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Unexpected Duet

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Mount Ebott City, 20XX - Summer

 

Fairy lights danced in the warm night breeze, cascading a rainbow waterfall of lights onto the crowded patio of the Twilight Breeze Bar. Humans and monsters danced while swirling in eddies and clumps in front of a small stage. Upon the stage was the main attraction, a karaoke machine run complete with microphones and flashing lights. Laughter filled the silences between songs.

 

It was disgustingly mundane.

 

‘Is this what human pack bonding is? Ridiculous! A spar between comrades or training session is much more bonding and productive. Why did Sans say this is a place of challenges? All I see is frivolous consumption of drinks and discordant howling. Where are the feats of strength and skill?’

 

The Great and Terrible Papyrus, Head of the Royal Guard and called Edge to the select few he called friends, scowled into his drink that he hunched over. It was something extremely alcoholic, blood red, and the name had the word “Death” in the title so he supposed it was marginally acceptable. The high table top under his leather covered elbows was good quality weather-worn wood but the chairs squeaked if he moved.

 

‘Ugh, shoddy human craftsmanship as expected. Nothing near what my standard-’

 

A fluffy, feathery pink - oh stars, was that bubblegum pink - wing wrapped around Edge’s shoulder breaking his brooding over the subpar chairs and noisy festivities. A cooing voice, sticky and sweet, purred out over his shoulder.

 

“Why hello there deary. What’s a tall dark drink of water like you doing all alone? Hmmmm, handsome?”

 

A low growl was the only warning before Edge straightened up and spun around to grab the flamingo-like bird monster by its long neck. His glare was filled with icy venom and left the other monster frozen in fear.

 

“WHO gave you permission to even address myself, much less lay a hand on me?”

 

The bird monster, gone almost white (even in the feathers) from fear, shook without replying. Catch the Boss, as his troops called him, in a black mood and anything could spell death.

 

A cruel chuckle escaped the skeleton before he dropped the monster who sank to the group due to nerveless legs.

 

“Be gone with you before I change my mind about playing nice with the humans around.”

 

With a snarl, Edge leaned in to make sure that the other creature heard him loud and clear. A lesson must be taught after all.

 

“And never let me see you accosting anyone without their permission again. You know my policies on that.”

 

A nearly silent squawk escaped the monster as they flew to their knobby legs and fled shedding feathers left and right. Edge straightened up and glared around to disperse the onlookers who promptly turned away.

 

‘Peons.’

 

Laughter, raucous and amused, rang out and grabbed Edge’s attention as he turned towards the source - his elder brother.

 

This was that lazy bones’ fault.

 

Slamming his drink down hard enough to slosh out the sweet smelling red contents, Edge stormed over to the shorter skeleton who was wedged between two human females, golden tooth flashing as Red (aka Sans) dropped another cheesy pickup line.

 

Looming over his brother, Edge growled out his name.

 

“Sans.”

 

The pathetic human females screeched and jumped away while Edge scoffed. Spineless fleshy ones, they were not worthy of the Serif line. Red’s eye lights shrunk in annoyance but he flashed a lazy grin at his brother.

 

“What’s up, boss? Was your drink fowl?”

 

“Don’t you even start, brother!”

 

Cuffing his brother on the shoulder, Edge flung himself onto a patio chair after making sure it was tolerably clean.

 

“This place is filled with humans and is disgusting. Sans, why did you say that is was important to come here? We could have done an extra patrol.”

 

With a smirk, Red swirled his concoction of bourbon and spicy mustard.

 

“I told you, boss, all the ladies come here to loosen up. To let their feathers down, eh? The pretty ones certainly flock together.”

 

“Sans. No.”

 

“Sans, yes! Just relax, boss. Put your feet up and nest. Don’t let your feelings be so ruffled. Too much stress and you’ll just quack up.”

 

Feeling the pressure in his skull growing, the taller skeleton launched himself out of the chair and snapped at his brother.

 

“I am leaving. Find your own way home.”

 

Stomping away the crowd parted effortlessly as no one, drunk or sober, wanted to get in the pathway of a giant fuming skeleton. Especially not one that was muttering to himself about frivolity and laziness. Hunching his torn black leather jacket higher, Edge strode towards the back parking lot of the bar after finally escaping the jovial crowd.

 

A muted squeal followed by a choked squeak caught his attention causing his steel-toed boots to slow to a stop in front of a dark alley formed by the back walls of the bar and an abandoned mechanic’s garage.

 

Edge paused and listened.

 

Another sound of distress and scuffling followed by dark swearing slipped from the alley causing Edge to anger even more but also grin with malice. He knew what could be happening and Edge was ready to vent his ire on scum.


Red eye lights narrowing, he moved silently into the alley. Two human men of differing size, ragged and dirty in nature, pinned a female against the wall of the mechanic’s garage. Muffed whimpering indicated that the female was still alive and conscious. A purse laid abandoned a few feet away. The female, a human with dark blue hair, fought against the hand covering her mouth while trying to shift away from the lethal weapons.

 

One of the men swore and shoved his knife against her throat. It dug in and bright red drops sprung forth. Edge’s eyes focused on the liquid as his instincts screamed at the wrongness of the situation. Instincts that he thought had long been buried beneath his control and guardsman training.

 

“Don’t you dare try to scream again, bitch. I’ll gut you faster than a fish.”

 

Edge didn’t need to get involved. This was between humans after all, and they hadn’t been welcoming in the five years since the monsters emerged from Mount Ebott. But the lack of honor of this attack grated upon his pride and it made him remember what happened to her.

 

The next moment Edge moved forward with a growl. Logic was fading away as he felt his own blood lust rising. A chilling smirk graced his teeth as these assholes were about to learn what happened when the head of the royal guard let loose.

 


 

All she had wanted was to go out for drinks with her best friend and have a good time after one heck of a stressful week at work. Nothing too huge, people did this every day all over the world. However, Rosette (Rose) Martel was cursed. At least, that is what she called it.

 

Cursed to always fall into random hijinks such as tripping over a folded up chair in front of her middle school crush and his entire family or taking one wrong turn when trying to reach the highway and getting lost in a strange city for 30 minutes while the same song plays on the radio as if she was stuck in a time loop. Not to mention the fact that Rose was extremely accident prone, but only with ordinary items. Sure, she could use a table saw with no issues, but give her a butter knife, and Rose could end up with cuts & nicks.

 

Gruff, slimey laughter dragged her out of the extreme dissociation state Rose had been floating in. Rough brick dug into her back and she let out a whimper which was muffled by the filthy hand over her mouth. Two foul males - she refused to call them men - had ambushed Rose when she went to check out the sounds of an injured animal after visiting the Twilight’s ladies’ room. Now, with knives at her throat and a stinking hand over her mouth, Rose tried to pull away to run but the larger of the two males snarled at her while digging the knife into her flesh. A small trickle of blood dribbled out of the cut on her throat.

