.

The Captain made her way to the table and sat down on it, rubbing the headache that was threatening to spread to her left temple.

"Captain, what are your orders?"

"Ma'am, we have found what appears to be the River Person questioning townspeople in Snowdin."

"The rumor about the guardian angel that saved the small child is spreading. Monsters are seeing them as a hero, and there is talk about the prophecy coming true."

"Captain! Mettaton wants you to be a guest star on his cooking show, what will you reply?"

So loud….

Undyne closed her eye and tried to concentrate. I just need to give out orders. Easy… right?

"Same as yesterday, Dogamy and Sam will watch the king. See if you can take Sans with you."

So far, so good. What was next…

"No one questions the River Person. They can do whatever they want." Undyne massaged the headache that was now in both temples. "Pap- Er… the angel is spreading hope around the underground, and right now we need all the hope we can get. Lastly, no. I will not be cooking with that killer robot. I just don't have time."

The room started to empty with the more instructions that she gave. Eventually there were only a few guards left.

"Captain Undyne?" There was a tap on her scaley shoulder. Not even opening her eye she knew who that was.

"Yes, Papyrus?"

"I um… I made you some tea."

Undyne took the warm mug eagerly. Enjoying the steam that rose onto her face.

"Undy-" Papyrus stopped himself. "Captain, I need to tell you something."

The fish monster smiled and turned to the door, waving at Pap to join her.

"Great, I was planning on telling you something too, but first…"

She summoned a blue spear into her hands.

"You need to train on your foot work."

*****

The skeleton was huffing and puffing by the time Undyne was satisfied, effectively ending the sparring lesson there.

"Captain-pant-Undyne, The thing-whew-I was going to tell you about-"

"That was great Papyrus!" Undyne threw up her arms cutting him off. "You're getting better every lesson." She wiped sweat off her scales. "You'd be able to take down a human like that!" Undyne snapped her clammy fingers.

"What?" Papyrus paled.

Shit! Undyne's eye widened as she realized her slip up. "I mean, the last soul, and you being strong, and… damnit." She flopped down onto the ground. "I guess it's time, huh?" Patting the dirt next to her, she sighed. "I need to tell you the truth."

Papyrus obliged and sat next to her.

"I never told you the reason the Royal Guard was formed, did I?"

A shake of his head, and she continued.

"Paps, the Royal Guards were formed to kill humans." She gulped. "And to harvest their souls."

Chapter Text

Papyrus had already known about the souls, but his friend confirmation about the Guards collecting them shook him to his core.

He breathed deeply to stop himself from shaking. What did he expect? Flowey to be lying? The flower had told him what the Guard was formed for. There was just a small part of himself that didn't want to believe it.

"Undyne… did you kill a human?"

He really didn't want to know. The words had just slipped out before he could stop himself. The words, and the accusation that came with them.

Are you a murderer?

Undyne smiled, eager to tell of her accomplishments. "Heck yeah I did! I got four souls for Asgore. We only need one more!"

The fish monster started wincing as soon as she saw Papyrus' horrified expression.

"Look Paps, I know I may have hidden this from you, but that's only because I knew you were against killing." Undyne jumped out of her sitting position. "But look at how strong you've gotten! You're a master at making spaghetti, you actually joined the Royal Guard… you're doing so well." She shrugged. "It's just that you need to realize that we have to be able to kill." She held out her hand for Papyrus to take. "You have to be able to kill. No matter who it is."

Papyrus sat there, looking up at her and wondering how he should react. Should he stand up on his own, effectively refusing to accept what she was saying?

I don't want to hurt anyone. Everyone can be a good person, if they just try.

Or, should he take her hand?

I don't want to kill anyone.

He stood up on his own.

I'll stop this. So no one has to kill again.

"Hey bro! I'm back." Sans suddenly teleported in front of the tall skeleton. "Miss me?"

Papyrus fought the urge to cry, and instead hugged his brother. "Of course I did."

Undyne walked backwards, moving her hand back to her side. "Hey Sans… Paps what-"

"It's my turn to tell you something now." Papyrus interrupted, turning back to his friend. "I'm going to stop this. I'm going to stop the king, and take the souls."

Undyne stared at him, mouth agape.

"I'm going to go through the barrier, and find a way to get a soul without killing a human."

*****

"P-Papyrus… w-what are you saying?" The stupid fish was literally a confused blubbering idiot.

Flowey may have missed what had started all of this, but he was certainly going to see how it ends.

That shitty trashbag brother made me come with him to guard Asgore. The flower cursed silently.

Not that he didn't want to see his father, the clown with a crown might've had something new to say.

Or at least that's what Flowey hoped.

Instead Asgore was polite as possible, offering tea to the guards, and gushing about the "potted plant" Sans had brought. Flowey didn't move or talk. Just sat there, a simple yellow flower just like the rest that grew in the king's garden.

Now Flowey had missed all the fun parts. Undyne was looking oh so confused, and Papyrus was just warming up.

Flowey had half a mind to reload.

But no, He shook his petals. That's too much of a hassle now. Killing Papyrus and all that. The flower barely any control in this timeline.

It was exhilarating.

Meanwhile the idiots were still talking.

"Papyrus, you can't be serious! Getting a soul without killing a human is impossible." Undyne stamped her boot into the ground in a ridiculously childlike way.

