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So Take a Deep Breath

Chapter Text

Papyrus holds back a groan as he gets up. It's too damn early, and he hasn’t had nearly enough sleep. He lets the alarm continue ringing until he no longer feels bleary; it’s not like it would wake his brother up anyways. His bones ache and creak painfully when he finally gets up. Stars, he’s so damned tired. Even his soul feels heavier and emptier than usual.

He hisses in pain as the weight of his armor jostles some of his injuries. He’d gotten into a squabble with Undyne after she let some petty thief from Snowdin enter her domain and take refuge just to piss him off. He’d come out victorious, of course, but that doesn't mean he came out unscathed.

Tightening his armor enough so that it sits pressed against his injuries, he tests whether it would move. Satisfied that it wouldn’t constantly be bumping and aggravating the bruises and scratches, he sets off to continue his morning routine.

“Sans!” Papyrus shouts banging on the door. “Get up!”

He can hear the muffled sound of blankets rustling on the other side of the door. “m’ day off fuck u” Comes the half-asleep reply.  

He growls at the lack of care in his brother’s speech. It's always awful when he wakes up. Papyrus lets it slide, only on account of his own slip-ups in the mornings. “From Sentry Duty!” He snaps. “You still have your filthy fucking drug business to handle.” Papyrus waits impatiently as Sans gets up to open the door.

The door flies open to show Sans standing there in boxers, a dirty black shirt, and an angry look on his face. His eyelights are still fuzzy around the edges from having just woken up, but he manages to glare all the same. A lesser monster might even think twice about giving him shit. “A business you know nothing about,” he growls, “right, Boss.”

Papyrus rolls his eyes. “Yes, yes. Now hurry and get your damn lazy ass ready,” he demands already turning to leave.

“’S not like I gotta do shit this fucking early!” Sans yells after him.

Papyrus pauses midway down the stairs, his hand clenching the banister. Sans keeps getting up later and later every day. If left alone, he would probably sleep straight into tomorrow... “Be glad I even let you sleep in at all!” Papyrus hisses instead. He hears the beginning of a rebuttal and then nothing.

Taking a deep breath and drawing his shoulders back, he leaves the house to start his day.

----

Papyrus glares down at the trembling rabbit and her current prey. “Well?” He snaps.

“He was going to burn the store down!” She spits giving the slightly larger monster a dirty look.

“That’s ‘cause you broke my arm last week, you dumb bitch!” The other monster yells back bearing his teeth.

Papyrus lets out an aggravated breath. “That’s not what I fucking meant, and you both know it,” he growls.

“But−,” the two begin.

No buts! You know the rules,” he yells looming over them. “If you want to dust each other, keep it outside the town limits, you cretins.”

The two monsters start grumbling and growling at him.

“Next time this happens, I’ll dust you myself,” he threatens in a low tone. The bunny’s ears instantly drop and flatten against her head in fear. The color drains from the other monster’s body, leaving him to look as white as the snow.

Papyrus continues to glare at them as they tremble in fear. It sickens him how young the two monsters are, both barely out of stripes. He swears the bunny still had them less than a month ago. “It seems we’re on the same page now,” he says backing off. “Now scram!” The two don’t waste time fleeing the scene.

He scowls at the specks of blood and dust they leave behind. Most of it was drawn by him when he stopped their petty squabble. At least he managed to stop it before they damaged too much property. Without the landowners themselves to pay for the damages, it was impossible for anything to get fixed. Not to mention the fact that there’s technically no law that requires the one responsible to pay for the damage, that’s entirely at the landowner’s discretion. Unfortunately, that meant if the damage are bad enough, they just dust the monster responsible. That's one of Papyrus’ least favorite outcomes. It leaves his town looking like an absolute shithole.

“Digging through the trash now, are we?” Comes a snide remark.

“(How pathetic.)” Adds an equally snide voice.

“That’s stealing.” The first voice sneers. “Maybe we should take him in for it. What do you think, Dogamy?”

Dogamy’s laugh is disgusting, somewhere between a growl and a hacking cough. “(We should let him off with a warning.)”

Dogressa laughs— equally as disgusting as Dogamy— and agrees. They're harassing MK again.

Papyrus lets out a long breath. This is going to be a long day.

----

Hotland is the worst. The heat is disgusting. The brightness of the lava is headache inducing. The near lawlessness is appalling.

“No no! You can’t take me back!” The astigmatism practically begs.

Papyrus growls through clenched teeth, disgusted at the monster’s pathetic behavior.

“Let me go! She’ll eat me!”

Papyrus finally snaps. “Still your tongue or I shall remove it, cur!” The astigmatism whimpers but diligently shuts its mouth.

This day has been too fucking long, he decides as he steps into one of the elevators. Normally he wouldn’t even consider it, but he wasn’t about to take some random gutter slug through the private service tunnels. They're locked and carefully hidden for a reason. It doesn't matter that this monster would be dust in a few minutes, it’s the principle of the idea!

There are four spiderlings waiting for him the moment the elevator doors open. He has no doubt there’s one on the outer roof of the elevator too. “I have something for Muffet,” he spits holding up the astigmatism.

The spiderlings scurry back and forth for a few minutes while a fifth one hiding in the shadows slips away from the group. Papyrus is left to wait impatiently with only the whimpering of the monster and the scuttling of the spiderlings to keep him company. After a few minutes, the fifth one returns and the other four let him through.

Papyrus makes sure to make eye contact with the fifth one in the shadows before taking a single step. The other four follow him as he makes his way further into Muffet’s (unofficial) territory. He snorts at their noisy scampering. If they really think they’re enough of a distraction or cover for the spiders trailing and watching him from the shadows, then they’re even dumber than he thought.

“Uhuhu,” the laughter sends chills through Papyrus’ bones. “Yer quite a ways from home, dearie.” Muffet sits comfortably at a table decorated with pastries. Her fine silk dress betrays the conditions of the area she lives in.

Papyrus resisted the urge to correct her. She seems to be in a good mood and he doesn't want to ruin that. “I found something that belongs to you,” he says holding up the crying monster. He can’t quite hold back his look of disgust at its tears. How could something so pathetic manage to live for so long?

Muffet laughs again. “Oh, dearie,” she cooes. “I know yer eyesight’s bad, but surely I don’ look nothin’ like our dear ol’ Doctah Alphys,” she pauses to take a sip of her tea, voice taking a much colder and threatening tone. “Unless yer tryin’ ta call me fat.”

"Please," he scoffs at her despite the chill her tone sends through him. “She may be in charge of this area, but you’re what’s holding it together,” he says plainly. “It may as well be yours, all things considered.”

Her laugh sounds more genuine this time as she covers her mouth with a hand. “Oh, dearie, you flatter me,” she says between giggles. She uses one set of hands to snap her fingers. Spiderlings emerge from the shadows and converge on Papyrus. They take the now sobbing astigmatism from him and drag it into the shadows. “I mus’thank you fer returnin’ this vermin ta me. I dreaded goin’ through that smelly fish’s territory just ta retrieve it m’self.” She motions to the chair across from herself. “Come take a seat."

Papyrus begrudgingly takes a seat. He did what he came for and would very much rather get out. Unfortunately, if Muffet doesn’t want someone to leave, they don’t leave.

Muffet leans forward, two elbows on the table and her hand come together to support her chin. “Don’t gimme that look, dearie,” she cooes reaching with a different hand to trail a finger over the side of his face.

 Papyrus slaps her hand away. “Just get on with it,” he growls.

She brings her hand back to push her hair over her shoulder with an affronted huff. “Well as repayment, I’m goin’ ta tell you somethin’ nice,” she says smiling smugly at him. “Emperor Asgore’s goin’ ta be callin’ ya, that smelly fish, ‘n that stupid doctah ta the castle in the next couple days.”

He narrows his eyes at her. While the three of them are used to being summoned to the castle, they never get a warning beforehand. There’s clearly more to this. And whatever that more is, Muffet wants something out of it. “What are you after?” He asks carefully.

Muffet laughs again, cold and calculating. “I knew you were smart dearie,” she cooes. “Rumor has it, Asgore plans ta give the three of yous yer own territory.”

“We already have our own territory.”

She tsk-tsked. “I may ‘ave spoken too soon,” she says shaking her head slightly. “You’d be Lords ‘n ‘ave full control. What goes in, what comes out. Who comes in ‘n who leaves. You’d be able ta make yer own laws.”

“You’re lying,” Papyrus accuses trying to hide his surprise.

“Why would I lie ‘bout somethin’ like this, dearie?” She asks slowly. “Eve’thin’ I’ve been workin’ for’d be wasted if he gives that stupid doctah full control of this place.”

“Then what do you want?” He asks suspiciously. “Why tell me this?”

Muffet leans back and lifts her four arms slightly. “S’quite simple, dearie,” she says cheerfully. “When the time comes, I want ya t’object the stupid doctah’s rule ‘n tell the Emperor I’d be a much betta fit.”

Papyrus doesn’t reply right away. He knows she’s right in that respect. Giving Muffet this territory could bring this area the much-needed stability its missing. “What would I get in return?”

“I’ll allow yer runt of a brother to sell his hideous drugs in my territory,” she replies easily.

“You assume the Emperor will agree,” he muses.

Muffet brings a hand to cover up her giggles. “An’one with eyes can see I’m already doin’ a much betta job than her,” she smiles coldly.

“I suppose that’s true,” he says dryly. “Even if he were to say no, you could always go through Alphys herself.”

Her smile loses its cold edge. “I’m glad we agree, dearie. Now, I do hope you remember our deal when the time comes.”

Seeing her words for what they are, he stands with a single nod.

If what she’s saying is true, then he needs to start creating a plan for Snowdin.

Chapter Text

Papyrus growls in annoyance as he storms to the edge of the Snowdin region. The humid slush is disgusting to walk through. “What the fuck do you want,” he says by way of greeting.

“Big news, toothpick,” Undyne smirks. “Message from the Emperor.”

He stamps down the urge to groan. He’s not in the mood to be summoned to the castle so late in the evening, but he’s not going to show that.

“Oh man the look on your face!” Undyne laughs, loud and unhinged. “Your scrawny ass best wipe that look off by tomorrow morning.”

That gives him pause. This must be what Muffet was talking about. Though, it’s been nearly a week by now. “He’s not calling for us now?” He feigns ignorance.

“I fucking know right!” Undyne shouts, completely buying his act. “He wants us there tomorrow at dawn though, so make sure you’re there. Or I’ll kick your ass!”

“Fucking try it,” he growls.

She sneers in return. Her jovial attitude is gone, replaced by cold seriousness. “I swear on the Stars, Papyrus,” she hisses angrily. “If you make me look bad, I’ll kill that runt you call−”

Undyne lets out a strangled grunt as bones pierce her arms. “Fucking. Try. It,” he threatens darkly. Several more bones sprout from the ground around her; one sharp point stops a mere hair’s width from her good eye.

She glares at him.

He returns her glare with his own empty-socket glower. “Well,” he snarls.

She growls loudly. “Fine,” she spits. “Just don’t make me look bad.”

Papyrus growls edging the bone closer to her eye. She tips her head back as best as she can despite being trapped. Her whimper is barely noticeable. “Say it!” He demands.

“I won’t touch that disgusting welp,” she says through grit teeth. The bones lodged in her left arm move, twisting it in an odd angle. She continues to glare at Papyrus despite the barely concealed fear in hey eye. After a few seconds she gives in. “Okay, okay!” She shouts with the barest hint of panic in her voice. “I won’t hurt your brother!”

Papyrus dispels his magic in an instant, but his sockets remain devoid of their eyelights. To think that today had been a relatively slow and peaceful day. He turns his back on her knowing she won’t try anything after that display.

“That sentimentality of yours is going to get you killed, Papyrus,” Undyne calls after him.

He doesn’t bother pausing to acknowledge her. He just wants to get home to spend the rest of the night with his brother.

----

Papyrus throws the door to Grillby’s open hard enough to make half the patrons jump. “Where. Is. He?” He demands.

A few of the monsters cower as he walks by. Others simply avert their eyes. Grillby is the only one to remain unfazed. “Upstairs,” he smirks motioning for Papyrus to follow him. “We decided to have some fun while we waited for you.” Papyrus growls at the elemental.

The second they make it upstairs, Grillby drops his smug indifferent attitude. “L-look, I don’t know what the fuck is going on with, Sans. He was being more of a shit than usual, but I swear I didn’t do nothing to his food or drink.”

Papyrus feels something cold grip his soul. “Where’s Sans.” He demands more urgently.

Grillby leads Papyrus through his home and into his room. “I− He won’t wake up,” he says anxiously. “I tried everything. Pushing him off his stool. Pouring water and freezing snow on him. Even poured some hot coffee on him. He just… He ain’t waking up.”

Papyrus can only stand there in numb shock as he stares at his brother’s sleeping form. His breathing is slow, almost nonexistent. From his position, it’s clear he hasn’t so much as twitched since Grillby dumped him on the bed.

Sans is−

His brother−

He’s−

 

 

Sans has Fallen Down.

 

 

Taking a deep breath, Papyrus squares his shoulders and turns to Grillby who can’t quite suppress a flinch. “You have done more than I have paid you for,” he says calmly. The words feel foreign in his mouth. He wonders if he’s even spoken at all.

He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a hundred gold. Though, he’s not paying much attention, too focused on his brother. He vaguely hopes he pulls out the desired hundred gold. “So, in return, I am giving you double what I normally pay you in addition to what I paid you this morning.”

Grillby takes the money looking more than a little confused. “I was just doing what you paid me to do.”

“No. I paid you to keep him from getting dusted in a barfight. This,” he says gesturing to his sleeping brother, “is going out of your way to keep him safe while he’s vulnerable. The one hundred gold is nowhere near enough repayment, so if you need anything, all you have to do is ask.”

Grillby stares at him dumbstruck, not believing what he’s hearing or seeing. Though, that’s not really Papyrus’ problem.

He approached his brother’s sleeping form and gently, uncharacteristically so, puts an arm under Sans knees and another under his back. Cradling his brother to his chest, he turns to Grillby one last time. “Thank you for watching my brother.”

The trip back home passes in a blur. Papyrus is standing in his room before he knows it with almost no idea how he got there. He shakes his head hoping to clear some of the fogginess. It doesn’t work

He sets Sans down on his bed. He removes his brother’s shoes, jacket, and turtle neck leaving him in his shorts and white undershirt. If Papyrus didn’t know better, he’d think his brother was simply sleeping. He desperately wants to pretend he’s just caring for his too drunk brother again.

“Sans you idiot,” he mumbles, startling himself. Since when does he sound like that?

He tucks his brother into bed, feeling oddly detached the entire time. Like he’s watching someone else move for him. Once he’s sure his brother’s comfortable, he takes a seat on the floor.

Leaning against the bed, he pulls his knees to his chest. He feels like a child again— scared and alone— as he sits there staring at the wall. “We were almost safe.”

Papyrus trembles as he lets the emotions rip through him. How could his brother just leave him alone like this? Was he not good enough? Did he not work hard enough? Could he have done more?

He doesn’t bother hiding his tears, not at home where he’s relatively safe. He can’t recall the last time he cried; probably when he was still an optimistic brat in stripes.

Stars is this really what crying is like? The grief is suffocating. It threatens to drown him on every breath.

----

“You look like shit,” Undyne jeers.

Papyrus brushes her off. “Who fucking asked you?” he spits coldly. He’s not in the mood for their playful banter today.

“Damn,” she mutters to Alphys. “What crawled up his ass and died?”

He ignores their snide remarks and stands off to the side. He doesn’t need them to figure out something’s wrong.

“Uhuhu, looks like I won’ be needin’ that favor aft’all, dearie,” Muffet purrs sidling up next to him. She runs two of her hands up his arms while her other set of arms encircle his waist. “But I’ll still be wantin’ payment fer that information I gave ya.”

Papyrus shoves her away, not caring how her claws leave gashes on his bones, or how his own hand pierces her skin. He hardly feels the pain anyways. “I’m not in the mood to play, Muffet,” he growls. “So if that’s what you want, chose something else.”

 Muffet laughs. “While I’d love ta feel ya under my silk,” she purrs licking off his marrow and dust from her fingers, “what I want is much simpler.”

He suppresses a disgusted shudder and uses the edge of his scarf to clean his hands. “Get on with it then.”

“Yer no fun today, dearie,” she pouts despite his annoyed glower. “I jus’ wanna sell my sweets in Snowdin.”

Before he gets the chance to reply, the door is swung open.

He, Undyne, and Alphys quickly take their usual places. Muffet, being the outsider, takes a spot to Papyrus’ left and slightly back. She drops to her knees and lowers her forehead to the floor.

“Rise, Muffet,” Asgore commands.

Muffet pushes herself to her feet as elegantly as she can. She tries to be subtle as she glances at the others to see how they stand. She tries to imitate them as best as she can.

“I called the four of you here for a very specific reason,” he looks down his nose in Muffet and Papyrus’ direction. “Though, I’m sure at least two of you already know why.”

Papyrus doesn’t react, already used to Asgore’s intimidation. Muffet, however, begins to tremble.

“I have quite the proposition for all of you. I have decided to give you complete and total ownership of your territories. You will control the population, the commerce, and the laws of your territories. So long as none of them explicitly go against any of my own decrees, of course,” he explains. “General Undyne, Lieutenant General Papyrus, you are both hereby relieved from the Royal Guard. I will be recalling all remaining guards back to New Home. You may create your own guard and train them as you see fit.

“Of course, I’ll need something in return if you chose to accept—and I’m not talking about the taxes I’ll continue to collect.” His expression morphs from cool indifference to smug cruelty. “Undyne, step forward.”

Undyne easily steps forward and drops to one knee, a broad smile plastered on her face. She places her right fist on her chest, over her soul, and bows her head. She’ll gladly give anything in return for what he’s promised.

“If you chose to accept, you must retire from fighting. You are not to train your guard yourself. You are not to join your guard yourself. You are not to spar with your guard. Additionally, you must return your piano to me,” Asgore says plainly. “Return to your spot. Papyrus, step forward.”

Undyne can’t stop the look of distress that crosses her features. She numbly goes back to her spot as Papyrus steps forward. He bows in a similar fashion.

“If you chose to accept, you must bring your brother before me and strike him down yourself,” Asgore says. “Return to your spot. Alphys, step forward.”

Papyrus feels his very soul freeze. As if in a daze, he returns to the stop he’d previously been standing in.

Alphys steps forward clearly nervous.

“You have two options: You can either abandon your work as scientist, or publicly admit your weakness as a leader to all of Hotland and cede your position to Muffet,” he explains. “Return to your spot. Muffet, step forward.”

Alphys shakily steps back and gives Muffet a dirty look. Said spider trembles as she steps forward. She too bows but is unable to get the position right.

She visibly pales as Asgore sneers down at her. “If Alphys renounces her position to you, you are to learn to speak properly and educate yourself. I will not have some lowly gutter slug representing me. Return to your spot.”

Muffet’s still trembling in fear as she tries not to trip over her many feet.

Asgore regards the four as they all blankly stare forward. He smirks at how helpless they look. He knew he chose right when he decided on what the price of loyalty would be. He wasn’t about to give significant portions of his domain to beasts who would eventually betray him.

“Well?” He asks mockingly. “What are your answers?” None of them step forward; all still frozen in place.

After what feels like an eternity to the four monsters in question, Undyne is the first to step forward. She drops to a single knee again, bowing her head. “I agree to your conditions, Emperor Asgore.”

Asgore smirks widely, pleased with her decision. “Good,” he says smoothly. “You may return to your spot, Lord Undyne.”

Undyne easily returns to her spot. There’s a hint of sadness on her face, but no regret in her eye.

Alphys is the next to step forward and bow. “I renounce my positi−”

No.

The silence in the room is deafening as they all turn to look at Papyrus.

Asgore growls, low and angry. “What?” He demands.

Papyrus’ eyelights blaze with magic in his fury. “I. Said. No,” he repeats in a low tone. “I refuse to trade my brother’s life for something as insignificant as ownership of some fucking town!

Asgore snarls at him, angered that a mere monster dare defy him. “Undyne, Alphys, Muffet!” He barks. “Kill this traitor.”

Papyrus doesn’t waste time summoning a ring of blasters to protect himself. As they fire, he summons enough bones to trap each of them. Or slow them down at the very least.

Summoning another ring of blasters, he flees.

Chapter Text

Papyrus runs. He runs faster than he’s ever run before.

He nearly trips a few times from his legs being unable to keep up with the demanding pace he’s forced himself into. His phone buzzed in his pocket, filling him with dread. He knows it’s an Underground-wide alert. Asgore has no doubt ordered Alphys to make his status as a traitor and fugitive known. He throws it in a pool of lava in case Alphys can somehow track him with it.

He makes it to the border between Hotland and Waterfall without opposition. Of course, that means he’s face-to-face with a small hoard of monsters. At least half from each region.

He doesn’t slow his pace as he sends wall after wall of bones at them.

A few are caught off guard and dusted. Most, however, manage to dodge enough to not be dusted. Papyrus summons blasters and carves a path through the crowd despite the attacks being launched at him.

He hasn’t dared look at his HP since finding out Sans had Fallen Down, but he has to believe he has enough that he doesn’t need to worry about dodging.

Crossing into Waterfall thankfully thins the mob’s numbers. The fire-based monsters can’t last long in this terrain. Now he just needs to cross the Waterfall boarder into his old territory. The heat and water-based monsters would freeze in minutes.

Hitting the ground with a pained grunt, Papyrus scrambles back onto his feet. His leg screams in protest as he forces himself to keep running. He curses his rotten luck as he’s forced to slow down lest he trip again.

The sudden and biting cold is a breathtaking relief. He’s so close. He just needs to get home. He just−

A fury-filled scream echoes around him. It turns his marrow to ice. That’s Undyne. She’s made it to Waterfall, no doubt angered at the carnage he left behind.

Quickly weighing the odds, Papyrus stops once he’s passed the boarder. Turning towards Waterfall, he concentrates as much magic as he’s able to. He ignores the sting of attacks pelting him and threatening to break is concentration.

 

Breathe in. Feel the magic gather.

 

Breathe out. Feel it condense.

 

Breathe in. Feel it swell.

 

Breathe out. Feel it try to burst forth.

 

Breathe in.

 

Breathe out.

 

Breathe in.

 

With a wordless shout, bones burst forth from the ground blocking the path. Some are large enough to reach the top of the cavern. Others are thicker than some of the trees in Snowdin forest. All are sharp with jagged barbs thick and long enough to create a thorny webbing.

Taking a moment to catch his breath, Papyrus stares at the forest of bones he created. It’s so dense he can no longer see the other side.

It won’t hold Undyne back for long.

With that thought, he turns and runs back home. He needs to get to Sans.

----

The front door is open. Even from this distance he can see that it was forced open. The sudden surge of anger pushes him to run faster.

He doesn’t bother trying to identify who broke into his house. It doesn’t matter. They’re a threat to his brother.

The intruder’s start to shout, but each shout is cut short as sharp bones pierce their souls.

Papyrus takes the stairs two at a time and breaks his door in his rush to check on Sans.

He nearly collapses in his relief. Sans is okay. He’s still tucked into bed like Papyrus left him.

He picks up Sans— blanket and all since he’s always been fussy about the cold— and exits through the window. He lands near the edge of the forest. He wishes he could’ve landed further in, but this will have to do.

Papyrus makes his way through the thick forest as carefully as he can. On his own, he’d be able to navigate without leaving any tracks. But he’s not on his own anymore. He has Sans with him.

He curses the snow flurries. It’s not snowing hard enough to cover his tracks. He just hopes the amount of magic he used at Snowdin’s  boarder agitates the weather enough to start a blizzard.

He throws himself to the side mid-step to dodge a dagger. Had he been paying any less attention, that would’ve hit his chest.

No.

It would’ve hit Sans.

He’s forced to dodged again as more daggers fly at him. Papyrus throws bones in the direction the attacks come from. “Show yourself, coward!” He shouts at the forest around him.

Doggo steps out from behind a tree to Papyrus’ left. “Oh, that’s fucking rich coming from you,” he growls.

Papyrus turns, shielding his brother as best he can. This is the last thing he needs. He can’t fight while protecting his brother, not when he’s used up so much magic already.

He feels the unmistakable sting of a blade burring itself into his back. It’s immediately followed by a barrage of daggers and knives, each one seemingly more painful than the last.

Pushing himself up onto his knees, Papyrus tries to find the source of the ringing sound. It’s hard. His vision is swimming so badly he nearly falls back down. When the hell did he get on the floor?

A red spot catches his attention. Concentrating on it, he feels a wave of terror consume him. Doggo’s standing over Sans with his steel dagger poised to strike.

N O !

Doggo yelps as bones suddenly encase Sans. Their sharp barbs pierce his feet and legs, anchoring him in place. He tries to hold back his pained whimpers as he tries to cut through the bones with his weapon.

Get Away From My Brother!” Papyrus demands stalking over to Doggo.

Doggo starts to frantically carve at the bones holding him down. He doesn’t bother hiding his pained whimpers as the bones in his legs drag him towards Papyrus.

The red trail on the snow continues to grow as he struggles, the edges turning to dust. “Don’t think this is over!” He growls bearing his teeth. “The others will come for you and kill your sorry ass!”

Papyrus pulls a knife from the holster on his thigh. He holds it against Doggo’s jugular, the blade shimmering red with magic. “I Will Raze The Entire Town If I Have To,” he says coldly.

He waits impatiently until all the blood nearest Sans has turned to dust before dispelling the bones. He doesn’t want to get his brother covered in filth. Not while he’s sleeping.

Papyrus picks up Sans and readjusts the blanket covering his brother. His display of magic has finally agitated the weather enough for it to start snowing much harder. He can feel the wind picking up too. No doubt a blizzard would soon form.

He picks up speed no longer bothering to cover his tracks—the snow will take care of it. He runs towards the ruins despite his exhaustion. If he could just find that stupid nook, they could be safe for another day or two while he figures out what to do.

----

He’s ready to collapse by the time he finds the alcove. The blizzard had formed quickly, cutting visibility to barely a foot in mere minutes. He was lucky to have found the alcove at all. Sans had done a great job of hiding his favorite napping spot. Papyrus is just glad Sans hadn’t been hiding here when he Fell Down…

Shaking the thought from his head, he wanders further in. It’s fairly narrow with a low ceiling; he bumps his head on it more than he cares to admit. He travels as far back as he can and lowers himself to the floor. Despite how tired he feels, he can’t fall asleep. He’s still too on edge— expecting an attack— to fall asleep.

He pulls his brother closer to his chest hoping to share warmth. Snowdin’s cold doesn’t usually bother him, but the stone of the alcove is absolutely freezing. Uncomfortably so.

----

Papyrus wakes with a jolt.

He shouldn’t be sleeping. He needs to be on watch in case they’re attacked. He takes a moment to check over his brother first. There’s no change in his condition, from what he can tell.

Sighing, he turns his attention back to the entrance. The blizzard has died down substantially, but visibility is still poor. He doesn’t know whether it’s because the weather is stabilizing again or if the storm is just starting up again after having already settled.

Even though he has no way to know how long he’s been hiding, he still knows it’s been long enough for Undyne to have broken through the blockade he created.

He tries not to shudder at the thought of what she’d do once−if. What’d she do if she finds them.

Pushing the thought from his mind, he refocuses his attention on the entrance. He needs to stay vigilant in case there’s movement outside.

----

The next time he wakes, the blizzard has completely settled. There’s no snow or wind outside. His best estimate puts the time at half a day since he was last awake.

He curses himself for sleeping so long, while simultaneously feeling relieved that no one has found them. It seems this was a good place to hide. Even so, he doesn’t move from his spot against the far wall. He feels his bones ache from exhaustion, injury, and lack of movement.

----

Papyrus feels disoriented the next time he wakes. He no longer feels the rush of adrenaline fueling his need to survive. His aches are back with a vengeance.

It’s darker out than he last remembers. The artificial lights have been dimmed. It must be night then. He should be safe then. No one liked wandering around at night. It was in invitation to get dusted. It had been bad when Papyrus watched over Snowdin. It’s likely worse now that there’s no one to enforce order upon the region.

He briefly wonders who Asgore will put in charge of this area now that Papyrus isn’t there. He wonders how long it will take before Snowdin becomes more lawless than Hotland.

----

He wakes three more times before he dares get up. His joints creak and pop in protest. He reluctantly sets Sans down and slowly works his way to the entrance of the alcove. It’s darker than day hours, but lighter than night hours. He curses the stars as he’s forced to wait and observe the change in lighting.

After what feels like an eternity, he decides that it’s evening. That’s perfect. He just needs to wait a few more hours and he can go scavenge for food.

He feels something unpleasant churn within his soul.

Sans had worked so hard to get them out of the gutters and into a house. And here Papyrus was undoing all his brother’s hard work.

Sans would be so disappointed in him.

----

Papyrus freezes upon re-entering the alcove. Sans is still where he left him, same position and all. But he’s not leaned against what Papyrus initially thought to be the back wall.

Stepping further into the hiding place, Papyrus sets down his merger find— some half-eaten food and thankfully his brother’s jacket— and moves Sans out of the way. He examines the fabric. It’s a dull brown color. Papyrus can almost recognize it as an old blanket of his brother’s. In one swift motion, he yanks the fabric away to reveal a large machine.

It’s made of metal and has a screen on it. There were panels missing, sections held together with tape, and wire and other electronic pieces scattered about it’s worksurface.

A piece of paper catches his attention. It’s covered in unknown symbols— they make his bones rattle with discomfort— and his brother’s messy scrawl. It looked like a cipher; each symbol corresponding to a letter. Upon closer inspection, he realizes there were more symbols than letters in the alphabet. Yet, there didn’t seem to be enough symbols to account for the alphabet in upper and lower case. Some of those must be numbers and-or punctuation, then.

Quickly looking over the key his brother had created, he notices there aren’t any numbers or forms of punctuation. Sighing he looks over at his sleeping brother. For as smart as he could be, Sans was still a fucking idiot.

Papyrus digs around for a pen or pencil and comes across a drawer instead. There are two notebooks and bunch of tools. He takes the notebooks and a pen before closing the drawer again.

Looking at the steady rising and falling of his brother’s chest, he takes a seat. This time he leans against the cave wall and not the machine. It’s significantly warmer than the machine. No wonder he’d been so cold.

He pulls Sans to his side and begins working on the cipher puzzle. Since he’s stuck here, he may as well try to solve it.

----

He’s not sure when he fell asleep, but he’s awoken to the sound of the wind howling.

Papyrus is instantly on guard. It’s not a blizzard, but it’s snowing heavily. Someone had used a substantial amount of magic in Snowdin recently.

He searches for the pen he’d been using. One of the notebooks clearly belongs to Sans while the other belonged to whoever spoke in hands. Papyrus had been using Sans’ notebook to solve the cipher and start translating the book.

From the notes, he knows that the machine looked at the status of the Underground. The rest of the notebook, which happened to be most of it, made no sense to him.

AU. RESET. DT. QD. QD observer. QD enhancement. Positron emission. Alpha decay. Photon spectrograph and transcriber.

Papyrus had never heard of most of those words. He can’t even begin to decipher their meaning despite deciphering the words themselves. What stumps him most is Sans notebook. It’s full of similar terms.

While it doesn’t seem to offer any insight into those term’s meanings, those notes are slightly easier to understand. Slightly.

From what he can gather, the machine he’d been sleeping against was some sort of universe clock. It could see the Underground’s past and future; what could have been and what could be.

What concerns him most, however, is the it Sans kept referring to. Whatever it is, it’s dangerous; having the ability to slaughter everyone, save everyone, or anything in between.

Papyrus wants it. He wanted to use it to defend himself and his brother. And the machine is his way to get it. Somehow.

----

Papyrus curses and adds another part to his ever-growing list. He’s sure he’s broken more things than he’s fixed. The only notebook with any clue as to how to fix the damn machine is Sans’, which isn’t any help since Sans hadn’t been able to fix it either.

At this rate, he’s going to need to take a trip to the dump; something he absolutely cannot do.

In his quickly mounting desperation, he decides to forgo Sans’ notes. They’re clearly no fucking good.

He needs to do this his own way.

He spends the rest of the day removing every component he can find. He knows how the machine is supposed to act when it works. He knows what each component does— after so many hours of sorting them— and he has the board in front of him in the form of the machine.

It’ll just be like a very large puzzle.

----

When it gets too dark to work, Papyrus uses his magic to illuminate his workspace.

----

The heavy snowfall turned into a relentless blizzard almost as soon as he started treating the machine like a puzzle. It’s left conditions too dangerous for him to safely leave to scavenge for food. The visibility is nonexistent, the wind is deafening, and the temperature is colder than Papyrus ever remembers it getting.

He’s been forced to bundle Sans in the dirty, old, cloth and his scarf to prevent hypothermia from setting in.

That, of course, also means Papyrus has been feeling the cold for days. His hands tremble from how cold it is. He hasn’t been able to leave to search for food either; his vision swims and his concentration wavers as a result.

But he can’t stop now.

He’s so close.

The machine is already humming with energy, many of it’s lights on. He just needs to make it work.

The energy suddenly pulses. It’s intense enough to knock Papyrus off his feet. The little cave he’s in shakes. No doubt the tremor can be felt all the way in Snowdin.

He needs to hurry before they track it back to him.

The wind shrieks outside, louder than it’s ever been. It sends a shiver down his spine. He can’t help thinking he’s running out of time.

The pages in the notebook flutter at the sudden gust. Papyrus scrambles to grab them before any of the pages can be torn off. He flips to a blank page in Sans’ notebook and grabs a pen.

He begins sketching the set-up of the machine as best he can. He keeps important details, like those distinguishing components, but otherwise doesn’t bother using accurate shapes or sizes. If it breaks, he’ll be able to mark which parts needed replacing, and maybe try to solve it on paper before fixing it again.

When he finishes, he shoves the notebook into his armor to shield it from the wind. He used the other notebook to hopefully find out what he needs to input into the machine.

There are so many things he can input; there’s an equal number of things that aren’t possible to enter. He quickly notices that a few have a pencil and an envelope before their input. An exclamation point followed by an asterisk.

He has no idea what it means, but there are only seven of those versus the dozens of regular inputs. He starts typing the input into the machine only to realize that four of them have invalid fields. He quickly crossed those out and starts on the remaining three.

 

AU Not Found

 

AU Unstable

 

Processing…

 

Papyrus’ eye sockets widen. It… It’s working!

He quickly whirls around and grabs Sans. He summons a wall of bones similar to the ones he used at the boarder to Waterfall. This will work. It has to.

 

AU Found

 

Locating Entry Point...

 

...

 

Location Found

 

Transporting To UnderSwap…

Chapter Text

Sans jolts awake. His head aches and he feels nauseous. It’s a familiar feeling he hates, but it can’t be real. This hasn’t happened in over five years.

Throwing the blankets off, he races to his brother’s room. He knocks on the door harder than usual. “Papy? Are you in there, Papy?” He asks shakily. “Papyrus?”

He feels panic well in his soul when he doesn’t get a response. Opening the door, he rushes inside. “Papy?!” He calls shakily.

The sight in front of him is more than enough to send him to his knees as relief washes over him. His brother’s sound asleep on his bed. The flush of a night spent drinking is clear on his face. Sans spends a few minutes simply watching the steady rise and fall of his brother’s chest.

