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Convenient Fictions

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Today’s gone better than it had any business doing, and for Sans the skeleton, that’s the best reason there is to call it early. Quit while you’re ahead as long as nothing’s afoot. Heh.

He decides to save that one for Papyrus later, chuckles absently as he shoves the condiment bottles back into his pockets, where they disappear into his blocky monster phone with a flick. He glances around even though he knows he didn’t forget anything, then unravels reality with a satisfied sigh.

Sans starts to doff his hoodie the second he returns to existence in his bedroom, but when he hears Papyrus arguing with Annoying Dog again (even Sans has to admire Annoying Dog’s talent as the most energetic slacker he’s ever seen), he switches rooms. This room’s still his room, and it’s exactly where the other room was, but it’s also no longer in hearing distance nor attached to his house. Privacy and convenience, just like those trashy hotels he sees ads for in the car magazines he fishes out of the dump.

He slides the hoodie off, then gets in the mood to shuck the rest of his clothes and kick away his slippers. He flips on the space heater and drags it noisily over to the side of his bed, then flops down heavily on the mattress wearing only his socks. He grabs a corner of his blanket, then just rolls until he hits the wall with his frontal bone, wrapped up snug and soft as his already warm room starts to swelter. Cold doesn’t make him shiver, and heat doesn’t make him sweat, so he’s been known to enjoy both at what other monsters generally consider extremes.

And he is enjoying himself, so he thinks about his good day. They’re not common enough for him to pass up the opportunity to relish this one.

Monster Kid had come by his sentry station earlier with a fresh load of ‘dogs fished out of the rivers in waterfall, and he’d taken the opportunity to slowly heat them up on his crappy little sheetmetal grill, turning them carefully before sliding them hot and fresh into their buns, then tucking them away one by one into his phone, ready to be summoned forth later by change slapped down on his counter. Well, most of them. Some of them he’d torn apart to stuff between his teeth, washed down with a bottle of ketchup. There’s nothing more fulfilling than slacking off at his technically official job than by doing prep work for his illegal one, except perhaps actually slinging ‘dogs while at his sentry station. Today he’d gotten to indulge in both.

He’d even made back the pocket change he’d given MK for scrounging the ‘dogs when some of the rowdy teens in the woods had smelled the grill and wandered by to see what was what. Ended up buying a few, then Lesser Dog had come by and whined enough that Sans just decided to let them just have a few. Everyone knows Lesser Dog has money, they just forget to bring it with them anywhere. It’s honestly kinda cute, and he can always hit them up for it later if he cares enough to.

He’d usually go to sleep at a time like this, but the fatigue that settles deep in his bones most days isn’t in evidence. He doesn’t want to get up, either. He’s not the loner type, especially not when he’s not having one of his bad days, but right now his own company’s not bothering him. He feels...cute. Look at him, all bare bones in his cozy blanket except for his socks. The ones with the flirty trim. He feels magic rise in his face, and on impulse, he pulls the corner of the blanket up to cover his skull, too. His forehead and knees touch the wall through the blanket, and he caresses his ribcage with his phalanges lightly. It’s nice.

He doesn’t always care much for the way bone feels against bone. He likes the way clothes feel; pillow too, sometimes. Even a big wad of plastic filled with air pockets he found once, before he popped them all. But right now he’s enjoying hard fingertips clicking against his ribs, rasping along his femurs, even curled up under his xyphoid process. He likes the way he feels, likes himself. Sans even likes his soft smile where no one else can see, so he pushes his blanket-cushioned forehead gently against the wall as he does the thing most people do when they’re warm and safe, have privacy, nothing to do, and feel okay with themselves: he brings out his soul.

Awww, there he is. He’s not so bad. He doesn’t have to have his sockets open to see himself, but he keeps them open anyways so he can watch the way his private, delicate glow lights up his body in the secret space inside his blanket, curved in like a little slug against the wall. Not everyone thinks slugs are cute, but he does. The comparison makes him huff a sincere, near-silent laugh. He wonders if anyone else thinks he’s cute like that too. Not for everyone, and that’s okay. His face might not be much to look at, but his bones are pretty, like a fancy teacup or snow lit up with gyftmas lights. He wonders again if anyone else thinks so; admits there might be a few who probably do.

This is something a lot of people do with each other, especially around here where there’s not actually all that much else to do. Most of the underground’s the same way, but not Sans. This is something he’s always felt like keeping to himself; for himself. Not that anyone’s ever asked him of course; they can probably tell he’s not interested. Maybe he’s selfish that way, but this just feels really personal is all.

Not that he’s an innocent or anything, but this is a lot more intimate than slacking off and smoking treats with Doggo, then wandering out in the woods behind his sentry station for hugs and handjobs. That had been a lot of fun while it lasted; he’d liked the happy little yelps he made, the whispered encouragement, and the hot tongue licking his vertebrae.

Doggo bragging to everyone at Grillby’s about the sexy tricks Sans’s hands could do he’d liked quite a bit less. Not like he was mad or anything, but he coincidentally stopped going by Doggo’s station after that. That had been a long time ago, too long to really tell how long. That’s the way things are down here: a week could be twice that; an hour can feel like a month. But every once in a while Sans still manages to find time (heh) to set up a few pinecones above Doggo’s station, then takes a shortcut to stand perfectly motionless nearby when the wind pushes them off onto the roof, grin smug as he watches him yapping furiously at nothing at all.

Okay, so maybe he was a little mad about that.

He smiles wryly into his pale, delicate self floating above pearly distal phalanges inside the dark little blanket cave he’s made, still amused but acknowledging the truth. Something private about him becoming public, becoming gossip, had hurt his feelings more than he’d like to admit. Sans’s pranks had caught on with the other sentries too, and had had the effect of eroding Doggo’s overall credibility.

His sockets narrow, his smile gains an edge.

No one takes what Doggo says as seriously as they used to, and there’s a certain justice to that, isn’t there. Sans doesn’t really like everyone (anyone) knowing his personal business. Or his official business, or his secret business, or his illegal business. He giggles softly. All of the above.

Alphys teases him about his hands too, but she doesn’t do it in front of anyone else. And she also doesn’t tell anyone that he does for her what he used to for Doggo, late nights at the lab when they’re both tired and achy from sitting in the same spot all goddamn day, and decide to take a break and watch some of Pervy Al’s Pervy Human Animations. Sans’s sockets oval happily as he giggles and thinks about that, because he really likes it. When he’s in the mood, at least.

Alphys is probably his best friend, although no one even knows they work together. They’re a lot alike, too. It’s a little ironic considering Al might have a crush on absolutely everyone in the underground except him; maybe that’s why she feels comfortable enough to let him watch her face while he holds her and touches her, lets him put his skull against her warm scales while he listens to the quiet, happy sounds she makes. Al’s soft and cozy, and she holds him while he naps afterwards for as long as he wants. He presses his forehead against the wall again; he does that on Alphys when she holds him too. She’d certainly been willing to touch his body under his clothes a few times, and while it feels nice as long as she’s gentle, it does about the same for him as a hug. It’s the same for plenty of monsters; she doesn’t mind how he is, and he doesn’t mind how she is. They get along, understand each other, and do what feels good for each other even if it’s not the same thing.

Huh. He doesn’t usually think about other people when he does this. Usually he just thinks about himself, about places he likes and things he enjoys doing. Going to the dump, finding something cool. Taking naps at work, the way people smile when they come to buy his reheated river trash for 30G a pop. He already knows he’s going to touch it, but he’d planned on waiting a long time like he usually does. It’s pleasurable to draw it out, especially when he’s not doing it because he’s feeling upset or tired, but because he already feels good and wants to feel even better. But he’s making himself curious, so he curves his middle phalanx into the cleft on the underside of his soul now.

His sockets go half-mast while he shudders deliciously; yep, he feels even better. He likes the soft hum of pleasure that comes out of him, too. He looks into himself with a bemused and unaccustomed tenderness, wondering what feels different about this right now. Oh. He’s wondering what someone else might see if they looked into his soul this way. What might they like about him?

Hmm. Gotta be something. He likes making people happy. Likes it when they laugh, or even when they’re mad as long as it’s distracting them from the depressing realities of their existence. Making them laugh (or scoff) makes him feel better, too. Feeling noticed makes him happy; feeling seen. So that’s what he likes to do for other people, too.

He uses all of his fingertips now, skates them outward like an embrace, like deep, soft pressure. Like he’s hugging himself. He’s rarely serious. It’s not because he doesn’t care, but because he cares so much. He’s always paying attention to what everyone is doing; he has ulterior motives, sure, but he also has good intentions. He’s loyal to the people he loves, he’s protective of them in his own way, too. Never pushy; always present.

Sans rubs his socked footbones against each other with an impish little inhale, then pulls up a wad of the blanket and pushes it down into his pelvic inlet with a pleased exhale. Shuts his sockets, curves his fingers. He puts his other hand inside the blanket bundle and uses it to rub it against the insides of his bones; he likes the way it feels full and soft.

He sighs in satisfaction tinged pleasantly with yearning; he moves his blanketed hand idly while he wonders what exactly the yearning’s for. He knows there are nice things about him, and thinking about them makes him feel good, especially when he’s like this. Upon further introspection he realizes he wants to hear someone else say nice things about him, too. Magic seethes to the surface of his skull at the thought. Maybe think things about him, too… feel things.

Might even want someone to touch him like this, and isn’t that a surprise. Never really thought about it, but maybe this isn’t something you have to think about. You just feel it. Feel ready.

Sans knows he’s smart, but that’s not something he values. Smart just makes his life more depressing, remembering everything just makes shit complicated. He likes it when he feels like this, when he gets to just feel instead of think. And that’s what this is like, all loose and happy, feeling instead of thinking. He rolls away from the wall, lies facedown under the blanket with his knees up like a froggit, spine arched to keep a tiny space for his soul. He rolls his skull down and presses his frontal bone into his mattress, opens his sockets slightly to gaze into himself, caressing and smiling, sighing and just feeling real good for a long, long time.

Awww, look at him. He’s not so bad, is he? Maybe he’s good; maybe he deserves to feel good.

He could stand to feel this way with someone else there, too. Might even see if they could make him feel like this. Could be nice. Doesn’t have anyone particular in mind, but who knows. Wouldn’t just be saying it, would they. They could make him feel it.

That’s an idea, isn’t it.

Then it occurs to him that he could make someone else feel like this too, and that’s when he moans high and surprised into the mattress, grips the blanket around his hand and fists it behind his pubis insistently. Like when he touched Alphys and Doggo; those soft sighs, happy noises and warm touches but like this, to do that inside someone else like this….oh, wow. That’s when he grunts low and rough, starts pushing his magic inside his soul.

Touching someone’s soul, he’d be able to know he gave them something they liked. He could feel them too, really know them all the way inside… Just thinking about it’s so intense he might cry, and then he does. Well, his magic comes out of his sockets, like it always does when he gets worked up any particular way. He thought he was pushing slow and steady, but as it turns out it’s slow and heavy, a lot more and deeper than he meant to but he just goes with it because wow, he doesn’t want this feeling to ever end. He keeps pushing the blanket down inside him til he feels stuffed, keeps on pushing magic til he’s so full he can taste himself, sockets slitted and empty, moaning faintly into the mattress.

Turns out he’s making another mess all over his blanket, and that almost never happens (at least not when he’s awake), but he still keeps at it until he’s utterly limp, soaked, and beyond sated. He pushes his soul back inside with an exhausted whimper, then lets out a final cracked mewl as it floods him simultaneously with his own familiar peace and that novel, poignant yearning.

He collapses loosely onto his front with his legs still bent out, and falls asleep instantly just like that.

He wakes up two days late for his next sentry shift, feeling starved half to dust. He pulls the soaked blanket out of his pelvis and a full bottle out of his phone. He sets one on the floor and the other to his teeth, chugging for dear life as he sends a brief message to Undyne, a silent one to Asgore, and a longer one to his brother, considers that it’d been more than worth it.

Phew.

Chapter Text

Papyrus runs his bare phalanges through Annoying Dog’s fur again, frowning furiously at Mettaton’s You’ve Got Mail, in which he plays every role including both leads.

“I STILL BELIEVE NOTHING WOULD HAVE BEEN LOST BY STICKING WITH THE ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY,” he gripes.

Annoying Dog disagrees, but that’s more reflex than anything else. They don’t actually care for movies either way; they much prefer shows. The shorter format suits their attention span, although they do find Papyrus’s capacity for hyperfocus as long as whatever’s in front of his face has Mettaton in it entertaining to witness.

Annoying Dog is the only one who ever hears Papyrus criticize Mettaton in any capacity whatsoever.

Annoying Dog doesn’t give a shit.

“I AM AWARE,” Papyrus comments absently. “IN FACT, I SHALL REITERATE THAT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, I WILL ASSUME YOU WILL NEVER, HAVE NEVER, AND CURRENTLY ALSO DO NOT GIVE A SHIT. IN FURTHER FACT, IF YOU EVER HAVE THE GALL TO INTEND TO GIVE A SHIT I WILL EXPECT THE REQUEST TO BE SUBMITTED IN TRIPLICATE, WITH AN ATTACHED AFFIDAVIT FROM A NOTARY PUBLIC, COUNTERSIGNED BY KING FLUFFYBUNS HIMSELF.”

Annoying Dog licks Papyrus’s fingerbones, making him giggle softly, then tentatively nibbles, checks if he’s paying attention. He’s not, but a bone still appears to be presented, waggled temptingly, and tossed on the floor. They ignore it, since only stolen ones count. Those just taste better.

“I AM OFFENDED...NAY, I AM MORTALLY WOUNDED BY THE IMPLICATION YOU HAVE TASTE,” Papyrus drones, one impossibly long, thin hand rummaging around in a bowl of dog food. A large handful of kibble makes its way towards Papyrus’s mouth in increments over time. Eventually, he drops it in with a flourish, crunching away relatively neatly, although the fact that he’s lying down with a fluffy white dog on his chest spoils the effect somewhat.

Annoying Dog licks the flavor of dog food off Papyrus’s fingerbones, then shimmies forward to lick crumbs off his chin, too. They glance over at the screen; three sets of genitals seems awfully excessive to them, but hey. What do they know. They only have ten thousand, and that’s always been enough for them.

“I REMAIN AWARE,” Papyrus sighs without looking away from the screen. “I WILL REMIND YOU THAT IF YOU START LICKING THEM AGAIN, YOU HAVE TO DO IT OVER THERE,” he adds, a slight edge coming into his voice as he points blindly, but that’s more of a reflex than anything else.

Papyrus’s hand comes back to scratch all around Annoying Dog’s ruff, shimmies over the back of their neck, then pushes all their forehead fur down and back, over and over. It’s the best.

“I KNOW I AM, BUT WHAT ARE YOU,” Papyrus comments in an absent singsong, the bone between his sockets creasing slightly. Phalanges leave their forehead to twitch through the matrix, go back and play the same three second clip over and over.

“I THINK I FOUND A CONTINUITY ERROR,” he says, delighted. “THAT WAS DEFINITELY A, A...WHAT ARE THEY CALLED?”

Annoying Dog yaps nonstop directly into Papyrus’s face for five solid minutes. He winces, but otherwise does nothing. Once that’s out of their system, they glance over at the screen where it’s paused now, and is also zoomed in on something that they’re pretty sure is a penis.

“THAT’S IT! THAT WAS A PENIS BEFORE. NOW, LOOK-”

Annoying Dog looks. It’s still a penis.

“YES?? BUT IT’S ORANGE NOW.”

Penis and Orange aren’t opposites.

“IF YOU’RE SO SMART, WHY DON’T YOU TELL ME WHAT THE OPPOSITE OF ORANGE IS, THEN?”

Annoying Dog has never once told anyone anything for the duration of their existence, which extends before the existence of time itself, arcing back even further to before things like “before” existed, as well as “after”. In fact, Annoying Dog is cruising (suspended motionless) through the end of not only existence but even the concept of existence or nonexistence right now.

I DON’T GIVE A SHIT,” Papyrus scoffs. “WHAT USE ARE YOU IF YOU WON’T EVEN ANSWER A SIMPLE QUESTION.”

Annoying Dog has no use. Nor anything close to a synonym of that, such as reason, purpose, goal, or-

“BLATANT FALSEHOOD,” Papyrus accuses, phalanges rummaging in the massive bowl of kibble once more. “I’VE DEPLOYED YOU COUNTLESS TIMES. REMEMBER THAT YEAR YOU SPENT IN MY RIBCAGE? I’LL NEVER FORGET SANS’S FACE WHEN HE REALIZED WHERE YOU’D BEEN.”

Annoying Dog is multipurpose; they encompass all possible uses including the 473 that Papyrus has discovered so far. Their eyes zero in on a bit of kibble that looks like it just might-yes! They dart down into the low-slung neckline of Papyrus’s loose strappy sundress, cold nose and hot breath whuffling down into his neck, furry snout shoved back behind the clavicle to lick out the bit of dog food that fell inside his body. Papyrus feels universes born shrieking from the void only to be annihilated, kinda sad, the fulcrum of all (non)existence cracked open like the egg of a deathless abomination, a turtle, a tree, a collapsed star turning instantly to countless tons of solid diamond, and the sound of an amoeba farting.

“NYEH HEH HEH HEH...” Papyrus’s giggle is punctuated with swatting gamely at Annoying Dog, the ineffective gestures much more like petting than anything else.

“THAT TICKLES,” he wheezes.

Chapter Text

“Y-you seem in a g-g-good mood lately,” Alphys sighs. The scales on her face are flushed a hectic pink-orange because his fingers are buried in her cloaca, and according to his analysis (based on repeated observation and existing evidence) she’s about halfway there. “Mmm. You even l-l-look different, like you’re...g-glowing?”

Sans pushes his forehead against Alphys’s chest for a moment , feeling magic seethe in his face. “heh. you like it?”

“S-sure,” she opens her eyes to peek down at him, smiles a little. “Your b-bones are p-pretty.” Sans looks down, feels his breathing go a little funny.

“you look good, too,” he tries, but she just giggles nervously. Alphys doesn’t really like thinking about how she looks, he’s noticed. He’s not sure if it’s because her appearance bothers her, or for some other reason, but he supposes compliments aren’t really her cup of tea. And he’s just saying so, he can’t make her know or anything. He does think she looks good, but it’s not like they’re actually being intimate. They’re just fooling around a little. Speaking of which, maybe…

“hey, i was...wonderin’. could you maybe...lick my neck? or s’that weird?”

“S-sure.” She looks a little confused, but certainly willing. Her arms are already around him, and she gives him a nice warm squeeze. They’re lying on the busted up couch in the back room of the lab, where they’ve spent most of today going over figures from the Core output’s maintenance crew. It’s not demanding but it is tedious, and they’d mutually decided to take a long dinner break to refresh and recharge. No matinee this time, just a little bit of what they each like to relieve some tension.

He leans up a little, but since they’re the same height (short) it’s not too much of a stretch for her to push her face between his jaw and shoulder. Her tongue’s warm on his vertebrae, and he feels a pleasant little shiver go through his spine. He sighs, allows his eyes to unfocus a little. She makes him feel safe and comfortable. He shivers again, feels the magic that holds his bones together give a slow, subtle oscillation. His sockets slip shut as her tongue pokes at one of the spaces between his vertebrae... hmm . He likes that as much as he remembered, but it feels a little different now . Heh.

Alphys makes a small, surprised noise; apparently she’s more than halfway there. In fact… Sans ducks down to push his forehead against her shoulder and tilt his wrist, improving the angle to what she prefers just in time. He smiles in gentle satisfaction when he feels the flutter that signals his remarkably minimal yet effective exertions under her tail for the afternoon are at a close. She makes her soft, happy noises, gamely gives his neck another swipe with her tongue, then settles back loosely with an explosive exhale.

Sans doesn’t notice the way his smile lingers, wiping his fingers absently on the inside of his shirt underneath this hoodie. He looks down at Alphys’s panting face speculatively, wondering if-

“have you been eating dog food in the lab again?” she sighs without opening her eyes.

“...yeah?”

“I think you g-got some c- crumbs i n your v-vertebrae ,” she giggles.

He chuckles fondly. “saved ‘em just for you. figured you could use a snack after, but you found it early.”

She snorts, uses her arms to pull him tight against her; it’s time for what he likes. And he’s ready; cuddles right into her with a heavy, satisfied sigh. He breathes evenly for a long minute or two, but for some reason he doesn’t fall right asleep like usual.

“hey alphie,” he hears himself say quietly. “you ever touch someone’s soul?”

Huh. Well, he didn’t know he was gonna say that, but he can’t deny he’s curious. He doesn’t worry so much what he says here with Alphys, he just lets it rip. He doesn’t worry about much of anything with her. It’s nice.

She giggles softly. “I don’t kiss and t-tell. W-why do you w-want to know who I’m t-touching?”

“didn’t ask who,” he smirks, rubbing his face into her chest. “jus’ wondered if you did.” She stays quiet, breathing slow and even now. “s’okay,” he allows. “you don’t gotta tell me.”

“Y-y-yeah, I have. A few t-times.”

“what’s it like?”

She gets still. “D-d-did you have someone in mind?” she asks instead of answering. Sans laughs into her softly. “nah, not really. was just thinkin-” he cuts off, glares a silent accusation up at her.

She smiles down at him gently, although he could do without the patronizing eyebrow tilt.

“Everyone knows y-y-you’re not interested in that, S-sans,” she points out. “Or at least, that y-you weren’t,” she adds, looking awfully smug now.

He feels his magic agitate on his frontal bone. “you gonna bust my bones bout it now?”

She snickers softly. “In m-moderation,” she admits, and he sighs, resigned.

“y-you’re pretty great, Sans,” she adds quietly after another quiet moment or two, and his teeth part in surprise. “A lot of people r-really like you. so d-d-don’t think you h-have to settle for j-just anyone.”

Sans hides his seething face in her lab coat again, and this time he mercifully manages to fall asleep.

Chapter Text

Papyrus follows his own twisting, counterintuitive path through the woods the same way he walks through his own head: quickly, confidently, and without looking too closely at anything unpleasant. After all, he knows what a rotting fox corpse in the underbrush to his left looks (and smells) like; he doesn’t need to shove his face in it to remind himself bad things can happen to anyone for no reason. That’s just life.

He’d rather take action himself to make something good happen instead.

He knows not everyone can understand that, and it’s okay. Not to say it doesn’t hurt his feelings when people assume he must be stupid to believe that good things are possible, or that his priorities are naive, even childish. That’s just life, too. It makes him even more determined to show everyone that while bad things will probably continue to happen no matter what, good things need help from people to keep going and nothing can stop him from doing his part to see that they do.

Nothing except complete annihilation. Again, I suppose.

Not to say even the great Papyrus doesn’t get tired sometimes, and heartsore. But just because he’s confused and vulnerable doesn’t mean everyone needs to know about it. He might have as many fears as there are people in the world (grains of sand? stars in the sky?), but he knows he has the bravery to face them all as they come.

I can do this.

This meandering path reminds him who he is, and what he cares about. He wants the love and approval of many, but everything he needs is already inside him. He just has to... remember it a little more actively than usual, sometimes. That’s… that’s okay, too. His brother and Frisk can get on just fine without him for a few days, and it’s their own fault if they have to roll around in their own filth until Papyrus feels like he’s up to being the greatest Papyrus he can be again.

Until then, he keeps walking.

Mettaton’s soul heats in its protective casing as he watches his biggest fan, and coincidentally the world’s tallest living skeleton, making his confident and strident way through the woods. His sockets light on every bush and rock as if its potential for greatness can only be matched by his own, and that’s always been more than endearing. It’s captivating. But there’s still something uniquely special about the way his entire face softens when he sees Mettaton appear dramatically from behind a tree. It makes up for the fact that Papyrus is several additional inches taller when the robot is without his heeled boots...but nothing could make him accept the risk of stumbling on such uncertain ground. Practical footwear is a must at times like these. He wouldn’t take the chance of losing his poise in front of his current audience.

Despite being slightly out of his element, Mettaton finds an appreciation for the natural setting, contrasting as it does with his own beautifully unnatural appearance; Papyrus’s supernatural good looks hover aesthetically somewhere between them.

The statuesque skeleton’s teeth part in a heartrendingly sincere grin.

“WOWIE,” he breathes. “METTATON? IS IT REALLY YOU? I NEVER IMAGINED I’D HAVE THE CHANCE TO MEET MY FAVORITE FAMOUS CELEBRITY OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, ALTHOUGH THAT’S MERELY A COLLOQUIALISM APPROPRIATE TO THE SETTING. WE’RE ACTUALLY IN THE MIDDLE OF EBOTT FOREST. NEVERTHELESS, I MUST BE A VERY LUCKY SKELETON TO BE BLESSED BY SUCH AN AMAZING COINCIDENCE.”

Mettaton smirks up flirtatiously through a fringe over hair covering one eye. Although he looks very happy to see him, his biggest fan seems a little distant around the sockets as he gazes out over the hill of deadfall blocking off the side of the gully they’re in. “Coincidence” is a bit of a stretch considering he more or less always knows when Papyrus goes “Out” through Alphys (via Sans), but he’s willing to let it pass. This is far from the first time he’s come to seek Papyrus during his wanderings, and the fact that he’s been out here for more than three days is enough to make Mettaton feel like he might need a little moral support. In fact…

“I must admit, I feel like this is a lucky coincidence for me as well,” he replies in his brightly mechanical voice, so much more suitable to him than ghostly sighs from incorporeal throats. “I have an important film coming up, but I’m feeling uncharacteristically...out of practice!”

Papyrus angles his sockets at Mettaton hopefully.

“It’s true,” the robot continues, hand fluttering to his chest in his own idiosyncratic gesture...nothing like Papyrus’s of course. This robot’s no copycat, even if he must admit to himself the skeleton’s kinetic expression of confidence is remarkably appealing. “I know you must be aghast at my admission, but I know such a fan of my work must be familiar with even the most obscure scenes and scripts. Is there any chance you might-”

“I’D LOVE NOTHING MORE THAN TO HELP YOU REHEARSE,” Papyrus bleats, his gloved hand grasping Mettaton’s before he even has a chance to scowl at the interruption.

“Don’t step on my lines, darling,” he says even more lightly than he intended, caught up in Papyrus’s enthusiasm and flattered by the notable shift in his mood as he’s led gallantly toward one of the low thickets Papyrus always seems to keep prepared in any season.

***

Papyrus knows his sockets are changing shape as Mettaton’s fingers steal inside his clothes to lightly caress bare bones. It’s fine, they’re both very good actors. He’ll never forget the first time he realized that Mettaton’s body was safe for him to touch, and be touched by. Alphys truly is a genius. Mettaton can feel and be felt in ways that have little to do with his soul, allowing Papyrus to feel and be felt without giving away more than he’d like to. It’s safe. It also makes him feel safe to know exactly what’s going to happen. This isn’t a scene they do often, but considering the state of his headscape lately, Papyrus feels like he could really use the practice and Mettaton’s more than happy to oblige.

He turns his shoulder away from Mettaton shyly, the liquid syllables falling from between his teeth uninterrupted despite the magic beading at the corner of one of his sockets. It matters what they say of course, but even more that they keep saying it. If the lines stop, so does the rest of it. If they slow down or speed up, well. Mettaton has the range, darling.

Slinky steel arms encircle him from behind, and Papyrus shivers in delight as his gloves are removed with care and tact, placed meticulously folded together nearby. He pauses a moment for anticipation, then delivers his next line at half speed as he allows his skull to loll back against a flexible silicone-over-steel shoulder. Mettaton loosens his scarf with a curious finger timed to the second, pulls it until it comes free along with the final syllable.

Mettaton looks down at the skeleton in his arms with soft longing underneath his mask of calculated lasciviousness. It’s what the scene calls for, after all. His fingers touch cervical vertebrae without pressing intention into them; he feels only innocent, trembling bone beneath his fingers. His shirt comes off easily enough over his head, but he’s still covered. Mettaton is only half-conscious of delivering his lines more quickly as he runs his hands over Papyrus’s underclothes. Further down he searches confidently and finds where Papyrus’s clothing fastens, unraveling the ties and complex puzzles that hold them closed, keep him safe. The dark covering is soft and insulating, and the thrill the robot feels as he pushes it down, slowly exposing lustrously warm-white bones, comes through just enough in his voice.

Papyrus allows himself to be reclined gently onto a bed of bracken, teeth parted in anticipation. He can hear his own usually strident voice tremble with uncertainty as Mettaton’s fingers glide just-barely-between his ribs, as his satin-steel body rolls up and over him. The syllables flowing out of him form words describing a hypothetical lunch the character he’s playing might prepare. Something in him derives a deep satisfaction from the contrast between his own immersion and the distance the role he’s playing tries to create between what’s spoken and what’s happening to his body. It’s complicated, confusing, absolutely thrilling. This way he doesn’t have to explain it; he just has to feel it.

That’s what acting’s all about, and he’s learned it from the best.

Speaking of the best, his carefully crafted soft lips seek purchase between Papyrus’s jaw and shoulder; the skeleton shudders in unadulterated delight as he lets go of any buried resentment he carries at having to keep this part of him covered for the sake of others. Would this moment be quite as deliciously spiced with harmless transgression without it? He chooses to think it might not be because the thought warms him. He extends the bare bones of his arms up above his head in a naturally languorous motion, sockets closing as he feels Mettaton’s lips part.

Ahh, there it is. Mettaton’s lips are neutral but his tongue is lubricated with the lightest touch of his magic, and it meets the force holding his vertebrae together with a welcome jolt. Papyrus arches smoothly and gives his first moan right on cue, seeming to interrupt himself with utter conviction.

Mettaton pulls back and looks down at Papyrus, double checking to make sure it’s not too much. After all, his magic is to some degree continuous with his soul, and it can carry his intentions quite effectively-and a little more than that, if he’s not careful. But he merely trembles in his arms, the creamy-white organic features of his skull artfully arranged into pleasantly conflicted submission. The robot feels a wicked smile steal across his own face; no one could guess right now that he’d played the role Papyrus occupies now much more often than this one. Lacking a tongue, Papyrus just uses his teeth rather effectively when the roles are reversed. How lucky he is to have such a dedicated fan willing to allow him to hone his skills so...intimately. Mettaton slows almost to a stop; he has another line here and his thoughts are distracting him.

“I’ve imagined having you here like this,” he whispers in Japanese, and sees the tiniest crease in the hard bone of Papyrus’s brow smooth instantly. “Exposed under the sky. Don’t you know anyone could see you? What would they think?” He covers his convincingly salmon-blushed face with bare, impossibly long phalanges while arching his spine as if to offer his body despite his shivering, charming innocence. Mettaton tries not to wonder what he really feels; he does his best to just take what’s offered, he does what he’s supposed to.

And he loves it, loves this.

Loves him.

Don’t get lost in the scene, you sentimental bucket of bolts.

Still, he can’t help but feel his carefully shielded and insulated soul give a sweetly secret twinge as he watches his fingers play sighing bones like living, resonant flutes. He remembers his own need to touch and be touched, and how it had yawned and ached in him before he’d become corporeal. He recognizes the same desire in Papyrus, remembers its satisfaction keenly. He feels its poignantly empathetic fulfillment now, and sharing this with someone who knows what it’s like brings even more of what he keeps hidden inside burbling towards his surface.

Mettaton reminds himself to be very careful with his tongue.

He takes each paired ulna and radius into his hand and squeezes firmly; both he and the skeleton writhing beneath him can take a great deal of rough treatment, although this scene doesn’t particularly call for much of that. As he draws skeletal hands away from Papyrus’s face, he ignores the stream of half-formed protests and hiccups falling from between his teeth. If he wanted Mettaton to pause or stop, all he would have to do is fall silent. Papyrus knows this scene well; everything that will happen fits them like a well-worn glove. There’s no glove on the hand Papyrus yanks unexpectedly out of his grip, however.

“DON’T LOOK,” Papyrus whines beseechingly.

That’s the line. But.

That is not the language.

Mettaton slams his eyelids shut in something close to shock, because he still understands that hissing crackle, those dissonant tones, even though he doesn’t know the words.

He can’t see through steel eyelids, but even through the insulating layers of the body Alphys has built for him, he feels enough to know what he’s not supposed to look at. Something no one’s ever looked at, if he what he believes privately is correct. Not that he’d ever ask.

Mettaton’s hold loosens as Papyrus turns over on his side, then hesitantly comes back in to wrap a careful arm around hips padded by pushed-down underclothing. His fingers have been programmed to be able to shake on cue, but he’s never had them do so involuntarily until now; the fingers of his other hand are doing that as he touches a scapula gently, and his head bows forward until his face is pressed to spinal processes.

There’s no script for this, so he just listens to air being drawn with increasing force through a nasal cavity, holding tight and soothing his fingertips lightly across bone as his own breath goes ragged.

Papyrus considers that this is one of the more reckless impulses he’s given in to in his life, but he forgives himself immediately since his reasons are apparently quite good, as it turns out. Luckily, it doesn’t take him long to understand the truth about what he feels, even if he already knows. Has known for a rather long time, in fact; he doesn't need to look. Papyrus feels his phalanges click back against his sternum as Mettaton’s shaking fingers stroke his back, as his arms hugs his hips tight. He exhales heavily, realizes he’s weeping. These aren’t his usual loud, dramatic tears, glinting bright and carrying only mock outrage, delight, humor. These are heavy and dense with truths that should probably stop frightening him so much. They won’t, but he forgives them too. It’s not easy, but nothing ever is. Not for him.

Mettaton can feel when it’s safe to look, but he still keeps his eyes shut until Papyrus turns back around. He pulls his hands in to hug himself hesitantly, but one extends itself back out when he sees the softly iridescent tears flowing down his otherwise impassive-seeming face. And that’s how he knows they’re real, after all; Papyrus is never less than animated. All the more reason he won’t touch them, even though they’re hypnotically lovely, and have an alluring fragrance. He’s never touched Papyrus’s shed magic, ripe with his intentions and emotions.

Phalanges reach out to grasp Mettaton’s fingers, draw them down his face to gather the spent magic there.

To his shock, Papyrus puts Mettaton’s soaked fingers to his lips, nods.

Mettaton keens softly when he tastes them; it tightens into a sob. Papyrus’s arms slide around him, draw him down until he’s staring into bottomless sockets, forehead pressed to his frontal bone. Mettaton’s response drops into a socket, and he feels bones shaking tight against him. A tiny, harsh noise comes from somewhere deep inside the statuesque skeleton holding him so close, so tight; he sees the black points inside Papyrus’s black sockets widen, almost imperceptibly darken.

Everything they do together is real, and it always has been. But it has to be bound into patterns for Papyrus to be able to keep hold of his fear, to make him able to give as much of himself as he can, as he has. This is unprecedentedly off script, but Mettaton’s always followed his lover’s lead.

His lover, then. No use denying it anymore. Not that there ever had been much use in it, other than a convenient fiction that made them both more comfortable. He doesn’t remember falling asleep, but he has a dream of infinite black on black, ceaselessly expanding. He dreams of being held sincerely and simply, utterly silent. He doesn't usually sleep at all. When he wakes up by himself, he still doesn’t feel alone.

Mettaton makes his poised, precise way back into town, smiling and holding himself because he suspects he might never have to feel alone again.

Chapter Text

“heya, grillbz! is it hot in here, or is it just you?”

Grillby lets out a put-upon and incendiary hiss, but it’s fake as hell. That’s his pleased face.

Sans brandishes a mittened fistful of coins, then waits until the tall bartender comes around with a full tray so he can stuff them into his apron pocket himself. He gives it another jingle inside so Grillby can feel its weight. It’s almost half his take from the last show at Mettaton’s sleazy joke hole; the rest of his current tab and a little extra. His nimble fingers yank out a bottle of ketchup for his trouble, too.

“that a bottle in your pocket, or are you real happy to see me?”

He grins outrageously, setting it to his teeth.

I’m always happy to see you, Sans. You’re my best customer.

Grillby flare-winks and brushes past him with a crackling rustle. Sans feels his magic rise in his face, and a sheen of it tints his zygomatic arches. It’s belatedly occurring to him that Grillby might have been flirting with him for a while, now. Because this definitely isn’t the first time he’s offered a sincere compliment in response to Sans’s crass flirtation… but… hmm.

Now that he’s started thinking about it, it’s hard to stop. He’s probably way too old to be having some sort of sexual awakening, but since that appears that’s exactly what’s happening he’s decided to go with the flow. See where it takes him. Not like he has anything else better to do. Sans doesn’t feel particularly young, but he doesn’t feel especially old, either. He’s gotta be at least middle aged, right? Not that he necessarily knows what that means, but he’s read the phrase more than once. Somewhere. He might not know how old he is, but that’s par for the course underground these days. No one really knows what day it is or exactly how long it’s been since yesterday, but they all do their best. It’s been at least a few months since his private little revelation, he’s sure of that. Few years, maybe?

Doesn’t matter. Not much does anymore.

(He doesn’t think about how long it’s been since they found MK in the woods. Doesn't think about the way it’s been so long since Alphys’s family fell down one by one until it was just her and she moved into the lab, even his memory starts to turn to mush. They don’t talk about it. Don’t think. He and Paps never had a family. Don’t think. Maybe Al never had a family. Don’t think about it.)

More people than Alphys have noticed something a little different about him too. Including Papyrus, which had been moderately mortifying. Luckily that mostly took the form of him complaining about Sans “staying out late”; Sans just pointed out he had no way to know he wasn’t just taking a nap in his room, and that argument chases its own tail fine from there. Even Doggo’s shot him a few looks, then actually had the gall to ask him for Dog marriage. Can’t take a hint to save his life. He just wanted an excuse to be at the same station so they could sneak off together, and that’s the quickest way to make that happen. Like Sans doesn’t have anything better to do than give people around here more to gossip about. There’d been more than a little satisfaction in leaving him with nothing but evasive rebuffs, and a few biting comments for him to sniff over and figure out later. The S.S. Sans has already sailed, as least as far as Doggo’s concerned. Heh.

Not that Sans hasn’t been looking around speculatively at people he already knows, because it’s not like he has anyone new to meet. Snowdin’s not exactly a major metropolitan area, and his cruising options are likely to be limited even in New Home. Not that he’s really...well, he doesn’t actually know if he’s the cruising type, now, does he? But he’s got a feeling he’ll know when he knows.

Gotta go with the flow, right? Follow your nose...not that he has one. Or other stuff, either, although it turns out he likes touching certain places more than he used to think. Well, he’s been hanging around Pervy Al for who knows how long, some of it was bound to rub off at some point.

Heh. Rub off. Gotta remember that one for-

You look like something good happened. If it did, I’m glad.

Sans actually jumps a little, and Grillby laughs at him outright.

***

Sans is having a bad day.

Well, he had been. And “day” is a relative term, especially at this point.

He starts crying again listlessly, and tightens his arms around Lola. They’re lying down under her booth, for which Grillby has thoughtfully provided a tablecloth to create relative privacy.

Not that Sans cares if anyone or everyone can see him right now, and he sure as hell knows they can hear him bawling. But he supposes a hysterically weeping skeleton isn’t very conducive to the festive, or at least non-depressing, atmosphere Grillby’s determined to provide overall.

“We used to have ships under the ocean,” Lola says quietly in the soft, husky voice she only uses under the table. “With big windows so you could watch the lights from the fish down there. They used to make lights to draw their prey. I wonder if they still make them. Once one of them swallowed our ship, then shat us out about a week later. It made for an interesting detour.”

Sans can’t stop checking to see where his brother is every few minutes. It’s probably starting to annoy him.

“I’M NOT ANNOYED, SANS,” Papyrus crackles in dissonant tones, backflipping away from a line of bright green spears that are suddenly jutting out of the ground in front of him. “I WON’T BE ANNOYED FOR AT LEAST...LET’S PRETEND IT’S ANOTHER WEEK, WHEN I COME AND DRAG YOU OUT OF THERE COVERED IN YOUR OWN FILTH, LOUDLY CLAIMING I’M CONSIDERING DISOWNING YOU FOR GOOD.”

“but you love that part, paps.”

“I KNOW. NOT AS MUCH AS I LOVE COMMISSIONING THE TRADITIONAL CALLIGRAPHIC APOLOGY LETTERS FROM UNDYNE TO EVERYONE WHO HAD TO WITNESS THE DEBACLE, BUT IT’S CLOSE.”

“sorry, bro.”

“FOR WHAT?” he intones, the words carving and fizzling into the air as his outstretched hand summons three lines of 22 bones in alternating colors and heights. “YOU’VE DONE NOTHING WRONG.” Just three? He’s really taking it easy on her today.

“dunno,” he hisses dissonantly. “bein ugly n gross i guess.”

Papyrus sighs. “HAVE FUN, BROTHER. I’LL SEE YOU SOON.”

“grillbz ever go in one a those ships?” Sans asks Lola. It’s a whispering hiccup.

“I swore I wouldn’t tell anyone,” she answers softly, tipping up the bottle he hands her with the ripped green label. “But ask me again in a hundred years or so, okay? He might change his mind for you.” He’s been pushing them up onto the seat of the booth once they go empty, and he takes care to make sure no one can see his fingers. He doesn’t want anyone to see him right now, in part or in whole; he might dust on the spot if they did.

Grillby comes by to refill the empties every once in a while, but Sans doesn’t mind if he sees him. His fingers, or...other stuff too maybe. Maybe all of it. Huh. How about that.

She hands it back, and he drinks as well. The label’s green, but what’s inside glows softly orange.

“you think grillbz’d let me see him?” he asks, dry-sniffling and looking down into the neck of the bottle, wiggling it speculatively as he lets another loud sob rip. He calms slightly after a few more of those. Sips and sobs. “was thinking about that lately.” Sans sniffs and stares, gets even more interested after a few more of those. Sniffs and stares.

“think he might let me...touch ‘im, maybe?”

“Yes,” she replies softly in her secret, husky drawl. “He’s been hoping you’d ask for a long time.”

***

Dogamy and Dogaressa stop by in tandem, just like they do most things.

“Doggo says he asked you for marriage and you said no. Everyone’s saying you broke his heart! But I’m sure you’ve got an explanation. It’s not like you’re too good for Dogs, right?”

Sans feels his sockets narrow for no particular reason.

“eh... you know doggo. says a lotta things to a lotta folks.”

“Are you saying he’s lying?” Dogaressa frowns at him.

“nahh,” Sans adds with a lazy smile, eye lights cruising casually over the snow. “m’ sure he asked something ta marry ‘im. piece a cheese, maybe?”

They snicker, and he angles his sockets at something half-buried near a tree. Heads on over to it casually.

“maybe it was that lamp back there sorta looks like me,” he suggests, bending down and shooting them a wink over his shoulder.

The happy couple break into harsh, barking laughter, appearing satisfied. After a few more minutes of innocuous conversation they drift off, possibly back to their assigned area, possibly to Grillby’s. If it’s the latter he’ll see them there. In a little while, maybe.

Sometime later.

Sans’s hard gaze lights on another pinecone. He shuffles over and tucks it into his pocket for no particular reason.

***

Sans gives Alphys a lazy grin as his hand slides up her lab coat, up her skirt. Then he stops abruptly when he sees her face tense slightly, her eyes hooding just the tiniest bit.

“what is it, al?”

She doesn’t move or speak until he glances away, giving her as much privacy as he can.

“Y-you d-don’t have to,” she says, and he quivers as he resists glancing back.

“i know that,” he answers, confusion seeping into his low voice.

“I-I’d hold you anyways. Especially n-n-now.”

He has no clue what she’s talking about, so he waits, his hand spread patient and relaxed on the outside of her thigh.

“I j-j-just...I’m not interested in other s-stuff with you.”

Huh. Well, neither is he, so it works out.

“i’m good with how it is now,” he tries, keeping his gaze fixed on the computer in the corner.

She’s quiet for a long time.

“I’m t-t-taking adv-vantage of y-you,” she whispers hoarsely, and he can’t do this anymore. He looks back into her face, a little angry. Which isn’t like him at all, but it still happens every once in a while.