"I can, I know I can, I won't let anyone die anymore."

"And I'm saying you're being childish." Undyne's blue face was turning red.

You're one to talk .

Sans was doing what he could to calm the two down. Raising his arms in the air, attempting to bring them inside, idiotic puns... all the dumbass could think of.

But like everything Sans did, it failed miserably.

Finally, Undyne snapped.

"Shut up! Both of you. I'm the Captain here, I'll tell the orders." She turned to Sans. "Stay out of this Sans! This doesn't concern you." Undyne's head whipped back to Papyrus, ponytail slapping against her scales. "Paps, I say this out of love, really. You need to grow up. "

The fish took a deep breath. "You need to face that to be in the Royal Guards, you need to be able to kill. Anyone. Be it humans or monsters. No matter who."

Flowey wished he had popcorn, and a stomach to digest it with.

Sans' eye sockets were now completely black. To say he was angry was an understatement.

"Don't ever talk to my brother like that."

Undyne paled, now realizing her mistake. "Look, I just want to be honest. An-"

But Sans cut her off. "Do you know how much Papyrus looked up to you and the rest of your fucktards? Do you know how hard he strived to be like you?"

"Sans-" Papyrus tried, but the older skeleton just raised a hand.

"Do you know how much he wanted to have friends? Be 'popular' with murderers like you?"

"San-"

"I may not be able to take care of him, or be as big of a support as he needs. But I know how much he values life. And that's damn more than you do."

"Sans!" Papyrus yelled. "Please…" his voice now came as a soft whisper. "Stop."

Flowey slithered closer to see the shocked look on Undyne's face.

But it wasn't shocked. Her expression was as hard as stone.

It was almost furious.

*****

Pap slowed his breathing, if he had a heart it would be going a mile a minute.

It's going to be okay… right?

He closed his eyes and walked over to Undyne.

I should have saved. 

I should have saved.

I need to save.

These thoughts echoed in Papyrus' mind over and over again.

"Undyne…" He started. "I'm not childish enough to not know that Asgore won't just willingly give me the souls."

I'm not stupid.

"I'm… going to fight him." Papyrus clenched his fists, brow bone furrowed. I'm going to fight him until he gives up."

They were all silent. The humid air making the situation more stressed than it already was. Sans' eye sockets were still dark, Papyrus was tensely watching Undyne.

Undyne was as rigid as possible. The only thing moving was her gills. The flaps fluttering to and fro.

The silence was deafening. Minutes going so slowly, that it seemed like hours were passing.

It was Undyne that finally spoke, breaking the stillness with her booming voice.

"Papyrus… we've been friends for a while now, and I truly am fond of you. But…"

She looked at Papyrus. One eye meeting an absence of them.

"I have so much respect for King Asgore. He practically raised me." Undyne summoned a spear into her hands. "He taught me everything I know, for that I swore to protect him."

Papyrus felt his soul sinking.

"That's why… if you're being serious, and I'm pretty sure you are..."

The Captain raised her spear at the two brothers.

"I will fight you."

*****

Flowey supposed that if he was capable of feeling emotion, he'd have to say that he would be… happy.

Exuberant even.

He never thought he'd see the day when Undyne and Papyrus fought each other. Them fighting had been a goal of his for a while, but he had never figured out how to make it happen.

Now it was just happening on its own.

"Papyrus… I really don't want to hurt you, so I ask that you please rethink this." The fishy idiot was talking again. "I'm going to go inside." She started walking to her door. "When I come back out, I'm sure that we'll all be a lot more rational thinking."

She went through the giant fish mouth that was her doorway, and closed the teeth behind her, and silence once again filled the training yard. Only disturbed by the gurgling of the underground river.

"Gee, Paps…" Flowey hid his mouth behind a vine to hide the huge smile that had formed during the fight. "I bet you wish that we had saved before all this happened, huh?"

Papyrus jumped- as if the yellow flower had woken him up from a nightmare. "Yes, I really do." He turned and walked over to Flowey. "I don't suppose you remember when the last time I pricked myself was?"

"Nope! Sorry Papyrus, it's been awhile. You haven't really asked me to help you save lately."

Of course Flowey had saved on his own, he never knew what was going to happen, and he really didn't want to lose progress.

Not that he would tell this to Papyrus.

Sans' eye sockets were still dark, except now a small blue glow was dimly starting to shine. "Papyrus, I don't want you to use that power."

The taller skeleton paid him no mind.

"Flowey, I need one of your thorns please."

Flowey held out a thorned vine, trying to hide his eagerness. More and more of his teeth showed as he watched the thorn cut through the bone of Papyrus' finger, smooth as a razer blade going through flesh.

-1 HP

Sans glowered at their display. The smiley trashbag actually winced when Papyrus' health went down. The idiot.

"Chara, I don't like this plan anymore."

Flowey blinked, quickly banishing the memory away.

"I just want you to wake up, your health is so low."

Flowey's smile was now completely gone.

I don't want to think about this. Just shut up.

"Chara, please."

Shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up.

"Shut up!"

The flower viciously shook his head startling the two brothers.

Papyrus pointed at himself in confusion. "I didn't say anything…?"

Asre- Flowey blinked away the green chlorophyll that had formed on his petals, and gritted his many teeth into something that hopefully resembled a smile.

