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So Take a Deep Breath

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Fell is careful as he takes a seat on the bed next to his brother. He rearranges the scarf so that it comfortably covers his brother. He desperately tries not to think about the thin layer of dust sticking to it.

He pulls his brother’s jacket onto his lap, adjusting it so he can unzip the front. The metal catches towards the bottom. He needs to oil the zipper again. Otherwise, the damn thing’s still in good condition, nothing like the worn and frayed edges of his own scarf.

He can’t help smiling as he inspects the jacket further. It’s one of the most expensive items they had ever owned, second only to their house. Not that his brother ever knew, of course. Fell was sure to keep it that way.

He sets the jacket down to remove his gloves. He stares at it for a few minutes, working himself up enough to touch it.

With careful hands, he runs his fingers through the fur-lined hood. It’s still so soft. No wonder his brother still put the hood up whenever he napped.

Shifting the jacket a little, he runs his hand over the inner lining. It’s more plush than he thought. He presses his hand into it, careful not to rip the fabric with his claws. When he removes his hand, he can see an imprint left in its place. Over the next minute, the imprint of his hand fades.

He wonders if the fabric’s enchanted. His brother wears− wore the jacket enough that it should’ve gotten used to the shape of his bones. Much like the couch. And his bed. And that one chair in the kitchen…

Fell brings the jacket to his chest with a shuddered breath.

He should have been there for his brother more. Then maybe…

----

He doesn’t know how long he sits there staring blankly at the jacket. He just knows he’s pulled out of his mindless daze by a loud bang.

“Not until you stop being childish!” Blue’s unmistakable voice huffs.

Fell’s joints feel stiff as he walks out the room. The coat rack by the front door is on the floor. That must have been the source of the loud bang. What really catches his attention, however, are the two brothers.

Blue has a struggling Stretch hoisted on his shoulders in a close approximation to a Guard’s carry.

“you’re the one acting like a child!” Stretch retorts.

Blue scoffs and makes his way further into the living room. He not so gracefully dumps his brother on the couch. “Honestly,” he sighs. “You can’t call in sick and then go about your day like normal!” He scolds.

Stretch crosses his arms with a huff.

Fell tries to hold back a smirk. “You should listen to your brother, Stretch,” he comments. “You don’t want your actions to reflect badly on him, do you?”

Both brothers instantly turn to look up at him. Blue seems apologetic. Stretch, on the other hand, looks incredibly annoyed.

“No One Fucking Asked You” he spits.

“Language!” Blue cuts in with an exasperated sigh.

Fell’s retort doesn’t make it past his teeth at the look of the other’s eyelights. Instead of the usual white, they’re grey and a little warped. “Are you fucking high?” He asks before he can stop himself.

Stretch flips him off. “Up Yours Buddy!” He spits angrily.

Fell frowns. The more he learns about his alternate, the less he likes him. Their talk had been fairly early in the day, near dawn. It can’t be later than noon, and this monster was already high. He hopes, for Blue’s sake, that it’s a bottom rung drug.

“Oh, Fell!” Blue says trying to pull his attention from Stretch. “Doggo agreed to meet with you. Do you want to head over now?”

He’s still eyeing Stretch as he mulls the question over. It would be best to get that out of the way. “Alright,” he eventually says. “Allow me a moment to get something.”

He doesn’t wait for a reply before returning to the room.

He grabs his armor and reaches into the chest piece. He feels around the smooth interior until he comes across bumpy ridges. He’s careful as he scratches at it until the metal falls away. He pockets the item and slips on his gloves.

Blue’s waiting for him by the door. Stretch is still on the couch, though he looks to have fallen asleep. “Are you ready?” He asks.

Fell simply nods.

They walk through town to get to Doggo’s shop. The streets are fairly sparse of monsters but Fell feels incredibly exposed. Like he’s being watched and scrutinized.

Fell reaches up to adjust his scarf before awkwardly lowering his hand. He forgot he doesn’t have it anymore. He left his scarf with his brother, and the one he’d been given by Blue he left with MK.

“I like your coat,” Blue says after a couple minutes of awkward silence.

“What coat− oh,” he trails off. He’s still holding his brother’s jacket. He must have set it down to mess with his armor and slip on his gloves. So why did he pick it back up?

He’s pulled out of his thoughts by Blue’s voice. He’s waving at a passing monster.

Fell doesn’t miss how that monster eyes him wearily. He’s suddenly very aware of how sharp his teeth, cheekbones, and spinous processes are. He debates slipping on his brother’s jacket, but with his neck exposed as it is, he’ll just end up tearing the hood to pieces. And there’s no way in hell he’s going to ruin his brother’s favorite jacket.

He squares his shoulders when they make it to the shop. It’s still in the same relative location as the shop in his own Snowdin, but it looks so different. Instead of cold and rundown, it’s warm and strangely inviting.

“I’ll let Doggo know you’re here,” Blue says calmly.

Fell nods and waits a respectable distance while Blue approaches the door. Before he even gets the chance to knock, the door is being swung open. Blue seems to startle slightly. Fell tenses.

Doggo stand with a steel dagger, poised to strike.

“Fell?” Blue’s soft voice startles him.

Fell wills his magic to calm down. This isn’t the same Doggo. This isn’t the same monster that tried to kill him and his brother.

He tries to shake his unease as he approaches the two.

Doggo’s sniffing the air and his cataract covered eyes narrows in suspicion. “Yep. You’re definitely the monster that broke into my place,” he decides gruffly.

Fell has to stop himself from giving a scathing retort. This isn’t his Doggo. “I have come to apologize and repay you for breaking into your home and stealing from you,” he says reaching into his pocket.