“s’one thing ta bust my bones about it, nother to start sayin shit like that,” he replies flatly. “i don’t appreciate-” his voice flickers and disappears when he sees what she’s keeping behind that wall, the one even he usually can’t see past.

“alphys,” he whispers hesitantly as she blushes, looks down. Winces. “hey.”

She looks like she might cry. “hey,” he tries again, and lets his hand creep back towards where it had been going before she interrupted it. She’s okay with it. Apparently he’s not the only one who makes an art form out of creating problems if they don’t supply themselves on their own.

“i don’t do this cause i think you won’t give me what i want if i don’t, and you know it,” he explains quietly, watching her carefully as he slips his thin, dexterous fingers under her tail. She likes it. Good. He pulls her closer with his other arm so he can whisper in her ear.

“don’t do it cause i’m bored, either. or cause i’m a pervert, even though i am.” He smiles softly even though she’s tucked into him where she can’t see it, but she doesn’t react. His magic starts to agitate for some reason, but it’s not bothering him so he doesn’t really care. “nothin but sluts an pervs in here, right? jus’ me an you.” Or….wait, her breathing’s getting heavier, isn’t it? He thinks about why he does this, how it makes him feel when he does.

He really likes it, always has. Even thinks about it sometimes when he’s with himself, looking and touching, sighing and pushing magic. Makes him feel good about himself, and good about…

“i do it cause i think you deserve to feel good. i like you,” he whispers, realizing (feeling?) just how true it is while he says it. “glad you’re here with me. m’ glad you let me do it, cause it makes me feel good. s’nice.”

Alphys sniffs a little; she might be crying. It’s not a bad thing though. Sometimes you just gotta let it out. Let it go, maybe. Let a lot of stuff go, just take what’s offered and let someone help. Let someone get close.

“jus’ wanna make you feel good, okay?” he adds quietly, sincerely. “s’okay to want that. i want it too.”

She sniffs and nods against him softly, hugs him nice and tight. She flutters under his touch.

***

Handsy Sansy smirks to himself as he watches different kinds of light playing over his eponymous appendages. Then he deliberately crosses his ankles, fused one on top for comfort. It not-so-innocently draws attention to his socks, peeking up over his revealing slippers. He pays Bratty five G for every single one she fishes out of the dump, even if they’re not the same color. Tiny socks for tiny feets, trimmed with lace and looking real sharp. Nobody knows about that, either. Heh.

He feels real cute, lying face up on the bar itself with his arms up. Staring at his own hands like a babybones who doesn’t know what hands are yet, three or four colors deep off his face and bullshitting with someone he apparently likes feeling cute in front of.

It’s still illegal, Sans, Grillby points out archly.

Technically the bar doesn’t actually close, but it’s been just Sans, Grillby and of course Lola for an indeterminately long amount of time.

“this bar’s illegal too, grillbz.”

Of course it is. But you still have to pay your tab.

“don’t have to close the tab if i don’t leave,” he chuckles softly.

I said pay, not close.

“you shakin me down, hot stuff?”

I’m reminding you to be accountable, he snips primly. Fake as hell.

Sans rolls over abruptly, glad Grillby lets him lie here as long as he sterilizes him first. Sans has to admit feeling the fire rush along his bones, under his clothes, inside his body for that brief nanosecond might even be why he lies on the counter in the first place.

“okay, you gotta know you’re doing it. come on. accountable? pay my tab? c’monnnnnnn,” he drawls insouciantly, flickering his eye lights. “you been holding out on me?”

Grillby ignores him so ostentatiously he knows he’s not paying attention to anything but Sans. He’s been polishing that same glass for...a while. Day or two? Who cares. Sans wiggles with glee almost like Annoying Dog, and he’s too sloshed to care.

“let me lay it on ya, grillbz,” he says, grinning softly and letting himself get distracted by watching subtle waves of red, orange and yellow flow up until they disappear.

Go ahead.

“sellin’ food’s one of those illegal things everyone does cause it passes the time,” he sighs, feeling his mood shift a little as he speaks. “and it’s not like there’s consequences, other than maybe undyne comes by, says ta stop it. just makes it a lil more exciting. gives you a reason to sneak around, come up with bullshit, or jus’... run away. lot worse stuff can happen than undyne talking to ya.”

Undyne doesn’t come in here, Grillby says primly. … She knows better.

He’s looking at Sans now, so he flops back onto his back, stares at his hands some more. Wiggles his fingers now. Yup. Still wiggly.

“when time doesn’t pass, you gotta find a way to pass the time, hot stuff. try to keep track a somethin’,” he admits softly. “keep score, maybe? or jus’...feel like something ya do matters.”

Sans feels good, feels warm. It’s a little brighter in here, isn’t it? Bright like hope.

act like it matters to you, maybe even to someone else sometimes. act like it even if ya don’t feel it yet... til you can feel it again. s’like… you owe it to yourself, right? fake it til ya make it.”

He stares at firelight playing off his fingerbones. Watches it get brighter, until he feels warmth.

“that way there might be somethin’ left when you get back. cause even if you don’t feel it, maybe someone else can get something outta seeing you do it.”

Sans rolls back over onto his side, facing Grillby again. He’s warm, and it feels good. He pillows his skull on his bent arm, reaches out with the other to slide his bare bones hand towards the edge of the counter. The dishtowel disappears into an apron pocket, and flames come towards his fingers. He pushes his hand out further until they’re past the edge, mere inches from the flames. He smiles delightedly, feeling their heat soak in to his bones.

“go ‘head,” he whispers, still staring fascinated at his phalanges, the way they reflect the orange glow.

His sockets widen as something solid and hot pushes at his fingertips, grins as it plays them like piano keys in rippling motion. Then they flicker, submerging his bones in their crackling, ceaselessly combusting magic. Still wiggly.

Sans exhales in wonder, tears sliding down the grooves under his sockets.

Grillby’s like him.

Sans laughs high and soft as he holds solid flame, then waves his hand through flickering heat. Well. Sans is permeable some places and not others; Grillby’s permeable some times and not others. Symmetry, right?

Sans ignores his leaking sockets.

He’s playing with fire.

Chapter Text

...I’m going to have a child.

Sans’s eye lights flicker rapidly.

“really? who with?” He doesn’t ask things like “when”.

.I don’t need to...I mean. For me they can just happen, Grillby replies, almost shyly.

“ohhhh,” Sans answers slowly. “they happen for a reason, or…?” He shrugs, demurs. “you don’t gotta tell me. none a my business.” He’s just interested; he doesn’t need to know. His soft smile will stay the same either way Grillby decides.

It might be because of...what you were saying. A reminder that things can change, even when they don’t. It might be because… I want someone to tell the recipes to.

Ahh. Grillby’s the only person left who knows how to make monster drinks like the ones served here. Different colors, different functions. Different ways to cope and heal.

It’s a few days later; it’s still tonight. Sans doesn’t tell anyone this, but he knows the Core’s set to make day and night happen regularly, and it does what it’s supposed to. Sans knows because his math is perfect, he set it up that way himself. Alphys checked it; she’s the only one who can, and she feels the same about him. Same page, feels good, feels right. Night and day, day and night. Dark and light... Like clockwork, like day and night, like…

The problem isn’t his math.

The problem’s time doesn’t pass, doesn’t go anywhere down here, so tonight can be a month long. Seems like it might be right now. Monsters who sleep are still sleeping; the rest have found something else to do with their time other than being at Grillby’s. It’s closed for tonight.

Sans is special. He doesn’t have to go home. Well, no one else has to go home either, but they can’t stay here unless they’re Lola and Grillby.

Or Sans.

Something changed in here, too. Even though time doesn’t pass, even though it’s just pouring in through the shut windows, gurgling out malformed and restless from the taps. Time pushing up steady and steaming through the floor and trying to get breathed in by someone, trying to choke the hope out of them all. Drops them dead one by one, strangled on time.

Sans starts crying again; Grillby pours him a glass of green. He drinks it, sets it back and gives himself a minute. Wiggles over to dangle half off the bar without getting up, rinses the glass in the bar sink as his tears slow-drip, cease. Hands it carefully to Grillby, who picks it up in his towel-covered hand to be dried and polished. Wet doesn’t stay in that towel; it’s one of his special ones. Like his clothes and most of the stuff in the bar, it’s specially treated.

Grillby doesn’t leave here. Everyone knows it’s not safe; also he doesn’t want to. He’s not inclined to wander.

When they’re born, I’ll probably send them to be fostered in Hotland, Grillby adds after a long, comfortable silence. Well. After a little while, I suppose. Once they start flickering around, getting restless. That’s how we are at first, and it’s too dangerous for that in Snowdin.

“if...ya don’t mind me askin’, why do you stay in snowdin? not that i’m complaining.”

Because that’s where my bar is, he replies glibly, flare-winking at Sans. After even longer, he adds … That’s where the people who need this place are. As far from everything as they can get. So that’s where I am, too.

“sad sacks like me, huh?”

Grillby looks across the bar.

There’s no one like you, Sans.

Sans looks down at the counter, feels magic seethe in his skull. And if he’s right, a sheen of it sheds across his frontal bone too, since Grillby comes closer. He doesn’t have the towel or the glass anymore.

I’m not a very forward person, he says after a few minutes. … But I can tell you’re interested in the possibility of becoming closer, and I want to make sure you know I’m interested as well. I’m not in a hurry, he elaborates as Sans continues to stare at the countertop.

Sans feels warm and light, almost dizzy. Giddy? He reaches out, and Grillby touches his phalanges lightly, then lets him wave them through.

Not many people can touch me for very long,” he whisper-crackles in a strange tone. … It’s… very exciting that you can. And when you do.

“same here,” Sans tries, feeling mildly nervous. “an i like it when...you say that kinda stuff to me. makes me feel...” Sans realizes he doesn’t know what it’s called. None of the words he can think of right now carry the kind of connotation he feels coiling warm inside him.

“s’nice,” he tries instead.

Flames solidify around his hand, flickering fingers stroking along the texture of his bones there. Sans pulls up the sleeve of his sweater, and he indicates the space between his ulna and radius with the hand not being held.

“i’m kinda like you here,” he says quietly, then makes a sound that mimics a throat clearing, although he doesn’t have one. It serves the same purpose for him even though it’s just a noise, since his voice comes out sounding a little less tight when he continues. “it’s my body, but a lot a stuff can go through it. like...” He pushes his own finger in there. “i feel that.”

I see.

Sans looks up; Grillby’s attention is fixed on the space he’s shown him. Sans can see a faint reflection of himself in his spectacles, skull gilded with the soft light cast by his incandescent body. Notices Grillby looks lighter yellow than usual, especially in the face. Flames stroke the backs of his metacarpals lightly, warming them up real nice. He’s said he’s not a forward person; Lola had said he was hoping to be asked. Huh.

“wanna go somewhere with me? talk about that some more?”

Grillby lets go of his hand to take off his apron, hangs it on a hook in the wall. Sans has never noticed it before, and not much gets past him if he’s honest. He’s also never seen Grillby without the apron. It’s hard not to stare, so he doesn’t really try.

Yes.

***

Grillby’s room is interesting, considering this is where he keeps the stills. That’s what takes up most of the space, considering he doesn’t have a bed. He has a couch though, so that’s where he and Sans sit and talk.

“place almost reminds me of… s’like a lab or something,” Sans says with a smile. He’s seated with one of his legs bent in front of him, leaning his shoulder against the back of the couch so he can face Grillby. His skull lolls lazily to the side, sockets oval and grin softened by a relaxed smile. Grillby faces him too, one of his arms thrown over the back of the couch, bent at what could be considered an elbow. He rests his flaming head on what could be considered his fist as they chat and play with each other’s fingers idly.

Well, running the stills is certainly a meticulous process, Grillby replies, flames teasing along delicate white bones. Although not the dangerous task it used to be. My errors result only in having to pour out a great deal of wasted time, and that’s one thing I doubt we’ll be short of anytime soon.

Sans laughs softly, lets his fingers be played with. Pulls them back, waves them through.

“you got a lot of old recipes, huh?”

I have some of my own, too. One of your favorites is Lola, and then of course there’s me.

“they’re all my favorites,” Sans replies glibly, winking even though it’s the truth. He has a mood for everything, doesn’t he. “you have a favorite?”

Not yet. His tone’s flirtatious, but if there’s some kind of implication there, Sans doesn’t get it. But that’s fine, and he smiles anyhow. Shivers a little when fire pushes between his metacarpals.

Is that too hot?

“nope. s’just right.”

I always wondered something, Sans, he crackles very softly after a while. Sans knows his eye lights are probably dimming, but he’s not really trying to hide his expression for a change. That makes even this next part easier than it might have been otherwise.

Why haven’t you ever asked me about my LV? I know you’ve noticed.

“same reason you know what i do for asgore an never mentioned it, maybe,” he answers flatly, then lets out a slow sigh. “partly cause i can tell it’s not somethin’ you’d ever do again if ya had a choice. maybe not even then, but… only you know the answer to that. but mostly cause it’s none a my business.”

What if I wanted to be your business?

Sans looks up, meets his gaze above lightly iridescent zygomatic bones.

I mean...I… Grillby’s face pales, but the flames above deepen into a reddish hue.

Sans reaches out slow and steady, pays attention. Runs distal phalanges light and gentle through flames above a specially treated cloth collar and ends with a flourish, causing a few soft sparks to come free. Inhales sharply as a few hit his bones, brighten and dim as they sink in. His sockets widen.

Grillby wants to touch him, too.

“go ahead,” he says soft and steady. “i want you to.”

I don’t want to burn you.

“you won’t. hands and the rest’s all the same, okay? just do it like you been.”

Grillby’s hands come up slowly, and Sans feels his sockets narrow as hot, firm fingers touch the sides of his grin, shivers as they glide down his teeth and touch his chin gently. Grillby pulls back uncertainly.

“shaking’s good,” Sans whispers. “happens when I like somethin’. happens when i warm up real quick, too.”

Grillby’s fingers return, this time gliding around his orbital bone and caressing his skull. Sans brings his phalanges up to guide him back to his face, presses his teeth to solidifying flames as his sockets almost close. It’s…

Grillby jumps back with a sudden pop-snap as a plume of smoke rises; Sans hits the sleeve of his hoodie on his lap, extinguishing it with a soft chuckle.

Your clothes have a much lower burning temperature than the...rest of you, he crackles weakly. … My apologies.

Sans shakes his head in amusement. “no big. got about forty a these last time i counted. got a quick fix for that anyhow.”

He shrugs his sweater off, revealing the lustrous white bones of his hands and arms. He’s definitely clean right now despite not having left the bar for however long tonight’s been; Grillby’s sterilizing hugs have made sure of that. He’s glad he gets to show them off at their best. Grillby changes color slightly, amorphous features arranging themselves into something between transfixed and flustered.

“s’that a good thing when you get lighter like that?” he asks idly, letting the hoodie go to become a puddle of fabric on the floor. His phone’s in there, but he doesn’t think he’s going to be checking it anytime soon. Well, hopefully not, but this does seem to be going well so far.

Yes. I like the way your arms look. I haven’t seen you with short sleeves before.

“hmmm.” Sans shivers again, feels his magic oscillate. “never seen you without the apron. now i know your pants have fronts.”

Grillby crackles a laugh, and his flustered expression eases a bit as they take each other’s hands again. This time Grillby’s a bit bolder, allowing a few runnels of fire to drift up to Sans’s carpals.

“though i guess you know what the rest a me looks like already, don’t ya? when you do that hug thing you go inside my clothes, so...”

That’s… not the same as looking. I don’t really see you when I’m doing that, and it doesn’t last for very long. Otherwise you wouldn’t have clothes left.

Sans aims a bawdy grin at him. “i’ll keep that in mind.” Grillby’s getting bolder again, and he follows suit.

“go ahead,” Sans says after a few more quiet minutes filled only with soft breathing. “i wanna feel it.”

Grillby whitens briefly; Sans smiles as he hears his own double entendre. It’s fine, that’s exactly the sort of thing he wants to be saying right now. Feels like he could say just about anything and it’d be fine, it’d be good. Gives him a little shiver just thinking about it. Then his sockets narrow; a tight breath escapes him as a careful tendril slides between his ulna and radius. Now that’s sensitive. That’s something he could really get used to.

“feels good,” he sighs, then extends his arms out to trace Grillby’s face with fingertips. He laughs softly; Grillby feels a lot better than his space heater. Lot better for conversation, too. “glad you like touching same as i do. makes me feel less weird about it,” he smiles, feeling sparks again as he pulls his fingers away lightly.

Touching isn’t weird, Sans.

“hmm. agree with you there, grillbz. you like that?”

Yes, I do.

Sans lifts his chin. “do me too.”

I…

“what?”

If I touch you there now, I’ll...taste you.

Sans feels that his magic’s been shedding lightly across his frontal bone. Huh. Apparently that’s a thing.

“that something you’d like?”

Yes.

He lifts his chin again, peeks through narrowed sockets. “go for it.”

He makes a tiny noise as flames caress his face. When they touch his shed magic it feels even better, and Grillby’s face gets yellow. Sans exhales a little unsteadily, then reaches back up to the flames, pulls sparks free. Ohh. That’s Grillby’s magic, and he can feel his intent when they hit his bones.

“you know i like it, right?” he pants softly.

Yes. I can taste it.

“i can feel you like it, too. when i do this,” he whispers, swirls his fingers through and out. A flood of near-white wavers up through Grillby’s face, and a noise like fire gripping wood from the inside happens as sparks patter out onto his arms, brighten and fade into the space between his ulna and radius.

“guess it turns out we’re real compatible,” Sans pants softly as they continue to tease magic out of each other, flickering and shuddering as they get high off each other’s enjoyment and desire. “m’ feeling pretty lucky right about now.” His index phalanx dips down into Grillby’s collar tentatively. “it okay if i-”

Grillby flickers; his shirt falls to the couch.

“that’s a real good trick,” Sans giggles in appreciation, then pushes his hands into swirling flames. He keeps one inside, letting it get hotter and hotter, and uses the other one to tease out sparks, noticing the way Grillby reacts to different movements and motions.

Are you sure that’s not… burning you?

Sans laughs again, pulls his fingers out and presents them with a raspy wiggle. “all good. see?” His heat-soaked fingers end up rubbing at his own jaw absently as he concentrates on pulling sparks free, then he grunts softly in surprise as he realizes how good it feels at the spot his mandible’s fused. His magic sheds across his face again, and wow, it’s pretty agitated all through him, isn’t it? Apparently this is really doing it for him.

Can I touch you there as well? It...feels good?

Sans pants softly while he thinks about it. He feels a vague twinge for a moment, but it leaves just as quickly as he lifts his chin, turns his face a little to the side.

“yeah. it feels real good. go ahead.”

And it does; good enough that his own hands descend to sit limply on fire-rounded pant legs, then stroke them a little as flames tease down his vertebrae. They tighten as he gasps, feeling them tease at the integral magic between them. Grillby goes yellow; then a plume of smoke startles them both.

Sans pats out the collar of his shirt with a chuckle, then shoots a shy glance at Grillby.

“you wanna keep at it too, right?”

Flicker-nod.

“think i might have to get rid of a few fire hazards,” Sans admits, feeling his magic seething in his face as he looks away shyly.

I’ll go first, if you like. It’s only fair after setting you on fire twice.

Sans grins, then barely manages to keep his teeth together as Grillby flickers again, and now he’s just...fire. His discarded clothing gets swept to the floor to puddle next to Sans’s sweater. His breath catches, goes ragged as he drinks in the sight; without clothes, he’s a lot more amorphous. A lot of shifting colors, hotter and brighter, tendrils flowing out over the couch and drifting toward him. Grillby flickers, and the tendrils draw back.

“that’s real exciting,” Sans breathes, sockets wide.

You don’t have to take your clothes off if you don’t want to, he adds, his head lolling on the back of the couch as he gazes at Sans. Then he pulls his glasses off, tosses them on a nearby table without looking. Spreads out a little, flickering and changing colors. Holy shit. Sans feels like he might pass out.

...Watching you look at me that way’s reward enough.

But Sans stands up as soon as he feels confident his legs will hold him. He reaches up and back, pulls his shirt forward and off slowly. Lets it drop to the floor, and… yeah. Now he knows how he made Grillby feel, and he watches a slow, deep oscillation flow through his flames, just like the one he’d felt going through his own magic before.

Sans rasps out a bit of magic out of the groove beneath his socket casually, wipes it on his shorts. He never considered their bodies would be so much the same, and that it’d be this...sexy? Yeah, it is. Sans feels like he knows what to do, knows what will feel good for him. Like he can read his responses, know how he feels. He wants to make him feel good, and he feels his bare shoulders shimmy a little with desire. His magic seethes up in his skull when he realizes his fingers have come up to click suggestively against the bare bones of his chest; that’s a little embarrassing. Makes him nervous, and he glances away as he pulls his hand down, wipes it on his shorts again although it doesn’t need it.

His eyes come to rest on the glasses lined up on the table that now also holds Grillby’s spectacles. They’re still there after Grillby had shown him the informal little ceremony his kind of fire elemental does for someone he likes. That was a while ago, hours and hours. It’s still tonight. Sans lets out a heavy sigh, breathes out some of his nerves. He wants Grillby to know how he feels, and he wants to know… he wants to know Grillby. Wants to know how he feels, what he thinks of Sans, what he thinks and feels about other stuff, too. Whatever he wants him to know.

Huh. How about that.

The smile he aims at the flames roiling before him is soft and sincere, several more of the layers he keeps wrapped protectively around himself falling away. He walks over to the table and looks at the glasses, considers them carefully. He knows he’s tipping his hand with this choice, and that’s why he’s doing it. That’s why they’re here. The one that feels right, the one he needs the most. It’s orange, and he sets the glass to his teeth, tilts his head back. Feels Grillby staring at his exposed cervical vertebrae, and he likes it. Feels good to be looked at, feels bold. Feels shameless and sloppy, gives him a nice little shiver.

He sets the glass back on the table, turns around and tugs his waistband with his thumb; his loose shorts slither to the floor. He loves the way Grillby looks at him, can’t get enough, in fact. He slides a foot out of its slipper and watches yellow waver through red-orange flames; removes the other with enjoyment and confidence.

I like your socks. It’s a crackling groan.

“guess i’ll leave em on, then,” Sans teases gently as he shuffles back toward the couch.

It’s not very far, but he's sure looking forward to getting closer.

Chapter Text

On the first day of gyftmas, Sans shoves open the door to Grillby’s with one socket shut tight, but he still sees the elemental himself is somewhere in the back doing prep. He feels relieved, limps heavily toward Lola’s booth. She nods without actually looking at him, and he drops to the floor with a stifled grunt of pain before scooting under the table, wiggling back until he’s curled in like a snail against the wall. He tries to ball up even tighter, but this is about as small as he can get. He doesn’t think about anything at all, wipes something that isn’t a tear from the groove under his eye. It’ll start working again eventually, although he’s not really looking forward to it. Just kidding. He doesn’t care either way.

He jumps a little when a bottle touches his shoulder lightly; he didn’t notice Lola’s slid down to join him in their little space here. He sighs heavily, shivers it out. He tilts his head and lets her pour the bottle’s contents between his teeth; she doesn’t spill or slip. Sans just sort of drifts off for a little while after that, and when he thinks about anything in particular again, he notices it’s dim and soft. The space under the table’s filled with blankets and pillows now, and Lola’s curled up against his spine. It’s fine; he’s only gross on the inside.

It gets dimmer again a long time later; he shifts a little.

“Grillby’s decorating,” Lola informs him in her secret voice that she only uses under the table. “It’s exciting. People are coming tonight for the party.” Ahh. Grillby’s putting the tablecloth over, and it’s the black one. gyftmas. He knows they’ll be here a while, and he’s putting the tree right up over them. Everyone will come and visit, but no one will know they’re visiting them, too.

Sans shudders, relaxes a little. He doesn’t want to be alone. He isn’t now, but the prospect of being even less alone makes him… nope, it doesn’t catch. He doesn’t feel anything.

Lola taps him with a bottle; he lets her tip it between his teeth. It’s sweet and fresh.

He pushes his forehead against the wall; lets his socket open and shut a few times. He blinks it out, sighs it out, shakes it out.

They’re under the gyftmas tree, even if it’s not a real one. It’s one of those silly constructs humans use for their holidays; just a decoration, nothing alive. A symbol to remind them that even though things have changed, they can still be the same in some ways. This is where you come for gyftmas when you don’t especially want to be anywhere else, for your own reasons. Sad reasons, ugly ones. Where you come for gyftmas when you don’t want to be anywhere. Gross reasons. You can share them or not; it’s up to you.

Sans doesn’t want to be alone, but he can’t stand the idea of anyone seeing him like this either.

So he and Lola can stay under the tree like little gifts wrapped and secret, nobody knows they’re there. Sans pushes his forehead to the wall, wiggles a little. Him and Lola aren’t for anyone, are they? No, they can just be gifts for themselves, to themselves. Him and Lola, wiggling like puppies under the gyftmas table. Secret, safe, surrounded. He hums a little, wipes his eye again.

Um.

“what the hell was in that bottle?” he rasps hoarsely, opening both sockets back over his own shoulder at Lola. The points inside flicker to life.

“You,” she smiles gently, blinking vaguely at nothing in particular.

“can’t be,” he drones loosely, turning his head back to the wall with a thunk. “tastes good.”

“I drank the other one,” she replies brightly, then cuddles back into him. “Then mine.”

After a while he sits up to skitter his fingerbones along the booth seat, finds another bottle. Cracks it open and sniffs sideways. Lola. He leans back into her arms and drinks it down.

They rest and hold each other, and the bar fills with the sounds they both love to hear. Everyone’s here, everyone’s safe.

After a long time, someone slides gifts right under the tablecloth: paper-wrapped cinnamon bunnies hot and fresh, flat little cookies eyewateringly spiced, bitter and tangy. Gloved fingers slowly retract, disappear back out through the light and noise. Disappear into the night.

Sans turns away from the wall, lets himself be fed, helps Lola feed herself. She can’t always make it to her mouth before her fingers pluck at something only she can see, and the bunnies fall to the blanket to be scooped up by Sans’s nimble phalanges. He holds it to her mouth while she gestures, and she eats it eventually. Then her eyes focus and fall on the plate of hard, dark gold cookies. She takes one and slides it slow between his teeth, which he parts enough to allow. She lets go and it burst-dissolves, exploding crisp-bitter-spicy-sour inside him.

He sighs in relief, sockets narrowing. He tastes it. They eat quietly, wash it down with good cheer.

“bad day?” he inquires curiously, suddenly feeling like making conversation.

“No,” she replies, eyes fixed on nothing, plucking gently at nothing as another bunny falls. “It’s just a special occasion. Thank you for helping me, though.”

“yeah,” he sighs. A smile softens his harshly flattened grin as he picks it up, holds her hand gently and puts the food back into it. “me too.”

He slides a few more cookies in his mouth on his own, tilts back to let them dissolve slowly as he holds the edge between his teeth. Once it’s almost gone, he pushes his teeth together to feel the crisp little snap, lets the last few crumbs tumble back as his sockets flatten on the bottom with simple joy.

Nice to get a present. Nice to want a cookie, then eat it. Nice to make small talk.

“Feeling better?”

“lil bit.”

“Good,” she sighs, then slides her arms around him. He feels the tight magic holding his bones together unwind their tension just a little, loosening as she pulls him down and back, wiggling them both deep into their little nest.

“A good day, now.”

“dunno,” he equivocates. “maybe.”

“Wait one more, then. We can do that, now.” She has a point.

The hubbub continues around them, increases for about 12 hours, then lessens for 12 more. Starts back up, and they eat again, cuddle and drink. He lets Lola choose and pour them still, because she wants to. He wants to let her, and he feels warm and safe. But he notices her hands grow bold, her face closer than usual nudging at him gently. She lets her long silken ear slide along his cervical vertebrae when she hugs him; he feels warm, then he feels hot.

She puts another bottle to his teeth, but this time he takes it, sets the mouth to his nasal cavity for a sniff.

“didn’t know you thought a me that way,” he whispers, extraordinarily surprised. He stills drinks it, setting it to his teeth himself this time. About half, then he passes it to her. Nothing wrong with sharing this, but not like it’s going to lead anywhere. He doesn’t have anything in him anyone could want. Just other people’s castoff nastiness, his own depraved indifference. He doesn’t know what he’s thinking. Maybe that’s what happens when you don’t think as hard as he’s been not thinking for as long as he has.

“Do you want to know what I think of you?” she whispers salaciously in her secret voice, low and rough. Raspy and filled with intention. He feels stillness invade him like a disease.

“lola, please,” he whispers, words shaped around the burning taste of shame. “you don’t want any a this.” He looks away, shuts his sockets even though that can’t hide him. “you got no idea what i been doing to myself,” he finishes, hollow with despair.

“I don’t care about that,” she says in her soft, husky voice. The one she only uses under the table with him. “That isn’t in here with us.”

“s’in me, though.” He feels it on his pelvis, coating the inside of his ribs. He blinks it out of his eyes.

“No,” she disagrees dreamily, and he can’t find it in himself to argue the point. At least everything’s back where it’s supposed to be, now that he’s eaten and… drunk.

Maybe she’s the one who has a point?

Maybe he’s… drunk.

“I can always hear what I say when you’re listening to me, sans.”

He shivers; only she can pronounce his name correctly, in the voice she uses only here. It doesn’t matter at all that no one else does, but for some reason it still matters a lot that she can. That she does.

A lot. He’s not sure how that works, but…

He shrugs out of his hoodie, pushes it to the side to pad the space in here even further. He only has his soft t-shirt underneath, smooth bare bone of his hands and arms exposed. Lola’s eyes follow them, glittering with fascination under her heavy lids.

“i don’t push,” he whispers, sounding a little scared, even to himself. “we want to, we jus’ do ourselves, k?” Of himself? Not of her, though. And… not in here.

“That sounds like fun,” she says. He shudders enigmatically, leans into her arms easily. He’s been there so many times before. They lean sideways together, a shoulder apiece against the seat of the booth, sidesaddle facing each other. She runs the palm of her hand down his skull, over his shoulder, slips down to touch his exposed bones, smoothing her fingers down them firmly. He shivers again as her warmth soaks in. The music’s hurdy gurdy and flute: gyftmas sounds. The bar’s crowded; it’s packed. Everyone’s safe here, everyone’s happy.

“Do you feel it?” Lola asks, but all Sans can manage to produce is a low whine that falls under the hubbub.

“Safe,” she adds after a while. “Happy.”

Sans runs his phalanges between their bodies as they lean closer, feels the tiny buttons fastening Lola’s clothing in the front. He touches one curiously as he presses his face to hers; he breathes her in, dry warmth and spice.

“Yes,” she purrs. “Go ahead.”

He fiddles the buttons open one by one, and when her shirt is open he cards his fingers slow through her fur with a sigh that starts tight, loosens as he strokes her, pets her. He gets lost in the rhythm, feels her start to resonate under his repetitive, soothing touches. He hears her blithe little hum; he feels a surge against his hand that surprises him.

“you want me to tug?” he whispers, astonished. Usually that’s something that comes with practice and familiarity, but he can’t deny what he feels under his sensitive fingertips. She laughs softly, pleased and amused by his bawdy talk.

“Yes. I already feel what you can do.” She wants him to coax her soul out of her with his own call, rather than exposing it herself. She senses the confidence in his hands, she wants it. He realizes his other hand’s already at his own chest, feels the eagerness humming inside. Even like this, even now. He wants her attention. He wants to be known.

“me too?” he offers, and she nods eagerly, hums anticipation. His fingers flex and call, questioning over and over until their bodies are curved in toward each other, faces pressed tight to shoulders and breathing in sync. Then he waits even longer; she shivers with it, appreciates his skill even more now that she feels him taking his time. Their desire expands and broadens together, flows out and in, call and response until there’s no room for anything else.

“You’re good at this, sans,” she says in her secret rasp. He grunts softly, a light sheen of magic ghosting the bones where she presses against him. “I feel so warm.” He thrills at her gentle words, feels his answering hum softened by them. That’s when he leans back and pulls deep at the same time, the curve of his hands protective, presenting.

Two luminous hearts with points up silver-gild their faces from underneath; they press their foreheads together with a deep, shaky sigh. They roll them slowly to look down and gaze into each other with calm, lazy wonder. His is a little more complex, hers is saturated with consistency. His is stronger, hers is sturdier. She breathes slow and tight, he pants softly as they let each other see trust and regard, care and respect curl up to show itself, let each other know what they like, what they hope for. How they feel about each other and what they want to happen. Sans likes what he sees, so does Lola. Might want to keep on looking for a while. Their breathing evens out again, relaxed and aroused.

“got this thing i do,” he whispers, measured and sibilant. “you like to draw it out, then jump right in, right? me too. you might like it.” She hums agreement, makes a noise of inquiry a little later. He strokes his nasal bone along her cheek, takes it slow. “s’real smooth an easy. deep though, cause it’s all at the same time.” He moves his hands until both souls are between his forearms, positions his hands and fingers toward his own elbows. Moves his elbows apart and hands together to indicate the motion he uses for this, almost crossing over. He spreads his metacarpals, then pushes them together delicately to demonstrate their dexterity.

“i can show you, or i can do it for you. either way, if you’re interested,” he offers gently; his soft smile won’t go anywhere no matter how she decides. He watches the interest coalesce in her, considering, toying with the idea. He sees pleasure, gratification, something softer than pride swirl across his own surface. No promises, just confidence. Her interest dances back and forth as they watch together, both smiling softly in their shared private glow. They’re in no hurry, and they’ve got nowhere to be. No one’s worried, everyone’s safe. She teases at his desire, hooded gaze calling it out further. He shudders lightly and piques her interest again. His breathing deepens imperceptibly from moment to moment as she takes more than an hour to let herself decide, but once she does he’s having a little trouble keeping his voice out of his exhalations.

He never imagined anyone else could be so patient. It’s really doing something for him.

“see i'm not the only one with tricks,” he sighs in fervent admiration, lets himself feel it, lets it show. Ohhh, he likes her. Likes what they’re doing. Lets it swirl and reveal the soft, quivering underbelly: she makes him feel paid attention to (he wants her attention). She cares what he likes, notices how he is (he wants to make her feel good). His breath escapes tight as he gives her every bit of the progression: vulnerability and fear rolls over to show itself (her opinion is important to him), heats up slow into trust and desire (he wants to know what she thinks of him).

She breathes a barely-there moan and squeezes his shoulders to see his depths rise and bloom for her so lush and full, rubs his humerus on either side sensually. Her fingers glide down to his forearms, onto the back of his hands. He opens his metacarpals, lets her warm physicality push between his bones.

This is especially exciting since neither of them have touched themselves at all, instead they’ve just been showing and watching. Sans shudders with delicious anticipation; the moment’s going to be even more abrupt when it happens just like he said, all at once. He lets out a pleased sound as they slowly shift, get into another comfortable position. They wind up lying down facing each other in the nest of pillows and blankets since there’s no reason not to, and they’ve both got a good feeling that this might take a while. His skull nudges closer and he presses his frontal bone to her warm fur; she turns a foot in to slide her bare toes between his sock and his slipper.

“hmm,” he sighs after a little bit, caresses her face with his. “you ready?”

“Yes.”

“k.” He moves their hands to cup around their souls, places a thumb to hover between them. Adjusts since they’re lying down now, curves until his wrists are almost touching his fingers. The velvety digits held precisely between his are less than a millimeter away from their souls. “here it comes.”

Their fingertips make contact and a massive sigh’s shared between them; they collapse into each other loosely. It’s everything he’d said it would be: the soft sudden plunge into each other after looking and waiting for so deliciously long is surprising, it’s deep and intense because Lola’s all in pieces, and Sans is a flood. Countless shards sparkle in the endless waves, shattered glass reflecting images into itself infinitely. Because she’s infinite, and she does it her own way.

No one can tell her how to be.

Every color that exists (and several thousand that don’t) flash bright and distinct as they’re churned harmlessly into the surf.

Isn’t it so strange to exist?

Isn’t it beautiful; isn’t it enough?

Sans keens quietly because it is, and he feels it. He wants her to know.

His hand changes position, middle phalanx on either hand dragging slowly through them both at the same time, two of her fingers gliding behind. He remembers the slats connected by strings he’d found in the dump one time, shredded and broken in the pile. Couldn’t imagine what they were for, tried and failed a bunch of times. Could never untangle them, but only because he couldn’t make himself care enough.

Busted.

Then he saw them in a house, strung up neat and straight in a window unlike any other he’d seen before, because this one had the sun on the other side of it. Those slats letting little lines of light come through and he couldn’t help himself.

Walked up, ran his fingers down to watch the light wink piece by piece into his eyes, then did it again. Kept going, because he’d never seen anything like it. He didn’t know you could break up the sun into little stripes to let it into your house, all neat and even like bones, fragments like gyft-words read aloud line by line. Made a little zip-zip noise after a while, running his hand down fast, over and over.

Beautiful.

Lola feels it; she wants him to know. See those sharp little points of lust and pain under the dark, heavy calm? Deep and swirling, only winking up once in a while. She’s in the ship under the ocean, watching the anglerfish glow their temptations out into the water. Drawing the little fish near, letting them seek their own demises. Never chasing, he lets them come. Outside this little air bubble, so fragile and quiet, pressure crushes anything that dares test it. This is where he thrives.

The only lights here are the ones we make ourselves.

And they are so very, very beautiful.

It’s a miracle we exist at all, isn’t it?

Five glass pearls strung in a line; the hammer, the heel comes down and smashes the first to powder. Furry fingers leave Lola’s, dragged away screaming and she never sees them again.

She smiles softly, sobbing. Loss cuts like a knife, twisting and precious. She’ll never forget/ive.

Sans feels it; he wants her to know.

He’s inside the machine, fixing it, breaking it. Tearing out its guts and weeping. This machine is his own grave. All he ever finds inside are the things he regrets. But what else can he do? There’s no good answer; this machine is full of his ghosts.

Some other him, trying desperately to hold on to something for a change.

Sans slips it into his pocket, granting his own wish grudgingly, but complying. It’s him, after all.

Lying under the table, Sans’s sockets open to peek. Lola’s fingers are inside him; it’s still him.

He can’t say no to himself, even when he should. Even when it hurts. Because that’s the part of him that still loves himself sometimes, and he wants to give him what he wants.

Because he wants it; he wants it.

It’s never enough.

Four glass pearls strung in a line; the hammer, the heel comes down and smashes the second to powder. Furry fingers are torn from Lola’s, get dragged away screaming.

She never sees him again.

You’ll never see em again.

Their shared pain resonates high and sweet; they gasp together and press their faces. They inhale, groan slow and quiet as it peaks, digs in sharp. It spreads before it wounds too deep, because sharing it blunts the edge. Lola’s tongue darts out to taste his bones; they shed willingly into her. Pain sweet and sharp, blunt and deep. They share a tiny, surprised sound and shiver tight-hot with pleasure, relax and loosen again hidden together under the table.

She feels it, she wants him to know. Lola has genitalia, and she doesn’t like to be looked at or touched there. It’s not for anyone anymore. It quivers safe and hidden between her thighs, telling its own stories, listening to its own music.

Sans weeps dully, because he feels it. He wants her to know. His body makes something for humans to use, and he wants it, he hates it. It hurts so bad it makes him sick. Makes him feel so good he might die from it. Some other him did, maybe, but he loves him too. Wants to give him what he wants. He feels Lola’s shards churned into his surf, each piece of her shows him a reflection of himself, because maybe...maybe the water’s in pieces, flowing endlessly as one piece, an entire ocean made of his unsung parts.

Three glass pearls strung in a line; the hammer, the heel comes down. It smashes the third to powder. Furry fingers leave Lola’s to never be seen again; all she h/ears is the screaming.

Sans can make his body listen, too. Lola shows him where his own song can be found, he just has to be quiet and still. He just needs to listen first, then he can sing himself to sleep for as long as he needs.

Something else sharp cuts Sans, darting out like a viper from a place where where's nothing. He sees himself wandering, hurting, grasping and clawing at nothing that dissolves through his fingers like dust, blows out of his hands that never drop anything. He hurts himself deliciously, spikes the agony hard into the nothing-place where it winks out like it never existed. Everything is pulled away, ripped out of his grasp like-

Two glass pearls don’t count as a line, not any/m/o/re. The hammer, the heel comes down. Furry fingers, smashed to powder.

Just give up. I did.

Sans goes with anyone who’ll use him, tries to shove pain-pleasure into the space where there’s nothing. He tries to fill it, but everything pours endlessly into the hole, and it stays just as empty. He shatters and shakes, screams for more until he can’t hear himself think. It’s the only thing he feels anymore, and it doesn’t feel like anything.

Even when he pours the entire ocean into the hole, all it does is turn him inside out, turns the hourglass over to pour back through himself, the hole in his center vomiting everything he is out the other way; he reaches backwards blindly to claw desperately at nothing.

Lola feels it.

She kisses it gentle from his skull as he quivers; darts her tongue all the way up the groove under his socket to catch it, dips right inside where he’s all used up, disgusting. He shakes with violent euphoria, dissolves in acidic shame. He tastes her pleasure in his eyes when his exhale tightens into an ecstatic, devastated whine, soul filled deep with her touch.

He can’t bear it; he loves it.

She knows; she knows.

She breaks into a thousand pieces, scudding and glinting across infinity: endless, nameless. Shatter, shattering, shattered.

She remembers the taste of human blood and filth from before time began to end. It keeps going until after it stops beginning, and she breaks, broken, b/usted. Her hands are covered in their blood and filth; it’s inside her too. Ground like dirt under the heel, the hammer. Filled up with everything b/a/d that exists. She kills them and drops dead. It never stops.

She breaks again, every edge razor sharp, cutting nothing and no one. She reaches out to catch one but it winks out just before she can. This always happens; she falls for it every time.

She’s a ghost haunting her own body.

Sans’s fingers move complex and precise, spreading and soothing, dipping in like rows of needles weaving a furious tapestry out of nothing. Sockets shut now, he rolls his face against hers in a slow, strange rhythm echoing his fingers’ movements, panting loose and soft through his parted teeth. He and Lola breathe into each other for a long, long time; they keep shed magic between their shut-tight legs. Her bare feet stroke his socked bones from underneath, they’ve pushed his slippers off at some point. His invisible tapestry wraps everything they are snug like a blanket, so tight and safe. They each let a slow, shaky moan out, shiver out the pleasure quiet under the clink of glasses, the holiday music and loud, bawdy chatter.

Nothing can hurt them anymore.

Everyone’s here, no one is worried.

He tilts their souls as close as he can without touching; without becoming.

The heel, the hammer smashes Lola. She grins razor-sharp and licks the shards defiantly off the dirty floor.

Lola swallows herself down; no one can take her away from herself.

Sans sobs quietly as his despair cracks open, and he

pours the hole into the ocean

instead.

He drinks himself down; nothing can take him away from himself.

They pour this feeling into each other: what it’s like to be here, hidden and safe under the table.

Lola watches Sans’s fingertip slide through like a glass pearl rolling back to her. She picks it up, swallows it down. Lola’s shards melt into water, tiny particles flowing as one infinite piece. Sans drinks their colors to see them flash under the waves.

They can smell their pleasure, tucked away safe and hidden as they both push hard into their own souls, magic rushing in wild, thick and heavy. They feel the tingling pressure around their fingers, breathe their barely-audible moans into each other.

They get as close as they can while they gift themselves to themselves, and it’s so good. It’s better than anything else, so they don’t stop for a long, long time. Their soft noises spill out, and they drink them down as they shove their fingers in deep; they push until all they can taste is themselves and all they know is each other, until they’re soaked and overflowing.