"Sorry, Paps! I don't know what just happened to me! That save musta razzled me a bit."

The skeleton nodded, looking away from him guiltily.

Sans erupted with a cough that sounded quite like the word "bullshit."

Smiley trashbag.

*****

"Are you sure you want to do this, bro?"

Papyrus glanced down at Sans. The shorter skeleton had apparently lost his anger about the saving. At least for now.

"No." Papyrus admitted rather bluntly. "However, I have no choice." He felt his soul steel itself with determination.

"Papyrus. Look at me." Sans opened his arms out to his sides. "Really look at me. There's always a choice. We can just go to Grillby's." Sans smiled, his eyes lights pleading with Pap.

* Sans 1 ATK 1 DEF

* 1/1 HP

* Your brother

* He would do anything for you

"I-" Papyrus looked to the dirt, anywhere else than his brother's eye sockets.

"That would be such a shame Papy!" Flowey loudly exclaimed. "You've trained so hard for moments exactly like this!"

Sans blanched. "Trained?" He said in a whisper.

Flowey no…

"Yeah trained!" Flowey moved over to Papyrus' feet. "In the Ruins, for several weeks, actually. Pap practiced saving and loading. All day until he wore himself out. Are you really going to let that all go to waste?" The flower looked delighted with Sans' expression.

"Pap-"

Sans was cut off by Undyne marching out of her house. "Papyrus?" Her gruff voice called. "Have you changed your mind- er- decided?"

The Captain of the Royal Guard looked anxious to say the least. Glistening sweat visible upon the scales of her brow.

"Yes." Pap walked past the others to get to her. "I have."

Undyne looked slightly hopeful. "And…?"

"I'm going to fight you."

*****

Undyne ground her pointy teeth. Why? Why does he have to be so stubborn?

Why was he going to go fight Asgore?

"I see."

The battle began suddenly, surprising the fish monster.

Papyrus had started it.

The fight wasn't a normal sparring match, that was for sure. Papyrus had readied himself, summoning bones without a moment's hesitation.

She was so proud.

Undyne spawned in her own spear before noticing something strange.

Sans was in the battle as well.

Undyne had never seen the older skeleton bro in a fight before. Heck, the only magic she'd seen him use was to get out of walking. Now here he was summoning magic bones and shit.

We just need one more soul. Papyrus why now?

But she knew Asgore was never going to give up the souls. She would never give up the souls

She acted.

"Papyrus, I really don't want to fight you, but it's my job to protect the king."

Pap attacked.

Blue bones circled around her. He was using a relatively harmless attack, at least as long as she didn't move.

Maybe he just doesn't know what he's doing… maybe he just needs to be shocked back to his senses. Maybe if I get hit...

Undyne moved.

The magic hit her in the side. Causing her to lose more HP than she initially thought she would. Undyne grimaced, now wishing she had come outside with her armor on. Papyrus really had been working his tail bone off training.

It was her turn, Papyrus barely looked phased that his attack had hurt her. A quick look of surprise, then back to the determined look that he was wearing before.

Undyne readied herself. I'm sorry Papyrus, but if you're going to actually fight me, the only thing I can do is fight back.

The Captain summoned more spears, focusing more magic on keeping Papyrus still. It was Sans' turn now, he was using white bones unlike his brother. Making a zig-zag pattern that was surprisingly hard to dodge. They're not holding back… Undyne jumped over a bone just to be struck on her forehead with a sneak attack from the ceiling.

He was even better than Pap, but Sans did only one damage.

The fish monster watched as her health dropped after getting struck. The aftereffects still hurting her after Sans' turn was over.

You're full of surprises, huh? Well, two can play at that game.

*****

The plan was simple, Sans was the one that actually came up with it. Keep Undyne moving, see if they could tire her out.

Papyrus' soul hurt like crazy. Every wound on Undyne was like a wound to himself.

I have to do this. Pap thought as he deflected a glowing spear with a wall made of bones. She's a killer. So many innocent lives were lost become of her. The children Tora cared for. I need to set us free, us and them.

But every cut on his friend reminded him of all the memories they shared. Punching tomatoes, burning noodles, just sitting down to enjoy a cup of cocoa.

It hurt.

Sans was panting next to him, the fighting was taking a toll on his lazybones brother.

Undyne herself was starting to look tired as well, but then again she hadn't been sleeping well lately.

One more turn, then he'd start to spare her.

Undyne's eye was starting to close, her spear throwing erratic. They weren't even coming near him.

"Gah!"

The sound of something Papyrus never wanted to hear came from his brother's mouth.

A cry of pain.

Everything started to go in slow motion.

Sans fell backwards, and Pap spied the cause for his exclamation.

A spear.

Sans' eyes sockets were going dark by the time Papyrus made it to him.

A red liquid dripped out from where he was stabbed. More of it was coughed out.

What do I do?

"Heh. I told you...we shoulda gone to Grillbz."

What have I done?

Chapter Text

Papyrus slumped weakly to the floor, the same spot Sans had been barely a moment ago. He held the remains of his brother to his ribs, his soul sinking lower and lower as he realized what had happened.

No.

Tears were falling to his hands, making the dust stick to his gloves. He felt ill.

This wasn't how it was supposed to go. I would fight Undyne, I would be the one to…

Die.

"Kill me." His voice was barely audible, his soul beating hard in his chest..