He pushes himself onto unsteady feet and closed the door. The room is nearly pitch black without the light from the hall. Sans makes his way to his brother’s bed, absently wishing his brother would just get a proper bed frame already. He takes a seat on the floor by the head of the bed and leans against the wall.

He still feels a little shaky after that awful feeling of déjà vu. His head still aches dully as he sits there trying to calm down. He hopes this isn’t that weird start-over thing that had been so common years ago. He wouldn’t be able to know for sure until Papyrus woke up, however.

----

Sans feels a little disoriented when he wakes up. His bones ache as he looks around in confusion. What had woken him up?

After a few more seconds of blearily blinking at the far wall, he hears it. It’s his alarm, muffled by the wall separating his and his brother’s room. Almost instantly, he’s wide awake and fully alert. 

His brother’s still snoring peacefully on his bed. He’d shifted at some point in the night if the arm trapped under his body is anything to go by.

He pounces on his brother. “Papyrus! Wake up!” He pleads.

Papyrus startles awake with a surprised shout. He looks around frantically until his attention settles on the quivering blue bundle at his side. “Sans? whas wrong?” He asks worried despite how groggy he sounds. “you have ‘nother nightmare?”

Sans sags in relief at the question, a sob escaping him. Whenever that weird start-over thing happened, he always has to explain that he has nightmares to Papy. His brother would get extremely worried and start bombarding him with questions. The fact that his brother wasn’t doing that meant time hadn’t started over. “Yes,” he whimpers into his brother’s shoulder.

Papyrus sighs and rolls over. He grumbles about his numb arm under his breath but pulls his brother into a hug nonetheless. “shouldve woken me up earlier dummy,” he chides softly.

Sans gives a watery laugh. His tears are more relief than fear at this point, but he still feels incredibly anxious.

After a few minutes, Papyrus pulls back. He gives Sans a questioning look. “s’that yer alarm going off?”

Sans instantly shoots up with a startled gasp. That’s right! If time didn’t start over, that means he still has morning practice with Alphys today. Now isn’t the time to dwell on awful feelings. “Oh no, I’m late!” He yells causing his brother to wince.

“bro, what're you−” Papyrus doesn’t get to finish his question as Sans runs out of his room.

Sans fumbles with his equipment in his rush to put it on. The armor is a welcome weight after such an awful night of sleep. He rushes to the bathroom and instantly feels stupid for adorning his armor before washing his face or brushing his teeth. He briefly debates removing it but quickly abandons the idea. It’d take too long, and it only causes minor discomfort when he washes his face while in his armor.

He’s about to rush out the door when he realizes he forgot his scarf. Skidding to a halt he, turns around and nearly runs into his brother.

Papyrus’ hands land on his shoulders, anchoring him in place. “slow down there, br he chuckles. “you'll hurt yourself"

“But I’m late!” Sans insists. “And I forgot my−,” his eyelights light up when his brother holds up his scarf. “Thank you, Papy!” He shouts hugging his brother.

Papyrus wheezes as the armor crashes into his chest. “no, prob, Sans” he says patting the smaller skeleton’s head. “now be safe"

“Of course! I’m the Sansational Sans after all!” Sans boasts as he bursts through the front door.

He picks up speed and concentrates his magic. He needs to go to Alphys. When he’s sure he’s got enough, he jumps−

And instantly rams into Alphys’s back with an oof.

Alphys is pushed forward a step in surprise. She whirls around with a growl and brandishes an axe.

“Hi, Alphys!” Sans tries to hide his nervousness from his spot on the floor. “I’m not late, am I?”

Alphys looms over him. Her expression gives nothing away as she stares him down. Sans suppresses the urge to fidget nervously. Just as he’s about to start apologizing, she cracks a grin. “Almost late, short stack,” she laughs.

Sans lets out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. He wasn’t late. “Thank goodness,” he breathes. “And I’m not that much shorter than you!”

Alphys laughs. “Yeah, yeah. On your feet!”

He wastes no time scrambling to his feet and brushing himself off. Alphys summons another axe as she waits for Sans to get to his side of the field. “You wanna take the first move, Sans?” She asks. “Or should I?”

Sans summons a bone and grips it in one hand. He shifts to brandish it in Alphys direction. “En guarde!” He calls with a broad grin. He rushes her, using his magic to reach her quickly, and swings the bone.

He’s been practicing his teleportation recently. It seems like something useful to have in battle, so he hopes to impress her with it.

Alphys easily parries the blow and uses her other summoned axe to attack with. Sans summons a blue bone in his other hand to block the attack. Her axe dissipates upon contact with the blue attack.

“Smart,” she comments backing out of range.

Sans lifts a hand, turning her soul blue. He notices she widens her stance to not be flattened into the ground. Sans’ smile widens. He whips his hand to the right, flinging her to her left. She lets out a startled yelp, not having expected the direction.

He summons a small field of bones for her to crash into. She throws her axe at the bones hoping to give herself a clear spot to land. She definitely lands there, but the momentum pushes her into the rest.

“Mweh heh heh! It seems like I’ve managed−,” he’s cut off as one of Alphys’ axes strike his back. He’s hit hard enough to knock the breath out of him and push him forward. Alphys rushes him, the axe that just hit him now held in her hands.

Sans lifts his hands, a wall of bones erupting in front of him and another wall behind Alphys. He turns her soul blue to hold her in place with one hand and pushes the walls of bones towards her with another. He hopes it buys him enough time to regain his breath.

She slices through the bones with ease. She throws the axe at him the moment the bones completely dissipate. She summons another axe and throws that one as well despite the wall of bones behind her slamming into her. She grunts, taking a single step forward.

He startles at her display. She let a fourth of her HP be taken just to keep throwing axes at him.

Sans lets himself drop to the floor to avoid one of the axes. He shoves at the ground hard enough to propel himself to the side, evading another. He sends more attacks her way as he starts gathering his magic. When he has enough, he runs at her only to teleport behind her. He swings with all his might at her with a newly formed bone.

Alphys whirls around, grabbing the bone with her bare claw. She’s pushed back by the force of the attack, but keeps a firm grip on it, preventing Sans from moving the bone. She uses the momentum of her spin to swing her axe in a quick wide arc. Sans summons another attack to parry with. Her magic is more condensed and easily slices through his attack.

He braces for the impact. 

Except it doesn’t come.

Cracking an eye open, he sees the edge of the axe mere inches from his face. “You’re dead,” she says evenly. She stares him down despite the continued drain to her HP that holding the bone attack causes. Eventually, she dispels her axe and releases her hold on his attack.

Sans falls to his knees, soul pounding and hands shaking. While he trusts Alphys to not kill him during their training sessions, he’d still been taken completely off guard at the end. Especially with the look she had in her eyes. Alphys had moved so fast. She stood steadfast against his attacks just to get a few more hits in. No. Not just get a few more hits in. To win.

Their sparring had turned into an actual battle at some point. After years of monotonous sparring, he’d completely failed to notice the shift.

“You okay there, Sans?” Alphys asks, concern clear in her voice.

Sans stares at the hand held out for him and then at Alphys herself. He can’t help himself. He checks her stats.

 

Alphys

LV 7

ATK 50   DEF 20

Proud Captain of the Royal Guard.

HP 0 107 / 1 500

 

Sans feels like he’s going to be sick but swallows the feeling down. Her HP is so low. He forces himself to smile despite his shakiness. “Yep! I’m great!” He replies taking her offered hand. How can she act like she’s not hurt? “I’m just surprised you purposefully took those hits! I’ve never seen you fight like that!”

Alphys laughs. She looks as embarrassed as she does proud. “That’s ‘cause you still got a long way to go, short stack. Being in the guard means you gotta know when to dodge, when to parry, and most importantly, when to attack!” She grins broadly. “Had you been a human, you wouldn’t’ve stood a chance!”

He feels a little grateful that she doesn’t boast about her ability to kill around him. He knows what her LV means, but he just can’t— doesn’t want to— picture her as a killer. He hates the thought of killing.

“How’s ‘bout we take a break,” she suggests slapping him on the back. “You look like you could use one.”

So could you. He wants to say. Your HP is too low. Instead, he settles on a grin. “Yeah, thanks.”

He desperately wants to worry about her HP, but he remembers what Papy told him so long ago. Don’t talk about HP. It’s incredibly inappropriate, not to mention rude.

As a little kid, he’d never really understood why, even if he did as his brother told him. As he grew older, he slowly began to understand.

----

Alphys called their sparring to an end half way through. Her attacks were nowhere near as strong as their previous battle. Sans tries not pout too much when she sends him home, but she went as far as to excuse him from his sentry duties!

It’s not fair! He’s not a child! She clearly stopped treating him as a child during their initial battle. Though, she did go back to coddling him like usual after that… If not more so.  

It just isn’t fair!

He’d been taken off guard! If he knew it was an actual battle instead of sparring, he would’ve been more careful. He would knock her to down to a tenth of her total HP, but not any lower. The whole point of his training— and the Royal Guard in general!— is that he needs to be able to capture a human or a criminal, not kill them!

Grumbling he decides to go check on his brother. Just because Sans has the day off doesn’t mean Papyrus will too. Besides, it’s not like making sure his brother’s actually working is in his the job description as a sentry!

----

Papyrus shows Sans his phone the moment he arrives. Alphys had texted Papyrus a warning.

Apparently ensuring his brother was doing his job was forbidden for the day too. It was to much like doing his regular sentry duties, she had said.

----

Sans grumbles as he makes his way through the forest behind the house. There’s an empty field there that no one frequents. It’s the perfect place for him to get some private training in.

It had helped him build up his speed and limited stamina. He could now summon his magic quicker than when he first started training with Alphys. He could even summon more attacks at once.

He just wished he could practice his blue attack. It was one of his rustiest attacks since he didn’t have anyone to help him train it.

Instead, he decides to practice teleporting again. He uses it so rarely that he’s still pretty bad at it. On principle, he refuses to use it for mundane things when walking or running works just fine. But it had definitely helped him out during the sparring-turned-battle, so he decides he should learn to use it more efficiently.

Maybe then he wouldn’t be a sitting duck like he was during Alphys’ last attack.

He tries to teleport without needing his usual moving or running start. It’s a lot harder than he’s expecting. After what feels like forever, he’s standing on the other side of the field.

Sans feels a sense of unease briefly wash over him. He brushes it off assuming it’s a result of teleporting so much in a single day.

----

He collapses onto the snow-covered ground to catch his breath. The air has gotten crisper and the wind stronger as the day wore on. And now that he’s paying attention, it’s snowing harder than earlier too. Maybe his magic’s agitating the weather?

Taking a deep breath, he sits up. That uneasy feeling hasn’t gone away, but it hasn’t increased either. He’s beginning to think it doesn’t have anything to do with his ability to teleport.

Swallowing his sudden nervousness, he gets ready to teleport again. No uneasy feeling is going to hold him back!

This is the perfect time to test how well he can teleport over a large distance without a running start. He just hopes he doesn’t break anything in his room.

Sans starts gathering his magic and instantly feels something cold and dark gather around him. He tries to abort the action as soon as he notices something’s wrong.

His magic flares wildly around him. He tries not to panic at his sudden loss of control over his magic.

He’s about to use one giant attack to drain himself when it suddenly snaps around him, drowning his vision in white.

Sans groans as his vision slowly comes back to him. He slowly pushes himself up and freezes at the sight in front of him.

There, in the middle of the field, lay two skeletons. One is wrapped in red cloth while the other wears dented black armor.

Both are unconscious.

Chapter Text

Sans stares owlishly at the two skeletons.

Wowzers! He’d never seen other skeletons before! He didn’t even know there were other skeletons.

Scrambling to his feet, he rushes to the two unconscious monsters. He frowns at the scars on their skulls. Most look old, but no less painful. At least the smaller one doesn’t look hurt. The larger one, though… That’s a whole different story.

The scarred crack on the crown of his head looks new. The scar bone still looks new and soft. Thankfully, that seems to be his worst injury. Though, just about every inch of him is covered in scratches. The armor even has holes in it where weapons had clearly pierced through the metal. Sans shivers not wanting to know who or what could even do that to such thick looking armor.

He’s about to reach out to the larger skeleton when a sudden chill crawls up his spine. Pulling his hand back, he decides to check the monster’s stats−

He scrambles back so fast he trips over his own feet. He shakes in terror as he stares at the unconscious monster.

 

LV 18

ATK 450   DEF 300

 

He’s too terrified to move, reduced to a trembling mess. His eyes flick to the other one, the one swathed in red.

 

LV 08

ATK 05   DEF 00

 

His LOVE is higher than Alphys. How− Who are these monsters? Why are they here?

 

Fallen Down

 

That gives Sans pause. What?

He focuses on the small skeleton again.

 

LV 8

ATK 05   DEF 00

Fallen Down

HP 01 / 01

 

Sans gasps despite himself. How could a monster have such low base HP? Most monster that Fall Down from hopelessness are never at a base stat lower than ten. It’s a miracle this monster hadn’t accidentally been killed by those around him in his fragile state.

Tentatively, he looks back at the armored skeleton. He’s half expecting the other skeleton to be awake and prepping an attack. He wants to scold himself for being paranoid, but Alphys words ring in his mind.

Always trust your instincts.

He takes a deep breath to calm himself.

 

LV 18

ATK 450   DEF 300

Is willing to do anything to protect his Fallen brother

HP 00 007 / 18 700

 

Sans feels his marrow turn to ice. Seven HP. What on earth could have happened to him to leave him in such a state?

The sinking feeling in Sans’ soul tells him is has to do with that monster’s willingness to do whatever it takes to protect his brother.

Steeling his resolve, Sans pushes himself to his feet once more. His legs are still shaky as he approaches the larger skeleton once more. Swallowing his anxieties, he places his hands on the monster’s armor. It takes him longer than he’d like but he’s able to start producing a healing aura.

A part of him tells him he’s crazy for being so close to such an obviously dangerous monster. Another, more prominent, part of himself tells him that someone who’s so willing to protect their family can’t be all bad.

Sans keeps an eye on the monster’s HP as he continues to produce his healing magic. He tries not to grow impatient at how slow the increase is. Whatever happened to this monster hadn’t just hurt him, it had completely drained him of his magic.

The wind picks up speed. The sudden influx of magic is agitating the weather further. It’s probably going to turn into the worst snow storm Snowdin has ever experienced.

His attention is drawn back to the monster when it groans. Doing another quick check, he sees the monster’s HP has reached a thousand. It’s barely five percent of his total HP, but it’s far better than it was before.

He tries hard to put some friendly cheeriness in his voice. “H−hello there,” he says softly so as to not startle the dangerous monster. “Can you, uh, understand me?”

The monster shifts, turning to face him, and Sans catches sight of two marrow-red eyelights. They’re unfocused and hazy as they look at him. “S−Sans?”

Sans reflexively freezes. How does this monster know his name?

The thought barely crosses his mind before he’s being flung across the field. The unexpectedness of the attack has him rolling painfully into a tree. He summons a wall of bones to protect himself as he staggers to his feet. He lets out an undignified yelp as jagged and barbed red bones crash through the wall nearly taking one of his eyelights out.

He throws himself to the side to avoid getting skewered.

The tall skeleton stands in front of his prone brother, eyes aflame with magic. He lifts his hand to summon more sharp bones and trains them on Sans. His eyelights flicker briefly at the action.

Sans instantly summons two blue bones hoping to deflect any attack he can’t dodge. He checks the monster’s stats and immediately falters.

 

HP 00 883 / 18 700

 

HP 00 867 / 18 700

 

HP 00 774 / 18 700

 

Sans was right about his drained magic. He’s pulling from his HP to attack. “Stop!” He shouts desperately. “Your HP− you’ll die!”

The other monster simply growls in response. His eyelights flare with magic before briefly blinking out. He staggers.

Sans dispels his own attacks and holds his hands up. “Please, I just want to help,” he says. He feels a chill run up his spine. A telltale sign that his own stats are being checked. The other skeleton’s own attacks disappear. Sans is about to let out a relieved sigh, but the monster draws a knife from his thigh holster instead.

“Who the fuck are you?” The monster demands.

Sans is momentarily taken aback. The monster sounds like his brother, albeit gruffer. Maybe a touch higher pitched too? “M−my name is Sans,” he says tentatively approaching the other skeleton. “I’m a sentry in Snowdin, and I just want to help.”

He yelps when a red bone spears the ground in front of him. “Don’t fuck with me!” The skeleton shouts. He staggers again slightly at the use of his magic.

“Please stop!” Sans yells desperately. “I don’t have enough magic to heal you if your HP drops too low.”

“Why?”

He blinks in confusion. “Why what?” He asks tentatively.

“Why help?” The monster demands. “What do you get out of it? It’d be easier to just dust us and claim the reward.”

Kill? Reward? “I would never kill anyone!” He blurts haughtily. “I’m a monster, not a beast!” He realizes his mistake almost instantly. The skeleton and his brother have high LOVE meaning they’ve killed… And Sans just indirectly called them beasts.

A particularly harsh gust of wind has him divert his attention from the monster. He braces against the harsh wind, feeling the chill bite at his exposed arms. He hears shuffling followed by a grunt.

Turning his attention back, he instantly forgets about the harsh cold and impending danger. The monster’s on his knees, struggling to push himself back up. Sans checks his stats and rushes forward, nearly tripping as the harsh wind shoves him around. The monster growls at him and shifts to cover his brother from Sans.

 

HP 00 517 / 18 700

 

Without a second thought, he starts producing the same healing aura from earlier. He offers a shaky smile to the monster who watches him wearily. “Why help?” The monster demands again, sounding significantly more exhausted than before.

“Because you’re hurt,” Sans explains easily.

The monster snorts bitterly. “I have nothing to offer in return,” he spits.

Sans gives him a questioning look. “I don’t need anything in return.” He’s pushed forward by another sudden gust of wind. “We need to get you out of here,” he says looking around. He’d been so focused on helping the other skeleton he hadn’t realized just how awful the storm had gotten. 

The monster growls, reaching back to grab his brother.

“Your brother too,” he reassures with a kind smile. “Come on, my house is nearby.”

He holds a hand out to the skeleton. He stands there patiently with a reassuring look. He’d rather not rush the other monster and risk him lashing out. It would unnecessarily put their lives at risk.

Eventually, the skeleton stands up. He drags his brother closer and picks him up. Sans tries not to show his disappointment at the other monster’s disregard for help.

Suppressing a sigh, he closes his eyes and tries to use his magic to feel his way around. It’s similar to how he uses it to teleport; just without the teleporting part. He opens his eyes and points behind the taller skeleton. “It’s that way.”

The monster eyes him wearily as Sans starts walking past him. Sans doesn’t like how the other shifts to put himself between him and his brother.

They walk in tense silence. Sans tries to offer support but the other skeleton shoots him down before he can even finish. Instead, he decides to observe the skeleton out of the corner of his eye. He’s tall, but still shorter than Papy. He’s slender, about as thin Papy, but somehow doesn’t look scrawny. Like he’s built for speed and agility.

“I’m not going to eat you,” the monster comments drily.

Sans quickly looks away, embarrassed to be caught staring. “Sorry,” he blurts in a rush. He knows better than to be rude. “You just, look a little like my brother.”

The monster gives him an odd look. Sans can’t quite tell what it means. “If you’re leading me into a trap, I will kill you and everyone else involved,” he threatens.

Sans gulps at the casual threat. Given the monster’s HP, he doubts he’ll follow through, but the threat sounds so genuine. “I promise this isn’t a trap.”

----

It takes Sans a moment to realize the other monster isn’t following him anymore. He turns around and find him still standing at the edge of the woods. He’s staring at the house with a look of bafflement and suspicion.

“Is this some sort of fucking joke?” He growls.

“What’re you−,” Sans yelps as a sharp bone scrapes the edge of his arm in warning. It took out a third of his remaining HP!

“Who’s waiting in there?” The monster demands.

Sans is torn between being scared and being confused. What set the skeleton off?

A bone whizzes by his face, lodging itself in the wall behind him. “Who the fuck is waiting in there to ambush us!” He shouts.

Sans tries not to let an aggravated sigh escape him. He may be terrified, but he’s also getting really tired of this monster’s senseless paranoia! “There’s no one waiting to ambush us! My brother might be home but that’s it!” He huffs.

He waits impatiently as the other monster scrutinizes him. It occurs to him that he got curt with a really dangerous monster. Before he can think too much about it, the other monster tensely walks towards the house. “Very well, but my earlier threat still stands.”

Sans resists the urge to remind him his HP doesn’t make the threat that believable.

He unlocks the back door and steps in. “Papy?” He calls. “Are you home?” Not hearing a reply, he holds the door open for the other monster.

The other monster’s eyeing him strangely again.

“What?” He asks.

The monster shakes his head. “Nothing.”

Sans pouts but drops the issue. He makes sure to lock the door again so the wind doesn’t throw it open. He goes into the living room, the other skeleton at his back, and grabs his phone from the coffee table. There’s a sticky note on it.

went 2 muffets
call if u need anything
-P

Sans let out an irritated grumble. Honestly, how hard is it to write to and you? Or use an apostrophe? He looks up, feeling the distinct sensation of being watched. The monster is standing in the door way watching him. “Oh, sorry! How rude of me,” he says feeling flustered. He motions to the couch. “Have a seat. I just need to call my brother and make sure he’s alright, and then I’ll make us something to eat.”

The monster continues to scrutinize him, even as he goes to sit on the couch. Sans tries to be subtle as he watches the monster set down his brother, ensuring the monster is comfortable before taking a seat himself.

Sans knows he’s been caught staring when the other raises a browbone despite not looking over. He quickly turns his attention to his phone. He dials his brother and waits. He’s a little worried. For once in his life, he hopes Papyrus is still at Muffet’s…

Finally, near the last ring, Papyrus picks up. Sans can hear the sounds of happy chatter and clinking glass. He instantly breathes a sigh of relief.

“’eya Sansy!” His brother cheers, clearly drunk. “s’it time fer yer story?”

Sans smiles despite himself. His brother’s words may be slurred, but no matter how drunk he is, he always remembers the promise he made a lifetime ago. “Actually, I was calling to tell you that you should probably stay at Muffet’s−,”

“Sans are you okay?” Papyrus asks immediately. “Are you sick? Is someone threatening you?”

“What!? No!” Sans sputters. “I was going to say— before you so rudely interrupted me— that you should probably stay at Muffet’s until the storm dies down.” He waits for a reply. “Papy?”

His brother’s voice sounds distant, like he’s holding his phone at his side. “Wowie, its really comin down!” He hears some of the other patrons agree. It seems like no one realized.

After almost a full minute, Papyrus speaks into the phone again. “’ey Sans?” He sounds mildly distracted. “Muff says she’s willin ta put us up the night if the weather dont clear”

“Wow, that’s really nice of her! But I still expect you to be at work tomorrow morning,” Sans says sternly. Papyrus grumbles and reluctantly agrees. “Alright, I’ll let you get back to your… er… drinking,” he winces. That sounded far worse than he meant to.

“ayo bro!” Papyrus cheers and hangs up.

Well.

At least he didn’t take it the wrong way.

“Well that was certainly an enlightening conversation.”

Sans startles— letting out an undignified yelp and nearly dropping his phone— having completely forgotten about his guests. The monster gives him an amused look. Sans would be offended if he weren’t so relieved to no longer be getting suspicious and scrutinizing looks. “I’m going to go make something to eat now,” he blurts and rushes into the kitchen.

Chapter Text

The monster follows him into the kitchen and seats himself at the table. Sans wonders why he doesn’t stay in the living room with his brother, but after a few minutes he realizes the monster has sat himself in a way that lets him see into the living room while simultaneously keeping an eye on him.

It leaves Sans feeling anxious. In the end, he’s too nervous to make anything more complicated than tacos.

The monster eyes him wearily when Sans sets the plate down in front of him. He tries not to show how nervous he is as he takes a different seat than usual. He’d rather not get between the monster and his brother; even if it’s only by blocking the monster’s view.

If Sans thought cooking in tense silence was unbearable, the actual dinner is so much worse. It takes a few minutes for the monster to actually touch his food, and when he does, he only takes a small bite. Like he’s testing it. He gives Sans another weary look before taking a larger, but still cautious, bite.

Sans lets out a relieved breath he hadn’t realized he was holding. Tacos, despite being so simple, actually replenished a significant amount of HP and magic due to all the different types of toppings.

Once the monster has eaten half his food, Sans checks his stats again.

 

HP 07 283 / 18 700

 

The monster instantly narrows his eyes at him. “Why do you keep doing that?”

Sans knows it’s a question, but everything the monster says sounds like a demand. “I want to make sure your HP is going up.”

That only seems to make the other more suspicious. “If you’re able to see my HP then you’re clearly also able to see my LOVE,” he accuses. “My LOVE is easily leagues above yours, so why help me instead of taking the chance to kill me?”

“I told you already. I would never kill anyone,” Sans says resolutely. “Besides, someone who’s willing to do anything to protect their family can’t be all bad; no matter their LOVE.”

The monster looks startled only to quickly compose himself back to that careful look of neutrality he constantly has. “You have Judgment,” he states.

Sans is momentarily taken aback. How did this monster know of such a thing? “I thought it was a skeleton thing?” He says tentatively. Though, it sounds more like a question than a statement.

“Are you not The Judge?”

Sans starts to feel anxious. This isn’t the way he wanted the conversation to go. “You mean Karma! I can’t do that without my brother’s help. Though, he can do it on his own no problem.”

The monster looks at him wearily again. When it looks like he isn’t going to say anything else, Sans asks a question of his own. “What’s your name?”

The monster gives him that weary look again. “If you have Judgement, surely you should’ve seen it already.”

It suddenly strikes Sans that the monster isn’t giving him a weary look. It’s just a look of confusion. “Actually, I can’t,” he admits. “It’s blank. Same for your brother.”

“Curious,” the monster murmurs to himself. “Well,” he says louder, “if you must know: My name is Papyrus.”

Sans feels like the floor’s been yanked from under him. Did− did that monster just say his name was Papyrus?

“I… I’m sorry. I don’t think I quite caught that,” he stammers.

The monster looks irritated. “I said my name is Papyrus,” he repeats dryly.

“That can’t be right!” Sans blurts. “My brother’s name is Papyrus, and you’re definitely not my brother.”

“I suspected as much,” the monster— Papyrus— says, almost absently. “You said your name was Sans, right pipsqueak? Now imagine my surprise considering that’s my brother’s name.”

Sans looks into the living room at the Fallen monster. At the other Sans. He turns back to the monster—to Papyrus. “Who are you?”

Papyrus raises a browbone at him. At least this Papyrus is different enough from Sans’ own brother to not make a smarty comment. “I am The Great and Terrible Papyrus. Lieu– Ex-Lieutenant General of the Royal Guard and ex-Overseer of the Snowdin region. My brother, Sans,” he says nodding towards the living room, “is the ex-Judge of the Emperor and an ex-sentry of the Snowdin region.”

Sans feels like he’s reeling. This is too unbelievable. Individually, all the monster’s words make sense. Strung together as they are, they seem incomprehensible.

----

Papyrus merely watches as the other Sans tries to process the news. His eyes slip back to his brother. If he didn’t know better, he’d think Sans was simply asleep.

He turns his attention back to the monster seated at the table. The other Sans is leaning against the table on his elbows. He holds his head in his hands, looking entirely overwhelmed.

It takes Papyrus a moment to realize the other is muttering under his breath. He strains to listen without making it too obvious, but his words are too faint.

“…the déjà vu was… like a redo… they us? …too different… alternate world? Universe maybe?…”

Papyrus’ eyeslights shrink.

The machine could track the past, present, and future. A could have been with a single variable difference. A could be so different it seemed like an entirely different world.

An AU.

An Alternate Universe.

As unsettling and disappointing as the revelation is, he’s marginally relieved. While the machine hadn’t done what he’d wanted it too, he’s not entirely dissatisfied with the results. It’s given him the chance to watch over his brother in a safer place.

The oddity of the alternate Sans has helped him paint a picture of this new world he’s in. It’s significantly less dangerous than his own. He’s sure there’s more, but that’s all he needs to know for now. He found somewhere safe for his brother.

 

Even if it’s too late…

 

Papyrus abruptly gets up, startling the skeleton seated at the table. He knows the other Sans asks him a question, but he ignores it. He strides into the living room and easily picks up his brother. He needs to find them a suitable shelter. At least it seems that this Snowdin’s ambient temperature is warmer than his own.

The other Sans is blocking the front door before Papyrus even takes a step in that direction. “Where do you think you’re going?” He asks clearly already knowing the answer.

Papyrus levels him with a glare, pleased when the other shrinks a little. If a monster like that is a sentry, then he’ll have no problem procuring himself somewhere to stay. “Out of the fucking way, pipsqueak,” he spits.

“I have a name,” the monster practically whines.

“I am not calling you Sans,” he says disgustedly.

“Well, I’m not calling you Papyrus either!” The monster instantly retorts. “And I’m also not letting you go back out into that storm! I don’t care how high your LOVE is,” he interjects as Papyrus starts to argue. “It’s dangerous to walk around in a snow storm!”

Papyrus glares down at him.

The monster squares his shoulder and stares back decisively. Not quite a glare.

It strikes Papyrus that this world’s version of Sans is actually taller than his brother. He’s stocky, but it’s clearly not from fat. He vaguely wonders if Sans would look like that if he weren’t so lazy and actually trained.

The monster pulls him from his thoughts. “You can stay in the spare room,” he says easily. Like he’s not scared to sleep under the same roof as a monster with a LOVE of 18. 

“Please?”

Papyrus is taken aback by the look the other gives him. He’s used to having monster’s look at him with fear, disgust, occasionally reverence. Never… Whatever that look is. It’s reminiscent of the look his brother’s mangy dog gives him when it begs for table scraps.

He clears his throat, trying to hide that he was caught off guard. “I refuse to rest where someone might try to dust us in our sleep,” he says evenly.

The monster just pouts up at him. His eyelights waver, almost seeming to tremble, but not from fear.

Papyrus realizes, with a dawning sense of horror, that the monster looks like he’s about to cry. How the fuck is he supposed to respond to that?

The only crying he’s ever dealt with is children, and he usually just scares them away so they’ll go home and not get dusted. But a crying adult not begging for their life? What the fuck is he supposed to do? Every idea that pops into his mind includes dusting the monster, and he’s not about to dust the monster that’s restored his HP and given him temporary refuge.

Never mind that the idea of dusting an alternate version of his brother makes him ill. Even if the two are nothing alike, the mere knowledge is enough to prevent him from attacking with the intent to kill.

“No one’s going to dust you,” the monster insists, the edges of his eyelights seem almost frayed now. “You’ll be safe here; I promise!”

Papyrus is loath to admit how out of his element he is. He’s never encountered something like this. “Only until the storm dies down,” he begrudgingly grumbles through a clenched jaw.

“Great!” The monster chirps and ushers him towards the stairs. “The guest bedroom is this way.”

Papyrus is too thrown by the monster’s sudden shift in mood to do much more than let himself be led. The monster was never on the verge of tears; the blue-clad pipsqueak played him!

He has to admit, thought, the room he’s given is nice, if a bit cluttered and small. It clearly doesn’t see regular use. Almost like it's there purely as a formality.

“Tell me if you want fresher bedsheets,” the monster says scratching at the back of his skull. “I haven’t changed these in almost a month. Otherwise, help yourself to whatever you want!”

Papyrus clears his throat, not used to this level of kindness. “This is more than enough,” he says before awkwardly tacking on a choppy “thank you.”

The monster beams up at him with a widening smile. His dark blue eyelights seem to gain hints of green as they morph into stars in his excitement. It’s… oddly endearing to witness. Papyrus never knew eyelights could do something like that.

He wonders, if his world had been a kinder place, would his brother have been happy enough for that to happen to him?

“I’ll be in the kitchen if you need anything,” the monster says excusing himself.

Papyrus is surprised when the monster actually leaves. He can even hear the other walk down the stairs. This world is just too odd for him.

He shakes his head and sets his brother down on the bed. It’s a full size, so they’ll both easily be able to fit.

He sets about removing the layers of cloth from his brother’s form. With everything they’ve been through in their lives, Papyrus would never have thought his brother could look this small and vulnerable. He takes his brother’s jacket and gently drapes it on the back of the desk chair. He neatly folds the two blankets and sets them on the desk.

He looks at the red scarf and feels like he’s about to suffocate.

It was one of the first gifts his brother got him; a congratulations for getting into the Royal Guard almost twelve years ago. They could still barely afford food at the time, so it was clear Sans had been skipping meals and overworking himself in order to afford it. In that moment, Papyrus had sworn to himself that he’d do anything to take care of his brother.

Oh, how spectacularly he failed.

Chapter Text

Sans enters the kitchen and has to pause to calm himself down. He can’t believe that worked. He knew it worked on Papy, but this scarier version of his brother had been a total gamble! Though, he has to admit, the look on the monster’s face when he realized he’d been duped had been priceless.

Taking one final deep breath, he gets to work. He’s put the left overs in the fridge and started on the dishes when he realizes the two monsters have no spare clothes. Drying his hands, he quickly makes his way to the laundry room. It isn’t laundry day, but that didn’t matter; he needs clean clothes for the two.

He heads up to his brother’s room next. It’s an absolute mess. Sans pushes the discomfort back and makes his way to the closet. At least that’s in decent order. He riffles through it looking for some of Papy’s smaller clothes. He still can’t believe the other monster was shorter than his own brother despite the heels. Not that they were large heels to begin with, but it’s still surprising nonetheless.

Sans finds a few items that would fit the other monster. Unfortunately, most of them are brightly colored. The other monster seems stubborn enough to refuse wearing something so different, even if it meant wearing dirty and damaged clothes. Eventually, he finds a dark brown hoodie. It was the one his brother had been too lazy to throw out when he outgrew it. Normally, Sans would’ve been annoyed, but right now he’s grateful for his brother’s laziness. He also snags a pair of sweatpants to go along with the hoodie. His brother never wears them due to how easily they show dirt and stains, so he probably won’t notice it’s gone.

He makes a detour to his own room as well. While he couldn’t gauge the size of the other Sans, they were likely similar in size. Sans, like his brother, doesn’t own much dark clothes. The only dark clothes he has are his sentry uniforms. He’d take those, but they’re not terribly warm. Now that he thinks about it, he doesn’t own a lot of warm clothing. He snags a thick red turtleneck he never uses and a pair of his grey sweatpants. 

Sans makes his way to the guest room and pauses. The door’s been closed, unsurprisingly, and he wonders if the other monster has gone to sleep. He pushes his hesitation away and knocks on the door. That’s more of a reason to give the other monster the spare clothes! So he and his brother can be more comfortable.

He belatedly realizes that he should probably come up with nicknames for the two. Probably for himself too. It’d be too weird to have any of them going by their actual names.

He’s pulled out of his thoughts by the sound of jostling metal. The door opens to reveal the armored skeleton standing tall but looking defeated. After everything Sans has been told— and how the other had spoken— he can’t help thinking that’s what someone who’s fallen from grace looks like.

“Do you need something,” the monster sighs.

Sans tries not feel too embarrassed when he realizes he’d been staring. He holds up the clothes for the other to see. “I brought you and your brother some clothes,” he says and points to the door at the end of the hall. “The bathroom’s that way if you want to shower. The hot water lasts a long time, so you don’t have to worry about it running out.”