 

“Don’t you dare try to scream again, bitch. I’ll gut you faster than a fish.”

 

The stench of the two males trapping her and the feel of cold steel upon her neck with blood dripping down caused Rose to fight the twin urges to flinch away and to burst into tears. Only one urge was suppressed as tears began to track slowly down her cheeks. Rose didn’t want to think about what could happen next. They had already taken her purse…

 

‘I don’t want to die! Please, anyone listening, send me help!’

 

Suddenly, a fearsome image of death incarnate burst from the shadows uttering a spine chilling growl. A skull with red eyes and a smirk filled with malice loomed above her. The smaller of the two males let out a screech and shoved her roughly down the wall in his panic to escape, causing her jacket to ride up. The taller male shoved his comrade back and yanked harshly on Rose’s arm to drag her back up the wall while yelling about not being scared of a pile of shitty bones. The rough bricks cut into Rose as she felt her back getting scraped raw and a yelp escaped her throat.

 

Suddenly the two males were thrown back and pinned to the adjacent wall by glowing red bones digging into their bodies. A surprisingly warm skeletal hand wrapped around Rose’s waist before she could fall or flee and lifted her away from the wall while its mate hummed with a matching red light as the bones.

 

‘Magic! This is real magic! And I’m being held up by a large, dark, magical skeleton that is possibly about to murder two assholes who were attacking me. What the fuck, what the fuck, what the fu-’

 

The scent of urine filled the air as the smaller male whimpered. Wrinkling her nose in disgust, Rose took a step farther away from the trapped men and accidently bumped into the fearsome skeleton who ignored the movement beside tightening his grip on her waist. He was surprisingly solid and study for being made just of bones.

 

“Monster trash! You are just fucking jealous that the slu-”

 

The taller human male was cut off from what would have been a vitriol filled rant by several more glowing red bones maliciously thrusting themselves into his body. A humorless chuckle rumbled out of the skeleton sending shivers down Rose’s spine.

 

“Idiots! As if I would allow my great and terrible self to be controlled by such base desires. No, it is you who cannot - what is the human phrase - keep it in your pants. No wonder you attacked a female of your own kind. No female in their right mind would want criminal swine like you.”

 

Raising his glowing free hand, the skeleton conjured more bones, solid white in nature with only the faintest rest glow, that hung before Rose and himself. The ends facing the two trapped human males were pointed and extremely sharp looking.

 

“If you mongrels move, you’ll take the hit from the bones already embedded in you.”

 

A dark rumbling chuckle filled with malice rolled out of the skeleton’s chest before he continued. Somehow the shadows seemed even darker than before.

 

“If you stay, I will personally skin you inch by inch with these before dunking you into the ocean as chum. I hear it’s shark season.”

 

Silence, so loud that the laughter and music from the bar seemed to be muffled, filled the alley. Gesturing impatiently, the skeleton shifted forward as if to strike.

 

“Choose.”

 

As if with one mind, the human males broke away from the wall with twin cries of pain as the red bones burst and ran off into the night. The sharp white bones followed them down the alley and only vanished into red sparks when the threat was gone.

 

Taking a shaking breath, Rose peered up at the skeleton grasping her. Red eye lights clashed against her lavender eyes and the noise from the bar dropped away. An electric current sparked by their eyes meeting froze both figures in place. Somewhere, Rose’s rational mind was screaming that she was staring down an apex predator that literally looked like death, but it was ignored in favor of this new sensation.

 

The skeleton, all seven feet of him, seemed to be as entranced as she was for his eye lights were continuously sweeping around her face until they latched onto the steady dribble of blood coming from the forgotten cut. A frown creased his peculiarly expressive skull.

 

Raising his free hand, the skeleton wrapped his long phalanges in a surprisingly gentle manner around her throat while his other hand slipped from her waist to spread across her lower back under the jacket where the brick had scraped. Rose watched as green light that warmly buzzed leaked from his grip on her neck and the same sensation washed over her back.

 

‘Why?’

 

‘Why does this feel so familiar?’

 

‘So safe and warm?’

 

‘The pain is just flowing away…’

 

Mind floating, her eyes drifted closed as a soft sigh leaked out.

 

HONK - HONK - WHOOP - WHOOP - HONK!

 

A car alarm going off near by jolted both figures out of their trance causing the skeleton to release Rose and leap back like a startled cat. The world crashed back around Rose with the noise of the bar flooding her senses. Grabbing cautiously at her throat, she realized that the cut inflicted by the knife was completely gone. In flabbergasted tones, Rose spoke.

 

“You healed me?”

 

“Yes. I, the Great and Terrible Papyrus, mended your weak human flesh. It is of no importance, human.”

 

Pulling his leather jacket back into place, Papyrus turned away as if to leave before pausing and turning back to stare down Rose. The intensity in his eye lights sent a shiver down her spine. A small niggle of memory reminded Rose that this had to be the infamous and blood thirsty captain of the royal guard.

 

“Now, consider spikes.”

 

Rose blinked several times wondering where she had lost track of the very short conversation.

 

“Spikes?”

 


 

“Yes, spikes. Preferably steel and possibly covered in a tranquilizer as I am told that you humans do not believe in necessary murder so poison is out.”

 

Stomping a few feet away, Edge scooped up the purse that had been forgotten in the shuffle and held it up vigorously. It seemed the human female was too stunned by the series of events to keep up with his brilliant logic.

 

“This female satchel, a purse is what I believe you call them, is made of good leather. You could easily add multiple spikes for deterring criminals.”

 

Thrusting the purse back into the human female’s hands with a scowl, Edge continued with what he saw as his duties at this point. After all, King Asgore had commanded the royal guard to play nice with the humans for now and obviously correcting the incorrect armoring of a civilian he just saved was a pure act of goodwill.

 

Besides, since the humans were too pathetic to properly toughen up their species, remove criminal elements with severe penalties, or corral the weak to safe areas, this human female needed to be educated.

 

“Your human garments are a pleasing color that hides blood well but are too flimsy. Add spikes. Spikes work well on leather wrist guards and elbow pads. Both locations will help avoid getting arms trapped.”

 

Oddly, the human flushed at his words and Edge scoffed at the display of softness. The human female must be realizing what honor she was receiving by getting advice from the head of the royal guard. It was a pleasing idea.

 

“Is that why you are wearing spikes?”

 

“No. These spikes are for fashion as I am too strong for spikes to add adequate additions to my terrifying attacks. You, human female, are weak, fleshy, and soft. Thus spikes will add to your threat level and provided an added bonus to your stylishness.”

 

Preening with a dark smirk, Edge puffed up his shoulders to show off the deadly and cool looking spikes embedded into his leather jacket. The human female had better taste than he expected to notice his stylish addition of spikes. A thought struck as he realized he might have to write a report about this encounter.

 

“Human female, what is your name?”