He pulls out a simple necklace with a few colored gems. He removes a glove and pinches the chain on either side of one of the gems. He gently pulls at it until his claws slice through the metal. “It may seem small, but I assure you this will fetch quite the price.” He says holding the gem out towards doggo. “If you find the price unsuitable, I will gladly exchange that stone for a different one.”

Doggo cautiously snatches the gem from his hand. He squints at it, tilting his head from side to side in an attempt to get a better look at it. “Hey, Little Blue,” he eventually says. “You know what this is exactly?” He holds it in Blue’s direction while staying mindful of Fell still watching him.

Blue looks at the gem with wide eyelights. “It’s green and red, like a gradiant… and really clear,” he says. “I’m sorry, Doggo. I don’t know much about jewelry.”

Doggo chuckles and affectionately rubs Blue’s head. “Don’t worry ‘bout it, Little Blue,” he then turns his attention back to Fell. “I’ll take this to get it appraised in New Home, but I got a few questions fer you.”

Fell merely grunts.

“How’d you break the lock like you did? Never seen n’thing like that before.”

Fell pockets the necklace and holds up his still gloveless hand. “My claws are sharp enough to pierce most things with ease,” he replies plainly.

Doggo hums, accepting the answer without skepticism. Considering he got to feel the malice Fell’s able to give off, that’s not surprising. “Why break in and steal something when you got such valuable things on ya?”

“Precaution,” Fell grits out. He doesn’t want to admit that he fell back on an old habit from childhood.

Doggo narrows his eyes at him. “Yer definitely not lying, but yer not telling me everything,” he accuses. “Alright. One last question: Who’s coat is that? Smells… off.”

He tenses at the tone.

“Oh, that’s fucking rich coming from you,” he growls.

Fell shakes his head. This. Isn’t. His. Doggo. “It,” he clears his throat against the sudden tightness. “It belongs to my brother.”

He curses himself for how weak he sounds. He doesn’t miss the way Blue shifts to stand closer to him either.

Doggo’s ears drop. “I’m sorry for your loss,” he whimpers.

Fell’s taken aback. How the hell does he know? He shoots a glance at Blue, but the other skeleton looks just as surprised and confused as he feels.

He clears his throat again and slips his glove back on. “I’ll be on my way then.”

“Wait,” Doggo says before he can even take a step back. “If this thing really is as pricey as you say it is, at least use it buy something too. I’d feel bad taking so much just to replace a cheap lock and barely any food.”

Fell shifts. He tries to think of a way to refuse without resorting to ‘fuck off.

“That sounds like a wonderful idea, Mr. Doggo!” Blue says happily. “Come on, Fell!” He excitedly grabs Fell’s arm and pulls him into the shop.

Fell reflexively rips his arm from Blue’s grasp. Blue looks up at him apologetically.

“Don’t you need a new scarf since you ga− the one I gave you was too small?” He asks pretending he didn’t stumble over his words.

Fell can only think back to how the monster out on the streets looks at him with weariness. How wrong the spikes on his spine looks. How beastly his teeth look. “Yes, I suppose that would be for the best,” he concedes.

Blue beams up at him, eyelights reshaping into stars. Fell doesn’t think he’ll ever get used to it. The excitement and earnestness those stars express is almost too much.

He follows Blue further into the shop. It looks both the same and totally different than the one from his Snowdin. They stop in front of a rack of scarves. There’s so many colors and patterns to choose from. It’s almost dizzying seeing so many colors.

He scans the rack looking for something less blinding. He’s almost surprised at the amount of dark colors available. He glances at Blue, not at all surprised to see him looking at the brightly colored scarves.

He looks back to the dark fabrics, still not quite believing them to be options. This just doesn’t seem like the type of world that would like dark colors.

“That one looks nice,” Blue says suddenly appearing at his side.

Fell follows his gaze to a dark red scarf. Something in his soul squeezes painfully at the thought. He grits his teeth in protest. He reaches for the scarf beside it, pretending that it was the one Blue was referring too.

Looking at it closer, Fell realizes it’s not actually a dark purple. It’s a wine-colored red so deep it looks vaguely purple.

He’s thinking of putting it back when Blue grabs the other end. “You should try it on!”

He inspects the fabric more closely. It does look nice. He shifts his hold on it and discreetly pulls his sleeve back. The color does compliment the shade of his bones. Though, not quite like his red scarf, of course, but it will do.

He looks around the shop and find Doggo standing by the register. “I’ll take this scarf,” he states.

Doggo simply nods despite not looking in their direction. “Alright. Have a good one, Fell,” he says waving a paw. “And next time I see you, it best be during normal hours while yer buying something. If not, I’ll chew on that arm of yers, got it?”

Fell snorts. “Of course,” he says drily. As different as this Doggo is, he’s oddly the same to some extent.

He wraps the scarf around his neck as he leaves. It’s heavier than his red scarf. Even the fabric feels of a nicer quality. It almost makes him grimace at the thought of his spine tearing into it.

“Wowzers.”

Fell slows to see what Blue could be looking at. There’s nothing interesting around. “What?” He eventually asks.

Blue’s looking at him with those wide eyelights of his. He almost swears they look brighter than normal. “That color makes your bones look really pretty,” Blue says with a smile.

He’s momentarily stunned at the... the compliment. It was why he chose that color in the end, but hearing it is unexpected.

He shifts the scarf around his neck to cover his mouth. He hates that tick, but it serves to hide the sharpness of his teeth. Teeth that he’s suddenly too aware of.

Which is stupid. Blue knows how messed up his form looks. Hiding is pointless, so why does he still do it?

Not knowing what to say, Fell turns and starts walking away.

He hears Blue practically giggle behind him. Instead of annoying him, however, it makes him feel oddly lighter.

Blue catches up to him in no time. His ever-present grin looks slightly more carefree. Fell finds himself thinking that it suits him.