A tension Sans hadn’t realized the other monster was holding eases slightly from his shoulders. He almost looks relieved as he takes the clothes with a muted nod.

Sans wants to say something, reassure the monster, but he draws a blank. Instead he returns the nod and leaves.

----

Sans sets some of the clothes apart as he folds the clean laundry. It’d be good for the other two monsters to have more clothes they can change into. Something to show them they’re welcomed to stay.

He lets his mind wander as he continues to fold the clean laundry. How was he going to explain this to his brother? As Acting Judge of the Underground, he won’t like the two monsters. Especially considering how high their attack damage is.

Would Papyrus go so far as to KR them?

Sans shudders at the idea. Maybe he can explain the situation; the Fallen monster’s condition and the other’s fall from grace.

He frowns down at the socks he’s sorting. That wouldn’t work. Papyrus still treats him like a child despite his age. He would hear what Sans has to say but do nothing beyond that.

His train of thought is halted by the sound of running water. It seems the monster took him up on his offer to use the bathroom. It lifts Sans’ mood. Whatever happened to the other monster in the past, he at least feels safe enough to move around on his own here.

Maybe Sans can continue to help the monster get back onto his feet.

 

A Fallen monster and his brother who fell from grace…

 

Sans wonders if the other would object to being called Fell. It’s a tad crude considering what he got it from, but Sans knows it won’t have the same implication forever. Eventually, it’ll be proof that the other monster can still rise and stand on his own feet despite all the misfortune that he's suffered.  

Though, Sans supposes he himself would have to adopt a nickname in return to simply get the other to consider it. He mulls over several options as he finishes folding the laundry. He sorts the clothes meant for Fell and his brother into one basket and puts his own and Papyrus' into a different one.

Sans takes his guests’ clothes up first. He pauses in front of the guest door. The shower is still running so Fell isn’t in the room. It would be simple to open the bedroom door and leave the laundry basket just inside, innocuous even. But given how skittish and paranoid Fell is, it would probably be taken the wrong way. Besides, Sans wants Fell to know he has autonomy here.

Leaving the laundry basket in the hall, Sans quickly retrieves a sticky note from his room. He writes a quick message explaining his intent and leaves it atop the pile of clothes. Satisfied, he heads back to the laundry room to retrieve his own things.

----

A loud crash rings throughout the house. Papyrus is on his feet in seconds, attacks summoned. He listens intently for any more noise. Did someone break into the house? Does his host expect Papyrus to defend him?

Dispelling his attacks, he grabs his knife instead and quietly exits the room. He’s barely stepped into the hall when a blue blur vaults over the railing.

Papyrus is instantly on guard. He rushes forward only to come to an abrupt halt.

“Oh my gosh, Papy!” The other Sans’ voice sounds alarmed. “Are you okay? Are you hurt?”

Papyrus creeps closer to the balcony and peaks down into the living room. The blue blur he saw was just his host. He briefly wonders if the monster would concede to being called Blue. It certainly seems fitting; and that’s not even taking the other’s clothing choice into consideration.

Unintelligible garble pulls him from his thoughts. He focuses back on the scene and sees Blue’s form sag in relief. “I know the storm’s died down, but you still shouldn’t have come home!” He scolds despite how worried he still sounds. Blue works to heft the much taller skeleton up. “You can’t even stand up straight!”

The other monster makes a vague hand gesture. He nearly pulls Blue down with him when he trips. Papyrus winces. There have been many times where his own brother was in a similar state.

“That’s even less of a reason to!” Blue scolds angrily. “You could have broken something!”

The monster says something again and pitches to the side, slipping out of Blue’s grasp. Papyrus is already wincing as the other monster’s head nears the coffee table. Much to his surprise, however, the monster’s soul glows a deep blue and he’s saved from nearly cracking his skull open.

“Sh, sh, Papy, it’s just me. It’s just Sans,” Blue murmurs as the other begins to struggle. He puts the taller monster on the couch and quickly dispels the blue magic. The monster curls on his side, seeming to whimper. Blue goes to his sides and rubs his back soothingly. “No one’s going to hurt you. You’re safe now. You’re home, Papy.”

It continues for a while until the drunk monster calms down enough to pass out. Papyrus feels like he’s watching something he was never meant to know about. Despite that, it helps him paint a better picture of this new world. It may be safe, but there are still dangers here. Those two monsters clearly didn’t have a completely safe childhood, after all.

----

Papyrus’ internal clock has him waking up early. He wants to go back to sleep, but so many years of waking at the same hour makes it impossible. He gets up with a groan and double checks on his brother.

Still no change in his condition.

Papyrus makes his way to the bathroom and quickly washes up. He’s not the first to wake, based on the humidity and fogged mirror. He’s glad he doesn’t have to look at himself in the mirror. He doesn’t think he could stomach what he sees. Not this early in the morning at least.

When he finishes, he peaks into the living room. The other monster is no longer on the couch. Pausing in front of the other two doors on the floor, he hears snoring from the door at the top of the stairs. So the drunk monster made his way to his room after all.

Papyrus heads downstairs intent on rooting through the kitchen. He hopes there’s enough to make a decent breakfast. He has no idea what he’s going to do with his day now that he’s no longer a Royal Guard.

He pauses at the door to the kitchen when he catches sight of Blue. The smaller monster is dressed in a grey shirt, dark grey pants, and knee-high cyan boots. Though, he can’t tell if they’re supposed to be winter boots or combat boots. Papyrus can even hear the slight chime of chainmail as the other moves around.

It takes him a moment to remember Blue told him he was a sentry in Snowdin. Well, he certainly looks the part. Sentries typically aren’t given armor.

“Oh! You’re up,” Blue says with an easy smile. “I’m almost done with breakfast if you want to take a seat.”

Papyrus looks around the kitchen. It’s clean despite the cooking going on. “Where do you keep the coffee?” He asks when he spots the coffee machine.

Blue directs him to the coffee, sugar, and creamer. He seems content with letting Papyrus make the coffee himself. Papyrus is glad, even if he won’t admit it. He doesn’t want to be coddled.

He’s on his second cup of coffee when Blue puts a plate down in front of him. He inspects the food, having never seen anything like it before. He thought Blue had been cooking eggs earlier?

Blue can’t quite hide his amusement as he answers the unspoken question. “They’re breakfast burritos.”

Papyrus merely nods and takes one of the burritos. It’s warm. Taking a bite, he’s surprised at the flavor. There’s eggs and bacon inside the flour concoction. There’s even vegetables and what tastes like a non-spicy salsa. Overall, it’s fairly tasty.

“What?” Papyrus asks when he notices Blue staring at him.

Blue startles having not realized how obvious his staring was. Again. “Well, um,” he starts off nervously. That instantly catches Papyrus’ attention. Blue has hardly shown any anxiety.

“I was thinking. Since calling each other by our names would get weird almost immediately,” Blue continues, “if I could call you Fell?” He winces at the end, as if the mere request was a bad idea.

“Fell, huh,” Papyrus repeats. It’s almost cruelly poetic. He wonders if it was intentional or a coincidence.

Blue quickly tries to take it back, looking all too flustered. He decides it’s a coincidence. Blue doesn’t seem like the type to be cruel when given the opportunity.

“It’s fine,” he interrupts. “But in return, you’ll be Blue.”

Blue looks at him questioningly. “Blue?” He asks.

Papyr−no. Fell motions to the scarf around Blue’s neck. “You’re always wearing Blue,” he says simply. He refuses to admit that it mostly had to do with the blue eyelights the other has; eyelights that scream integrity and kindness in equal measures.

Blue’s eyes morph from dark blue circles to those blue stars again. “I like it!” He declares excitedly. “It’s nice to meet you, Fell. My name’s Blue.” He smiles earnestly as he re-introduces himself.

Fell’s taken aback at how genuine this monster is. He’s not used to it. “Likewise,” is the only thing he can manage.

They finish their breakfast in silence. Yet, it feels oddly peaceful to him. Nothing like the tension of last night’s meal.

After a few more minutes, Blue gets up from the table. “Well I have to get to work. But help yourself to whatever you want,” he smiles. “You’re welcome to stay as long as you want.”

Fell can only nod in response.

Blue excuses himself leaving Fell to his thoughts. His past experience tells him that this is a trap meant to have him in another’s debt. The present, however, tells him it’s an act done out of genuine kindness. Something he’s entirely too unfamiliar with.

The sound of clanking metal draws his attention. He follows the noise to the living room.

Blue’s fastening silver plate armor to his torso. He even has blue leather gloves with silver plate gauntlets over top. He dresses like a Royal Guard despite being a simple sentry.

The armor’s overall quality looks good, too. It’s definitely built to take hits. It’s not new either, if the worn dark blue trim is anything to go by.

Blue is an enigma; his words and his actions don’t match his mannerisms. And Fell wants to know why.

Chapter Text

Fell gets lost in his thoughts as he finishes the coffee and cleans the dishes he used. He returns to his brother’s side, having nothing else to do. He spends too long mindlessly staring at his brother’s slowly rising and falling chest. This world is safer than his own, that much is certain. But there are still so many things that don’t make sense. Primarily Blue.

The red turtleneck and grey pants Blue had given him had been a good fit. Even if Blue was taller than his brother, Sans was fat enough that Blue’s big clothes fit him just fine. Unlike the clothes Fell had been given. The brown sweatshirt he’d gotten last night fit fine, but everything else had been too big.

It makes him feel uncomfortable to wear such loose clothing. It reminds him of when he and Sans were still children. They always had to get large clothes so it would still fit as they grew. A lot of things are making him feel like a helpless child recently…

Fell changes back into the clothes from last night— something that fits him properly— and starts adorning his armor. He wants something he’s familiar with. Anything to take the feeling of helplessness away.

He reaches for his scarf and hesitates. He hasn’t worn it since he wrapped Sans in it. He wants to wear it so bad, the only item of true value he has left.

He leaves it draped over his brother. He doesn’t deserve to wear it. Not after how badly he’s ruined their lives.

----

Finding the clearing is a lot simpler than he thought it would be. It’s a straight walk from the back door. The snow is piled high making the trek long but thankfully not unbearable.

Fell enters the clearing and sees no evidence of his skirmish with Blue. Not surprising since this was probably the center of last night’s blizzard.

He wonders how his Snowdin faired against the raging blizzards he and the machine caused. Had it caused any property damage?

Had anybody gotten hurt?

He shakes the thoughts from his head. He shouldn’t worry himself with that anymore. There’s nothing he can do about it.

Taking a deep breath, Fell clears his mind and gathers his magic. Just because he’s no longer in the guard doesn’t mean he should allow himself to slack off.

Slowly letting his breath out, he feels the magic form into two long bones in his hands. The ends are sharp as usual. However, they now have barbs near the ends.

He dispels them and summons a few bones from the ground. Those, too, have barbs along the ends.

Frowning, he dispels those as well. He summons a blaster to inspect. The construct’s teeth are sharper than before. Instead of the usual pair of aloof eyes staring back at him, six cold eyes glare down at him.

Oh, that’s right…

His level of violence increased. It’s no wonder his attacks reshaped to show how corrupted he’s become. His appearance did, so of course his attacks would too.

Stars, he’s turning into a true beast

A quiet sniffling instantly has him on guard. He summons a bone in one hand and looks around. “Show yourself,” he comands. He wonders if he should’ve used a tone other than the one he normally uses as a Royal Guard. 

One of the bushes at the far end of the clearing shakes. Fell narrows his eyes at it. Whoever’s trying to ambush him is doing a terrible job.

Eventually, a small yellow head pokes out of the bushes.

Fell feels like he’s had the wind knocked out of him as he looks at the child. He’s trembling, clothes dripping wet. “MK?”

The child lets out a loud whimper and runs towards him. Fell resist his reflex to strike the child rushing him.

The child trips over his feet and lands face first on the snow. He struggles to push himself to his feet as his whimpering turns into full on sobbing.

Fell dispels his attack. He stands there a moment, awkwardly watching the sobbing child.

Eventually he works himself up enough to approach. He has to remind himself that this isn’t his world anymore. The children here probably don’t put on an act to attract unsuspecting victims.

Upon closer inspection, Fell is certain this child is MK.

“Are you..." he trails off. He's never had anything like this happen to him. "Injured?” He asks awkwardly.

The child just starts to blubber harder. “I want my mommy and daddy!” A distinctly female voice says.

Fell is taken aback yet again. Not only is this MK a girl, but she has parents unlike her counterpart in his world. “Can you walk?” He asks. Stars above, he’s so out of his element.

MK nods through her crying.

“Good, good,” Fell mutters under his breath. He tries to be gentle as he nudges MK. Though, he’s not sure he does a good job judging by how she stumbles. “Follow me. I’ll take you back to town.”

MK follows him for about five minutes before she trips again. She has a much harder time getting up this time. Fell kneels down to awkwardly help her up. She’s trembling like a leaf and he can feel how cold she is through his gloves. She’s likely on the verge of hypothermia, if she doesn’t have it already.

Fell removes the small brown scarf he’d been given and wraps it around MK. Around his own neck, it had looked like a bandana, but it’s large enough to wrap a significant portion of MK’s body with.

He hesitates only a moment more before he scoops her up. “I’ll get you to town. Just… stop the crying,” he grimaces.

MK stifles her crying as best she can. She eventually starts dozing off in his arms. Fell makes sure to wake her up every time she closes her eyes for too long. She’s still too cold for Fell to let her safely fall asleep. Never mind that the notion of a child feeling comfortable enough in his presence to fall asleep is incredibly unsettling.

Eventually he makes it to the backyard of the house. By this point, MK’s crying has been reduced to sniffles and hiccups. He sticks to the tree line as he starts walking in the direction of the town. It feels a little weird to be walking east as opposed to west, but he’d rather follow the signs of life than the memories of his world.

He stops when he sees some of the towns people. He really doesn’t want to deal with any of them; even if they’re likely as soft as Blue and MK. “Wake up,” he says jostling the small monster. “We’re here.”

MK looks around blearily. Excitement and relief quickly overtake her features.

Fell sets her down before she can start wriggling. He expects her to take off running the second she sets foot on the ground. Instead, she looks up at him with wide eyes. Fell raises a browbone at her. “What.”

“What’s your name, Mister?”

He feels a little startled at the question. It’s stupid, but he’d forgotten that these monsters don’t know who he is. He doesn’t have a reputation here like the one he had in his own world. This small child wants to know who he is without a hint of fear in her eyes. “I am−,” he faulters. He’s no one. He gave up his name and title the moment he refused the Emperor’s demands.

But he’s not there anymore. He’s in this new world. “My name is Fell,” he eventually says. The name feels weird to say, like he’s simultaneously lying and finally telling the truth.

MK smiles brightly up at him. “Thank you so much, Mister Fell,” she says leaning forward to rub her cheek against his forearm.

Fell barely stops himself from reflexively fling her off at the sudden contact. Before he can even properly process it, she turns away and starts running deeper into the town.

On a curious whim, he decides to follow her from the shadows. He’s curious as to who this monster’s parents are.

MK’s in front of the Inn when a dog bursts through the door and tackles her.

Fell instantly summons a blaster at the sight of Dogaressa. But instead of terrorizing the small monster, the dog nuzzles MK and whimpers.

He watches with continually mounting confusion as Dogaressa starts licking MK’s cheeks. Dogamy soon joins the pile and nuzzles MK, tears streaming down his face. MK’s crying again as she nuzzles them back… happy to be home apparently.

The two dogs eventually take notice of the brown scarf wrapped around MK. They remove it and sniff it quizzically. They turn to sniff MK who giggles at their antics.

----

Fell lets his shoulders slump once he’s back in the guest room. He’d left as soon as he was satisfied that Dogamy and Dogaressa really weren’t going to terrorize or torture MK.

This world just keeps surprising him, and he feels drained each time it does.

He pushes the desk chair into the corner and takes a seat. He’ll be able to keep an eye on his brother, the window, and the door as he works. This universe may be safe, but the habit of vigilance is not so easily abandoned.

He removes his armor and lays it out on the floor in front of him. It’s caked in dirt, sweat, and residual dust. He wonders off handedly if any of that dust got on MK.

Fell busies himself with cleaning the armor. It’s a long and arduous task, but familiar enough to ease his nerves. He lets his mind fall blissfully blank as he works on removing the filth from every crevice.  

A knock on the door interrupts him. He sets the armor down with a sigh. He’s about to open the door when he belatedly realizes how dark it is. He must’ve started using his magic as a light source at some point. He flicks on the light and opens the door, not at all surprised to see Blue on the other side.

“Do you need something?” Fell says. He still feels a little detached after spending so long mindlessly working.

Blue smiles up at him. There’s a softness that hasn’t been there before. “Thank you, Fell.”

Fell’s taken aback at how sincere Blue sounds. Where is this coming from?

“For helping MK,” Blue continues sensing Fell’s confusion. “You didn’t have to, but you did. Thank you.”

Fell opens and closes his mouth a few times. He’s at a complete loss. He himself still isn’t entirely sure why he did it. Maybe from some misplaces sense of longing for his old life? Or maybe guilt for leaving his Snowdin behind? That he’s longer there to ensure Dogamy and Dogaressa don’t kill MK. That he isn’t even sure MK’s still alive.

Blue reaches for his arm, and before Fell can react, he pulls his hand away. “I just finished dinner if you want any,” he offers. He doesn’t wait for a reply as he makes his way back to the kitchen.

Fell’s glad. It gives him time to collect and recompose himself. Though, he still feels a bit off kilter when he goes down stairs.

The smell of lasagna hits him instantly. He hadn’t realized how hungry he was, or that it was so late.

“I don’t usually come back this late,” Blue says serving them both. Fell’s grateful the other skeleton is filling the silence with inane chatter so he won’t have to. “It’s kind of hard to reach us when we’re so far into the woods. Most of us— the sentries and guards I mean— didn’t come back until it was too dark to keep searching…”

Fell takes it back. This isn’t inane chatter and he doesn’t want to hear anymore.

“We were all secretly thinking MK hadn’t survived the storm… being out there all alone… At least half of us were just looking for dust…” Blue trails off briefly. He quickly recomposes himself, as if he hadn’t admitted something so horrible. “You wouldn’t believe how relieved we were to find out that MK made it home okay.” That soft look is back on his face as he smiles at Fell. “It’s all thanks to you, Fell.”

Fell merely stares down at his food. He suddenly doesn’t have an appetite anymore. How can Blue treat him like this? Like he’s not some beast with a LOVE of 18, with twisted attacks, and an even more twisted appearance?

“You asked me before: why help you instead of just killing you,” Blue says, instantly grabbing Fell’s attention. “This is why. Your LOVE doesn’t define you. You chose to help MK when you had no reason to.”

Fell, at a complete loss for words, just stares at him. Is this really the power of Judgment? The ability to look at a monster’s very being? The being buried underneath all the LOVE and dust?

He doesn’t even know who he is under all that LOVE and dust anymore. Yet, Blue believes in him. Believes he’s more than just a beast. That he can still be a good person.

Maybe…

Maybe he’ll be okay here. Maybe he can change; show Blue he can be that monster Blue believes him to be.

He feels a chill run up his spine.

Fell catches a bone moments before it collides with his face. Years of training and looking over his shoulder has let him react before he’s even sure what’s going on.

He drops it, forcefully cutting short a startled sound before it even forms. The chill worsens as his HP continues to drain.

KR.

Chapter Text

Fell pushes himself from the table as a barrage of bones are hurled his way. In the doorway stands the same monster from the previous night; the one that showed up drunk in the living room. He even seems to be a little buzzed at the moment.

Get The Hell Away From My Brother,” the monster growls, right eye ablaze with yellow-orange magic.

Fell snarls, summoning his own attacks to retaliate. He doesn’t care if he has to show Blue how wrong he is, how twisted he’s become. “A little late to play hero, don’t you think,” he sneers.

The monster launches another barrage of attacks at him. “I said to get the hell away!” He shouts, magic flaring.

Fell easily deflects each. Even if the monster has KR, he’s still as untrained as a child. Fell grunts as a bone stabs him from behind. Another 500 HP lost to KR. He growls, readying a warning shot.

“Papyrus! Don’t hurt him!” Blue shouts stepping between the two. He holds his arms out as he faces his brother.

Fell startles enough for his attack to vanish. Blue willingly has his back to him.

“Sans, get away from it,” the monster says stepping forward to pull his brother away from Fell.

Blue struggles against his brother. “He’s not here to hurt anyone!”

“Just go to Rabinne’s and let me handle this.”

Fell glowers as the other monster blatantly ignores Blue. It’s like he doesn’t respect his brother enough to listen to him. Fell makes a show of relaxing his stance. Showing the monster how little of a threat he considers him. “You’re acting quite high and mighty for someone who couldn’t even walk on his own last night,” he jeers condescendingly.

Blue flinches. The other monster just seems to grow angrier. “You’ve been watching us?!” He says, disgust and hatred clear in his voice.

“You call it watching, I call it investigating that loud noise that woke me up.” Fell blocks all the attacks sent his way. The monster even tries another identical hit from behind. Honestly, Fell would have to be a complete incompetent fool to fall for that twice. “Is that really all you’ve got?”

A wall of bones erupts around Fell, blocking the attacks sent his way. “I said stop it!” Blue shouts angrily. He retracks his attack and shoots Fell a dirty look. “And, Fell! Stop provoking my brother!”

The other monster looks at his brother in shock, like he’s never heard Blue sound or talk like that before. “Sans, you can’t be serious. Have you seen its attack damage? It’s dangerous!” He insists. “I know you don’t like it, but as Judge it’s my job to do something about it.”

“Judge? You’re fucking joking,” Fell spits without thought.

The monster glares at him. “The fuck do you know?”

Fell returns the glare. He feels a smug sense of satisfaction as the other shrinks back. “What’s my LOVE at, then. How about my HP,” He demands. “Can you even see my tag?”

The monster’s snarling at him again. “What does any of that matter?”

Fell glances at Blue. Blue won’t meet his gaze. Suddenly it clicks. “You’re the fucking executioner,” he says.

Blue flinches, like he’s been struck. The monster shifts to stand between him and Fell. “What would you know about Judgement,” he challenges.

“A lot, actually,” Fell says easily. “Considering my brother was the Royal Judge back in our world.”

He gets a suspicious look. “The hell are you talking about?”

Blue pushes past him to stand between the two again. “He’s from an Alternate Universe, Papy.”

“There’s no such thing,” the monster interrupts not even glancing at his brother.

“Oh, really,” Fell snorts condescendingly. He’s getting real tired of that monster’s blatant disregard for his own brother. “I bet you have a thin horizontal scar on your C5 vertebra. You’re missing a floating rib. Your left knee clicks− no everything in this world is backwards. It’s your right knee. And I bet that if it’s too cold all the joints in your right arm lock up.”

“How…” he whispers looking nauseous.

“Your brother told you. You just didn’t bother to listen,” Fell sneers. He doesn’t miss how Blue gives him a look of sympathy. 

The monster shakes his head and takes an aggressive stance again. “That doesn’t matter!” He says. “You’re too dangerous to be left alive!”

Fell drops into a defensive stance. There’s no way in hell he’s going to let himself get dusted. Not when he still has his brother to watch over and protect.

No.” In one swift movement, Blue has his brother pinned with blue magic. “I know you think you’re doing the right thing, brother,” he says seriously, “but I won’t allow you to harm them.”

The monster tries to hide his panic and discomfort as he struggles against the hold. “Them? There’s more of those beasts?”

Fell feels his anger flare. He snarls down at the monster and lets all his killer intent bleed forth. “Don’t You Dare Go Near My Brother.” He feels satisfaction as the monster’s eyelights shrink and brighten in fear. Having such a high level of violence has its benefits. This being one of them. “Is That Clear.

“Fuck you,” the monster spits shakily. 

Fell aims a ring of bones at the monster, satisfied when he starts to tremble. He’s no longer being held down by blue magic, but the monster’s too terrified to move. 

I Must have Misheard You,” Fell says coldly. “Is. That. Clear.

Between one blink and the next, he’s looking at dark blue eyelights. The fear they hold is clear, but the willingness to fight is just as present. “Calm Down, Fell,” Blue says softly.

“Sans, get away from him!” The monster sounds desperate and fearful.

Fell feels something cold grip his soul as he realizes what he’s doing. He let his anxiety and anger dictate his actions. He proved that other monster right. He showed Blue how wrong he was to believe in him. He’s nothing but a beast.

His attacks vanish as the sinking feeling increases. He’s being Judged again.

----

Blue stays steadfast as Fell’s eyelights slowly return along with their clarity. He can hear his brother’s bones rattle from how scared he is.

He checks Fell’s stats to see if there’s been any change to his tag. If there is a change, he doubts it’s a negative one, but he can’t be too careful.

 

Fell

LV 18

ATK 450   DEF 300

Just wants to keep his brother safe.

HP 16 873 / 18 000

 

Blue gasps. Fell’s base HP has gone down. When did that happen? Why did it happen?

He’s too shocked to stop Fell from darting past him out the kitchen. He hears Papyrus jerk away as Fell rushes past him too.

“Fell, wait!” Blue calls.

He’s stopped by a hand gripping the back of his shirt. He can feel how badly his brother is trembling. It makes him feel guilty for using blue magic on him. A shaky don't is all Papyrus can manage.

Blue looks between his brother and door to the guest bedroom. “Papy, please. Something’s wrong with Fell,” he says, worry clear in every word. “His base HP dropped.”

His brother tugs on his shirt harder. “Why?” He begs.

“Because he’s not a bad person!” Blue stresses. “He didn’t have to save MK, but he did.”

Papyrus looks at him skeptically despite how much he’s still trembling. Or maybe it’s because he’s still terrified that he looks so skeptical.

“He had seven HP when I found him. He was willing to die to protect his brother− he probably still is willing to,” Blue continues. He tugs at his brother’s hold. “Please, Papy. Let me go check on him.”

Papyrus’ grip on his shirt tightens. Blue hesitates. He doesn’t want to forcefully push his brother away, but he needs to make sure Fell is okay. He doesn’t want to have to choose between them.

His decision is made for him as Papyrus lets go of his shirt.

Blue takes the stairs two at a time, nearly tripping over his own feet in his rush. “Fell?” He calls, tentatively knocking on the door to the guest room.

He doesn’t get a response, so he knocks harder. “Fell, please. Open the door.” The lack of response is worrying him more. “Fell, I’m going to open the door, okay?”

He feels like he’s had the floor pulled from under him. The room is empty. Why would Fell just leave? He doesn’t seem like the type to run from anything. Was it the threat to his brother that scared him off?

“S−Sans?”

Blue turns back to his brother. Papyrus is on his feet, clinging to the doorframe of kitchen. “He… He's gone,” he says quietly.

Papyrus looks confused as he takes a shaky step into the living room. “Gone? Gone how?”

Blue clenches his teeth, resisting the urge to yell and run downstairs to hit his brother. He takes a deep breath and makes his way back downstairs as calmly as possible. “I mean he grabbed his brother and jumped out the window,” he explains.

Papyrus seems to freeze at the confirmation that there was another monster in the house. Blue tries to coax him towards the couch. Instead, Papyrus grabs him by the shoulders with a tight and shaky grip. “What is going on, Sans?” There’s a hazy unfocused panic to his eyelights.

Blue forces a cheery smile on his face as he grabs his brother’s hands. He needs to be a reassuring presence for his frazzled brother. “Take a seat and I’ll explain everything,” he says leading his brother to the couch. “Let me just get us something to drink.”

His brother is still too at a loss to do more than what he’s told. Blue goes to the kitchen to make them hot chocolate. Something warm after spending the entire day outside would be nice. He pauses by the table, staring at the barely touched plate of food Fell left. If he’d known his brother was coming home early, he would’ve taken the food to Fell’s room instead.

He shakes his head and continues to get the hot chocolate. He pauses in front of the pantry. He knows his brother keeps a “secret” stash of spiked honey in there. Would it be too much of a dirty thing to do to have his brother be buzzed for the conversation?

Swallowing his guilt, he takes one of the bottles out. He’s thankful it’s already open. It gives him the chance to pour some into his brother’s drink and hand him the bottle without it seeming too suspicious.

Blue’s relieved that his brother’s trembling has died down to a slight shakiness. They drink in relative silence for a while. Papyrus tries not to down the bottle of honey once he’s finished his hot chocolate.

Blue even let's him smoke. Something Papyrus usually isn't allowed to do inside. He waits until the edges of his brother’s eyelights start to dim and turn fuzzy before he starts to explain.

He tells Papyrus everything from the beginning. From finding the two, to discovering that Fell was willing to let his HP drop just to protect his brother. How Fell constantly puts himself between his brother and Blue. How paranoid Fell is about being attacked. How Fell asked why Blue would help them instead of just killing them. That despite how potentially dangerous Fell is, he still helped MK get home.

They lapse back into silence after he finishes explaining. Blue stares down at his barely touched mug of hot chocolate. He wants to go look for Fell. It’s still cold out from the blizzard. It can’t be safe or comfortable. Especially for a Fallen monster.

Blue sighs as he considers going out to look for him. It’s too dark to see. There’s a chance he could get lost or accidently spook Fell further. Fell’s already on edge as it is. He shouldn’t risk scaring him and getting hurt. Maybe he’ll let Fell calm down and look for him tomorrow.

“So what’s up with that Fell guy’s brother− what’s his name again?” Papyrus asks after a while. “Why’s Fell so possessive?”

Blue resists the urge to sigh. “Protective not possessive,” he scolds.

“Same difference,” Papyrus waves off. “Just, what’s wrong with him?”

Blue resists the urge to start an argument with his brother. They’re both too tired. He’s about to answer when he realizes he doesn’t have a name for the alternate Sans.

He omitted the part about Fell and his brother being alternate versions of themselves. He doesn’t want to overwhelm his brother. And he’d rather have Fell’s help explaining it since he’s still not entirely sure how that’s possible.

Papyrus gives him an odd look. “bro?”

Blue scrambles for something to say. He doesn’t know Fell’s brother so he can’t think of anything. But Fell called him Blue based on his scarf. And every time Blue’s seen the other Sans, he had a large red scarf wrapped around him like a blanket.

“Red’s Fallen Down,” he says. “That’s why Fell got so mad when he thought you were threatening his brother. Red only has a base HP of one… The slightest thing has the potential to accidentally kill him.”

Papyrus sits up looking startled. “And he jumped out the fucking window?”

Blue frowns at him. He’s starting to get really tired of all the cursing. “Yes.”

Why?” Papyrus asks still flabbergasted.

“Maybe because he was scared you were going to kill his brother,” Blue says not bothering to hide his disapproval and anger. He really should have expected this by now. His brother had heard him, but he hadn’t bothered to listen.

He misses the way his brother flinches as he gets up. “I’m going to bed, brother” he says curtly. “You should too.”

Chapter Text

Blue’s surprised to hear his brother’s door open and then close. He’d been expecting Papyrus to go out drinking after this. It’s what he usually does when he doesn’t want to think about or deal with something.

But then again, he did work the entire day. It had been a far longer day than usual, too. He probably came home early because he was tired. The little bit of spiked honey he had probably just made him feel more tired.

He hopes Papyrus is tired enough that his earlier seriousness feels like more of a dream than reality.

Blue lets out a long breath. He’s just too strung up to sleep. He may as well clean the mess in the kitchen. Maybe that’ll tire him out.

----

The first thing Blue does when he wakes up is check the guest bedroom. The door is still open, so is the window, and there’s still no sign of Fell.

Sighing, Blue closes the door. He leaves the window open in hopes that if Fell sees it, he’ll know he’s still welcomed.

After getting himself ready, he stops at his brother’s room. He can hear Papyrus snoring through the door. He realizes that he’ll have to come up with a nickname for his brother as well. He can’t very well say Papyrus when Fell will likely react to that name as well.

Blue takes a deep breath and puts a smile on his face. “Time to get up, Papy!” He shouts throwing the door open. Like usual, his brother startles awake only to grumble and roll over.

He goes over and fishes his brother’s ankle from under the cover. “Nope! Time to get up lazybones!” He drags his brother out of bed. It always amuses him how his brother grumbles the entire time despite doing nothing to prevent it.

It’s the same every morning. Blue tries to wake up his brother. His brother refuses, so he gets dragged out of bed by force. Today, though, Papyrus holds onto the edge of the mattress.

He looks like Alphy’s pet cat when she gets picked up against her wishes. As much as he knows the cat hates it, Blue loves seeing how the tiny kitty can stretch to such lengths. His brother’s doing a pretty good imitation of the cat actually.

Blue can’t help giggle at the comparison.

“whatre u laughin at?” Papyrus grumbles sleepily.

“You look just like Alphy’s pet cat,” he says between giggling snorts. An idea strikes him. He looks down at his brother with blue stars in his eyes. “Maybe I should start calling you Stretch! What do you think, Stretch?” He laughs.

Stretch blinks up at Blue confused despite his still half-asleep state. “… wut?” He eventually mumbles.

“I said it’s time to get up,” Blue huffs. “We both still have work despite the long day yesterday, so get your lazybones up! I expect you downstairs in twenty minutes, okay.” He flips on the lights just to make sure his brother doesn’t just go back to sleep on the floor.

Blue lets his mind wander as he makes breakfast. He wants to search for Fell now that it’s light out, but he can’t just skip sentry duties. Knowing Alphys, she’d probably use his absence as a reason why he’s unfit to join the Guard. Anything to keep herself from telling him the truth.

Just because he refuses to kill doesn’t mean he can’t still fight! It’s just not fair! Violence doesn’t need to be the solution to everything. If anything, violence just makes things worse! Just look at Fell. Blue extended a helping hand while Stretch attacked without question, and now Fell’s gone.

“What’s got you so worked up this morning?” Stretch snorts causing Blue to startle.

Blue resists the urge to snap at his brother. It’s too early in the morning for an argument. Not to mention he still feels a little drained from last night. Instead he pouts as he serves the food he made. “The eggs didn’t turn out as fluffy as I wanted them to,” he says. While it’s not a lie, it’s not what’s actually bugging him.

Stretch chuckles and pats him on the head. “s’alright. ’m sure they turned out fine”

Despite that not being the reason he’s upset, Blue still feels a little better. 

He finishes his food as quickly as he can and leaves the dishes in the sink. He’d usually wash them before leaving, but he wants to talk with the Dogi before work. “Well, I’m heading out now!” He calls back into the kitchen. “Oh! And I’m probably not going to be home until late. There’s left over lasagna in the fridge if you get hungry.”

“youre headin out early and coming home late?” Stretch asks skeptically. “bro aint you tired after the long day yesterday?”

Blue gives his brother a bright smile. “Nothing can tire the Sansational Sans out!” He boasts. And despite his attempt, his voice comes out less cheery on the next part. “Besides, I want to ask Dogamy and Dogaressa if they’ll help me look for Fell.”

“You mean that asshat’s real?” His brother shouts.

“Papy, language!” Blue retorts only to get a grumbled ‘sorry’ in return. “And yes, he’s real! Did you think it was all just some dream?”

Stretch grumbles under his breath with a halfhearted shrug.

Blue just looks at him. How did his brother come to that conclusion? It’s not like he went out drink− “Did you stay up drinking in your room?” Blue suddenly asks.