 

“Ah, Rosette Martel, you can call me Rose?”

 

A hesitant note crept into the human female - Rose’s - voice. Edge peered at her with annoyance. Why was she getting hesitant? Foolish humans and their emotions. With a quick step, Edge grabbed the closest wrist and made the decision that it was within his list of duties to escort Rose back.

 

“You need to be returned to the other humans. Come, Rose.”

 

Huffing, Edge spun around dragging the human female with him back towards the lights. A small squeak emitted from Rose but he ignored it to keep moving forward quickly. Surely this human female would be happier back with her own kind and then he would not need to worry about her.

 

Not that Edge was worried about Rose.

 

Nor was he noticing how she smelled spicier than what Edge though a flower would smell like. Definitely not. This was his duty and nothing more.

 

His soul danced as if to mock him.

 


 

WIth a small shove, Rose was promptly placed back into the crowded patio. The long white bones released her wrist. Oddly, a part of her brain noticed, her wrist felt oddly bare without Papyrus’s grip. Turning, Rose opened her mouth to thank the skeleton now that he wasn’t dragging her along at a rapid trot but he had already booked it across the space towards another, smaller, skeleton.

 

With a huff matching the skeleton’s in strength, Rose looked around the crowded outdoor bar and saw her friend Aiden perched on a chair right in front of the stage. Their bright silver hair paired with a shimmering red vest and white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up made it pretty easily to spot them even with all the flashing lights. Rose strode over to the stage and flopped on the chair next to Aiden with a grumble.

 

“You know how you promised to Gibbs slap me if I went off the rails?”

 

“... Why?”

 

“I feel attracted to a skeleton.”

 

Snickering, Aiden handed over their glass of an amber liquid and gestured to Rose to down the entire thing. Raising an eyebrow, Rose obeyed and drained the glass in one gulp before sputtering.

 

“What the hell are you drinking? I can feel my throat trying to run away.”

 

“Weak, so weak. You know I prefer whisky neat. So, skeletons?”

 

Rose flopped her head onto the stage and groaned while her best friend snickered again.

 

“I went to the ladies’ room. After I did my stuff and left it I heard a noise in a dark alley and so I walked -”

 

“You are an idiot. You went into a dark alley ALONE?”

 

“I thought it could be a trapped cat!”

 

“Fair enough, but still stupid.”

 

“ANYWAY, it was a trap. Two assholes grabbed me and started mug me if not something worse. Then a giant skeleton burst out of the shadows. A SKELETON, AIDEN! It was like death decided to make a personal call with sharp pointy teeth. I get yanked around a bit by the two assholes, so my back gets skinned raw as they try to escape the claws of death. Next thing I know, the skeleton pulls me away from them, and the assholes get skewered to the walls by giant glowing red bones.”

 

Gasping to take a breath after all those words tumbled out, Rose paused and looked over at her best friend. Aiden looks back with wide eyes and then waves a waiter over for another glass of whisky.

 

“Okay, I am armed now, what happened next with Skeletor?”

 

“....Does Skeletor count as a skeleton if he had a fleshy body under that blue bodysuit?”

 

With a snicker, Aiden prodded for more details.

 

“We can google that later. Spill the tea, woman!”

 

“So there I was, screaming internally, with the skeleton’s arm around my waist. His bones are surprisingly warm, fyi. The assholes, one larger than the other, reacted in different ways. The smaller one pissed himself. The larger asshole started insulting the skeleton and tried to call me a slut.”

 

A rosy hue rose to her cheeks as Rose felt the anger at the insult rise again but it stuck around as she continued with the storytelling for much different reasons.

 

“But, the skeleton stopped him. He generated bone stakes, huge ones like tiki torches, and threatened to stab them while laughing! It was actually appealing...”

 

“We do tend to favor the villains. Hannigram for life!”

 

“Finally, the brains of the assholes must have kicked in or survival instinct took over. They ran off after the second series of threats. I’m left alone in the dark alley with my unexpected hero, bleeding and embarrassed, and- “

 

With a yelp, Aiden launched themself out of their chair and grabbed Rose by the shoulder while looking for blood.

 

“BLEEDING? What the hell, Rose? Are you still bleeding?”

 

“Aiden, Aiden, it’s alright. The assholes cut my throat-”

 

“CUT YOUR THROAT? WOMAN, LEAD WITH THE LIFE & DEATH STUFF. Where is the first aid station-”

 

Before Aiden could drag her away to find whatever dubious bar first aid there was, Rose quickly spoke up even louder than her friend.

 

“HE HEALED IT.”

 

“What?”

 

“The skeleton, Papyrus by the way, healed my throat and my back. Aiden, it wasn’t even a deep cut anyway. Nothing life-threatening.”

 

Drawing a deep breath, Aiden downed the rest of the whiskey in their glass and dropped into their chair before slumping over the table for a moment.

 

“You are going to be the death of me. Go on, how did this all play out?”

 

“The assholes ran off and I was left being held up by Papyrus. After a pause, I looked up into his face - skull? - and that’s when something super weird happened.”

 

“Even more weird than a skeleton saving your butt with magical bones?”

 

“YES! Our eyes connected, well, eyes and eye lights, and the world dropped away. Like a bloody romance movie! We both froze and it was like the air was filled with lightning but the lightning was soothing. Like coming home and wrapping up in a warm blanket; protected, safe, and warm.”

 

A giant laughter filled sigh escaped Aiden as they sat up and continued to chuckle before asking another question.

 

“So giant skeleton equals safety blanket?”

 

“Maybe? I’m not sure what would have happened next if Papyrus hadn’t noticed I was injured. It made him frown, I think, and he wrapped his hand around my throat while moving the one supporting my waist to the middle of my back.”

 

“Kinky.”

 

“Aiden! Not like that!”

 

Rose buried her face into her hands for a few minutes before continuing as delicious but definitely not appropriate ideas swept through her mind.

 

“As soon as he was positioned a green light appeared from the hand on my throat and I can only assume the same happened with the hand on my back. The pain vanished and I felt like floating when BAM - a stupid car alarm starts blaring. Papyrus immediately jumped away like a scalded cat.”

 

Laughter spilled out of Aiden’s mouth as their shoulders shook from the force of the merriment.

 

“Are you telling me that a CAR ALARM killed your moment?”

 

“...Yes, yes I am and yes it did. After that while I was trying to figure out what the hell just happened Papyrus introduced himself, began ranting about I need more spikes in my wardrobe, asked my name, and then dragged me back to the patio before dashing off.”

 

A second later, Rose paled and whispered.

 

“Fuck.”

 

“What did you do now?”

 

“It’s what I didn’t do! I never said thank you to Papyrus.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“I am such an idiot”

 

With a growl, Rose thumped her head on the table and stared into the surface mournfully.