In the edge of his vision he saw Undyne's petrified face turn to an expression of horrified confusion. "What… did you say, Paps?"

"Kill me. Please." He turned to her, looking his brother's killer in the eye.

Undyne backed up slowly, shaking her head violently in a desperate, wordless no.

"Papyrus you have to believe me, I… I didn't mean to hit him." Her words came out muffled as she clasped webbed hands around her mouth in a state of shock. "I'm so sor-"

"Kill me!" The skeleton was now shouting, every last bit of self control gone from him. "Or at least let me out of this battle."

"Out of this-?" Undyne's sharp teeth clicked together as soon as she understood what Papyrus was saying. Or not saying.

"Pap… I can't… I need to get you to Alphys, she'll know what to do."

The Captain held her hand down to him determinedly. "Please, come with me Papyrus. And please tell me you're not going to do anything stupid."

It's no use, Pap thought despairingly. She's not going to kill me, or let me go. I need to load now. He closed his eye sockets. "Please Undyne, don't make me do this."

"Paps, I know that you can never forgive me, but… this  whatever this is, it's not the answer."

"I know."

Papyrus looked at his brother's remains as he stood up to face her. "I'm sorry."

Undyne's face filled with hope, before the pain hit her.

An attack to her soul.

Critical hit.

Her eye widened before she sank slowly to the ground. The brief shot from the blaster lighting up the betrayal in her face before disintegrating her completely.

"I'm sorry." He whispered.

LOVE increased to level 12.

His hands stopped shaking, tears forming suddenly gone. His own menu not making sense to him.

Love?

Whatever that was, he had no time for it now.

He made his way across Undyne's front yard. That was the first time I used my special attack on something. Papyrus thought as he walked through the open door. It felt so different than just aiming it at the sky.

The drawer right of the stove held what he was looking for. Undyne didn't have many knives, always preferring to use her fists or a summoned spear, so he was glad he had actually found one.

His eye sockets narrowed as he searched for a spot that would serve his purpose, eventually settling for the sensitive bone of his phalanges. Carving the letters worked decently well on his non-dominant hand, but the word came out annoyingly crooked on the other. He focused making sure he could 'read' what he had carved.

Finally deciding that his past self would be able to figure out the message, he aimed the knife at himself again.

The world stuttered.

Papyrus fell to the ground vomiting. His head pounding in his temples.

He felt so sick.

I must of… loaded.

As he heaved the contents of his metaphorical stomach, Papyrus went through a list, checking off phantom pains.

Skull? Check.

Soul? Checkity check check.

Various scratches all over? Check, he had apparently fought Undyne. That was the only thing that made sense.

Well… except those.

The scratches on his hands definitely didn't feel random, they were deeper than the others, almost one on every finger. As if they were spelling...

S A V E   S A N S

He puked until there was nothing left, and then kept going. What would make me do such a thing as… His body shook as he retched, not wanting to believe what had happened on the last save.

A hand rubbed his shoulder blade and spine in a comforting manner.

"Shh bro, it's going to be alright. I'm here, I'm okay."

He's okay?

Papyrus turned to look at his brother, questions in his mind forming. "Do you remember…?"

"Heh." Sans laughed in a humorless way. "You could say that. Bits and pieces that is."

"What-"

"Papyrus! Are you okay?" Flowey asked from behind him. "What happened to you?"

Papyrus stood up, weakly willing his legs to work. "I… don't know?"

*****

Flowey couldn't believe it.

He did it.

Papyrus actually killed Undyne.

Now here he was, not freaking out or even crying. The skeleton was just standing there.

How much LOVE was that idiot fish worth?

Having no soul meant that Flowey couldn't get LOVE, not that he needed it, but he did understand the effects of the stuff.

Level

Of

Violence

It made it easier to kill for monsters with souls. That's what Chara had told him at least. He had asked his brother if they had any, Chara said no.

Ha. The liar.

Now Papyrus had so much of it the idiot had no feelings at all.

His reaction was disappointing to say the least.

When Flowey had imagined this route in his head, Papyrus was always freaking out, screaming, and crying like the stupid baby he was.

Not so calm.

Now Papyrus was going into the dead fish's house. Still not a bit of remorse on him.

Flowey watched from the doorway as he carved into the bone underneath each knuckle. Without even flinching. The absolute bastard.

In the end, Flowey didn't know what the skeleton had wrote. However when the skeleton turned the knife to his soul, the flower took it as his cue.  

He loaded.

As soon as they were back, Papyrus goes and vomits.

Now that was the reaction I was expecting. Flowey was pleased, but also very disgusted. If Pap was a bit farther left, I'd be… The flower shuddered at the grotesque image. Best not to think of that.

Now something entertaining to think about… or at least it might of been entertaining if it had gone as expected.

I did it. Papyrus killed his friend. So why wasn't he happy? Perhaps it's because I didn't see it up close? No that wasn't it, but what…

He didn't break.

Papyrus was already getting cheered up. Sans was rubbing the idiot's spine. Whispering pointless words of comfort no doubt, and Papyrus was responding, the moron.

Usually when Flowey broke someone they'd be unresponsive, completely dead to the world around them. It was always pretty hilarious.

I'll just have to keep working at it. No one can not be broken.

Flowey slid over to the brothers, and asked normal questions. Maybe if I tell him what happened, but dammit… Undyne's going to come out of her house any second, I don't have time to remind Pap of what he did.