Stretch looks away guiltily. He’s not confirming it, but his lack of denial is confirmation enough. Blue lets out a long breath. He wants to get mad but knows it’s his fault for bringing out the honey to begin with. This is what he gets for doing something as dirty as spiking his brother’s drink to make having a conversation easier.

When his brother doesn’t say anything, Blue picks up his gauntlets and opens the front door. “You better be at your station on time, Papy.”

Blue grumbles under his breath as he walks further into Snowdin. He usually puts his gauntlets on before leaving, but he didn’t want to get in another argument or waste any more time. He picks up his pace once both gauntlets are properly secured. He just hopes the Dogi won’t be too bothered by his unannounced, early morning, visit.

The Inn still isn’t open for business, so he rounds the building to the back. The back of the Inn is their equivalent of the front of a house. He puts on his friendliest smile and knocks on the door.

Dogaressa opens the door. “(Little Sans!)” She says looking surprised. “(Good morning, how are you?)”

“Doing great! How about yourself?” He asks.

“(Much better than yesterday. Thank you for helping look for my daughter,)” Dogaressa says softly.

Sans smile softens. “It’s no problem at all. I’m glad she got home safely.”

Dogaressa nods hiding a quite whimper. She quickly shakes herself out of it. “(What can I do for you, little Sans?)”

“I was hoping to ask you and your husband something.”

Dogaressa tilts her head in surprised confusion. “(Come on in. We can talk inside where it’s warm,)” she says ushering him inside. “(We’re having breakfast; would you like any?)”

Blue shakes his head. He feels bad about having interrupted them during breakfast. “No thank you, Mrs. Dogi. I already ate.”

“(Of course, you have,)” she laughs good naturedly. “(I wouldn’t expect any less from such a good boy.)”

He has to suppress a grimace. He knows she means well, but the compliment makes him feel like a child.

She leads him into the kitchen where Dogamy and MK sit eating breakfast.

Blue can’t help the fond feeling that rises in his chest upon seeing MK wearing the brown scarf. The Dogi are still a happy family. All thanks to Fell.

Dogaressa bounds over to her daughter and husband. “(Hubby, hubby! Little Sans wants to ask us something.)”

Dogamy tilts his head inquisitively.

“Actually, it’s more of a favor,” Blue says hesitantly.

“We can’t promise anything, but we’ll try to help if we can,” Dogamy says. Dogaressa nods enthusiastically.

That makes Blue feel a little better. The Dogi are such kind monsters. “I was hoping you could help me track someone down,” he says.

“(What? Someone else is lost?)” Dogaressa asks destressed. Even Dogamy gives a low whine.

“No, no! Nothing like that!” He quickly says. “He just ran off and I don’t know where to start looking.”

Dogamy and Dogaressa don’t seem reassured in the slightest. “Who is it?” Dogamy asks.

Blue nervously glances at MK. “It’s Fell, actually,” he admits quietly. “He and my brother got into a fight last night and he never came home.”

MK perks up at the mention of Fell. “Mister Fell’s missing?” She cries. “Mommy, Daddy, you have to help!”

Dogamy and Dogaressa are both alert at the news. “(Of course, we’ll help!)” Dogaressa says.

Dogamy nods. “We can leave now.”

Blue smiles gratefully at them. He would love nothing more than to go searching now. “Unfortunately, I still have to work today. I was hoping we could look for him after I finish,” he says. “Besides, you two still have the Inn to run, too.”

Dogamy and Dogaressa whimper and whine. Even MK does her best imitation of whimpering and whining. It seems none of them are happy with having to wait.

----

Blue isn’t sure whether to feel relieved or annoyed as he looks at the remains of one of his puzzle-traps. All the Snowdin residents know where he sets up his puzzle-like traps and know how to get around them without activating them. Except Jerry, he somehow always manages to get ensnared.

Whoever had been out here clearly wasn’t from Snowdin.

It’s a relief to know Fell hasn’t left the Snowdin region. Though, Blue feels worried as he inspects the remnants of his puzzle-trap. What if it had hit Red? Even without the intention, in his Fallen Down state he could’ve been killed.

Blue continues to inspect and clear the area. The broken contraption is more of a hazard than an obstacle now anyways.

He sags in relief once he’s done. There hadn’t been a trace of dust anywhere. That means Red’s still safe. All that’s left is to find him and Fell.

----

Blue glares at his sheepish looking brother. “You know you’re not supposed to be out here, Stretch,” he scolds.

His brother loses the sheepish look quickly. “you were serious bout that name?”

“Yep!” He chirps. He grabs his brother by his hoodie and drags him away from the large door. “Now back to your post.”

“but i’m on break,” Stretch whines putting up minimal resistance.

Blue knows his brother just doesn’t want him to find out that he’s talking to a man behind that door. The first time he caught Stretch here, he’d been thrown off by the deep, admittedly kind sounding, laughter coming from the other side of the door. Stretch had looked so happy and proud of himself that Blue left him alone.

Now, though, Blue’s getting sick of his brother ditching work to talk to the man. “No buts,” Blue says firmly despite his brother’s snickering. “Your break ended ten minutes ago!”

Chapter Text

Blue feels restless as he waits outside the Inn. Since Fell took what little belongings he had with him, MK’s scarf is the only thing with his scent still on it.

Dogamy and Dogaressa had tried to convince him to get the Guard involved, but Blue adamantly refused. He’s not stupid, he knows Fell’s dangerous. A confrontation between the Guard and Fell can very well end badly, and he’d rather that not happen.

After what feels like forever, Dogamy and Dogaressa step out of the Inn with MK’s scarf. MK stands at the door, tears in her eyes. “Please find Mister Fell,” she says.

Blue puts on the brightest, most reassuring, grin he can. “Don’t worry, MK!” He says. “We’ll find him in no time!”

----

The Dogi are unable to pick up his scent in the town, so Sans leads them to the puzzle that had been destroyed. As he had suspected, Fell was the one that activated and subsequently destroyed it. They pick up another smell underneath Fell’s too. Blue has no doubt that’s Red they’re smelling.

They instantly steer towards the woods. It seems that getting caught in the trap had dissuaded Fell from staying on the path.

Blue can’t help but wonder why the dogs that live in Snowdin aren’t Guards. Surely having guards that can track smells— despite the lack of physical evidence— is more advantageous that the rabbits’ ability to see really far away.

As Blue continues to follow them, he realizes they’re getting closer to the tall door. The door’s sealed with powerful magic that prevents it from being opened from this side. Surely Fell can’t be on the other side. Besides, the man his brother talks with would have told Stretch about it. Right?

Eventually, they come to a stop. They’re deep in the woods. The ceiling of the cavern isn’t even visible through the branches any more. Both dogs whine and quickly circle the place.

“Smell… Smell stops.”

“(It’s gone. The smell’s gone.)”

Blue tries not to show his disappointment. He should’ve been expecting this. Fell was paranoid about being attacked; of course, he’d cover not only his physical tracks but his scent as well.

“(We’re sorry, Little Sans.)”

“Very sorry.”

He forces a smile on his face despite his disappointment. “It’s okay,” he says. They only whine louder and nuzzle his temple.

They continue to whine and they offer comfort. Blue can feel tears start to pool in his sockets, but he forces them down. Really,” he insists shakily, finally giving in to their comfort. “You helped me enough by leading me all the way out here.” 

The walk back to Snowdin is somber. None of them speak and Dogamy lets out the occasional whimper or whine.

MK’s waiting for them when they get back. It hurts Blue’s soul to see the look of hope on her face be crushed. She’s crying in an instant. She runs towards them and trips over her own feet. Dogamy and Dogaressa help her up and sooth her as best they can.

Blue walks over to MK and crouches to be at her level. He’d been given the scarf at some point during their search. “Don’t worry, MK. Fell’s a big strong monster,” he says softly. He wraps her up in the scarf. “I know he’s okay. I’ll find him and bring him back. Okay?”

MK sniffles as she starts calming down. “You promise?” She asks quietly.

“I promise.”

----

Blue’s surprised to see his brother sitting on the couch when he gets home. Or more percicely, he's surprised his brother is sober this late. Usually, he drinks at home before heading to Muffet's.

He doesn’t know what to say without sounding accusatory or judgmental, so he pretends like Stretch’s current state is normal. Besides, he’s happy to see his brother at home this late at night! “Hey, Papy!” He says cheerily. He shakes the snow from his clothes and leaves his boots by the door. “I’m home.”

“Yeah. I decided to wait for you before going to Muffet’s,” Stretch says carefully neutral. “Y’know, when you said you were gonna be home late, I didn’t think you’d be out this late.”

Blue raises a browbone. He pulls out his phone to check the time and balks. “Wowzers!” He exclaims. By now Stretch would normally be at Muffet's. “I can’t believe it got this late this fast!”

“What were you doing the whole time?”

“I told you,” he says frowning in confusion. “I was out looking for Fell.”

Stretch gives him a skeptical look. “The whole evening?”

“Yes?”

“You don’t sound so sure there, bro.”

Blue lets out an exasperated breath. “I’m just trying to figure out what’s going on! I told you I was going out to look for him! But you’re sitting here acting like I did something bad! If you don’t believe me, you can go ask the Dogi! I’m sure they’re still up.” He finishes his mini-rant with a huff and crosses his arms.

Stretch gets off the couch with a sigh. “sorry, bro,” he says approached Blue and affectionately patting him on the head. “m'just worried 'bout you”

Blue tries to suppress his frown and ends up pouting instead. He’s not a child. He’s more than able to take care of himself. “There’s nothing to worry about, though!” He insists stamping a foot in anger. “His stats don’t define him! He’s a good person!”

Stretch grimaces, not quite able to stop it before it forms. “i know you like to see the good in people, Sans” he sighs.

Blue grumbles under his breath.

Stretch leans down. “what was that bro?”

Blue shakes his head. “Nothing, Papy,” he says. “I’m going to bed; it’s late and we have work tomorrow.”

----

Blue goes searching the next day after work. There’s still no trace of Fell. Only the tracks the Dogi left behind.

He hopes the tracks don’t cause Fell to run off somewhere else.

 

His brother’s waiting for him— again— when he gets home.

 

----

Blue goes out searching the following day. And the day after that. And again after that.

He never finds a trace of Fell.

----

It’s been almost a week and Blue hates how everything’s fallen back to its usual monotony. Stretch returned to his routine of drinking again by the third night.

Even Alphys’ training has returned to the strength exercises form five years ago. Thankfully, she’ll still humor him with light sparring when he begs.

He only has half shifts on days he trains with Alphys, so at least on those days, he can search for Fell longer. Though, he does have to put his private training on hold. No matter!

----

Everything had returned to normal so quickly, he almost wonders if he imagined Fell and Red. The only reason he doesn’t outright dismiss them as some weird fever dream is MK.

Every day, without fail, she asks Blue how his search for Fell is going. She still wears the scarf Fell gave her; she refuses to go anywhere without it.

Blue always feels bad about telling her the truth; that he still hasn’t found anything. It hurts his soul to see her hopes get crushed day after day.

He wonders what Fell would think if he knew that MK and her parents were worried about him too. He wonders if Fell would believe it.

----

Blue grumbles under his breath as he makes his way to Muffet’s. He had told his brother that he had the early shift tomorrow and that he shouldn’t be out drinking!

He throws the door to the bakery-bar-whatever open. “Stretch!” He yells.

He sees his brother jump and subsequently shrink in his seat at the counter. “err… ‘ey there bro!” he mumbles awkwardly. The other patrons look between the two, trying to hide their snickers.

Normally, he doesn’t make a scene when he drags his brother home, but tonight, he’s upset. “What are you doing?” He demands marching up to his brother.

Stretch gives him a questioning look. “s’that a trick question or smth?”

Blue sighs. Of course, his brother was going to give him a smarty comment. “Stretch, you promised you weren’t going to drink tonight!”

Before Stretch can reply, Bonni throws an arm over his shoulder. “Aw, don’t blame him, Sans,” she coos drunkenly only to dissolve into giggles. “He was just lonely.”

Blue raises a browbone at Stretch who looks away embarrassed. The Green Bird— whom Blue still hasn’t been able to remember the name of— joins in on the laughter. “Any luck finding your mysterious stranger, Sansy?”

Blue gets the distinct feeling that he’s being made fun of. “Still nothing,” he says politely.

The Ugly Fish snorts from behind him. “Of course not,” he laughs. “Your probably just chasing your imaginary dream man.”

Blue simultaneously bristles and flushes with embarrassment. “Fell is real!” He insists. “Just ask−”

“yeah ‘n a total fucking dick,” Stretch mutters taking a sip of his drink. The three patrons that had inserted themselves into their conversation hoot with laughter.

“That’s because you attacked him unprovoked!” Blue retorts turning on his brother.

Stretch slams his drink on the counter. “Well What Else Am I Supposed To Do When I Come Home To See You And Some− Some Thing Making Googly Eyes At Each Other Across The Kitchen Table!?” He suddenly shouts.

Blue, like everyone else, is stunned into silence. Stretch doesn’t shout. Much less at him. He can count on one hand the number of times he’s heard his brother shout, and that includes the fight with Fell.

Bonni, in her drunken state leans more on Stretch. “You’re such a protective brother!” She coos between fits of laughter. “That’s adorable!”

The other patrons join in on laughing and cooing in a similar fashion.

Blue feels his face heat up. He feels humiliated. Why couldn’t his brother have just brought this up before instead of forcing them to talk in front of a crowd?

He squares his shoulders and turns a disapproving look at Muffet. She tries to act innocent despite the way her shoulders shake with laughter. “I can’t believe you let him drink when I specifically told you he can’t drink tonight,” he scolds.

Muffet’s still laughing as she leans against the counter. “Uhuhu. Money’s money, dearie,” she says running a finger under Blue’s chin.

Blue instantly backs away from her with a shudder. Muffet’s nice, but she always manages to give him the creeps nonetheless. He’s honestly surprised she doesn’t run something sleazier with how obsessed she is about making money.

Stretch slaps her hand away. “Back Off Muffet,” he growls placing a hand on Blue’s shoulder.

Muffet scoffs but holds her six hands up anyways. “You can’t be your brother’s keeper forever, dearie,” she sniffs haughtily. “He’s old enough to take care of himself. Ain’tcha, Sansy?

Stretch steers them away before he has the chance to reply. “Come On, We’re Leaving.”

“I can speak for myself, you know,” Blue says indignantly. Stretch just grumbles unintelligibly under his breath. Great. Not only is his brother drunk again, he’s angry now too.

They’re barely half way home when their phones chime. Stretch doesn’t bother reaching for his, so Blue’s left to look at the message.

He lets out a long sigh and tugs on his brother’s hoodie. “Stop, we’re being called in.”

Stretch staggers briefly as he fixes a questioning look at his brother. “s'late?”

“Someone broke into Doggo’s shop while he was sleeping,” Blue says already typing a reply. His brother groans loudly as he’s dragged back into town.

Blue secretly agrees with his brother’s sentiment. He’s tired and just wants to go home, too.

He hasn’t been getting his usual amount of sleep since he started looking for Fell. Not that he’s going to admit it. His brother already seems to hate Fell. He doesn’t need to make it worse.

Chapter Text

By the time the two get to Doggo’s shop, there’s already a small crowd gathered. Small Bun and Big Bun are holding them at a respectable distance from Doggo and The Rabbs. Blue and Stretch get through the crowd with ease.

Rabinne notices them first. She turns to her sister, Rabaroo, and quickly excuses herself. “Thank the stars you’re here,” she breaths. “Sans, Papyrus, I need you two to−,” she stops to squint at Stretch. “Are you drunk?” She accuses.

“no” Stretch says the same moment Blue replies: “Yes.”

Blue pretends he doesn’t notice the dirty look his brother sends his way. He’s more preoccupied with the look of absolute annoyance on Rabinne’s face. “Papyrus, go home,” she sighs. “Sans, I want you to collect statements from everyone here. Maybe someone saw something.”

Stretch starts to argue but is quickly cowed by the harsh look Rabinne’s sends his way. “You are dismissed, Papyrus,” she says curtly. “Do not make me repeat myself.”

He shoves his hands into the pocket of his hoodie and lowers his head. “see ya at home bro,” he grumbles and staggers away.

“I’m really sorry, Ma’am,” Blue says once his brother’s out of hearing range.

She shakes her head and pats his. “Don’t worry about it. He’s not supposed to be your responsibility,” she says kindly. “Now, do you have anything to take statements with?”

“Er, I’ve got my phone,” he grimaces.

Her ears briefly flick back and forth. “Well, I guess it can’t be helped. Things like this don’t happen often here, after all.”

----

He’s only four monsters in when he sees them. Dogamy and Dogaressa are anxiously hovering at the edge of the crowd. They don’t even try to hide the fact that they’re focused on him.

Blue’s continues to take monsters’ statements as he works his way in their direction. It takes him a while to get there, and they’re both practically whining when he does.

“That smell!” Dogamy starts only to get cut off by his wife.

“(It’s him! It’s him!)”

Blue freezes. He wants to look at the broken-in store but restrains himself. Why would Fell break into the store? What does he gain from it? And why now? It’s been little more than a week since he ran off. It doesn’t make sense.

“Are you sure?” He asks.

Both dogs nod vigorously.

Blue worriedly glances over his shoulder. Thankfully Rabinne and Rabaroo are busy collecting statements from other monsters now that they’re done talking with Doggo.

“(Sorry!)”

“Sorry!”

Both dogs whisper simultaneously. He can’t begrudge them for it, though. Hearing that news had re-energized him from his previously fatigued state. “It’s okay. Thank you for the information! It’s really useful!” He says smiling. “You both did really, really good telling me!”

Both dogs perk up at the compliment.

“Good luck, Sans!”

“(Best luck, Sans!)”

Blue smiles as they both take their leave. After a week of dead ends and aimless searching, he finally has a solid lead on Fell. He’s not happy that said lead is a crime, but he’ll take it.

----

Blue suppresses a yawn. It took so long to collect statement. His fatigue from his constant searching isn’t helping either.

He’s glad when Rabinne yawns. At least this way he won’t look bad next time he has to yawn. “So, did anyone notice anything?” She asks through another muffled yawn.

Rabaroo shakes her head. “No one I talked to noticed anything,” she says.

“Same here,” Blue adds. “So, what exactly happened?”

The two rabbits look at each other, having a silent conversation.

Blue tries not to feel annoyed or disappointed. He should’ve expected they wouldn’t tell him anything. He’s not sure why he’s even surprised anymore. Besides, he’s still only a sentry.

He waits as patiently as he can for them to finish.

Rabinne turns back with a huff. “Follow me,” she says motioning towards the shop.

Blue’s so surprised he almost forgets to move. He’d been expecting a censored half-truth. He never would have expected that he’d be shown everything.

Doggo, much like the Dogi, has his home located behind the shop. He sits on the steps to the door, vigilant as he looks around and sniffs his surroundings.

“Doggo,” Rabinne greets. “How are you feeling?”

“Like I can’t even sleep in my own home anymore.”

Rabinne winces, not having expected that response. “You can stay with one of us if that makes you feel safer,” she offers.

“Finding the beast that broke into my house would make me feel safer!” Doggo barks.

“Yes, we’re working on that,” she replies. “In the mean, time, can you tell Blue what you told us?”

Doggo sniffs around briefly before focusing on Blue. He gets closer as he continues to sniff.

Blue never realized just how big Doggo really is. It’s kind of intimidating with how ill-tempered he is at the moment.

“You have a kid helping you?” He eventually says in Rabinne’s direction.

Blue bristles. “I’m not a kid!” He says indignantly. “I’ve been a sentry here for over five years!”

Doggo doesn’t look convinced as he leans down to sniff him again.

“He’s telling the truth, Doggo,” Rabaroo sighs irritably. “Please don’t be difficult about this.”

Doggo grumbles under his breath and finally backs off. He returns to his spot on the steps to his door. “Sorry,” he grumbles curling in on himself. 

“It’s okay! I over reacted anyways,” Blue says cheerily. He approaches at a slow pace to prevent the other monster from feeling cornered. “I mean, I’d feel super uneasy, too, if someone broke into the one place I felt safest in!”

Sans!” Rabinne hisses.

Doggo whines and nods his head. He doesn’t seem at all bothered by Blue’s seemingly tactless words. “If I hadn’t gotten up to use the bathroom, I never would’ve noticed someone broke in,” he whimpers.

Blue takes a seat next to him, and on a whim, reaches over to pat his head. He’s relieved when Doggo relaxes into the petting. “Wow, that must have been scary!” Blue says. “But don’t worry, we’re here to keep you safe now!” He gives the dog monster a reassuring grin despite his near-blindness. “Why don’t you tell me what happened?”

He’s much calmer telling Blue what happened than he was when the Rabbs had talked to him. He also seems to be saying more as Rabinne starts jotting down everything he says.

The door had been forced open, but it’d been so precise it was almost impossible to tell. The only things taken had been food and water. It seems like Doggo had caught him when he first broke in since barely any of the food or water was actually missing.

Blue can’t help the sinking feeling he gets from learning that. How long has it been since Fell last ate if he resorted to breaking and enter? How long could he last on what little he took?

He’d need to be on the lookout at night if he wanted to find Fell, he realizes. But how is he going to be able to stay up all night waiting for Fell without drawing attention to himself and still do his usual day work?

He looks at the Rabbs and notes their heavier than usual clothing. Even Doggo, who’s normally unfazed by the cold has a thin jacket on. Blue, however, doesn’t feel any colder than he does during the day. Maybe he can use that to his advantage.

“Why don’t I start doing a night lookout?” He suggests happily.

Rabinne and Rabaroo look at him confused while Doggo perks up. “Really?” Doggo asks. “You’d do that?”

Blue’s grin widens. “Of course! The Sansational Sans is always willing to help any monster in need!”

“Maybe one of us should take night lookout,” Rabinne says gently. It’s clear she doesn’t like the idea of Blue volunteering for it, but she can’t say anything in front of Doggo without upsetting him.

“Nonsense! You would freeze out here with how cold it gets!” Blue chirps. “Shouldn’t the monster who hardly feels the cold be the one to handle the cold nights?”

He can see Rabinne try to come up with another reason to deny him. Thankfully, Doggo chips in. “Ain’t your vision pretty bad in the dark too?” He asks wearily.

Rabinne deflates with a huff. “Very well,” she concedes. “Sans, your day shift will be rotated to others while you handle night watch.”

Blue has resist the urge to pump his fist in victory. He settles on a simple salute. “Thank you, Ma’am!” He says unable to hide his excitement. “I won’t let you down!”

“Alright, you start tonight,” she says with a nod. “I’ll inform Alphys of the change in the morning.”

Blue tries not to grimace at the realization. He’s so tired. He just wants to sleep. But now he’s going to stay up all night with nothing to do. Why didn’t he plan this out better? “Can I bother you to tell my brother about the change too?” He asks. “Knowing him, he’ll try to stay up all night waiting for me.”

Rabinne raises an eyebrow but agrees anyways.

She and her sister leave him with Doggo. It’s oddly peaceful considering the fact that there was just a robbery. It almost doesn’t feel real considering there hasn’t been a robbery in almost ten years.

“Say, Sans,” Doggo says. “I really ‘preciate you doing this for me. And I’m sorry bout calling you a kid.”

Blue smiles. “It’s no problem,” he says easily. “And don’t worry to much about the slip-up. Everyone tends to forget I’m not a little kid.” Doggo frowns, like he’s about to say something but Blue keeps talking. “You should probably try to get some sleep. It’s been a really tiring night for you after all.”

Doggo merely watches him— or stares in his general direction really— for a few more moments. “Alright,” he concedes, “but at least let me offer you some coffee.”

“That’s very kind of you!” Blue chirps happily. He wouldn’t have thought to drink coffee to stay up. “Thank you.”

----

Blue almost regrets his decision to become the night watch by the time the bunnies come to relieve him. Almost. He never realized just how dang long the night was. It felt like forever before the artificial lights started brightening.

He’s just grateful he finally gets to go home and sleep. Night watch had been so boring.

“mornin’ bro,” Stretch says the moment he opens the door.

Blue tries not to wince at the accusing tone. “Morning!” He chirps happily. “Wowzers, I can’t believe you’re actually up at a reasonable hour for once, brother!” He can’t help making a jab of his own. He’s too tired to deal with his brother how he knows he should.

Stretch just shrugs. “s’less about being up early ‘n more ‘bout confirming a hunch.”

Blue tries not to let the smile slip off his face. He doesn’t like where this is going. “Erm,” is all he can manage.

“it’s Fell isn’t it,” his brother accuses. “that’s why you’re out there.”

Blue can’t think of any way to refute that. He’s too tired to come up with a believable lie. “So what?” He says defensively.

Stretch bristles at the confirmation. “Why are you so obsessed over it?” He nearly shouts. “It’s dangerous! Even its form’s twisted by its violence!”

That’s enough!” Blue snaps. “You don’t know a thing about him! By your stupid logic, Alphys should also be Judged! At a LOVE of 7 her claws and teeth are sharp enough to pierce anyone without conscious intent. At a LOVE of 5 the Royal Scientist refuses to admit how much she’s drowning under the weight of her mistakes. At a LOVE of 12 our Queen regrets her decree of war!” He lists off mercilessly. “Do you wish to Judge them, brother? What about the man behind the door? What would you do if he had a high level of violence? Would you be able to Judge him?”

He knows he’s gone too far almost instantly. His brother’s eyelights have completely gone out. He’s about to apologize when his brother’s too tense voice cuts him off.

“Who else know?” He asks carefully. “Who have you told about him?”

Blue can only blink in surprise. He knew the man behind the door was important to his brother, but he never realized just how important the man really was. “I haven’t told anyone,” he says truthfully.

“Why?”

“Because he makes you happy; and I trust you enough to respect your choices,” he says softly. “So please, trust me.”

He feels his Soul clench painfully at how his brother’s form seems to sag. “i just… you’ve changed so much since he showed up” Stretch whispers sadly. “you hardly use your own name anymore.”

Blue feels an overwhelming sense of guilt at hearing how lost his brother sounds. He can’t help himself. He rushes to his brother and envelops him in a hug. He feels a brief sense of relief as his brother returns the hug. “I’m still the same brother you’ve always known,” he reassures.

Stretch only tightens his hold. It makes Blue feel worse. He really should have been more careful. He knows how his brother is. He should’ve shown his change more gradually.

 

Papyrus

LV 3

ATK 01   DEF 10

Isn’t sure what to think anymore.

HP 33 / 33

 

He spends the morning trying not to cry himself to sleep.

Chapter Text

Waking up while it’s dark out is one of the weirdest things Blue has experienced. Even after nearly five days, he still feels a sense of whiplash. It feels weirdly wrong to be awake while everyone sleeps and sleep while the rest of the world is awake. It leaves him feeling oddly detached and more tired than usual, but he tries not to dwell on that feeling for too long.

He just knows that taking the night shift means his brother comes home when he leaves.

 

Papyrus

LV 3

ATK 01   DEF 10

Isn’t sure what to think anymore.

HP 33 / 33

 

Blue tries to ignore the bitter taste in his mouth as he checks his brother’s stats before he leaves. He hasn’t needed to do daily checks in nearly five years. He doesn’t like that he has to do it again.

Though, he should’ve seen it coming. He’d grown too comfortable with the steady thirty-five. Of course, it was bound to continue to drop sooner or later. He shouldn’t have been so careless.

He’s pulled out of his thoughts by the sound of crunching snow. He checks the time with a sigh and quickly scans the area. This is usually the time that Ugly Fish goes home.

Blue sucks in a sharp breath. That’s not Ugly Fish. He shifts to hide himself behind the chimney stack. He knew sitting on the roof would be his best bet.

He watches as Fell slinks back into the shadows of Muffet’s. Ugly Fish has just left and walks right past the hiding monster, blissfully unaware of the two sets of eyes on him.

He concentrates his magic as much as he can and teleports. He lets out a quiet sigh of relief at the sight of the back entrance to Muffet’s. Fell is barely creeping out of the shadows, attention mostly trained on the back door. Blue frowns hoping Fell isn’t thinking of breaking in. Muffet’s is still open for business, there are monsters in the building that would surely spot him.

Much to his horror, Fell makes a beeline for the dumpster. Blue can feel his Soul cry out for the other. No one should have to live like that.

Concentrating his magic to teleport is much simpler this time.

Fell brandishes his knife in an instant, killer intent rolling off him in waves.

Blue can’t help his reaction as he stumbles back at the sudden wave of malice that hits him. If this is what Doggo had experienced, he’s surprised at how calm the monster had been.

The sense of malice stops as abruptly as it had started. Blue’s left staring owlishly at Fell. He sees shame briefly cross the other monster’s features before his expression becomes guarded once more.

Blue realizes he never planned on what to do once he found Fell.

“It’s late,” Fell accuses wearily. “What are you doing out so late?”

“Well,” Blue says keeping a light tone. “I’ve taken night watch since you broke into Doggo’s shop almost a week ago.”

Fell shifts and his expression hardens. Blue notes that he looks like he’s about to run. “I’m not going to let you arrest me,” he says threateningly.

Blue frowns. “I’m not going to arrest you− I don’t want to arrest you!” He admits. “I just want you to come home.”

Fell stiffens for the briefest of moments before quickly recomposing himself. “Why?” He spits. “So that your brother can execute me?”

Blue flinches. Fell takes the opportunity to run.

“Wait!” Blue calls running after him. Stars above, Fell is fast! But Blue refuses to lose him again!

He’s never been more thankful for his ability to teleport, otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to keep up. They’re out of the town and deep in the woods before he knows it. He nearly crashes into the trees more than a few times from how quickly he has to move to keep up with Fell.

The teleporting is tiring him out quicker than he’s expecting. He pushes past the sudden fatigue. He’s scared of losing track of Fell; it feels like losing him now would mean losing him for good. “Please stop!” he shouts desperately. “Fell!”

Blue lets out an undignified yelp as he slams into Fell. Pain shoots through his arm as they careen into a nearby tree. Seems like he overshot the jump.

Despite the pain in his arm he latches onto the closest part of Fell that he can. “Will you just stop it already!” He grits his teeth against the pain as Fell’s claws dig into his arms and back. It’s hardly a detriment to his HP; much like when Alphys accidentally scratches him in her excitement.

He tightens his grip. Fell, despite wanting to get away, refuses to consciously hurt him. That’s more than enough proof that he’s not a bad person!

Blue knows it’s going to be a low blow, but he refuses to let Fell and Red spend any more time sleeping in the woods.  “If not for yourself, then do it for your brother!” He shouts. “Don’t let him die out in the cold!”

In an instant, Fell stops struggling. “Why do you care so much?” He asks. The exhaustion and weariness in his voice is too much for Blue.

“I don’t know,” Blue admits, “but I do.” He feels Fell sag in his hold. Blue opens his eyes not having realized he’d closed them in the struggle. He has his arms around Fell’s chest with one of his arms trapped between them. His Soul clenches painfully in his chest at the look of defeat on Fell’s face.

“I hurt you.” He says with that same tired tone.

“I don’t care!”

“I almost killed you and your brother.”

“But you didn’t!”

“I’ll hurt you and your brother in the future.”

“Not on purpose!”

“How can you be so sure!” Fell suddenly snaps angrily. “Just fucking look at me! My LOVE has twisted me into a stars-damned beast! I am built to hurt others!”

“I am looking at you! And you are so much more than your LOVE!” Blue insists fixing him with a hard look. He lets the full force of his Judgment course through him and turn his eyelights a blazing yellow. “I see it in the gentleness you use when handling your brother. I see it in how you helped a lost child without expecting anything in return. I see it in how you let your LOVE scare others off instead of harming them. I see it in the way you don’t want to hurt me!”

Fell looks away, unable to hold his gaze for long. “You are by far the strangest monster I’ve ever met.”

Blue smiles. He finally releases his hold now that he’s sure Fell won’t try to run. “Not everyone can be as amazing as the Sansational Sans,” he grins offering a hand to Fell. “Now come on, let’s get you and your brother under a roof and into a warm bed.”

Fell reaches for his hand before pulling away at the last moment. Blue tries not to show his disappointment but lets it go. Fell didn’t run so he’s happy enough with that.

Fell’s pace is much more subdued now as he leads Blue through the woods.

“So, what happened to your gloves?” Blue asks.

Fell doesn’t answer right away as he continues to lead them through a seemingly random route. “They’re drying,” he eventually says.

Blue frowns. That sounds… not good. The rest of the walk is spent in silence. Blue can’t think of anything else to say and Fell doesn’t seem to want to talk either.

Eventually, they come to a small alcove. It takes Blue a while to recognize the place; it’s the wall the large door lies on. It’s incredibly off the beaten path, but definitely in the direction that Dogaressa and Dogamy had taken him.

The first change of clothes Blue had given Fell and his brother that initial night are lain out on the floor. Fell’s gloves and armor sit next to them as well, with less care put into them. Fell stops to pick up his gloves and put them on despite how the frozen water soaking them cracks and crunches.

It takes Blue a moment to finally see Red. He’s hidden pretty well in the back of the small cave. He’s wrapped in the tattered brown blanket and that red scarf.

“I’ll carry the clothes,” Blue offers the moment he notices Fell start to stack them. He’s glad that Fell lets him do at least that much. Though it’s likely so Fell can carry his brother himself.

He’s expecting the clothes to crunch like the gloves had. Though, to his surprise, they don’t. There are a couple crunches around the thicker parts of the fabric, but nothing like Fell’s gloves.

Blue turns to Fell with a reassuring smile once he’s collected all the clothes and the armor. “Ready?” He asks. Fell just nods stiffly.

He can practically feel the tension and weariness rolling off Fell as they walk. He wants to say something to reassure the other; something to calm him down. He draws a blank.

They stick to the outskirts of town despite the late hour. It seems a little excessive to Blue, but if it makes Fell feel safe, then he’ll gladly oblige.

He frowns upon seeing the living room light on. His brother isn’t one to leave the lights on, so that must mean he’s awake. Blue really would have rather tell his brother about Fell the following morning. He quickly feels guilty about the thought. Pushing the explanation for later is exactly what had landed them in their current predicament.

Blue pushes the front door open— only mildly annoyed that it’s not locked— and instantly spots his brother on the couch.

Stretch is instantly on his feet. “bro whatre…” he trails off as he focuses his attention behind Blue. “You.”

Blue enters the house and holds the door for Fell. He frowns seeing Fell shift to put himself between Stretch and his brother.

“If you attack me now,” Fell says coldly. “I promise your death.”

Blue’s about to scold him when he catches sight of Red. He feels his Soul sink. Out in the dark he hadn’t realized how poor Red’s condition was. The Fallen skeleton is already looking grey. “Come on,” he says redirecting Fell’s attention. “Let’s get you upstairs.”

They don’t get far before Stretch grab’s Blue by the arm and pulls him away from Fell. “Why are you hurt?” He asks accusingly.

Fell stiffens so briefly it’s barely noticeable. “That would be my fault,” he says evenly. “I was not wearing my gloves at the time, so when your brother latched onto my ribcage, my claws scratched him while I attempted to get him off.”

Stretch growls at the other monster. His grip tights on his brother unconsciously and Blue has to hold back a wince of pain. “It wasn’t on purpose!” Blue insists. “It’s like when Alphys does it!”

Stretch clenches his jaw as he looks between the two. He’s still clearly unhappy about the injuries, even if they were an accident. “Why weren’t you wearing them then?” He challenges.