 

“What should I do? He’s still here but now Papyrus is near that other skeleton and I think I can only handle one intense skeleton today. Plus he’s the head of the royal guard. I doubt he’ll even remember helping me and what if I make things even more awkward by thanking him if we meet up again. We may not even-”

 

“Whisky and I have an idea!”

 

Once again, Aiden popped out of their seat and waved at a waiter to bring a refill while giggling maddly.

 

“Whiskey?”

 

“Yes, the delicious nectar of the gods and flashy bad decisions.”

 

“I’m going to regret this but keep going…”

 

“We are at a karaoke bar! Why not sing a song and dedicate it in thanks to him?”

 

Rose blinked blankly at her friend.

 

“What?”

 

Aiden fell silent for a minute while the young and bashful new waiter dropped off their fresh refill. Once the young man wandered off, with Aiden staring boldly at his retreating form, the mad genius continued.

 

“We can even use this demonstration to give him your number! Discreetly too! We’ll just order him a drink right before you go on stage and send your number over with the waiter! It’ll be just like one of my fanfictions.”

 

“You are totally going to steal this scenario, aren’t you?”

 

“Yup!”

 

Sighing in defeat as if questioning the hangman, Rose asked the next important question.

 

“...Fine. What song has your demonic mind fixed on?”

 

“Call Me Maybe!”

 

“Nooooooooo.”

 

“It fits all the requirements. Plus it’s cheesy enough that the bar will think you are singing it just for kicks.”

 

“It’s almost as cheesy as a bodice ripper novel!”

 

“Exactly! Easy enough to play off as a joke if he seems weirded out.”

 

“...Gimme the whisky.”

 

With a groan, Rose chugged the whiskey and grabbed the napkin next to it to jot down her number.

 

The next few minutes past in a flash as Aiden worked their magic to get her into the song queue, snagged a hot waiter to deliver the drink and number (and they might have passed along their own number to the blushing man), and promptly snagged another whisky.

 


 

“Paps, are ya even listening to me, bro? I felt yer magic activate. Do ya need me to make some trash go away?”

 

A very agitated Red bristled and almost snarled audibly as he stared down an annoyed Edge. All the beings, monsters and humans, backed away a step or two from the brothers.

 

“I heard you loud and clear, brother. I am not a babybones who needs babysat. Nothing of note happened.”

 

Pressing against the bar top casually, Edge leaned slightly to the left. Despite his brother’s fuming form, he could see where Ro- the human had been flailing at another human. She was no longer in sight which caused Edge to frown slightly and his soul jolted slightly in an unfamiliar way.

 

‘Where is she? Why do I even care? My job should be complete.’

 

Absently, Edge rubbed his chest for a moment while standing lost in thought.

 

“Bullshit. I. Felt. Your. Magic. Ya don’t just go throwing bones around at nothin’. I should have moved faster and come found ya as soon as-”

 

Eyes widening, Red stared at his brother is horror. He lunged forward up out of his seat and pulled Edge’s hand away while looking under his brother’s jacket frantically where Edge had been rubbing.

 

“Are you injured? Is something wrong with your soul?”

 

“WHAT? NO! Scum like that would never make a scratch on my glorious person.”

 

“What scum? Paps, what aren’t ya telling me?”

 

Looking down at his brother, Edge paused for a moment and absorbed the fact that he was worried enough to leave his seat. Red was normally lazy as a slug which caused him to look unphased by anything. It took more than the use of magic to rouse this side of him.

 

“Brother, why are you so worked up? You know I am no weakling.”

 

“...”

 

Red hesitated and looked away, golden tooth flashing from the movement. He turned back and the lazy grin he normally wore stretched tightly across his skull.

 

“It’s nothin’. I’ll tell ya about it later. Just… don’t wander off again, okay? We’ll leave when ya want.”

 

Frustrated, Edge started to retort when a familiar voice rang across the crowd and snapped his attention away. Red moved to stand next to his brother and face the stage before gaping in astonishment.

 

“Um, hi everyone! I’d like to dedicate this song in thanks to Mr.Tall, Dark, and Spikey, my knight in ripped leather tonight.”

 

“Bro, what the fuck is that doll talking about?”

 

Music started to play and the crowd exclaimed in excitement and laughter. Edge was rather pleased as the noise distracted his brother from more questions. His own eye lights were locked on the swaying form of Rose as she bounced around the stage.

 

I threw a wish in the well
Don't ask me, I'll never tell
I looked to you as it fell
And now you're in my way

I'd trade my soul for a wish
Pennies and dimes for a kiss
I wasn't looking for this
But now you're in my way

Your stare was holdin'
Ripped jeans, skin was showin'
Hot night, wind was blowin'
Where you think you're going, baby?

 

It was entrancing how Rose moved around the stage while still sounding husky and sweet. Edge knew some monster females could move decently in heels but this was unexpected. Especially for such a weak creature as a human. She seemed to be only landing for a moment before another twirl or leap happened.

 

Hey, I just met you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me, maybe?

It's hard to look right
At you baby
But here's my number
So call me, maybe?

Hey, I just met you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me, maybe?

 

Who was this human?

 

And all the other boys
Try to chase me
But here's my number
So call me, maybe?

You took your time with the call
I took no time with the fall
You gave me nothing at all
But still, you're in my way

I beg, and borrow and steal
At first sight and it's real
I didn't know I would feel it
But it's in my way

 

Why couldn’t he look away?

 

Your stare was holdin'
Ripped jeans, skin was showin'
Hot night, wind was blowin'
Where you think you're going, baby?

Hey, I just met you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me, maybe?

 

A tap on his jacket caused Edge to turn away from the stage with a silent snarl to face a nervous waiter who promptly shoved a drink into Edge’s hands before darting away.

 

It's hard to look right
At you baby
But here's my number
So call me, maybe?

 

Looking down, he saw a fresh drink like he had earlier which rested on a napkin that had writing. Edge peered closer in puzzlement before he froze.

 

Hey, I just met you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me, maybe?

 

He had her number.

 

She wanted him to call.

 

Edge’s soul danced wildly.

 

Was he getting sick?

 

And all the other boys
Try to chase me
But here's my number
So call me, maybe?

Before you came into my life
I missed you so bad
I missed you so bad
I missed you so, so bad

 

Gently, Edge removed the napkin from under his drink and tucked it into an inner pocket in his leather jacket. He could use this for his case files, right?

 

Before you came into my life
I missed you so bad
And you should know that
I missed you so, so bad

It's hard to look right
At you baby
But here's my number
So call me, maybe?

Hey, I just met you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me, maybe?

 

Looking back at the stage, Edge sipped the drink and idly noticed that it seemed to taste better than before but that thought was soon discarded in favor of watching Rose move.

 

And all the other boys
Try to chase me
But here's my number
So call me, maybe?

Before you came into my life
I missed you so bad
I missed you so bad
I missed you so, so bad

 

Edge did not notice the confused looks Red sent his way. Suspicion began to creep into his brother’s gaze followed by determination. With a lazy glare at the human prancing around Red decided that he would need to investigate away from his baby brother. No one would mess with what Red cared about. What was this human female up to?