Sans lets out a tight, blissful sigh and leans up, moves their bodies closer instead of moving their souls apart. With incredible precision, he pushes them both back in without losing contact until the last possible moment. They flood back inside and the sound they make is so very soft, so profoundly satisfied their eyes prickle and overflow into each other. Their faces rub and press, turning their dim haven hazy, each other even more beautiful. The moment their glow disappears, their arms scramble around each other tight; Sans rolls back onto his side as they breathe deep in each other, press their chests and faces together with their legs closed tight on a last shudder and rush.

Sans feels Lola’s soul inside her, quivering snug under his careful touch spread infinite on her craquelure surface by her magic. She feels him too, her soft caress pressed to deep sediment under the ocean of his own sweet peace. They stay just like that, idly petting each other, hugging and moaning softly because it’s still happening. Sans eventually falls asleep, inviting Lola into slumber with him. She goes.

When he wakes up much later, it’s clean and quiet. He uses the hand Lola isn’t lying on to pull out the neck of his shirt and sniffs inside. He still feels too good to be embarrassed that Grillby must have come in and hugged them both at some point; he doesn’t feel or smell any of their shed magic, nor any of the stains his human partners had left inside him. He’s clean and dry, he’s warm and safe.

He’s not alone.

He listens quietly for a little while, then sings himself back to sleep.

Sans doesn’t go with humans anymore after that.

 

Chapter Text

Sans’s touch is dampening strong, more intense than he expected.

His body flickers unevenly for a moment; Sans knows this response is positive, even if startled. Grillby likes the way he’s touching him; if he didn’t he would know, and the flames coating his phalanges would be guiding him differently, or pulling him away. Instead they encourage him a little deeper, occasionally moving to keep his bones from getting too hot, but always returning and never losing contact.

Then Sans sucks in his breath because Grillby wants him to know just how attractive he thinks he is. Not just his bones, but his face, his voice. His full, rounded magic, his smiles soft and sharp, the emotive points of his eyes. The way his expression lights up when he sees him, like he saved up all his silly stories and terrible jokes just for him, and now’s his chance to finally set them free. Grillby rarely feels the heady experience of attraction; the anticipation and the arrival, the desire and its fulfillment.

Sans brings glinting grins, winks and laughter. His presence is heralded by the cool tang of pine, the dangerous chill of snow radiating off his clothing and bones deliciously when he sits down right across the bar. The way his body moves slow and patient, careful and calculated. His hands… stars, his hands. Those delicate phalanges all working in concert towards the shared goal of shining like pearls over polished glass, set perfectly against the dark glow of liquor. Covert glances, a quiet chuckle. Always watching, always there.

Grillby thinks of him as fondly as he does lovely Lola, who never leaves her booth, and who everyone goes out of their way to bring drinks, food, and a little conversation just on the chance that she’s up for it. Sans comes in every day, sometimes more than once, and the entire atmosphere of the place changes for the better the second he walks in the door. Does Sans know he’s one of the only people who Lola will speak to almost all the time? She didn’t always.

Grillby’s flames dance along his bones, crackling-sweet and coaxing a sheen of magic to the surface. He wants Sans to know he’s the only other patron he allows to keep a tab. He knows Sans has money, but he wants him to feel like he can always come to be fed and cared for in this place. All Grillby ever wanted is to make somewhere hurt people can feel safe, like nothing bad can ever happen inside. Never again, not while he’s there. Sans has a place here, no matter what.

Sans’s breath escapes tight, and he feels fire come to taste the magic slipping into the grooves below his sockets. He shakes as Grillby lets him know seeing his bare bones was one of the most thrilling moments of his extraordinarily long life. Sans had imagined this before, but the reality of being unable to doubt what Grillby lets him know this way leaves him panting for breath. He’s never felt like this before, knowing someone thinks he’s special, feels like he’s important. It’s one thing to think, to believe; another thing entirely to know.

He gazes reverently into the softly glowing and resonant soul his fingers are buried in, skates them out the way he likes to do to himself. He knows he’s good with his hands, and apparently Grillby appreciates that. He exerts soothing pressure, gently holding and pressing in. Grillby seems to like it; soft sparks race over the back of his hand as he hisses softly. He’s filled with the way he feels when he pushes open his door, the heat and light inside, Grillby’s lovely orange-yellow glow contrasting sharply with the bluish snowlit woods he’s almost always returning from. Soothing more than his eyes, warming deeper than his body. More soft sparks glow and fall, tingling into his bones with their penetrating heat.

“that okay?” Sans whispers uncertainly. “you like it?”

Yes, he does. He wouldn’t mind a little more of that.

“you got it,” Sans replies, a plaintive edge to his voice as he leans in. This is even more exciting than he’d dared hope, and a lot more...he doesn’t know how to describe it. And it feels even better when he realizes he doesn’t have to. This is about feeling, not thinking. No doubts or second guessing, just him and Grillbz, and...

“how bout-”

Sans feels the room embrace him; the smell of clean oil, the soft, full chatter and clink of glasses, plates, bottles. A warm place in the cold, the thrill of seeing orange squares of light flicker on snow from outside as he passes the windows. The weight he carries everywhere with him drops off; he hears music and laughter. His eyes focus on the person responsible for his favorite place to be, and he feels a warm glow of acceptance, a heady rush of attraction. Something he’s not used to either; the thought makes him smile. He’s always welcome here; he can do and say anything he needs to.

On days he feels like he could disappear and no one would miss him, he sees Grillby and knows it’s not true. He comes every day for the flickering winks, the hypnotic calm of glass being polished, the glances that feel like they go right inside him to touch a place nothing else can. He’s bitchy, and Sans loves that; feels that tight little shiver of delight, makes Grillby feel it too. Makes him want to talk for hours, just to see what he’ll say. Wants to know all about him, hear what he thinks. Makes him want to tell him everything. He can’t get enough.

A wave of yellow so pale it’s almost white flows through Grillby’s incandescent body; heat flows up Sans’s humerus and towards his ribs, making him gasp softly.

Grillby starts, wonders if Sans is okay. He didn’t mean to push his flames quite so high, but that had felt-

“felt real good for me, too.” The words tumble out in a disorganized exhale. A sheen of magic sheds on his frontal bone, and even more mist-fine along the humerus Grillby’s flames had touched. He feels Grillby guide his phalanges to curl a little, the middle one flicking down into the cleft on the underside of his soul. The kind of touch that feels penetrating and supportive, helps him feel open, helps him let Sans know.

Grillby finds his magic so sweet, like nothing he’s ever tasted before. A drop falls off Sans’s chin and hisses into Grillby’s body, causing another pale wave to go through him. And...yep, now a few more drops patter down. That’s an effective technique, Sans supposes as he lets out a quiet sound. They shiver together with how desirable it makes Sans feel.

“let me know if you like this, okay?”

Sans inhales slowly, then feels a late night after a shitty day, and an order of fries he didn’t ask for, didn’t even mention, appears at his elbow. Usually the kitchen’s closed by now, but when Sans glances up, Grillby just flickers a soft smile at him. Like he knows, and it’s fine. It’s okay with him. Sans feels paid attention to, he feels seen. Feels taken care of, wants to give that back. The easy banter and comfortable silences that fill him right up til it’s ready to pour back out, enough for everyone. Enough to keep going. Grillby adds a glass of something nice, and for a moment their fingers touch. His chest feels so warm it might burst, and-

Grillby flicker-trembles and shooshes softly; he wants to push that. Would that be…. oh, wow. Is that okay?

“yeah,” Sans pants, trailing the fingers of his other hand through flames lazily, curling them up, beckoning encouragement. So excited, so close, like how he feels is about to just spill out everywhere. “got a little more... you want it?”

He does; Sans pulls out sparks and rubs them into and between his ribs with a soft grunt, feels what he wants before he pushes his hand back into the fire. He curves his middle phalanx in again, coaxing him open just the tiniest bit more. He shakes with pleasure, letting out another tiny noise as the rest of his flame-covered fingers spread wide.

“here’s one for the road...”

-their fingers touch for just a moment; his chest feels so warm it might burst, because he feels the echo of that warmth, that regard, all the way in his soul. Safe and happy, calm and cared for, no matter what. Sans’s breath shudders out of him and he feels his brow crease; magic beads up as he makes him feel it.

Nothing can hurt him when they’re here together.

He feels home.

He’s home.

Sans’s phalanges feel an unfamiliar tingling pressure around them, and his sockets widen as he realizes it’s Grillby’s magic swelling inside his soul, pushing in around Sans’s fingers. He pants softly through his teeth, sockets slipping half closed because this is the most blatantly erotic sensation he’s ever experienced. It’s also more than that, as well as nothing but. To know he made someone he likes this much feel so good he wanted to heighten it this way, to carry his touch inside him even longer… he leans in to keep watching through pained sockets, to stay close. So close.

He hears a delicate, white-hot sigh, a tight noise like glow-crazed charcoal about to collapse into ashes. Grillby’s drawing his hand back toward the rest of his body and Sans lets the incendiary pressure guide him; adds a taste of how good the heat feels in his bones, gets rewarded with a soft, hissing moan of surprise and gratification.

Sans kneels up and over the undulating flames, shivering all over now as the heat rises to lick up his femurs, down tibias and fibulas; his sockets gush as fire pushes deliciously at his fused ankle. He hears a roaring crackle and smells smoke for a split second. He’s so caught up he barely notices, but he grabs the couch so he doesn’t tip and fall right into him, sockets shut tight now as he moans aloud. Grillby plunges Sans’s hand back into the center of the conflagration beneath him with a rush of swirling sparks that tingle up his ulna and radius, winking out inside the space between them like tiny nuzzles. There’s a tight sizzle of pleasure as his soul slips back where it goes, spreading the sensation of Sans’s touch throughout, enhanced and lingering along with the magic he’s pushed in after it.

Sans is buckled over only inches from Grillby’s face, feeling fire swirl and sigh under him, sparking softly with delight. His phalanges clutch the back of the couch, and he’s supporting himself with his other elbow on the armrest, preoccupied with breathing the wavy air rising off his partner. He rasps his forehead along his ulna, then he feels his bare toes flex against the couch.

“grillbz,” he whispers passionately, sockets still shut. “did you just eat my socks?”

It ...appears I may have, yes, he shooshes softly. … An accident, but I suppose I’ll owe you. Especially after that.

Sans feels his magic seethe in his skull; he tilts it in wonder and slits his sockets open, a few beads appearing as they become not-part of him. “you liked it that much?” he pants softly instead of making a crack about how much they’d cost, his vulnerable expression so close his breath makes Grillby’s face flicker.

...Yes, I did. You know I did, he purrs, crackling voice flushed and full with pleasure. … I still feel you, Sans. It’s a plaintive, hissing moan.

Sans shuts his sockets, bowed skull sliding off his arm until it plops off onto the armrest beside Grillby’s head. “oh, fuck,” he whispers hoarsely, and this time they both hear the soft clack that runs through his spine.

Can I taste you again?

Sans hums faint agreement, keeps his sockets shut as he arches his body forward a little more, lets the flames beneath him lick his bones, absorbing the sheen of his magic on them hungrily. A bit teases in close to his sternum, and Sans gasps with anticipatory delight.

“you wanna touch me in there?” he whispers shakily.

You’d let me? Is...that safe for you?

He sends tendrils of his body up Sans’s arm again, this time teasing over his clavicle before drifting down to his sternum. “yeah, like that,” he whispers encouragingly, his spine shuddering a series of faint clacks. “go ahead.”

A flicker of fire darts between two ribs; it’s hot enough that Sans tenses, grunts in surprised pleasure. But Grillby draws it back right away.

I think we might want to wait to do that, he equivocates gently. … Just the outside for now, okay?

Sans leans up and opens his sockets a little; he feels vaguely disappointed.

I don’t want to burn you. Grillby’s roiling features form the configuration Sans recognizes as an indulgent grin. Despite the playful tone Sans knows he means it; he’s still disappointed. Then his own fixed grin gains a wicked edge as he realizes he knows how to get what he wants, and that he’s looking forward to the method as much as the results.

“aww... but i really like it,” he breathes, leaning even closer to his flaming face. He lets a single distal phalanx click suggestively into his second intercostal space on his way to play with the roil of flames that comprise Grillby’s chin, approximately. “wanna see how much i like it?”

He watches the grin slide off the constantly shifting features to be replaced by heady, smoldering desire. He can’t stop his soft hum of pleasure as heat teases his iliac crest, wraps his pelvis snug to pull his hips forward. Sans looks down at himself as he kneels up, flames licking over bare, pearly femurs, flickering near but not touching under his fused floating ribs. A wave of unaccustomed shyness washes over him, flooding his face with iridescence once more.

...Of course I do, Grillby huffs softly, finally managing a response. He’s flustered enough that Sans feels more than gratified; he’s dizzyingly turned on. Literally a little faint, but Grillby’s got him. He feels comfortable and safe.

I… I’d love to see you. If you wanted to show me.

Another clack runs through his spine at the thought; a strong emotion comprised partly of trust, close to hunger, and a little like how he feels when he stuffs his blanket into his pelvis washes though him. Grillby’s body flickers sympathetically in response as he flows upwards until his body’s sitting instead of reclining, approximating Sans kneeling up over his lap. Flames peak higher than Sans’s skull even so. He leans back into that fiery embrace, marvels again at the way their bodies have something in common; being conditionally permeable. The reminder makes him feel a little less shy, but magic flows from his sockets again anyhow as his phalanges clicks and rasp hesitantly at his sternum.

It’s okay to wait, Sans. I’m not in a hurry. I’m just as happy to stay here with you even if you change your mind… as long as you want. Doing what you like...just letting me hold you like this...

The hotly whispered encouragement, the tongues of flame pulling his hips close and darting out to taste him, are definitely helping him relax into an almost dreamy state of arousal.

You already make me feel so good. I still feel what you did in me...

Grillby’s hands come up to support and warm the back of his skull, trace down his vertebrae to question the spaces lightly. Toying with his spinal processes, teasing along the rims of his obturator foramina. Slow and steady, like he could do this all night, however long that will be.

You know how just seeing you like this makes me feel…

Sans exhales tightly; he means without clothes on, just bare bones. He remembers that feeling; he knows. He knows. His sockets change shape, and his eyes expand even as his sockets spill over because oh god, he just keeps on going.

Beautiful, so lovely. Just being here with me like this, it’s already special. Sans feels a helpless noise rise in him, it escapes as Grillby strokes up and down his spine, makes him clack inside softly.

You’re special to me.

Sans feels his body loosen, feels heat embrace and support him, cradling him gently as both his hands caress his sternum and rasp over his ribs. Desire and slow yearning pours into him like the sweet drinks Grillby pours out for him, that he pours into himself. He shudders and exhales heavily; the titillating metaphor reminds him of the way his own magic feels when it comes out, when it goes inside. Something deeper than his body relaxes at last, and his soul answers his call.

His fingers draw away as he eases back in Grillby’s hold, making room between them; a faint whimper escapes him as his delicately exposed soul follows his phalanges to glow softly iridescent between their bodies.

Oh, Sans… he gushes, sounding close to overwhelmed. Curls of flame soothe at his shoulders, trail down his humerus on either side as Grillby leans forward to peer into him reverently.

I never imagined you felt so… You’re so complex, so strong. I can feel it already, and you’re…He flares and flickers, sparks fly and fade. He glances up only briefly, cups his face and catches a few tears that emerge as Sans pants softly. He comes even closer. I can’t bear to look away from you. I don’t want to see anything else.

Grillby’s looking right inside him, seeing everything he is, has been, and could potentially be. And he doesn’t just like it; he’s getting off on it. Sans’s fingers tremble where they curve protectively underneath his soul; he’d had no idea this part would feel so good. That heated gaze rakes him raw and exposed, but leaves him validated, admired, appreciated everywhere it passes.

He can’t stop breathy, plaintive sounds from escaping him, from deepening to shaky sobs as he feels seen, feels paid attention to in a way he hadn’t realized was possible. How could he have known he’d wanted this so very badly, for so achingly long? Sans can’t speak, can’t do anything but feel this as thick, heady satisfaction pours into the shape of his need, revealing it mercilessly by fulfilling it. He can’t look away either.

You haven’t done this before, Grillby adds with gentle amazement, his slow crackle thick with emotion as his flames stroke Sans soft and encouraging, as they support and comfort him. … I’m honored by your trust.

Sans finally manages to shut his sockets against another flood with a shiver, feeling a bit overwhelmed himself. He pants softly, tries to keep his voice inside him but it just sobs back out breathily; this feels too good and he never wants it to end. He feels a tinge of anxiety; he wants his own touch.

...Please… go ahead. I’ll take good care of you. It’s a balmy sussuration. ...Can I hold you while you do it? Taste you?

Sans nods fervently, not trusting his voice as he feels magic drip off his chin, listens to it hiss into Grillby’s body. Then he’s urged back, sockets still shut tight, feeling safe, feeling trust and he doesn’t need to open them to see it in his own soul. It’s coiling and flowing to the surface, so eager to show itself as his spine comes to rest on the soft cushions.

Flames crackle achingly close just above him, darting out to touch the places his magic spills over, making him quiver with excitement. His knees are tented up and he feels heat between his femurs, sparking and crackling close enough to his pelvis that he feels magic spending itself there, offering itself up eagerly in response. Grillby doesn’t touch it, but he feels shy again, prompting another tinge of visibly nervous energy.

Rather than opening his sockets or trying to say anything, he finally just does what he craves: distal phalanges skim into his soul, spread out to comfort and soothe him. He still feels that hot gaze on him, but it’s much less overwhelming when he feels his own touch, expert and familiar. A deep, mercifully quiet sigh steadies him; he feels another wave of delicious heat wash down on his body in response as his fingers push in deeper, curve insistently. He’s here. He isn’t lost in this experience, even if it’s new.

Sans doesn’t mind getting loud; he just wants to be able to decide to be. He revels in Grillby’s gaze more comfortably, taking his time as he fills with disorganized, aimless desire. It feels good, but it doesn’t seem to lend itself to doing anything in particular, nor does it tell Sans what he should do about it. Maybe nothing, since this is already amazing. But is that what Grillby likes?

I don’t want anything you don’t want, Sans, Grillby soothes quietly. Will you show me what you like?

Apparently he can do that, and Grillby can see it. Nice. He glides his phalanges through himself, thinking it over as his confidence and pleasure increase, supporting and buoying him. What he wants is what he’d asked for before...for Grillby to touch his body some more. It’s really okay, his bones don’t burn at that temperature. Not for a long time at least. Heh.

His smile dissolves into a full-voiced moan as a tongue of flame curls under his xiphoid process; a soft rush of incredibly penetrating heat pushes in on either side of his spine between his pelvis and ribcage.

His sockets open; Grillby kneel-hovers over him, partly pressed into his body and mostly amorphous, dandling tendrils to play across his ribcage, idly lapping across the magic that sheens his bones. The yellow on them tints orange, the blue goes green, his intrinsic coloration warmed by the light his body casts. His luminous soul harmonizes with both, almost seeming to reflect the flames in a breathtakingly intimate display.

“holy shit.” Sans finds his voice again, panting and wide-socketed. It’s intense; he wants even more.

...Can I touch here?

Dual tongues of flame indicate Sans’s pelvis curiously, and he hears hardness kiss itself somewhere deep inside his body.

“hell yeah, hot stuff,” he pants softly, and manages a grin that’d be obscene if it wasn’t for the fact that the points in his sockets are so wide they practically fill the entire space. He shuts them, shoves his occipital bone back into the cushion. Then he hooks his right heel up and over the back of the couch, presenting his pelvis shamelessly as he manipulates his delicate soul, lets just how much he wants this to bloom to the surface.

“go fuckin’ wild on me,” he groans, then makes a soft clatter deep inside as a shower of sparks from Grillby’s wordless but very loud response to that patter out over his body deliciously.

The sound he makes when Grillby sends flames across his ilium and flicks lightly at his pubis isn’t one he knew he could make, but he’s pretty sure they heard it in New Home. He opens the sockets he’d slammed shut wide to Grillby’s face almost white with arousal, takes a few gasping breaths and spreads his fingers in his soul, even pushes a little magic in to calm himself.

...Too much?

“s’perfect,” he pants, trying to focus his eyes and failing. “i….i jus’….”

Flames lick delicately at the magic slowly beading up from the tight joint in his pubis, making him groan soft and low. So many fiery darts all over his body, different temperatures flickering at him, some passing hot and quick, others warm and lingering. He still doesn’t touch him inside, and Sans knows why. It’s both maddening and soothing, generating desire for something specific. He caresses his soul gently while Grillby touches his body; he knows what he wants, and he’s still afraid for some reason. He knows Grillby can see that too, and the strangest thing is he doesn’t mind. He likes that he can see how he feels, he wants even more. He wants him to know, so much he feels a whine trying to escape; he lets it.

Sans... do you want me to touch your soul?

He closes his sockets again, lifts his chin slightly as feels incendiary fingers dart out to take his tears. He does, but…

“dunno why i think it’s gonna hurt,” he admits quietly, then moans soft and clear as he pushes a little magic again to try and calm himself. But he’s already calm, and he’s brimming with desire, just... “doesn’t make sense. but i know i want you to touch it.”

I have an idea, Grillby crackles softly. He extends out over the hand Sans realizes is curled up on the cushion beside his skull, then sends the coating of flame over it the same way he had when Sans touched him.

...You guide me this time. Use my body like this to touch yourself the way you like, when and if you want to. What do you think?

“yeah,” he whispers softly. “want you closer, though. warm me up.”

He feels crackling heat surge toward him, sparks making him shiver as they fall away from Grillby’s body. Sans doesn’t remove his fingers from his soul, doesn’t bother opening his sockets since he doesn’t need to. He knows exactly where everything is, and he’s loving it. He waits and breathes, lets his desire soften and spread. Lets the yearning fill him as flames lap at his magic. He uses their joined hands to brush over his ribs, delighting in the heated touch. He wants this, even though he’s a little... afraid, or something. Whatever. That’s okay. He’s liked everything so far, and he’s seen and felt how Grillby feels about him. How careful he is not to burn, not to hurt. Only soothe and pleasure. He hears his desire sighing out now with what he sees in Sans’s soul: anxiety and trust massaging at each other until one of them loosens, submits.

Sans pushes the flaming fingers of his other hand into his soul, and he’s filled with delicious warmth. It kindles something soft and full, gentler than he thought it would feel to be touched this way.

It’s because you’re touching as well, Grillby whispers shakily, panting and flickering. He’s not doing anything yet, just letting Sans feel him, see if he likes it.

It’s like a slow, deep temperature change, inhaling and shivering it out as he heats up more and more, coming in to warm his bones from the cold. Sans skates his flaming fingers wide; feels hot and close, feels good. He hears hardness kiss itself deep in his spine; feels hotter. He opens his sockets a little, makes a soft, cracked noise. Grillby’s staring down at him, flames yellow and orange with pleasure, hesitation and surprise. Sans’s soul is so strong, but he doesn’t feel lost in it. He recognizes something there; he can’t really stop Sans from feeling that.

Sans wants to know what it is.

...I won’t hurt you. Grillby pops and crackles hesitantly.

Hmm.

... I don’t… I don’t want to. I can make you feel very hot, though. Would you like that?

Sans feels his face soften into a dreamy, regretful smile, sockets slipping halfway shut. His eyes won’t entirely focus, so he knows they’re pretty big right now. Heh. Funny. Apparently he hadn’t been afraid it would hurt; he’d wanted it to. Something must be wrong with him. No wonder he’s confused; no wonder he’s a mess all the time. He also seems to be crying quite a lot right now. It’s real funny.

...Are you okay?

Sans feels pretty great, actually. Fantastic. Little cold, maybe. See him shivering?

...Oh, Sans…

Grillby melts down onto his body slowly, then finally slips right inside him.

Sans kneels up and then onto his front, rolls over onto his side. Both sets of phalanges are coated in reddish-warm fire now and buried inside him; he presses his frontal bone to the back of the couch cushion. He brings up his knees, curling his now-flaming body around his soul as he tries to look into himself. Trying to find what Grillby’s talking about. He can’t, though. Something must be wrong with him, but he can’t find it.

...Nothing’s wrong with you, Sans. You’re lovely, so beautiful. Sweeter than I ever imagined, and I want to make you feel good. Just like you did for me. Here. Let me know if you like this, okay?

Sans shakes and clacks as a tiny shower of sparks patters against the inside of his ribs; moans softly as he presses his thumbs into himself, coaxing himself open, questioning and searching. Then he gasps and cries out sharply, sockets round with shock as a wave of protectiveness and care fills him. Grillby whooshes back out of him all at once, but only to hover about an inch over his body everywhere, like a soft blanket of flame shielding him. He’s gone from his fingers, too.

“i liked it,” he grits out painfully, sobs interrupting him. “why’d you stop?”

It’s upsetting you.

“but… i want it…” he sounds vague, and sincerely baffled.

Grillby hovers another moment, then seethes back until he’s curving behind Sans, peering over his shoulder.

Can I watch you for a bit? He inquires gently. … We can always try again.

“sure thing, grillbz,” he hiccups softly, tears slowly ceasing. Grillby lets them fall on the couch; he knows what they taste like. He watches what Sans does, and every once in a while he lets his body flow down his arm, out and onto Sans’s phalanges as they quest and probe, soothe and stimulate.

Every time he touches his soul, Sans tries to guide him back into a certain motion, or a certain spot (not that things like spatial relations exist in souls), and each time he lets his flames slide away so only Sans touches. One time Grillby lets his fingers do what they keep trying to; Sans barks a tense, hysterical sob, breath hissing through his teeth.

He has absolutely no idea he’s doing either of those things.

Grillby pulls back and Sans calms again; he thinks he might be pushing a little magic in, but without touching it he can’t be sure. Sans is doing a good job with himself, considering. After all, just because he feels it, that doesn’t mean it’s there.

Grillby doesn’t see anything either because there’s nothing to see, of course. It’s been a long, long time since he hasn’t seen something like that. More time than can be counted. But it’s okay; he knows what to do.

Do you still want me to touch you? Or are you done for now?

“want you to touch me,” he whispers softly. “wanted you for a long time, now”

Are you comfortable with the idea of me doing it on my own?

Sans caresses himself, opens his sockets to gaze in. Takes his ease while making sure this time.

“yeah,” he sighs after a bit, then pulls his fingers away. His arms slide in around to hug himself, shivering as his soul hovers defenseless.

Grillby curves in even more, gains solidity until Sans can lean back against him a little, even though he’s still curled up facing the back of the couch. Grillby can feel that he’s relaxed and aroused now; he can see it, too.

When Grillby touches him, both of those emotions increase considerably. And only those.

It’s counterintuitive, since for most monsters, touching at the same time is less intense, and allows the person being touched more control over the experience. Sans feels better doing it this way for some reason. He likes this, and….oh. That’s nice. He’s filled with warmth and care, protectiveness. He makes a soft little hum, leans back into Grillby more. Turns his skull to glance back over his shoulder and smile with easy delight.

...You don’t have to think about anything, okay? I already know.

Sans is a little confused, but fine with that.

I want to make you feel good. Is that okay?

Of course. That’s why he’s here, right? He laughs softly at that. He’s ready to lie back and take it.

Oh really?  Grillby teases softly in a crackling whisper. … Then why don’t you lie back?

Sans feels an anticipatory little thrill as he gets less solid; he turns away from the couch tentatively, one leg tenting up and...yes. He shudders deliciously as he goes right through, warms up fast. The open cage of Sans’s bones cradle flames gently; fire holds him tight everywhere at once. Grillby gets a little more solid again and Sans takes a deep, shaky breath. Their permeable magic interacts in a way that’s… this is... He squeezes his own wrist above his head, arches up as he rasps the top of his skull on his flaming ulnas. He’s holding, he’s being held. He loves it. He...oh, shit.

Sans sockets go wide, and his heel shoves against the couch cushion as he’s flooded with absolute bliss: a ghost of dangerous chill, a flash of white and a low, breathy chuckle.

This is how you make me feel. Is it good?

He groans low and shaky, because it’s maybe the best he’s ever felt. Almost as good as when he touched Grillby before. His spine clacks, and he makes a lot of noise because the fire along and between his vertebrae makes him feel that even more. Makes it feel hot, makes him feel like he’s going to melt right through the couch, this floor, the downstairs, maybe all the way down through the snow outside until there’s just a steaming pit with an extremely satisfied skeleton at the bottom.

Do you want to feel how you made me feel before?

Sans’s sockets slip shut and his legs go limp, one of his knees bent out to the side now. He didn’t know you could do that. But that’s apparently a thing you can do. One of his arm’s crossed low across his pelvis now, hand gripping his own ilium and hugging real tight, and the other one feels a little funny, not really sure what it’s doing. Shaking a little? That’s okay, he always shakes when he feels good.

You are good, Sans, and you deserve to feel good. Do you want to?

Does he? Huh. Good question.

Grillby’s got a point, maybe.

He does want to feel good, so... maybe he deserves to? It’s so nice to hold him, so nice to be held. He wants what Grillby has for him, and the magic he sheds now hisses into flames inside and out the moment it becomes not-part of him.

Yeah, okay. Sans feels his own easy smile, hears his quiet laugh. He wants to hear the sounds he’ll make, he wants more of what he’s already gotten a taste of. He’s ready to feel good.

Grillby touches him deep, waits; Sans feels relaxed, feels open.

...Here it comes.

It sure does, and it pushes the air out of him soft and slow because it’s better than he could have imagined. Then it gets even better than that because it feels like him. How does it feel like him?

How does it feel like

tang of pine, chill of snow radiating off his clothing and bones deliciously when he sits down right across the bar. The way his body moves slow-patient-careful-calculated

How does it feel like

Safe and happy, calm and cared for, no matter what. He feels home. He’s home.

Sans can faintly hear his own voice chasing his breath every time he exhales, feels his body going loose and wet, real messy (shaking, tight), like he’s melting (dying) and (he wants it), no, he wants to, he wants to feel

so sweet, like nothing he’s ever tasted before

He wants this feeling to last forever.

Do you want to push in your magic?

More than anything, and he moans high and soft as his own fingers slide carefully into his soul; Grillby’s holding them still (why are they trying to move? Why is his arm shaking?), and he’s ready, he feels-so patient, so lovely (anomalous, unusual)

You’re special to me, Grillby groans desperately as Sans lets his own magic flood out inside him, better and sweeter than anything else could ever feel. A shower of pleasure-laden sparks happens inside his body, and it adds an intensely physical dimension to what he’s feeling, something he didn’t even realize he’d been craving. His magic flows into him, but also flows out. It falls right into the flames; Grillby lets Sans feel his own taste hard as he pushes, lets him feel how his soul feels tight with flooding magic around Grillby’s point of contact. He helps him bring his soul back toward himself with a deep, anticipatory crackle.

Phalanges click against his chest, and he feels it all over again but deeper and stronger: feels his own touch transformed and echoed back into him with desire and compassion, with great care, with deep respect and regard, and it’s more than he ever thought possible. He can’t help it; he rolls back over into his former position, presses his forehead and knees to the couch as he moans breathlessly, flaming fingers rasping and clacking, spread lush between his ribs and carding through them over and over.Grillby stays with him, getting hotter and hotter even though he’s undulating, flickering, trying to move as much as possible to draw it out. To stay inside as long as he can before Sans begins to burn.

It’s the best he’s ever felt and he still can’t talk, just moan and shiver and touch himself. He’s fairly sure a final gush of magic comes out of him somewhere as Grillby whooshes back out of him to hover protectively an inch or so above his body again, flames crackling and dancing with slow satisfaction. He moves slow and amorphous above and behind him, watching Sans enjoy himself, flickering out to stroke and soothe, stay close. So close.

He’s not sure how long it takes before he manages to flop back over heavily, still kinda curled up but facing Grillby’s smug expression now. Sans can’t manage to feel petulant, or even think of a way to tease him about it. He feels too good. Grillby earned that look; he knows because he still feels it. Holy shit, does he ever feel it.

He reaches out with his fingerbones, waves them through the flames and loves the way they feel, loves the way they look as he tries to focus his dilated eyes through slitted sockets. He thinks his teeth are open, and he doesn’t care that Grillby can see the skewed space between them. He feels far too dazed and satisfied to be self-conscious; so good, so calm and happy. He’s still idly fingering between his ribs with one hand as he warms up the other in Grillby, his incandescence lovely to him in all dimensions of his vision despite his high LV. Grillby’s intentions are good, and he does exactly what he wants to be doing. He keeps a warm place in the cold for whoever might need it.

We used to have a saying, Grillby crackles softly after a while, letting a runnel of fire slide up Sans’s humerus. A tiny shower of sparks follows Sans’s graceful flicking gesture outward, and a wave of red rises through him. It’s a good thing. Sans doesn’t ask about “we” or “used to”; doesn’t ask why Grillby’s the only person made of fire in the underground. Grillby doesn’t ask why Sans’s body tries to hurt his soul without his knowledge or permission when someone else is present. They both pretty much figure. Sans tilts his face up; Grillby firms up a little so he can rub it on him. They let themselves touch and be touched, let what they’re sharing resonate between them.

Fire goes where warmth is needed most.

 

Chapter Text

“YOU’RE NOT ACTUALLY HELPING BY DOING THAT, YOU KNOW.”

Annoying Dog doesn’t give a shit. Well, Papyrus doesn’t know that for certain, but he knows that face.

Papyrus steps over Annoying Dog again...then again as he reappears directly in front of his feet each time he takes a step. He lets out a put upon sigh, but it could honestly be much worse. It could be the bees again.

Papyrus gets to the edge and lets himself down a bit at a time, then dips his brush into the jar of paint and adds another swath of greyish-brown until the boards look convincingly weathered. Hmm. He adds a few details with the long, thin brush, black to create the shadowed illusion of nails barely holding the board in place.

Annoying Dog jumps up to lick his mandible. The answer to the meaning of life; barkbarkbARkBARKbark; that last board could stand to look a little more rickety; every word ever spoken played backwards and upside down; Someone Is Coming.

“THAT LAST IS CONSIDERABLY OTHER THAN USUAL! I WONDER WHO IT IS?”

The black points in Papyrus’s black sockets flicker briefly; Annoying Dog can always see them but that’s not not usual. Papyrus climbs off his makeshift scaffolding and back to the top of the rock formation he’s painting to look like a precarious wooden bridge, then looks both ways before crossing the street. There’s a faint point of light coming from the direction of Snowdin, flickering dimly as it approaches. He doesn’t have the keenest of eyesight, but there aren’t very many people that could be, and he definitely shouldn’t be out here. It’s much too dangerous.

Annoying Dog winks out as Papyrus strides towards the light with a hand up holding his wide-brimmed sun hat in place despite the ribbons tied under his chin, moving quickly enough that his quarry won’t reach the bridge. There’s actually wind here, and there aren’t many places underground that have wind. He doesn’t know what might happen if Grillby was exposed to wind and snow at the same time, and doesn’t care to find out, so he won’t. Annoying Dog winks back in across his shoulders like a shawl, because of course they don’t want to miss the show. Papyrus considers rolling his eyes, but the only one who can see it is Annoying Dog, so the effort would be wasted anyhow.

Grillby’s looking decidedly faint, and what passes for his arms are wrapped around the rest of his body. His clothing is fireproof of course, but Papyrus has no idea if it’s snowproof or windproof. His bar’s Grillbyproof and Grillby’s barproof, but he’s not necessarily Snowdinproof.

“IT IS INSANELY DANGEROUS FOR YOU TO BE HERE??” Papyrus shouts as soon as he’s within polite shouting distance, continuing to stride forward. He’s tempted to check on this, but he doesn’t want to get distracted right now so he just goes with it. He meets him right before the bridge begins or ends, depending on which direction you’re facing.

“I DON’T THINK YOU-”

I needed to speak with you alone, Grillby interrupts, and Papyrus’s eyes flicker again. … So I suppose it’s a good thing you’re one of the only people in Snowdin who spends time alone.

Papyrus clacks his mandible shut after a moment. “RUDE, BUT TRUE. IS MY BROTHER IN NEED OF A SCENE? I CAN’T IMAGINE SOMETHING LIKE THAT WOULD REQUIRE YOU TO RISK YOUR LIFE, BUT-”

Have you ever shared your soul with anyone? Grillby pants fervently, sickly grey around the edges and shivering, looking half dead as snow hisses into his face.

Papyrus drops his paintbrush from numb, gloved phalanges, and watches it roll across painted rock and into the abyss below.

Annoying Dog winks out.

 

***

Sans pushes open the door to Grillby’s in the middle of the day. Then he stops dead and rocks back on his heels a little in surprise, because his brother’s in here. Sure, he can’t see his face but he’d know that massive, ribbon-decked bonnet anywhere, especially when it’s attached to the only other skeleton in the underground.

Papyrus is seated primly right up at the bar with a glass the size of a pitcher in front of him, half-empty and bristling with skewers and umbrellas, frills and straws. As he approaches Papyrus picks it up and takes a straw between his teeth; the level of whatever thick, frothy substance is in the glass lowers by about half again. He turns and glances over his shoulder, and one of his sockets slides shut.

“WHY HELLOOOOOoooo, SANS. FANCY… SEEING YOU IN A PLACE LIKE THIS.

“heya, bro,” Sans replies cautiously, wiggling and lurching up onto a barstool next to him. He glances at Grillby, who flickers an innocent greeting. “um… whatcha having?”

“YOU NEVER TOLD ME ABOUT THE MILKSHAKES HERE,” he sighs lustily. “YOU’VE BEEN...REMISS IN YOUR BROTHERLY OBLIGATIONS REGARDING RESTAURANTS AND HEARSAY.”

Sans just gapes at him as the rest of the milkshake disappears, eye lights flickering as Papyrus scoots back his seat and stands up.

“I’D REALLY LOVE TO STAY AND CHAT, BUT I FEEL AN EXTENDED INTERLUDE OF INTERPRETIVE DANCE COMING ON. YOU KNOW HOW IT IS,” he adds with a gracious nod, and makes his way to the door and out with no further comment.

What are you having? Grillby asks mildly.

Sans frowns at him suspiciously.

It’s none of your business, Grillby adds bluntly after the silence grows prolonged.

His eyes flicker so sharply he can actually feel it, and he opens and shuts his sockets a few times to dispel the discomfort.

“wow, okay,” he says quietly after a minute of rasping his distal thumb across his forehead. “uh. can i get a smooth regular?”

Grillby flickers primly and complies; Sans is very confused but also somehow feels like he dodged a bullet.

***

 

It’s been a long, shitty day and evening in Snowdin forest, but Sans lets that drop away as he pushes open the door to his home. Not his house, but the other place he feels just as welcome. He lets the friendly, teasing, and irritable greetings of the few remaining regulars still at Grillby’s wash over him like a soothing rain. After tossing out saucy replies and ribbing a Dog or two that had it coming, he shuffles up to the bar and heaves himself onto one of the stools. He folds up his arms, lets his eyes go soft and his sockets narrow, sets his skull down to wait for Grillbz to notice him.

He’s a little sad that he hasn’t yet.

Maybe even a little cranky about it.

Sans turns his head to the side, frowning at Grillby’s back as he busies himself at the other end of the bar. He seems even crankier than Sans, and something about it seems directed at him. When he finally makes his way over to the short skeleton waiting patiently at the end of the bar, Sans has progressed from increasingly annoyed to mildly concerned.

“there a reason you’re givin’ me the cold shoulder, hot stuff?”

It’s a busy night, Sans. You shouldn’t take it personally.

Sans glances around the bar; there are maybe seven people here. As he speaks, another two bid their goodnights and head on out. He looks back up at Grillby, thinking rapidly.

He’s looking a little purple around the edges, spins on his heel without taking Sans’s order and heads to the back. Sans frowns, then hops down from his chair and shuffles behind the bar, pours his own drink. He puts G on the counter along with the other piles and takes his glass on over to Lola’s booth. He sits with a heavy sigh and a little rattle as he warms the rest of the way. The chill of snow seems like it takes longer and longer to leave his bones every time.

He sets money on the table, but she waves it away like always.

“what’s eating him?” he asks after drinking about half his glass.

She blinks sleepily but smiles sharply.

“you haven’t asked to see him in forty-seven years,” she replies calmly. “he misses you.”

Sans gapes at her. No way. No way it’s been that long. He thinks rapidly for about two seconds, then hops up, reaches back for his glass and downs it as he shuffles doubletime to door to the back. He pushes it open as he tosses the glass into the bar sink with barely a clink; the few patrons left raise their eyebrows but don’t say anything except to each other.

Grilly’s leaning over the counter in the back, and Sans comes up to him hesitantly.

“hey,” he starts. “m’sorry. i didn’t-”

Don’t do me any favors, Sans.

Sans exhales slowly.

“i don’t play that kinda game,” he informs him bluntly. “i don’t play this kinda game, either,” he adds after another minute or so of staring at Grillby’s back. The fire elemental turns around slowly, softens as he sees Sans’s face. He still crosses his arms and leans back against the counter petulantly, tears his gaze away to look at the door. Not the one back to the main room, either.

Sans nods sadly in acknowledgement. “didn’t even figure it out on my own, either. m’sorry.”

Grillby flickers, softening further. Sans doesn’t apologize for much. Ever. Not unless he really feels sorry, feels like he did something he regrets. Or regrets not doing something, as the case may be.

“haven’t been feeling so hot lately,” he admits quietly.

You don’t…

“know i don’t seem like it,” he whispers. “don’t really want anyone ta know. maybe that’s why it slipped my mind,” he finishes, voice almost disappearing. “it, uh.” He makes his dry throat-clearing noise. “time gets away from me sometimes,” he adds weakly, rasping a thumb across his forehead rapidly. “specially when i don’t… feel right.”

You don’t have to pretend to be okay here, Grillby points out, sounding incredulous under the aloof tone. …You know that, and you’ve always… I thought…

Sans shuffles closer, looks up with a sad smile.

“don’t want you to think less of me,” he says, then holds his arms up hopefully. Grillby steps forward and holds him, gets solid so Sans can rub his face on him.

I don’t, Grillby reassures him, crackling and he runs flames carefully over the top of his skull. … I never have.

Sans tilts his skull back.

“you wanna go somewhere with me?” he asks, sincere and hopeful.

Sans lets out a surprised whoop as Grillby picks him up suddenly, then squeezes him back with a growling chuckle as he’s carried over to the door that leads upstairs.

“i ain’t exactly a featherweight, grillbz!” he giggles incredulously as being swept off his feet continues. He’s absolutely delighted, and he doesn’t need to drink anything for his mood to change pretty quick. Grillby doesn’t stop when he reaches the landing, instead carrying him over to what Sans sees is a bed. The room’s been rearranged slightly to accommodate it, and it’s pretty damn comfortable as Grillby sets him down on it. A flicker of flames and empty clothing falls to the floor; Sans starts pulling his off as quickly as he can the second he hits the mattress.

“gotta save at least some a my clothes, right? can’t have a nudist sentry scandalizin the Dog patrol,” he gasps, finally kicking out of his shorts and tossing them away. They’re not fireproof, but he’s assuming this bed must be. He wonders how long it took to fireproof something big like that. And how much longer after it was done being fireproofed that Grillbz had to wait to show it to him.

“get in here,” he groans, and just that quick he’s on fire. “fuck,” he sighs tightly, petting his ribs with flaming fingers and shivering as he warms up quick.

He rasps his carpals along his femurs, wiggles in delight and anticipation. He brings phalanges down to the rim of his ribcage, hesitates.

“was jus’ wonderin’,” he whispers, sockets narrowed to slits. “there’s this thing i like to do to myself sometimes, and i thought you might like it too. while we’re like this?”

What is it?

He indicates the space between his pelvis and ribcage with his finger, circles it a bit. “put my hand in here, move it around a little. really gets me going sometimes,” he informs playfully, ingenuously. “we got the same thing happening in there, right? you interested? s’okay if you don’t wanna.”

“s’okay,” Sans smiles gently, rasping his carpals along his femurs again with a pleased little shiver. Then he rubs his palm along his sternum, feels a little something there, too.