And as if on cue Undyne marched straight out of her house. "Papyrus! Have you changed your mind-er decided?"

*****

Sans had completely refused to stay out of the battle. He demanded to stay at least on the sidelines, and Papyrus was low on health because of it.

No. I can't blame that on Sans. I'm the one getting hit.

It was true, Papyrus could no longer focus on the fight. All of his attention was on not letting Sans get hit. Even if that meant diving in front of attacks. Whatever happened last time… I won't let it happen again.

The words on his fingers were still stinging. Every movement bothered them, and the headache that seemed to be getting worse with every strike. Save Sans. That's all I need to do.

Papyrus' health was getting dangerously low. 

Undyne used her turn to try to convince them into giving up. "Paps, I really don't want to… I mean… you're really strong Papyrus, but there's a limit and I think that's now. You're at fifteen health, and Sans only has one. Please, just give up."

But Papyrus wasn't the only one getting low on HP.

"I'm sorry Undyne, but I need to get through you. Not be spared." He hoped he sounded more confident than he felt.

He aimed at her legs, a quick jab with a bone, and she wouldn't be able to hold her ground for much longer. However his movement was slow, letting her easily jump over his advance.

Undyne struck at his own legs, using the same methods Pap had just attempted, only succeeding.

Why not? She was the one who taught him that move after all.

Just let me win. The skeleton thought as he struck her in the side. Wait… what was winning?

Her death?

What was wrong with him?

All of Undyne, and Flowey's talk of killing or being killed… it's actually getting to me. He was going to accept her mercy, next chance he got. They could talk it out. Right?

Papyrus didn't realize that it was still Undyne's turn to strike. Undyne had guessed that he was going to dodge her next spear.

They were both wrong.

Only Sans saw what was going to happen.

"Papyrus!" He shouted. He needed to get him out of harm's way, but there was no hope in running over and pushing him away.

So Sans took a shortcut.

*****

His blood dripped from the wound. It had been so close to not hitting him altogether. Just a graze on his leg.

And that was all it took.

Heh, he could still stand, so maybe Papyrus wouldn't notice until-

"Sans! What did that? What happened?"

Figures. The way Sans' luck was going.

Well, time to say my final words… again.

"Heh heh, I guess I just a-speared out of nowhere, huh?"

Pap was hugging him now, holding on for dear life. Not that my life was that 'dear' to begin with. Sans thought bitterly.

"Sans, no… I didn't want this to happen…"

"Ah, the important thing is that I saved you, bro. Don't let me disa-spear for nothing."

His bones were starting to become limp, he was about to go already. Papyrus was gentle though, laying him softly on the ground.

"Brother."

Oh no, Pap's crying now. Not again.

"Those puns were horrible, and now's not the time for japing."

"Ah come on bro." It was hard to manage, but he did get his eye socket down for a wink. “If I don’t laugh I’m going to cry, and noboney wants that.”

Papyrus forced a smile. “I guess you’re right.” He held him closer, leaning down to where Sans' ear would be if he had one. “See you soon.”

Damnit.

*****

Undyne came out of the door, her boots clattering against the stone ground as she made her way over to Papyrus. “Papyrus! Hav-”

She was suddenly brought into battle, Papyrus already standing in front of her his hand raised ready to fight.

“I guess you have.” She scowled.

It was a quick attack, several small bones that flew through the air. They would've been easy to avoid except for the fact that Papyrus had turned her soul blue. They hit her, one after the other while she got over her shock. Undyne felt like she was in one of Alphys' historical shows, suddenly wanting to spit out a red liquid and say "you're not holding back… then I won't either!" Or something cool like that.

But this wasn't one of those shows, and Papyrus wasn't holding back on her for real.

Good. Maybe once I beat him, he'll finally see reason.

She fought back, adjusting to the newfound gravity magic. At the end of her turn, Pap's soul was successfully green.

"No holding back, right?" Undyne yelled (in what was hopefully) a friendly tone.

She didn't like Papyrus' reaction.

He winced.

Out of shame? Guilt? Pain? All of the above? It was extremely worrying to her.

Focus Undyne . You need to focus. She thought as a bone narrowly missed her. He wouldn't be…

Taking what she said to heart? About killing? He wouldn't… not to her.

A bone scratched her fin as it whizzed by.

"Papyrus? What's going on? I know that you've been going through a lot of stress lately, but I'm sorry. Can we stop this?" She sent spears to his side and back. He blocked them effortlessly, almost like he knew they were coming.

Sweat was starting to roll down his cheekbones, he seemed to be hiccuping as well.

"Pap-"

"Stop!" Papyrus shouted. "Please just stop." He stopped his attack and closed his eye sockets tightly. "I can't do… this anymore. I just don't get it…"

Tears, not sweat.

"Why- how you could…"

He was sobbing, not hiccuping.

"How you could kill my brother?"

Wait, what was he saying?

"I may not remember it, but it's written, no, carved into my bones, so many times…" Another sob broke free from his non-existent throat. "So why would you kill him?"

"You're not making sense Pap! Sans is right…" She turned her head looking for where the other skeleton was.

She couldn't find him.

"Well he was right h-"

"Silence!" Papyrus demanded. "Just… I barely know what's going on, but I do know what's etched into me. Every pain from battle, and after."