 

Before you came into my life
I missed you so bad
And you should know that

So call me, maybe?



The song ended to lively applause. Looking across the patio, Rose locked eyes with the tall skeleton and smiled.

 

Edge didn’t even notice the little smirk that crawled across his face as he nodded acknowledgement.

 

Rose’s smile grew even brighter.

 


If you want to see Rose, go to https://ibb.co/K5cPmLW where the digital doll I made of her is! :) The doll maker was https://www.dolldivine.com/urban-chic-deluxe.php 

 

Chapter Text

Soft golden sunlight streamed in through swaying sheer curtains the same blue as the summer sky outside. One particularly strong sunbeam arched across a mound of fluffy lavender pillows and straight into closed eyes. With a grumble, Rose shifted to her other side pulling light grey cotton sheets along. Birds chirped and sang to the rising sun.

‘Those stupidly adorable balls of feathers are so damn lucky that they are cute.’

Blearily opening her eyes, Rose sat slowly up in bed and stared unseeingly at the figure with wild curling blue hair in the tall floor-length mirror across the room. Mornings were not her favorite time of the day and lately the lack of sleep due to worry was making them even worse. Quirking an eyebrow, Rose limply waved her arms at the mirror and made a sound like a “rawr” but more muffled. 

‘Truly ferocious. Damnit, Papyrus was right. I do need spikes.’

With a dramatic sigh worthy of those Spanish soap operas that her mother loved, Rose fell back against the pillows with an arm over her eyes.Maybe if she just ignored the world it would go away. 

Sadly, the negative thoughts plaguing her from the last night crept back in and swirled.

How in the world had she been so obnoxious to serenade a monster who was practically a stranger - albeit a tall and dangerously attractive one - and send him a drink with her number! Not to mention that the stranger in question had not even called and this was the third morning since she woke up with a regretfully pounding head. What if she had done a major faux pas by sending a drink? 

Groaning, Rose tossed off the sheets covering her aching form and slid out of her bed. Tall, carved from cherry wood, and complete with a sheer draping canopy, the Californian king sized bed consumed about half of her bedroom. It was completely worth it though. The luxury and comfort made the woman feel like a princess when sinking into the bed at night. She certainly had enough pillows for the whole theoretical castle at this point!

‘6:30 am, what a wonderful time to sleep though. If only I was still asleep!’

After slinking into the adjoining bathroom to complete the necessary post-awakening routines, Rose stumbled sleepily into the open area in her bedroom and began to stretch. The familiar strain of the actions brought a certain level of peace to the spinning thoughts roaming her head. Attractive or not, one Mr. Great and Terrible Papyrus was not going to ruin her concentration today! 

A brightly designed flyer tucked into the frame of the mirror caught Rose’s eye as she turned to get a better position for doing leg stretches against her bed and she paused to read it for the hundredth time.

Miss Muffet of the Arachnophilia Restaurant and Bakery invites all interested professional dancers of swing, ballroom, or a similar style to apply for the position of Head Taxi Dancer and Instructor. The position will primarily need filled on Thursday - Saturday evenings but specific hours are negotiable. 

Responsibilities include: 

  • Dancing with patrons of all skill levels
  • Teaching mini lessons on easy dance steps
  • Helping other taxi dancers to improve skill

Please call 1- 234 - XXX to arrange sending over your application and credentials. An interview will follow if the owner is interested. 

Completing the text was the restaurants logo of a spider silhouetted against an array of music notes in a silvery ink. No one in Ebbot City could go without seeing the logo at least once a day if they left their house or opened a newspaper. Arachnophilia had become the trendiest restaurant after it was built in the second year after the release of the monsters. Humanity may have a general fear of spiders but gluttony was a strong vice and Arachnophilia had the best dishes along with baked goods that no human chef could easily match. Plus Muffet’s spiders were cartoonishly cute little puff balls with waving legs.

Muffet herself, from what Rose had seen in promotional material and news article, was also completely adorable in a Gothic style. Frilly dresses during the day time while supervising the bakery, sweeping elegant gowns at night when hosting the restaurant; Muffet was a fashion paragon in Ebbot. The fact that she was a humanoid spider monster did not take away from her subtle Gothic beauty. The dedication to design and a perfectly deployed aesthetic showed in the swoops and spires of the Arachnophilia which resembled a Victorian manor rather than a typical restaurant. Rose had never been in the restaurant or the bakery but word on the street was that Muffet’s employees were the best of the best and well paid to boot!

‘I’m going to get that job! I am going to rock that interview! I got to believe in myself.’

 With renewed determination, Rose returned to he stretching while focusing on her quest. Working at Muffet’s was the break she needed. After all, Rose could get by with very little but her job as a teacher to underprivileged kids paid in pennies. Especially since allowing monster children into the classes. It was horrible but some of her students had been removed from the program by terrified and closed-minded parents. If Muffet hired her, Rose could stick with teaching the children in the morning and early afternoon. Plus maybe she could afford class snacks or other small treats for the kids if she budgeted tight enough! 

The stretching lead into simple dance steps followed by more complicated pieces as the morning moved on. Sounds wafted in from the street; a gentle but growing hum of cars, faint shouts as neighbors greeted each other, and the rustling of leaves in a gentle breeze. Only when a series of chimes erupted from her phone did Rose stop moving. Her form was now dripping with sweat from the practice. 

‘Crap, it’s 8 already? I’ve got thirty minutes to get cleaned up before I need to run for the bus.’

Dashing into the bathroom to crank the shower handle, Rose shed the over-sized red t-shirt and underwear that she wore to bed before jumping in to the cold spray of the shower. No time to wait for it to warm up. Suds flew everywhere as she scrubbed down while conditioner soaked into her curls. The water was cut off as soon as the last suds dropped into the shower drain and Rose was drying off so fast that she feared towel burns before launching herself out of the bathroom. . 

Rose strode over to the wardrobe near the mirror to slip into the audition quality practice clothing that had been set out the night before. Black knee length spandex shorts, swirling pleated fuchsia cotton skirt, short sleeved  grey button up that rested slightly loose and which was tucked into the waistband of the skirt, and matching grey kitten heels. Grabbing matching ribbons in fuchsia, the nervous dancer darted back into the bathroom to tame her curls into two small buns like her favorite magical girl scout and applied a dusting of make up.

With a minute to spare, Rose ran out of the house clutching a banana and a granola bar along with her dance bag while clicking the button on the inside of the door lock so that her home would be secure. The bus driver at the end of the block honked impatiently but waited the extra minute for her to climb aboard. After swiping her bus card, Rose slipped into the closest empty seat with a gasp and pulled the water bottle out of her bag. Step one, catch the bus was complete! 