“you got me all hot n bothered…” he sighs, grinning. “jus’ wanna get you there, too. maybe this instead?” he whispers as he presses a light question at the flames inside him. “i could-”

He cuts off as Grillby brings his soul out in a rush, crackling and flickering madly inside him. Sans brings his fingers up underneath in a reflexively protective gesture; he doesn’t touch.

“hey,” he soothes softly, impatience and terrible need flickering across the luminous white soul silver-gilding his distal phalanges. “s’okay. ‘m gonna give you what you want, you just gotta let me know. i’m not gonna just start doing stuff. can you tell me?”

Sans lets himself get a good long eyeful while Grillby struggles, conflicted. “i know it’s hard to say it.” Sans rubs his flaming humerus soothingly, then shivers and moans as Grillby gets...less permeable inside him somehow. “ohhhh… that’s, uh. didn’t know you could do that,” he whispers softly, sockets listing as he pushes his skull back into the pillow a little. He sees embarrassment and concern flit across the soul he’s gazing into adoringly. “nah, i like it. s’okay.” Grillby’s struggling for self control, but Sans trusts him.

“you feel me lookin at you? want you so much, you got no idea. but i want you to let me,” Sans coaxes. “want you to be my business… wanna know all about you,” Sans pants softly. Grillby gives a soft, hissing moan under the torrent of words as he heats up even more. “will you touch yourself? let me see what you like?”

Grillby makes a sizzling noise as flames finally make contact with his soul. “that’s it...” Sans gushes as raw need trembles, turns over to show what’s underneath. Loneliness, pride, yearning. “let me see,” he whispers. “i wanna see it all, grillbz. you gonna show me?”

Grillby weeps softly; pride and loneliness tremble across his soul again; need surges up to show itself again. He wants to be held, touched. Body and soul. He needs it.

“you gotta say it,” Sans whispers. “m not gonna just start doing stuff to you, okay? don’t think cause i know what i’m doing a little more now means i’m about to jus’ do whatever i want.”

Need quivers across his soul so strong Sans moans; he can’t help it. But his patience flows deep, and he’s nearly impossible to goad. Especially not like this, not at such a tender, private moment.

“i like it, though.” He smiles softly. “like seeing how you get.”

Sans…

“hmmm?” He sighs happily. Gets a real nice eyeful as desire rushes up under Grillby’s touch, softens and spreads until something else peeks through. “mm. you want me to touch you like i said before?”

Grillby weeps wordlessly with how much he wants exactly that, and Sans starts to see what’s holding him back from getting it. But just like Grillby won’t hurt him, Sans won’t touch without asking...or being asked.

Sans skates his fingertips along his ribcage provocatively, then avoids the space between it and his pelvis completely to run a thumb along his iliac crest, feeling Grillby flicker and sizzle, seething in the spaces inside and between his bones.

“wanna know you so bad,” Sans encourages in a low rumble, sliding his thumb on his ilium teasingly. “want to get you right where you wanna be, but you gotta say so. you want me to touch us together like i was saying before?”

There’s a wheeze like superheated charcoal about to implode.

Yes.

“that’s it,” Sans whispers as he sees what flits across the soul his gaze is locked on, shivering as it curls into another shape to reveal itself. Oh...that’s interesting. Grillby can’t wait anymore… and he doesn’t want this moment to end. Sans keeps on looking at him, thinking about him, liking what he sees.

There are games Sans doesn’t play; there are others he might like to try out.

He finally slides a hand inside his body between his pelvis and ribcage, testing his and Grillby’s combined permeable magic. He hears the sizzle of surprise as his hand moves; he sees pleasure, excitement, a hot bloom of anticipation.

“feels real good for me, too,” Sans sighs, moaning as the flames inside him get a little less permeable again. “hmm… even better when ya do that,” he adds, sockets slipping almost shut as he moves his spread fingers in a slow circle inside their bodies. The fire in his body makes the magic holding his bones together feel hot and thick, even softer than it usually is when he does this, and yeah… he’s pretty into it. His breathing deepens and his next exhale’s a moan; he sees a spike of desire and feels Grillby’s shudder all around him.

“want me to touch you, huh?” Sans teases lightly. “gotta ask me, okay?”

Grillby pants silently, starbursts of surprise and yearning swirling up in his soul. Sans’s grin gains a little edge; yeah, looks like he’s really on to something here, isn’t he. He waits to watch it soften and spread, feels Grillby relax a little. He keeps moving his hand, listening and watching, waiting and taunting.

“gotta ask me real nice,” he pants. “tell me you want me.”

Grillby moans plaintively, still holding back. Sans is more than prepared to wait him out, keeps on touching their bodies and letting his fingers up under his soul get closer. Teasing without touching, implying without giving in.

Sans…

“mmhm?” He gives an innocent socket-blink and watches carefully; Grillby knows it’s up to him. Sans is just helping him along, helping him feel exactly how he wants to feel. Desire pushes itself up under his watchful gaze, need shakes itself out from underneath as flames flicker, gasping what they require for combustion from the air all around. Sans can feel that, too. Nice.

“gotta ask me,” he whispers, trembling and touching.

.Sans, please….

Sans gasps and arches as he sees what this does to him, it’s...it’s so strong. Holy shit.

...Please touch me…

Sans buries his fingers in Grillby’s soul, gives him a rush of how this makes him feel to see that happen, to watch the layers slowly quiver away from the white-hot core of longing he just showed him. They groan wildly together, sparking and hissing into each other as Sans gives in to what he wants almost as much as Grillby does. Phalanges skate out and press; his middle phalanx curves deep to let him feel it more… and Grillby lets him know what he wants.

“yeah,” Sans pants gamely, “but looks like i’m outta hands, grillbz. think you could help me out?” He’s so excited he can taste it, he gives him a little of that too and feels him flicker-moan madly. Grillby wants him so much, to call him, to see him and touch; to feel close. Sans knows, and he wants want he asked for.

Flames tease at his sternum outside, and then more come up from inside his ribcage as Sans shudders and gasps. “you got tricks too, huh?” he pants faintly. He didn’t know this was a thing you could do, but apparently it is. It’s really doing it for him; bone fingertips trace intricate patterns in body and soul, maintaining and elevating their arousal.

Then he feels his soul being called, and holy shit, that’s strong. He arches up with a broken shout, shuddering madly as his eyes lose focus, spreading out wide in their sockets. He’s never felt so purely wanted; Grillby calls everything he is with everything he has, proving the strength of his desire with more than words. Phalanges curve: he gives this incredible feeling right back, echoing through them both until it gets bigger and bigger, filling them up until he calls again. Sans cries out in breathless surprise as he responds, then makes a soft wail he’s never heard before as he feels a giddy, exhilarating tug deep inside him. It’s like being picked up and carried to bed times a hundred. His soul emerges luminous and delicate, called forth to be seen and felt. To be held and touched, just the way he likes.

That last thought makes him grunt and tremble as his control buckles. His hand leaves their bodies; he reaches out to touch himself right away with a deep shiver of longing that turns immediately to one of profound satisfaction. He’s glad for the balance it lends him, because he didn’t know that their souls being out at the same time would feel like this. It’s… it feels close. He moans plaintively. They’re so close.

Grillby brushes him soft with a mild apology for his impatience; a tinge of caution. They should be careful now, they don’t want to accidentally increase the population, right? Sans grins; they’re definitely on the same page there. “’m gonna be real careful, don’t you worry. i-”

Grillby flows up and out of him, Sans shivers as he realizes he was getting a little too hot. He smiles up at roiling flames, winks. “see you got my back, too, huh? between the two of us we got it all taken care of,” he sighs happily. “mmm...you gonna trust me too?” he asks, face soft and vulnerable, magic-sheened and lit warmly by Grillby’s body. Grillby makes a tight noise, sparks pattering down onto Sans as he shuts his sockets, then lets him feel his confidence. He knows exactly where everything is, even with his eyes shut. Sometimes especially then. “i can make it feel even closer, if you want me to,” he whispers softly.

Grillby shooshes and pants, and Sans slides his phalanges smooth through his own soul with a controlled shudder, gives in to impulse and lets Grillby feel that too. He gasps with it, flickering and dancing above him. He lets him know: he loves how Sans feels to himself. He wants that, he loves the feeling. He wants more.

Sans curses softly as his skull presses back into the fireproofed pillow; his sockets shed magic and Grillby flicks it away, tasting his anticipation eagerly. Sans skates his fingers out wide, presses in gently and gives him that too, brings their souls even closer together.

“you want that?” he asks softly; he does. Flames roar softly as he gives it to him; lets it echo back and forth a little more and… fuck, he’s pushing a little now, and Grillby feels it. He loves the sensations of Sans enjoying his own touch, his own magic.

“…feels real close, doesn’t it? feels like me…” Sans murmurs vaguely, really feeling himself now with Grillby’s participation. “you want me like that?” He wants to feel it, he wants him so much. “gonna give you as much as i can,” he promises. He groans as it twinges inside him, makes him shiver with inexplicable and delicious feelings of transgression. Grillby flicker-shudders hard, doing his best to wait, to anticipate. To trust.

“get in here,” Sans whispers it this time. Grillby sinks back down inside again, joining their bodies; a rush of desire fills him from Sans. “want you to touch me,” he pants softly, and flames race along bone to coat his fingers. Sans’s heel pushes at the fireproof mattress; he arches up as soothing, provocative heat fills his soul as well, and his hands bring their souls within millimeters of each other above his ribcage.

Grillby feels caution again; Sans greets it warmly with a rush of confidence and reassurance. He knows exactly where everything is. The closer he brings them, the more Grillby can feel how true it is. Sans shivers deliciously, lets him catch a glimpse of something sharp and subversive glinting in his depths. Flames roar with longing; it’s luring him in relentlessly. He wants to know. Sans gives it to him again; total control and its opposite combusting into a tiny point of light far below the surface. It glows and glints like fire, but it’s not coming from Grillby. It’s how Sans feels to himself sometimes, a wicked little coil of temptation, a tiny burst of giving himself what he wants, just a bit. He tilts their souls even closer, fills Grillby with a rush of dangerous pleasure and he fits and starts inside him, gets a little more solid to fill up the space between his bones with heat and pressure.

Oh, wow. That’s really doing it for him. Doing it for both of them; the way they agitate each other inside’s making this heady and rich, so very physical and more than that at the same time.

Sans’s voice is chasing his breath with every exhale now; a little more of his magic pushes inside and he lets it echo, weaving his flaming phalanges back and forth between them now to share even more. Grillby lets him know that he’s never felt anything like this; it’s better than he ever could have imagined. Sans knows, he lets him feel anticipation: Sans feels so good to himself, he won’t believe it. Does he want to feel him push this for real?

Grillby flickers and solidifies a little more with a hissing wail of assent; he’s going to push, too. At the same time, to feel it as much as he can, make it last. He never wants to stop.

Sans writhes gentle and aimless as their bodies oscillate steadily inside each other. He pants shallowly, then lets his breath gush out soft and satisfied as he pushes deep. He gives in to feel it as hard as he can, gets their souls real close as Grillby does the same, lets him know. Feels good coming out, feels good going in. Slow, steady pressure as it closes over him; two tiny points gets closer and closer, desire and its fulfillment, control and its opposite slowly meeting, yearning, challenging each other until they might explode. But instead they become, they spark right into each other under the waves and Sans swallows them down in a big, thirsty gulp. Makes him feel it.

He rolls over, switches what he’s doing to one hand. He’s managed to hold back enough that he won’t fall into a stupor; when the feeling’s echoed back into him from Grillby it seems like he got more than he did, adds a fullness and intimacy to the lingering emotions and sensations he could really get used to. He doesn’t stop touching himself, though. He reaches back inside their joined bodies, wondering if Grillby can do that-oh, there we go. Impatient as always, so needy. He loves it; can’t get enough. Grillby’s flattered and gratified, firms up even more in response to see if Sans likes it. He does. He glides his phalanges through their magic, shuddering and moaning as the increased solidity agitates his own magic even more, then he dandles fingers down into his pelvis, wiggles them in a silent question.

Grillby’s into it. Nice. He slides a distal phalanx down and back up his pubic symphysis suggestively, encouraging his magic to quiver up and become not-part of him, offering itself to the flames. He darts around outside to take it, and Sans grunts appreciatively. Keeps making noise because now he’s coaxing even more, flickering and sizzling and sparking and it feels...wowww. Hot and frantic, just like his soul feels around his fingers, combined with the deep, delicious sensation of his magic being tasted. That’s… yeah, that’s amazing.

Grillby’s paying close attention to how hot his bones are getting; he whooshes back out after a minute but leaves his flames in their souls. He draws air through the spaces between bones to help him cool down, pulling through his permeable magic by getting close and fluctuating his temperature. He draws sensation from his body as the temperature changes convince his magic to share itself again. Sans gasps in surprised pleasure, then moans it out gently. He flickers more quickly at his pubis to avoid making him hotter, and it turns out that really does it for him; Sans cries out with gratification as his magic gushes forth to hiss apart in the fire.

Sans can’t believe it; being touched by fire is already utterly unlike anything else he’s felt in his life, but he didn’t know anything was capable of making his body feel good this way. He goes limp; feels messy and wet, feels dry and hot-sweet. Grillby smiles, gives him another rush of his own taste on purpose this time. Sans shudders and arches, ready to take as much as he’ll give him as he pants hungrily, the points in his sockets spreading soft with wonder.

He growls low and breathy as Grillby curls inside his pelvic inlet to stroke his pubis from the back too; Sans realizes he’s pushing again as he lifts his hips to beg wordlessly, and he doesn’t care. He wants to feel like this forever.

Grillby’s chuckling and Sans knows he’s smug about turning this around on him, getting him back good for his little game earlier. Much earlier, maybe. Part of him tinges with belated concern; there are still patrons downstairs, and he’s forgotten all about them. Not very responsible of him. Sans giggles, checks on them. They’re behaving themselves; Grillby smokes in surprise as Sans lets him know he can do that, and that he can again if he likes. Besides, it’s not like the four people still here don’t know what they’re up to. Lola winks; everyone’s fine and happy, they know why they disappeared earlier and they’re welcome to stay gone as for long as they need.

Sans gives Grillby a big, shameless grin, lifts his pelvis to meet flickering flames again as his sockets narrow.

This is the kind of game where everyone wins.

 

***

 

Sans cuddles further into Alphys, then glances up at her soft, dreamy expression. It’s been another long day, and they’re taking a well-deserved break from the endless lists of numbers that are relentlessly, mind-numbingly the same, and that they both fervently hope will never not be. His fingers trace a question, then back away to pet the outside of her thigh instead. She sighs contentedly with a slow blink of her nictitating membranes, gives him a squeeze and keeps on daydreaming. Sans gets curious eventually, keeps watching her face while pretending to drowse.

“met someone?” he giggles after a little while.

Alphys blushes bright orange, giggles back a little.

“Maybe,” she whispers. Ohhh, nice. She’s really into whoever it is. Then her face falls. “Not l-l-like she’d ever be into me, though,” she adds.

“bet she is,” Sans contradicts agreeably. “bet she’s nuts for ya.” He has absolutely no idea who, where, what, why, or how, but when Alphys glances down there can be no doubt he means it with every fiber of his being.

She still shakes her head, but her blush doesn’t go anywhere.

“Ehheheheheh… m-m-maybe I c-can… see if she l-likes anime?” she suggests, glancing away and back repeatedly.

“that’s a good idea, al,” he whispers before she has a chance to tank her own suggestion, snuggling in as his sockets close again. “see? you already know what ta do.”

“Ehhehheh.” Sans falls asleep, but even though Alphys is tired, he doesn’t quite manage to take her with him this time.

She feels too fluttery inside.

 

***

 

Papyrus opens the door to Grillby’s with his cowboy-booted foot, his arms occupied by a pile of sticks and stones, unsalvageable paper that’s already been copied out and put in the librar(b)y, several of Sans’s oldest and rattiest sweaters, the rusted front half of a bicycle, and a plate of pasta balanced precariously on top.

His wide-brimmed cowboy hat is hidden by the pile’s teetering height, although the teetering is more for dramatic effect than anything else. Not that anyone’s going to be paying much attention to anything but what’s happening in the middle of the partially-open bar right now, but that can’t cramp Papyrus’s style. Not much can, really. He’s just too stylish to be effectively cramped, even in such a time-crowded space.

Sans and Lola sit on either side of a bonfire in the middle of the floor. The tables have been moved to the sides and some of the chairs turned over to be rested on top. The bar’s been mostly vacated for what might be a day or two, or might not. It’s less of a depressing prospect than usual, since this sort of thing happens in its own time no matter where or when it occurs, and that’s incredibly comforting.

This takes as long as it takes, and Sans and Lola will keep an eye out and feed the flames until it’s done.

Papyrus lets the door shut behind him, strides over and sets the pile down carefully next to his brother, snatches the plate off the top as the bike half wobbles, then steadies. He crouches down to hand it to Sans, then just gazes thoughtfully into the flames for a minute.

Sans pokes around in the pasta with an index phalanx.

“heh. you know asgore’s gonna get cranky when he finds out you’re feedin’ folks money again.”

Papyrus sniffs.

“NONSENSE. I’M JUST A GRACIOUS NEIGHBOR BRINGING A PLATE OF PASTA TO REMIND GRILLBY WHAT GOOD FOOD TASTES LIKE.”

Sans smiles approvingly as he slowly slides the plate into the flames. Eating money is good luck for expectant parents; Asgore just gets his panties in a twist when he has to mint replacement funds because he’s bad at math, and feels guilty asking Sans to do yet another job for him so he struggles it out on his own. Money and children are both symbols of hope and signify change, so it’s unlikely that anyone’s going to stop eating money and turning it into new people anytime soon.

Lola smiles and meets his gaze with hooded eyes from across the conflagration; she’s feeding a few more rocks, cinnamon bunnies, and sticks in silently. She hadn’t been very talkative when Heats was born either, but her steady, reliable presence comforts all of them. Every once in a while she drops what she’s holding to pick at something invisible in the air, but after a minute or two she finds something she can actually catch and continues her ministrations.

“hey, bro, d’you ever-”

...It’s time.

Papyrus sits down next to his brother with a clackity-thump, face glowing expectantly. The flames lighten, and a wave of heat strong enough that Lola has to scoot back a little to avoid singed fur flows out from the center. After a moment a different sort of light appears; a tendril of flame curves outward and a soul follows; it’s not Grillby’s.

Substance flows from Grillby to the new person, curling around it protectively, then substantially. It changes color and shape several times, but when he finally sets it down on the fireproof floorboards and lets go, the glow of the new soul is hidden by pale green flames.

Hello. I am Fuku.

Papyrus grins smugly as Sans pats his shoulder; he’s glad he brought the money.

It’s nice to meet you, Fuku. I’m Grillby, your parent. Are you hungry?

Yes.

Sans smiles soft, rasps magic out of the groove beneath his socket and quickly wipes it on his sweater. His other hand emerges from his pocket holding a single, quivering leaf. The lady on the other side of the door had understood what he’d asked for immediately. A few days later she’d slid this through the tiny crack just wide enough to permit a piece of paper every once in a while. It’s not always there, but Sans is glad it managed to be before this was finished.

The leaf is fallen down, and at least half of its substance is still physical.

He holds it out to Grillby, but he flicker-shakes his head, nods toward Fuku.

This is Sans. He has something for you to eat. Would you like it?

Hello, Sans. Yes, I am hungry. Will you give me something to eat?

Sans holds the leaf delicately between two phalanges, and extends his hand out towards the green flames. After a taste and a surprised flicker, it disappears with a hot whump and Fuku immediately triples in size.

Is there more?

Not right now, Grillby replies gently. … Not like that was. But there is something else for you. This is Lola, and she has something for you to eat.

She nods, pulls out a double fistful of G and sets it all in front of Fuku. It disappears too, and Fuku’s color deepens beautifully.

That was good. I feel hopeful. I am… lucky.

Lola smiles and nods in satisfaction; her hand plucks at nothing but her gaze stays on Fuku. Another layer adds itself.

This is Papyrus, Grillby continues after an emotional minute. … He also has something for you. Would you like it?

Yes.

“I FORGED THIS HANDCRAFTED ARTISANAL PASTA ESPECIALLY FOR YOU,” he announces with gusto. “BONE APETIT!”

Papyrus removes his big, floppy cowboy hat to reveal another plate balanced on his head. It holds 35 stuffed shells, each one containing something different. He pushes the plate towards Fuku, and consuming this one takes a few minutes.

When it’s gone, Fuku stands up because they’re shaped much like Grillby is most of the time now.

I’m your daughter, she says brightly, looks around herself with interest and intelligence. … I would like something pretty to wear. ...Do you have clothing for me?

Yes, Grillby announces proudly, and pushes forward five different fireproofed options. She chooses the small blue smock printed with stars. He helps her put it on, and she studies everything shyly at first, then with increasing fascination.

I like it here. Can I stay?

Grillby flicker-sobs quietly.

For now. After a while you will feel restless, and preparations have been made to take you somewhere you can roam freely. Until then, you may stay here. After that, you may decide to continue to roam, or you may stay in one place. It will be up to you.

How long will it take?

Grillby dims.

There is no way to know that where we are now. We are underground, and we cannot get out. I will explain what this means to you more completely as it becomes necessary.

Fuku absorbs that quietly.

...Will you show me how to make things to eat? Like what Papyrus said.

Grillby weeps, flows forward to curl in around green flames. Fuku shivers happily, pets him back.

Yes, he sobs quietly. I will feed you many different things so you can know them as well.

I’d like to learn things. That is what this is, correct? To eat, to speak with others. They are not like me, correct?

Grillby is quiet for a long minute, flickering with emotion.

Yes, we are all different. We all know many things, some the same, some different. But I am the only one who knows certain things. I will show you everything I know, if you would like to learn.

Yes! I would… like that, Fuku finishes shyly, then smiles boldly under Grillby's approval and reassurance.

Sans rocks happily on his bony butt, holding his slippered feet in his hands and giving them a pleased little squeeze. He makes a mental note to have a chat with Asgore; time to start up the school in Hotland again. There are at least….three other students he can think of who’ll be ready around the same time (theoretically) as Fuku will be, if she’s anything like Heats. Who knows, maybe Heats wants to finally give it a try, too. You never know what might happen.

Sans chuckles quietly, and Grillby looks over at him. They share a lingering look; certain feelings are hard to come by underground, but however long today decides to last feels full of the rarest: hope.

 

***

 

Sans turns away from the sunset, ambling swiftly until he’s out of sight. Reality unravels; the next time he exists it’s in a spot he knows well. He takes a bracing breath, pushes open the fire door and makes a beeline behind the bar.

Grillby turns around, breathlessly expectant.

...What’s happened? Is it gone? Is it… is it really...

Words evaporate in the heat and Grillby weeps; he knows. He can feel it.

Sans shuffles forward as he trembles and flickers; when he reaches up he has something to hang on to.

“gonna take you someplace nice real quick,” he pants softly, fingers dipping and stroking into flames, brushing sparks out to dance up his phalanges in yearning. He gets solid so they can rub their faces together, long and lingering enough that Sans feels like his soul might crack in half; Grillby’s patience chooses its moments well. The people in the bar ignore them, they’re chattering and celebrating themselves, working up their own courage or just sitting quietly, drinking it in. They don’t look behind the bar, unless they do. It’s nobody’s business; everyone knows.

He doesn’t even take his apron off before he’s on a hillside, and he sees it.

It’s setting.

He falls to what could be considered his knees, weeping as tendrils of flame spread out from where he is, consuming the taste of thick-heavy physical substance for the first time in… millennia. More time than can be counted. The sun looks like it’s burning, just like him. Looks like he feels inside, pink and orange and fuchsia and magenta and orange and white-hot in the center, just like his soul.

Grillby feels his own strength full and brutal as he creeps over the surface (the surface, the surface) of the ground and scours it bare; Sans only breathes a light huff of amusement as his clothing meets its fate, and his phone thunks to the burning grass. He can always just pop back into his bedroom to get more once Grillby calms down a little, then take him back.

Then…

Then…

Flames tease hesitantly at his bones, magic gushes from his sockets. He won’t ask, even now.

“get in here,” he whispers so quietly it falls right under the roar of flames; Grillby hears him, he knows. He rushes up inside while Sans lies down right into him, lets himself hold and be held. Neither look away from the sun for even a moment. Sans pets himself idle and soothing with flaming fingers, feels two souls resonating together with the same clean, simple joy.

Sans witnesses day turning into night for the first time lying naked in the roaring core of a wildfire slowly consuming about three acres of scrub.

Sparks swirl up like they can touch the sky, and they die trying.

He lifts his bare arms and weeps softly as he watches his phalanges reach out, wiggling happily like they’re going to touch it, too.

 

 

Chapter Text

Sans pushes open the door.

It’s morning, and the only ones here are Lola and Grillby. And him now, too. Grillby watches him silently as he shuffles the length of the bar, turns the corner around the bussing station and behind the counter. He keeps his sedate pace until he stops in front of him, almost touching. Then he looks up, holds his arms out. Grillby gets a little less permeable and Sans grabs his shoulders, hangs from them and falls into him with a grunt. He gives him something to press his frontal bone against, and he does so with an explosive exhale.

What is it, Sans? Can I help?

Sans trembles and moans when he hears his voice, then tilts his skull back to look up into his flaming face.

“you busy?”

Not really.

“wanna see you. want you to know me,” he says shakily. “you… still want to?”

...Yes, he answers quickly. Let me…

Reality unravels, and they’re in Grillby’s room now. He has a bed, but he doesn’t use it for much. This, sometimes. A few of the regulars get permission to borrow it too. Rarely.

“i can’t wait anymore.” It’s a shocking admission coming from Sans, and he almost swoons as he rubs his face into raw fire, empty clothes already fallen to the floor. He hadn’t even felt like he had been waiting until he’d pushed open that door, but it’s hitting him like a backdraft now. Grillby starts to pull back to undress him, but Sans grips him tight. “don’t let me go,” he whispers plaintively. “jus’ take em.”

Grillby crackles indecisively; he isn’t used to seeing this kind of urgency.

please,” Sans adds tightly, and there’s a hot whump. He moans again as Grillby picks him up. Sans no longer has clothes on, and Grillby carries him to the bed. Sans knows he’s not exactly light and this is a bit of an effort for him, but he tries to be worth it. Tries to be as much trouble as he’s worth. Hopes it’s worth something, that he’s worth something. It’s a fragile hope, but he feels it as hard as he can. Grillby lays him down careful and sweet like he’s somebody, like he’s valuable and important. Like he wants to make sure he’s taken care of.

Sans pants heavily and pushes his hands up into flames as soon as they hover over him, watching them flicker as his fingers pass through. Despite his labored breath, now that he’s exactly where he wants to be his slow, deep patience is starting to trickle back in; he calms down a little, starts to feel happy and relaxed. Sparks patter down on him already, and more scatter into being as he flicks them free. They’re his magic, shed like this and a few other ways when Grillby gets excited. He hisses and crackles appreciatively, and Sans spreads his femurs to encourage him closer, radiating warmth and light.

“want you to tug me, okay?” he murmurs deeply, arching up as tongues of fire flick at his intercostal spaces. Another shower of sparks greets his words; Grillby’s always liked his bedroom talk. They slide eagerly into their rhythm together: Grillby touches and teases, Sans chats and taunts. He’s so excited his hands keep coming up on their own; he’s waited so long, he wants this so much. Sans spreads his fingers wide in the flames above where his knees are, runs them up and through Grillby’s body ending with a flourish above his head. He shuts his sockets as a rain of sparks come free, swirling wildly until they come to rest and wink out against bone. He hears his own rounded exhale add itself to Grillby’s hissing crackle of delight.

“love it when you sound like that,” he sighs passionately, opening his sockets to peek up. “already feels like i’m gonna jump right out for you.” There’s a rush of heat and even some smoke in response; Sans loves how Grillby’s body is, loves to see that slow swirl of desire. His magic feels good and looks so pretty, smells like sex and burnt sugar. His phalanges don’t stop tracing paths through the flames above him, but they slow lazily as he continues to whisper endearments, encouragement, describes how this makes him feel. He barely notices what he says as he lets the oscillating view of Grillby’s arousal hypnotize him, because anything he says here is okay. He feels his magic sheen his bones as he tries to let everything else drop away. He’s safe and warm, he’s cared for and wanted.

His hands get hotter and hotter as he goes on. His sockets go long and oval; he lets the uneven space between his teeth fall open in bliss. He smiles gently as his hands get close to burning, then pulls away to run his heated fingers down his own legs, past the patellas and rasping onto his tibias and fibulas, poking in between to slide them down with a shudder. A soft moan escapes him as he pushes heat right into the spot his tibia’s fused to the talus on the right side. It feels good, eases the strain. Makes him even more relaxed and happy. He sighs and shivers while Grillby laps at a few of his other fused bones and tickles at foramina, even his mandible loosening and managing to open a bit more than usual as he works it.

Sans is still clicking at his metatarsals and talus with one hand, but his other’s arched up above, swirling idly into flames at the back of Grillby’s head, brushing them up and out to create little sparkling bursts of magic from time to time. He tilts his head to the side and closes his sockets, lets flames lick between his vertebrae, grunts softly as they dip behind his clavicle. He squeezes his fused ankle with reserved heat as they tease at the tight space between his collarbone and first rib.

“hmmm...” It’s a little shaky as he feels heat questioning at his sternum. “yeah, jus’ like that,” he breathes. Then he peeks up suddenly.

“you okay, grillbz?” He’s not chatty like Sans, but this is even more quiet than usual.

I suppose I missed this more than I realized, he answers after a minute. We’ve gone much longer plenty of times, but I… I feel… Sans’s spine clacks gently inside him as he curls a little further into his intercostal spaces, still calling and questioning. However Grillby feels and can’t bring himself to say, he’s hoping to find out soon enough. He’s glad to wait now that he doesn’t have to. The thought makes him smile as Grillby continues.

It’s an interesting feeling. I’m not unhappy with it; the prospect of seeing you just excites me even more.

Sans tilts his skull back and exhales tightly as fire slides right up into his ribcage, coaxing his soul from inside his body. He grips his ankle hard, shudders and groans as he arches up under the strong call. It’s been a long time since Sans has felt this, too; feeling his soul called by someone who knows it well, enjoys doing this with him, can’t wait to see him like this. Grillby’s entreaty is always deep enough that it makes his body move to follow the question, like everything he is has to answer, longs to be drawn out by insistent desire. He knows how much Sans likes it, why he almost always asks for this.

Grillby gets amorphous, seethes provocatively against him before firming up to give him something to grab onto if he likes, configured like he’s sitting between his femurs. Sans hooks his free leg around him obligingly, reaches up to grab the pillow beside his head as their bodies flow together, flames racing under his spine to encourage his shivering, teasing between his ribs to increase his pleasure.

They tend to be more physical together than a lot of monsters, always have been. It’s deeply satisfying for both of them, and moving like this under his flickering, insistent touch makes Sans feel sexy, makes him feel wanted. Grillby’s not very patient, but he makes him feel his pull hard. The very next time Sans arches he feels that hot-sweet little tug; flames flicker up and through his ribs, keep on going. He likes the sound of his own shaky cry as his soul emerges eagerly to follow the teasing tongues of flame Grillby extends to cup him with.

Oh, Sans… he hisses poignantly. … you’re just as lovely as ever. You’re so

“what?” Sans pants softly, sockets closed and fixed grin softened into a dreamy smile. He feels his hot gaze delving in, really seeing him for exactly who he is: good, bad and neither. His brow creases as he’s saturated with validation, feeling present and accounted for, paid attention to. Like he matters; like he’s the only person in the world right now. Holy shit, that feels good; his sockets leak magic as his breath hitches. “tell me.”

You’ve healed a bit. There’s something...

“that thing you used to say?” he whispers, reveling in the sensations afforded by the heated gaze looking into him. “place where there isn’t anything?”

Yes.

Sans can’t help himself, he’s still writhing slow and aimless, squeezing his fist in the pillow. He pulls him closer with his leg, pushes his ribs up to be licked by tiny flames, grunts low when they dip between. He wants to know what he sees, wants him to say it.

“you see how i am?” His voice is soft and quivering. “you still want me?”

Yes. I see all of you, and I like it more than ever. You’re so beautiful, Sans. I can’t see anything but you... I don’t want to. Grillby might not say much when he tugs Sans, when he touches him, but when he does he makes it count. Sans lets a breathy, cracked moan escape as he arches his head back into the pillow, feels a few tears leak out of his sockets.

“gonna touch me, grillbz?” he slurs low and thick, voice drowning itself in desire as he finally lets go of his own ankle and wraps that leg around him too. He feels the penetrating gaze on his exposed soul; feels anticipation, feels trust. Slides his hands over his ribcage, lets him coat his hands with fire and uses them like that, too. Feels messy and slow, relaxed and warm. He shakes with it, lets it rush up to show itself. “gonna let me feel you?” It’s a hoarse whisper, softly hollow with desire. He cracks a socket to get a thrilling eyeful of orange flames framing his palely iridescent soul, makes a pleased little hum and slides his hands down himself until he can thrust them back into Grillby's ceaselessly combusting body. “you gonna-”

He cuts off with a deep, delighted growl, sockets slammed shut and bones shuddering wildly as Grillby answers with a yes inside him this time.

First the heat, then the sweet; Sans tastes himself and realizes he’s been leaking magic this whole time and Grillby’s just been flicking bits out and taking it, getting high on his excitement and lust. He laughs soft and clear, lets it draw out into low moan as he gets a rush of care and protectiveness he knows well. It’s tinged with appreciation for Sans’s skill at this, because there’s a flood the instant he’s inside: Sans wants Grillby to know how good he feels, that he’s clever and beautiful and warm and wise; he’s hot and impatient and needy and good at this, he is so very wanted.

Sans feels Grillby’s surprise, and opens his sockets to look up at the elemental’s palely fascinated visage. Looks down between his own legs and sees… eh. Well, isn’t that... interesting. Ugh.

He looks away immediately, feels squidgy inside. Guess it really is a thing he’s doing, rather than something humans make happen to him. Maybe he’s got more in common with them than he thought. He feels embarrassed that it’s happening now, doesn’t like how it looks, but Grillby fills him with a flood of calm acceptance and curiosity.

Do you want to me to do anything with it?

It’s up to him, isn’t it. Sans sighs and lets go of his shyness; if there’s anywhere he doesn’t have to feel uncomfortable, it’s here. Grillby flickers with responsive desire as his embarrassment slides back into trust and arousal, lets it echo back into Sans lightly. It reminds him what he wants; he can just ignore his pelvis for now. He’s much more interested in what Grillby has for him, what he’ll make him feel. Feel wanted, feel important, feel pleasure. He’s ready to lie back and take it, get filled right up with all of that and some fire til he’s brimming, then maybe just a little bit more.

And oh stars, does he. Turns out what he wants to feel the most is no more and no less than who Grillby is at his core, and it pours into him freely, almost wildly. He’s touching him alone, and he can give him so much this way.

He’s the fire banked warm and expectant in the hearth, waiting for you when you come home. He’s the unexpected campfire stumbled upon in landscapes of utter desolation, drawing in the lost and wounded like a beacon, warming up a cup of hope for anyone who needs one. He’s warmth and healing, care and sustenance. He eases burdens and lends strength to those who need it most; he’s shelter, he’s safety, he’s nurturing.

Grillby’s doing his version of crying; it feels so good that Sans wants him this way. He wants everything he is, even the pettiness and fears, the insularity and obsessiveness. He wants the kindness and compassion, the constant concern for the wellbeing of others. The aloofness and the biting remarks, the responsibility and the rectitude. He lets every last bit slosh around inside him, contradictions welling up and endlessly combusting until he’s overflowing. He wants even more; Grillby surges out over him so his fingers can trail through and coax out sparks, even a few livelier tongues of flame that descend to dance out their deaths on iridescent, magic-sheened bone. Sans lets him know how much it means, how good it feels as they wink out and sink into him, warming him deeper than his body. He wants more, still more. He wants everything. His sockets are closed, but he still feels the now-constant slow shower of sparks pattering on his bare bones, one or two even hissing into his soul, and that…. Suuuure is something. That feeling. That’s… Isn’t it. Something.

Sans, Grillby blurts in shock, are you sure? You never wanted that before.

Maybe. But he wants it now, more and more until all he has room for is sweet, novel yearning. Does Grillby want it too? Sans does. His entire body hums with it; he lets him know, relaxes back into the soft, fireproof bed with a sigh.

A long, tight wheeze like an ashen log finally collapsing in a fireplace comes from Grillby, and he hovers closer until he’s millimeters away from Sans’s face. His sockets open to gaze into flames whitened with emotion. This is a kind of love, right? That’s what he’s feeling, that’s what’s reflecting back and forth between them like this, getting bigger and bigger until they’re both gasping.

Of course it is.

Sans sighs deeply, gazes entranced into the roiling flames above him. Then he moans low and shaky, because Grillby gives him how this request makes him feel. Reticence, curiosity, caution, protectiveness; laced through with smoldering, impatient desire. So Sans slides his arms around firm fire and lets him know: he wants to try it, see how someone else’s magic pushed inside him would feel, even after all this time. He knows what he’s asking for, and that it doesn’t feel the same as when it’s shed without intent; magic that’s pushed feels different. He wants to know this about himself, and it’s not like he’d ask anyone else. He knows Grillby likes it from all the times he’s felt him do himself while Sans is touching him, or when they do themselves together. And he trusts him to give him something good along with it, his choice.

Grillby flows across him, flames coming up beneath his shoulders as he looks into his sockets, firms up there to hold him snug and safe. He gives him his own silhouette, a silver lining at his door as he pushes it open: a burst of delight and excitement. They moan softly together, pant a little in shared anticipation. Grillby touches him deeper so he can feel even more, touches flame to frontal bone and presses tight; he already knows why he’s here. Yearning already shared without needing to see, still untouched but not for long. Anticipation and arrival; desire and its fulfillment. All of those things at once and then Sans hears the familiar white-hot creak Grillby makes when he pushes his magic, the sound he loves. But he’s doing it inside Sans this time, holding him close while he makes a tiny bit of himself become not-him right where he’s touching his soul. It’s not shed; he’s pushing it inside slow and careful, and it feels different.

It’s thick and hot and it’s not him; it feels so fucking good but it also hurts a lot. Sans makes a strangled grunt, sockets flying open because he’s shocked, scared, body wrenched into sudden tension by arousal so physical it feels like a slap. Grillby stops immediately, starts to pull away-

Sans makes an urgent noise, grabs him tight; he doesn’t want to be left alone!

Sans tries to breathe while gripping up at the pillow desperately, then his grunts turn into a hoarse, guttural scream through his teeth because he’s coming; it’s tight and sharp and he can’t stop it. It hurts. Grillby stays; he knows. Sans’s sockets close as he turns his face away; Grillby catches the magic he spends, and it tastes like humiliation and pain. His legs shake as they clutch him tight; he can’t hide how this feels, and he can’t stop what it makes his body do.

It’s okay, Sans. Now we know, and you can make it stop hurting. His voice is crackling and calm, but throbs with emotion. ...Do you want me to help you calm down?

Sans nods; he doesn’t want to be left alone like this. Grillby does his best to reassure him, and they both hold on as tight as he needs. He’s not sure why, but being alone seems so much worse than being hurt. The pain itself still blooms and sears inside him, something unfamiliar sunk deep into everything he is in a way he can’t ignore, something that’s not him. And it feels so fucking good, it feels too good and he wants it, he-

Sans sobs in chagrin because he’s coming again, even though he doesn’t like this; he makes another noise he can’t hear. To add insult to injury, it seems his genitalia isn’t planning on going anywhere even as another layer of his magic sheds out wildly. Now it’s sensitive and shaky there; feels like he wants something, and wanting something that bad feels like it hurts. Grillby steadies him (breaking; dying), helps him feel calmer but nothing can make him less turned on right now. He isn’t a fan. It’s like he’ll dust if Grillby knows him like this, he’ll dust if he lets him go even for a second. It’s very physical and desperate, makes it feel like his own body is something happening (something’s (it’s just something(this isn’t happening) that happens) happening) to him.

He’s disgusting, isn’t he. (it’s (that’s) not (not) a (why) question) He doesn’t like this (don’t do this), and he doesn’t want to stop (don’t leave me). He needs himself because he’s getting lost in this (leave me alone), but he can’t let go (don’t leave), either.

Sans makes a bad noise; only Grillby hears it as sockets stare up into flames, baffled.

Do you need help to touch yourself right now?

He wishes he didn’t, but yeah. He does. Grillby’s fire already coats his arms, supporting and guiding them up as they shake and resist so he can touch his soul with both hands. He only keeps the single point of contact he had already had, the one that hasn’t left Sans this whole time, even though it had also hurt him. It’s just...if Grillby had hurt him and then left….that’s what he couldn’t have borne. Ten distal phalanges sink into his soul, and it calms him despite the fact that it doesn’t actually hurt any less.

If you push in yourself, it’ll help.

He tries. He really does, but nothing happens despite how agitated his magic is. He can’t, because he’s not...ready? Sans really doesn’t know. He cracks his sockets open, wordless and desperate, shaking like a sheet in the wind as he pants with frustrated desire and pain.

He’s crying now; nothing about him works the way it’s supposed to. First his body makes genitalia without asking, of course something that’s supposed to feel good just hurts and embarrasses him, then being hurt and embarrassed makes him come… and when he wants to do something that always makes him feel better, he can’t. Grillby tilts his face closer, gives Sans something to press his forehead against. Holds him tight, gives him the calm he’s feeling right now. Gives him his own arousal, because the way Sans is, however he is, is okay. He never has to feel ashamed here; he’s so lovely, he’s so wanted. Sans tries to relax, tries to let Grillby in more but he’s just...tight.

It might be because you’re afraid and in pain. Or perhaps because you... climaxed? twice already, and your body won’t cooperate at this point unless that happens again? Both are physical, after all.

Sans feels dull disappointment, another surge of sharp, painful desire. A tendril of fire cups the back of Sans’s ilium cautiously, and a spark is sent to die delicately on his incredibly sensitive reconfigured magic.

Will it happen again if you touch here?

Sans feels magic seethe into his face so hard it sheds across his frontal bone, hissing apart right into the flames. He wants that, and he can’t hide the fact that he wants Grillby to do it to him. He’s afraid he’ll hurt himself he does it, afraid he’ll do something ugly and sick (somewhere else), something that makes Grillby not like him anymore. He feels disgust and arousal blooming out from where it hurts, and he feels like asking Grillby to do something like that is perverted somehow (the other room). Wanting this is wrong because something’s wrong with him, he’s wrong, and…

The nauseating spiral fades out as flames touch his soul in a strange, complex pattern. He feels how much Grillby wants to touch him there instead, to watch Sans feel it, to pleasure and care for him. He knows this feeling, and he sighs in relief as it soothes him. Not as much as his magic can, but it helps. Sans drinks it in as his breathing evens out, lets himself relax a little. Tries to feel wanted and let the rest of it go.

Sans shuts his sockets, lets him know what’s going on and what he thinks might feel good. He hisses and tenses when flames touch his genitalia; he’s not sure if it’s sensitivity, or that his magic’s more reactive to temperature than bones. Might be both. Well, luckily he doesn’t think this is going to take very long, considering the situation and how good what he’s doing feels already. He jumps again; yup, he’s pretty sensitive. Delicate touches tickle, sting, make him flinch. Maybe what he needs is-

A rush of clean, molten excitement pours into his soul, and it’s not his. That’s unexpected, and so strong it makes Sans moan aloud, soft and sincere. Grillby wants him so much. Makes some of his tension melt away, along with some of the shame.

I see. Here it comes.