“They were drying,” he says evenly.

Stretch makes a skeptical noise. “Drying."

Fell squares his shoulders despite keeping himself between Stretch and his brother. Shame flashes over his features again so briefly Blue wonders if Stretch even noticed it. “Yes, drying,” he grits out.

“And what would you be doing that would get your gloves wet?” Stretch asks.

“If you must know,” Fell spits. “I was washing what little clothes we have in the river.”

Blue feels sick having his suspicions confirmed. He glances at his brother when he feel’s the other’s grip on his arm suddenly go slack. Stretch is slack-jawed in surprise, and hopefully guilt.

“Any more questions?” Fell spits.

Blue quickly detaches himself from Stretch to return to Fell’s side. “No,” he answers for his brother. He urges Fell on, trying to keep a friendly tone to his voice. “All the stuff I gave you is still upstairs. I’ll put your clothes in the wash and get you something warm to eat,” he offers. “How does that sound?”

Fell scrutinizes him for a moment before nodding stiffly. “That would be appreciative.”

Blue quickly glances at his brother who looks away guiltily. 

 

Papyrus

LV 3

ATK 01   DEF 10

Isn’t sure what to think anymore.

HP 33 / 33

 

He breathes a silent sigh of relief. His HP didn’t drop.

They make it to Fell and Red’s room without further incident. Blue rushes to close the still open window. “Sorry,” he says in a rush. The room’s cold and there’s a bit of snow on the floor in front of the window. “I’d left it open in case you wanted to come back…”

“You really are a strange monster,” Fell comments setting his brother on the bed. “For being the Judge.”

Blue shifts uncomfortably. “A−about that,” he says hesitantly. Fell’s attention is on him so quick he falters.

“You don’t want your brother to know,” he observes.

Blue nods.

Fell scrutinizes him again. Blue has trouble not shifting nervously under his gaze. “Very well,” he eventually says.

“Thank you,” he breathes.

----

Blue tries not to feel guilty ignoring his brother’s scrutinizing gaze as he put’s Red and Fell’s clothes to wash and takes food up for him. Stretch hasn’t voiced his discontent with the situation, but it’s very apparent.

“Hey, Stretch?” He says waiting for his brother to respond. It’s been two weeks and his brother still has trouble remembering to respond to that name.

“er yeah bro?”

“I still have to go back to my night patrol,” he explains. “Can I trust you to put the clothes in the dryer when they’re done and not pick a fight with Fell?”

Stretch presses his teeth together. “okay bro” he says. “i just… i hope you know what yer doin”

Blue gives his brother a relieved smile. “Thank you, brother!” He says happily. He gives his brother a tight hug in gratitude. “And I promise to explain everything tomorrow!”

Chapter Text

Explaining his injuries to Rabinne and her sister is trickier than he’s expecting. They buy his lie but only barely. It’s times like this that he’s glad others forget he’s an adult. It makes giving otherwise farfetched explanations believable. Like saying he mistook the time and didn’t realize the noise was just Ugly Fish going home and not the would-be thief; that he fell off the roof trying to dispel his attack to capture them.

When he gets home, his brother’s sitting at the kitchen table. He doesn’t look like he slept at all last night. Blue feel guilty for doing that to him.

“Hey, Stretch!” Blue greets. “You look tired, sure you don’t want a nap before your shift starts? I don’t want you falling asleep at your post.”

“i called in sick” he replies through a yawn. “i’d rather hear an explanation first”

“Alright,” Blue concedes without argument. While it’s incredibly irresponsible for his brother to have called in sick when he’s not, Blue can’t really get mad at him for lying. “I’ll go get Fell and he can explain everything while I make us breakfast.”

Stretch grumbles through another yawn.

Blue goes up to Fell’s room and knocks. He hopes he’s not waking the other considering how early it is.

He doesn’t wait long before Fell opens the door. He doesn’t say anything as he looks down at Blue.

“If it’s okay with you, my brother kind of wants an explanation,” Blue says nervously. He can’t help feeling like Fell’s closed himself off. “I’m also going to be making breakfast,” he offers.

Fell simply nods and closes the door behind him.

Stretch watches them wearily as they enter the kitchen. His previous fatigue is hidden behind his look of suspicion.

Fell explains the circumstances leading to his arrival in an oddly clinical tone. Blue can’t help feeling sorry for how overwhelmed the other must be. To find out his brother had Fallen Down after being in a bad fight… That must have been awful. And right after he’d been replaced by another Royal Guard

When he gets to the machine, Blue has to be careful to not show how sick he feels. Stretch still checks his machine even though it barely functions and usually only works to lower his base HP.

Blue serves the pancakes he made hoping to diffuse some of the tension. He doesn’t even scold his brother for using the spiked honey instead of the regular honey. It doesn’t work as Fell gets an odd expression on his face before schooling it back to the neutral impartial stare he’s had since last night.

By the end of his explanation, Stretch is sitting tensely with a clenched jaw. The silence feels suffocating as he and Blue slowly digest the full story.

Abruptly, Stretch stands starling Blue. “Come with me,” he says tensely. Blue’s quick to stand.

Fell doesn’t so much as move.

“for fuck’s sake” Stretch breathes irritably. “i’m not leading you to some trap” he tries not to snap. “i just wanna confirm something with my machine.”

At that, Fell finally stands. Though, he stays weary of Stretch and their surroundings. He seems confused at the fact the Stretch keeps the machine in the back room.

Blue tries to act surprised and interested when he steps into the room. “Wowzers, Stretch!” He says looking around the surprisingly clean room. Last time he had been here it’d been cluttered “I didn’t know you had your own mini-lab! Though I guess it shouldn’t be so surprising,” he laughs.

Stretch pats his head affectionately. Fell, however, narrows his eyes at Blue.

Blue tries to pretend he doesn’t notice. There’s no way Fell can see through him that easily already.

Stretch goes to the far end and removes a tarp from the old looking machine. He starts it up and the room is instantly filled with heavy pulsating magic. He spends a few seconds typing on the machine before a long strip of paper starts to be ejected from one of the side slots.

They wait in an awkward silence as it keeps printing. After a while, Stretch takes it and pins one end to the wall. When it gets too long, he cuts it and starts the process again just under the pinned strip.

He takes a red marker and beelines to the bottommost strip. “you said you got here little over two weeks ago?” he confirms.

“Yes.”

Stretch circles a point on the sheet and scribbles something in his nearly illegible hand writing. He quickly goes back to the machine and starts typing into it again. He pulls a notebook from one of the filing cabinets and starts scribbling into that too.

Blue watches him work as Fell studies the sheets on the wall. He eventually stops at the middle of the top strip. “What is this?” He asks.

Stretch startles out of his work having completely forgotten they were there. He looks to the top strip and clenches his jaw. “so you know how the machine’s supposed to be like some universe clock to keep track of the Underground and stuff,” he says. “well, those are inconsistencies in existence. theoretically i mean.”

Blue stays back as his brother starts explaining the sheets. He feels incredibly nauseous. He just wishes his brother would abandon this research. It’s brought them both too much pain. Pain that he can barely recall. Pain that Stretch doesn’t even know he experienced.

Stretch takes an orange marker and approaches the sheet. He circles different points and connects some of them. “about five years ago, i came in to do a routine check on the machine and saw this,” he explains. “according to the machine and the notes i’ve been able to translate, our world stopped and started multiple times. i call it reset since every time it stops, it seems to starts over from here” he puts a large X on the paper. “there hasn’t been anything since then as the five years of normalcy clearly show” he says motioning to the rest of the strips of paper. “until the machine picked up another anomaly a little over two weeks ago that is.”

Fell grunts in understanding. “My brother and I.”

“precisely” Stretch says going back to the machine. “i’ve been comparing the data readouts and they’re similar. for a while i thought they were the same…” he trails off with a hollow look. He shakes himself out of it and motions to the screen. “looking at it closer, i can see that it’s just a reading of two alternate realities briefly crossing. it says youre from a reality called UnderFell

Fell cocks his head to the side. He can’t make heads or tails of what’s on the screen, but he knows one thing. “The name UnderSwap was on my brother’s machine, I believe,” he says.

Stretch nods furiously writing in his notebook. He starts mumbling to himself as he flips a page. “that explains why youre in the Guard and ‘Dyne’s the captain instead of the Royal Scientist,” he mumbles. “we’re underSwap because everything’s been flipped or swapped. but now I wanna know why your world is called underFell

Stretch alternates between flipping through papers, typing commands into his machine, and writing in his notebook. He looks completely engrossed in what he’s doing.

Blue takes the opportunity to grab Fell’s attention. “We should go back and finish breakfast,” he says with a smile. He glances at his brother. “He’s in his own world right now. He’ll probably be in here for a couple hours while he goes through everything again.”

Fell scrutinizes Stretch one last moment before following Blue.

Blue stops at the door just as they’re about to leave. “We’ll be inside if you need us, Stretch,” he calls.

Stretch merely lifts a hand and halfheartedly waves a goodbye.

 

Stretch

LV 3

ATK 01   DEF 10

Doesn’t know what to think anymore

HP 30 / 30

 

Blue tries to hide his sudden distress. His brother has accepted his nickname, but his HP has taken a hit now that he’s engrossed in the data from the machine. Blue wonders if it happened when explaining the resets. Stretch had looked pretty haunted while explaining…

He shakes his head. He’s just glad Stretch is only aware of the possibility of Resets. If he could remember them… Blue shudders. He’d tried explaining it once. It had gone awful.

----

Fell’s borderline glaring at him.

Blue tries to pretend he doesn’t notice as he starts cleaning the mess they left. “You didn’t eat; do you want me to make you something different?” He asks.

He only narrows his eyes further. “Blue,” he says warningly.

“Oh!” Blue blurts hoping to stop any questions. “We should probably go see Doggo, too, and apologize!” He suggests. “Doggo’s really nice, so I’m sure if we explain that you didn’t have anywhere to stay, he won’t press charges.”

He’s already halfway out the kitchen before Fell has a chance to catch him.

“I’ll go talk to him right now and set something up!” Blue calls before slamming the front door shut.

Fell frowns at the doorway. The pipsqueak is definitely hiding something.

He wants to know what it is.

----

With nothing better to do, he eats the breakfast he’d neglected and ends up cleaning up the kitchen. The pancakes were good.

He finishes cleaning the kitchen far too soon. Blue’s incredibly clean even while cooking. Nothing like Fell. He’s almost jealous of the skill. He hates how dirty the kitchen gets when he cooks. It always leaves him feeling uncomfortable.

Fell returns to his brother’s side. He sees his red scarf draped over him and feels something in his Soul clench. Blue had given Sans the nickname of Red because of the scarf.

A scarf that actually belongs to Fell. 

He wonders if Blue would have called him Red and his brother something else if he had chosen to keep wearing the scarf.

He picks it up.

The material is shoddy at best. It had seemed like the fanciest thing in the world when he first got it. He takes his gloves off and runs a careful thumb over the fabric. It feels so much like home it hurts.

The door nob turns and he instantly has two attacks summoned.

“Starts Above, Man!” Stretch yelps scrambling back. “What The Fuck Is Wrong With You?!”

Fell dispels his attacks without batting an eye. “Habit,” he says plainly. He rolls his eyelights when Stretch just quirks a browbone from his spot on the floor. “Anyone who doesn’t alert their presence is trying to ambush you: Therefore, a threat.”

Stretch simply stares at him incredulously. “yeah, no. world doesn’t work that way, buddy”

“Maybe not yours,” Fell sneers.

He continues to scrutinize the other monster as he gets to his feet. “er yeah. sorry” Stretch apologizes awkwardly. He does a quick sweep of the room and stops on Red. His eyelights shrink and dim in shock.

Fell suddenly feels uncomfortable having Stretch in the same room as his brother. He marches towards Stretch forcing the other further back into the hall. “Did you need something?” He demands pulling the door shut behind himself.

Stretch instantly perks up. “Yeah. I Wanted To Ask You About Your World!" He says, excitement sparking in his eyelights. “I Want To Learn All The Differences.”

He’s tempted to tell Stretch to fuck off. He almost does. “Ask away,” Fell sighs waving his hand carelessly. This might be a good way to gather more information.

Stretch makes a face. “lets go sit somewhere at least” he half whines. “no way am i standin for this whole thing.”

Fell frowns as the other skeleton ambles down the stairs. He hopes that Stretch only wants differences, because he doesn’t want to think about how much that skeleton is reminding him of his brother.

He follows Stretch into the kitchen and sits in the spot he’s wordlessly claimed as his own. He makes a face of disgust as the other monster grabs a bottle of honey and starts drinking it. “That’s fucking disgusting,” he doesn’t bother hiding the disgust he feels either.

Stretch simply raises a browbone. “not a fan of honey, eh,” he replies writing in his notebook. “what other differences ya got?”

“Well for one,” Fell says smirking. “I’m not a lazy waste of space.”

“watch it edgy mcgee” Stretch snaps. “so if Undyne’s the captain of the guard, who else is in the guard?”

“The Dogs are guards in Snowdin; I was the Overseer,” he replies plainly. “Undyne handles Waterfall by herself. There were some in Hotland but they kept getting killed, so Undyne stopped sending any to that area.”

Stretch’s eyelights seems to dim at the news. “why specifically in hotland?”

“Because Dr. Alphys is the overseer of the area, but she couldn’t care less about doing her stars damned job. All she fucking cares about are her dumb science experiments,” he huffs irately. “Muffet and her gang of gutter slugs are the only thing keeping Hotland from completely devolving into a beasts’ den.”

Stretch pauses writing and looks up. “gutter slugs?” he questions.

“The uneducated. The untrustworthy. The filth of society.”

“but how can she be filth if she’s keeping an entire region in check?”

“She keeps part of Hotland in check,” Fells sniffs. “And she’s a gang leader who can’t even read. She doesn’t even deal with any of the lucrative drugs, just bottom rung garbage.”

Stretch frowns. He looks like he’s debating saying something. “okay, what about New Home? whos in charge there?”

“Emperor Asgore.”

Stretch startles at the name. His eyelights flicker out for a brief moment.

Fell resists the urge to smirk. If everything really is swapped in this world, they’re ruled by the Emperor’s late wife, Toriel. That also means Stretch talks to a man through the door instead of a woman like Red had. “You seem familiar with that name,” he comments snidely. “That wouldn’t happen to be the name of the person behind the door in this world would it?”

“What do you know?” Stretch asks sharply.

Fell smirks. Looks like he connected the dots correctly. If he plays it smart, he’ll have leverage over Stretch. “That there is a hefty reward for finding him,” he says leaning back in his chair. “But given how soft your world is, your Empress likely isn’t seeking the traitor’s dust.”

Stretch stands so quickly the chair clatters onto the floor. His right eyelight burns a bright yellow-orange as he glares at Fell. “You Stay The Hell Away From Asgore,” he threatens, “Or So Help Me I Will−,”

Fell stands at a much more leisurely pace. He returns the glare with ease despite Stretch’s taller stature. “Stay away from my brother and we have a deal,” he says calmly.

“You Set Me Up You Bastard!” Stretch accuses.

Fell snorts. “You set yourself up,” he sneers.

Stretch grits his teeth, barely holding back a growl. “Fine,” he concedes through grit teeth. “We’re done here.”

Fell simply watches as Stretch storms out the front door. He doesn’t doubt the other monster is going out to get shitfaced. He briefly wonders if Blue will be angry at him for doing that to Stretch.

He returns upstairs with a drawn-out sigh. It had been a gamble, but it worked. He knew Stretch was likely to have some attachment to the person behind the door like Red did. Fell just didn’t expect that attachment to be so great. He’s glad for it, though. It means he’s able to ensure his brother’s safety.

Chapter Text

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.

Chapter Text

Fell hadn’t realized how at ease he was until a shrill shout shatters his comfort.

Mister Fell!

He’s instantly on guard and turns to face the source of the shout. His magic instantly reacts, swirling around him. As he starts forcing the reaction down Blue scoops MK off her feet as she sprints towards him.

He can only stand there dumbfounded as the small child struggles against Blue. “No, let go of me!” MK shouts.

Blue doesn’t look at all bothered by the wriggling child in his arms as he walks towards Fell. “You gotta calm down first, MK,” Blue chides kindly. “Not everyone likes hugs.”

MK’s still kicking wanting to get free of his grasp.

Fell stays still, not knowing what to do with himself. He’s about to excuse himself when two large white blurs suddenly appear at Blue’s side.

Dogamy’s on his back, howling and kicking with laughter.

Dogaressa stands proudly with a foot on the back of a sobbing MK’s neck. What’s left of his tail twitches in pain as he struggles in vain to get free.

Fell feels his magic react, again, to their presence. He forces himself not to attack as he stares at Dogamy and Dogaressa. They both stand slightly in front of Blue and MK as they stare back at him.

They may not be his Dogamy and Dogaressa, but he can read their fear and stance clear as day. He’s amused to note that Dogaressa still seems to be the more aggressive of the two as he eyes the differences in both of their raised hackles.

Blue steps forward to stand next to the two dogs. “Dogaressa, Dogamy, this is Fell; the monster that saved your daughter,” he says despite MK’s continued wriggling. “Now, MK, promise you won’t hug him?”

MK nods her head vigorously. Blue glances at the Dogi as he puts MK down. She darts towards Fell again. This time, however, she stops a foot in front of him and jumps up and down. “Mister Fell! Mister Fell!” She says excitedly. “I’m glad you’re okay!”

Fell simply stares down at the young child. He can’t have heard her right. He looks back up at the two dogs. They’re even more agitated than before. Blue still has a bright smile on his face.

He keeps his eyes on the dogs as he kneels down to be more level with MK. “Why?” He asks shifting his attention to the child.

MK stops jumping now that he’s closer to her eye level. “Mister Sans− I mean Mister Blue said you got into a fight with his brother and that his brother said some super means things and that you left and he didn’t know where to find you and he was really really really worried and so was I and Mommy and Daddy too because it’s cold out and you helped me and we just wanted to know you were okay,” she has to stop to regain her breath. She has tears in her eyes as she sniffles. “I’m happy you’re okay!”

Fell reals back in surprise. He looks up at Blue who has that soft look on his face again. He has to look away. He focuses back on MK and notices the scarf. “You kept the scarf,” he comments.

She nods her head with a big smile. “Yep! I kept it clean too!” She states proudly. “Do you want it back?”

Stars, she’s such a happy and carefree child. Nothing like the MK of his world. Is this really what children are like when given a chance to thrive? He finds himself mourning a childhood he and his brother never got to experience.

He reaches out to pet her head. Even through his glove he can tell her scales are soft, lacking the toughness of a monster who sleeps on the street.

“No,” he finds himself saying. “It suits you better than it did me.”

MK is absolutely beaming as she leans forward to nuzzle his forearm. “Thank you, Mister Fell!”

Fell’s attention instantly snaps up when he hears movement. Dogamy and Dogaressa are approaching. A quick and stealthy glance around tells him Blue’s at his side now. He curses himself for not staying vigilant and failing to notice the other move.

Dogaressa steps up and places a paw on MK’s head. He can’t quite suppress the twitch of wanting to attack.

“(Thank you for saving our daughter,)” Dogaressa says softly.

Dogamy whimpers and goes to stand next to his wife. He puts his paw on top of hers. “We’re glad you’re safe too,” he says.

Dogressa growls as she stands in front of an injured Dogamy. “Outa our fucking way!” She snarls. “That slug stole our EXP!”

He hears MK shift nervously behind him.

Fell stands, not liking that they’re above him. He doesn’t know how to respond to them. They’re so different from the bloodthirsty beasts he knew. “No child deserves to die alone,” He says. It’s all he can think to say. He can’t help wondering, not for the first time, if his MK is still even alive.

Dogamy nods in agreement. Dogaressa, however, still seems worried. She lets go of MK and ushers her and her husband back to the house. Once MK’s far enough away, she turns her attention back to Fell. “(I’m sorry for your loss,)” she says sadly before excusing herself. “(Take care of yourself, Fell.)”

He startles. How the hell does she know? He’s quick to turn away and start walking again. He’s spent far too long away from his brother.

This time, he’s all too aware of Blue making his way to his side once more. “Fell?” He asks. “Are you okay?”

“Did you tell them?” He asks curtly. “About my brother?”

Blue shakes his head. “Of course not,” he assures.

Fell clenches his fists. “Then how does she know?” He asks through grit teeth.

“The dogs have always been good at figuring out how others feel,” Blue says quietly. “It takes some getting used to.”

Fell doesn’t say anything for the rest of the walk.

----

Blue watches as Fell makes his way upstairs and into his room. He wishes he could ease the other skeleton’s nerves.

He’d been doing so well earlier. Sure his magic reacted in less than ideal ways, but he never attacked or showed aggression.

“what crawled up his ass ‘n died?” Stretch grumbles from the couch. He’s not even looking away from the tv.

Blue sighs. “Doggo and Dogaressa figured out he’s grieving,” he explains. “He… didn’t really like it.”

Stretch snorts. “there anything that jerk likes?” He asks sarcastically.

Brother!” Blue scolds. His brother winces at his tone. “I am asking you: Please be nice to him!”

His brother hunches his shoulders and frowns. “why? he’s shifty. dangerous.”

“But he’s so much more too!” He insists. “You haven’t−,” he lets out a long breath; his voice taking a softer tone. “You haven’t seen what I’ve seen…” He trails off glancing at the stairs. “He’s a good monster, brother. I just know it.”

Stretch sits up on the couch slightly. He stares at his feet in thought, frown shifting from dislike to deep thought. “i still dont like him,” he eventually grumbles.

Blue approaches his brother. “I’m not asking you to,” he says placing a hand on Stretch’s shoulder. “I’m asking you to give him a chance. Can you?”

Stretch looks up at Blue. His eyelights flick back and forth as if searching for something. Eventually, he looks away with a long, drawn-out, breath. “okay. but only cuz the coolest monster in the whole Underground asked me to.”

Blue smiles, relieved and ecstatic. “Thank you, brother!” He says shifting to hug his brother. “That means the world to me!”

His brother chuckles. “alright, bro,” he says patting Blue on the back.

After almost a full minute, Blue pulls away. He’s still smiling broadly and his eyelights shine brighter than before. “You’re the best, Papy!” He says excitedly. “Now I expect you to behave while I’m out today.”

Stretch snorts, not quite able to act annoyed by the simple request. “you got it, Blue.”

Blue just feels his smile grow. His brother used his new name! His brother actually did it! “I’ll see you later tonight!” He says excusing himself.

----

Fell feels antsy. He has too much pent-up energy.

He wants to go back to that field in the woods to train, but his brother’s condition is too poor. He can’t bring himself to leave. It feels too much like abandoning him after how long he’s already spent away.

He dresses in his armor. The wine-colored scarf looks strange against his black armor. He shakes the thought from his head and lowers himself to the floor. At least he can do calisthenics indoors.

It’s been a long time since he’s done exercise like this. It feels so different from his usual training. Instead of the fatigue and familiar aches of magic use and combat, he can feel the magic holding his bones together burn with an unfamiliar ache.

He sits up when his arms start to shake. That’s enough arm exercise. He’ll work on his legs next.

After only a few exercises, his legs start to tire. He growls in annoyance. He’s going to have to do more if he’s going to build his stamina up. It’s no wonder it took him so long to get home after he refused Emperor Asgore.

Fell stops to catch his breath. He’s sweating pretty badly by now. He pulls of his new scarf and tries not to grimace at how much sweat it’s soaked up. The next thing he notices are the small tears it already had.

He frowns as he inspects the scarf closer. The fabric is fairly durable. It should withstand a decent amount of strain before tearing. He sets the scarf down and pulls off a glove. He needs to stop skirting around the issue and finally see just how sharp his spinous processes are.

He reaches a hand back and grabs the back of his neck. He hisses in pain and quickly retracks his hand. That’s a lot sharper than he thought they were going to be. No wonder the clothes he’d been given have been getting so many holes.

He dreads having to find this world’s Muffet to see if she’ll make him some clothes. He hates doing business with her. Especially over such troublesome things. The gloves had been a pain in the ass to get, he doesn’t want to think about how getting two or three shirts from her will be. He just hopes this Muffet is as different from his own as the Dogi were.

A knock on the door interrupts his planning. He wipes his hand on the scarf and quickly slips his glove back on. He replaces the scarf on his neck before going to the door.

He’s surprised to see Stretch when he opens it.

Stretch shifts, clearly unhappy to be there. “Blue called said he wasn’ gonna be home fer dinner” he grumbles. “said to go ‘head ‘n eat without ‘im”

Fell suppresses the urge to correct the other’s sloppy speech. He doubts Stretch or Blue would be appreciative. Though, as loathe as he is to admit it, it must be nice to speak like that. Without a care in the world.

“what’s with the armor n’ways?” Stretch asks when he takes too long to reply.

He reaches back to unfasten his chest piece. “I’m not accustomed to sitting idle all day,” he replies.

Stretch scratches the back of his neck, not quite knowing what to say. “er, well… theres food downstairs if you want any.”

Fell watches the other as he retreats down the stairs.

He’s surprised they were able to have such a civil exchange. Especially after all their previous conversations— if they can even be called that— ended badly.

He finishes removing his armor and stacks it back in the corner. He fixes the scarf to wraps more snugly around his neck. It feels heavy. He misses the familiar weight of his.

He keeps his shoulders square despite the holes Stretch is boring into him. He notices the moment the other gets up from the couch.

Fell goes about his business rummaging through the kitchen. He can wait the other out if he has to, but he has a hunch as to what the other wants. He only hopes Stretch isn’t serious about it. There’s only so much respect he can lose for a person before he starts outright loathing them.

He manages to finish his meal and is about to clean his dishes when Stretch finally cracks.

“okay look” he suddenly says. “m’sorry ‘bout−”

“Do not waste your breath apologizing for something you are not sorry for,” Fell interrupts sharply. It seems like his hunch was right.

“listen asshole−” Stretch starts angrily.

Fell whirls around holding a finger up. “Above all,” he interrupts more forcefully. “Never apologize for protecting your brother.”

The anger radiating from Stretch is quickly replaced by surprise. He’s even a little slack-jawed.

“I’d have done the same, in your place.”

Finally coming back to his sense, Stretch lowers his head. “huh” he mumbles rubbing at the back of his neck. That seems to be a tick of his. “guess you ain’t as bad as i thought”

Fell turns back to the sink. The conversation seems to be over.

After a few minutes, Stretch speaks up again. “still think you’re an asshole, edgy mcgee” his voice is lighter, less threatening.

Fell smirks. The tension that’d been surrounding them seems to have eased considerably. It seems this monster’s problem with him did stem from his protectiveness of Blue. He can’t quite fault him for it. “The feeling’s mutual, lamppost.”

Stretch leaves him alone after that. Doesn’t even eye him critically as he goes back upstairs.

He feels a little more at ease leaving his brother alone in the room while he showers.

Chapter Text

Fell stares blankly into the darkness. His back aches from sleeping in a chair.

He can’t find it in himself to care.

He shifts to gaze at the bed. It’s too dark to see, but he stares anyways. No sound. No movement. He can still sense the faint traces of magic. His brother is still obviously sleeping.

So what woke him?

He closes his eyes and listens.

 

There’s… voices?

 

They’re muffled, but there are definitely voices.

 

Fell’s on his feet in an instant. His bones crack and pop from stiffness. He grimaces at the volume of the noise. How could he be so careless?

He grabs his knife and creeps out the door.

The voices are slightly clearer but still indistinct. And there’s a soft shifting light coming from the living room. He stays quiet as he peeks over the balcony railing.

The television is on. He half expects to see Stretch passed out on the couch.

He’s surprised to see a small blue bundle instead. Why would Blue be up at such a late hour?

Fell watches the other for a few minutes. Blue doesn’t so much as twitch in that time. It’s unsettling.

Making up his mind, he heads down. It’s not like he wants to go back to sleep anymore. “You don’t strike me as the type to be up at such an hour,” Fell say by way of greeting.

He tenses when the air around him crackles with magic. Blue’s dull eyelights stare unseeingly at the knife he’s still holding.

He drops it without hesitation. He curses himself for not leaving it in the guest room.  

The heavy pressure of magic eases, but Blue still looks unresponsive. What’s really worrying, however, is how dull his eyelights look. “Sorry,” Blue mumbles curling further in on himself.

Fell frowns. Something’s clearly very wrong with Blue. But he has no idea what to do. He notices Blue’s hands are trembling.

Usually, a demeanor like that is common for monsters who’ve just killed a family member or a close ally. Even if something like that can happen in this world, Blue’s proven himself time and again that he doesn’t kill.

He can’t think of anything else that could cause this. The last two days hadn’t seemed strange. Considering their new normal, that is. They even had a civil dinner earlier that night; he and Stretch barely even argued.

He wordlessly takes a seat on the couch. There’s a blue and silver robot on the screen. It vaguely resembled Mettaton but is too different to be this world’s version of him.

“That scar on your neck,” Blue mumbles quietly. “You don’t know how you got it.”

Fell’s caught off guard. He eyes Blue wearily. “I don’t,” he confirms despite it not being a question.

“My brother noticed his the same morning he found the inconsistency in our timeline,” Blue mumbles shakily.

He frowns. He has nothing to say to that. Clearly it’s something that bothers him if his current state is any indication. But Fell doesn’t know what it is exactly.

 

Red would know.

 

Red would be able to help.

 

He pushes the thought from his head. He needs to be able to do things on his own.

“You have one too, don’t you?” He eventually says. “Across your chest.”

Blue whips to look at him so quickly Fell wonders if he dislodged a disk. “How…” He asks shakily. His eyelights are a lot clearer, but they’re also tiny pinpricks in his sockets. If Fell wasn’t looking for them, he might not have noticed them.

“My brother has one, too,” he says slowly. Red had gone through a lot of trouble to keep it hidden… Fell still saw it. He lifts his hand to tap his right shoulder and pulls it down diagonally to his hip. “Like the bone was cut clean through.”

Blue shifts, pulling his knees to his chest. “It was,” he whispers rubbing a hand against the left side of his collar bone.

Fell feels like he’s had the breath knocked out of him. He can feel his magic reacting to his sudden alertness. He wills it to calm down.

Before he can say anything more, a door upstairs opens. “Sans?” Stretch’s groggy voice calls out. He shuffles halfway down the stairs. “didja have ‘nother nightmare?”

Blue shrink in on himself.

“c’mon bro” Stretch says through a badly stifled yawn. He doesn’t seem to notice Fell’s there too. “u c’n sleep in m’room tonight.”

Fell watches Blue closely as he shakily gets off the couch and darts to his brother. Stretch has an arm around his shoulders in an instant as Blue clings to his side.

Blue glances at him before quickly shifting to look at the floor. “Sorry for waking you,” he says.

Stretch merely grunts and starts dragging his brother upstairs.

Fell just sits there, trying to process everything he’s just learned. It almost sounds like Blue has the same night terrors Red did.

He rubs at his neck. The bone is smooth despite the thin scar.

Blue probably knows where the scar came from.

He suddenly feels uncomfortable with the knowledge. Red’s night terrors were always bad. Sometimes bad enough for him to wake up screaming and attacking a phantom enemy.

The idea that Blue might go through the same thing leaves a bad taste in his mouth.

----

Fell impatiently taps a finger against his knee as he waits on the living room couch. It’s nearly two in the afternoon and Stretch still hasn’t woken up. He’s half tempted to go upstairs and drag the lazy bastard out of bed. The only thing keeping him from doing that is knowing he needs to be civil to get the information he wants.

After another endless thirty minutes, Stretch ambles down the stairs. He pauses at the foot of the stairs to give Fell a critical look. He shrugs and walks to the kitchen.

Fell follows him. He stands by the doorway while Stretch gets himself a mug of coffee. He watches in disgust as the other fills one third of it with honey before pouring himself coffee.

Stretch flips him off as he downs the mug.

He rolls his eyelights. Real fucking mature. “How often does Blue get night terrors?” He asks without preamble.

Stretch sputters mid-swallow and spits his coffee down the front of his hoodie. “what the fuck” he says between coughs.

Fell raises a browbone as Stretch scrambles to wipe off the front of his hoodie. Unable to completely keep himself from annoying the other skeleton, he repeats the question. “How often does Blue get night terrors?”

“he gets nightmares, not night terrors” Stretch retorts defensively. Even his posture seems defensive. “and how the hell would you know anyways?”

He suppresses the urge to retort with a scathing remark. Any time that fucking skeleton starts to appear as all right in Fell’s books, he does something to set himself back to unlikable.

“Did you really not notice that I was there when you came to retrieve Blue last night?” He can’t help asking drily.

Stretch’s demeanor instantly shifts. His shoulder’s hunch and his eyelight dim to a dull white. “so… he… he came to you huh”

Fell frowns. He recognizes that posture, both from himself and his brother. “No,” he replies bluntly. “The television awoke me. I’d actually thought you passed out on the couch again.”

Stretch’s shoulders are still hunched as he goes to sit at the table. At least his eyelights are no longer as dull. “did he say anything?”

“He mentioned the scar we both have,” he says tapping his neck through his scarf. He measures his words carefully as he continues. “He knew I didn’t know where it came from because you apparently don’t know either.”

Stretch brings a hand to his own neck; his other hand starts to tap some beatless rhythm on the table. “yeah… saw it one morning five years ago…” he says quietly. “that night… Blue had his first ever nightmare.”

Fell shifts uncomfortably. He eyes the other carefully as he takes a seat in front of him. This hadn’t been the reaction he was expecting. Considering how overbearing Stretch is, Fell had assumed he’d be defensive and angry.

Taking a deep breath, he steadies himself. He’ll need to give up some information of his own. “My brother used to wake up screaming,” he says in a measured tone.

Stretch slumps in his seat with a drawn-out breath. “man, can we−” he cuts himself off with a long sigh as he rubs at his face. “can we talk about this outside, man? i need a fucking smoke if i’m gonna talk about this”

Fell hesitates. He definitely wants to learn more, but the thought of smelling drug filled air nauseates him. Stretch seems to read his mind. “not to get high, dumbass,” he sighs holding up a small rectangular box. “just regular cigs.”

“Fine,” Fell says in disgust.

He follows Stretch out the front door.

Stretch takes a seat on the front steps. He fumbles with his lighter in his hurry to light a cigarette. He takes a deep drag and holds if for a while before letting the smoke out.

Fell takes a seat to his left, away from the hand holding the fowl smelling thing. He’s never been a fan of the smell of cigarette smoke and Stretch reeks of it more often than not. He forces himself to wait patiently. He doesn’t want to give any more information. He’d rather wait and see if Stretch offers some on his own.

Stretch is half way through his second cigarette when he finally starts talking. “the morning i noticed the scar was the same morning i saw the inconsistencies to our timeline” He brings his hands together and leans his forearms on his knees. He wrings his hands nervously. “i was freaking out− i mean how wouldn’t i? were my memories even right? how many times had i lived that morning already? how many more times would i live it again?”

He brings a hand to his face, letting out a brief empty chuckle. “i tried not letting Blue know how freaked out I was y’know. didn’t want to worry him− he’d just started his training’ with Alphys. i think he knew anyways; he was weird all day. wouldn’t let me outa his sight. that night he woke up screaming” Stretch pauses to take a shaky breath. He winds up burying his head in his hands. “fuck, i’ve never heard him scream like that before. and i haven’t since”

Fell doesn’t respond.