__________________________________________________________________________

No one called Undyne the Undying a calm monster nor had anyone ever claimed that she would simply let go of a task when told instead of pushing through and completing it. Even her mate, Alphys, knew there were times when you simply had to let Undyne run her course. Of course, Alphys thought her pushy behavior was adorable but still!

In fact, Undyne grumbled silently, the only one who didn’t seem to understand that she would keep pushing until she got the information was the problem itself, Edge. Her star pupil, who had actually beaten her for the title of Captain of the Royal Guard, was fretting and that was extremely unlike the confident skeleton. Seeing the lanky skeleton repeatedly pacing around in his pitch black - of course - training uniform of sleeveless shirt, loose pants, and beat up boots was about to push her over the edge. Especially with the way he kept hovering over his phone.

‘Time to bust his chops and get the beans to spill!’

Being such old friends gave Undyne an advantage that Edge didn’t seem to realize. She knew his every mood and could tell when she’d literally have to beat information out of him. Posing cockily, Undyne boomed her challenge with wild abandon as her own matching training uniform pulled tight around muscles. 

“Hey bone boy, let’s spar! Or after you too distracted by your phone again? Expecting it to bite of something? NGAH-HA-HA-HA!”

At her taunt, Edge’s head flew up and his eye sockets narrowed while a blush of rage swept across a pure white skull turning him rather tomato-like.

“Nyeh! I am not distracted by a mere phone, Undyne. You only wish I was because I’m going to kick you scaly ass like always. I’m just that magnificent.”

“Yeah, yeah, bring it on, Captain.

Quickly hitting a button, an intense and satisfying-to-battle-to song started to play as Undyne jumped into the training arena. Her heavily booted feet struck the dirt of the field and a slight cloud of dust rose at the impact. Across the arena an identical cloud of dust rose from the impact of Edge.

Rising up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I'm back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive

Both figures dropped into defensive postures and froze waiting to see who would lose control and attack first. The music pounded in their bones as the tension built. Undyne smirked at a slight twitch in Edge’s phalanges. He was distracted. It usually took longer for either of them to show any movement at all.

Unsurprised thanks to the small tell, Undyne dodged the volley of crimson spears that appeared and shot straight for her torso. Landing on one foot and then springing into the air Undyne slung back her own array of spears before landing at an angle to her original location. A smug smile danced around her face as she continued the tradition of trash talking.

“Getting slow, Edge! Are you finally turning into an old brittle fossil?”

“Eat worms, Undyne!”

So many times it happens too fast
You trade your passion for glory
Don't lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive

It's the eye of the tiger
It's the thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he's watching us all with the eye of the tiger

Not giving Undyne time to catch her breath, Edge summoned spears on both sides of her body and ordered them to interlock but once again she sprang into the air. Not wearing her heavy armor was quite exhilarating when sparing for practice instead of to the death. Her one eye gleamed with excitement.

Retaliating, Undyne sent a series of spears from first the left then the right followed by a single left arrow in the middle of the firing of the right. Surprisingly, the left arrow managed to hit Edge and chip off a few HP. His growl of frustration was so loud that it even echoed around the arena over the music.

“Dude, you are soooo distracted. That was a baby move and you didn’t dodge it.”

“I am NOT distracted, you - you - you long legged salamander!”

“Geez, even a weak insult no-”

Undyne’s words were cut off as Edge charged forward and struck at her with a sword blade made of his magic. Cackling, Undyne ducked and dodged the swinging blade before summoning twin long knives of her own. This was getting interesting as they had started training with new blade shapes only last week.

Face to face, out in the heat
Hanging tough, staying hungry
They stack the odds still we take to the street
For the kill with the skill to survive

It's the eye of the tiger
It's the thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he's watching us all with the eye of the tiger

“Cackling chicken harpy! Lame brain! Idiot! I am not fucking distracted. I am not trying to figure out anything.”

Lunging forward again, Edge stuck true at Undyne and managed to nick an ear fin before her own blades crossed and caught his to force it back. Blood pounded in her ears singing of victory. Another manic cackle escaped Undyne as she pushed him further.

“What, you don’t know how to use a phone? Of maybe, just maybe, you don’t know what to say to whoever is on the other end of the line?”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!”

Wrenching his blade free, Edge spun away, leaped, and attempted an aerial assault. Huge dust clouds were getting stirred up as the pair crossed blades over and over again. Slowly, as their magic and energy levels dropped, the pair began to sport matching minor wounds like cuts and bruises. 


Rising up, straight to the top
Had the guts, got the glory
Went the distance, now I'm not gonna stop
Just a man and his will to survive

It's the eye of the tiger
It's the thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he's watching us all with the eye of the tiger

Both figures sprung apart finally and stood there breathing hard as the music started to wind down. Their battles were fierce and intense but never too lengthy in time as they preferred to fight going all out instead of rationing strength to go into endurance. 

The stress seemed to have been leached from Edge’s bones as he stood there relaxed but panting with a satisfied gleam in his eye lights. With a grin of understanding, Undyne pressed her friend and loyal comrade for more information. 

“Paps, my idiot brother born of battling together, what is going on?”

After all, she was the only one who could do this. Edge had broken generations of tradition by leaving her alive after she lost the challenge duel for the title of Captain of the Royal Guard. He had claimed that it was better to leave his rival alive for no one else could challenge him enough to keep his skills as sharp as this new honor required.

The eye of the tiger
The eye of the tiger
The eye of the tiger
The eye of the tiger

“FINE, IF YOU MUST KNOW, I RESCUED A FREAKING HUMAN OVER THE WEEKEND AND NOW I KEEP WORRYING ABOUT HER FOR SOME DAMN REASON.”

As the song ended, Edge let out a weary sigh and let his blade dissolve before marching over to where the water fountain was built into the arena wall. Grabbing a magically kept clean cup, Edge filled it with water and guzzled it down before turning to face his frozen best friend.

Undyne blinked blankly at him for a few minutes as her brain tried to parse extra meaning out of his words and failed. Edge? The monster only tolerant of humans due to Asgore’s direct - and repeated frequently in Edge’s case - orders SAVED a human? And was now worried about the said human? Did hell freeze over?

“I’m going to need more details, dude.”

Waiting for him to organize his thoughts, she strode forward and grabbed her own cup of water before plopping down on a nearby bench. Undyne gestured for Edge to join her and one heavy thud later they were sitting in silence looking over the training arena. 

“Sans, for the moronic reason of trying to pick up females as I later discovered, insisted we should go to a human bar that’s monster friendly. After an hour or so, even I couldn’t take it anymore. There was all this obscene canoodling, shoddy wood crafting, mediocre at best drinks, and I had to teach a pink bird monster about why one doesn’t grab others without permission.”

After hearing the last statement, Undyne was dying to interrupt to ask if the pink bird monster had been dusted. He better not have created more paperwork for her! However, she knew if she did that Edge would get even more agitated and clam completely up. Undyne simply nodded along while her fingers played restlessly with a scrap of cloth that was on the ground. 