Grillby pushes his densely solidified equivalent of fingers into the small, tight space behind Sans’s pubis. He gasps, sockets opening wide. It’s hot, and while it’s not rough, it’s not gentle, either. His phalanges spread in his soul, tingling and soothing as he fills him insistently, making him shout in gratified surprise as his magic sheds inside and sinks into Grillby eagerly. He crackle-shushes softly, bringing whitening flames closer to his face; he tastes Sans’s exquisite urgency in wonder and awe. He moves inside his body, exploring to see what Sans likes, but he likes it all. Almost as much as he likes who’s doing it, and Grillby actually groans faintly when he lets him know.

I...I didn’t know this would feel so good for you, he admits, his usually stoic voice tight with excitement. Flames get less permeable to hold him closer. So close. Will you share it with me? I want to taste it… I want to know you.

Sans lets him know he’ll try, tries to feel open as he gazes up into pale yellow fire. They’ve been doing this a long time, they can share a lot with each other. He’s so tense like this, but he’ll do his best.

Sans whimpers softly as he gets what he wants, and then there’s more, there’s faster. Hot and thick, something that’s not him pushing inside in a way he can’t ignore. Grillby’s body and touch is familiar and comforting; they like making each other feel good, and they’ve been doing just that for such a long, lovely time. He stops trying to hide; he lets him know that he likes this kind of feeling in his body, but he doesn’t like it in his soul. His sockets leak and flames flick it away eagerly, letting him know how he really feels helps him open up a little more. Sans presses their faces together as an incredibly deep shiver rises up in him; he doesn’t want it, he wants...to. There’s a big difference for some reason. He doesn’t want to be hurt, he wants to feel cared for and important. What Grillby’s doing now is helping him feel like that, and feeling this way makes him want to come.

Sans hears a fiery voice dissolve into a heated rush of astonishment and delight; the way his own body feels on the inside pours relentlessly into his soul as he’s filled below and above, making it easier to ignore the tight point of pain inside him. He doesn’t feel Sans’s pleasure, he doesn’t want to do anything but know it, taste it, revel in it. Sans feels his excitement and his own, hears himself make a soft, deep noise he’s not familiar with, but… he likes it. He likes this. Maybe it can be easy; maybe it can just work like it’s supposed to for once.

He lets his sockets slip shut, squeezes his legs around fire and shares it as much as he can, caresses his soul deeper to encourage himself. Grillby touches his soul light and easy, helping him find where he wants to be. Pushes inside his body and beckons insistently, since that feels like it’s bringing him closer. Because it’s up to him, isn’t it? It doesn't have to hurt to feel this way, and these are his feelings. He can do it because he wants to, and share it with who he likes. He pushes his thumbs into his soul until he touches the hurt there, spreads them apart. Lets out another odd-but-good noise as he opens wide; he wants Grillby to know him, and he hears a plaintive hiss join his voice. It helps him let go of pain echoing out of the place where there’s nothing, to let go of the self-disgust and fear. Once he does, the physical sensations blend out soft into his emotions and he comes again hard; it feels deeper, more grounded with Grillby inside to hold on to, not as high and sharp as before. Like holding and being held happening over and over, and Grillby moans in surprised delight when he shares it, when he lets him know. Sans arches back and lets out a breathy, shuddering groan, legs shaking as fire rocks him to his core.

It works the way it’s supposed to. When he’s finally, mercifully flooded with his own peace, his magic soothing the unfamiliar sting out of him like it never existed, his soft exhale sounds just like him.

Sparks shower down as intensifying heat lingers, curves inside a few more times to draw it out as his bones finally loose their tension. Sans shakes with the way it feels to be filled with fire, what it feels like for Grillby to push flames inside his tight, fluttering magic, the taste of what Sans spends there this time so excruciatingly sweet it burns. Grillby doesn’t so much withdraw as Sans just melts off around him to be absorbed. He caresses the inside of Sans’s pelvic inlet soothingly through his sensitive permeable magic as he flickers and sparks with fascination, adoration, ecstasy. Phalanges meet his sternum and he’s back inside, soothed and happy, pleasure flooding into every part of him at once.

Sans lies back panting, having trouble focusing his eyes and realizing he’s never pushed his own climax before, has no idea how long this might last, and...yep, he’s starving.

My goodness.

“you okay?”

I… yes. Are you?

“sure am, hot stuff. uh, can you get my phone real quick?” he gushes, voice cracking as he breathes heavily. “think it fell on the floor over there when ya ate my clothes. just gotta get a snack, then you better brace y’self cause i’m comin’ in hot,” Sans finishes raggedly, still trying to see the ceiling.

A minute later he feels a bottle tap his humerus, and he takes it with a satisfied sigh.

I had come to the understanding that you would not be asking me for this for… the immediate future. It’s an unusually direct statement for such a delicate moment, but the touch of emotion in his crackling voice isn’t regret or even longing. I hope you haven’t… has your relationship… ended? He sounds very concerned about the possibility, and a flame flickers soothingly along his femur. It hasn’t been that difficult for him for quite a while; he can tell Sans is having a rough time, and he’s worried about the cause.

“nah,” Sans pants, guzzling the ketchup like there’s no tomorrow, even though they have those now. “jus’ talked about it, turns out we had a misunderstanding goin on. waited a while to make sure, too.”

...But… are you okay? It seems as though a lot has changed. Based on what happened, and what I felt when it did.

“can we talk about it when i’m not still coming?” Sans pants, finishing the bottle.

I’m not sure when that will be, Grillby points out. … From the feel of it, not for a while.

Sans finally manages to focus his eyes on Grillby, who’s looking aroused and concerned. He wishes it wasn’t such a familiar expression for him to see there, but it is what it is. Bitter and sweet to see it there, familiar and fond, sharp-soothing, a thousand flavors and feelings at once. It makes him melt every time.

“from the feel of it, maybe think about why i might not wanna talk about it right this second?” he tries instead, and Grillby flicker-nods after a moment of looking very conflicted. “we don’t gotta do anything else if you’re not comfortable til we do, grillbz. ‘m staying over either way.” He means every word.

I… Grillby looks distant and shy; Sans knows what’s underneath.

“’m gonna stay.

He finally nods again .

“we got time, okay?” Sans exhales happily, spins the bottle into the air and touches it, lets it wink back into the spot the empties go. Always good to hold on to something useful. He smiles over at the amorphous bonfire sharing the bed with him, the bed that probably exists for the reason it’s being used right now. The thought warms him, so he holds on to that too. He holds on to a lot of things whether they’re good for him or not, doesn’t he? As much as he can, almost all the time. But he knows the difference between good and bad things, and this is something he knows is good. It’s never done him harm, and it usually helps a lot. Helps Grillby, too; he knows it does. Knows how much he likes it, how much he wants him. It’s just hard for him to say so, but Sans is very good at getting him where he wants to be, too.

“gonna let me hold you?” he asks, hopeful and sincere.

Grillby gets loose, slides on over wordlessly. “yeah, that’s it,” he whispers, lies back as fire surges slow and easy, fills him up. He wraps his arms around his now-flaming body, shivers deep as he warms up quick. Grillby sighs and flickers wildly as he relaxes, lets himself be held inside the cradle of Sans’s bones, blending out into his permeable magic.

“feels real good when you let me hold you,” he adds, because that’s what he wants to be saying. This is what he wants to be doing, and he feels his body resonating with it. Feels the slow oscillation that they share, that he knows Grillby can feel like this. He still feels the heat in his filled-up soul, hopes Grillby can feel it too. If he doesn’t... well. Just a matter of time, he hopes. “’m all warm and toasty,” he sighs happily.

Grillby quivers madly with unspoken emotion, makes a hitching hiss, a sizzling crackle.

“hey,” he whispers. “s’okay.” Sans rolls over, kneels up a little before leaning forward, spreads his knees apart and hunkers low and intimate. Curls up on the bed, pushes his forehead into the pillows to look down into their joined bodies. He’s still seething with climactic pleasure, but his magic’s helping him feel calmer than he has since he got here. He wants to take his time. Touches ribs gently, indicates down and inside toward his fire-filled spine. “that okay?”

Yes… It’s a quiet, dignified sob. Sans exhales happily, rubs his hand inside their bodies. Dips down inside his pelvis. No spent magic left in there; he got it all. Sans makes a pleased little hum, slides fingers along the inside of his femur with a rasp. Grillby gets a little less permeable, makes him shiver and groan as he starts moving his hand between his pelvis and ribcage delicately.

“love it when you do that,” he whispers softly, leaning up on one forearm, slides his frontal bone along his radius. His other shoulder works as he moves his hand slow and easy, widening the motion. “’d say it’s my favorite part, but they all are. you know they are...” he trails off and drifts into the feeling of his body holding, being held. Every word’s the truth; he feels full of soothing magic, pleasure, and agitating flames that generate even more desire. What he’s doing with his hand feels good for them both at the same time, gets them closer to where they want to be and feeling how they want to feel. Flames flicker and sigh all around him.

Mine...as well, he crackles hesitantly, sparking a little as his restraint slowly buckles. This part’s the hardest for him, but the way Sans talks and touches makes it so much easier. Makes it easier to say what he wants to say, do what he wants to do.

Would you like to see?

Sans moans in pure, ingenuous excitement, pushes his weight onto his forehead and knees to use both hands inside them for a long, lingering minute.

yeah,” he breathes fervently. “you gonna show me?”

He is, he does. Grillby pulls himself right out impatient as usual, and Sans brings his phalanges underneath, coaxes him closer. He looks down into his luminous soul, watches insecurities roil up to be acknowledged under his reverent, respectful gaze. Slides up onto an elbow to take his time, get real comfortable.

“never gonna stop comin ta see you, grillbz,” he whispers softly. He takes himself back as Sans pushes flaming fingers along his spine, down inside his pelvis until he grips his tailbone gently. “never have. ‘m always gonna come back, okay? always do.”

Grillby weeps softly, doesn’t say anything.

Sans smiles fondly, feels crinkly and good inside as he watches the familiar fears and insecurities chase themselves around, trying to find a crack to push roots into, start tearing everything up. He doesn’t let them, never will. “hmmm... s’okay. don’t gotta believe me, cause i’m gonna make you feel it. you got any idea how good you look to me?”

He can’t hide his desire tinged with frustration, his terrible need. All Sans sees is Grillby, everything he is right here for him to look into. Beautiful and strange, bitchy and perfect. He wants this so much.

...Sans...

“sh-sh-shh… s’okay. i know. gimme a minute. gotta get a real good look at you… i know it’s hard to wait.” Grillby flickers around him, tightening and uncoiling as Sans drinks in the sight of him, letting out a sizzling moan once in a while. “know you already waited… i can see how much you want me to.” He knows Grillby will enjoy himself even more if he makes him wait a little longer. He slides a distal phalanx into one of the holes in his sacrum with a tiny shiver, a soft sigh.

He sees the aloofness Grillby draws around himself to cover the loneliness, the pride stiffened to extremes by pain and loss. The way his prickliness provokes and coaxes, lets even people afraid to be close to anyone open up. The way he can help people like that communicate and connect with themselves, with others. Sans knows because he’s one of them. But not many people can do the same for him.

Sans looks into something just as vulnerable and desperate as any way he’s ever felt himself; he’s so happy to give him what he needs, happy to be someone who can, and even more glad that he lets him. It’s why he feels so good taking what Grillby offers too. Part of why Sans can let him in even when he’s insecure and ashamed, even when he’s scared of himself...even when he doesn’t know what he wants or how to get it. He smiles into a white-hot soul saturated with a familiar ache; everyone wants a little closeness, needs a little help feeling how they want to feel. Sans’s grin gains an edge even as his sockets soften. The giving is just as sweet as the getting, and Sans hopes he knows just how much he likes what he sees. Sure sounds like he does.

“hmm. gonna touch yourself, grillbz?”

...I want you to touch me, he complains quietly; so tense, still shy. I...I feel...

“i will,” he reassures him softly. “you go ahead first, though, k? c’mon, hot stuff. you know you wanna touch yourself for me.”

Flames radiate past Sans’s fingertips hesitantly, then he feels a sigh happening all around him as they make contact with Grillby’s soul.

“yeah, that’s it,” Sans whispers approvingly, watching the impatience thin out, the yearning grow wider, sweet and full. “get yourself ready, cause ‘m coming in real hot, okay? still feel what you did… heh. got me riled up bad as you.”

Grillby flows out of Sans, out and down until he’s lying between Sans’s patellas where he kneels wide and low. Sans leans over him, puts a hand down on the bed to keep gazing in, feeling that wavy air rise up even as his bones cool down, staying close. Sans pushes his other hand inside Grillby’s body as he watches him touch himself, petting and soothing. Sans pulls out sparks and rubs them into his ribs, down his spine all the way to his pelvis. He moans softly as he sees Grillby’s desire slow down and deepen in his body, swirling over in his soul to show what’s underneath.

“go ‘head, grillbz,” he says encouragingly, plunges his fingers back in. “jus’ me n you here. you can tell me.”

...Please… The hissing whisper just slips right out; watching this happen in his soul’s like a slow striptease, and it drives Sans out of his mind every time.

“that’s it...” he whispers again. He beckons upward, letting tongues of flame spatter up on his ribs as he shudders deeply, then runs sparking fingers sensually down his femur. “gonna let me watch?”

He doesn't have words for what Grillby shows him; he doesn’t have thoughts, either. It’s a connection, something that comes from deep inside him, something that touches from the center of who he is and spreads out to the many people in his life. Glowing strands touch everything and everyone, create a web of love, hope, compassion. It’s his soul, not only in substance but in action. The way he’d let Sans feel who he is at his core, now he’s showing him, too.

Sans hears his magic hiss down into Grillby’s body; he can’t look away, feels a needy whine rising in him as he plunges fingers into the conflagration writhing slow and sexy on the bed between his knees. He pulls sparks free as it escapes, watches the stiffness uncoiling and loosening. “ohhhh, fuck,” he whispers tightly. He sees the raw desire come up, watches Grillby let it happen. Here it comes, and Sans can hardly wait.

...Please, Sans…please... I want you to touch me…

Sans works his heat-loosened jaw and tilts his head back a little, manages to slip a fingertip between his teeth. Lets a spark fall inside his mouth and grunts at the rough, hot taste. Smoky-bitter, burning-tight that spreads out soft. His sockets drift almost closed; he wants it all, doesn’t he. He knows how that feels, and he’s ready to give it to him… once he’s good and worked up first. He balances on his knees to bathe his other hand in fire as he tastes a second spark, works his shoulder in a vigorous swirl to help him along.

Grillby touches his soul while Sans touches his body; Sans taunts and prompts while Grillby crackles and begs. Pushes his desire up as it quickens again, shows him how he wants it. Shows him what he needs; lets his impatience turn over to show the underside, bare and trembling. Sans curses, soaks his fingers in molten heat just before clattering his hand along his sternum, curving and questioning. Brings himself out again, still seething-full of his magic. So excited, so ready. He pants soft but heavy, sockets pained and slipping shut as he dips a finger in briefly, then changing shape as they open to turn his gaze gently challenging.

“you want me, huh?”

...Please… touch me... Grillby loves to ask over and over, loves to beg, loves to want. It fills him with harmless feelings of transgression, feels subversive and shivery. Sans loves to see him like this, keens with desire as Grillby revels in feelings he only lets himself have here, what he gives to himself secret and alone with Sans. Loves to show him, loves to share it with him. Opens wide and lets the inferno of need rage through until there’s nothing else: only them. Only this.

Sans shivers tight, then gets loose. He kneels up higher to cool faster, cups his soul protectively as he teases fingertips at the flames beneath him with his other hand. He pulls back a little but slides a still-warm middle phalanx up his pubic symphysis with a slow, deliberate rasp, makes his magic bead up quivering to offer itself. Grillby tastes him there eagerly with a tight, quiet hiss. “how d’you want me?” he whispers seductively, gives a quiet little hum of pleasure under the repetitive flicker, just how he likes it. “gotta ask me real nice.”

...I want you to touch me… please, Sans...I want...

“s’okay,” he says softly as he reaches down to soothe and pet, distal phalanges barely grazing. He’s shedding magic lightly even there; he hadn’t been kidding about coming in hot. “want you to tell me.”

Make me feel it… he sizzles softly, lapping at Sans’s pubis while drawing air through his bones to help him cool. Make me feel you, please...all of it, the way you do... I want to feel you so much...

Sans watches Grillby’s desire intensify until it manages to quiver across his surface, stealing his breath with its depth, its strength. “’m gonna do that thing you like, okay?” Grillby moans with helpless excitement; Sans shivers and arches his spine as sparks spiral out against the complex, heavy bones of his pelvis. He groans low and rough as he shoves them forward into the conflagration, both of them giving in to their matching, brief glint of temptation.

“gonna give you the whole thing, hot stuff; finish how you like, too. fast and hard.”

Flames tease at the holes of his sacrum to make him get wet even there, and the penetrating heat pushes a deep groan from him. Sans grins impishly, curls a finger into his soul for self-control as he lets his skull fall back. He’s heating up again and he can’t make good on this until he cools down… literally, at least.

“gotta lie back now, k?” He pants softly, letting his excitement radiate from the hand cupped against his sternum as Grillby flows back and down submissively. “’m gonna give you all of it.” Sans leans out over him to let their exposed souls get closer bit by bit as he cools again, making him wait even more. Lets him get frantic, really feeling it now; Sans watches carefully, makes sure he likes it. He does. “you want me like that?”

Yes, yes… give it to me just like that… He moans desperate assent, writhes and cries out as his flames come up to urge at hard, unforgiving bone. Sans makes him wait; he can’t bear it, he loves it. Tongues of flame coil up to shed out entire as Grillby literally weeps with anticipation, voice breaking apart as he waits for himwaits for him to say it… he needs him to say it...

Oh my god, Sans, pleaseIt’s faint and trembling, like he’s shocked by his own need, and that’s just the sound Sans has been waiting for. … give it to meplease

“get in here,” Sans grunts harshly, and he rushes up with a roaring wail to fill and be filled. Sans lets himself collapse backward in a loose pile of flaming bones as he shoves his fingers into both of them; Grillby’s already pushing this but he knew he would be. He can’t wait anymore, and he’s not going to have to. Sans brings their souls as close as he can above his ribcage, phalanges weaving and darting between them, moaning as he feels the pressure of Grillby’s magic tight around his flame-coated fingers. He hears the white-hot sigh he cherishes, breaking apart and snapping tight with ecstasy.

What Sans gives with his touch is a feeling comprised of everything they are and do to each other, everything they’ve made and meant together, all the moments he remembers as poignantly now as when they happened. He remembers it all. The first time they touched hands and realized, the way Grillby had slowroasted a hillside (and Sans) bare when he’d seen the sun again for the first time in millennia, the bliss they’re sharing now and the hells they’d gotten each other through: endless nights, lightless days. Filling each other up to overflowing with touches and talks, drinks and jokes, bickering and failures, problems and prurience when the emptiness was more than either could bear, giving it all to each other so each in turn could lend that warmth to everyone. Sans inhales raggedly, tops them both off again now.

They’ve made so much hope together.

Sans’s voice growls out wordless and wild as he feels and knows it all, takes Grillby right along with him. This isn’t slow, it’s all in a rush and it’s everything… as hard as he can, almost as fast as Grillby wants it. As soon as his breath runs out he’s ready. Sans moves their souls out a just little farther….one more penetrating caress crossing over and out as Grillby’s sigh tightens to a whine….then he shoves his hands back toward their joined bodies.

The sharp double-clack as his palms hit his sternum is incredibly satisfying; both of them are slammed home fast and hard. His voice cracks in a deep shout as his soul pours back in him like a flash flood, roaring and crashing with their shared excitement. His fingers spread as he continues the motion and hugs around himself, then they hook between his ribs in a long, lascivious rasp back toward his sternum as he arches up shuddering.

He’d pushed a little more himself despite being so full already, adding a taste of this to what he’s feeling, making him moan it out soft and writhe loosely as what he’s just done and his climax from earlier hits him all over again. The delayed burst of his own magic makes the suddenness seethe out wide and fizzy, making him shiver in the boiling surf and filling him beyond satisfaction. He feels Grillby’s explosion of gratification between his bones, an inferno raging out of control as he gives in utterly to the intensity of his pleasure, just the way he likes. It’s a good thing for the bed that it’s fireproof, and for Sans’s bones that his peak temperature is brief. Long practice and care already taken makes this possible, closeness and compatibility make it amazing.

Grillby just melts right out of him, spreading across the bed and spilling onto the floor too, low flames crackling and dancing as they runnel out messily, loose and molten. Hissing, wordless mewls dance up here and there from the lake of fire, roiling up in a few spots as Sans laughs giddily on the bed, interrupting himself with moans and rasping touches.

...Oh…. Grillby moans weakly, utterly undone. …Oh, shit...

“s’a matter grillbz?” Sans is barely able to pant the words out. “i… i getcha good...with that one?”

Sans… you absolute bastard…

Sans chuckles breathlessly on his back, lets tears of joy and satisfaction run from his sockets down to soak the pillow. He’s got to congratulate himself on how much he managed to get in there; Grillby’s gonna be feeling that for a long time, maybe even the whole time he plans to stay over. Got him to push at least half of what he’s got, maybe more from the feel of it and based on his current state. He runs his carpals deliciously along his femurs, delighted and smug.

I’m going to fucking get you for that….ohhh, oh god…mmmm. I have to… oh, you little shit! I still haven’t closed the bar….

Sans is laughing even harder, waits to be able to focus his eyes again while he gropes around for his phone; Grillby’d fireproofed it ages ago. He’ll send a message to Lola once he does, but he’s not really in a rush. Nope, he’s just as content to writhe around right here in a worked-over puddle of Grillby, listening to him moan and cuss, letting everything that exists outside this room take care of itself for a little while.

He’s not in a hurry.

 

Chapter Text

Sans hugs the big wad of fireproof pillows and blankets under him as he lies on his front; he moans quietly, loving the sound of it. When he hears himself like this, he knows everything’s okay. Grillby is mostly able to keep control over his temperature and shape again since he fed him, and he’s got some very shapely temperatures inside and up beneath him right now steaming out tension and unwinding spools of pleasure from his body. Whenever he starts to tighten up, flames run along his spine and make him shake it right back out with another soft noise.

He lets him know: Grillby’s incredibly good at making Sans feel exactly how he wants to feel, getting him right where he wants to be. Just like this: slow and easy. Sans slides against Grillby’s endlessly combusting integral magic, lets it stroke and tickle some more, lets the fire between his vertebrae diffuse the sensation.

Sans feels a dazed smile flit across his face, then shuts his sockets tight and rubs his face into the pillows, exhaling and shivering deliciously. It’s so nice to give in to this, just lie here and feel and shake and get teased real good.

His arms tighten around the bedding briefly; it’s also nice how Grillby’s touching his soul inside his body, high in his own ribcage where he can’t get at it. Well. Not like he couldn’t if he really wanted to; it’s just so nice to feel like he can’t. They’re on the same page, playing a little game of keep-away. Helps him deal with the temptation to touch himself, the craving to push this feeling even though he’s still full from before. He makes him feel exactly how he wants to in there, too.

Grillby doesn’t have any self-control or patience, right up until he does. Sans is satisfied to be its beneficiary for as long as he cares to dish it out… which is often nearly as long as Sans wants. His phalanges creep against his sternum again, and he shivers before putting his hand back, squeezing his arms around the pillows some more instead.

You really are insatiable, Grillby comments dryly, fondly. … It never ceases to impress me.

Sans rubs his face a little more, feeling flattered and gratified, then turns his skull to the side with a happy sigh. Pushes his reformed magic against something firm and hot a few times. It dissipates just as he starts to tense, making him whimper gamely.

Is Lola behaving herself?

Sans checks; yes, she is. She locked the door a long time ago, now she’s pouring herself a cocktail that’s on the approved list. Takes it back to her booth with a happy, slow blink. Or is that a wink? Sans doesn’t know, doesn’t care. Especially not at the moment. Grillby flows in to fill his pelvic inlet solidly around his reformed magic; the pressure from the back adds a dimension to what he’s feeling that makes him growl low and sudden before he shivers it back out again. He’d liked this a lot before his body started doing weird things all the time, and it turns out the sensation is heightened significantly by those… things.

He quiets and stills at the thought, and Grillby gives him a rush of how much he likes doing this; the physical aspects of their activities have always been so exciting, a delight for both of them to touch and be touched like this. The familiar surge of how good it feels to Grillby to fill up the spaces between his bones, with a hesitant taste of how Sans’s integral magic expanded this way softens the experience deliciously. Grillby’s really enjoying his genitalia, and he makes Sans feel it too. Hard to get bashful when he feels like that. He relaxes again; it’s easier to trust his own pleasure in such good company.

Grillby’s as quiet and attentive as usual, and Sans is too filled with his touch for anything other than his soft breaths and moans. He stops hugging the blanket wad and folds his arms up instead, lets his skull rest on them, rasp along them. The spaces between his bones are filled to brimming before it flickers out; he pushes at teasing heat that spreads apart so he just rubs against the bed. Everything about this feels good; he makes more noise so he can hear it how good it feels. Grillby’s fascination, curiosity, fondness and pleasure swirls lazily through his seething-full soul, combines with the clean, simple joy of touching and being touched. Nothing wrong with wanting that.

I’ve been saving up a little something for you, he says after a long while. … Do you want it now?

Sans lets his interest linger, gives himself a minute to decide to take what he already knows he wants. Then he lets him know. Yeah, go for it.

Grillby strokes his spine and scapulae, crackles tightly as he lets him feel what his own hands look like when he plays himself offstage; soft-gold light flashing against brass, against bone. The soothing strains as the melody wanders, the way it slices through with sharp nostalgia, then soothes it out immediately with something softer and deeper than that. It throbs with warmth and connection, tastes bitter and sweet, feels like hunger and nourishment at once. Like it does him good to feel this way, fills him up. Grillby holds him steady as fire slides in his pelvis again; ribcage too this time, firms up inside to add physicality to the emotion. Feels soft and full as flames tickle at his vertebral processes.

His sockets narrow to slits as he lets out a shuddery, deep groan; this soft feeling makes Sans feel…it feels like…huh. How about that. Turns out it kind of makes him want to come, so he lets him know. Grillby flickers against bones gently and lets the emotion echo back and forth until it swirls and eddies between them, swelling up until it resonates plush and expansive. His soul’s still being held away, so he can try it out without ending up flat on his back for another day or two. He has an idea what Grillby’s been playing with despite being unwilling to look at it; Sans thinks he knows how to make this happen, or at least where to start.

He leans up on his knees and an elbow so he can reach under his body, lets out a quiet sigh when his hard, textured palm cups and slides along what’s between his legs. There’s a pretty big difference between seeing, doing, and feeling, but he decides to try out a few ideas he’s familiar with. His magic’s firm and resonant, his phalanges feel slick, feel nubbly-smooth. Feels like him. Holding it feels real nice, so he tries a light squeeze and okay, that’s even better.

A gentle little tug reminds him deliciously of other things he already knows he likes, feelings he’s used to. Grillby likes knowing that and gives him more of those feelings, helps him make a better connection with them, fills him with warmth and care. He keeps at it, keeps calling and asking for… something familiar after all.

His sockets widen as he feels the answer; he hangs his head to peek hesitantly but he doesn’t feel scared to look this time. He feels relieved; this is his, he’s seen it before. It’s not something happening to him, it is him. It’s there to help him feel good, and he doesn’t have to name it anything. Looks a little different, but that’s okay. It’s him; this is his body. He can touch it how he wants to, feel the way he wants to feel. It’s still him.

And Grillby’s right here too, holding him all over and touching his soul in patterns that help him feel the way he wants to, rubbing on his cervical vertebrae and sacrum while he figures that out. Little tugs asking himself nice and easy, just like when he calls his soul to come out and feel good. He can take care of himself just like that (just (like) like (you) this). He lets his eyes go soft and his sockets slip shut; this pull calls up something real deep, too. He grunts and shivers, panting as he rasps his skull along his radius, listening carefully to his body. Uses his clever fingers to ask what he’s calling to come closer, to ask himself for it.

It’s rushing right up so he stops and squeezes, tries to breathe through anxiety. He moves his hand down a little as he continues and rubs with his palm; he doesn’t want this to feel tight or sharp. Grillby’s helping, pushing fire between his bones to keep them from clacking, giving him more of himself, helping him feel what he feels. And it feels good, but it’s still difficult to stay relaxed doing this; he’s all soft hiccups and ragged breaths as his call grows insistent.

His other hand grips into the blanket, and he presses his face in there to muffle a sudden, loud moan; his anxiety fades out and he pulls. It’s okay to feel like this; however he is, it’s okay… it’s okay because this is... it’s him? Turns out he’s going towards himself (he’s in there), and he’s so glad (to ask himself, say yes) to get closer, it’s him (little tug; here he comes), he’s so close he’s already there (it’s okay, he’s right here), and...ohhh, here it comes (out, so good going in). Grillby’s body rushes in to fill and hold him, floods the remaining space in his pelvis with heat and pressure up against the back of his reformed magic, pushes blunt and hot into the spaces between all of his bones at once… then goes solid.

Sans’s head comes up with a gasp, and his voice peals out of him high and astonished in time with the slow waves quaking through him: absolutely astounding. He didn’t know this was a thing he could feel, but he sure is feeling it. Can’t really do anything but; bones that would usually be wrenched into tense, brittle contact by the physicality of this are being held apart by even more heat and pressure. His face hits the bed again as he tries to stay balanced on shaking wide-spraddled knees and a forearm. The heat between his bones draws out sensation slow and thin, like a skein of ecstasy stretching, pulling, wavering through him without ever getting sharp, unspooling through every bit of his body to pile up cotton-soft inside and around him.

Then Grillby lets him feel what it’s like to experience the delicate pressure between a few hundred quivering bones at once, and it’s so intense it dampens his ringing voice into a breathless growl. He goes limp and collapses the rest of the way, twitching weakly as considerably more magic sheds out between his legs than he expected. He has just enough wherewithal to let Grillby know he’s welcome to it as his deep, gentle climax ebbs; Sans feels his own sweet taste mellowed out with smoky richness, unctuously complex.

Sans just lays there facedown for a while to catch his breath, idly coaxing his magic to coil lazily back into the joint of his pubis with his fingers, making tiny noises that start high and devolve into soft grunts. He likes those too; they sound exactly like he feels. Grillby’s nearly as astounded and delighted as he is, so Sans makes sure he knows how good it feels; Grillby lets him feel how good it is to know. They just go back and forth like that for a while, feeling and knowing dwindling out slow, Sans rubbing at himself soothingly, quivering and quieting.

It stops being so sensitive when it starts to go back, and he likes to pet it while it does. His mind drifts, and a faint smile quirks across his hidden face when it reminds him of a cute little snail going back into its shell. Apparently that’s how his body is: soft and hard at the same time. Hard bones and soft magic… tender and brittle, small and careful.

His magic comes out when it feels safe, like it can take a little peek around, right? Likes what it sees. Sees the world is kind and full of good things, good feelings. Gets pet real nice, gets a happy little shiver from it. Now it’s time to curl back inside, take a nap. There it goes and all’s well, snuggled up where it fits just right. Sans isn’t used to feeling like he wants to care for himself this way, hasn’t ever felt like he can make his body feel safe. He starts to weep in earnest, turns over and reaches out to feel closer.

Grillby firms up to be held, be pulled close. Sans can’t help himself, he rubs his face into fire and lets it all out. He’s alright, isn’t he? He’s not so bad, and that had felt… he didn’t know he could feel like that, like he still feels. Oh, looks like Grillby put his soul back a few minutes ago to give him some privacy, and he’s so caught up he hadn’t even noticed, huh? No wonder, cause this is still so good and he didn’t even push it. It wasn’t scary and it didn’t hurt. Surprising, but everything they did was something he wanted. Something he decided. Grillby took such good care of him, it made him want to take care of himself that same way. Changed him a little, showed him something good about himself.

Grillby presses solid fire to a bone shoulder and rubs what passes for his face there, runs flames along his spine up and down. He knows the difference between Sans being upset, and how he gets when he remembers how to love himself a little. He’s heard both, and he’s been hearing both for millennia.

Grillby gets more solid, simmers down low. Lets himself be held while he lets it all out, too. He still feels what Sans remembers pushed like green wood inside him with his magic to to linger and smoke for a long time. He needs just as much as he needed before, and he doesn’t want to go anywhere else or do anything else anytime soon. He firms up to rub against bone, to let himself get wrapped up in bone arms, to feel the satisfied and resonant resistance of soft, full magic.

They get calm again after a while and Sans reaches up to hold fire, rubs his nasal bone into it with a rounded, poignant exhale. After even longer he lets go so he can trace a question down lower, wraps an arm around and pulls his face close in the crook of his elbow. He carefully slides his hand back inside the conflagration when he feels the answer, gives it a lazy, patient swirl to help get him started, get him where he wants to be. His breathing deepens through the gap in his teeth as he moves slow but insistent, as he stares into sighing, whitening flames. Sans feels a surge that makes his sockets change shape, grow pained. He spreads his fingers, makes the most tentative of inquiries.

Yes. See if you can do it...the way you liked so much. Call me like that.

Sparks spiral slow up his arm; Grillby’s not usually not so plain about what he wants before his soul’s out. He’s not usually forward about anything. Sans makes a tiny whimper of desire and something else too. He doesn’t have words for it, or thoughts, even. He just feels it, and that’s good enough.

Sans moves his hand while he calls him from inside his body, adding an experimental physical aspect based on what he already knows he likes, watching carefully. Grillby doesn’t like for Sans to tug him very often, prefers to take himself out when they do this. He also doesn’t call it that (heh), even though he likes it when Sans does. But he undulates willing and pliable under Sans’s patient coaxing, lets it build slow until it gets strong, asking and answering. He’s all loosened up now with pleasure and closeness, and his quiet crackles turn to hissing moans as Sans continues. It’s an oval motion that pulls and beckons; Sans bends his wrist back and curves his middle phalanx to ask, pushes spread fingers to swirl into the answer.

It’s… it’s good. His tight sigh makes Sans quiver, reminds him of other white-hot noises. … I don’t think it feels like yours, but I like it. He moans again. … Make me come out for you, Sans. I want you to touch me.

“fuck,” Sans pants through his teeth. He never gets like this; not even begging or being coy, he’s just saying it plain as plaid and it’s turning him on so much he might actually explode. Grillby hasn’t sweet talked him this hard since...maybe since Sans first showed him his soul. Back when he was nervous, didn’t know what it was going to feel like. Didn’t know the ways he could feel, and did things he didn’t understand. But they learned how to make each other feel good, paid attention, took real good care of each other. Sans hears a cracked moan escape him, feeling dizzy with arousal because he realizes it’s a lot like now, isn’t it.

“you want me to touch you soon’s i tug?” He writhes a negative, sparking against him wildly and clutching him close. So close.

I want you to pull me right into your hand, he elaborates softly.

fuck,” he repeats, and it’s a sobbing whine this time because holy shit. He pants softly, watches flames dance under his breath. “gonna make you feel so good,” he promises, shuddering violently.

Sans’s arm tightens to pull him closer, and Grillby flickers out over Sans’s face, tasting lightly across his maxilla and orbitals, coils under his fused mandible to soothe with heat, tilt his face up. Flames dip into his neck to curl between his vertebrae; he hears a hot, hollow pop. A shower of sparks fall against his clavicle and ribs as Grillby surges helplessly into his call. They breathe fervently together as Sans swirls his hand a few last times, then pulls with a deep curving motion that turns his hand into an expectant cradle. He draws him right into his fingers with a gentle twist; Sans lets out a tiny, shivery coo as they slide right in, as soul and bone become.

He gives him the strange, trembling excitement he’s filled with; it feels...it feels subversive, especially intense. Sans always feels both vulnerable and safe when they touch each other, but… the way Grillby asked him for this, the way he moaned and flickered as he called his body and soul. It feels special, like Grillby’s trying to let him in even more than usual. He gives him the rush of sweet nostalgia he’d felt earlier, the care and protectiveness he wants to give back.

Grillby’s temperature fluctuates to draw in oxygen desperately as he seethes against him; he wonders if Sans’s genitalia can come out.

A gentle smile crosses his face, sockets shut as he pleasures Grillby thoughtfully, rubbing his forehead into fire and touching him deep, lets him feel the way he’s got Sans excited out of his mind and relaxed at the same time.

“hmm. dunno how to make it do what i want. seems like it always jus’ does what it wants, but… you, uh. wanna touch me there? see if it’ll come out for you?” he whispers, shivering with anticipation, trust, pleasure. Gives him that, too, and yes: Grillby wants to try and see if he can call Sans’s body. He caresses the soul in his hand fondly, skates fingers out and presses in. Holds him nice and snug as he tents one of his legs up to give him better access.

Sans exhales slow as flames tickle at his ilia, slide in toward his pubis and flicker at the joint of it where the magic nestles tight and dense. He glances down; it still doesn’t bother him to look, even though his soul’s not being touched anymore. It’s just him. Sans smiles and hums a little in fascination as he watches what Grillby’s doing there; he feels something like...drawing? Heat for sure, but something more, too. Something hard to describe as flames encourage magic to shed again; he’s going to be very hungry in a bit.

“gotta feed me after this one, hot stuff,” he whispers smugly into pale-yellow fire. Grillby thinks Sans is being awfully demanding, considering how much of the work he’s been doing.

“aww… but you’re really taking it outta me,” he teases, starting to pant a little. He looks back down and yeah, it looks like his body wants to come out and feel good again after all. “’sides, even the best cook tastes better in bed,” he groans, deciding to get as many entendres in as he can, because wow. “been a while since you fed me like that, huh?” He shares how exciting it is to be coaxed out this way; a new feeling. But it’s one that feels safe, feels good. It’s interesting watching it happen together; looks like it wants to be the same as last time, maybe? Hmm. Well, a little different, but very similar.

Grillby wants to know if Sans is good with him keeping at it; he is.

“’m insatiable, remember?” he giggles a little breathlessly as flames slide and flicker.

Sans touches and makes him feel it, Grillby touches and makes Sans feel it. It’s interesting, like some of what they usually do body-and-soul, with an added element of novelty. Sans makes a soft, rounded noise when Grilby lets him know he thinks his genitalia looks cute right now too, short and chubby just like Sans. Seems like Grillby can’t get enough of him, and even just the hint of that coming through is making Sans antsy as hell in a good way. It’s strange; Sans feels very full of wanting, but it doesn’t hurt, even though his body’s doing what it’s doing. And Grillby wants even more, wants to feel everything. Wants to let him in, feel even closer. That gives Sans an idea.

“want me to fuck you with it?” Sans suggests softly. He knows a touch of confusion, and that’s fair enough. He thinks about how to explain what he means by it right now. “mmm. s’like...how you did to me earlier when i needed help to push?” He slides his genitalia along flames suggestively, thinking and whispering. He’s not in a hurry. “but i’d put this inside you ‘stead a fingers. jus’ push it in wherever you want… move it around if you like how it feels. might get you going like when i put my hands in? don’t know for sure, though. s’okay if you don’t want to.” He smiles and sighs, slow blinks his sockets with contentment. “like what you’re doing jus’ fine.”

Grillby thinks about how that would work, since his body’s more or less the same all over. But there really no reason he can’t try it anyways, and he likes what he does with his hands. Thinking of that, he wonders if it would feel different than when he reaches out to touch.

“might not,” Sans sighs, moving his fingers a little to make sure he shares his excitement, and the fact that it won’t go anywhere no matter how he decides. “might feel the same, ‘cept i’d be doing the work,” he adds, exhales in amusement, then pleasure as flames tickle at his genitalia again. Grillby’s amused by that too; what a novel concept. Sans gives him a rush of how much he wants to share himself, let him really feel his body this way. Not just reaching out to touch and hold it, but Sans pushing it inside. Adds a little taste of how he’d felt when Grillby’d done it to him; it won’t be the same physically, but it might feel close and intimate like that. Let him feel it all at once, just like he wanted.

Grillby flickers and undulates; as far as he’s concerned this already feels different. The way Sans feels reminds him of that thing he likes; everything all in a rush. Not only that…slimes can do something with monsters who have genitalia even though they don’t, and he wants to try it out because he thinks can probably do it, too. Just considerably...hotter. Had a very interesting conversation about it with Craig once; Grillby’s has always been full of friendly Dogs, after all. He can get both softer and firmer in a way to both let Sans in and make him feel good. He flickers and pants as he lets him know: the idea of it makes him feel shivery, a little raunchy. He wants to try this out, see what it feels like to have genitalia put into his body that way, and it’s not like he’d ask anyone else.

Sans moans and shudders with anticipation; lets him feel pleased surprise. Grillby’s never let him know these feelings, never asked for anything like this. Grillby caresses him with a prim little flicker. Well, Sans has never had genitals before either; he tilts his head and gives him a flagrantly challenging grin of his own. He can certainly figure it out if Sans can.

“fffuck,” Sans whispers tightly, craning his neck back to let Grillby surge at his vertebrae as his sockets slip shut. “you got me losing my mind over here, grillbz,” he whines enthusiastically, and they let it echo back and forth. Sans knows about certain monsters’...flexibility, but he never suspected Grillby could do that sort of thing, much less be so interested in it. It’s kind of...well. It’s kinky.

Sans knows a touch of something; shyness? He inundates him with a flood of desire, excitement, anticipation. Sans isn’t judging; the opposite in fact. He tempers his arousal with how Grillby’s offer makes him feel, like they’re finding whole new ways to enjoy their bodies. Lovely surprises and learning together, even after all this time.

Grillby lets him know he still wants to, and it looks like he can do what he thought. Just a few little changes, not nearly as complicated as you’d think. A tinge of nervousness comes through with it; Sans groans soft and low as he lets him feel again how it had felt for Sans to have Grillby inside that way, then shivers and flips it: gives him how much he’d liked doing that to Sans. It hadn’t felt awkward to put his body inside and move it around a little, hadn’t felt anything but good. Not that different from other stuff they do, putting his fingers in, moving them around inside flickering, sighing fire. That’s what Sans wants to feel, and what he wants to give back.

Grillby’s flames curve around bone, hold his hips to coax him forward. Will Sans let him feel this, too? Sans nods and pants, curves his fingers in his soul to touch deep as he nudges gently at, then slightly inside deliciously searing heat. He shudders and groans at its harsh grip on his delicate magic; they might not be able to do this for very long, but that’s okay.

Grillby tries to let him in more and make it a little softer, but he clutches and struggles without making much headway.

“you worried i’m gonna burn myself?” Sans whispers, opening his sockets. He’s not. Grillby trusts him not to use his body to hurt himself; just like Sans trusts Grillby to find a way to ask instead of trying to provoke Sans to take. He feels respected and cared for, feels anticipation and trust.

It’s poignant enough that Sans hums plaintively as he cups his soul in his palms, holds him tight as he flickers and sighs, feels safe, feels held. Sans gives him a complex emotion; protectiveness: he doesn’t have to be share anything he doesn’t want to, acceptance: however he feels is okay. Care: just let him know and he’ll get him where he wants to be. He pushes in his thumbs, spreads them apart. Grillby lets him know: he likes this a lot. He wants more. That’s why he’s tense; he’s shy about it. It is kinky, and that’s part of why he wants to, and part of why it’s hard to give in to how he feels. But Sans always finds a way for Grillby to get what he wants and feel how he wants to feel.

“i gotcha.” Sans sighs and nuzzles at him sweetly, frees a hand to curl around and trace fingertips aimless and soft on his sparking back as he gives him a rush of his own patient desire. “jus’ gotta take your time, k?” Grillby shimmers hungrily, relaxing into what Sans gives him. “that’s it,” he whispers fondly, moving side to side the tiniest bit to help him along, get him used to the feeling. “got me real excited. you feel it?” He does; it’s tingling into him, especially when Sans moves like that. It feels a little different than he expected, but he wants to keep going. Sans keeps petting him as he nudges forward suggestively, gives him the tiny thrill of emotion and sensation he feels as he slips a bit more inside.