He can’t.

He wanted information, and he got some. But he has no idea what to do with it now. He tells himself it’s because it’s not what he’s looking for.

They sit in silence so long it becomes uncomfortable.

“why d’you call ‘em night terrors?” Stretch eventually asks.

Fell weighs the pros and cons of divulging information. He has to decide on what would be a good exchange for what he received. “My brother has always worried about my wellbeing above his own. He’s always had nightmares even if he tries to keep that from me,” he says slowly. Just because he’s divulging information, that doesn’t mean he should also divulge how personal it is or how it affects him. “It was the same thing for me one night. I’d never heard him scream like that before. I thought someone had finally broken into our home and dusted him to get to me−,” he stops abruptly. He hadn’t intended to say that.

He takes a deep breath and shakes himself out of it. He needs to be more careful, more in control of his thoughts. “I went to check on him, dust whatever bastard thought could come into my house. There was no one, just my brother. He was awake but still stuck in whatever nightmare he was having,” he clenches and unclenches his hands nervously. He and his brother spun his injuries into something that wouldn’t make them look weak. No one knew of his brother’s night terrors. “He broke my wrist, a few of my ribs, fractured my arm, and left me with the scars over my socket. I’ve seen him fight, I’ve seen him do a lot of things just to keep us alive, but this was something else entirely. I’ve never seen him so desperate before.”

Something touches his back.

He’s on his feet in an instant. Stretch’s wrist clenched tightly in his hand. It takes him a moment to come back to his senses. The air is heavy with his magic.

Stretch’s jaw is clenched in pain. His own magic flares in response to the sudden aggressive atmosphere.

Fell drops the wrist without warning. He’d gotten too lost in the story. He’d stopped paying attention to his surroundings. He still doesn’t feel entirely present.

“Stars Above, Man,” Stretch hisses cradling his wrist. “I Was Trying To Be Sympathetic. I Get Not Liking Gettin’ Touched, But You’re Just Fuckin’ Excessive,” he accuses.

He tries not to sneer in response. It’s not the idiot’s fault he lives in a cushy world. “Being touched means being hurt. Being hurt means you are weak and the weak are killed,” he says through clenched teeth. “I am not weak.”

Fell can practically see the other’s defensive anger disappear. “shit, man,” Stretch breathes quietly. “sorry, i didn’t know.”

“I’m aware,” Fell says curtly. He doesn’t know what to make of Stretch’s sympathy. He decides to excuse himself instead. He wants to return to his brother’s side.

“hold on,” Stretch says as he’s opening the door. “did your bro ever tell ya what the nightmares were ‘bout?”

He pauses. His nerves are fried, but he needs the information. “No,” he says with the same clipped tone. “Did yours?”

“no”

Chapter Text

Stretch sits up with a chocked off gasp. His bones faintly rattle from the shock, and it takes him a few tries but he finally manages to take a deep breath. He clears his throat slightly and rubs at his neck. It’s sore again.

He drops back onto his mattress with a yawn. He always hates waking up in the middle of the night. It’s always a gamble as to whether or not he can get back to sleep. Usually, he can nod off no problem. Sometimes, though, he’s too anxious and wound up to go back to sleep. He always hates those nights the most. Especially since it makes Asgore worry about him.

He smiles slightly at the thought of Asgore.

He’d gone to talk to him again after that conversation with Fell yesterday. Asgore helped him calm down, and even though he can admit that he kind of walked into that deal himself, he still doesn’t like it.

Asgore, of course, reassured him again of the strength of the seal. Not even Queen Toriel can break it. Only Asgore has the ability to open and close that door.

He’s glad for it. Especially now that Fell’s going to be roaming around.

He wonders if he should tell Chara about Fell.

His door is violently thrown open and the lights flicked on. “Time to get up, Stretch!” His brother shouts happily.

He sits up startled. Years his brother’s been doing this, and he still can’t get used to it. He grumbles and lays back down.

He hears his brother walk further into his room. He readies himself to get dragged from his bed.

“Are you okay?” Blue asks squatting by his head.

Stretch eyes his brother surprised. “’course i am” he says honestly. “why wouldn’t i be?”

Blue frowns and places a hand on Stretch’s forehead. “You never sit up when I wake you up,” he says. “Are you sick?”

He’d laugh if his brother didn’t look so genuinely worried. With quick movements, he reaches for his brother and drags him down onto the mattress with him. He chuckles at the indignant squawk that escapes his brother. Blue’s adorable like that.

“m’fine bro. had a little trouble sleeping so I was already up” he reassures. “was tryna get back to sleep when you came in”

His brother detangles himself from Stretch’s hold with a huff. “If you’re already awake, you should get up!” He gets to his feet and crosses his arms with a pout. “Honestly, brother. You shouldn’t be so lazy.”

Stretch sits up with a chuckle. “but it’s so easy to be lazy” he grins, unable to keep a straight face. Especially when he sees his brother start to grimace pre-emptively. “i can even do it from bed.”

Blue’s grimace is at full force now. “Stretch, it’s too early for this!” He groans. He turns away with a huff. Stretch can practically hear the pout in his voice. “If you’re so awake I expect you downstairs in ten minutes instead of twenty.”

This time, it’s his turn to groan. “bro”

“No complaining,” Blue glances back with a grin. “Breakfast is almost ready.”

Stretch sits there for a few more minutes. He wasn’t really trying to get back to sleep, but he couldn’t bring himself to tell his brother what he was thinking. Chara’s human, or that’s what he told him. His brother is dead set on finding a human and capturing them.

He frowns, feeling guilt settle over him again. His brother’s been trying to get into the Royal Guard for over five years and hasn’t gotten any closer to his goal. He feels bad for keeping Chara a secret and convincing Alphys to not let Blue in. But… He’s terrified of losing his brother.

He shakes himself out of his thoughts. It’s too early to be thinking like this.

He flips the lights back off before heading to the bathroom. He should at least brush his teeth.

Stretch stops in front of the guest room. It’s at the end of the hall, right in front of the bathroom. He’s never given it much thought the last couple of years. It had always just been an empty room to him.

He closes his eyes and tries to sense any magic. After a few minutes, he feels it. A barely-there hum of a Soul.

He can’t believe he walked past that door the morning before he saw Fell and didn’t notice anything. As Judge, he’s acutely aware of the Souls around him. Especially darker Souls filled with ill intent.

Yet, now that he thinks about it, he doesn’t get that feeling from the room or Fell.

Hunching his shoulder, he continues into the bathroom. There’s still a little bit of humidity clinging to the walls, but otherwise looks spotless. He wonders how that’s even possible after two others have already used it.

He can hear his brother still moving around the kitchen by the time he gets downstairs. He tries to stay quiet as he peeks into the kitchen. Fell’s leaning against the counter by the coffee machine while Blue stands in front of the stove. By the smell, Stretch guesses it’s eggs. They’re both silent, but unlike his interactions with Fell, there doesn’t seem to be an uncomfortable tension between the two.

“Oh! I almost forgot,” Blue suddenly says. “Doggo said he was going to New Home to get that gem appraised today!”

Fell grunts setting down his cup of coffee. “It was a fairly common gem in my world, about one or two hundred gold each,” he says. “From everything I’ve seen being ‘Swapped’ in this world, I’m willing to bet it’s going to be rarer here.”

Stretch can’t believe what he’s hearing. Fell, the aggressive bastard, is talking about his world like it’s nothing! A complete contrast compared to when Stretch had asked.

He feels irritation rise in him. The fucking bastard.

He walks into the kitchen and notices how Fell straightens a little. “food smells great, bro” he says making his way to one of the cupboards. He can feel Fell’s eyelights on him.

Blue grins at him. “They’re breakfast tacos! Your favorite!”

Stretch smiles at his brother’s enthusiasm. If it makes his brother happy, everything Blue makes will be his favorite. "awesome, bro"

He grabs a mug from the cupboard and the plain honey from its spot on the counter. He fills a third of the mug with honey and goes to the coffee machine.

Fell’s moved away from it but continues to watch him. He has the end of his scarf between his fingers and seems to be rubbing it without realizing it.

Stretch can’t figure out why he’d do something like that. It’s not like he can feel it through his gloves.

“That’s fucking disgusting,” Fell comments when he notices how much honey is in the mug.

He puts the coffee pot back and takes a drink while maintaining eyelight contact. The coffee and honey haven’t mixed properly yet, but fuck that guy. He decides to flip him off as well.

Fell rolls his eyelights.

“Brother! Fell!” Blue’s scolding tone cuts in. “No fighting!”

“wha− he started it!” Stretch accuses it

“I don’t care, no fighting!” Blue says pointing the spatula between the two of them. “Now sit down, breakfast is ready."

Fell pushes himself away from the counter with such indifferent ease it only serves to infuriate Stretch more.

He grumbles under his breath as he goes to take a seat.

Thankfully the meal is uneventful. Blue happily chatters about his plans for the day. Stretch replies where needed and prompted. Fell, on the other hand, doesn’t contribute to the conversation. It irks Stretch how disappointed Blue seems each time Fell doesn’t say anything. And the fucking bastard doesn’t seem to care either.

Monsters may be made of love, empathy, and magic, but Stretch is sure Fell lacks love and empathy. He’s made of pure LOVE and magic.

----

“knock knock” Stretch says knocking on the large door.

“Who’s there?”

“snow” he says grin growing.

“Snow who?”

“Snow point pretending you don’t know who i am, kiddo.”

The loud groan is unmistakable. “Your jokes still suck.”

“yer just jealous,” he says lighting a cigarette.

Not even the door can muffle the affronted scoff. “As if!”

Stretch laughs. It feels so nice after the awful morning he had. “how’s your dad doing, Chara?”

“He’s pretty happy. He gets lost in thought less,” Chara says.

“that’s good” he says smiling. “he deserves to be happy.”

“You do too, you know.” The earnestness with which Chara says it fills his Soul with a pleasant warmth.

He never thought he’d get so attached to Asgore’s son when they started talking three years ago. He can’t find it in himself to see that as a bad thing. He’s grateful to have met them; even if he has to keep Chara a secret from Blue. Hopefully he’ll do a better job than he did keeping Asgore a secret.

“Dad started planning my birthday party yesterday,” Chara suddenly says. “It’s supposed to be a surprise so don’t tell him I told you!”

Stretch chuckles. “don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me” he replies. “but ain’t your birthday in like three months?”

He can practically hear the smile in the kid’s voice. “Yep! I'm turning eighteen, so I think he wants to make it extra special. Like last year's five year anniversary of me getting here.”

He’s going to need to get something extra special then. “hey, kiddo?”

“Yeah?”

He shifts slightly where he’s sitting. “i know you falling down here means yer stuck like the rest of us and you won’t get to see yer real parents, but…” he trails off suddenly feeling unsure.

“I’m glad I fell down here,” Chara says to Stretch’s surprise. “I hated my human parents,” he spits bitterly.

Stretch has never heard him sound like that. It makes something deep within his Soul ache. He wants nothing more than to hug Chara in that moment.

“They were awful to me, and no one ever tried to help me,” Chara abruptly stops when his voice cracks. He takes a deep shaky breath before continuing in a quieter tone. “Down here, I may be trapped like the rest of you, but I’m freer than I’ve ever been. Humans are awful beings; I would trade them all for Monsterkind.”

He absolutely needs to get something extra special for Chara’s birthday. “guess i don’t need to feel bad for being glad you fell down here, huh kid” he says after a few seconds of tense silence.

Chara lets out a sputtering laugh, like he wasn’t expecting it.

They spend the rest of their time talking like usual. They share how their day is going, their plans for the week, what Chara’s learning in school. Stretch tries to help him with his math the best he can, but there’s only so much he can do without showing examples.

----

Stretch leaves his shoes at the door when he gets home. It’s silent. If he didn’t know better, he’d think the house was empty.

With a yawn, he makes his way to the kitchen. He had a short shift today for sentry duty, and he wants a nap before heading to Hotland. The burger stand he mans isn’t his favorite gig, but he can’t exactly quit. He and Blue make an alright amount of Gold as Sentries, but they still cut it close too often for his liking. Not that he’ll ever let Blue know.

He rummages through the pantry until he finds the honey; his special hidden stash of spiked honey. He’s glad he won that bet against Muffet a few years ago. Otherwise, he’d be spending way too much buying it from her instead of mixing it himself.

He takes the bottle with him to the couch. He’s half way through it when he notices Fell walking down the stairs.

“It’s the middle of the day,” Fell comments.

Stretch gives him a critical look. “what’s that supposed to mean?” He challenges.

Fell rolls his eyelights. “It means you’re day drinking,” he says flippantly. “At least wait until early evening.”

“mind yer own business will ya, dickwad,” Stretch spits.

Fell pauses behind the couch and audibly sniffs the air. “You smell like a goddamned ashtray,” he says with audible disgust.

Stretch sits up and flips him off. “Stars Above, Man!” He snaps angrily. “Fuck Off!”

He teleports from the couch to the hall upstairs. He pulls his door open and slams it with far more force than necessary.

Honestly, what is wrong with that guy?

Aside from his 207 kill count.

----

Stretch is half-heartedly tying his shoelaces when someone knocks on the door. He pauses to look at it. Someone’s at the door?

Whoever’s on the other side knocks again.

He gets up and opens the door. “hey, Doggo” Stretch greets confused. “what can i help ya with?”

Doggo’s wide-eyed and shifts his weight back-and-forth nervously. “Is Fell here?” He says quickly.

Stretch simply stares for a second. Doggo’s clearly nervous. He tries to not show his sudden anger. Blue took Fell to talk to Doggo just yesterday, so what did that bastard do to the poor shopkeeper? “no. he stepped out a few minutes ago” he lies.

“Do you know when he’ll be back?”

He shakes his head.

Doggo sighs, shoulders slumping. Stretch feels his anger increase. What the fuck did that bastard do?!

He takes a deep breath to calm himself. He needs to figure out what happened.

Doggo pulls out a small bag from his knapsack. It jingles as he holds it up to Stretch. “Can you give this to him when you see him?” He asks.

Stretch’s thought process comes to an abrupt halt. What? “What?”

“That gem he gave me!” Doggo says sounding alarmed. “It was worth six thousand Gold! It’s way too much; I can’t possibly accept it all!” He pushes the small bag into Stretch’s chest. “I subtracted the expenses of what he stole, the cost of replacing the lock, and the cost of the scarf he bought. The rest is his.”

He can only dumbly take the bag of Gold. “i’ll uh make sure it gets to him” he says stupidly.

Doggo simply nods and excuses himself.

Stretch is left standing there with at least five thousand Gold in a small bag.

His phone beeps startling him out of his thoughtless stupor. He shuts it off and looks around for where to put the Gold. He’s going to give it to Fell, but he has to leave now.

----

Stretch slumps in his seat as the last monster leaves. Stars above, this was so much worse than he thought it was going to be. He’s already starting to nod-off when his phone starts ringing.

Grumbling under his breath, he picks it up. “yeah?”

“Papy!” Blue’s voice sounds frantic. He’s instantly on high alert. “Where are you? Are you okay?”

He frowns in confusion. “m’fine bro. just tired” he says. “i’m still at the NBT concert. last person finally just left”

There’s silence on the other end long enough for him to start to get worried. “Sorry. I thought that was next week,” Blue says sheepishly. “I’m glad you’re okay, Stretch.”

He can’t help the smile that works its way onto his face. His brother is just too adorable. “s’okay, bro. shoulda sent ya a text or smth when i left for work, too” he says in hopes of soothing his brother’s nerves.

Blue doesn’t say anything, but he doesn’t hang up either. Stretch simply waits since he’s technically done working.

“Can you read me a story tonight?” Blue asks quietly.

Stretch chuckles. “of course, bro” he says easily. “anything for you.”

Just as quietly as before, Blue says, “Thanks, Stretch.” He hangs up before Stretch can say anything else.

Sighing, he puts his phone away. A soft crackling alerts him to Grillby.

The elemental is standing in front of his stand, shifting nervously. “I ‘preciate the help, Papyrus− I, I mean Stretch!” He says slightly flustered.

Stretch simply shrugs, not minding the slip-up. It’s not like he’s completely used to the name either. “what can i say,” he grins. “need the money for someth’n special”

Grillby simply nods, not knowing how to reply. He holds a plastic bag up for Stretch. “I’ll get you the other half of your pay tomorrow,” he says.

Stretch takes the bag, liking how heavy it feels. He’s surprised when Grillby also hands him a bottle in a paper bag. Checking inside, he sees that it’s one of the better bottles of Brandy that Grillby sells. “wha’s this fer?” He asks confused.

“For covering double last second.”

He knows Blue wouldn’t approve, but he takes it anyways despite the feeling of guilt. “thanks, Grillby” he says with a smile. “i really appreciate it”

----

Stretch gets up with a groan. He’d rather sleep longer, but he can’t stand how hungry he is anymore.

Fell is in the kitchen when he gets there. He’s eating leftover fish tacos. Stretch doesn’t mind them, but reheated fish always makes him nauseous.

He ignores the smell as best he can and gets his coffee. He makes it like usual.

Fell gives him that same look of disgust.

He flips the asshole off while maintaining eyelight contact.

Fell rolls his eyeslights.

Stretch lowers the mug in surprise. That almost seemed normal.

Huh.

He certainly didn’t expect that from Fell. Not with his 207 kill count.

He rinses the mug once he finishes his coffee.

Walking out of the kitchen, he quickly teleports to his room and picks up the bag of gold. He teleports back into the kitchen just as Fell leaves the room.

He has a moment of panic at the other’s movement before he realizes Fell’s leaving the room and not going to the fridge. For a moment he was scared he was going to clip through Fell.

“hey, edgy mcgee” he calls once he’s calmed down.

“I have a name, ashtray,” Fell replies but stops anyways.

Stretch glares at him. “i have one too, asshole” he retorts. Fell merely grunts. “whatever” he sighs and holds up the bag of Gold. “Doggo dropped this off for you yesterday”

Fell eyes the bag wearily. “What is it?”

This time, it’s Stretch who rolls his eyelights. “he said that gem was worth 6 thousand” he explains shaking the bag so the gold jingles. “he took his cut and came to give ya the rest back”

Fell still looks weary as he takes the bag. He opens it and peeks inside. His eyelights widen in surprise at the bag really containing what Stretch said it did.

He sticks his hand in the bag and removes some of the Gold. He hands the bag back to Stretch. “I took one thousand,” he says.

Stretch frowns in confusion. “what?”

“Recompense for housing my brother and myself,” Fell says easily.

Stretch can only balk. Fell is offering nearly four thousand Gold like it’s nothing. Without hesitation too.

 

 

He wouldn’t have to overwork himself to get Chara’s birthday gift and still help his brother with the bills.

 

He could get Chara anything!

 

 

He shakes his head. “no way, man” he decides. “that’s your G. use it for whatever you want”

“I am,” Fell replies irritably.

Stretch gives him an unimpressed look. “d’ya really wanna give all that Gold ta me?”

Fell grits his teeth angrily and lowers the bag. “No,” he admits through clenched teeth. “But Blue won’t accept it.”

“yeah cuz my bro’s the coolest like that” he says plainly. “n’if he won’t take it, i won’t either”

“Then how do you expect me to repay you for your aid?” Fell asks clearly annoyed.

Stretch pretends to think about it just to annoy Fell more. After nearly a minute, he finally speaks. “don’t add to yer kill count and i’ll consider that repayment” he says. “And Don’t Think I Won’t Be Able To tell.”

Fell’s eyelights shrink in shock. 

Stretch merely raises a browbone at him. “hey dude?” he says when the other doesn’t say anything. He tries waving a hand in front of Fell’s face.

Pain shoots up his arm. His wrist is being crushed in the other’s grip.

He didn’t even see Fell move.

“Do not touch me,” Fell growls.

Stretch hisses in pain and tries to pull his arm away. “I wasn’t going to!” He hisses through clenched teeth.

"Good," Fell abruptly drops his wrist. “You have yourself a deal."

Stretch simply glares as Fell leaves.

----

Stretch wakes up to the same pain in his neck. It hurts more than usual, so he just lays there rubbing at the bone until it stops.

He’s nearly asleep again when something wakes him up again. He stares blearily at the ceiling trying to figure out what it is. Eventually, he hears the unmistakable sound of a Napstabot concert. He gets up with a yawn.

Just as he suspected.

Blue’s huddled on the couch, dry tear tracks on his face.

“c’mon bro” he says stifling a yawn. “u c’n sleep in m’room tonight.”

Blue’s at his side in an instant.

Stretch pulls him closer in a one-armed hug. His brother’s trembling.

He drags Blue up to his room and onto the bed. “u wanna talk ‘bout it?” he mumbles.

Blue buries his face in Stretch’s chest and shakes his head. He’s crying again.

Stretch does his best to comfort his brother. He wraps his arms around Blue as tightly as he can manage while being so tired.

His Soul aches as Blue’s soft crying turns into full on sobbing. He wishes he knew what was causing his brother so much pain so he could get rid of it. His brother doesn’t deserve this sort of pain. He deserves happiness and a carefree life.

“m’not goin’ n’where, bro” Stretch promises. “i’m never gonna leave ya, i promise.”

Blue just sobs harder despite the reassurance.

----

Stretch is surprised to see Fell on the living room couch when he gets up. Usually, the jerk is in his room or eating in the kitchen. Though, he knows something’s up by the way Fell follows him into the kitchen.

He flips Fell off as he drinks his coffee after the other gives him that look of disgust again. It’s the third day in a row that it’s happened; Stretch figures it’s going to be routine from now on.

“How often does Blue get night terrors?” Fell asks without preamble.

Stretch chokes on his coffee and spills it down the front of his hoodie.

What the fuck.

Fell just repeats the question, much to his annoyance.

“He gets nightmares, not night terrors,” he corrects curtly. Just when he thought he was getting used to that asshole, Fell starts digging into his and his brother’s personal lives. "and how the hell would you know anyways?” He asks a touch defensively.

Fell gives him an unamused look. “Did you really not notice that I was there when you came to retrieve Blue last night?” He asks drily.

Stretch feels the world stop. He can’t breathe and has to work on taking a single breath. “so… he…” he pauses to swallow the sudden tightness in his throat. “he came to you huh”

Blue’s changing even more.

Blue doesn’t need him anymore.

 

Blue trusts Fell more than him.

 

Blue−

“No. The television awoke me,” Fell says mater-of-factly. “I’d actually thought you passed out on the couch again.”

Stretch shuffles to the table as an excuse to break eyelight contact. He feels relieved, but he still can’t help the heaviness he feels in his chest. Even if Blue hadn’t gone to Fell, he still didn’t come to Stretch like he usually does.

Did he say anything?

Stretch doesn’t know if he’d be more surprised if Blue did or didn’t. He’s been changing so much recently Stretch almost doesn’t recognize him at times.

“He mentioned the scar we both have,” Fell says plainly as he taps his neck through the scarf. “He knew I didn’t know where it came from because you apparently don’t know either.”

Stretch brings a hand to rub at the bone. If he concentrates enough he can almost still feel the phantom pain. “yeah… saw it one morning five years ago…” he says tightly. He’ll never be able to forget that day no matter how hard he tries. “that night… Blue had his first ever nightmare.”

He’s still thinking about how awful that night had been when Fell says, “My brother used to wake up screaming.”

For a second, Stretch almost thinks he said it. “man, can we−” he cuts himself off with a long sigh as he rubs at his face. “can we talk about this outside, man? i need a fucking smoke if i’m gonna talk about this”

He can practically see the gears turning in Fell’s head as he holds back a look of disgust. Stretch can’t find the energy to be annoyed. “not to get high, dumbass,” he sighs holding up a small rectangular box. “just regular cigs.”

Thankfully Fell agrees.

Stretch doesn’t waste time going outside. He’s too stressed to sit still as usual and he’s really craving a cigarette. Who knew nicotine could affect monsters made of magic the same way they affected fleshy humans.

He doesn’t miss how Fell takes a seat on his left, away from his cigarette. Though, he’s mildly surprised the other’s sitting on the same step at all. He expected Fell to remain standing.

He tries to wait Fell out. He really doesn’t want to talk about this. He hates thinking about it. Why was the timeline reset so many times? Why did it never get past a certain point? How many memories did he lose? Was he able to take care of his brother during each of those timelines? What if something happened to him? Who’d take care of Blue?

 

 

What if something happened to Blue?

 

 

“the morning i noticed the scar was the same morning i saw the inconsistencies to our timeline” he says shakily. Even his hands shake as he brings them together to lean his forearms on his knees. They won’t stop shaking. He wrings them instead in hopes of covering it up. “i was freaking out− i mean how wouldn’t i? were my memories even right? how many times had i lived that morning already? how many more times would i live it again?”

He lets out a bitter chuckle, abrupt and hollow. “i tried not letting Blue know how freaked out I was y’know. didn’t want to worry him− he’d just started his training’ with Alphys. i think he knew anyways; he was weird all day. wouldn’t let me outa his sight. that night he woke up screaming” he cuts himself off before his voice can crack. He’s showing Fell enough weakness as it is. He doesn’t need to give the chance to be exploited further. “fuck, i’ve never heard him scream like that before. and i haven’t since either” he finishes burring his head in his hands.

He doesn’t even realize they’d lapsed into silence until Fell shifts slightly. Stretch still doesn’t say anything, he doesn’t want to be the one to break the silence again if he doesn’t have to be.

He pulls out another cigarette and lights it. This is his third one today, and he doesn’t think he’s anywhere near done having any.

“why d’you call ‘em night terrors?” He eventually asks when he can’t take the silence anymore.

“My brother has always worried about my wellbeing above his own. He’s always had nightmares even if he tries to keep that from me,” Fell says quietly. “It was the same thing for me one night. I’d never heard him scream like that before. I thought someone had finally broken into our home and dusted him to get to me−,” he cuts himself off abruptly

Stretch is surprised at the story. Fuck. And he thought he worried about his brother…

It’s no wonder Fell had reacted so violently that first night and when he came back. Stretch can’t find it in himself to hold that against Fell. Not anymore. Not if he’s constantly had to live in fear of someone killing his brother.

“I went to check on him, dust whatever bastard thought could come into my house,” Fell growls pulling Stretch from his thoughts. “There was no one, just my brother. He was awake but still stuck in whatever nightmare he was having,” His expression fades from anger to an exhaustion so deep Stretch can’t help but worry about. “He broke my wrist, a few of my ribs, fractured my arm, and left me with the scars over my socket. I’ve seen him fight, I’ve seen him do a lot of things just to keep us alive, but this was something else entirely. I’ve never seen him so desperate before.”

Stretch feels his Soul constrict in sympathy. He never knew Fell had to go through the same thing with his own brother.

Blue may not have freaked out as badly as Red, but it was still bad. He rubs his humerus through his sleeve. The breakage scar on his arm is proof enough.

He puts a hand on Fell’s back with the intent of comfo−

Stretch hisses as pain jolts up his arm. It’s not until the shock of the pain wears off that he realizes Fell has his wrist in a vise grip.

He grits his teeth against the pain as he forces his magic to calm down. Even if he doesn’t train, it’s reassuring to know he can still react if something happens.

Fell drops his wrist so abruptly it sends another flare of pain through his arm.

“Stars Above, Man,” Stretch growls cradling his wrist. “I Was Trying To Be Sympathetic. I Know You Don’t Like Gettin’ Touched, But You’re Just Fuckin’ Excessive!”

Fell sneers in response. “Being touched means being hurt. Being hurt means you are weak and the weak are killed,” he hisses through clenched teeth. “I am not weak.”

All the anger he was feeling suddenly vanishes. “shit, man,” he breathes quietly. Fuck. The more he learns about this UnderFell the less he likes it. “sorry, i didn’t know.”

“I’m aware,” Fell sniffs haughtily.

Stretch rolls his eyelights when Fell turns to leave. He doesn’t have to be a dick about it.

He’s about to let Fell leave without another word when a thought suddenly strikes him. “hold on,” he says as Fell’s opening the door. “did your bro ever tell ya what the nightmares were ‘bout?”

Fell pauses. “No,” he says tensely. “Did yours?”

Stretch frowns. “no”

While, he’s relieved to learn that Blue didn’t go to Fell instead of him, he still wishes Fell didn’t know. It’s something private. Even if Blue refuses to tell him anything…

On some deep petty level, though, he’s glad Red kept it a secret from his own brother. Stretch doesn’t know what he’d do if Fell knew what the nightmares were about while he was kept in the dark.

----

It’s been two days but Stretch can’t stop thinking about that conversation he had with Fell.

The look of exhaustion and helplessness on his face hurt to see. It just doesn’t seem fitting. Not in the slightest. Not with how proud and dangerous Fell has shown himself to be.

Stretch can’t help thinking back to what Blue told him: You haven’t seen what I’ve seen…

He thinks he understand now.

----

“hey, Fell!” Stretch calls when he comes home.

Fell opens his door with an annoyed look on his face. “What do you want?” He asks irritably.

Stretch somehow doesn’t find it as annoying as he did before. Maybe he can’t bring himself to after that conversation. Mostly, he thinks, it’s because he’s just gotten used to Fell’s shitty attitude.

“I brought ya somethin’!” He says holding up a pink box.

Fell gives him a skeptical look as he walks down the stairs. “Need I ask why?”

Stretch shrugs taking one of the muffin’s from the box. “they were on sale ‘n i figured ya'd like one” he says around a mouthful of honey-flavored muffin. “got honey, chocolate, blueberry, banana, vanilla, and plain” He points at each of said muffins as he lists them off. “two of each too”

Fell merely grunts in response as he grabs a blueberry muffin. Stretch is mildly surprised. He figured, for sure, Fell would take a plain one; it was why he got them in the first place.

“Not bad,” Fell says after his first bite.

“i know right!” Stretch says through another mouthful of muffin. “that’s what i said but Muffet insists they came out… wrong…” He trails off as he watches Fell run into the kitchen and puke in the trashcan.

Stretch hesitantly swallows. Maybe Muffet had a reason.

“You dare feed me something made by that fucking bitch!” Fell yells storming out of the kitchen. His eyelights are small and bright with barely withheld anger. “I know you hate me, but that is fucking low, even for you!”

Stretch frowns in confusion. “the fuck you on about?” He asks defensively. “i don’t like ya, sure. but i don’t hate ya either.”

Fell knocks the box from Stretch’s hands. He ignores Stretches complaints as he grabs the front of the other’s hoodie. “Then explain that,” he hisses motioning at the box.

“Muffet’s muffins?” He says clearly confused.

Yes,” Fell hisses lowly.

Stretch only feels more confused. “her food’s great tho. even if it is overpriced,” he says. “why’d’ya think i bought her rejects"

Fell merely growls, dragging Stretch down to be at eyelight level with him. “Everyone knows Muffet makes her food with dust,” he growls through grit teeth.

Stretch feels something sick roil in his Soul. “Fuck,” he breathes. “That’s… Shit…”

Without another word, Fell shoves him away.

He stumbles in his attempt to not fall over. He doesn’t even feel annoyed when Fell pushes past him to storm up the stairs. He’s still stuck on the new information.

He decides he hates UnderFell. He’s glad Fell managed to find refuge here.

He startles slightly when Fell slams the bathroom door shut. Stretch doesn’t even blame the guy. He’d be puking his guts out too.

Nyeh heh.

Guts.

 

Even the joke feels wrong.

Stretch starts putting the muffins back into their box. He doesn’t want his brother to be mad at him when he gets home. That and he needs something to do while he continues to process the information.

Stars. He can’t do anything right.

He frowns at the now filled box. Normally, he’d be fine with food from the floor— Blue keeps the house clean enough— but he can’t bring himself to think about eating them. It makes him nauseous. He doesn’t think he’ll be able to handle Muffet’s food for a while.

He knows she doesn’t make her pastries with dust, but the thought of a different version of her doing so is sickening. He didn’t even know he could feel this level of disgust for anything.

He throws the muffins out.

Stretch waits for the nausea to subside before going up stairs. It takes him a moment to work himself up to it, but he eventually knocks on Fell’s door.

Fell opens the door, scowl on his face. He doesn’t say anything.

“Sorry about the muffin,” Stretch says. “My Muffet definitely doesn’t make her stuff with dust,” he has to pause as the nausea returns full force. “But had I known yours did, I wouldn’t have offered you any. It wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to get you something to cheer you up after that conversation we had.”

Fell’s scowl doesn’t soften, it just becomes less pronounced. He shifts slightly as he clearly struggles to bring his words into order. “I apologize as well,” he begrudgingly says. “My reaction was more of a reflex than a conscious action.”

Stretch smiles. Fell really isn’t that bad. “don’t sweat it dude,” he says easily. “i don’ blame ya. especially after learning what i learned. that’s seriously messed up. next time i’ll make ya some scones.”

“What is a scone?” Fell asks frowning.

Stretch perks up. “It’s A Pastry, Though Muffet’s Never Made Them. They’re Usually Served With Tea,” he says barely containing his excitement. “I'm Not The Best At Making Them But I’m Sure Asgore’ll−” he cuts himself off remembering a vital piece of information. Given what he knows of Fell’s world, he becomes hesitant about his idea. “wait you’re ruled by Asgore right? are you okay with eating his food?”

Fell seems to mull the question over. “The Emperor has never invited anyone other than Undyne for tea…” he mumbles under his breath. “The scones would be fine.”

“Awesome!” Stretch says perking up immediately. “I'll Go Let Him Know Right Now! You Won’t Regret It! Promise!”

----

Stretch groans as his brother wakes him up. He’d just fallen back asleep too.

He holds onto the bed as he’s dragged out. It’s not fair. He’d had a horrible time sleeping after that nightmare he can never remember.

Blue flips the light on as he leaves, cementing Stretch in the world of wakefulness.

He sits up with a groan. He debates going back to sleep when the smell of bacon reaches his room. Well he’s definitely awake now.

He quickly gets ready and goes downstairs. His brother hardly makes bacon because of that annoying dog, so he’s definitely not gonna lose out on his share. He’ll fight the dog if he has to!

“What makes you say that?” Fell questions.

Stretch stops. He doesn’t distrust Fell, but it’s so hard to get information out of him.

“You’re wearing that hoodie again,” Blue says. “So either you like it, or you don’t like loose clothes.”

Fell doesn’t say anything for a long time. Stretch almost begins to think Fell’s done with the conversation. It’s probably another touchy subject.

It makes him feel bad for eavesdropping. He’s about to step out into the kitchen when Fell speaks up.

“You’re even more perceptive than I thought,” Fell says sounding… amused?

No. That can’t be right. It’s Fell. Fell doesn’t do amusement.

“Alright, I agree,” Fell continues.

Blue makes a happy noise at that.

Unable to contain his curiosity, Stretch finally walks into the kitchen. He’s momentarily surprised by what he sees.

Fell, instead of leaning against the counter by the coffee machine, is leaning against the counter by the stove. He doesn’t even seem to be scowling as he looks away from Blue.

Blue is grinning widely, stars in his eye sockets. He’s practically bouncing on his feet in excitement.

Stretch wants so badly ask what Fell agreed to but can’t. He doesn’t want them to know he was eavesdropping. Instead, he decides to say what he usually whenever there’s bacon. “i smell bacon.”

Blue points at the table with his spatula. “Hurry up before the dog finds its way in,” he says as usual.