“I left after Red started slinging puns. They were atrocious. I was heading for my bike in the back parking lot when I heard a noise ring forth from a nearby alley way. I investigated and found two human males holding a human female at knife point and were about to demand more than cash. I chose to step in.”

Edge’s eye lights completely disappeared at that moment and Undyne felt her heart clutch in both a response to his pain and an echo of her own. 

“It is what Lilaea would have wanted…”

She had not heard that precious name in ages, long before they had left the Underground. Before the memories could flood either of them, Undyne took a risk and solidly punched his shoulder. He snarled reflexively but the lights returned to Edge’s eye sockets and he gruffly continued on.

“Of course the human males were an absolute fucking yawn to deal with. Just a few glowing bones, some light threats, and they vanished back into the dark leaving the injured human female with me. Then… something odd happened. It was like instinct took over for a moment and I healed her. A HUMAN. I wasted my magic on one of them.”

Clenching his fist, Edge looked startled when his cup shattered as if he had forgotten that he was still holding it. Undyne simply shrugged, trying to hide her shock at his words, and waited for him to continue. The bit of cloth in her fingers twirled faster.

“Stars, she is fucking clueless about proper defenses. No spikes and all that squishy humanness. Good eye for my glorious fashion though. As a way to help improve human/monster relations so I have an example next time Asgore asks, I took her back to the humans at the bar before rejoining my ass of a brother who was freaking out. Sans still won’t fucking trust me to handle myself against foes without any help. He was bitching at me and then acting all secretive when we were interrupted.”

She couldn’t help it, she groaned at the news that Red was being his obnoxious protective self again. Honestly, while Undyne couldn’t blame him from wanting to protect his younger bro, there was a point of taking it too far. Especially when Edge had been the captain of the royal guard for years now.

“We heard the human, Rose by the way, out on the stage. It was one of those karaoke bars shyrens love with an outdoor patio and stage. The little fool got up on stage, dedicated a song to me in thanks, and then proceeded to sing while dancing. Something about maybe calling? It’s one of those human bop songs. Meanwhile, a waiter stops by and hands me a drink from Rose which also has her number on a napkin.”

Helplessly Undyne let out a loud guffaw as she had never heard of anyone sending a monster their number much less one that looks like their death. Man, this Rose might have more guts that it first seemed. Or was just that dumb. Who could tell with humans?

“Undyne, it does not make sense. Humans fear us, they revile us. Before when I’ve had to save some weak bag of flesh in the line of duty I have been insulted, cursed at, and worse. Only Asgore’s orders kept those fucking cretins alive. But this one… so fragile and weak… was thankful? And friendly?”

His voice trailed off as Undyne sat there staring into her cup trying to figure out what the hell she should react to first. Human saving, human healing, and making sure a human got back safely to the herd? Then getting serenaded by the said human? It seemed so unlikely but unlikeliness by itself gave validity as Edge would not make up a story this ridiculous. 

Frustrated at the situation and unfamiliar emotions, Edge jumped to his feet and started pacing like a caged tiger again.

“It’s a trap, isn’t it? I should delete her number and just forget it happened. After all, I am too magnificent and terrible to worry about something so... soft .”

“No.”

“No? Why fucking not? What good could come of -”

“Edge, Alphys and I have a human friend now.”

The sound the shocked skeleton let out at that statement can best be described as a pterodactyl screech crossed with nails on a chalkboard and should never be repeated in Undyne’s opinion. Add in the absolutely blank look rolling over Edge’s face with expanding eye lights and Undyne couldn’t resist breaking down into laughter so hard she fell off the bench.

Grasping Undyne by the shoulders, Edge hauled her laughter-based convulsing body to its feet before shaking violently to stop the laughing fit. Of course Undyne retaliated and several minutes flew past along with punches between the two roughhousing friends.

Finally, when completely covered in dust, Undyne sat down coughing on the ground next to Edge who landed face-first from being tripped. Snickering, Undyne launched into her explanation with a manic grin.

“A few weeks ago, back when you were sent back to the Underground to scope out human training grounds, Alphys was attacked by some cowardly shits after leaving a human food store. You know Alphie, she’s only dangerous in a lab. So there she was, helpless and panicking while getting attacked when all of a sudden another human joined the fray. The new human actually started beating the pants off those cowardly shits.”

“WHAT? Why didn’t you report this? I am LITERALLY the monster in charge of keeping monsterkind safe. I didn’t even get a notifi-”

“DUDE! We did file a report but it was given to the human police since a human stepped in to fight other humans.”

“...Fine but I am going to follow up and you better call me next time!”

“ANYWAY, Alphie says it was like in an anime she found her on the surface when a mysterious stranger jumps in to save the day only her mysterious stranger did not have a top hat, cape, and mask. Nyehehehe, she’s so happy about how much is available now.”

The sulking skeleton rolled his eyelights at the anime tangent but a slight smile also appeared. Secretly, he agreed with Alphys that enormous selection of media available now was one of the better benefits of moving to the surface. Especially given the technology of digital books and how easy to hide they were.

“Once the weenies were sent off with their tails between their legs the stranger introduced themselves and offered to walk Alphie to her next destination. They ended up gushing over manga together at the local bookstore when I showed up ready to kick ass for my mate. One minor misunderstanding later, we ended up taking the human home for monster food and an ice pack. It’s all cool now. The human, Aiden, is an odd one even for humans but they are also extremely entertaining.”

“So what if you found one actually friendly human without an obvious agenda! That does not mean that I have found one myself. Who knows how scheming the human female could be.”

With a disdainful scoff, Undyne cuffed Edge on the shoulder before standing up. A small dust cloud formed from the movement and surrounded the skeleton who promptly stood up himself while letting out a hacking cough. She easily shook off the blurry glare from Edge and bounced on her heels in anticipation.

“Exactly! That’s why I have a plan. Bring this human female to our workout tomorrow. I’ll bring Alphie. Then we can see exactly how this Rose interacts with monsters of all kinds and how strong she is.”

Thanking her lucky stars for such entertainment, Undyne watched as the skeleton next to her twitched and turned several interesting colors before hissing at her audacity.

You want ME to invite a human out?”

“Dude, ew, not like that! I am NOT going to play matchmaker for you of all people. It’s too weird. Phrase it like I’ll be giving her self-defense lessons and it’s a follow up thing from when you saved her butt.”

What Undyne did not elaborate on was that once Alphys heard about this entire situation she would be doing enough shipping for the two of them. Frankly, while the idea of Edge dating anyone was way too weird for her, Undyne was just happy that her friend was actually showing interest in something other than his duties and his brother. Stars know it has been years.

“Fine. We’ll do your plan. But I’m calling the human when you aren’t here.”

It could have been her imagination but Undyne could have sworn that for a second a faint blush swept across Edge’s face. Alphys was going to be ecstatic.