“‘m gonna give it to you jus’ like that,” he breathes. Grillby gives him a thrill right back: a breathless surge like coming in hot as he shudders and softens. Sans exhales so tight his voice breaks through it a little, and the shimmering sensation's so ticklish he lets it echo, lets it get wide and soft between them. “gonna let me in?” he whispers, rocking and testing. Grillby moans and seethes against him; Sans should try it now. Quivering heat envelops his genitalia further; Grillby gasps and grips him tight when he feels it, then relaxes even more as Sans slides smooth the rest of the way inside, still caressing him with fingertips.

“ohhh...” His sockets close as magic-softened bones come to rest against the firm-permeable outside of his body. “there you go,” he sighs, soothing body and soul delicately with fingertips, pushing his face at intermittent solidity rippling through the flames. He shifts slightly to test it, curves his phalanges and makes a soft, happy noise. “s’nice. got you holding me all hot n snug.”

Grillby shivers up tight, then flicker-sighs it out. Sans pushing in this way feels blunt and cool to him, tingly-sweet and strange to envelop and squeeze, makes him feel yearning and satisfaction at once. He can feel how his magic’s agitated there, fizzy and excited, spending itself into him a little as he hisses and moans. Sans lets out another cracked exhale, sockets slipping shut as flames flow over him past his genitalia to surround his bones too, gripping him tight around his spine and pelvis. Grillby feels it all now, and he likes it a lot. He definitely wants him to move it around the way he said before.

“you got it, hot stuff,” Sans murmurs softly, touches him deep and nudges him gently with his forehead while he tries it out. Fire guides him as he adjusts; they both see what makes them feel good, then figure out what feels the best. They know each other, know their bodies even if they’re a little different right now. Before long they’re both making some noise, getting even more excited. Turns out movement makes Grillby a little flickery and lessens the temperature. They could go on a little longer than Sans thought at first, though it’s still a bit rough and very hot. Grillby likes the same motions Sans does, wants to know if he’ll climax like before.

“nah,” he whispers, cracking a socket open to get a very fascinating eyeful. “might not bother ever again after that last one. don’t think i could top that,” he quips, voice gentle and winking wickedly. They both moan as he changes up the angle, then Grillby hisses tight and surprised; shudders open as Sans uses both hands in his soul again to press, then penetrate. “don’t you worry bout me. feels real good.” He makes sure he can feel it, humming happily at the white-hot sizzle when he does. “you jus’ let me know.”

Grillby runnels up onto Sans’s fingers, shivers and groans as he touches his soul, too. He… he’s going to… push this a tiny bit. Just enough to last to the end, whenever...whenever that is. Sans’s grin sharpens; Grillby’s usually got more self control than Sans does in this department, and getting him to push a second time is a bit of a feat. This feels almost too hot to handle without being painful (yet), enhanced by shivery, open feelings Grillby shares with him. A little edgy, maybe? Close-to-scary-exciting without being scary at all; just real close in general. Sans gives him a nice thick rush of that, his own dangerous heat and Sans’s exhilarated enjoyment echoed back into him, then hears the lovely sound that heralds the tight heat of his magic around Sans’s fingers. Grillby wants to keep at this with his soul back inside, and they hum plaintively together as he returns it.

Sans wraps his arms around to savor his rush; there’s an outward, shuddering combustion to allow it, crackling with pleasure and satisfaction. The angle’s difficult to maintain this close on his side, so he plants his foot on the mattress for leverage and rolls up on top to keep on fucking him the way he liked the most, close as he can get without just falling right through.

“you all good?” Sans rumbles, shoving his face into the conflagration for a second to breathe him in; he sucks down hot sparks, a wisp of smoke so salty-searing with Grillby’s strange, shivery pleasure he cries out. It doesn’t feel like his; luckily he doesn’t have to describe or understand it, just enjoy it.

Do it more now, Grillby hisses sharp and wanton; Sans cries out again as half-solid flames tease into his pelvis briefly to press from inside, brush at the holes in his sacrum as he shows him what he means. He wants it harder, faster. Hot and rough. … Don’t stop until you have to.

Sans kneels and leans up on his hands because he’s heating up quickly now. His magic sheds heavy on his frontal bone as he breathes raggedly, really exerting himself now that he won’t be able to much longer. Grillby can already taste him spending magic inside his body, so he darts a thin thread of fire between Sans’s teeth to make sure he gets a taste too.

He tilts his skull back and shudders violently as the spark explodes in his mouth, sockets narrowing to slits: it’s a free for all.

He growls deep and delighted through his teeth, pushes a hand back inside the roaring conflagration to rile him up even more. Sans lets his sockets slip the rest of the way shut as Grillby flickers across his face to touch and taste delicately; Sans grunts soft curses as Grillby seethes and writhes under him, giving as good as he gets. He guides his fingers in further until he can feel the place his genitalia penetrates what Grillby’s made to hold it. When he glides his phalanges up and down curiously, there’s an almost whickering chorus of tight noises from deep inside the conflagration he’s fucking with everything he’s got; he didn’t know fire could make a sound like that, but holy shit. He cracks a socket open and pants frantically at the astoundingly titillating view, but moderation has its place even at times like these. He doesn’t want Grillby to faint or anything, since he doesn’t know if he actually can.

He falls to his elbows and grips at wavering flames with his hands and fingers as they move together; it slips away and flickers back into his hands, tendrils all over touching and teasing bones wherever they like. Grillby darts in hard between his ribs, curls in tight and pulls a little to hear the lovely shout he makes in return, slides inside his pelvis again to press from the back. They keep grappling messily with increasing abandon, making each other yell and moan and writhe right up until the pleasure Sans feels heats itself towards sharpness.

He lurches up to pull himself out of Grillby with a rush of sparks just before it gets painful, curses fervently and flops over on his back to pant heavily. He lets his relatively cool upper body be held and throws a carelessly fond arm over half-solid fire while he tries to coax his genitalia back where it goes with the other hand, his labored breathing slowly evening out. Grillby watches in fascination until he glances up and realizes Sans has fallen asleep still touching himself... although his fingers are stilling now.

He frowns in disgruntlement at first, then flicker-shrugs fondly. It gives him time to check his supplies, whip something up if they’re lacking. Sans might be lazy, argumentative, and demanding, but he still finds ways to give everything he has, every time. He makes Grillby feel okay with taking it, including in ways he never thought he’d be able to. Or want to, at least. He giggles silently. My goodness.

Flames curl into another indulgent grin; he lets the bone arm blink through him to rest on the mattress, gets up after wisping a tendril fondly across the snoring skull. His room doesn’t have a window, but he’s pretty sure they've been at it for at least two days now.

They’ve both earned a snack, and Sans has earned his nap.

***

Sans lies on his back, sockets half mast as Grillby slides another thin wafer between his teeth.

Smoky-bitter, sweet and spicy. He holds it gently in the gap, lets it dissolve slow. Bites down on the last bit with a little shiver: the crumbs fall in to disperse as a burst of dry heat. He doesn’t know the recipe, doesn’t know how they taste like this, but that’s okay. There probably isn’t one. Each cookie-thing tastes a little different, and they never get boring. Grillby makes these just for him, and he only eats them when they do this.

Sans is prepared too, rolling onto his side as his hand rummages in the bowl propped up between them. His fingers curl around a generous handful, and his fist ascends. He lets them trickle through a little at a time and watches the tiny kernels turn inside out loudly, then hiss into nonexistence about half an inch above Grillby’s body while they both giggle madly.

I like these corn seeds. Fluffy, little, and noisy...they remind me of someone.

“puff right up when i get close to you, huh?” Sans chuckles, sprinkling more obnoxious snacks up and down as he giggles and flickers. Bringing Grillby weird shit to eat is one of the simple joys that keep him going, and this is a new one. Of course Grillbz finds a way to turn it back around on him, tell him he’s cute, tell him he thinks about him. Tell him lots of things he always wants to hear, and he never gets tired of it. He checks in on Lola briefly; she’s having a nap now despite the noise. He’s glad, means she’s fine.

“you ever gonna tell me why you named yourself grillby?” Sans chortles, liberally sprinkling out a third smooth regular into the flames.

Grillby just gives him the silent, shiteating grin that question never fails to prompt, so Sans snorts, then flops onto his back to demand feeding again. Already. Grillby gives him a petulant look, then sighs.

He seethes up hot and much closer than necessary as his aspect changes; he leans in with a passionate, mock-breathless expression as he slides another cookie between Sans’s teeth.

Because I’m a born comedian. Sans bites down in surprise. It’s a good thing monster food can’t be choked on because he actually gasps. Grillby’s expression goes from passionate to wicked.

And I’m better than you are, you hack.

This is almost as egregious as that once when Grillby kept his glasses on the whole time. He doesn’t even have eyes.

He leans up to cough for dramatic effect, then suppresses another giggle as he lies back down.

“that’s not really saying much,” he replies backhandedly.

I like your jokes, he adds primly.

“you got real bad taste, grillbz.”

It takes one to know one.

“no way,” he protests, lifting his chin insistently for another burnt disc of food. “everyone’d love em if they gave em a try. think the smell just puts em off.”

It kind of reminds him of the wafers he’s seen people give their little catfish in aquarium tanks. Maybe he should take some of those underground sometime, wait a while and see what they’re like. This one’s so sour it burns, and salty-mint-sweet. Like someone boiled candy canes and smoked fish in vinegar.

“ooh...nice.” His sockets narrow in unfeigned pleasure. “think this one’s my favorite,” he adds as he lets it dissolve slow. “too bad they’re never the same, huh?”

You are literally the only person who has ever liked my baking, he points out dryly. … I’m confident saying the problem here is your taste, not everyone else’s. I should probably stick to my namesake methodology.

“nah,” he rebuts, then makes a cranky face when Grillby lies back down pointedly. “paps likes it. s’why he asked for cooking lessons from you too, remember?”

He only asked so he could make something you’d actually eat no matter what, Grillby replies bluntly. And if you let me starve to overpushed dust in the middle of tug-and-tickle because you can’t shut up long enough to feed me, everyone will know it was you, he continues before additional rebuttals can be arranged … I left a note saying just that in case of my untimely demise, somewhere even you’ll never find it.

“where’s that?” Sans asks gamely, then his fingers dart out to steal a wafer from him, instantly tossing it at him too quickly for him to dodge it. A wave of grey outraged disgust goes ripples dully through him at the taste of his own appalling creation.

Ugh! It’s on the back of your skull, turned sideways and shoved directly up your bony ass, you cretin.

Sans just laughs himself to tears and sprinkles him with popcorn like noisy confetti as Grillby harangues him and writhes around hedonistically. When they’re both done, Grillby cleans the bowl and Sans tucks it back in his phone; Grillby sets the container the little wafers come from on the floor, slides it back under the bed. They cuddle right back up with several incredibly satisfied sighs, full and happy with food and laughter, thoroughly roasted.

Sans pulls the blanket up and drowses for a bit, dazed with gratification. Grillby doesn’t sleep, but he likes to watch Sans do it. He tried a few times, but it doesn’t work. Apparently he just doesn’t have anything to sleep with, so he solidifies a few flames to stroke his bones gently without waking him. Sans had explained to him long ago that being intermittently permeable has to do with moving bits of his physical substance around, using the resistance as it combusts, taking from what he’s consumed to be replaced. That’s why he can eat physical substance as well as magical substance; it’s all fuel for his flames. It makes him smile, makes him think. Sans isn’t the only one who’s wished he knew more about his body, himself, and why he is the way he is. Another thing they share with each other and explore together when they feel like it, along with talking and thinking, eating and laughing.

He wakes up after a little while, and they hold each other. Sans is quiet, but he lets out a massive sigh after a bit, squeezes fire comfortingly.

“tried to hurt myself again, didn’t i,” he rumbles quietly.

Yes. Just the face this time, and I held you like I always do.

“how bad?”

Not the best, not the worst.

Sans blinks his sockets sleepily. Disappointed, but not surprised. Then he feels a surge of anxiety.

“didn’t hurt you or anything, did i?” It’s a tiny, frightened whisper.

Of course not, he replies evenly. …You can’t hurt me. But Sans… you’ve never tried to, either. You only try to hurt yourself, even if you don’t know what you’re doing. You know that.

It’s true enough. And when it got so bad he didn’t even want Grillby to see, he’d gone elsewhere. With people who couldn’t see it at all. Grillby knows some of what he’d taken care of...he’d probably done to himself. Sans figures he’ll never know how much was his doing, and what was whoever he’d gotten to do it to him that time.

Grillby continues after a few seconds. …You haven’t tried to get me to hurt you either, no matter how bad it gets...for a very long time, Sans. Not since the first time. And you’ve never tried to force me to do anything I didn’t want. Never.

A few silent tears slide out, and he lets them fall. Guess he felt that in there, too. Half of him wishes he hadn’t, the other half is flooded with relief.

“but… it did hurt,” he whispers hollowly. “dunno why i asked you to do that. shoulda known.”

It wasn’t the same, Sans. You wanted to try it, and you didn’t like it. You’re allowed to dislike things. The pain was unexpected, but… I know you didn’t want it to hurt. Believe me, I know the difference.

He’s not coming anymore, and Grillby should probably know what he’s been dealing with. He’s not afraid to say it, doesn’t mind talking about it a little. Anything he needs to say is okay, and he doubts it’s going to be an entirely unforeseen revelation.

“guess someone hurt me real bad a long time ago. when i was just a kid.”

I see.

Grillby sounds incredibly saddened, but not surprised. He notices a lot of things he doesn’t say anything about, including Sans’s humans traits. Never even mentioned it; neither did Lola.

“went on for… a long time. guess that’s why i feel that way so much. why i need help feeling anyway else, sometimes.” Grillby knows better than anyone what he means, and he knows Sans doesn’t remember his childhood.

Yes.

“figure you knew, right? that something like that happened to me, even though i forgot.” Sans holds him tight, feels flames stroking his back and doesn’t look at anything in particular. “why didn’t ya tell me?”

I did, he replies after a long, thoughtful pause. Many times. It was in the place I told you about. But you weren’t ready to hear it, so...you did not hear.

“huh.” Sans thinks hard about that for a while. Rubs his face in fire and huffs a little. Lets himself hold and be held, shuts his sockets to think soft on it for even longer. Anything he needs to do here is okay too, and Grillby won’t leave him right now. He won’t even let him go until they’re done talking, and he knows how to avoid burning him while he sleeps.

“you knew what it was ‘cause you saw something like that before?” he whispers when he wakes up.

During the war.

“i don’t remember what happened… but i feel it,” Sans continues after a bit. And because he’s too smart for his own good, he adds, “guess i gave who did it what he had coming, too. ‘m glad about that.”

That is part of why Lola did not speak before you came, Grillby says after a while. After even longer, he continues in a quiet crackle.

She would want you to know… she also gave many people what they had coming, and does not regret it.”

Sans’s teeth part as he looks up into flames, face soft with astonishment.

You cannot see it because she does not bear it; what I give her takes the weight away. She does not leave here because if that weight returned it would crush her to dust. Her presence keeps me bound to the place I choose, and I am so very grateful for it. You leave with what you need and return with what I need; you keep me content. She makes the purpose I have chosen possible for me, as do you.

Grillby doesn’t look at anything in particular either.

My life is a traditional one. That is...what I showed you.

Sans stares silently, even more shocked by that and he’s not sure why. They both need to be held for a while, so that’s what happens.

“that’s… what you do, huh?” Sans whispers. He knows he’s the only person Grillby allows to take what is served here outside the bar under any circumstances. He starts crying, because of all the things he should have known. “this place. takin care a sad sacks like me.”

There’s no one like you, Sans, Grillby replies firmly, holds him close.

Sans keeps crying, because he believes him. For good or ill.

There is nothing wrong with you, he crackle-whispers after a bit. …I am not unique in that knowledge, and I don’t think you have anything to fear from being seen.

“doesn’t have ta be tori all over again, you mean,” he says a little bitterly.

No. That is what you mean. You’re in love, Sans. Why don’t you give yourself the chance to do right by them, and do right by yourself for a change?

“there’s still stuff I can’t tell em, grillbz,” he whispers hollowly.

There is a difference between that and parts of yourself you refuse to share. What happens here, and how it makes you feel...that should not be a secret between you.

He doesn’t mean talking about it.

“you serious?”

After all, this belongs to Grillby, too.

Whether or not they want to know… that is up to them. But… I know sometimes you dispense what I serve here to others, and yet I trust you to do so. I also trust you to know who is worthy of your love.

Sans is surprised again; Grillby didn’t ask to see anything himself, but he’s offering everything.

Because he knows how Sans feels, even though he didn’t ask to see. Because that love is a part of who Sans is, part of everything he does now.

You have a future now, Sans, so you might as well get used to it , he crackles bluntly. …Don’t throw it away again because you’ve convinced yourself you don’t deserve it.

They stay like that, and slowly his tears cease.

Once again, the issue isn’t what he shares here.

It’s what he fails to share elsewhere.

Too many secrets, fingers in everyone’s pie.

They eat again, then Sans pulls a bottle or two out of his phone. Stares at them for a long time, then drinks. Puts the empties back where they go.

Where Grillby fills them up with what he needs: to stop feeling like he’s disgusting-bad-wrong just long enough to change the mood, tell a joke, find some company, get something to eat.

And he comes back with what Grillby needs: new things to see and taste, new people full of company and conversation.

Some of the people he brings in become regulars, because Sans knows that look in their eyes.

Lost.

They just need some good food, some bad laughs, and some nice friends.

Everyone needs a little help feeling how they want to feel sometimes.

“me and you. guess we’re something, huh? you...know what it’s called?”

Much knowledge was destroyed, he says hollowly after a long time. He was just a kid, too. He doesn’t say anything else, but he doesn’t need to.

“does it have anything to do with us touching each other?” he asks a little uncomfortably; Grillby gives him a look much like the one he’d have given anyone who asked him a question like that.

No? He doesn’t laugh, although he looks like he very much wants to. Sans appreciates the effort. … It’s certainly nice when we’re in the mood, though, isn’t it?

Sans lies back down wth a wry smile and a nod, takes fire into his arms. After a little while Grillby gets softer, less firm. Starts to slide around in the bed, heating up his bones nice and warm.

Flames tease at Sans’s intercostal spaces; he takes longer than usual, drawing it out. Grillby sighs and sparks gently as Sans moves his hand inside him, and Sans shivers and grunts as fire slides up into his ribcage, caresses up and down the inside of his sternum. When they’re ready they pull deep at the same time and touch right away, each with their own throatless version of the same shivery-soft moan. Bring their souls close together, touch themselves and each other however they like. They feel however they feel, know whatever comes to mind. Sans wraps his legs around his middle to pull him close; Grillby gives him something to grab and hold, pulls him closer, too.

Grillby doesn’t need any guidance for this. Flames and phalanges move as they will between their souls with confidence and easy, practiced enjoyment, souls coming as close as they can without touching. The last of their pushed magic fades into profound satisfaction, dissolving out into them with shared pleasure and intimacy.

Grillby teases his flames at Sans’s pubis, coaxing magic to quiver up and shed into him so he can taste this, let it linger that way. Nothing else happens there, just the delicately repetitive touches Sans likes and magic hissing apart into flames. Sans lets him know he wants a taste, too. A tendril of fire pushes between his teeth, deposits a spark inside his mouth to dissolve out smoky-bitter, dry and tangy with his strange, secret feelings. They let it echo: Sans is sweet and strong; Grillby is rough and hot.

Sans feels the satisfaction of polishing and maintaining, organizing and brewing, creating and nurturing every day, people he needs and ones who need him coming and going: sometimes the same, sometimes different, always welcome. Grillby feels the satisfaction of numbers being the ones they’re supposed to be, the secret nourishment of the checks that he complains about so loudly, the twinge of purpose that comes when he sees recognition in the eyes of others: feels real, feels present.

Grillby knows a shade of red he turns at the edges that’s almost purple, one that Sans is rather fond of even though it only happens when he’s very embarrassed. Sans knows the cute little wiggle he gives right before he heaves himself off a barstool, something he’s done countless times. They soothe and are soothed; they reassure each other with familiar motions, bickering rebuttals, the same old stories and jokes worn smooth with use. They show each other the patterns, habits, and idiosyncrasies that mean everything’s okay.

The center holds.

They’re making hope.

They revel in the deep, easy closeness they share, that they’ll share until both of them end.

They deposit hope into their endless selves over and over with their fingers, smiling soft and triumphant.

Chapter Text

Papyrus slips one of the straws his milkshake bristles with between his teeth, rests his mandible in his hands and leans forward with a sigh. He sips slowly, watching Mettaton’s legs flash under the flirty red skirt as he prances along the table and leaps nimbly across to the next one, earning a few annoyed looks from the people trying to eat their food at it. The song that’s playing doesn’t actually have any lyrics, but the world’s sexiest robot is managing to sing them anyways, and a few patrons near the bar wince. He supposes everyone has their own individual ideas about what constitutes gyftmas spirit; for Papyrus, this will certainly do.

Even if it is a little seedy.

He’s kind of into it; the milkshake’s helping with that. The deep red of Mettaton’s revealing little dress clashes strikingly with his pink heeled boots, although it harmonizes well enough with the glitter-green flocking that goes all the way from his furry black lashes to his high, arched eyebrows. Papyrus glances briefly at Lola, who’s looking unusually alert and (for her) practically riveted by the completely impromptu performance. He’s glad someone else is having as much fun as he is. It’s neither early nor late, and Mettaton had begun whatever this is after a prolonged costume change in the back and several glasses of cherry-flavored lowered standards.

Speaking of which, Papyrus still has no idea what’s actually in these milkshakes, but their charm hasn’t worn off for him yet. They don’t make his constant, soul-crushing anxiety actually go anywhere, but they do make it seem like everything else he feels has a lot more room to breathe than usual. He’s still just as brave as ever, but it feels slightly less of a life-or-death necessity. It also makes him consider joining the tabletop dance party, but watching it happen is almost as good as doing so himself, and this way more tables are likely to survive. He usually saves up Grillby’s tolerance points regarding wanton destruction of property for when Undyne comes here with him.

Speaking of whom, Grillby who also seems to have dipped into something for festive purposes, although at least it’s not Papyrus this time. Which is just as well; there’s no chance Papyrus himself has ever been that obnoxious. Well. He feels magic seethe into his skull; not since his ill-considered haiku phase. It’s just as well Sans ruined that for everyone forever.

He’s lucky to have a brother who can save him from himself when required.

He frowns down at his drink… he doesn’t remember asking for an extra shot of self-awareness, but it must be in there somewhere. There’s certainly no other reason to make such an admission even (especially) to himself.

Oh, it looks like the song’s finally ending, and Grillby’s actually got the hook out. Wowie, he hasn’t seen that since… hmm. Maybe Sans’s first show after the human’s little solo camping trip? What a shitshow that had been, so terrible even Annoying Dog had winked into existence halfway through. Papyrus had ended up sewing a merit badge afterwards for Worst Comedian Ever, complete with his brother’s sleeping face and a blob that’s supposed to be a skeleton hand doing a ‘thumbs down’, and looks considerably more like a turkey. Papyrus would usually have to do it over and over until it was up to his standards, but the crappiness of Sans’s show made it seem perfect just the way it is.

Of course Sans decides to check in on him right as Mettaton’s silvery eyes focus on Papyrus and begins a slow motion saunter over. Papyrus frowns, gently encourages his brother to take an extended metaphorical hike until otherwise notified, and finishes his milkshake in one fell slurp as a deep salmon blush covers his skull fetchingly.

“I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S METTATON!” Papyrus gushes once enough tiny, mincing steps have been taken so that it doesn’t seem like he’s shouting from across the room. Or close enough, at least. It probably doesn’t matter; the fish at the end of the bar is completely naked today, and everyone in here is aware to some degree that there are two young rabbit monsters touching each others’s souls beneath the tablecloth-covered booth under the gyftmas tree in the back. Grillby himself has decided to just eat the money everyone pays tonight in flagrant violation of both the law and good taste, considering he’s demanding (requesting, at each individual’s comfort level) to be hand fed the coins like a flaming gumball machine.

Anyone who’s in the mood for spectacles tonight, providing or witnessing, can certainly take their pick.

“IMAGINE!?! MY VERY FAVORITE CELEBRITY APPEARING HERE AT A COMPLETELY RANDOM DIVE BAR, COINCIDENTALLY AND MUCH TO MY UTTERLY UNFEIGNED SURPRISE!” Papyrus finished once he’s done being distracted.

Mettaton pulls out the chair opposite the tipsy skeleton of his dreams and takes a seat, smoothing his skirt and crossing his legs with prim-pretend modesty. He leans over and plucks a straw from the empty, pitcher-sized glass and licks it clean with a lascivious look that makes Papyrus even pinker.

“Don’t be so modest,” Mettaton counters, making Papyrus blush even harder. “Aren’t you...the president of my fan club?”

Mettaton must be a few colors deep; he doesn’t usually make any allusions to that sort of thing right away...especially when Papyrus provides the prompt he just did. And now the saucy, sloshed robot’s just grinning over at him, waggling his head and fluttering his eyelashes.

“How’s your holiday going?” he continues, as if Papyrus knows how to answer a ridiculous question like that.

Luckily Aaron wrests control of the jukebox back from Aaron, and puts on one of Papyrus’s favorite Blookhouse remixes of an ill-considered 1980s holiday song reeking of condescending cultural imperialism. The soothing strains of his favorite selection of classical music always puts a little more pep in his step than might otherwise be there, and he shoves his chair away from the table a little abruptly. Enough that Mettaton’s eyelashes flicker again; he tilts his skull apologetically and holds out a long, glove-clad hand.

It’s patterned with little decorated trees, as are his boots and scarf.

“I...” He grins weakly, wordless.

Mettaton gives him an extraordinarily frank look, but he takes his hand, and allows himself to be swept off his feet yet again.

After ten minutes of dancing, every eye in the place is riveted on them.

After twenty minutes, they’re clapping, slapping, or tapping in unison; even Grillby’s sour puss is grinning and tapping a glass on the bar in time with the music.

After an hour, everyone’s calmed down except for the robot and the skeleton all over each other in the middle of the dance floor, breathing heavily (not with exertion) inches away from each other’s mouths, no room in their eyes for anything except each other. When it gets to be too much even (especially) for them, they finally part, panting softly. Papyrus looks at the floor and flushes pink again; he goes back to the table and sits.

Mettaton comes back with a nameless drink that everyone knows how to order, and no one really talks about. Papyrus suppresses a shudder; how embarrassing. He still can’t look away as Mettaton sits without setting down his glass; the robot of his dreams just gazes at him longingly for a surprisingly long time before setting the glass to his lips and downing precisely half of it.

“I’M GLAD TO SEE ALPHYS’S HARD WORK IS PAYING OFF,” Papyrus says harshly, then winces. It always comes out rude, doesn’t it. He wishes he could blame it on his voice...but it’s really just him.

Mettaton just smiles gently, then sets the glass on the table between them...not close enough to Papyrus to pressure him, just makes the idea seem… present. Acceptable?

…Tempting.

Papyrus takes a deep breath, reaches out for the glass with a steady hand and drinks the rest before he can change his mind. As he sets it down, a softly illuminated awareness limns his usual amount of awareness that all monsters have something in common, and that commonality is a source of great comfort to everyone. He’s rather glad the couple under the booth put themselves back a while ago, otherwise he might have found himself asking Grillby if he could borrow his room. My goodness.

He looks up from the tabletop, meets Mettaton’s eyes squarely.

“I’ve already called my car,” the robot informs him quietly before he can ask. “I had hoped you might join me, but I don’t presume either way.”

He’s telling the truth.

***

“OF COURSE UNDYNE LOVES FLOWERS,” Papyrus says indolently, reveling in the titillating sensation of gloved robot fingers dandling inside the back of his tree-patterned scarf, caressing his vertebral processes brazenly. “EVERYONE LOVES FLOWERS. THAT’S WHY THEY’RE SO POPULAR.”

“Not so,” Mettaton counters, kneeling over him on the long, loooong seat in the back of his quiet-humming magic powered limousine. “There are humans who are allergic to them.”

“ALLERGIC?” Papyrus exhales slowly, arches up into the touch even more. “THAT SOUNDS LIKE A MADE-UP WORD. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?”

“All words are made up,” Mettaton points out; Papyrus blushes because he has a very good point. “It means plants make them sneeze,” Mettaton informs him, feeling very worldly and wise as he teases his fingers down to the first set of ties that hold Papyrus’s undergarments closed. The blushing skeleton beneath him looks startled for a moment and he pauses. He really is being rather forward, isn’t he; they’re still a few blocks away from the hotel, and it’s not like they go there very often.

He may have overindulged, but the way he feels right now is the way he feels all the time, especially whenever Papyrus is around. That being said, the last thing he wants is to make him uncomfortable for real. Mettaton smiles sheepishly at the seat beside the blushing skull; he blinks in surprise when in addition to a nod, he receives a word of encouragement traced delicately on his silvered-silicone thigh. Now he’s the one breathless; my goodness.

Lack of breath doesn’t stop him from teasing out the loop, nor does it prevent him from finding the second, hidden loop that when pulled, undoes the knot that holds the very top of his complicated undergarments closed. He might be one of the only people who knows how they manage to encase individual bones the way they do; ulna and radius each with their own little sleeves, tibia and fibula as well, not that most people ever see those under the high boots he always wears over them. Mettaton still remembers how long it had taken him to figure out the puzzles woven into them; probably three or four years on the surface had passed before he’d solved all of them, and creamy-white bones lay bare top to tip, quivering under his touch. Papyrus looks pleased; if that had been his way of conditioning Mettaton to think of that uniquely exquisite moment of triumph and intimacy every single time he undresses him to any degree for the rest of his life, he’d certainly succeeded.

Although he has to admit (even if only to himself) that this moment is a bit more heady and poignant than many. They're not even doing a scene, just having a friendly, casual conversation. Almost like human lovers might. But they’re certainly both monsters; the soft-light awareness of their souls from the drink they’d shared still thrums inside him too, almost like a substitute for the resonance he can’t feel through this body. Mettaton feels like he might swoon for just a moment, if robots were capable of such things.

“CAN YOU IMAGINE?” Papyrus grins, doing his angled-socket eyeroll. “IT’S NO WONDER HUMANS LIKE THAT DON’T COME INTO MY SHOP,” he sighs; nods subtly as Mettaton’s gloved middle finger goes between his teeth. The robot yanks his glove off eagerly, then slides his bare fingers back inside the scarf and down to where cervical spine becomes thoracic. Papyrus’s pleased hum stays subvocal; he continues as fingers trace every little bump and process.

“IF SOME SNEEZY HUMAN STARTED SNOTTING UP THE DISPLAYS WITH THEIR BODILY FLUIDS, I’D HAVE TO CALL THE MANAGER,” he murmurs harshly, and Mettaton smothers an undignified snort of surprise in Papyrus’s scarf.

One of this saucy skeleton’s convenient little fictions is that he’s just a worker in the florist’s shop he owns and operates alone. When he “calls the manager” he literally just gets in his little red sports car and goes home for the day, leaving whoever decided to annoy him standing there in an abandoned shop for however long it takes for them to realize he’s not coming back. Even humans inclined to thievery are stymied by the fact that he doesn’t keep money anywhere except his own person; those inclined to destruction in their throes of frustration discover that everything in the place not flowers is made of easily replaced and expertly painted cardboard.

The only one who’d ever tried to burn it down had been found shortly afterward a block away trying desperately to make love to a mailbox, so maybe there’s also something in the cardboard. Papyrus certainly has his ways of making friends with exotic plants.

“DID I TELL YOU, THE PAINTED BOUQUETS DIDN’T TAKE OFF THE WAY I HAD HOPED? IT MAKES ME DESPAIR THAT HUMANITY WILL EVER AQUIRE ANYTHING RESEMBLING A TRUE SENSE OF AESTHETIC,” he sighs, sockets slipping shut for a moment as he gives in to a little shiver.

Mettaton leans forward, stabilized by gloved hands to whisper close to the skeleton’s dreamy expression, let him feel the breath heated by whirring mechanisms inside his chest. “How did you paint them?” he asks, just as interested in the answer as he is in touching the next little bit of the puzzle further down his spine.

“ONE WAS RACING STRIPES...ANOTHER WAS FLAMES, OF COURSE. FLAMES JUST-”

“-make everything seem cooler,” Mettaton giggles, interrupting playfully.

“NNNNYES…” Papyrus counters suspiciously, opening his sockets just so he can narrow them in mock-annoyance, then lets it blend out into sincere bafflement. “I SUPPOSE I MAY HAVE GILDED THE LILY,” he adds, and Mettaton smothers another snort with less success, then just gives up and starts laughing.

“That’s terrible,” he giggles madly, undone. He lies down limply on cloth-covered bones, and lets himself shake with mirth. “You’re terrible,” he groans after a few more minutes, and even Papyrus’s schtick cracks under this kind of helpless response. They hug and laugh, faces tilting together to create a secret little space where their true feelings can come peek out, just a tiny bit. Just for a moment, brief and shining.

Then the car rolls to a stop, and they both get embarrassed by how much they’ve broken character, even with only the two of them to see. Mettaton clears his throat, then gets up to slide down the other long seat to open the partition and pay the driver. It’s a moldsmol today, and it wiggles gamely as Mettaton piles the seat next to it with coins. “Great job, darling,” he whispers. Then he doubles the amount in hopes that it’ll work on its timing a bit more in the future.

When he turns back around, Papyrus is gaping at him.

He blinks. “What is it, sweetheart?”

“WHERE DID YOU GET THOSE?” It’s a strangled croak, and his sockets quiver with iridescence.

Mettaton bats his furry black lashes some more, then remembers what he’s wearing. He grins and reaches up under the back of the short circle skirt of the red dress he’d donned just for the holiday; pets the rows and rows of horizontal ruffles that entirely cover the butt of his underpants.

Mettaton tells him; he yanks out his phone and starts tapping.

“I REQUIRE SEVERAL HUNDRED PAIRS IN EVERY COLOR THAT EXISTS AND AT LEAST TWO THAT DO NOT IMMEDIATELY,” he gushes, and Mettaton’s glad he’s so riveted on what he’s doing. Even the best actors have moments where the mask can slip; the expression on his face right now might give too much away.

***

Papyrus shivers and sighs between his lines, the back of his ribcage threaded with mechanical fingers weaving in and out like he’s a bone basket in need of repair. He and Mettaton have already gone through nearly all the scenes they know of that require a bed to not be awkward, and the puzzles on his undergarments have been solved by the same mechanical fingers that are currently...oh, sliding right up inside his ribcage from underneath now. He’d be squirming if his pelvis wasn’t held immobile underneath Mettaton’s ruffle-covered butt, and both wrists likewise held together carefully in his other bare, softened-steel hand.

Even so, he finds himself needing to muffle a loudly unscripted noise in the mattress as the inside of his sternum is explored exquisitely by deliciously neutral, comfortingly familiar fingers. Then he breathes heavily for a confused moment when they pause. He realizes belatedly it’s due to the fact that apparently the combination of having his ribcage played like a harp, being pinned facedown to a bed, and the mildly aphrodisiac effects of the drink they’d shared is enough to make him forget his…

“LINE?” he whispers softly, and Mettaton provides him with a prompt. When he repeats it and continues, so does the rest, and this time he manages to squirm despite everything.

When the scene ends, he doesn’t want it to be over.

They hold each other, touching and panting with less confidence between scenes than during. Nevertheless, Mettaton can’t resist tonguing between two cervical vertebrae to feel that satisfying little jolt; he’s startled by the sound it produces, and the lightest hint of what caused it. Mettaton’s red dress and Papyrus’s knee-length green sweater make a festive little pile together on the floor; Papyrus and Mettaton make another festive pile of their own on the still-mostly-made bed.

His gloves are folded neatly next to them on the coverlet, and the undergarments that usually cover him above the waist decorate various surfaces around the room, as well as a lamp near the bed. The skeleton had been unsure himself why he’d prevented Mettaton from undressing him the rest of the way when they’d begun, since it’s not like he hasn’t seen (and occasionally touched) his bare-boned pelvis from time to time. Papyrus doesn’t have anything to be ashamed of, certainly. His bones are lovely, long and clean, and he gets almost as much of a thrill at seeing them bare as Mettaton does. Now he’s got a sneaking suspicion that his motives may have been…a new kind of modesty. Just in case certain other facets of recently acquired self-awareness decided to manifest without his… direct encouragement.

He makes another odd noise when that magic-slicked tongue pokes at the magic between his bones again; he hooks a phalanx into the waistband of Mettaton’s unbearably fetching underpants and slides them down and off with one quick, casual motion. The little squeak of surprise makes him blush; he doesn’t want to seem overeager. But he is, isn’t he. There are lots of things he doesn’t do; most of them, in fact. But there are other possibilities that aren’t as remote as he’d once thought, and there’s no harm in asking. Checking to see if it’s...mutual.

Papyrus can’t hide this from himself anymore. He doesn’t know what tomorrow will bring, or even that it will come. Everything else falls away.

This is something he’s been thinking about for a long time, something that exists only in the moment; it flashes and fades like a burst of glitter in a spotlight. He has the bravery to push past his last hesitation, integrity that knows no matter what this ends up being, it’ll become part of him if that’s what Mettaton wants too. He can find a place for it, no matter what. It’s okay. It’s good, right? It’s…probably fine.

His hand drifts gently to a panel he knows well, that his fingertips have glided over maybe hundreds of times without pausing. He knows what’s hidden here. It was lovingly crafted by Alphys, who knows what it’s supposed to look like, but even more importantly knows what it’s supposed to feel like. Feeling without knowing...well, a little knowing, but not too much. Just enough, and apparently that doesn’t feel like too much anymore. Hard bone fingertips place themselves with purpose, then go motionless as Papyrus delivers his opening line.

“BUT HERE WE ARE, DESPITE EVERYTHING,” he begins, the words falling from between his teeth in a controlled rush as he feels Mettaton freeze. He continues just to make sure, although he’s certain Mettaton recognizes this, even if they’re lines he probably never expected to hear. Not after twelve years. “AND YOU’RE EVEN MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN I IMAGINED.” His voice is low and confident as Mettaton’s mouth drops open, eyes widening in something close to shock.

Papyrus neither speaks nor moves. He doesn’t breathe, either. He just waits.

He knows what comes next, and so does the lightly panting robot in his arms. But seconds extend into minutes, and Papyrus smiles gently as he begins to move his fingers away. Parts his teeth to say something else instead.

“I’ve-” Mettaton manages to choke out. Just the first word, but enough to still his lover’s movements.

Papyrus is nothing if not a completionist, and his attention to detail is unparalleled. Of course he’s watched the scenes that end up on the cutting room floor, including the ones deemed too racy even for the arthouse crowd. Not that it matters to Mettaton; sometimes it’s just more fun to film them in the first place… not that he’d ever admit that.

But to hear those lines here, now? Everything they do together do is real, but this is so unexpectedly raw. Whatever expression he’s been holding over his features slips away like fake blood spilled during the most operatic of demises; his brow knits as an unaccustomed vulnerability creeps into his soul and his face simultaneously.

Is Papyrus even capable of this? He must be, or he wouldn’t have begun the scene. Especially not in the role he’d chosen, which is yet another frothy-sweet layer of surprise on this particularly shocking sundae. The skull that fills his vision is so earnest and encouraging, it leaves no room for doubt. If he didn’t want this, he wouldn’t have said those words. It’s really just up to Mettaton to decide if he wants it too, and if he does, all he has to do is play along.

He’s just not sure if playing is what he wants this to be.

Despite the risk, he goes off script. Even if it pops the bubble of this delicate moment, he cares too much not to.

“Papyrus.” He whispers the name fervently to ground them both in reality if just for a few seconds, his eyes remaining stubbornly unfocused to allow them both as much privacy as possible. Another reason that even now, he has to ask.

“Are you sure, darling? This dance is a bit different than the ones we’ve had before.”

The only part of him that moves is his skull, inclining decisively before his carefully blunted stage whisper pushes soft, chalky breath over Mettaton’s lips. “I’VE REHEARSED ON MY OWN, OF COURSE, BUT THE OPPORTUNITY FOR A… A LIVE READING RARELY PRESENTS ITSELF.” How can one voice sound so confident yet so nervously eager to please at once? “A-AND THE DATING MANUAL-” his nonexistent throat clicks dryly, a rustle of bones meeting softly somewhere inside him, “-SAYS THAT SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED TO EXIST IN THE MOMENT.”

Mettaton shuts his eyes slowly with a trembling exhale. He wouldn’t invoke something so awkward if he didn’t really mean it. Mettaton’s apparently not the only one feeling vulnerable.

“I’ve wanted this for so long,” he hears himself whisper. Although this line was written years and years ago, that truth crumbles under the fact that they’re also the truth right now. Some might think what they do together is strange, but it’s none of their business, is it.

Papyrus’s eccentricities have always gelled so well with his own; he wishes more than ever that he’d found him sooner.

But Papyrus is only found where and when he wants to be, and only by those he wants to find him.

The fact that Papyrus wanted Mettaton to find him, that he wants him now… well. He doesn’t think too long about it, because tears aren’t called for in this scene, are they.

“But I thought you'd given up on me.”

The panel between Mettaton’s legs comes away lightly, and impossibly long phalanges set it reverently to the side on top of Papyrus’s carefully folded gloves. The skeleton’s next lines are an explanation of pseudo-scientific bullshit Mettaton had cooked up mostly to annoy real scientists as much as possible, and do nothing to stem the excitement he feels as he turns his face into tightened metacarpals for a quick, fleeting kiss. He opens his eyes as they depart to watch a bony shoulder move as Papyrus pushes his remaining clothing down past his waist, off his hips and legs.

The robot’s voice is only a little tight as he validates the pseudoscientific bullshit with practiced admiration, the tone if not the content encouraging whatever Papyrus is doing to himself as his shoulder continues to work, sighing and resting his skull tenderly on Mettaton’s silvery face. The resonance he can’t usually feel is becoming so strong where their bodies incline toward each other he’s starting to pick up on it, and his exposed inner workings are slowly flooding with his magic, responding enthusiastically with the panel removed.

His genitalia is based off of both monster and human sources, with a dash of flair from Alphys’s anime habit and the days of the Human Fan Club. He has others of course, although the scene they’ve begun is certainly compatible with his current set. But what about Papyrus? He finds himself tilting his face to try and see what on earth is happening down there even as his words garble a little (how embarrassing), sighed out in a rush of wonder and curiosity.

Papyrus’s phalanges fold under Mettaton’s chin hesitantly before he can see anything, coincidentally stopping the flow of lines as well. Mettaton lifts his head again willingly enough, meeting the gaze of deep black sockets instead.

“I-I’D PREFER TO STAY ON SCRIPT FOR THIS PART?” His sockets angle away, a slight crease forming between them. Papyrus isn’t sure why he feels so unaccustomedly shy; he’s sure he has the basics of how to do this down pat, and he hopes they’ll both like it. It feels like everything is going according to expectations on his end. Mettaton’s labored breathing doesn’t bother him, but the idea of his not-quite-reformed magic exposed under those black-and-silver eyes while he’s in this particular state is little...much right at this moment.

“I UNDERSTAND IF THAT DOESN’T WORK FOR YOU,” he adds as gently as he’s able. “I JUST...” He knows his face is pink again, and hopes Mettaton won’t mention it.

Mettaton feels a sympathetic pang in his soul. “I’m nothing if not a professional,” he sighs passionately. “I would never disrespect a colleague’s boundaries during such a sensitive rehearsal.” He feels the bones he clutches shiver at being referred to as a colleague, and Papyrus’s sockets shift his gaze to Mettaton's shiny lips.

“MAYBE...WE CAN WORKSHOP THAT LATER,” his rounded stage whisper intones, and the bones leave Mettaton’s chin trustingly. The robot’s eyes don’t close, but they don’t stray, either. Not even when he feels those same bones slide between his legs, the shuddering inhale drawn through teeth less than an inch away from his lips. It’s time to get back on script.