The rest of the morning passes like normal. Fell makes a face at his coffee, he flips Fell off, Fell rolls his eyelights, and neither Fell nor Blue make mention of whatever Fell agreed to.

----

Stretch knows something’s wrong almost instantly. The air in the house feels heavier than usual.

Seeing nothing out of place, he shrugs it off.

“I’m gonna go check on Fell and Red,” Blue says quietly.

Stretch raises a browbone but says nothing. He still doesn’t like how close his brother is with Fell, but he can’t really say anything. Not without Blue bringing up Asgore. 

But maybe he can work with Fell to figure out what the nightmares are about. It's worth bringing up at least.

Stretch freezes when the heavy feeling suddenly becomes borderline suffocating. He looks towards Fell’s room and sees Blue standing in front of the open door.

“Blue?” He calls tentatively. When he doesn’t get a response, he teleports next to his brother.

 

He feels his Soul freeze.

 

Blue takes a step into the room. Stretch scrambles to stop him but Blue’s out of his reach. “Fell?” Blue says hesitantly.

In an instant, the tension in the house snaps.

 

Fell’s scream is Soul wrenching; sounding closer to an animal’s roar than any sound a monster could make.

Blue’s instantly at his side, trying to draw Fell’s attention from the dust covered bed. Fell doesn’t budge.

Before Stretch can even take a step into the room, Blue turns to give him a sharp look. “Don’t.”

Stretch doesn’t even get the chance to question Blue before sharp barbed bones erupt from the floor. “Blue!” Stretch calls summoning his own attacks. He can’t see Blue or Fell through the thick wall of bones surrounding them and the bed.

His attack disintegrates upon contact with one of Fell’s. “Blue!” He calls again.

“I’m okay!” Blue’s voice is faint against the hum of magic.

“Thank the stars,” Stretch sighs. “What’s going on in there?”

Another roar rings out, equally as soul wrenching as the last. Fell’s attacks waiver and reshape in new areas.

Through the dense mist of magic, Stretch sees Fell and Blue. Fell’s on his knees, clutching at the bed while tears stream down his face. Blue’s crying too as he tries to gently pull Fell away from the bed.

“Six hundred,” Blue says shakily as the bones reform.  “Seven hundred… Eight hundred… Nine hundred−,”

“Blue whatre you…?” Stretch trails off as Blue continues to list off numbers.

“One thousand… One-point-three thousand… two thousand… four thousand…”

Blue’s voice cracks, and Stretch finally understands. It’s Fell’s HP. He’s losing Hope.

Fell!” He shouts with more force than intended. “Come on Man! Snap Out Of It!”

He summons another attack— an orange one this time— straining to make it as dense as possible. He grips it and plants his feet as firmly as possible. He winds up and swings.

He screams as pain shoots up his arms. Red and Orange magic swirl around him as Fell’s attacks try to reform. Stretch tries to form his magic in its place despite the pain.

The magic sparks around him causing his head to ring and his vision to swim. He hears something underneath the ringing, but he can’t make out what it is.

Another sharp snap and suddenly everything’s silent save for the faint sound of howling in the distance… but that’s ridiculous. It’s probably just the ringing in his head.

Stretch stares up at the ceiling trying to regain his bearings. There’s a noise, quiet and choked off. He tries to block it out; his head aches.

When the roof finally stops spinning, he sits up. He groans at how much his body aches. A quick check of his HP makes him gulp.

 

03 / 29

 

He quickly looks into the room, afraid for Blue and Fell’s safety.

Stretch sags in relief seeing them both. He soon realizes how not okay they both are.

Blue’s sitting on the floor, sobbing as he cradles Fell’s head and shoulders against his chest. He doesn’t even seem to mind how Fell’s spine digs into his arms enough to draw marrow.

No matter how hard he tries, Stretch doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to forget the look on Fell’s face. He looks absolutely lifeless. Empty sockets stare hollowly at nothing as silent tears stream down his face. Even his chest is still; like he’s not even breathing.

Stretch uses his sleeve to wipe at his face once he realizes he’s crying too. Damn the stars! No one deserves to lose a loved one. Not even an asshole like Fell!

He slowly gets up. He’s hesitant as he steps into the room. He doesn’t want to accidentally startle Fell and cause another incident.

He’s careful as he sits next to Blue. He glances at his brother before carefully taking one of Fell’s hands in his own. The glove is surprisingly soft despite how worn it looks. “We got you, man,” Stretch says softly. “You’re not alone.”

Blue hiccups in his attempt to agree.

Chapter Text

By evening, Blue and Stretch finally manage to lead Fell into the living room. They leave the bed absolutely untouched for now.

Fell’s still unresponsive; the only signs of life being his barely noticeable breathing. He doesn’t move unless guided, and his eyelights still haven’t returned.

Stretch glances at his brother, unsure of what to do next. He may not have liked Fell all that much, but even he’s worried.

Blue goes to the kitchen, leaving him alone with Fell. Before Stretch can start doubting what to do, Blue returns with a glass of water.

“I’m gonna take some time off from work,” Blue says grabbing one of Fell’s hands. He wraps it around the glass of water and slowly guides it to Fell’s mouth. “He needs someone right now…”

Stretch stares at his brother, eyelights wide in surprise. “Blue−”

“Can you make sure he drinks the whole glass?” His brother asks cutting him off. “I need to go talk with Rabinne and Alphys.”

He can only numbly nod. He takes the glass from Blue and takes a seat next to Fell. He watches as his brother quietly leaves the house.

He’s still not sure he heard Blue right. His brother, who has never missed a day of sentry duty, is taking time off.

He studies Fell for a while. Does Blue really care for the guy that much?

“so uh… what d’ya get if ya cross a snowman and a vampire?” Stretch starts hesitantly. “frost bite

No reaction. Not even a groan.

“what’d’ya get when ya have bread?” He tries again. “a mygrain

Nothing.

“what’d the sea say to the sand?” No response. “nothin’ they just gave a lil wave”

Still nothing.

“ya think the reason sand’s called sand s’cause it’s between the sea and land?” He wonders out loud.

“You and my brother would have gotten along spectacularly,” Fell murmurs.

Stretch startles so bad he nearly drops the glass of water he’s holding. He awkwardly hands it to Fell. “erm… really?” He asks not knowing what else to say to that.

Fell takes the glass and downs it in one go. He frowns at it, displeased. “Yes,” he replies. “You both have the same terrible sense of humor.”

Stretch feels his Soul sink. He’d only wanted to try cheering Fell up, not remind him of his recently deceased brother. “sorry” he murmurs.

“Do not apologize,” Fell says standing up. “Where is Blue?”

“he went to talk with Alphys and Rabinne” he says frowning. “he wants to take some time off.”

Fell turns to him so quickly Stretch jumps. “How strict is your General?”

“i− i dunno” he replies. “why?”

“Asking for time off is grounds for permanent dismissal.”

----

Blue teleports to the field the moment he closes the front door behind him. He tries to take a deep breath, but it gets caught in his throat.

He drops to his knees with a Soul wrenching sob. He can barely breathe through his crying.

He knew it was going to happen soon, but it still hurt.

Red’s Hope was so low Blue’s honestly surprised he lasted as long as he did.

 

Stars, and now Fell.

 

Blue screams at the unfairness of the world. From fourteen thousand to a mere seven thousand in the course of a few minutes. Barely over a third of the HP he arrived with.

 

How cruel the world is.

 

 

----

Blue rubs at his face. He needs to get rid of the tear tracks. He even goes so far as to stick a finger in his sockets to rid himself of any stray tears. He shudders at the feeling. He always hates getting things in his sockets.

Shaking himself from his thoughts he takes a deep breath and squares his shoulders. It’s now or never.

“Captain Alphys!” Blue calls.

Alphys turns from where she stands guard in front of the elevator to the castle. She seems surprised to see him when she lifts her faceplate. “What are you doing here, short stack?” She demands loudly.

Blue gulps but refuses to show how nervous he is. He doesn’t think he’s ever done this before; even in the times that time started over. “I need to take some time off.”

He winces as Alphys’ expression hardens. “What.” She hisses.

“I need to take some time off,” he repeats not knowing what else to do.

“Unless your brother died,” she says curtly, “the answer is no.”

Blue feels his Soul freeze for a brief moment. “But−,”

“My decision is final, Sans,” She interrupts.

He snaps his mouth shut. She’s definitely serious if she’s not humoring his name change. “Then I quit.”

She startles enough that her armor clatters against itself. “What?” She says genuinely confused.

“If I can’t get time off, then I quit,” he explains.

Alphys snarls. She marches up to him, clearly angered. “You quit and you’ll never be in the guard,” She threatens.

After the day’s he’s had, Blue’s had enough. “It’s not like you were going to let me in anyways!” He shouts. “So just drop the act, I’m not a child! My friend’s brother just died, so I don’t need you to hold my dream in front of my face like it’s actually reachable! Someone besides my brother actually needs me for once, and I’m not going to abandon him in his time of need! I refuse to see another Monster Fall Down and die on me if I can help it! If that means I have to abandon my dream once and for all, then so be it! It’s not like you were ever going to let me join to begin with.” He’s breathing hard by the end. He’s usually so much better at holding his temper.

After one final deep breath, he notices just how shocked she is. “Sans…”

“Stop,” Blue says quietly. “I’ll send my final report in the morning. Just… don’t hold this against my brother.”

“W− wait, Sans! I−I−I I didn’t−,”

He teleports away before he starts crying in fronts of her. He’s so tired of crying. It makes him feel like a little kid; helpless and alone and weak.

He’s better than this.

 

He can’t stop.

----

Rabinne seems genuinely upset to see him go. She even promises to talk to Alphys if he ever wants his job back.

It warms Blue’s Soul to know she took him seriously.

----

He gets home in time to see the Dogi walking up the steps. They’re dressed in white.

“(Little Blue.)” Dogaressa greets sadly.

“Blue,” MK sniffles. Even she's dressed in white.

“We’re so sorry,” Dogamy says.

Blue can feel tears pool in his sockets again. The Dogi are so nice. “Let me see if he’s up for visitors,” he says motioning at the door.

Both dogs nod and pull MK away.

Blue opens the door and is surprised to see his brother pacing the living room. “bro, oh my god” he sighs rushing up to him. “what happened? what did Alphys say?”

Blue shifts uncomfortably. He looks away towards Fell only to find the other watching him intently. “Later,” he tells his brother. “Fell, the Dogi are here. Do you wanna talk to them?”

Fell stands up. He looks guarded, stiff, and far too tired. The tear tracks are nowhere to be seen at the least. “Why are they here?”

“They were dressed in white,” he explains. Even his brother sobers up at that. “So probably to offer condolences or something.”

“White?” Fell questions.

Blue shifts again. “They’re outside.”

“bro, you okay?”

“I do not wish to see anyone at the moment,” Fell says.

Blue nods and goes back outside. Dogamy and Dogaressa are entertaining MK as best they can by the road. He’s relieved that they made an effort to not accidentally listen in.

MK notices him first. “Can we see Mister Fell now?”

He gives the best reassuring smile he can. “Sorry, he’s not feeling up for it right now,” he says.

MK, who’s already sad, wilts at the news.

Dogaressa steps forward. She holds up a container Blue hadn’t noticed before. “(I know we haven’t known Fell for long,)” she says softly, “(but my husband and I made him some traditional treats.)”

Blue accepts the container with a heartfelt thanks. He watches them walk away with a tearful MK. Even Dogamy has to wipe some tears from his eyes.

Those howls he heard when he was comforting Fell must have been the Dogi then.

“dang they really do like him huh” Stretch says suddenly at his side. Blue startles not having heard his brother come outside. “nyeheh sorry, bro”

Blue gives him a kind smile. “Don’t worry about it,” he says. “Let’s go back inside.”

Fell’s leaning against the back of the couch, dim eyelights trained out the window. “Why are they wearing white?” He asks.

“that’s what people wear when someone dies. what do monsters wear in your world?”

“The only deaths mourned in my world were for the Dreemurr children,” Fell says plainly. “And that was far before my time.”

Blue shifts not liking what he’s hearing. What kind of horrid world doesn’t mourn death? “They brought you some food,” he says awkwardly.

Fell shifts to look at him. He doesn’t even acknowledge the container. “You lost your job didn’t you,” he comments.

“what− how would−” his brother stumbles over his words. “Sa− Blue?”

“She wouldn’t give me time off, so I quit,” he mumbles.

Fell frowns, but Blue ignores it in favor of his suddenly frazzled brother. “Why would you do that?” Stretch demands. He has Blue by the shoulders and is struggling to not shake him. “I thought bein’ in the ‘Guard was your dream!”

Blue can’t bring himself to shrug his brother off. He doesn’t know how to downplay it either.

He glances at Fell in an attempt to buy himself time. Fell’s frown is too self-loathing for his liking.

“It’s been five years, Stretch,” Blue says turning to his brother. “She was never going to let me join; no matter how strong I got… Guess I just got tired of lying to myself−,” he’s surprised at the crack in his voice. It hurts more than he thought it would to admit that.

Stretch has him in a hug before he realizes.

It feels nice.

 

He forces himself to pull back after just a moment. “Anyways enough of that!” The cheeriness sounds painfully fake, even to him. “Fell, is there anything in particular you want to eat for dinner tonight?”

He tries not to wince at the glare Fell has trained on him. A quick glance at his brother tells Blue he’s displeased with his fake cheeriness too. A quick check of his brother’s stats makes it easy to ignore that look, though.

“The lasagna you made that one time was decent,” Fell eventually replies.

Stretch shoots Fell a look. He opens his mouth to no doubt argue but closes it soon after.

Blue breathes a sigh of relief. At least his brother has the decency to be nice to Fell in his current state.

Blue smiles, a little less forced. “Coming right up!” He says a little thankful. Lasagna always takes a lot of work, but it’ll help keep his mind off things. It gives him an idea. “Why don’t I teach you?”

Fell raises a browbone. His eyelights sharpen for a moment in suspicion. After a few seconds, they lose their sharpness as he seems to realize what Blue’s really offering. “That doesn’t sound like a terrible idea,” he eventually says and follows Blue into the kitchen.

Chapter Text

Papyrus leans against a nearby wall to catch his breath.

 

It hurts.

 

It hurts.

 

It hurts so damn much.

 

Everything fucking hurts.

 

He wills himself to stand tall when he hears shuffling nearby. He winces as pain shoots up his side.

He takes a deep shuddering breath.

Holding his head high, he continues on his way.

His knee is on fire and he’s unable to fully hide his limp. He can feel his left arm starting to lock up. He wants so badly to lean against the wall again. Something to help him make the world stop spinning.

The shuffling gets closer.

He grits his teeth against the pain as he summons a bone. “Show yourself,” he commands. He thanks the stars that his voice doesn’t shake; that it sounds strong.

Papyrus?” Sans’ unmistakable voice rings out. He rounds a corner and practically sags in relief. “fucken hell, thank the stars.”

Papyrus lets his weapon fade. He doesn’t have the energy to keep it summoned. Not that he needs to. Not with his brother around.

Sans,” he snaps trying to keep his voice steady. He tries to hide his limp, more than ever, as he approaches his brother. “I told you you’re not to be out!”

Sans hunches his shoulders. “Right… sorry, bro,” he mumbles looking away.

Papyrus grits his teeth at the sudden tightness in his chest. He hates this. He hates having to speak to his older brother like this. “Never mind that, it’s already done,” he huffs irritably. “What is it you want?”

Sans keeps his head down as he replies. Papyrus hates it. “was startin’ to get worried ‘bout ya,” he mumbles scratching his cheek nervously. He really should learn to cover that tick. “ain’t nobody seen ya or Lieutenant Cachorron all day.”

He hates how worried his brother sounds.

“a−an’ i know just how much they hates ya,” Sans continues.

Papyrus snorts, straightening his shoulders. “Well you won’t have to worry about them anymore, Sans,” he says plainly. He grits his teeth against the pain in his body as he shoulders past his brother. “Now come along, brother,” he can’t quite keep the smug smirk off his face. “I’ve an announcement to make to the Guards and Sentries of Snowdin.”

He keeps walking despite the lack of footsteps following him. He’s almost out of Waterfall when he finally hears hurried shuffling. “bro… didja really?”

He snorts. “In front of the Emperor,” he says smugly.

“Hell yeah!” Sans suddenly cheers. “my lil’ bro’s a fucking badass!”

Papyrus can’t help puffing up with pride despite his injuries. “Of course I am, Sans,” he sniffs. “After all, not everyone can join the Guard the day they become an adult.”

“’n not everyone can be an Overseer at eighteen either, bro,” Sans says proudly. He’s grinning, wide and proud, as he bumps Papyrus with his shoulder.

Papyrus hisses in pain, not having expected the impact. His brother instantly freezes. “Yer hurt,” Sans states.

“It’s nothing,” he dismisses.

Sans’ grin is gone. He looks worried. “Bullshit,” he spits.

Enough!” Papyrus snaps. “I am not some pathetic child, nor am I as weak as you.”

Sans’ mood instantly sour. “yeah,” he grunts sarcastically, “can’t have the Boss showin’ any weakness.”

He grits his teeth against the pang in his soul. That’s exactly it. He can’t show any weakness. Especially now that he’s taken the Overseer position. He’ll have a bigger target on his back.

 

Sans will have a bigger target on his back…

 

He needs to start gathering information on Luma.

If he wants to ensure his brother’s safety, he needs to be strong enough to deter challengers. He needs to take Luma’s spot as Lieutenant General, second in command of the Royal Guard. He’ll even kill Undyne if it means ensuring Sans’ safety.

Boss,” Papyrus forces himself to sound casual. It tastes like dust in his mouth. “I quite like the sound of that.”

----

Fell wakes up from the aching of his back.

He straightens his back with a quiet groan. This damn chair is going to break his back one of these days.

He glances at the bed and briefly stiffens. His brother’s no longer there. He sags back into the chair in defeat. He’s still not accustomed to not having his brother around.

He shifts his gaze to the urn sitting on the desk. Red’s collar is wrapped around the base and his clothes neatly folded next to it.

It’s intricate in a simple way. Something well above his paygrade. Only the nobles in his world would have been able to afford something like that.

The Delta Rune is its main feature. In place of the circle, however, is an inverted heart; a soul made of glass allowing the dust to be seen.

Stretch got him the urn, but he knows it really must have come from the man behind the door: Asgore.

Stretch had refused any payment for the urn, so clearly Asgore was doing it for the sake of doing it. And for someone he’d never met before.

To think this world’s Asgore would be such a kind monster.

The air gets harder to breath as he thinks about how unfair it is that he gets to live in safety while his brother, the one who really deserves it, doesn’t.

----

Blue tries teaching him how to cook breakfast and dinner that day.

He doesn’t pay attention.

----

Fell grabs Blue’s wrist before he can grab the salt. “Don’t use that,” he says.

Blue gives him a questioning frown. “But the macaronis won’t have any flavor if you don’t cook them with salt.”

“I know,” Fell replies, “but all the food you cook is sweet. I have come to believe there is sugar mixed in with the salt.” He lets go of Blue’s wrist when he sees the other turn a thoughtful look at the salt.

Blue uses the little measuring spoon to scoop up more salt. He tips it onto his gloved palm. With a bit of hesitation, he eats the small mound of salt.

Fell’s amused at the face Blue pulls.

After a moment, Blue puts the measuring spoon back. He grabs the container with a frown. “Stretch!” He yells stomping out of the kitchen.

From where he’s standing, Fell sees Stretch startle. “i didn’t do anything!” He instantly replies.

“Not recently,” Blue accuses. “How long have you been mixing sugar with the salt?”

Stretch grimaces. “i uh, i dunno what’cher talkin’ about”

Blue puts his free hand on his hip. “I can tell you’re lying, brother. Now,” he holds up the offending salt, “why did you put sugar in the salt?”

“what makes you so sure it wasn’t Fell?” Stretch tries.

“How do you think I noticed? Blue asks. “Fell figured it out.”

Stretch grimaces and glances into the kitchen. He and Fell make brief eyelight contact before Stretch turns back to his brother. “dunno what ta tell ya bro. i didn’t do it,” Stretch insists. “’sides, there’s nothing wrong with sweetenin’ up life.”

Blue lets out an indignant sound and stomps his foot. “Unbelievable!” He storms back into the kitchen only to realize Fell was watching the whole time.

Fell can see the embarrassment clear on his face.  

“Sorry about that,” Blue apologizes awkwardly. “Um. I have to go buy regular salt. Do you want to come with?”

He’d rather not have to socialize with the other monsters. He’s still too unaccustomed to how different they all are. That, and he’d rather stay behind to give Stretch shit for putting sugar in the salt.

But he doesn’t want to be left to his thoughts if Stretch storms off.

“May as well.”

Blue’s face lights up. He seems genuinely happy that Fell accepted his invitation. Even his eyelights turn into stars.

Fell wonders if Blue does that on purpose.

He excuses himself to get some of his money. If this world really is like his own— despite its swapped features— Doggo’s shop should have everything a monster could need. He may as well get some better fitting clothes while he’s there.

He stops in front of the urn before he leaves the room. He gently runs his hand across the collar, careful not to disturb the brass tooth in front of it. “I’m going out for a while, Sans,” he says quietly. “I’ll be back soon.”

Even though he knows he won’t get a reply, he still waits a few seconds. With a final jerky nod, he leaves the room.

Blue’s waiting for him by the front door. He’s now wearing what looks like a short-sleeved jacket. Fell wonders what the point of a short-sleeved jacket even is. It certainly won’t keep Blue warm. Though, he has to admit the shade of blue makes Blue’s bones look whiter. He briefly wonders what shade it is.

“You ready?” Blue asks him.

He merely nods.

Blue turns towards his brother, smile giving way to a stern look. “I expect an apology when I get home,” he says. “And pick up your sandals!”

Stretch raises a hand in a halfhearted wave. “’kay” he says not even bothering to turn away from the tv.

Blue huffs before turning away. When he opens the door, he holds it open for Fell.

Fell doesn’t notice as he quickly walks through. That exchange between the brothers made something painful twist in his Soul. It was so reminiscent to the arguments he and his own brother would have about all the socks Red left lying around.

“So, I was thinking,” Blue says after a few minutes. “Since we’re out and all, why don’t we also get you some new clothes?”

He hums in thought. He’d already planned to do that, but he had also agreed to go with Blue a few mornings ago. He nods. “Very well.”

Blue smiles up at him, happy.

The walk through town is much like it was last time. Monsters kept eyeing him with weary curiosity. To his utter surprise, however, some smiled at him and Blue. He wonders what the difference between those monsters is. Why do some just seemingly accept him?

Doggo greets them the moment they set foot in the shop. “Afternoon, boys.”

“Good afternoon, Mr. Doggo!” Blue cheerfully returns the greeting.

Fell simply nods with a grunt.

Blue beelines towards the food while Fell takes the time to look through the other wares. The prices of everything surprise him. They’re so low. Especially considering the quality and newness of the items.

Unsullied and uncracked kitchenware are lower priced than the garbage from his own world. There’s also a lot more trinkets. He’s never seen some of them before either. Like the metal block with two slits, a dial, and a spring-press lever. Though, now that he thinks about it, he vaguely recalls seeing one tucked away in a corner on the counter in Blue’s kitchen.

He’s still idly looking through the wares when Blue walks up besides him. “Find anything cool yet?”

“I agreed to go clothing shopping with you, so I waited until you had what you needed before starting,” Fell says.

Blue’s smile softens. Not knowing how to respond to it, Fell starts towards the clothing.

He and Blue have only barely started looking when he hears a loud gasp followed by the sound of pattering feet.

Blue, again, is swift enough to scoop MK off her feet before she crashes into Fell. “Mister Fell!” She says clearly distressed.

Dogaressa quickly approaches them. She looks embarrassed. “(I’m so sorry,)” she says taking MK from Blue. “(She just slipped out of my grasp.)”

MK is struggling in her mother’s hold as Fell approaches them. “No need to worry,” he says. “Agility is a good skill to have.” Dogaressa tilts her head, not quite knowing how to respond. Remembering just how different their worlds are, he shifts his attention to MK awkwardly continues. “I appreciate you coming to check on me a few days ago,” he says surprisingly truthful. “I must have worried you then.”

MK stops struggling to nod vigorously. “Are you okay?”

“What’s happened has happened, and it cannot be undone,” Fell says placing a hand on her head.

She gives him a confused frown, clearly not understanding what he said. “But are you okay?” She asks again.

“(MK!)” Dogaressa scolds. She turns her attention back to Fell. “(I’m sorry,)” she apologizes again. “(She has gotten quite attached to you since you saved her. She’s only worried.)” She seems to hesitate for a moment before continuing. “(As am I and my husband. If you need anything; we’re all here for you.)”

Fell shifts uncomfortably. He doesn’t want to continue this conversation. “I am still standing; this is not something I cannot get through,” he reassures. “Now, if you’ll excuse us, Blue and I still have things we must attend to here.”

Dogaressa bows her head in embarrassment. “(Yes, of course,)” she says backing away. “(I’m sorry. Have a nice day.)”

“Are you okay?” Blue asks when Dogaressa and MK approach Doggo to pay.

Fell doesn’t respond. Instead he turns his attention back to the small rack of clothing.

Chapter Text

Fell notices Doggo the moment he starts walking towards them. For a simple shop owner, he’s incredibly quiet.

“You boys need any help?” Doggo asks.

“No,” Fell replies not even looking over. He doesn’t care that Doggo’s older than them, they’re not children.

He notices Blue wince at his reply. “No thank you, Mister Doggo,” he says in a friendly tone. “We’re just looking around.”

Doggo merely hums. “Well if you boys need anything, don’t hesitate to ask.”

“Okay, Mister Doggo!”

He can feel the disapproving look Blue sends his way the moment Doggo leaves. He pretends not to notice as he continues to look at the shirts.

“You’re really good with MK,” Blue says much to his surprise.

He looks over to see Blue’s giving him that soft smile again. He still doesn’t know how he’s supposed to respond to it. He can’t even figure out what causes Blue to give him that look.

“It’s interesting to see how a child is without the struggles of my world,” he explains. “She’s so very different from my own MK. Its… sad.”

Blue shifts to stand closer to him. “I’m sorry,” he says softly.

Fell shakes his head slightly. “No need to apologize. I’ve long since made my peace with my world.”

They lapse into silence as they continue to look at the clothing. Fell takes mostly dark colored shirts, sticking to reds, blacks, and browns, while Blue grabs a few blue and teal colored ones for himself.

He has more trouble finding pants. The material for most of them feel too soft; it leaves him feeling uncomfortable. The denim is more comfortable but still unfavorable in his opinion. He grabs two pairs.

The dress pants have the nicest material in his opinion. It’s not the tough leather of his guard uniform, but it’s something he’s more used to. He didn’t have many before since he usually stuck to his uniform, but they always looked great on him. Though, he doesn’t really have a need for dress pants. He’s in a small town in Snowdin, the backwaters of the Underground.

He’d rather not walking around overdressed; it might give others the impression of arrogance. While normally, he wouldn’t care what others thought of him, he doesn’t even have a job— much less a title— that requires him to be in top form at all times. He’d rather not make enemies in this world if it can be avoided. He’s too tired to continue living the facade he’s grown so accustomed to.

He likes the soft peacefulness of this world. Even if he doesn’t deserve it.

 

He can almost hear his brother’s laughter as Red gives him shit for going soft.

 

“If you like it, you should take it,” Blue says from his side.

Fell glances his way. He’d noticed Blue approach him, but he doesn’t know when he stopped being weary of it. “It seems excessive,” he says.

Blue frowns at him. “So?” He asks. “If you like it, you like it. Everyone’s got their own unique style; that just happens to be yours.”

He looks back at the slacks laid out in front of him. Blue makes it sound so simple. “Is it really that simple?” He murmurs.

“Yep!” Blue chirps in response.

Fell tries not to startle at the response. He hadn’t thought he’d spoken aloud. He needs to be more careful. He needs to stop letting his guard down; even if it’s just around Blue.

He glances at Blue and sees him smiling encouragingly. He decides, since it’s Blue, he won’t worry too much about his slip up. This time at least.

He quickly riffles through the pants and is relieved to find the sizing system is the same as his world’s. That makes choosing pants much simpler and quicker than he was expecting. After he’s done, he realizes he has far more pants than shirts.

Blue seems to notice too as he holds up a turtleneck shirt for Fell. “This one looks nice,” he says happily holding it out to Fell.

Fell grabs the shirt to inspect it closer. It’s the same shade as his red scarf. He hasn’t been able to bring himself to get something of that shade. He would have skipped right over it despite its nice quality. “Do you think it will fit?” He asks deciding to humor Blue.

Blue’s face lights up. “Yep! It’s the same size as the hoodie!”

Fell hums noncommittally. He can’t bring himself to reject the shirt now and see the look of disappointment on Blue’s face.

He decides to inspect the shirt closer. It looks small to him no matter how he looks at it. He knows he likes the fit of the hoodie, so he’ll trust Blue on this. Though, that means the other shirts he’d picked up had been too big. The shirts’ sizing system must be different then.

He makes a displeased noise as he makes his way back to where he got the first few shirts. He sets down what he’s holding to fold the shirts before putting them back. He wouldn’t care to do it normally, but the way it makes the table look messy leaves him feeling restless.

Blue seems to notice and quickly takes the rest of the shirts from him. “I got it,” he says easily folding the shirts. “You just get what you want.”

Fell’s surprised at how easily Blue folds the clothes. Even as the one who did all the cleaning at home, he never managed to develop that level of efficiency. He can’t help feeling a little envious.

He’s moved on to choosing a pair of boots when he notices Doggo approaching them again. “Heya, I know you boys said you were good, but I wanna show you something before I forget,” he says lifting a black jacket. “One of my vendors in New Home is trying ta make a new line of jackets and gave me a couple to see if anyone here would like ‘em.”

He offers the jacket to Fell, tail wagging in excitement. “They love sending new things here as test runs. So for now, there’s less than five in the whole Underground and this just screams You!”

Not entirely sure what to do, Fell glances at Blue. Blue’s smiling encouragingly at him; letting him decide what to do despite his earlier attitude towards Doggo.

Fell reaches out to grab the jacket. It’s leather, similar to that making up the outer shell of his brother’s. He wonders if it’s the same maker. If it is, he doubts he’ll be able to afford the jacket easily.

“You should try it on!” Blue says excitedly. Doggo immediately nods in agreement.

He turns his attention from Blue to Doggo. “There’s a chance I tear through the fabric if I try it on,” he says.

“There’s also a chance ya don’t,” Doggo says waving him off. “So go on! Try it!”

Fell tries not to scowl. He doesn’t know Doggo, yet the man is treating him like a long-time ally. He doesn’t like it.

He glances back at Blue who’s practically bouncing on the balls of his feet.

“Very well,” he sighs slipping the jacket on. He’s surprised at how form fitting it is. Even through the hoodie and gloves he’s wearing, he can tell the leather is high quality. It likely has that soft and smooth feel to it as opposed to a tough lumpy feel his uniform has.

Doggo whistles, pulling him out of his musing. “Lookin’ good, Fell,” he says.

Fell doesn’t pay him any mind. As the one trying to sell him the jacket, of course he would say that. Instead, he turns his attention to Blue.

“It looks really good on you!” Blue agrees readily.

Humming noncommittally, Fell removes the jacket. “How much is it worth?” He asks Doggo.

“Eight hundred Gold.”

Eight hundred,” Fell repeats surprised. “You’re certain?”

Doggo shifts slightly. “Yeah,” he says significantly less excited than before. “L’ihn only made three, and they used enchanted leather, so they made it clear I was to sell ‘em at no less than eight hundred a piece… Sorry if it’s too much fer ya…”

Too much,” Fell says amused. “I’m accustomed to clothing this high quality being at least five thousand Gold. Here I thought you were underselling.”

He feels a strange smugness at how Doggo balks at him. “Who in their right mind sells something that expensive?” He sounds genuinely distressed.

“I can assure you, they are most certainly not in their right mind,” he snorts drily. “Nevertheless, I’ll take the jacket.”

Doggo instantly perks up, tail wagging excitedly. “Great!” He says clearly pleased. “Anything else I can do for you boys?”

“I’ve everything I need,” Fell says picking up his pile of clothing. He turns to Blue.

“I’m set!” Blue supplies with a cheery smile.

Doggo smiles, tail still wagging. “If you boys follow me, I’ll ring ya both right up.”

Fell is surprised to see that the register is in a position allowing for full, unimpeded, view of the store. It seems a bit odd to him since Doggo’s virtually blind, but it was most likely very useful back when Doggo could see.

“Yer total’s eighteen-thirty-five,” Doggo says.

Fell’s pulling out the proper amount of Gold when he stops, an idea suddenly striking him. “Add Blue’s things to my total,” he says.

“No! No!” Blue instantly interjects. “You don’t have to do that.”

“Nonsense,” Fell scoffs. “You’ve provided me with a safe place to stay; this is the least I can do to repay you.”

“But you don’t have to!” Blue insists.

“You’re right, I don’t, but I am doing it anyways,” he says turning back to Doggo. “What’s the new total.”

Doggo quickly reworks the price, adding Blue’s items to his bill. “Twenty-two-oh-seven.”

Fell doesn’t like the pleased— or is it smug? — look on Doggo’s face. He retrieves the required Gold and hands it over. He’s quick to retrieve his bags and hand Blue his.

“You really didn’t have to,” Blue says softly as he accepts the bags, “but thank you.”

He merely nods in response.

“Make sure to come back soon!” Doggo calls as they leave.

Fell ignores him while Blue replies. “We will!”

They both fall into a comfortable silence as they walk. Blue hums under his breath as he walks, Fell notes.

As he continues to observe the other, he comes to the conclusion that Blue’s in a good mood. If his light, nearly bouncy, steps are anything to go by.

Something about it easies Fell’s mind. Maybe it’s the carefree attitude. Maybe it’s the thought of comfortable clothing. Whatever it is, he’s as close to a relaxed mood as he can ever remember being.

He instantly frowns feeling sick to his soul. His brother died and here he is being feeling at ease. He really is a terrible brother.

He should be in the room reflecting on how he failed to ensure his brother’s safety. How he should have done more. How he shouldn’t have been so hard on his brother in public. How he shou−

“Sans− I mean Blue! Wait up!” Not long after that’s shouted, a rabbit comes to a halt just next to them.

Fell’s instantly on guard, not having heard them aside from their shout. The rabbit is dressed in a less protective version of his uniform but is undoubtably wearing the Overseer’s uniform.

“Hiya, Rabbine!” Blue greets with a strained smile. “How are you doing today?”

Fell instantly scowls. If Blue has to fake a smile, then something is clearly not right.

“As well as I can be considering you’re not a sentry anymore,” she says with a sad smile.

Blue winces at the reminder. Fell straitens his posture, ready to retaliate in case she attacks.

“But!” She continues with a bright smile. “That don’t matter to me if it don’t matter to you.”

Blue glances at Fell in confusion before refocusing on her. “What?”

“Roo’s sick, and I want you to cover her shift for the next week ‘n a half.”

“But I’m not a sentry an−,” Blue starts.

The rabbit easily waves him off. “I’ll pay ya under-the-table,” she explains. “You were one of my best sentries after all.”

Blue looks surprised. “Really?” He asks hopefully.