___________________________________________________________________________

There were few things that could drive Red, infamous known lazy arse, to be productive and right now one of those things were ticking him off. 

His damnable younger brother who, despite his decorated career in the Royal Guard, was acting like a complete moron when it came to this human he met over the weekend. Every time Red questioned him all Boss would say was that he could handle it and the matter was of little importance.

Bullshit!

Boss had even hidden the human’s number that was passed to him in, which Red grudgingly admitted, a smooth and discrete manner. What human would think of sending a monster a drink at the bar? Red was not a fool though. As far as he was concerned, humans only tolerated monsters for their gold and magic. Any of them could turn against them in a moment. Not that Boss seemed to care at the moment. He hadn’t even understood Red’s intentions when Red searched every corner of Boss’s room looking for the number. Instead, Red was “treated” to one of his hour long lectures.

So with no name, no number, and no bloody details besides the fact that the human in question knew how to sing and dance, Red did not have anything to go on in his hunt for information. How had he gone wrong raising Boss to the point where he, the older brother, wasn’t trusted anymore?

Pulling back his fluffy hood to glare at a human in front of him, who quickly went pale and speed walked away, Red stared holes into the store sign in front of him. The name escaped him in a low rumble of displeasure.

“Trader - fucking - Joe’s”

The posh and stuffy human wonderland of food. Where humans in frumpy clothing sniffed their beaky noses at his perfectly respectable hoodie, track pants, and collar. Oh joy. Why the fuck was he here anyway? Oh yeah, Boss, or more specifically, Boss’s shopping list. Evidently he couldn’t make it to the store today due to Muffet calling in a favor. 

A shiver ran down Red’s spine. If few things made him productive, than even fewer actually could cause his thick bones to quake but Muffet was one of them. The dame was ruthless and cold-hearted to all but her employees. However, she had enough charm & common sense not to show that on the surface. Like a female version of Grillby but with class, money was the name of the game to Muffet and hell hath no fury like a spider-woman cheated of her profit.

Red only made that mistake one.

Only once.

Shaking off the encroaching black memories of paying Muffet back with interest (and blood), Red stomped through the crowd of humans and was surprised to notice that he wasn’t the only monster shopping. Several female bunny monsters, sans the herd of younglings for once, were looking over the produce. A whimsen, fragile looking as every, was flitting about the cookie aisle looking for different types on the tall shelves. 

Right underneath the whimsen, making Red’s eyes narrow in a predatory gleam, was a silver spiky haired human in dark jeans, brightly colored rainbow tennis shoes, and a flamboyantly bright yellow hoodie. Not just any silver spiky haired human though, it was the silver spiky haired human that was with the dancing human several nights ago. 

A smirk sprawled across his jaw with the gold fang shining before it morphed into the usual empty grin as Red quickly shortcutted to be directly behind the human before speaking in his usual rumbling tone.

“Human, don’t ya know how to gree-”

The next second, Red was dodging a surprisingly well placed fist as what he could have sworn was a soft human spun with the timing of an experienced warrior and lashed out. Blinking at not making contact, the human looked to see what they had lashed out at and promptly began to smile mischievously.

“Geez, just because you jumped out of your skin doesn’t mean that we all need to.”

The next second both the human and himself were snickering at the horrible joke. Red shook his head in good humored mock admiration. Perhaps getting information out of this human would actually be interesting.

Tibia honest, that was a good joke. Really humerus, pal.” 

A snort escaped the silver spiky haired human as they tried to restrain their laughter. Giving up and giggling, the human held out their hand.

“Aw, don’t tell a fibula just for my sake. The name is Aiden, Aiden Thornfield. What’s your name? Should I check your collar?”

“The name’s Red, kid, and not technically but I bet ya’d recognize my bro. Tall, ripped leather, skeleton?”

With a cackle of recognition, Aiden’s face light up with a mirthful smile. Releasing the human’s hand after shaking it firmly, Red himself started to chuckle at how this human’s expressions were always changing. It was a sure sign that he’d get this information. 

“Duuuuuude, you were at the bar when Rose sang ‘Call Me Maybe’, right? It’s a bit blurry, whiskey done me dirty by that point, but there were two skeletons.”

“Yup. Just my bro and me. So, the huma- girl who performed in named Rose?”

“Yeah, it is. Didn’t your brother tell you?”

Red’s empty grin stretched a bit wider as the human, Aiden, started to look at him a bit suspiciously. Why the hell couldn’t Boss have just told him what was going on. Then he wouldn’t have to be chatting up this human or at least he’d seem more trustworthy with a few details. 

“Boss has been busy lately, we figure we’ll catch up next weekend.”

“Boss?”

“It’s what I call my bro. Nickname, ya see?”

“Sure…”

Doubt bloomed even more deeply across the human’s face and Red swore inwardly. Why was this so difficult? All he wanted to do was get information, find out how the girl is rotten, and then chase her away from Boss. The human tried to shift slightly away and Red reached out without thinking to restrain them by grabbing an arm.

“More importantly to me, what can ya tell me about this Rose? What’s she like? Rather attention seeking for a human female, isn’t she?”

“What the fuck is wrong with you, dude?”

Becoming impatient, Red let his grin drop away and his tone dropped into a dangerous register. No more Mr. Nice Guy. He was not letting this lead get away.

“This ‘Rose’ is trying to get close to my baby brother. All after meeting him once. All you humans want something from us and I am not letting him get taken in by some pretty face with a fucking rotten core.”

Sneering, Red waited to see what this human would do next while tightening his grip on their wrist. Would they quiver in fear now that the nice guy act was dropped or would they try to bargain their release with information about the other human. Humans, scum all of them and so willing to throw each other to the wolves in order to get ahead.

“Okay, asshat.”

To his increasing surprise, the human broke free of his grip with a sharp jab to his wrist joint with their free hand to loosen his grip followed immediately by a rough jerk. Then to his amazement, the human did not run away but rather leaned into his face with a snarl of their own.

“You better leave Rose, the sweetest of cinnamon rolls, alone or else -”

No way he was going to listen to -

“You’re going to have a b a d  t i m e.

His brain froze as it tried to comprehend that a human, A HUMAN, had just used his signature warning against him. How was this even possible? How had this human even known? How had Aiden dared to commander his phrase? 

Red stood there for several minutes after Aiden sauntered away, stuck trying to process this astounding behavior, until one of the bunny monsters shopping nearby dropped a metal tray and the clatter broke through his shock. 

Fueled by the rage that swept threw his bones, Red ripped up the shopping list in his hands and glared at the whispering bunny monsters who quickly moved away. Glowering at everything and nothing the salty skeleton teleported out of Trader Joes and to the home of an old friend. A friend who owed him a favor and who stiffened at the sudden invasion of a skeleton with a grin full of malice.

‘Fuck if I’m gonna let some wimpy hairless ape steal my phrase.’