“I FIND MYSELF LOVING YOU IN WAYS I DIDN’T KNOW I WAS CAPABLE OF,” comes the next line at a slightly rougher register, but Papyrus dampens his harsh voice to resonate closely instead of ringing out. Mettaton appreciates such a nuanced delivery as two bony fingers press apart bundles of extremely live wires covered by magic-slicked silicone sheathing. “DID YOU SEE SOMETHING IN ME THAT I COULDN’T?”

“Only you know what you want.” He lets his voice shake with passion as he continues; it suits him. It also suits the situation happening inside his body, where Papyrus’s phalanges test him more deeply than expected. He keeps his eyes on smooth white clavicles as a third finger is added and then a fourth, although he can’t stop them from widening slightly as he closes his teeth against sounds that aren’t called for until a little bit later on.

Now some more lines about some kind of made-up substance functioning as a macguffin in the plot, and he manages to grit them out without sounding like he is. Papyrus’s bony touch is so responsive and thorough that it brings another rush of his magic to the surface already. He’s highly aware of how kinetically gifted the skeleton between his legs is under usual circumstances, but this is making him feel appreciated (cherished) in a much more immediate way than he’s used to, and it’s starting to steal his breath a little.

“But...will you take it?” He can’t actually control the tremble in his voice this time as the nubbled texture of bones spread him once more then withdraw delicately from his body. Their resonance interacts just slightly with the deep, almost desperate yearning of the magic he’s producing, and he hopes it isn’t too much.

Papyrus feels it, and it’s okay. In fact… his breathing goes a little ragged, but he smiles reassuringly as he absently uses the magic on his hand to help encourage his own. This is the sort of thing that would usually put him off; it’s wet and not-exactly-sticky, but it feels surprisingly good to him. Oh...that’s probably how Mettaton feels. That’s how shed magic works; Papyrus blushes again, having temporarily forgotten about that, but… wow. It really does feel good. If he’d known Mettaton would like this so much, he might have tried it sooner. He feels his brow crease a little as the impact of being so wanted, more than he expected or imagined, make things progress a little more quickly than he anticipated. It’s fine, it’s probably... good, right? That’s how it’s supposed to work.

He’s doing his best, but Papyrus realizes this might be just about as reasonable as the situation’s going to get. Mettaton’s face is relaxed and open as they exchange their last few lines before the, um, next part, but he decides it might be best to let him feel what’s going on, since he hasn’t seen it.

Mettaton’s fingers reflexively dart to his chest once he gets an accurate sense of what Papyrus nudges against his magic-slicked entrance before laying it across gently. There’s another panel there that covers the dial that controls his sensory input levels. Papyrus's expression doesn’t change nor does he discourage the movement, but his phalanges press Mettaton’s arm purposefully, then glide toward his shoulder with lessening pressure in controlled increments; they slow, then speed up as the touch becomes increasingly delicate and complex. The same fingers touch his lips oh-so-carefully, and Mettaton’s tongue darts out to taste their combined magic. A tactile impression that makes him think of thousands of bones flung with unflagging accuracy, a decade of dancing without a single missed step. The strength and surety of arms that can hold him aloft for hours, never once letting him touch the floor until he’s meant to. A reminder that no one has the kind of control over magic and movement that Papyrus does.

Still, the robot can’t help but let his lips twist in a slightly petty fashion, and his fingers slip under the panel to turn the dial vindictively (if only slightly, because my goodness) in the other direction. It wouldn’t do to allow such a pointed reminder to pass without a challenge from the world’s greatest living actor, formerly superstar of the underground, formerly the Untouchable Heartthrob of Blook farms, not that Papyrus knows anything about that. Of course he can take it. He still has his pride, after all.

He feels his expression soften despite this, because the exhalation from his lover’s nasal cavity is both amused and impressed. Maybe even intimidated? Good. Perfect. Challenge accepted, then. Or...maybe not? The lines have been finished until the next part of the dance has begun, but all he feels are skeletal fingers brushing his hair away from his face with just as much grace and delicacy as before.

Papyrus’s stoic in-character expression melts and a look of bemused annoyance replaces it. The stage whisper’s back, and maybe that’s for the best before they both let their egos get out of hand. Mettaton looks to the side, trying to be coy but failing to meet the mark. Papyrus waits until he stops trying so hard before speaking as quietly as he can, which isn’t very.

“I REALLY DID ATTEMPT TO MAKE IT MORE MANAGEABLE, BUT THIS IS THE ONLY RESULT THAT WAS EVEN A LITTLE BIT CONSISTENT,” he admits with admirable candor. “THIS IS...NOT INTERCHANGEABLE? NYEH HEH HEH...HEH...” he giggles sheepishly. His sockets take on a long-suffering expression that brings a soft smile to Mettaton’s lips, but his grin’s vulnerable enough to twist his soul. He sheds out a little more where they still touch and Mettaton picks up on it; nothing’s ever easy for Papyrus, so why would this be.

“WHEN IT COMES TO TRYING THE HUMAN WAY OF, UM… I THINK I’M JUST SHAPED LIKE THIS,” he blurts honestly as he slides himself against Mettaton, letting him feel his magic again… and coincidentally expressing his sincerity and eagerness to please along with it. Even with Mettaton’s neutral body between them, the force that holds Papyrus together seethes relentlessly with his emotions and intentions. He can’t help it.

Papyrus rests his forehead against Mettaton’s, meeting his eyes for a long moment as the robot tries to catch his breath at the unexpected and extended break from tradition. “IF IT’S NOT POSSIBLE, I WON’T FORCE IT. AND I WON’T HURT YOU,” he adds in breathy whisper quieter than anything he’s heard from him before. Mettaton stops trying to hide his eyes filling, his magic overflowing from the surge of strange and unaccustomed emotions. Something about Papyrus so close and open, whispering to him so softly... it finally undoes him.

“HOWEVER. IF YOU… WOULD RATHER? NOT?? THE IMPORTANT THING IS THAT WE TRIED, AND I DON’T REGRET IT,” he adds with another heartrendingly genuine grin. Mettaton’s eyes spill over, and careful phalanges wipe them away without comment.

“I want to see it,” Mettaton whispers petulantly.

Papyrus’s sockets crinkle a little, but he nods slowly. “OKAY,” he sighs, and leans up slightly without any strain or tension evident in his bones. Mettaton knows this isn’t anywhere near exertion for him. He looks down, and…

Blinks slowly, transfixed. He reaches for it, then glances up hesitantly, receives another, shyer nod.

“How lovely,” he murmurs as his soft silicone-and-steel fingers stroke the firm length confidently. He tucks his other arm up under his head to get a better view, and keeps on looking and touching. “It suits you. I had no idea you could do this,” he adds wonderingly.

“I-HMM,” Papyrus interrupts himself with an unexpected shudder of delight. “I DIDN’T EITHER, UNTIL I...HEARD SOMETHING THAT GAVE ME THE IDEA.” Apparently this is much more exciting when someone else is doing it...or maybe just when this someone is. Either way, he doesn’t really want to think about Undyne’s locker room talk at this rather delicate moment. “I CAN’T GET IT TO DO ANYTHING ELSE,” he feels compelled to explain yet again, although it seems Mettaton likes it well enough now that he can actually see it.

“I don’t really have those kind of expectations, darling,” Mettaton reassures him gently, although he has no idea why he seems so concerned about it. Or why he feels like he should have interchangeable genitalia like a robot. And he doesn’t mention that he’d had literally no expectations of this sort at any point, and he still can’t entirely believe it’s happening. Or how incredibly turned on he is by it. Papyrus’s magic is indescribably lovely, a shadow immune to light that still glints here and there with subtle sunset blushes, midnight blue seeming darker than the darkness, somehow. It looks like his sockets when he’s overcome with emotions, like the smallest spaces between his bones. Mettaton tries to turn his smile into a smirk, but Papyrus’s sincerity is as contagious as usual. Wowie.

Papyrus lets his femurs slide apart, shifts so he’s almost sitting back on his heels. His torso’s long enough that he can still curve his body over Mettaton’s protectively with the weight of his upper body on his carpals to either side of Mettaton’s head. He’s glad for the reassuring closeness because the extended departure from the script is starting to make him nervous again. Is this still a rehearsal? How exactly would what they’re doing now be categorized? Does he know what they’re doing? His shuts his sockets as anxiety threatens to overwhelm him for a moment, then something occurs to him.

“MAYBE THERE’S SOMETHING LIKE A REHEARSAL FOR A REHEARSAL. IS THAT WHAT THIS PART IS?” he rambles breathily, enjoying the sensations and slickness Mettaton’s fingers are coaxing from his slightly rearranged magic. He notices a bit of weakness in his hips because of it, but the strength of the rest of his body stabilizes him easily. It’s nothing to worry about.

“A PRECEDING REHEARSAL,” he pants. “A-A...AHHH, A PRE-REHEARSAL?”

Mettaton gazes up at him with his lips parted. “Of course, darling. If you like. There’s no...time limit on pre-rehearsals,” he adds, attempting reassurance again. He glances back down to see Papyrus’s pelvis rock forward slightly, and up to see his sockets grow slightly pained in shape. “It really...works for you, sweetheart?” he asks, not sure exactly what he means by it, and very caught up in this unexpected experience.

Papyrus lets out a single explosive breath, gazing thoughtfully at what Mettaton’s doing to him. “OF COURSE IT DOES,” he replies calmly.“IT’S PART OF MY BODY. I JUST ENCOURAGED IT A LITTLE TO HELP ME GET BETTER AT ACTING.”

Mettaton can’t do anything but laugh softly at that. “You’re right, of course. Are you ready?” He takes his hand away and lies back, noting its slickness and shivering quietly to himself in excitement.

“THE GREAT PAPYRUS WAS BORN READY,” he lies glibly, leaning back down between Mettaton’s legs to press his teeth dramatically to his squarely artificial jawline. “AND DESPITE HAVING ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT THIS IS GOING TO FEEL LIKE, I’M CONFIDENT THAT IT WILL BE ENJOYABLE FOR ALL INVOLVED. HOWEVER!” His impossibly long phalanges draw back down Mettaton’s body reassuringly, encouragingly. “YOU MAY HAVE THE EXPERIENTIAL ADVANTAGE, BUT I THINK YOU NEED A BIT MORE PRE-REHEARSAL.”

“I’m ready, darling,” Mettaton protests, incredibly aroused at this point and craving bone to wrap his arms around, to squeeze and grind against. “I’m-” he cuts off with a moan as Papyrus kneels up, presses him open again with three long fingers, making him tense and shudder. He nudges one of Mettaton’s shiny thighs up with a femur, then a little further out as he looks down assessingly.

“I MAY NEED TO SLIGHTLY REVISE MY OPINIONS ON MESSES,” he sighs absently, obviously fixated on what his fingers are doing, a well as on rubbing his genitalia lightly (after a questioning glance and a hurried nod) along the underside of Mettaton’s thigh. “IN SOME INSTANCES IT’S POSSIBLE THAT A MESS LANDS SOMEWHERE IN THE VICINITY OF DESIRABLE, AND OTHERS PERHAPS CAN BE CLASSIFIED… A NECESSITY?”

Mettaton can hear his rambling quite clearly over his own moaning, but that’s mostly because it’s Papyrus. Unlike most people, Papyrus tends to get louder when he’s not paying attention to what he’s saying. But he’s most certainly paying attention to what he’s doing; hard, flexible fingers push and coax, curve and caress with increasing confidence and enthusiasm.

“Where-where on earth did you learn to do this?” Mettaton gasps when Papyrus finally stops talking long enough. What Mettaton’s got in there doesn’t exactly...come standard.

Ha.

Papyrus’s teeth stay parted and he looks a bit breathless, but his gaze doesn’t move from between Mettaton’s legs as he answers.

“I REQUISITIONED A DIAGRAM, OF COURSE,” he explains distractedly. “AND DETERMINED COMPATIBILITY? NOT THAT I CAN MANAGE THE FINE PRINT, BUT A VISUAL STUDY IS...AHHH, MUCH LIKE A PUZZLE. IF YOU. IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT?? NOT THAT I TH-THINK ABOUT IT,” he moans, utterly riveted, “IT’S MUCH EASIER IF I DON’T THINK ABOUT IT. I JUST LOOK, AND I EITHER, HMMM, I KNOW RIGHT AWAY, OR I, I KNOW THAT I DON’T KNOW RI-”

Papyrus,” Mettaton sobs finally, the magic trickling down his inner thigh driving him absolutely wild, and four thin phalanges stretching him open not seeming like nearly enough, all of a sudden. “The show might go on without you if you don’t join it, my love,” he manages. Barely.

Papyrus blinks his sockets shut a few times, and comes back to himself in a rush. Oh, it’s the thing that happens to him sometimes. He got a bit caught up in this. Understandable, but still impolite.

My love.

Mettaton’s sexy reputation, built by his infamous freedom with compliments and praise, extends itself to the pet names he hands out like candy to whomever looks like they need it, and plenty who don’t. But as far as he can remember, which is...a reasonable enough amount, that is not a thing Mettaton generally calls...anyone. Outside the requirements of a script, at least.

Magic seethes into his skull, but he pulls his fingers out of Mettaton’s quivering-wet opening gracefully and quickly dips down to embrace him, presenting his face for hot robot kisses. He can hear one of the fans kick on to try and cool him down a little as sinuous metal arms wrap him, squeezing as Mettaton moans plaintively.

“I, UH, OKAY. OKAY.” Papyrus says at a more normal volume, leaning up on an elbow and reaching down to slick his novel appendage with Mettaton’s magic again. It’s...wow. It’s even better than before, and his own magic overflows to join it eagerly. “I’M GOING TO GIVE IT A TRY. YOU CAN-” Papyrus moves Mettaton’s legs even farther apart, and up a bit as the robot pants voicelessly in anticipation. “JUST RELAX, AND I HOPE YOU...LIKE THIS,” he finishes a little weakly. One of Mettaton’s fingers caresses a cervical vertebra, and he can’t stop a low noise from escaping between his teeth. Magic seethes in his skull, but the show...must go on.

He glances down and positions himself, using his already-soaked hand to angle everything before moving it to hold Mettaton’s hip firmly. Tries again when his first attempt catches, using his own magic to further lubricate the events currently taking place. He takes it slow but once he manages to push inside a little, he’s the one who gasps and freezes.

That’s...hot. And tight. Mettaton’s hips arch up hungrily, but he easily tilts his own to keep everything precisely where it’s at, then replaces his hand to hold him steady.

“OKAY, I’M-” Papyrus starts, then lets out another explosive breath, a little unsure where he was going with that. Mettaton bites his lips and shuts his eyes for a moment; looks utterly helpless when he opens them again. Papyrus grips the soft-and-hard hip under his phalanges firmly, pushes a little further in before it catches again, and he hears a vocal breath escape Mettaton when he eases up.

Repeated attempts become more like okay, so this is just...happening now, and his own quiet moan surprises him. He can’t remember if that type of noise is called for in the script, but it happened anyways.

“THAT FEELS VERY GOOD,” Papyrus stage-whispers harshly, astonished. “ARE YOU ALSO… GOOD?”

Mettaton’s held breath exits him as a wordless sob at first, but he nods with admirable calm and adds, “Don’t stop.”

Papyrus holds him even more firmly and presses onward, keeps going until he feels resistance and hears Mettaton’s quiet whimper well before his expanded magic is hidden from view. Still, it went inside him further than he was expecting, and although the magic between his bones being inside someone’s else body is certainly not a sensation Papyrus is used to, it’s doing a lot to recommend itself.

“YOU’RE DOING SO WELL,” he gasps sincerely. “I KNEW WE COULD DO IT.”

“Keep going,” Mettaton pleads under him, clutching at bone shoulders desperately.

“OKAY,” Papyrus does his best to whisper.

Mettaton’s attempts to pull him in with his the legs he’s wrapped around bare pelvic bones are predictably fruitless, although Papyrus manages to take the hint and starts moving around a bit in more or less the expected way. It’s a tight fit, but as long as he doesn’t hurry, it won’t hurt either of them. He also pays a lot of attention to how relaxed (or not) Mettaton’s genitalia feels around him, and paying that kind of attention turns out to be counterintuitively distracting.

Papyrus peeks down to make sure everything’s where it’s supposed to be, and that… doesn’t look like anything he’s seen before, despite a reasonable amount of research. This doesn’t look like anything except Papyrus and Mettaton doing some very unprecedented activities together.

The sight of his body looking like this and delving eagerly inside the panel he’d never opened before today causes a few more surprisingly soft but still unscripted sounds to emerge. Some of them… might be words. Possibly phrases. He angles his sockets at Mettaton apologetically.

“It’s okay, darling,” he whispers in his sweet, tinny voice; softened steel fingers come up to caress his skull tenderly. “There are always spaces for ad libs in the script for a reason,” he sighs, then demonstrates a little with a charmingly dazed expression.

He looks like he could use some encouragement as well, so Papyrus shifts him slightly so he can stop holding his hip, uses that hand to caress his hair and face gently, persuasively. Skeletons can’t kiss, after all, lacking lips and tongues, so he supposes the gentle strokes of distal phalanges will have to do.

Mettaton looks like he might be having some trouble remembering his lines this time, so Papyrus leans in to whisper a prompt. He manages to gasp them out here and there, and Papyrus really, really appreciates the effort. It helps him think about what they’re doing together right now, existing here in this moment. Instead of thinking about how relieved he is that what he feels right now doesn’t have nearly as many other, less enjoyable emotions attached to it for reasons he...he doesn’t… he can’t quite...eh.

He tries to think sexy thoughts instead, but he has a hard time getting past the incongruity of imagining something sexier than actually having sex. Which he is…currently doing. He just manages to keep from asking if there’s something sexier than sex, and he supplies Mettaton with another prompt instead.

It helps him stop wondering if Mettaton knows he hadn’t looked at his soul (hadn’t needed to, but also just plain hadn’t) a few months ago when he took it out, because... because he’s never looked at his own soul. He rarely even takes it out, and he hasn’t ever touched it; it scares him too much. He knows looking at it would probably feel good, and so would touching it, but what if…what if...

“Papyrus?”

What if it didn’t? What if it was… not good? What if he saw something there that he doesn't want...he can’t

“Darling? It’s fine if… if you need to take five.”

Papyrus realizes he’s gone still, looks thoughtfully at the pillow beside Mettaton’s head as a midnight-orange droplet soaks in, and another joins it. Of course Mettaton can feel how afraid he is. Both of them have been shedding magic against each other for a while now, and although Mettaton’s body usually prevents too much from coming across, his genitalia can’t really function or feel anything without some degree of...well. Feeling.

He sighs heavily. And neither can Papyrus’s. Everything’s got its drawbacks, he supposes.

“I’M AFRAID,” he finds himself saying bluntly despite himself. “I AM ALSO VERY BRAVE,” he observes, since apparently he’s intent on proving it to both of them right now.

“IT MEANS A LOT THAT YOU’RE WILLING TO DO THIS WITH ME...” he continues, listening for a long moment to Mettaton’s soft breathing, feels the return of his own arousal, such as it is. Well. This is definitely an embarkation well into the territory of sexy talk, isn’t it. Who knew he had it in him.

“…AND IT’S REASSURING THAT YOU KNOW WHY I PREFER IT THIS WAY.”

Who knew it would be doing it for him, either; his magic stays how it is, and also incidentally stays inside of Mettaton’s body. He’ll take that as a win.

Papyrus leans down, touches his forehead to soft-silvered silicone. Opens his sockets to look into his eyes and feels his own clacking shiver; Mettaton’s rush of desire.

“ARE YOU READY FOR THE REST OF THE SCENE?” He asks as quietly as his voice allows; he feels the nod against his frontal bone. “OKAY,” he adds, and Mettaton can tell he’s smiling from the shape of his sockets. Bone arms wrap him looser, less formally. He’s still so full he can taste it, literally and figuratively; there’s less fear in the magic the skeleton inside him is shedding, and more of something that sends a pang of longing through him. He can’t keep a groan behind his teeth when he starts moving inside him again; he’s much closer to his finale than he expected, so he starts delivering his lines again more quickly.

Mettaton loses track a few times, but Papyrus is always there with a prompt and gentle encouragement. Eventually he loses his lines completely, throws caution to the wind and just comes, mechanical voice trilling softly and slinky steel arms holding tight around ceaselessly moving bones. It’s a feeling he’s used to, but being able to share this with someone he...he loves… Mettaton covers his eyes with a hand as he moans, wipes his tears away with a sigh as Papyrus slows without stopping, draws it out for him attentively despite his inexperience. He feels too safe to be embarrassed, and too much physical pleasure to keep his feelings in.

As he calms, he notices how quiet Papyrus has gotten; the little he feels from his magic tells him he thinks he wants something, and he’s afraid of it because of course he is.

He’s always afraid. It’s very tiring sometimes.

“We’ve done ourselves proud, beautiful,” Mettaton pants, soothing the back of his skull, down his spinal processes with fingers. “But I-ohhhh,” Mettaton can’t help but groan as Papyrus withdraws despite his care; he might have to have something custom made if there’s an encore at any point. My goodness. And he supposes Papyrus took his comment as a dismissal as well, although it certainly wasn’t meant to be one.

Papyrus smiles shyly at the coverlet, blushes salmon-pink, then just sort of turns around and sits on the edge of the bed thoughtfully, much like he does when Mettaton comes across him in the woods.

When he wants to be found. Except now he’s in a hotel room completely naked, staring at the wall with a massive… erection? Mettaton shrugs. Close enough.

He kneels up, brushes fingers down spinal processes the way he knows Papyrus likes. Touching is something they’ve been doing together for a long, long time, and they’re both rather good at it by now.

He wonders if maybe they’ve finally rehearsed enough.

“One thing I’ve always admired about you...is your creativity,” Mettaton finds himself saying softly. Who knew he had it in him.

“It’s… so effortless; I’d call you an ingénue if I didn’t know better,” he smirks a little, then it smooths back out with a sigh. Papyrus doesn’t turn around, but he doesn’t get dressed or leave, either.

He’s listening.

And if he wanted to, he’d be gone already. That’s just how he is, and Mettaton…

He wipes another tear surreptitiously on his fingers, then the coverlet.

Despite everything… he knows him. They know each other. Even if they did it the hard way, maybe even...the old fashioned way.

Ha.

“I was hoping you might be interested in a...writing collaboration. A new scene.”

“I’VE ALWAYS BEEN MORE PARTIAL TO VISUAL MEDIA,” Papyrus replies after a minute or so. But he still doesn’t leave, so Mettaton crawls up closer, wraps his arms around him from behind.

“No one can doubt you’re a master of your...chosen vehicle,” Mettaton prevaricates, “but...you know a good story when you hear it,” he adds, appealing to his vanity, because who doesn’t want to be flattered? Mettaton certainly does, almost all of the time. That’s why he gives it away so freely, after all: compliments, praise, endearments, and excitement. He also means every word, so there’s that, too.

Papyrus likes that sort of thing, just like Mettaton also likes puzzles, if he’s honest. He’s just not very good at them-making or solving. And Papyrus isn’t all that good at flattery-he just comes off as rude most of the time.

It’s unbearably charming.

Mettaton smiles wryly at himself. He’s not very good at writing scripts and coming up with plots, either. Pretty much everything he churns out is rhinestone-studded garbage, overly-sweet but still filling as sugared sawdust. Monsters can eat garbage all day long, after all; there’s very little they can’t find palatable when they’re in the mood. And as long as Mettaton’s enjoying himself, others will feel his intent. They’ll pay attention, and they’ll make him feel…

Seen.

Solid.

Here.

Nothing wrong with that.

Nothing wrong with flattering his biggest fan, either.

“I was hoping I could run a few ideas by you...see what you think of them? I just know you’ll...fill my plot holes,” he adds playfully, then muffles his breathless giggle in cervical vertebrae, tickled pink at his own ribaldry. He glances up; he’s not the only one.

Mettaton kneels up a little more to peek down over a bone shoulder, watching his own fingers explore ribs and sternum, trace lightly near the spaces between to feel the gratifying soft clacks run down the spine pressed to his chest. He looks down a little further; it would appear Papyrus’s novel appendage has decided to listen to his pitch as well. It’s certainly not required, but he finds himself pleased anyhow, and he grabs the shoulder he was leaning on like a handle to swivel around and come up kneeling over femurs, face to face now.

Papyrus’s expression isn’t any of the presets he’s used to; nor is it the blank, impassive look he ends up with when he’s going through something intense. It’s somewhere between his grinning lies-and-truth innocence, and something much softer he’s rarely seen before… something only half-glimpsed for sweet, brief moments between other expressions. He’s not trying to hide it now, and it’s stealing his breath again. Mettaton strokes that loving look with his fingers, he can’t help himself. Papyrus sighs, slides bone arms up and around his plastic-cased back, holds him secure and steady on his perch.

“I was thinking… something old as time… and as new as…” he smiles sharp and whimsical. “Monsters. Perhaps a...” Mettaton’s flocked eyelids flutter as bone fingers brush his hair away from his eye; it flops right back the way it’s designed to.

It makes him smile every time.

There’s more than one way to reveal one’s intentions.

“A TRASHY LOVE STORY?” Papyrus offers, bright and hopeful.

“Don’t step my pitch, darling,” Mettaton frowns in mock petulance, shakes his hair back into position needlessly and lets another smile steal across his lips.

“I was thinking...” his hand traces lower, watching carefully. “… a trashy love story.” Black points appear in suddenly-slightly-iridescent sockets, then blend back out as femurs relax under Mettaton’s sensitive thighs. Good. “About star crossed monsters….” Papyrus sighs, gets a romantic-dreamy look on his face.

“THAT’S THE BEST KIND,” he replies. “AFTER ALL...”

“The trashier it is...”

“THE MORE RELATABLE IT IS,” Papyrus finishes, and lets out a shaky breath as Mettaton’s hand caresses him confidently. “TELL ME MORE OF THIS GARBAGE.”

The story Mettaton tells Papyrus is disjointed and inconsistent, rife with retcons and forged wholesale of half-realized tropes and archetypes. A heroic skeleton doing Good Deeds roams the wilderness alone and lonely, meets a beautiful robot in distress.

Papyrus shivers as hard-soft fingers stroke him expertly, appreciating his talent while the ridiculousness of a robot stepping in a painfully obvious bear trap keeps his mind occupied, worrying at the problem of why a being that needs neither food nor drink would chew off his own leg to escape… and coincidentally keeps him from thinking about all the unpleasant things feeling this way usually reminds him of. Papyrus hears his own corvid exhales slipping out under the robot’s tinny-sweet monologue, takes the opportunity to add something.

“HOW...HOW DOES THE ROBOT DANCE WITH A… M-MISSING LEG?” he pants, amazed at the complex tones he hears softening his own voice. Apparently this really brings out a new level of creativity. Perhaps there’s more to this whole ‘collaboration’ idea that he’d thought previously. Mettaton’s not just stroking and caressing now; instead he’s got his hand wrapped around him, and is sort of...tugging at it, gently and repetitively. This feels nothing like how it looks, so he doesn’t look.

“DOES HE HOP AROUND LIKE THE LORD OF THE DANCE?” It doesn’t feel rough or frightening, it feels gentle and close, like holding hands and taking a walk. Like Mettaton wants to take him somewhere...nice. Like the good parts of what he’d felt putting it inside his body before, and it makes him consider how much softer robot hands are than skeleton hands. Magic seethes in his face; he doesn’t know where to look anymore, and he likes this...an awful lot. He doesn’t want to get distracted again.

Mettaton exhales with a little whirring noise, and Papyrus lets him pull his skull in against his chest, wraps one arm back around him and leans on the other hand as the plastic-cased shoulder works steadily, thoughtfully.

“A… wooden prosthetic, lashed together with...vines and….romantic forest… plants? lovingly crafted by...” Careful phalanges tickle sinuously up Mettaton’s back, keep going until they slide into his hair, distal points gliding along his scalp to soothe and stimulate, rumpling and mussing his perfect hair. He can’t stop a canny little shiver; imagine that. Mettaton….gets messy. How delightful. “...crafted by talented, careful, skeletal fingers,” he reports smugly.

“PHALANGES,” Papyrus sighs shakily. “THAT’S WHAT THEY’RE CALLED.”

“I know, my love,” Mettaton pants absently, picking up the pace as the bone arm tightens around him suddenly and inexplicably. Well, he’s certainly not complaining. “This is a trashy story… no correct anatomical terminology allowed,” he explains.

Mettaton lets him hold on as tight as he needs to, pulls him even closer and cups the back of his skull with his hand. Their bodies are too close now for him to see what he’s doing with his other hand anymore, but that’s okay. He knows what he’s doing, he knows how it feels, and he doesn’t need to see. Just hold him, and feel him, and share this beautiful moment that they’re creating together. Words pour ceaselessly from soft-silvered lips into the side of the tilted skull cradled safe and secure against him.

He adds singing to the dancing, spins lovely gowns and sparkling lights from the ether. A look as soft and loving as Papyrus’s had been before steals across his face unseen; an admiring audience to applaud the valiant couple springs into being, a chorus to praise them and to be praised in turn. His eyes slip shut and they become real: fabulous and fierce, brave and beautiful. Everything that’s the opposite of alone, afraid, silent, unnoticed; he pours pageantry lush and full into the spaces between the scenes, tosses handfuls of glamour into the places behind the curtain where people can disappear without a sound.

Bright, merciless light floods the shadows where people can be hurt without anyone knowing. If no one knows, if nobody sees, no one can save them, but every hero gets saved in Mettaton’s stories; the villains are utterly destroyed. He obliterates uncertainty and isolation with a burst of glitter, shines his spotlight on the best everyone has to offer until no darkness can exist anymore.

He doesn’t manage to find an ending to his meandering tale before the skull tucked into his chest tilts back, and he interrupts himself with a moan when he sees the expression there. He looks… dazed and dreamy, but utterly transfixed at the same time. No one’s ever looked at Mettaton like that before...and that’s actually saying something.

Like they see the same thing when they close their eyes.

He’s speechless already, and then Papyrus brings a hand up to touch his face, the distal tip of his thumb parting silvery lips with hesitant wonder. He tilts his skull as he coaxes Mettaton’s face closer, breath far more labored than he’s ever heard it during the wildest of exertions; it contrasts deliciously with the softness splashed across his features along with his pinkish blush. He assumes he just wants to be kissed until he brings his open lips to his teeth...then parts them.

He wants a taste.

Mettaton moans with passion and anticipation; his soul throbs within the body inside his body as he tentatively puts his tongue out, opening a quivering link to his deepest self that he slides between his parted teeth. Papyrus tilts his head back until the tiny bit of magic lubricating Mettaton’s tongue dissolves into the space inside his mouth.

The story he’s told him is the truest one he knows; it might be messy and disjointed and overblown but it’s his, and he loves it. He gave it to Papyrus because he loves him; he loves being close with him, every bit as close as Papyrus wants, no more, no less. He’s touching him this way because he’s kind and brave and creative, because he admires him and thinks he’s good, that he deserves to feel good. Mettaton moans again, this time with the indescribable thrill of his magic being tasted, made poignant almost to pain by the fact that it’s Papyrus doing it. His strength and complexity moves him every time, every moment, and yet again.

Papyrus goes tense all over with a gasp, hugs him even tighter against his own violent shudder as the pleasure of what Mettaton feels for him floods his senses beyond anything he could have imagined. The sensations produced by what Mettaton’s doing with his hand are almost unbearably enhanced; he feels helpless under his touch, and like he never wants it to stop.

He knows what’s about to happen even though he didn’t think he’d want that, especially not with someone else there. But somehow it seems like it might be okay with someone who feels like this about him. Papyrus draws away, but only to tuck his face back into Mettaton’s chest with a low, rasping keen; bone fingers push back into his hair, tighten without pulling.

It might be okay to do this with someone Papyrus feels the same way about.

The fear coils, waiting.

It recedes.

The sounds he makes as he finally lets go evoke a lonely crow through a closed window, harsh and soft at the same time; he pushes rhythmically into Mettaton’s hand with the same heartrending gentleness he’d demonstrated inside his body. It’s the gentleness that undoes him, as if each part of Mettaton’s body is equally important, every inch deserving of care and attention, to be cherished and appreciated for itself, himself. He realizes he’s adding his own voice to Papyrus’s softened caws in empathetic pleasure, thrilled and cored like an apple at the same time as a light layer of magic sheds under his insistent, light pulling.

They grow quieter together as their breathing gets ragged, then everything gets quiet and peaceful as even that smooths back out. Instead they’re left with pure closeness, everything lovely and where it’s supposed to be, feeling a strange sense of rightness. The comfort of it is almost as deep-aligned as the drink they’d shared before implies, but they’d done it in their own way. Just like everything they do together. Phalanges leave his mussed hair to stroke his back over and over; heated, chalky breath draws regular and calm in and out against his chest. He keeps touching until he can feel something else happening, like…

“IT’S GOING BACK TO THE WAY IT USUALLY IS,” Papyrus informs Mettaton’s plastic chest with unaccustomed tranquility, so he stops stroking, slides both arms back around and just hugs him tight. “I THINK THAT PITCH WILL GET THE...GREEN LIGHT?” he adds after a minute or two. “OR IS IT YELLOW?”

“Orange and blue,” Mettaton giggles.

“ABSOLUTELY FILTHY,” Papyrus sighs viscerally, rubbing his frontal bone on hard casing and sounding immensely satisfied with his judgement. “I LOVE IT.”

“I must admit...I love it too,” Mettaton sighs, slinky steel arms clinging tight to shivering bones.

He has no plans to let go for the foreseeable future.

Chapter Text

Sans the skeleton holds his little brother carefully on his hip, and opens the front door to their house for the first time.

He was right.

It’s cold here, and it makes him smile.

“you like that, babybones?” he mutters quietly; the child in his arms makes a dismissive little “nyeh” sound, nasal and sharp. Sans laughs. He lingers a moment to enjoy the sound he makes when he’s happy, then walks heavily down the three little stairs in front of the house. He feels the squeaky crunch of snow underneath his heavy, hard brown shoes, then looks down at himself; he’s got a thick sweater on with fat horizontal stripes, dark pants of some kind, the shoes, and...that’s it. He should find a jacket somewhere; he doesn’t need it since he doesn’t really feel cold that way (what way? don’t think about it) but he just...feels like he should have one. Something with pockets to keep his hands quiet; for when he finds things he wants to keep. Try and hold on to something. And babybones here definitely needs more clothes.

His brother has on a soft outfit that’s all one piece, like a sweater that goes on his whole body, even his little feet. The bottoms of them are dirty; that makes Sans frown. His clothing has stripes too if you look closely; they’re just so narrow between the green and white it looks light green from farther away. That means something...it means…

Sans narrows his sockets; thinking so hard’s giving him a headache. Maybe he should stop.

“Hello there.”

Sans startles a bit, making his brother fuss with annoyance. There’s a rabbit monster standing across the way from their house in front of the line of trees.

“heya,” Sans greets in return. “you, uh.” He attempts to think again, but it’s not really doing much good. “c’n i help you with somethin’?” he tries. Sans has a speech impediment. That’s why he talks like this.

“Are you new here?”

Sans thinks so. He turns around to look at the outside of his house; that was probably a good idea anyways. Now he knows what it looks like from the outside so he can find it again.

“yeah. me and my bro live here.” He tries smiling in the real way instead of the way his face does on its own, and the monster smiles back. “he can’t talk yet, but he’s still real cool.”

“If he can’t talk yet, how do you know he’s your brother?”

“jus’ do.” Sans frowns, shakes his skull a little. Like something’s rattling in there...but there’s nothing. “don’t know ‘is name yet though.” Then he smiles. “s’okay. he’ll tell me when he’s ready.” The child cuddles into him further, staring across at the monster facing them.

“Does anyone else live here?”

The monster walks a bit closer, peering at them intently. Sans isn’t bothered by it, they probably want to check out his cool sibling, and he can’t blame them.

“…nah. jus’ me an babybones here.”

The monster waves their hand, and Sans gasps as everything gets dark-light and strange; colors draining away. He’s startled but not afraid; he knows what this is. The monster across from him looks very surprised by something.

It’s Sans’s turn.

So he checks them out.

Annie

HP: 500

AT: 2

DF: 0

*This humble shopkeep cares what happens to you and your brother.

Sans smiles again, cuddles his brother closer as he’s checked in return. He wonders idly what it says when she looks at him, thinks about how much lower his HP is than hers as he rasps his cheek against the top of his brother’s skull briefly. He’s not afraid, even though his brother is. Not any more than usual, though.

It’s Sans’s turn again; he thinks about what he’s trying to express.

“’m glad we’re here. i like the snow.”

Sans concentrates for a long minute, then his magic sheds with intent specific to this situation, this moment. He waves his free hand; a line of blue bones rise up in a diamond pattern. Annie smiles and lets them pass through her body harmlessly; the white inverted heart of her soul stays right where it is. She’s glad they’re here, it’s not often people move to Snowdin. That’s what this place is called, and Sans laughs easy and bright. It’s meant to be funny, and she’s glad he likes their little joke.

On her turn, Sans steps to the side easily as three constructs shaped like little rabbits leap: left, right, left.

“Are you a child? You’re wearing stripes, but you have a child to care for. That’s...incongruous.”

Sans considers that.

He takes his turn, cyan-blue bones requesting patience, understanding.

“’s a fair point. m’ not grown up yet.” Admitting that makes him shiver strangely; he’s not sure why. “but i don’t trust anyone else to do it, and i got a good reason.” He doesn’t know what it is, but he knows it’s there. Sans wonders why he knows so much when he doesn’t remember anything, but it seems like that’s okay. Seems like there’s a good reason it’s okay.

Three rabbits, then three again. They’re white just like she is, even when they’re not in this space. The light had shone on her fur just like it does on the snow; Sans likes both.

“Do you know what he needs? How to feed him, bathe him, change his clothes?”

Sans sends a line of white bones in alternating heights, revels in the caw of excitement the child balanced on his broad ilium lets out when he sees it. He hopes his brother thinks he’s cool, too.

“yup,” he answers confidently. It’s his job to take care of his brother, and he’s been taking care of him...for a long time already, hasn’t he (it’s not a question). “we got each other ta look after us. don’t need anything else.”

The rabbit constructs she sheds are smaller this time, and there’s six of them. They move faster too, but he can dodge them easily and none touch him. He makes sure none of them touch Papyrus either; Annie looks impressed.

He can protect his brother. He can take care of him just fine like this, here in this house, this town...their home.

“Everyone needs something,” Annie maintains. “Everyone can help.”

Sans thinks again when it’s his turn, it seems like this is making it a bit easier to do that. Or maybe it’s just getting easier with practice? Huh. His magic sheds again, and short white bones pass rapidly, bounce back and forth. His brother squeals with glee; Sans feels their souls resonate with excitement and interest in unison.

“could be we need some new threads,” Sans informs Annie with aplomb. “jacket for me… shoes n change a clothes for babybones.”

Annie can’t dodge one of the constructs, but her HP can lose 1 without cramping her style any. She looks pleased anyhow, and then it’s her turn she just says “spare” and passes it back.

“oh, uh...” Sans hugs his brother close, shuffles his feet a little. He wonders if Annie noticed his limp. “spare,” he replies, and color drains back into the world, even though the light the Core makes is flat. It lacks certain dimensions Sans knows could exist with some help. He wonders if messing with it a bit might help make their world a little brighter?

Annie closes the space between them, and when she gets within arms’ length she holds her closed fist out. Sans stares at it curiously, then tentatively reaches out and touches his own mittened fist to it, looks at her face.

She’s utterly baffled, and then…

She throws her head back, laugh like a brass bell ringing out to blend soft into trees and snow. Sans’s soul gives a happy little lurch, because it turns out hearing someone else make that happy sound is just as good as when he does it. He wants to hear that sound all the time, he decides. He brushes his cheek against his brother’s skull again… he likes it too.

It makes their world feel a little brighter, just like he wondered how to make happen a minute ago. Turns out it’s easy, and it helps a lot.

“I’m trying to give you something,” Annie says, golden tones of amusement still saturating her low voice.

Sans grins in acknowledgement, then presents his cupped palm in its baglike mitten. His sockets widen when a pile of coins slides from her furry fingers into his hand.

“I have a shop at the other end of the town,” she informs him with a self-satisfied yet challenging smile. “Let’s see if you can get your brother all the way there safe and sound, hmm? Then you might get a chance to spend your fortune.”

His little brother screeches with trepidation and excitement; Sans frowns a moment, then relaxes as Annie turns around and starts walking down the long, snow-covered straightaway. There are some buildings down there; Sans realizes that… he’s aware of them, somehow. He’s aware that there are several people looking forward to meeting them too, lurking near the path to stop and see what’s what.

Sans likes the prospect.

He knows where their house is without turning around, too. What it looks like inside and outside.

His brother fusses and whines the longer they stand still; Sans touches bone to bone lightly and lets him know they’re safe and sound. They don’t have to go all the way to the shop just yet. In fact, they’re… already home if he wants to be. They’re…

In Sans’s bedroom. His brother quacks in surprise.

“huh. how bout that.”

Sans pulls back so his brother can look at him, then considers further, sets him on the floor and then hunkers down awkwardly in front of him.

“why are your feet dirty when you can’t walk yet, huh? you been up to something i don’t know bout?”

His brother narrows his sockets at him defiantly.

“hm. s’like that, is it?” Sans grins, his eye lights quivering with amusement. Then he sighs, lets his expression go a little more vague as he glances away. “s’okay, bro. you’re jus’ a lil baby, and you can...do that now. long as you need, k?” Sans watches his own hands moving around inside the mittens; he wonders what they’re saying, then decides he doesn’t need to know.

“me too, k? i’ll take good care of you, take my time growin up too. things are…gonna be better now.” Sans feels his eyes flicker sharp and strange. How can things be ‘better’ when there isn’t anything before now? He looks back at his brother, stares into his sockets. Flinches as his mittened phalanges creep over his orbital bones, in towards his eyes.

Why is he doing that?

His brother looks impassively back at him, and he pulls his hands away from his face. Then he takes off one of his mittens, extends bare phalanges towards his mute sibling.

“is it okay if i check on you now n then?”

Black points in black sockets focus on his fingers. A teeny mitten is tugged off, and distal phalanges the side of seed pearls touch his proximals. He folds his thumb overtop, holds those tiny bones in his for a long moment.

“no worries if you gotta yell now n then either. doesn’t bother me…kinda the opposite.”

Sans exhales as his smile returns; he feels relieved too.

They each take their hands back, tuck them back inside their mittens to hide them from themselves and each other. He wants to wait a while before he hears what his hands have to say.

Sans takes the money out of his pocket. He’ll be able to find something for both of them regardless, but what he’s got in his hand tells him he’s more than welcome to it, that he deserves something nice for himself, for his brother. There are 25 coins here, and he’s pretty sure each coin counts as more than one. Five? It’s a lot of money, and it makes him feel special.

Sans wipes a little magic off his face with his sleeve, and his brother squawks at him chidingly. It makes him laugh again, and he lurches to his feet, scoops him up fast enough to make him squeak with excitement.

“you ready for the gauntlet, bro? gotta stay on your toes if we’re gonna make it all the way to the shop.”

Sans shuffles slowly out of the room again, down the stairs, and back out the front door.

He looks down the snow-covered path lines with trees, hidden buildings, and new people to meet. Everyone knows they’re here…they’re keeping an eye out. Despite that, they can walk as far as they want to, and everyone’s waiting to meet them. They’re not alone, they’re not hidden or trapped.

“this town ain’t ready for you, bro,” he whispers to the child in his arms. “you’re gonna be so popular.”

Chapter Text

Sans interrupts his snoring to squeeze Alphys with a contented sigh; he’s tier 3 asleep, thinking extra soft and feeling surprisingly okay. His mind’s nice and loose, unfocused eyes filling the interior of his skull behind closed sockets, and his thoughts go wherever they want. It feels good like it always does, a nice change from the wire tension of making sure numbers are the ones they’re supposed to be.

Fucking checks.