“Yep!” She starts to say something else only to stop abruptly. Her attention is instantly on Fell. Even her stance shifts to something more guarded and weary. “Apologies. In my rush, I forgot to introduce myself,” even her voice takes a more formal tone. “My name is Rabinne Usag. I’m the Overseer of the Snowdin region.”

Fell carefully wipes the scowl off his face in favor of an impartial look. So this is the Royal Guard of this world. “I am Fell,” he says plainly. “I’ve no doubt you know who I am; all things considered.”

He’s pleased in the way Rabinne shifts into a defensive stance. She spends a few seconds surveying him. “You’re not at all like Doggo described you,” she comments eyeing the bags he’s holding. “Though, I don’t really care so long as you’re shopping like a normal monster.”

“Two thousand two hundred seven,” Fell says smoothly. “You can ask Doggo the price yourself if you do not believe me.”

Rabinne mouth twitches, like she’s trying to hold back a smile. “No need. He already vouched for you in front of me ‘n Captain Alphys,” she says. “Not to mention Blue here vouchin’ for you,” She turns to Blue, making it clear she’s done with him. “So what d’ya say, Blue? Up for some under-the-table work?”

Blue shifts slightly. “Is that legal?” He asks.

She waves his question off. “Don’t worry about that,” she says easily. “If it were up to me, you’d’ve been a ‘Guard years ago, but this is the next best thing I can do.”

Blue stills, eyelights widening in surprise. “You mean it?” He asks hopefully.

Rabinne’s entire stance softens. “Of course,” she replies. “I mean, day-to-day it sometimes seems like you’re not suited for the job, but when push comes to shove, you really know how to buckle down and handle the job right!” She grins brightly. She straightens her posture, nearly bouncing on her toes in her excitement. “Y’know what! I’m gonna have another talk with Alph! You just wait, Blue! You’ll be in the ‘Guard soon enough!”

She takes off running, not bothering to wait for a reply.

Fell only stares incredulously at the cloud of upturned snow she leaves behind. Rabbits may be fast, but they also tend to be as scatterbrained as they are quick. He’s about to make a snide comment when he notices Blue’s slumped shoulders. “You’re upset,” he observes. “My understanding was that joining the Royal Guard was a dream of yours.”

Blue shifts nervously. “I kinda got mad and yelled at Alphys before I quit…” He says quietly. “A lot.”

He’s surprised at the news. He can’t imagine Blue yelling out of anger at anyone. At most, he’s only heard Blue take a leveled and stern tone.

He must take too long to react since Blue shifts again. “Yeah…” He mumbles.

The rest of the walk is spent in a heavy silence.

Chapter Text

Stretch is snoring on the couch when they get back. Stars knows what he was doing that resulted in him hanging half off the couch, but he sleeps without a problem. There’s even a bag of chips spilling its contents on his chest and the floor.

Something about the typical mundaneness of it all puts Blue at ease. He turns a more reassuring smile towards Fell. “You can take your time putting your things away. I’m gonna clean up this mess before we get back to cooking.”

Fell merely shifts his bags from one hand to the other. “Very well.”

Blue watches him with a happy smile as he goes into his room. The moment the door closes, he lets out a long breath. He’s worried about Fell.

The last two days had passed like usual. Blue and Fell still got up at the same time they usually did. Blue still woke his brother for work. Fell still spends most of his time in his room.

The only real difference is that he now teaches Fell to cook while making meals. He learned that Fell’s usual cooking consisted of “as long as it wasn’t rotting, I couldn’t care less how it looked or tasted.

While that, in its own right, is worrying enough, what really worries Blue, though, is Fell’s attitude. Fell acts like nothing happened. Like his brother didn’t just die. Like his base HP isn’t under ten thousand.

The image of Fell desperately clawing at the dust on the bed is forever imprinted in his mind.

Fell should be grieving the loss of his only family. It’s not healthy to bottle up those feelings and go about the day like nothing.

He shakes the thoughts from his head and starts cleaning. He shouldn’t dwell on it too long. He doesn’t want his worrying to worry his brother or Fell.

He lets out a long sigh when he gets to the chips. Honestly. His brother is so messy sometimes.

----

He’s done cleaning and on his way back into the kitchen when his brother finally wakes up. “Finally awake, lazybones?”

Stretch grunts unintelligibly as he sits up. Blue winces at the way his back cracks and pops. He takes a stern look as he puts his hands on his hips. “How many times have I told you to not fall asleep while eating?” Blue asks. “It’s filthy!”

“did not” Stretch mumbles through a yawn.

Blue holds up the, now, nearly empty bag of chips.

Stretch winces and scratches at the back of his neck. “sorry, bro,” he says, “but you guys were just takin’ so long. i got hungry.”

Blue frowns. “How long were we out?”

“like an’ hour ‘n a half,” he shrugs.

Wowzers! He didn’t realize they’d been out so long! It had felt like only a few minutes.

“what were you guys doin’ n’ways?” Stretch asks. “thought you went out just ta get salt− and sorry ‘bout the sugar thing. it was meant to be a prank but you never noticed and i just forgot ‘bout it”

“Apology accepted. Thank you, Stretch,” Blue smiles at his brother. “Oh! And me and Fell took advantage and got him some new clothes while we were there!” He replies happily.

Stretch gives him a look. “why?”

“Because he didn’t like the fit of the ones I gave him.”

As if on cue, the door upstairs opens. Blue turns a friendly smile up towards Fell. “Ready to get back to−,” he trails off, feeling his jaw drop.

Fell’s wearing the red turtleneck Blue had shown him with the leather jacket on top. His ever present red gloves are the same shade as the shirt and do wonders to draw attention to his arms. The black slacks— is that a thigh holster!? — and the black combat-like boots only serve to accentuate his hips and make his shoulders look broader. The wine-colored scarf is wrapped loosely around those broad shoulders tying the outfit together despite its differing color.

He even looks taller, more regal, as he walks down the stairs.

“red scarf woulda looked better” Stretch comments.

Fell merely rolls his eyelights. “I don’t recall asking your opinion,” he says drily. He stops in front of Blue and raises a browbone.

Blue can only gape for a few more seconds before it becomes obvious Fell is asking for his opinion.  

“As I thought,” Fell hums shifting the jacket. “It is too mismatched.”

“No!” Blue says far too quickly. “No. I mean no. Your− you− the jacket− the colors− it,” he stops before he can make an even bigger fool of himself. He just hopes his face isn’t as blue as it feels. “You look amazing, Fell.”

Fell’s eyelights widen slightly in surprise and he looks away. “Well,” he says fixing his scarf. “As loath as I am to admit, your brother has a point. The red scarf would have looked better.”

“But you still look good!” Blue insist before he can stop himself. Stars he’s being so obvious! Even his brother’s giving him a weird look! “We should get back to making lunch before it gets too late,” he says desperately trying to change the subject. He ignores his brother as he and Fell escape into the kitchen.

Blue has never found cooking so hard in his life before. Even when he first started learning with Alphys it wasn’t this difficult! He’s too aware of where Fell is at all times. He’s too conscious of how close he gets to Fell. And Stars! He can’t stop staring!

He’s all too relieved when they actually sit down to eat. Maybe talking with his brother can get his mind off Fell. Who’s sitting right in front of him...

“Oh!” Blue exclaims suddenly remembering something. “Brother! I’m going to be covering Rabaroo’s shift for the coming week!” He says excitedly. “That way you won’t have to worry about all the bills yourself.”

“i thought you weren’t a sentry anymore?” Stretch asks confused.

“Rabinne said she was going to pay me under-the-table,” he explains.

Stretch’s confused frown turns disapproving. “bro, that’s illegal.”

“But what about the bills?” He asks.

“i’ll just get ‘nother job” Stretch says plainly. He eats another spoonful of macaroni before continuing. “not like i haven’t worked three jobs before”

“But, Stretch−,” Blue starts.

“You should let him help,” Fell cuts in.

Stretch startles slightly having forgotten Fell was there. “this ain’t non’a yer business” he says shooting him a dirty look.

Fell isn’t at all bothered by the look. “So you’re really just going to dismiss your brother’s worries and feelings like they’re not worth anything then,” he shoots back.

“i was not−” Stretch starts angrily.

Fell’s cold as he cuts him off. “Are you sure?” He asks nodding towards Blue.

Stretch turns to his brother who quickly looks away. He feels something cold grip his Soul when he notices Blue’s slumped shoulders and slightly dulled eyelights.

He’s on his feet and at Blue’s side in an instant. “no no, Sa− I mean Blue” he kneels in front of his brother and places his hands on his shoulders. “that’s not what i meant. i just don’t want you to worry.”

“I’ll worry more if I don’t help!” Blue admits grabbing onto his brother’s sleeves. “You don’t need to shoulder everything yourself! I can help too!”

“oh, Blue” Stretch sighs bowing his head. He lifts it again just a few seconds later with a small smile. “you really are the coolest brother a monster could have.”

“So you’re okay with it?” Blue asks with a hopeful smile.

Stretch grins and rubs Blue’s head. “yeah. just try ta stay outa trouble, okay”

Blue’s smile instantly brightens. “Of course!”

As Stretch returns to his seat, Blue turns a grateful smile towards Fell.

Fell merely nods in acknowledgment.

----

By the time they finish eating, Stretch has to leave for work. He gladly leaves the mess to them as he walks out the door. For once, Blue doesn’t seem to mind.

Instead, he has that soft look on his face again as he turns to Fell. “Thank you,” he says almost as softly.

Fell finds he’s slowly becoming accustomed to Blue’s gratitude. It doesn’t leave him feeling as flustered as it had at first. “There’s no need to thank me,” he says calmly. “I understand how it can be,” slips out against his better judgement.

Blue’s expression shifts but remains soft.

He can’t figure out what it means. Instead, he busies himself with helping Blue clean the kitchen.

----

Blue’s getting ready for bed when there’s a knock on his door. He finishes putting on his pajama shirt before calling a cheery, “Come in!”

Stretch opens the door with an easy-going smile. “hey, bro” he greets, closing the door behind him. “want me ta read ya a story?”

Blue instantly perks up. It’s rare for his brother to offer. “Really?” He asks excitedly.

“yep” his brother nods. He walks over to the bookshelf and starts looking through the titles. “so which one ya feelin’?”

He’s half tempted to ask for Fluffy Bunny, it’s his brother’s secret favorite after all. Instead he grabs the book he has on the nightstand. “This one!” He’d found it in the dump a couple weeks ago, but never got around to reading it. He was actually about to start it tonight.

His brother drags the desk chair over to his bed. “ready when you are” he smiles.

Blue’s quick to jump into bed and get settled. He may be an adult, but he doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to give this up. He loves it when his brother reads to him; it makes him feel safe and secure. And it usually means his brother’s not going out drinking that night.

“Ready,” he says.

 

He’s surprised at the serious tone of the book, but it’s interesting nonetheless. And it takes place out in space with spaceships! His brother seems to like it too by his reluctance to stop after just the prologue and the first chapter.

While Blue would also like to continue it, he’s perfectly content to drift off to sleep. He’s perfectly comfortable and relaxed. He’s vaguely aware of his brother putting the book back on the shelf as he relaxes further.

Stretch takes a seat back on the chair. “so, uh.. bro” he says hesitantly. “we gonna talk about what happened this afternoon?”

Blue frowns in his sleepy state. He can’t think of anything of note that happened. Other than finding out his brother was putting sugar in the salt, but he doubts that’s what Stretch is talking about.

Sensing his confusion, his brother continues. “that thing with Fell” he says carefully.

What thing with−?

Oh.

Blue feels his magic instantly flood his skull. Just remembering how Fell looked as he walked down the stairs is enough to make him feel flustered again.

“bro, are you serious” Stretch says.

Blue pulls the covers higher in an attempt to hide his face. “I dunno what you’re talking about,” he tries weakly.

“bro, you’re bright blue” he breathes exasperatedly. When Blue doesn’t respond, her lets out a long sigh. “just… when were you gonna tell me?” He pleads. “don’t you trust me?”

Blue sits up, startled by the question. “Of course I trust you, Papy!” He instantly replies. “How could you think I don’t?”

Stretch gives him a sad sort of smile. It makes something painful squeeze in Blue’s Soul. “you’ve changed so much since he got here− you didn’t even tell me he was here… i had to find out on my own,” he says quietly. “did you ever plan to tell me that you like him like that? or were you just gonna keep it a secret?”

Blue scrambles to pull his brother into a hug, relieved when Stretch hugs him back. “No! I didn’t even realize I liked him like that until I saw him walk down the stairs!” He admits. “I’m still trying to wrap my head around it!… by not thinking about it… at all…”

His brother pulls back just enough to give him a confused look. “you’re not gonna say anything?”

“Of course not!” Blue says shaking his head. “He’s grieving the death of his brother; it would be improper of me to pursue anything! I can’t… I can’t take advantage of his grief like that,” he says quietly.

Stretch gives him another one of those sad smiles before pulling him into a tight hug. “man, my bro’s all grown up” he says shakily. “it feels like just yesterday you were showing me your first completed special attack”

Blue squeezes him back just as tightly. He runs a hand up and down his brother’s back in hopes of soothing him. “I’m still the same brother you’ve always known,” he says quietly. “Nothing will ever change that.”

His brother nods, burring his face in Blue’s shoulder. Blue lets him stay there as long as he wants. Even as the minutes tick by and he grows tired, he can’t bring himself to push his brother away. Not when his brother very clearly needs this.

Eventually, his brother’s hold starts to grow slack and he pulls back. His eyelights are a little frayed, and there are still a few stray tears pooled in his eye sockets. “i should let ya get some sleep” he says softly. He presses a skeleton kiss to Blue’s forehead. “love you, bro”

“I love you too, Papy,” Blue says smiling. It’s been a while since either of them has said it. Maybe he should start saying it more.

Chapter Text

Fell wakes up with a groan.

Everything aches.

Maybe he should try sleeping on the floor. Surely that’s better than the stars forsaken chair he’s been sleeping on. If that fails, there’s always the couch in the living room. It’s not like Stretch makes it onto the damned thing when he’s drunk anyways.

Getting up, he grimaces at the way his bones pop.

He decides to stretch. Maybe the movement will loosen up his joints and make the magic holding his form together feel less tangled.

 

Stepping out into the hall, he’s surprised to hear the sound of jostling metal. Looking over the landing, he spots Blue fastening his plate armor.

He cranes his neck to look at the clock on the side wall. It’s still early. He’d almost thought he had slept in.

“You’re certainly excited,” Fell comments.

Blue looks up and gives him a wide smile. “Yep! This is the closest I’ve ever been to being a Royal Guard!”

That surprises Fell. Almost as much as learning how long Blue has been vying for a position had. Blue had shown his capabilities while defending himself when they first met. He’s also shown his competence at deescalating tense situations.

“Why not challenge the General for a position?” He asks.

“General?” Blue asks tilting his head in confusion.

“The leader of the Royal Guard.”

“Oh you mean Captain Alphys!”

He doesn’t think he’ll ever get used to hearing Alphys being referred to as such. He just can’t wrap his mind around Alphys leading the Royal Guard.

“I’ve never been able to beat her in a sparring match,” Blue continues, cheery attitude plummeting. His smile looks strained; it’s no longer reflected in his eyelights.

Fell frowns. This hadn’t been the reaction he was expecting. “I’ll train you,” he finds himself saying.

Blue’s eyes instantly morph into stars as he jumps to his feet. “Really!?” He asks excitedly. “You’d do that for me!?”

He wants to take it back. He hadn’t meant to offer. He doesn’t do training.

Every monster should learn to fight for themselves.

 

… But his brother taught him how to fight.

 

How to survive.

 

“Yes, I’ll train you,” he decides, “and then your Gene− I mean Captain will have no choice but to award you Royal Guard status!”

Blue practically jumps up and down in excitement, a happy noise escaping him in the process. “Thank you!”

Fell can’t find it in himself to regret his decision. He simply watches as Blue finishes strapping on his armor with a happier energy than before.

The stars in his eyes don’t leave. Not even when he heads out to start his Guard Duty.

 

Fell continues on his way to the bathroom to start his morning routine.

He still can’t help glancing at the mirror and grimacing at what he sees. He doesn’t think he’ll ever get used to his new reflection.

His teeth have always been sharp, but the knife-like edges of his incisors are borderline unsettling. Not to mention his cheekbones. They’ve always been defined, but now they’re pointed. He has no doubt they can harm other monsters in the same way his claws do.

Wrenching his gaze form the mirror, Fell busies himself with going through his morning routine.

He’s not sure if he’s disappointed or glad that Blue didn’t make him any coffee since it leaves him something to do. He decides to settle on indifference; neither disappointment nor gratitude.

He is surprised, however, to find a plate of food wrapped in clear plastic sitting on the table. He finds another in similar shape in the refrigerator. Though, that one has a portioning he’s come to recognize as Stretch’s.

Unwrapping the plate on the table, Fell is surprised to find the plate is lukewarm. Blue, while still having awoken at a significant earlier time than normal, still went out of his way to cook him and Stretch breakfast.

He looks around the kitchen and takes in how clean it is. Even the dishes have been washed. Just how early had Blue awoken to get so much done before leaving?

He’d never had to wake up that early, and he was the Overseer.

From what he’s seen, Blue’s shown great dedication to being a Royal Guard. So why hasn’t be been promoted?

He pushes the thought from his head as he starts eating. It won’t matter once he’s finished training Blue.

Finishing his food, Fell makes quick work of cleaning his plate and serving himself another cup of coffee.

He feels restless. Without his usual work or Blue to keep him company in the mornings, he can’t help feeling useless. He can’t even return to the guest room to watch over his brother.

He tightens his grip on the mug to stop his hands from shaking. He hadn’t realized how accustomed he’d become to the morning routine he forged with Blue.

“uh… Fell?”

Fell glances at Stretch in surprise. He’s awake early. Of his own volition, too. “Blue left your food in the refrigerator,” he informs before turning back to his coffee.

“you okay?” Stretch asks with a worried look.

“I’m perfectly fine,” he replies a touch defensively. “In fact, I feel as if I should be asking you that,” he says. “You’re never awake before noon.”

When he doesn’t get a reply, he casts a glance in Stretch’s direction.

He’s still standing by the doorway, but he has a worried frown on his face.

Feeling irritation rise in him, Fell snaps, “If you’ve something to say, then say it!”

“it’s 1 o’clock dude…” Stretch mumbles.

Fell instantly stands up. He pushes past Stretch and into the living room to look at the clock.

 

1:07

 

“uh… Fell?” Stretch questions.

Fell straightens his shoulders. “You’re late for your shift,” he says changing the subject. “You wouldn’t want to disappoint your brother by being even more late, would you? Especially not with your current situation.”

Stretch frowns at him, though it doesn’t seem annoyed.

Fell has no idea what to make of it.

“yeah yeah. i’m leaving”

Fell returns to the kitchen and dumps the cold coffee in the sink. He cleans the few dirty dishes with a frown. He was careless and lost time. He’ll need to create a new morning routine to prevent this from occurring again.

When he steps out of the kitchen, he pauses with a frown.

It’s so quiet.

He’d never realized just how quiet the house is. He’d always been too preoccupied watching over his brother or conversing with Blue to notice. Now that neither is an option, he’s left to realize just how alone he truly is.

----

Fell’s hands shake as he finally works up the nerve to pick up Red’s collar. The brass tooth jingles lightly from where it’s clipped onto the collar with the tag.

 

Property Of Papyrus

 

Sudden white-hot fury runs through him.

Ripping off his gloves, he grabs the tag. He can hear the squeal of metal as his claws dig holes into the tag.

This stars damned tag. It has caused him and his brother so much fucking pain over the years.

Tightening his grip, he pulls.

The sound of tearing fabric is deafening as the loop holding the tag rips through the collar.

He stares at the collar in disbelief. The collar his brother’s been wearing for years. The one item that was more recognizable as his brother’s than the trademark jacket Fell got him.

And now… It’s been ripped in half.

 

Letting out a strangled cry, he uses his claws to rip at the cloth and plastic making up the collar. His claws slice through the cheap material with ease. Over and over and over; until he’s holding shredded debris in his hands.

 

Eleven years he’s forced his brother to wear that collar.

 

Eleven years he made his brother’s life miserable.

 

Eleven years he’s done nothing to help his brother.

 

Eleven years too late to hate himself for it.

 

His legs give out beneath him and he crashes to the floor.

Why did he do this to them? Why did he think treating his brother like property was a good idea? Red was strong! He was unbeatable!

He should have helped his brother show off his strength; show everyone that Red was stronger than even Fell! Then no one would dare cross them.

Why hadn’t he done that?

 

Why?

 

Why?

 

Why?

 

Fell startles at the sob. He grits his teeth and brings his hands to cover them. Tears run over his hands as he desperately tries to muffle his sobs.

He presses his hands more firmly against his teeth, not caring about the pain. He’s not in his own home; he shouldn’t show this level of weakness.

But… 

He can’t breathe. Every breath is suffocating; just more fuel for his sobs. Tears continue to flow down his face, blurring his vision.

Accepting the futility of it, Fell finally removes his hands from his teeth. The come away covered in marrow and dust.

He laughs, cold and bitter. Stars he’s turned into such a beast. He’d need an entire body suit to not harm others, not just gloves.

He laughs again, louder and more hysterical. If only his brother could see how pathetic he’s become without him. Then maybe Red would realize just how much Fell really needed him.

His laughter quickly dissolves back into sobs.

He misses Red.

He misses his older brother so much it hurts.

----

Fell stares blankly at the dresser from his spot on the floor. The remnants of the collar still litter the floor, but he holds the brass tooth in one hand.

After that little outburst, he feels nothing. Even looking at the tooth doesn’t stir anything. He feels empty.

He hears a light knocking on the door.

He pockets the tooth and slips on his gloves before getting up. Scrubbing his hands over his face, he takes a deep breath.

As he opens the door, he wonders how late it must be for Blue to finally be home.

“Hey, Fell,” Blue greets with a soft smile.

Fell wonders if his outburst is obvious enough that Blue’s toning down his usual energy.

“Stretch made some scones if you want any.”

He wordlessly follows Blue down to the kitchen. A plate of scones wrapped in plastic sits on the table. There’s a sticky note on top too.

Curious, Fell grabs the note.

hope u feel better man
-stretch

Fell winces. He hopes Stretch hadn’t heard him. He doesn’t think he’d be able to look the other in the eyelight after such a humiliating outburst.

A yawn from Blue catches his attention.

“Sorry,” Blue says sheepishly. “M’just tired after a long day.”

Fell glances around the kitchen. The mess from the scones is still there, but there’s no evidence of other food being made. “I’ll prepare food tomorrow,” Fell says. “That way you’ll be able to rest sooner when you finish your work.”

Blue smiles at him, stifling another yawn. “Thank you, Fell!” He says. “But don’t force yourself to do it either, you don’t have to.”

“I assure you it will be no problem at all.”

Blue’s about to say something more when a loud pounding from the front door makes him jump.

“Shoot no!” Blue yelps. He quickly works to unfasten his armor. “I can’t let her see me like this!”

Fell’s instantly on guard. “What’s the matter?”

“It’s Captain Alphys!” He explains, shoving his armor in one of the cupboards. “If she knows I’m covering for Rabaroo, then we’ll get in huge trouble!”

Another set of loud pounding rings through the house.

“Coming!” Blue shouts removing the final pieces of armor. He scrambles to the front door as quickly as he can.

Fell stays in the kitchen, not wanting to have to interact with anyone else.

He hears talking but he’s too far to hear what they’re actually saying. Not that he cares, but he’s curious as to what this version of Alphys looks like.

Unable to contain his curiosity, Fell creeps towards the doorway. He doesn’t bother to stay hidden, he just doesn’t want to alert them to his presence.

His jaw drops when he catches sight of her. She’s about Blue’s height and pure muscle. She’s absolutely fucking massive! Built like the cavern wall!

And he thought Undyne was butch; this Alphys puts her to shame. Stars, this Alphys looks like she could lift the Emperor with ease. His Undyne could barely support the Emperor’s weight when he used her as a stool.

In a flash, Alphys roughly grabs Blue by the arm and yanks him behind her. Blue nearly falls from the unexpectedness of it; Alphys’ hand the only thing keeping him on his feet. “Who are you!?” She shouts brandishing an axe.

Huh.

So she has good awareness of her surroundings.

Blue struggles to get free of her claws. “Alphys, no!” He shouts desperately. “That’s just Fell.”

She pays Blue no attention as she bares her fangs.

Fell would laugh at how blunt her teeth are, if it weren’t for the fact that her claws are drawing marrow from Blue. He takes his time stepping out of the kitchen, careful to make himself appear disinterested in her display.

His eyelights shrink slightly when he notices her claws tighten around Blue’s arm. Blue tries to hide his pained grimace as he shakes his head slightly.

Fell turns a disgusted look at Alphys. “For being the General of the Royal Guard, one would think you would know how to not harm the civilians you are trying to protect,” he mocks.

He’s halfway across the room when Alphys hisses. He stops, surprised that she’s capable of making such a noise. His Alphys certainly never made a noise like that.

Her hissing tappers off into warning clicks. Clicks commonly made by most lizard-like monsters.

 

ATK 50   DEF 20

*Is probably too slow to be able to land a hit

 

He almost laughs seeing her stats. He could kill her in one half-assed hit! Stretch poses more of a threat than she does.

“On your knees!” Alphys shouts. “You’re under arrest!”

What?

Chapter Text

“On your knees!” Alphys shouts. “You’re under arrest.”

What?

“What!?” Blue shouts. He finally manages to dislodge himself from her grasp. “But Doggo isn’t pressing charges!”

Alphys shoves Blue behind her again, nearly knocking him to the floor again. “Stay behind me,” she hisses through grit teeth.

Fell scowls. “What, pray tell, have I done that warrants such barbaric behavior?” He sneers.

She summons another axe and takes a step forward. “I said: on your knees!

Before Fell can give his scathing retort, Blue appears in front of him with a bone in each hand. “Alphys, please stop!” He pleads.

One of Alphys’ axes disappears as she reaches out to yank Blue back.

Blue steps back and knocks her hand away with one of his attacks.

Fell straightens in surprise. Alphys merely stares. He can’t see Blue’s face, but given how Alphys doesn’t move, Blue probably looks as surprised as Fell feels.

Fell notices the moment Alphys gets over her surprise by the way her pupils slit with fury.

He’s quick to dart forward and cover Blue.

The axe hits him in the chest, ripping through the clothes and draining a measly three HP. He snarls, feeling hatred coil in his Soul.

He draws his knife from its holster.

Blue’s stats had been fairly low when he first saw them− and that was with armor. Had the hit landed, she would have likely killed Blue!

This Alphys really is the same as his own. Nothing but a Soulless beast.

A wall of bones erupts in front of him.

“Stop!” Blue shouts. “Why are you doing this?!”

“He’s a murderer, Sans!” Alphys growls. “And if you don’t step away from him, I’ll arrest you for complicity!”

Blue shifts to stand next to Fell. “He hasn’t hurt anyone!”

Alphys breaks through the wall of bones with ease. She shifts her stance and summons another, denser, axe. She keeps her gaze locked on Fell as she speaks. “No monster gets to look like that without murdering countless others,” she hisses angrily. “So I will give you one last warning: we can do this the easy way or the hard way.”

Blue shifts, ready to fight.

Fell places a hand on Blue’s shoulder to keep him in place. “I’ll comply,” he says coldly. “On one condition: leave Blue and his brother out of this.”

Alphys makes a few warning clicks. “You don’t get to make demands,” she spits.

Fell removes a glove as he casually approaches her.

She swings; a wide arcing motion.

Fell grabs the blade, stopping her attack in its tracks. Despite being denser, the blade doesn’t even scratch the bones of his hand deep enough to draw marrow.

He can see the panic in her eyes by the way her pupils dilate and contact. She tries to pull her axe away as she swings with the other one.

All it takes is a single bone construct to protect himself and the axe shatters. “You Are Nothing To Me,” he says, cold as ice.

He can see her mounting desperation as she furiously tugs at the axe still in his grip.

“The Only Reason I Have Not Killed You Is Because I Made A Deal,” Fell squeezes, digging his claws as deep into the axe as he can.

He can feel the magic fighting back, resisting the intrusion. The raw magic is causing him more damage than Alphys herself had.

With one final squeeze, the axe shatters. “So Do Not Think You Have Accomplished A Single Thing. I Go Of My Own Volition, And Only If You Leave Blue and Stretch Out Of This.”

Alphys Straightens with a visible gulp. He can see the fear etched into every line of her body. For as different as she looks, she’s still the same insecure lizard he knows. Even the way her tail twitches to the left side of her body tells him she’s close to dissolving into a panic attack.

“So Do Not Think You Have Command Over Me.”

He feels a sense of smug satisfaction at how her breathing stutters when he summons a bone.

 

He needs to make sure she understands.

 

There’s a pressure at his side. Shifting his hold, he draws back to attack whatever trap Alphys thinks can hold him.

“please,” Blue sobs. “stop.”

Fell feels his marrow freeze. Blue’s clinging to his side, tears streaming down his face.

He doesn’t need to see Blue to know just how much he’s trembling. Fell can feel it.

 

He let his LOVE and bloodlust consume him…

 

He dispels his magic and drops the knife.

“Blue…” He tentatively places a hand on the other’s shoulder. Something painful twists in his Soul at how Blue jumps at the contact.

Alphys shifts and his attention instantly snaps to her. She freezes under his gaze, trying to hide how terrified she is.

“I will go with you without a fight,” Fell says, careful to keep his voice neutral. “Just do not involve him in my crimes.”

Alphys straightens. “V−v−very well,” she stammers before clearing her throat. “Sa− I− I mean, Blue. Plea−se step a−a−aside.”

To Fell’s surprise, Blue tightens his hold.

“Blue,” he says with a softness that surprises even himself. “You must let go.”

Blue shakes his head where it’s buried in Fell’s jacket. His shoulders shake from the force of his sobbing.

Fell reaches to remove Blue but stops short. He’s not wearing his glove. He’ll just end up hurting Blue. Instead, he uses his other hand despite the difficult angle.

He’s careful as he chooses his words. “You must trust my Judgement, Blue,” he reassures.

Blue reluctantly pulls away with a nod.

Fell doesn’t show hesitation as he walks away and out the door. He feels satisfaction at how Alphys flinches away from him.

She has to follow after him.

He tries not to think about Blue watching them leave from the door as Alphys leads him to the Riverperson. Blue’s the Judge, he has to remind himself. He has nothing to fear.

----

“You are a disgrace to the Royal Guard,” Fell says a few minutes into the boat trip. He doesn’t even bother looking at her as he speaks.

What,” Alphys hisses, anger overriding her previous fear.

He’s tempted to be a smartass. “Of the two of us, I am the bigger threat,” he explains blandly. “Yet the injuries Blue now wear come from yourself, not I.”

He shoots a stealthy glance her way when she doesn’t reply. She’s frowning, looker down at the dust on the tips of her claws.

“You Are A Sad Excuse Of A Leader.”

----

Fell’s never been sure of what happens to monsters who’ve been caught breaking the law. Either they get dusted or turned in to Undyne. As General of the Royal Guard, she’s usually the one to decide what happens to a monster. On rare occasions— when a crime is especially heinous, has never been committed before, or the criminal is in stripes— the prisoner is usually taken to the Capitol. From there, he doesn’t know what happens; he only knows that The Judge gets involved.

He’s never been on this end of the justice system, but even he can tell he’s being treated better than any monster ever has been in his world. He’s lead quietly through the halls of the palace. A palace that looks like a white-grey version of the one from his world.

He recognizes the path. It’s the path he and Undyne take when they have an audience with the Emperor. He’s careful not to fall into autopilot as he follows Alphys.  Even if they are going to see the Empress— which he sorely hopes is not the case— he doesn’t want to give away how much he knows.

Alphys takes a sudden left turn which almost has him stumbling.

At least now he knows they’re not going to see the Empress.

They stop in front of a heavy metal door guarded by two fully armored monsters. The cat and bird monsters salute Alphys before opening the doors. They eye Fell wearily as he and Alphys walk through.

“Cuff him.”

They reach for him.

He barely has time to knock in the knee of one of the guards before the other grabs him. He whirls around and grabs the wrist of the monster, digging his gloveless fingers into the joins of the armor.

The cat hisses in pain as he twists their arm and breaks their elbow.

Pain erupts through his body so violently he can’t stop the scream of pain. He bites it down as quickly as he can. The pain is unbearable as he struggles to find the source.

Alphys holds a clunky device to his side. It crackles with magic, but the magic feels wrong. It feels draining. Corrupted.

His knees are threatening to buckle when the pain abruptly stops. The sudden relief is almost enough to send him crashing anyways.

Alphys hands the device back to the bird monster in exchange for restraints.

“Not so tough now, huh, Beast,” the bird sneers.

“Quiet!” Alphys snaps as Fell takes a challenging step forward.

He’s pleased to see how the monster backs away in fear. He’s too distracted to pull his wrist from Alphys before she secures it in a restraint.

Instantly, he feels a heavy weight settle on him. He growls trying to summon a bone attack. How dare they treat him like a beast!

Nothing happens.

His movements feel sluggish and his magic is unresponsive. He has trouble struggling as Alphys restrains his other wrist.

Alphys roughly pulls him forward by the restraints. “Move,” she commands. The cat hands her another of those clunky devises.

Fell growls. He twists his gloveless hand as best he can to grasp at her wrist. He’s pleased at how easily his claws dig into her flesh. She tries to jerk her arm away. He squeezes harder; until he feels the unmistakable crunch of bone.

He doesn’t have time to feel satisfaction as pain races through him again. He grunts, catching the scream before it can escape. The pain stops abruptly as Alphys shuts off the device.

“W−w−what happened to coming without a fight?” She spits at him.

Fell sneers at her, unable to form words. It was the guards’ fault for reaching for him!

When he doesn’t respond, Alphys turns away and starts walking down the hall again. “Move,” she repeats.

Fell growls as he starts following her. How dare she show her back to him! He’s stronger than her!

The heavy slam of the door echoes around them.

They walk for what feels like forever. He doesn’t know if they’re really walking for a long time or if his suddenly drained magic is making it feel that way.

Looking around, he sees that the hallway is darker and dingier than the previous ones. The adjacent hallways are lines with steel doors, and now that he’s focusing, he can hear sounds and jeers coming from them. He’s probably the prison block, then.

It seems like he spoke too soon. He may be getting treated better but he’s being imprisoned immediately. He’s sure even the beasts of his world have some chance to plead their case.

“Undyne, Alphys, Muffet!” Emperor Asgore barks. “Kill this traitor.”

Maybe not.

“Take a seat,” Alphys instructs pulling him from his thoughts.

He finally notices that they’ve stopped in a small square room. There’s not much light in the room, but he can see that there’s a lone chair in the center. There’s another steel door across the room. In front of the chair is a window. It’s too darkly tinted to see what’s on the other side.

The door he came in from is shut and locked, leaving him alone. Almost immediately, the heavy feeling increases. He staggers from the sudden drain.

How the hell do these monsters have anti-magic technology? That had only been a rumor during the war in his world. To think that this soft, cushy, world would have such a thing.

He shudders, bones rattling in discomfort. It feels so wrong. Like it’s tainting his magic.