She wanted to tell him to stop being dramatic, but his eye sockets….

They were glowing.

"And they all say to save Sans from different ways that he was killed. Whether he was protecting me, or was hit off on the sidelines. Who knows how many saves we've gone through."

"Papyrus please calm down, let's just talk-"

"They all say to save him. Except one, the deepest of them all."

His eyes, magic was practically pouring out of them. A deep purple mixed with orange.

"That one says to kill you."

Undyne watched dumbfounded as a giant attack rose to point at her. It was like nothing she had ever seen. It was shaped like an animal skull, sharp looking fangs glinted in a hideous smile. Its' eye sockets were shining the same brave perseverance as its' master.

She felt glued to the spot. Her soul pounding so hard she could almost hear it. Papyrus… no.

He fired the blaster, and light blinded her.

*****

In all actuality, this was only the third load, and like always, Flowey was up to something.

He was still working on a way to break Papyrus, and actually had an idea on a way to do so.

The first time Papyrus hadn't known that he was going to kill Undyne at the end of the battle, so what if he went into the fight with murderous intent? That went against everything the idiot believed in.

It was the perfect plan, but to make it work he had to figure out a way to coerce that emotion into being.

However, there was a problem. He simply didn't have enough resets- Flowey seriously doubted that Sans would die a third time. Heck, there was little to no chance Sans would even let Papyrus fight a third time. Which stomped the metaphorical roots of any schemes he had just started growing. Except for one.

This idea came in a flash, much like the spear that Sans had just protected Papyrus from.

Undyne started to cry and tell Papyrus how "sorry she was," and how "she didn't mean to." And wah, waah, waaah. Uh huh… right.

So Flowey put a stop to it right there.

Just a few friendliness pellets made everything right in the world.

"Thank you, Flowey." Papyrus said as he wiped tears out of his eye sockets.

"Eh, what are friends for?"

Papyrus attempted a grin, and started walking to Undyne's house, assumedly heading straight for the kitchen.

Which was perfect for the plan.

"Oh, Papyrus! Let me onto your shoulder, I can heal you enough to let you write what you need to.

So I can write what I need to.

Papyrus obliged, and soon Flowey was healing away.

When they were standing at their destination, The skeleton paused, knife in hand, looking at Flowey in confusion. "When did I tell you about the warning that I carved?

His answer was to be tangled into vines, the knife wrenched from his phalanges.

Flowey hoisted his prisoner into the air, watching as his vines tightened around every joint making impossible for the skeleton to move, or even struggle.

"You idiot. You'll never learn, huh?" He used a vine to toss the knife in the air, grabbing it just as it almost hit the moron.

"What should I carve?" He questioned Pap. Not that the monster could really answer with the vines wrapped around his jaw.

Chapter Text

"What did you do to Papyrus?" 

Sans had known that something was off as soon as the flower loaded. His skull was pounding just like every time the weed reset, but this time when he looked at Paps… something had snapped.

"Why did he look so scared?" Sans demanded at the flower. His eye was shining almost so bright he could barely see now. 

"I don't know trashbag, why did you take me away from the fight?" Flowey's tone was half mocking, half furious. Sans had taken him indoors as soon as the fight had begun, tearing the stem in two and grabbing the blossom. "You do get how weird this feels, right?" Flowey didn't wait for a response. "It feels like I'm in two places at once. Kinda gross. Although I bet Papyrus could tell you about this experience as well." He winked.

Sans hissed through his teeth, resisting every thought of tearing the flower apart petal by petal. If I kill him, he'll just load and hurt Papyrus anyway. I need to do something.  

Hence one of the reasons why he dragged the weed inside. Flowey wouldn't get the satisfaction of watching his brother fight. 

"Tell me why he looked that way." Sans repeated.

The orders Papyrus had given still rang through his mind. "I will handle Undyne myself. You and Flowey will stay out of this." Sans had never seen so much anger and fear in his brother's expression.

"Relax, trashbag. I didn't do anything to that idiot that he didn't already do to himself." Flowey smirked.

Sans slammed the flower onto the table, his bony hand a cage for the weed. "What did he do then?" 

Keep calm, I can't let him win. 

Flowey smiled, seemingly comfortable as a captive. "So Papyrus remembers injuries, right? So he came up with the brilliant idea of writing things down that he wants to know for next time." The smile grew wider, stretching to show more teeth on his malicious face. "And by write, I mean carve into his bones."

Sans felt as if time stopped.

His eyes automatically turned dark, his mind processing the new information. As he registered what Flowey said, a low guttural moan came from deep from inside him. "What did you 'write' on him?"

The flower's petals were starting to fade from their vibrant yellow, curling from the separation of his roots. Flowey himself didn't seem to care, he laughed instead. "I thought I made myself clear! I wrote all of the horrible ways Undyne killed you! And one other, different from the rest… what was it again?" 

A petal fell from Flowey's face onto the wooden table. "Oh right! I said to Kill her."

"You…" Sans stopped, slowing his breathing as to not hyperventilate. He was better than just being a puppet in this messed up world. The stress of losing Papyrus, and then subsequently getting him back was making him… not himself. As if watching a movie, just reacting, never interacting. A dissociative brain fog.

He needed to focus through the anger.

"I only died twice." He was certain of that fact. If it was as many times as Flowey was making it seem… but he didn't remember any more than just the two. 

So that could only mean that Flowey had been tricking Papyrus. Again.

Sans could no longer see through his rage. The wilting flower gone from his vision. Only darkness remaining.

Dark.

Darker.

Yet darker.

His vision snapped back, making him realize that he was crushing Flowey in his closed fist. Opening it, he found the flower laughing at him with their final breaths.

"Idiot, don't forget to kill the roots next time." 

The weed became a normal flower, an empty husk. Magic transferred to somewhere else.

Kill her.  

A blaster sound came from outside.

Papyrus… no.

He walked quietly outdoors. Not wanting to see what was out there, and yet not being able to stop. He couldn't let Papyrus be alone.

And to Sans' shock, he wasn't.

*****

Papyrus gazed at the scorched ground. He had made his decision.

He couldn't do it.

A sob wracked his body, rattling his bones. Tears dripped down his face as he lowered his hand, gently setting Undyne onto her feet.

They both just stood there. Looking at where the captain had been moments before.

How many times? How many times did you kill him?

"Papyrus, How… could you just spare me like that?" Undyne's eye was wide, her head tilted.

Believe me, I'm wondering the same thing.

Pap inhaled a slow stuttering breath before responding.

"I can't… not after what he said."

"I may not be able to take care of him, or be as big of a support as he needs. But I know how much he values life. And that's damn more than you do."

"Sans believes in me."

"You are far kinder and braver than I could ever be, Papyrus.”

"Tora believes in me."

Papyrus clutched at his ribs, closing his eye sockets before continuing. 

I can't let them down. 

"I want to believe too, in you Undyne. I know we can all do better, if we just try."

He said that, but every word felt like a jagged sword being stabbed into his soul. Did he really want to believe in her?

Lies, nothing but lies.

*****

Undyne looked at the spot she had been in, the ground blackened where the blast had hit, destroying anything that was in its path. 

Except her.

That goof. He had used his blue magic to save her, swinging her into the air like some sort of ragdoll.

She was wrong, he had grown. So much.

The only one who was being childish... was me.  

Papyrus was sparing her. 

Undyne accepted.

"Alright." She held up her webbed hands, shaking her head in amazement. "You won."

Papyrus gave a small smile of relief, but the smile didn't quite reach his eye sockets. He shrugged his shoulder blades with a sigh. "I'm just glad it's over."

"Fuhuhu." She wrapped an arm around Pap, trying to ignore the small shudder that ran through him. "Let's go in and have some tea." 

Papyrus laughed, but under her arm she could tell he was tense. Every hypothetical muscle seeming to want to get away. 

Sans was standing in her doorway, his facial features as unreadable as ever to her. He held open the door, his eye lights seeming to look at her and somehow through her at the same time.

She set a kettle on top of her slightly melted stove turning it on to boil. "So… what's the story?"

Papyrus glanced from Undyne to Sans, then back to Undyne again. "I want to free everyone."

"From the underground?" 

"Yes." 

Undyne raised an eyebrow. "Including the souls?"

Pap nodded stubbornly, his face set in grim determination.

All was silent until the loud whistle of hot steam sounded.

Undyne pulled the boiling water off of the burner, putting it on the counter before setting mugs into a line formation. Tea bags at the ready. "Asgore's a pushover, you know? At least he is until you get in his way." Pouring water in the cups, she continued. "You ever see him going all out, trident in hand? He's so cool."

Her imagination went ahead of her, picturing Papyrus' dust falling in front of the king. Asgore would never relinquish the souls to anyone. 

He wouldn't lose either.

She made two trips of moving the freshly made tea to the table. "When I lost my eye to a human, he was so upset. Healed me up himself. Of course you can't heal what's missing…" She grimaced. "Doesn't mean he certainly didn't try."

Undyne blew gently into her own cup. "Asgore killed the human after that. They were lost on that bridge not too far from here. Gave Asgore a pretty hard time as well." She took a sip of her yellow flower tea. Humming a little as she did so. "The human wasn't very strong, but they were smart. I found a lot of interesting things in the notebook he carried."

Neither brother responded.

"Look, what I'm trying to say is that humans are dangerous. They're not like us. When the two princes died, Asgore swore vengeance against all of humanity. That's not something that you can just give up."

She glanced at the skeleton brothers. Papyrus was staring at his tea, apparently enamored with the steam. He was also shifting uncomfortably in his seat, as if he wanted to be anywhere but here.

Not a great sign.

Sans was frustratingly blank, as always. 

"I don't know what you meant earlier, when you started talking about Sans… and killing me. But you won the fight. Fair and square. If you hadn't spared me, I'd be dust right now."

She took Papyrus' boney hand in hers. "I know you'll do the right thing."

*****

Papyrus winced at the captain's scaley touch. Her hand squeezed his as she gave him a hopeful smile. It felt like old times. When the two of them drank tea in Undyne's kitchen. Discussing puzzle designs and magic sparring techniques.

Kill her .

Papyrus pulled away his hand, looking down at the rib closest to his soul. He could still feel the carved words, any deeper and they would have gone straight through the bone. He clutched at the command that he couldn't follow.

Why didn't I?

Undyne was talking again, but he couldn't focus on her words. Each syllable sounding alien to him. All attention was sent to the phantom wounds that were all over his body. He couldn't count how many- he didn't want to. He would have to use all of his concentration to read the different ways Undyne had killed his brother. He really didn't want to, but his mind did it anyway.

Undyne cuts off Sans' leg. She stomps on his head as he dies. His left humerus bone. The words were small, but sharply written.

Undyne was still droning on, talking about Asgore and his sons. Basic history that the children of Snowdin asked for as a bedtime story. Although Papyrus couldn't really remember the details now.

A different spot, his leg this time. Mentioned Asgore. Undyne throws a spear directly into Sans' eye socket. 

She wouldn't do that...

She didn't take my mercy. Sans paid for my foolishness.

It wasn't like her. Undyne was his friend.

Decapitated him.

Some of the carvings weren't even sentences.

Save Sans

Save Sans.

Save Sans.

Save Sa-

"Stop it!" 

Undyne looked at Papyrus in confusion. "I'm sor-"

He got up from the table abruptly. Sans quickly standing up with him. 

"I can't do this, I need to get out of here." 

Undyne visibly gulped, clamping her eye shut before gritting her sharp teeth and nodding.

"Thank you." Papyrus whispered before grabbing his brother by the sleeve and marching out at a brisk pace.

Pap ran into Dogamy and Doggo after leaving the house. A growl escaping from the two dog's throats before sighting Sans at his side. The growling stopped, but Sans couldn't stop them from blocking the exit.

"Well, if it isn't the 'Hero of the Underground'. Funny running into you coming out of the Captain's house. Did you even leave today?" Dogamy said, snarling. Doggo laughed at the words, as if the other guard had said something funny.

Papyrus kept quiet, sidestepping to the left 

seeing if the canine monsters would follow suit to continue blocking him. They did.

"Move dogs." Sans said in a low voice.

"Please." Pap added, letting go of the hoodie sleeve to put his hand on his brother's shoulder bone.

"Why should we?" Doggo was smoking a dog treat, the ash falling down as he tapped it with a claw.

"Because I'm… I'm…"

Dogamy snarled. "You're what? Spit it out."

Papyrus tightened his grip on Sans, curling his other hand into a fist. "I'm quitting The Royal Guards." 

Doggo stepped forward, the treat's end glowing red as he breathed in the smoke, but Dogamy was the first to speak. "So you can't even do this right? Your stupid dream that you wouldn't stop talking about to every friggin person that you came across, even my darling. You can't even last a couple months…" He started to laugh cruelly, spit flying onto Papyrus' skull. 

Pap's hand fell down to his side as Sans appeared in front of him protectively. Dogamy stopped laughing, trying to push the smaller skeleton over. Sans didn't budge.

Dogamy didn't get the message, but Doggo certainly did. He pulled his friend away from the two before extending his paw. "Dogamy, the least we can do is see them off nicely. Good luck to you guys out there."

San pulled Pap away, ignoring the gesture.

Papyrus paused. "You too." He took the paw into a handshake.

"Pap-" Sans swirled back to him, but it was too late. Papyrus inhaled sharply as the pain hit him, trying to wrench his hand out of the guard's tight grasp.

-2hp

"You're going to need it." Doggo sneered, letting go of Papyrus, the extinguished treat falling to the stone floor.

The two guards howled in laughter, pushing the brothers to the side as they walked through to the training yard.

At least, that's what they would have done if they weren't dangling high in the air by their souls.

"Sans stop please, let's just leave." Papyrus shook his brother's shoulder, desperate to just keep moving. 

"These guys like playing jokes on you, huh? We're just having a laugh. Don't you guys think this is funny?" Sans wouldn't listen. His magic having them waver in the air.

"Please Sans. I just want to go." Papyrus added pressure to his burnt hand, careful not to agitate the small mark.

The dogs fell to the floor with a sickening thud. Their health bars falling rapidly.

"Sans, you didn't…" Papyrus gasped.

"No, let's get out of here."

Pap kept close to his brother, trying not to think of the dogs howling behind them.

Trying not to think of the burn on his palm.

This is what your mercy brings you.

*****

What had gone wrong?

Flowey looked down in disappointment at the sleeping form of Papyrus. The idiots had decided to spend the 'night' in Sans' food stall in Hotland. Papyrus had refused to use any shortcuts back to the house in Snowdin. Saying something about Sans using up too much energy. So instead they kept going forward to Hotland, Flowey following behind them, not letting the brothers see him although the smiley trashbag probably knew. He was annoying like that.

Flowey didn't understand how his plan had failed. 

When he had regrown his head, Flowey immediately came out from underground. Only to find out that Papyrus had spared the blue moron. 

He had started out so determined, as soon as the load happened Pap looked down at himself in shock. All of the scratches Flowey had made buzzing as one. Surely that meant he would finally break. 

Wrong apparently.

But still… Flowey didn't understand the bonehead's resolve. Hell, he didn't know how Papyrus didn't break the first time Sans died and the moron killed Undyne. 

And now he would never know because of that idiot Sans.

No… that's not true. Flowey reminded himself, sighing deeply to calm down. I'll just have to do this again in a different route. After all Flowey had that power. He could kill anyone, and bring back anyone. He could start over anytime he wanted. This was just a game.

And the trash would pay for taking him away from his fun.

Papyrus was chipping, every little piece gently falling away to expose the nothingness inside