He hates them much less than Alphys does, so he complains very loudly to make sure she doesn’t take his sacrifices and selflessness for granted. They’d both needed a break at the same time, so after eating whatever the lab happened to have around (mostly paper trash and tea, not his favorites but it’ll do in a pinch) they’d come to the nap room together to use it for its intended purpose.

Sans hears his own contented sigh (moan) distantly. Goddamn he loves sleeping. Feels so fucking good.

“Sans?” Alphys says in a very odd tone of voice.

Odd enough that his sockets fly open, his eyes inside snapping into abrupt focus.

“Is that…your genitalia?” she practically squeaks.

“is that all?” Sans says with a relieved chuckle. He touches the front of his shorts curiously. Sure enough, he’s all hot and bothered down there. It’s one of the ones that likes to stick out; one of the big ones, too. No wonder she felt it. Heh.

“shit, you had me goin there for a second, alphie.” He catches a glimpse of her expression. Apparently she had to some degree doubted its existence, despite his sincere and hilarious confession a while back. “hey, you thought i’d bullshit you bout somethin like that? ‘m wounded, al.” She blushes. “sorry,” he ameliorates; it probably woke her up or something. “i can face the other way if it’s bugging you, didn’t realize it-”

“It’s n-not bothering me,” she says quickly. “I’m j-just curious about it, b-b-because you, um. W-well, you said it’s only there s-sometimes, right? Not like m-m-mine.”

“heh. yeah, it jus’ kinda shows up whenever it wants. different every time, like i toldja before.” He shrugs, then settles back in since if it’s not a problem, he’d just as rather not move. Alphys seems a little tense anyways, but it’s not like-

“C-c-can I see it?” she whispers, and when he looks back up at her she has that look on her face. The one he remembers from before the first time she ever suggested he look at her genitalia. That combination of science-hunger and the expression she makes when she’s about to go Full Perv.

“seriously?” he asks with a low laugh. She nods. “heh...okay. sure.”

He hooks the waistband of his shorts in his thumbs and pulls it out and down carefully, so it doesn’t snag. “thar she blows,” Sans adds, a line from some book he gave up reading a quarter way through. Alphys snorts absently, most of her attention on the magic that holds his pelvis together projecting out past his pubic bone in the general shape of some genitalia of one sort or the other. He doesn’t usually name them.

He is glad it doesn’t bother him to look at it anymore. Otherwise this could have have gotten awkward or something.

Alphys leans in close, tilts her head to watch the colors glint.

“It’s really you,” she says quietly. “How does it work?”

Sans feels a crease appear between his socket as he tilts his head too, gives it a look-over. It seems vaguely familiar in a way he’d be hard-pressed to explain (heh). “funny thing is, i never really know til i try, but...hmm.” Sans touches it, feels around. Tries out a few things, and figures this out quicker than some. Oh, nice. Okay, that’s actually….

“guess it works like this,” he says with a sigh as he demonstrates, then stops to see what she thinks.

The expression has increased considerably, and he exhales in amusement. She’s practically goggling at it, and after a few seconds of him being still she looks up at him with the same expression.

“Does it squirt?”

Sans lets his head fall back and laughs just as hard at that as he wants to.

“ohhh shit, al, you’re…” He wheezes weakly. “you’re gonna dust me,” he groans and shakes, his genitalia wiggling around with unbridled mirth. “…stars above. nah, it doesn’t squirt. doesn’t do any human stuff, for fuck’s sake.” He sighs out a last few chuckles; Alphys never gives a shit. She likes his laugh, likes it when he makes her laugh, too. It feels so good, not worried about anything at all. “you’re lucky it can’t piss, cause this couch’d have to finally have its burial at sea.” Alphys snickers appreciatively, but doesn’t stop looking at it with that intense expression.

“Will you keep on g-going?” she asks, stutter reappearing as her intensity lessens a little. “You f-f-feel it, r-right?” She makes a suggestive hand motion, and…

“hmm. with most of em yeah, i get a nice lil shiver.” He smiles lazily. “you wanna see?” She nods avidly. Sans sighs again, wiggles back a bit and lets his legs fall open (one of them lands on her, she elbows it absently off her hipbone into a more comfortable position where it falls limply to be ignored), then his sockets close. He plays with it a bit, looks for something nice to think about. He finds it at some point, and the playing gets a little more sincere and rewarding after a minute or two.

“A-are you thinking about all the w-w-weird human sex things you’ve d-done?” Alphys breathes wickedly. “Are you thinking about b-buttholes? Ehhehehe...”

“nah,” Sans whispers with a soft smile, then cuddles his frontal bone into her. “mm.” He can feel shallow little puffs of air from her nostrils on his downturned orbitals. He unhooks his thumb from his waistband and lets it settle under his pubis instead, pushes his arm under her warm, heavy body and pulls her closer.

“thinking bout all those times you let me touch you,” he rambles after a minute or two filled only with their breathing. “i always liked it. used ta think about it when i was by myself later, too. how much i liked making you feel good.”

He rolls his skull on her soft warmth, makes a tiny grunt and sighs it out as he rubs himself a little more earnestly. “those sounds you made were the best...way that little flutter felt inside.” Sans smiles, exhales in amusement and pleasure, giving her a squeeze with the arm he has tucked underneath her. “used ta push magic thinkin’ bout that,” he whispers a little unevenly.

Alphys gets really quiet, so he opens up his sockets. She’s looking at him with a dazed expression and her magic’s shedding a little on her face, he’s not really sure why. It’s not bad though, so he doesn’t ask. Alphys likes to keep some things to herself, and he likes to let her. He just looks at her with a soft smile while she glances furtively down at what he’s doing; he can smell her magic shedding lightly, and he wonders if it’s happening on more than her face.

“Would you have used that to make me f-feel good back then?” she whispers so soft he can barely hear it, hardly stuttering at all.

Sans feels his eyes flicker. “not sure how, but if you asked me to? a course,” Sans answers, baffled. Alphys closes her eyes, then blushes like a neon sunset.

“W-would you d-d-do it if I asked you now?” she asks, shivering.

“depends on what you wanted me to do with it, but…you askin me if i wanna fool around?”

Al’s eyes open, but she looks away instead of at him. “I n-never got the chance before,” she whispers, still blushing. “I...would have asked to try out a few things from those hentai movies.”

Sans snorts as his hand stills, although he keeps it where it is. “don’t think i could actually survive anything in those videos,” he giggles impishly. “don’t think i ever saw a cloaca in there either, but you’re the expert.”

“Would you...” Alphys somehow manages to blush even harder. “Would you do human sex to me?”

“how can it be human sex if we’re monsters?” he frowns at her. She just bugs her eyes out at him, then rolls them. It’s not very helpful. “you’re gonna have to be more specific, al.”

“You know,” she says a little more emphatic, then makes slot with two of her fingers, sticks out a claw, then…oh geez. Sans starts laughing helplessly.

“you want me to put this thing here in your cloaca?” He wiggles it at her brazenly. “oh man...” he giggles some more.

“I h-have to live up to my n-nickname,” she whispers shiftily, then grins.

Sans is pretty sure he’s the only one who remembers her nickname; she’s been the Royal Scientist for so long, he’s not sure anyone besides her still thinks of her as the shy, stuttering monster who talked about her genitalia even after she’d become an adult. Pervy Al, scrounging through the dump for human papers, photos, and videos, paying extra to anyone who found ones with human sex acts in them.

“yeah, okay,” Sans agrees after a minute. He looks over the situation. “think you gotta turn around.”

Alphys looks disappointed. “You’re not going to g-get on t-t-top of me?”

Sans gives her a long-suffering look. “you’re already interrupting my nap, now you want me to do gymnastics? jus’ turn around. we can see if you even like it first.”

Alphys sighs wordlessly and gives him one of her inscrutable looks, then flops around heavily and sticks her ass out into him, making him chuckle and clonk his skull on her shoulder fondly.

“lemme see ‘f i remember where it is,” Sans jokes, moving her tail to the side as he slides his fingers confidently up Alphys’s skirt and right to the neat little flap under it. “hmm...” It’s actually angled a little differently than he remembered. Sans frowns a little, sighs. How embarrassing. “that okay?” he asks quietly as he touches a distal phalanx along, suggests moving inside it. “can i touch in there?” She nods and he slides his hand in, feels around as she sighs and shivers.

“mm. s’plenty of room, but you know i can’t move it the same way as my hands, right?”

“Of c-course,” she scoffs, then her eyes grow hooded as he keeps petting the inside of her little pocket. Her shoulders shimmy a little, and she pushes against his hand with a quiet grunt. The angle’s still awkward; he used to lie face to face with her and reach around to do this. Yep. He’s gonna have to say something.

“think you were right about me getting on top,” Sans sighs after a minute. “much as i hate to admit it.” Then he struggles up onto his knees, goes back down and takes his shorts the rest of the way off with a put-upon groan, and back up again. Alphys folds her claws together, grinning up at him like she’s watching a show.

“you having fun watching me bounce around up here?” Sans asks, tilting his skull down at her. She just nods and grins evilly, and he sighs. No rest for the weary. “okay, flip over. you want me to jus’ do it? see what it’s like?”

Alphys rolls onto her stomach, crosses her arms and lays her head down on them, glances up over her shoulder at Sans.

“S-sure. D-don’t worry if you c-c-can’t get me there, it’s not like these parts were really m-made to go together.”

“eh. i’ll see what i can do,” Sans says mildly, figuring he can at least finish her off with his hand if this gets her wound up for it. He slides his thumb lightly under the flap so it won’t catch and shimmies his knees apart until it looks like the angle will work, then holds himself with his other hand. “you ready?”

“G-go for it.”

With an idle little hum and a lazy grin, Sans slides his genitalia into Alphys’s.

A nanosecond later, his own strangled gasp and Alphys’s high-pitched shout sound like they’re about ten miles away, and Sans is bowled over by the revelation that he is a complete idiot.

He tastes her, just as immediate and intense as if he poured her right in his mouth. No...more.

He had no idea his genitalia was able to taste another monster’s magic like this, but he seriously fucking should have considering just about every other monster’s genitalia is sensitive that way. And he should have remembered the fact that Al’s cloaca is slicked inside with her magic all the time anyways, even when she’s not aroused. And right now? She is seriously turned on, and he knows exactly how much. About as turned on as she’s ever been in her life, because she’s tasting and being tasted, along with having her genitalia stimulated.

And so is Sans. Kind of a triple threat there. Holy shit.

“…a-alphie...” It’s his own high, shaky whisper. “...al...” They both yell helplessly as their magic sheds again right into each others’ most sensitive spot; Sans knows exactly why she’d looked dazed before.

Despite everything, she always thought Sans must have been disgusted by touching her that way...even though he offered. Even when he asked if he could. No matter what he said, no matter how he looked when he did it. Sans has never felt this kind of thing from another monster, this level of conviction…except from himself, sometimes.

What’s he’s feeling as their magic mingles is Alphys being irrevocably shown just how much he had liked it….and just how much he likes her. He would have done almost anything she asked to show her that, and he still would. The way it made him feel is better than anything he ever made her feel…except for this.

He doesn’t know if Alphys wants him to know any of that; she likes to keep some things inside, and he likes to let her.

Shit, he is just...wow. An idiot.

With a level of self-control Sans had absolutely no clue he could tap in to, he brings his shaking hand back between them and manually pulls himself out of her, hunches up awkwardly to squeeze his magic hard and still with a strangled moan. His other hand’s twisted into her lab coat like a claw, and his skull’s grinding itself into her rounded, humped shoulder.

“m’sorry,” he sobs, shaking all over now. “sorry, al. i didn’t know,” he hisses into her back, then he tries to slither down and away enough that even if he shed out completely, it wouldn’t...do that.

Her fingers dart down and grab his femur, wrap it and hold him still. Trace a question into bone.

Sans tries to breathe normally, and it isn’t working. “dunno if we’re really thinkin straight right now,” he pants. “you-”

She traces another question, and he shudders as all the air leaves his body. He rubs his face on her a little more, waits until he can breathe again.

“meant what i said,” he whispers. “i will if you ask me.”

She does, and he moans soft and sincere. Sans’s foot hits the floor for leverage, and he leans his forehead and shoulder against Alphys’s body as he kneels up over her, then relaxes down onto her. He uses both hands to open her gently and puts his body back inside with a choked noise as he tastes her all over again. He pushes the sides of her little pocket together with gentle fingers and starts to slide his genitalia back and forth inside hers, the pressure creating friction they can both enjoy.

This is nothing like human sex.

It’s not like sharing souls either.

Alphys’s magic is ascending citrus, shivery-bright and electric. She loves how wanted this makes her feel, and Sans can relate to that. She loves the pleasure, the feeling of presence without the constant, gnawing anxiety she feels when she thinks about being seen, because it’s just Sans. She feels like if she ever did anything really bad, he’d let her know. So if he doesn’t...she must be okay. Sans moans shakily; he likes how she feels in all senses of the phrase, doled out in tiny, addictive thimblefuls as intoxicating as anything he’s ever poured through his teeth at Grillby’s.

It lets him know it’s okay to do this, that she likes him and likes what they're doing. Her taste tells him he’s not doing anything bad, that the way he feels right now isn’t a lie his body’s telling to trick him. This isn’t hurting her, and he knows they can stop because they already did once to prove it. She makes the happy little noises he remembers from touching her, just more and better, because he feels what pushes them out of her throat. He remembers what it feels like to be filled up this way, petted inside until those good feelings just start to spill right over; he moans soft and spends inside her again.

He makes a shuddery, loose noise when he tastes the peaky-sweet pleasure she feels when she tastes him. Ohh, shit. That’s exactly the sort of thing he’s into, what he likes to feel when he’s sharing souls...when he’s…when he pushes in, when he’s…oh fuck. This genitalia’s nowhere near as agitated-urgent as some, and although what he feels isn’t sharp, it is utterly saturating. Deep and soft, shivery-full all the way inside his bones. And he feels like something’s going to happen with it, like it’s getting closer, like…

“… think ‘m gonna come.” It’s a slurred whisper; Sans can barely hear himself under the deafening torrent of whatever the fuck this is. Everything so soft and vague, so fucking good. “can i do it inside? that okay?” He hears a muffled affirmative, then a louder, much bawdier encouragement. That last really does it for him, too. “yeah...’m gonna give it to you, jus’ like that...” When he tries to focus his eyes he thinks he catches a glimpse of her clawed fingers curled tight into the fabric of the couch, almost tearing it. He just lets them slip closed, lets the lassitude take him. He pushes her body a little tighter around his genitalia, strokes either side repetitive and encouraging with his thumbs.

He really can’t see at all, his eyes spreading out inside his skull like...oh, fuck, like when he’s sleeping. Feels so fucking good. His breath shudders in and out deep through his nasal aperture, and he feels her shaking and moaning under him as he slides around inside her deep and insistent, a wet-heavy, inevitable tide. Her magic sheds again; she feels so full and satisfied, just like he felt, when he...when he’s getting fucked, when he…. He holds the pressure with his carpals, uses all his fingers now to stroke light and ticklish to either side, because he can feel what it’s doing for her, it’s going to...she’s going to come too...

He’s faintly aware of his breath puffing through his teeth in a soft little grunt, feels like he’s shaking deep inside. That delicious little flutter happens all around him, he hears those happy sounds that tell him he’s good, and he’s coming so hard, and it’s more than that. Her flutters are drawing at him, her climax is pulling it out of him and he’s flooding out everywhere, spilling over with a soul-deep quiver like he’s melting-

“Sans, are y-you okay?”

Sans jerks and snorts at Alphys’s sleep-roughed mumble, sockets opening for real this time.

Oops.

“…heh. yeah, m’okay. made a mess, though.” She relaxes; he must have made enough noise to actually wake her, and that usually means one of his nightmares. Neither of them bother moving, but Alphys shakes with a slow, sleepy giggle for a minute. “Which one w-was it this time? The one where you stick your j-junk in me?”

“mmhmm,” Sans hums affirmatively, sockets already slipping shut again. They can change whatever clothes need changing when it’s time to go back to work. He doesn’t want to waste a single off the clock second on anything but this, and neither does she.

“s’what you get for telling me bout that kinky shit you used to do back when grillby’s was in new home,” Sans mumbles amiably, cuddling his face back into her rounded shoulder. “mm. said i’d get you back. ‘m never gonna forget that one about the snake twofer.”

“Oh r-really,” Alphys mumbles, already settling back in. “I thought it w-was payback for all those times I j-jizzed all over you when I was s-s-sleeping.”

Sans is so used to Alphys shedding while she sleeps that the fragrance of her magic is almost as familiar to him as his own, and that’s saying something. And it’s not like he can’t smell it in constant close quarters with her anyhow; the soft citrus scent is always with her, since her magic really does slick the inside of her genitalia all the time.

Sans snorts (snores?). “s’not jizz, al. you could-” Sans cuts off, cracks a socket suspiciously. “some a this is yours, isn’t it.”

Alphys snickers wickedly. Welp. No wonder it was so vivid.

Now that his genitalia is...awake, or whatever, it responds the way most monsters’ do. Finding out Alphys’s sleep-shedding can set him off and vice versa had been absofuckinlutely hilarious, and it’s honestly the high point of their day when it happens. Beats doing checks by a mile, that's for sure.

Whoever starts it gets whatever their own personal patented fantasy is, but whoever gets set off usually dreams about the other one, and that never stops being funny. Nothing Alphys’s magic has ever made him dream has been bad or scary, and the sex things are always stuff he likes to do, ways he likes to feel. In fact, he’s never had a nightmare in here when she’s lying with him, although she has come in to wake him (or just sit until it’s done when he won’t wake; those are the worst) when he’s in here alone before.

It’s not like either of them can help any of it regardless, and shame died permanently in The Hole millennia ago. It’s just something their bodies do, and they don’t let it bother them. She even let him know that back when his genitalia was sleeping all that time, this is probably what was happening when he’d wake up with soaked blankets, but not the sour-tasting, torturous skullache that followed the sweating-nightmares.

He just had to double the amount of spare clothes he keeps here for changing after double naps, and no harm, no foul. It helps that humans can’t smell it… at least he doesn’t think they can the way monsters do. He hopes not, otherwise he might have had to warn you about napping on the couch in here.

“Splish, s-splash,” Alphys whispers, rubbing her damp ass on him until he shivers. They both giggle, but Sans settles first since he’s sleepier. Alphys usually only needs one nap to his three, after all.

“if there’s a round two, i know who ta blame. now wouldja jus’ fucking go to sleep fore the wet spot gets cold?” She snorts (snores?).

And if they know a little more about each other than before...if they gained some insight about the insecurities and fears they’d unintentionally assuaged for each other over countless centuries of friendship, well. That’s no skin off his bones; Al likes to keep some things to herself, and he likes to let her.

Now it’s a snore.

 

Chapter Text

Sans is putting the last rock on top of his grungiest spare hoodie when he feels the inquiring spore land lightly on the tip of one of his vertebral processes, exposed by the downward bend of his neck. He gasps and shivers all over, sockets going perfectly round.

Oh...wow.

He wasn’t expecting this, but no one ever does, do they.

Here he is in Waterfall, just another boring old Laundry Day, and he might be about to be presented with an opportunity most monsters have heard of, but few have actually...experienced.

Oh My, the rock comments dryly. You had better finish up, then.

“yeah,” Sans breathes softly, winks and gives a few coins to the rock to hold down his laundry until the current washes it clean. Then he shivers lightly and turns around to face the Moldbygg curious as to whether or not Sans is DTF.

Sans is interested in figuring out if Sans is DTF, too.

He heaves around to face away from the riverbank, groans his dumpy body into a cross-legged sitting position and waits with an anticipatory grin. He leans back on his hands so he can look up and watch the sexy wiggle, too. That’s part of it; he knows at least that much. He’s seen this happen before, just never to him. In fact, after a little bit he notices Woshua and Temmie have come to witness; understandable. Sans feels extra special now.

Another spore touches him after a little while.

Is Sans interested in intimacy?

“yeah,” he replies quietly, smiling up at the gelatinous monster giving him a sexy pop quiz.

Will Sans taste and be tasted?

He nods, pleased.

Will Sans see and be seen?

“heh…yeah.” His sockets go flat on the bottom; he feels...peaceful. This is nice.

Will Sans touch and be touched?

“yeah,” he whispers, leaning forward and unconsciously stroking a finger along his fused ankle, slipping smooth, sensitive bone under the sock covering it.

Will Sans give and receive pushed magic?

“no,” he answers gently, face soft and relaxed.

Moldbygg notices Sans is permeable. Will Sans hold and be held?

Sans feels his breathing quicken. “yeah,” he whispers emphatically. Then he shivers all over as fragrant spores patter down on him, seeking his permeable magic to whisper endearments, enticements, and a few rather frank suggestions between his bones. Sans giggles, and lurches up a bit awkwardly to his slippered feet.

Moldbygg wiggles off, and Sans shuffles along in its wake. Temmie and Woshua trundle along idly behind, chatting and sending messages. Sans doesn’t usually walk this much if he can help it, but it’d be rude to skip this part of the festivities under the circumstances. As they approach the grotto he sees a few people set up sheetmetal grills a lot like his up top, and to either side of one of the waterfalls that gives this region its name. Roasting ‘cats and ‘dogs can take a while, so it would seems like Moldbygg’s been on the hunt for some time since a fair amount of people are already eating. Sans spares a return wink for Aaron as he presses two ‘dogs into his hand; he doesn’t begrudge Aaron’s pushiness today, since it’s a special occasion. He can already tell by the smell and appearance that they’re not as good as Sans makes himself, but he’ll still eat them once he has a chance to sit and relax a bit. There’s nothing a lot of ketchup can’t fix.

They get behind the waterfall and Sans takes a look around. Then he giggles quietly; he’s had worse audiences.

“heya,” he greets idly as he shuffles toward Undyne, who still has most of her armor on.

“SANS?!! Hah...didn’t realize you were into this sort of thing?? Guess I’m not that surprised, but...”

Sans just shrugs, then approaches the wall next to her, slides down onto his butt and hands her one of his ‘dogs.

He’s glad to see her, it’s one less message he’ll have to send. Speaking of which. He sets his own ‘dog on his knee, rummages for a few minutes in his pocket, then sighs and starts tearing his food up to shove between his teeth. He’ll need the energy, probably, even if he’s not sharing.

“never done this before, actually,” he admits after his food’s gone, along with a bottle of ketchup to add some flavor to Aaron’s bland cooking. He glances up and over at Undyne’s bemused expression as Moldbygg continues to arrive, along with...huh, Loren’s here too? Nice. “you need help out with that?”

Undyne’s got her arms twisted up around back of her breastplate; she rolls her eye and turns around demandingly after a few more minutes of hollering, cursing, and grunting. With the help of Sans’s nimble phalanges, Undyne’s in the buff in less time than it took him to eat. She glances over, elbows balanced on her lean, scaly legs and raises her eyebrow. She’s still got her eyepatch on; Sans can appreciate the dedication to accessorizing.

“Do you need help?” she snickers wickedly; Sans feels his magic seethe in his face as he looks around at the other boss monsters scattered here and there around the periphery chatting, eating, or just chilling peacefully. Oh. Nice Cream Guy’s here too, cart and all, his blue-furred cunny already flapping in the nonexistent breeze; Dogaressa’s armor’s in a neat pile of its own, and Loren doesn’t wear clothes anyhow. Heh.

Sans is the only one still dressed, so he shrugs again, doffs hoodie and shirt, doesn’t even need to stand to slide his shorts down and off. He pats his discarded garments into a pile and sits on it, nice and comfy. He’s still got his socks and slippers on, gives Undyne and her eyepatch a wink. Neither he nor Undyne have any genitalia; no surprises there. Sans looks back at the cart. Come to think of it…

He rummages under his buttbones into the pocket of his hoodie, then looks for something in his phone. Pulls out a fistful of G and lurches to his slippered feet with a groan and a lazy grin.

“Hey!!” He pauses, looks at Undyne. They’re almost eye level with him standing, and she hands him a few more coins. “Get me something, too! Gotta give it my ALL, right?”

“…what kind?”

Undyne grins toothily, but just shrugs. “Whatever looks good! Surprise me!!”

He takes the coins calmly, but hesitates and looks down into the G in his compressed metacarpals thoughtfully. “thought you had real specific tastes?” he questions lightly, and she blushes a furious greenish pink. Sans’s magic surges over his skull too; that’s pretty nosy, even for him.

She shrugs, averts her eye. “It’s a special occasion,” she tells the wall sincerely, and Sans just nods and shuffles off feeling mildly chastened. You certainly couldn’t tell to look at him, though, and that’s comforting at least. Undyne didn’t have to answer, but she had in her own way anyhow. Well. Maybe his tells are a little more obvious than he’d like to believe.

Sans doesn’t actually do this sort of thing much. Or…ever.

He’s nervous.

He shoots the shit with Blu for a minute or two, haggling the price to something reasonable. From this angle he can see Punk Hamster and Fawn murmuring to each other snarkily. They’re probably trying to come off as aloof and cynical, but mostly just look like they wish they were still wearing clothes. Honestly, the only person here Sans would usually be remotely interested in is probably Blu, who gets around almost as much as Sans does. He gives him his best grin and has it returned sincerely enough to make magic seethe across his skull lightly. The appetizing, familiar, and alluring fragrance of rabbit monster puts him at ease.

Dogaressa comes over for some nice cream while Sans is laboriously eating and gossiping amiably, and Sans considers that he’s finding her surprisingly appealing too, her marriage collar jangling comfortingly as she haggles with Blu. The scent of Dogaressa’s genitalia's not as strong as Blu’s since she’s not aroused yet, but between the two of them he starts to feel almost at home. He lingers to consume another nice cream and tell a few bad jokes; the compliments are heartening and Dogaressa’s less mean without Dogamy to look tough in front of.

He can tell they both like that he’s naked too; monsters with genitalia usually cover it. Although Sans doesn’t, he and his brother always wear clothing in the style of monsters from Snowdin who do, so his nudity feels a little more loaded than Loren’s or Undyne’s. He realizes he’s helping them feel more comfortable as well, and it relaxes him to know they’re all maybe a little nervous.

He returns to Undyne about 50 G lighter and two nice creams fatter, then hands her the pink one he’d gotten free under the pretext of the aforementioned special occasion.

Undyne’s licking her fingers idly when her yellow gaze goes hooded and soft.

Sans follows it, and it looks like...oh. Moldbygg’s doubled in size, and still arriving. Filling up a pretty big space in the center of the grotto, too; no wonder everyone’s sitting around the walls.

“so, uh.” Sans hears himself make a dry little noise in his skull as he watches Moldbygg join itself some more. Strokes his crossed ankles with his thumbs under the socks. “what happens from here?”

Undyne’s expression is still soft, her posture uncharacteristically relaxed in the periphery of the primary dimension of his vision. Bold and righteous in his secondary, exactly where she wants to be in his tertiary.

“Just go in whenever you’re ready,” she says, voice soft and dreamlike. The anticipation in it makes Sans blush again; wow. This really has him jumping out of his bones, doesn’t it? Maybe he should just-

“If you don’t ever feel ready, you can stay right here,” she continues soft and steady, “or you can just go out and enjoy yourself with everyone else, have something to eat. Find another partner, if you still feel like it.” Undyne’s smoldering gaze doesn’t waver from the blob in the center of the room.

“Smell ya later,” she says as she stands, then walks right into the wiggling mass in the center of the grotto and just sort of….gets absorbed.

A minute later, her eyepatch is expelled and lands neatly folded on top of her stacked armor.

Sans exhales in amusement, feels a deep shiver of something else and watches as one by one, the boss monster participants decide to leave or join according to their inclinations. Anyone can change their mind at any point, but only one person leaves. The rest eventually walk into the quivering orgy happening in the center of the cave.

Sans still isn’t sure. He stands and approaches, gazes into Moldbygg’s undulating body, the interior of which he can’t perceive other than knowing everyone who went in is still in there. It’s exciting...and mildly daunting.

A complex, snowflake-like spore leaves the quivering center of the cave, descends very, very slowly. Sans could dodge it no matter what, but he appreciates the delicate approach nevertheless.

He holds out his hand, spreads his metacarpals and lets the spore kiss the permeable integral magic between them lightly.

Sans is invited and welcome; Sans is not required. Sans is desired; he will remain so if he decides to join those above, and his absence will not be grudged. He should know if he decides to enter, he will not feel the kind of inhibitions he might be used to. What Moldbygg does lies outside the usual boundaries, and although no one will be asked to do anything they don’t want, they will feel no qualms about asking for and offering anything they do.

Sans may touch, and speak.

He reaches out and spreads his fingers into the quivering, permeable body of Moldbygg. It does this because it enjoys their pleasure, enjoys their individuality, enjoys sharing itself and its peculiarities. The extra magic helps it reproduce, even though the boss monsters’ magic won’t be used in the usual way and none are obligated to provide theirs. What its body does when this happens allows for more instances when it’s done, although the amount and size may vary. That doesn’t really matter of course, since it’s all Moldbygg.

Sans notices his phalanges are exploring his sternum curiously, and he frowns a moment.

“you, uh. already doing that thing you said?”

No. That only happens if Sans enters, although it knows the fragrance of its spores is very enticing. That’s why it asked him to touch; it doesn’t want to sway him either way. This is Sans’s choice.

Sans makes a gesture every monster can understand, no matter how they’re put together.

“mind if i take a minute to figure it out?”

Moldbygg approves; it won’t look. When it’s all together like this, its control and attention is unparalleled. That’s why it can do what it does.

Sans smiles, takes his hand back and sits right where he is, bare bones clacking softly on the cool stone floor. The soles of his slippers meet as he leans a hand on them casually, and his phalanges make soft rasps on his ribs and sternum. He lets out a soft breath as his soul condenses, and he exposes it with a remarkably similar gesture to the one he’d made to describe what he’s doing.

He looks into himself for a long, fascinated moment. There’s a few surprises in here, so he slides his fingers in and exhales in soft satisfaction at his own expert touch. His spreads his fingers and pushes in deep, finds a few more that make him smile. Sans reaches out and touches the quivering change in atmosphere that demarcates the beginning of Moldbygg’s body.

Pleasurable acts will be performed and received by the boss monster participants, but responsibility for them is passed to Moldbygg whereupon they are absorbed and processed into...huh. It matters less what he wants than that he does want it, because Moldbygg’s desire is to experience desire and enjoy its fulfillment; this circumstance allows for a degree of permissiveness the participants can also enjoy along with it. Sans has been invited to experience intimacy with Moldbygg. That is what will happen; the vehicle of that experience is the other participants. Sans will also be the vehicle, delivering intimacy with Moldbygg to them in turn. In certain cases, Moldbygg’s body may also be involved to add to the enjoyment of monsters whose own bodies or inclinations might not otherwise be compatible.

That’s something they’ve all heard about, one of the ways this experience is considered truly unique.

Sans shivers deep; Moldbygg likes that Sans wants much more explanation than most, wants to understand it in a way few of its partners ask for. Again, all it wants is that Sans experiences desire and its fulfillment; what he wants and gets is secondary. An explanation is an unexpected novelty, and Sans is already doing what Moldbygg likes.

Enough that it would seem that Sans is pushing his magic into himself in response with a soft, emphatic exhale; his upper body leans out over his legs as he trembles under the flood of his own sweet peace. Moldbygg quivers around his fingerbones; once again Sans delivers exactly what it wants: the contact helps it experience his desire and its fulfillment. He puts himself back, and once he’s done shivering through his rush the gelatinous magic of its body firms up around his hand to help him lurch to his feet.

With a dreamy grin, Sans goes inside. It’s like being underwater without actually being underwater. Sans can tell he weighs less, yet there’s more drag on his limbs as he moves. He hears something, but it’s not sound; the inside of Moldbygg’s body can’t carry that kind of subtle, complex vibration. Moldbygg wants him to come out...in a different way than usual. Sans sits again and relaxes for a moment, shuts his sockets and lets its call brush through him gently. He exhales and feels his eyes relax too; there’s a tug but it’s….it’s softer than usual, but it’s good. Sans looks down and sees a blurry outline of his soul inside his ribcage.

Moldbygg lets him know this is how he will feel and know/be known. This is like the sensation caused by the spores, but it’s all over now, it’s...consistent. Arousing, soothing, and surprisingly informative. Makes him curious, makes him wonder what will happen next. Sans feels his own smile echo in his soul as his sockets narrow; he feels eager to please.

Turns out Blu wants his cunny touched, and Sans really wants to touch it. Something familiar, something he knows he likes (something he’s good at; his desire to please grows keen). They find their way into each other’s arms easily, kneel down facing each other since it’s easy to keep balanced in this lightweight, dim interior. He notices that Blu has a dim outline of an inverted heart on his belly; it’s condensed without being fully exposed, so he’s also touching himself in a way that leaves his hands free. It makes Sans smile; monsters with hands usually prefer to use them for touching, but he can see how in this particular configuration it might be a little cumbersome.

Sans pets the soft, furry little triangle between Blu’s legs for a long time, holds him close and strokes his back encouragingly with the distal phalanges of his other hand. He tilts his skull back to have his face nuzzled as he finally slips his magic-wet fingertips inside his genitalia. He feels Blu’s arms shiver around him, and Sans curves his phalanges in tight at the front wall, rubs him there until he feels the sweet spot firm right up.

Blu can sense the care and expertise in his bone fingers. It’s been so long since he’s been touched here, and he...he’s never been touched like this. Rabbits usually use one finger for this, since their genitalia's small for their body size, but Sans’s fingers are so narrow and delicate, he can use two or...yes, that’s a third. The texture’s an added layer of novel sensation, and he can feel how much Sans likes to do this. No hesitation from Sans, no anxiety. Just the confident slide of magic-damped bones curling in and teasing at his sweet spot, spreading to open and fill him.

Blu really likes how much Sans wants to be held and pet too, pulls him close and tight while he pleasures him, nuzzling and cuddling magic-sheered bone. Sans’s voice makes a sound that doesn’t carry when a dry little rabbit tongue flicks out to taste; it doesn’t need to since Moldbygg’s taking care of that, but he wants to give Sans the physical sensation that usually goes along with being tasted anyways. Sans smiles warmly, rubs his face along Blu’s cheek and neck to savor how soft and sweet-smelling his fur is. Warmth and spice, something even more compelling and addictively pleasant underneath.

He feels Blu’s pleased grin bloom; it’s the scent of his magic Sans is enjoying. Shed for and with pleasure, a faint sheen close to his skin under the fur to help enhance desire for whatever he already wanted. This fragrance stays close and doesn’t carry; only his partners will enjoy what amounts to an aphrodisiac under the circumstances. Makes Sans want even more touching, makes him want to feel like this too, wants to be touched…inside. Blu’s using his hand in Sans’s pelvis now; the soft-furred palm that slides firm along the inner curve of his sacrum has him shuddering hard in no time flat. Doesn’t feel like being touched by fire, softer than Alphys’s claws… Blu’s touch fumbles a little, slowing in fits and starts as he squeezes Sans rhythmically with his other arm.

A soft wave of apology from Blu; he’s working up to something, and Moldbygg lets Sans know he’ll get his turn too if he wants, but… it seems Sans is too good at this for Blu to concentrate right now.

Sans feels joy bloom in his soul and leans Blu back, gratified and flattered by that more deeply than he’d usually be willing to admit, even to himself. He giggles a bit when he feels the light tinge of emotional backwash as everyone in here with him also enjoys his gratification, although they might not necessarily know its source. Then Sans stops thinking so much and just gives in to feeling: the hot, soft little cunny quivering up tight around his ceaselessly working phalanges, the furry arms around him petting and squeezing the patterns of his pleasure into his bones, the soundless impression of happy cries of pleasure and satisfaction as Blu shivers himself to completion in Sans’s bony palm.

Blu’s still fine with touching Sans, but he doesn’t want to as much as two others want something Moldbygg knows Sans is willing to give them. What Blu really wants after his climax is for everyone to enjoy how nice he smells, and Dogaressa and Undyne approach since they certainly want both Blu’s fragrance along with the various tactile pleasures it turns out Sans is willing to provide.

Dogaressa kneels behind him, her big hands stroking his bones until he shivers and tries to moan, voice disassembling itself out into Moldbygg’s body to be processed into pleasurable spores for everyone to taste if they like. He leans back into her strength, letting her enjoy his unusual smooth-hard body, the pads of her fingers tasting and testing its frail brittleness, playing and pushing at the intriguing resistance between his bones.

Undyne kneels in front of him, straddling the lazy fur-lump of Blu, who’s just as glad to lie there motionless and be appreciated. Sans smiles; he can relate. Undyne wants her hair played with, because it’s not actually hair in the same way furry or hairy monsters have. It’s thin tendrils of sensitive fins, and Sans’s phalanges are perfectly shaped to card through it again and again.

It makes her feel pretty and soft; she keeps it bound most of the time for a reason. When she lets it flow free, a wave of quintessentially feminine sensuality washes through everyone. Even Loren, who doesn’t actually want any sex, just the somersaults they’ve been weightlessly performing somewhere above them all for the duration. Loren quivers with harmless, delicious transgression as they enjoy the vicarious thrill of gender, a decadence they usually wouldn’t indulge in.

Punk Hamster and Fawn are in here somewhere too, souls already merged together and pushing magic into each other with gusto as they pet, taste, and spend to heighten the sensations even further. Apparently they plan to take full advantage of the contraceptive effects of being inside Moldbygg’s body: the only result of any and all acts for the duration will be more instances of Moldbygg. That’s what this is is for, after all; their desire is to perform reproductive acts without reproductive results. Their feelings of abandon and indulgence spice the already permissive atmosphere with a compellingly carnal energy to balance out the sheer intensity of Loren’s self-sustaining cycle of nonsexual desire and gratification.

Everyone quivers along with them, and the effect on Sans directs his desire towards something his body lets Moldbygg know is...complicated. What Sans wants and what his body will permit has a few gaps it leaves unbridged for good reason. Well. Moldbygg feels more than up to a challenge, especially when the rewards so far have been downright gratuitous.

Moldbygg does something that causes its body to solidify only in the space it occupies inside Sans’s pelvis, and he gasps in some of its gelatinous substance through his nasal cavity when it also gets hot. Its body can blend with his in a way that isn’t possible for nonpermeable bodies; it’s a little like when Grillby goes in there but softer, not as almost-dangerous feeling. Dogaressa touches the magic in Sans’s pelvis cautiously with her fingers, probes until she finds a spot where he can be penetrated.

Sans shudders hard as her fingers open him, gasping in even more of Moldbygg’s body as the sensation of fullness and movement travels through his newly dense permeable magic to transfer the caress to the insides of his pelvic bones. He likes the blunt play of her fingers, loves the physicality of the pleasure happening in his body. It’s like the best parts of what he does on his own with his blanket and the times he’s been touched in there mashed up together into something so exquisite he thinks he can’t possibly hold more sensation.

Then Dogaressa pushes her thick cock inside him from behind, and the impression of Sans’s beautiful, carefree laugh rings through everyone like a wide golden bell as he realizes just how much intensity he can take. A wave of heat, fullness, and pressure slides deep into his body, then retreats to let it flutter closed behind the delicious intrusion.

Sans wraps his arms up loosely around Undyne’s shoulders as she hugs him tight and supportive; he actually kind of needs the help at this point to stay upright, and he shakes hard when she caresses his parietal bone firm-smooth just how he likes. He tucks his face into her neck gently with a heavy not-sigh. There’s not actually any air here but the interior is perfectly breathable for all involved. Blu takes over petting Undyne’s hair, because Sans is...yeah, all his attention’s been stolen by the push and pull in his pelvis, the gentle hands exploring his ilium as he’s meticulously, thoroughly fucked. Sans’s laugh rings silent-sweet through all of them again; this is way better than when Doggo tried to do it.

Sans can feel how he and Dogaressa are actually sharing Moldbygg’s body; it’s blended into the permeable magic in his pelvis, thickening it into something that pleasures them both. It tightens around her hot and trembling, giving her a soft, permeable opening of just-Sans to slide her genitalia through as her blunt, strong fingers find a reverent grip on Sans’s iliac crests. The pleasurable shaking of his bones shimmies through it to stimulate and encourage her thrusting, and a hint of her taste travels through it to enhance Sans’s feelings of satisfied repletion. Sans parts his hidden teeth the tiniest amount near Undyne’s smooth-scaled, featureless chest, and a spore materializes eagerly to drift slowly into his mouth.

Sans’s arousal and pleasure’s so strong, his soul’s so strong everyone shivers with it in unison.

Dogaressa’s inherent femininity resonates deeply with Undyne, and they lean in towards each other over Sans’s shoulder to practice making out like in the anime Undyne watches with Alphys. Sharp teeth and soft tongues test each other eagerly, and Sans feels vaguely aware that Undyne’s pushing magic inside herself with the thrill of kissing. Dogaressa caresses bones encouragingly, moves in Sans faster because Undyne is so gentle and soft, so beautiful, she’s...she-

Dogaressa’s abrupt pseudoclimax swells her cock up so big Sans can practically taste it, and Moldbygg pushes enough surprised fullness into Sans’s pelvis in response the magic holding it together expands along with it, spreading the pubic symphysis and sacroiliac joints apart slightly. The pleasurably violent shudder that tears through of all Sans’s bones at once is unexpectedly stimulating to the interior they’re playing in: a torrent of delight goes through Moldbygg as the drenching sweetness of Sans’s spent magic dissolves out into everyone except Loren, who won’t taste or be tasted. The resulting flash flood of sensation’s a bit much even for Undyne (especially with her hair out), so she gives Dogaressa a final peck, Sans an affectionate pat, and floats up to go have some somersaults with Loren for a little while. They’re very flattered by Undyne’s appreciation of their stamina, and the two decide to have a friendly little competition.

Sans has played around with enough Dogs to be unsurprised that Dogaressa is just getting started; as Undyne drifts away he falls forward right into Blu’s arms where he still reclines, extending his upper body into his eager, warm embrace. The supportive grip maintained on his pelvis to prevent pulling too early leaves him bent over, and the heated pressure and movement they’re sharing inside his body intensifies further. His shaking phalanges comb through Blu’s fur again, drift down as his desire is stoked by Sans’s taste, lush and unctuous with his deep capacity for pleasure.

Sans lets his usually keen awareness of time slip away. He gives himself up to Dogaressa’s energetic enjoyment of his body, uses all his concentration to finger Blu’s cunny to his usual standards, sharing the taste and scent of their mingled magic flooding through in ripples, then waves. Moldbygg’s appreciation for their remarkable enthusiasm’s moving things along for it faster than it had anticipated, and it is not displeased by this turn of events whatsoever.

It does makes its spores spawn a bit more thickly than usual, and Blu surges up in response until Sans is suspended upright between his partners. He almost manages to choke on the substance he’s breathing instead of air as both of them start to touch and stroke his bones gently all over. His skull falls back onto Dogaressa’s shoulder, eyes spreading out so wide they go almost as transparent as the space inside Moldbygg’s body; he shuts his sockets since he can’t see anymore anyways. Soft-furred bodies sandwich his violently trembling bones until he’s pressed suspended between them. Feels like he’s being hugged all over, safe and snug inside and out as Blu’s hips jerk out the rhythm of his pleasure tight around Sans’s stiff-curled phalanges.

As Blu's cunny’s emptied with a lingeringly fond, wet-boned caress he takes gentle hold of Sans’s femurs. He bends and lifts his legs until he’s holding him up, folding Sans in half as his bone arms slide up and back to go around Dogaressa’s neck gently. Blue smiles wickedly as he gives Sans’s face a sweet little nuzzle; Sans shudders violently in anticipation. He obviously knows what he's doing, and Sans can't wait. Blu’s hands slide into the crooks of Sans’s knees, and he keeps lifting until Sans and Dogaressa both arch openmouthed at the increasing tension on her engorged, knobby length.

The sweet, relentless pull where she’s locked tight into Sans’s thickened integral magic is drawing at something so deep and primal in her, she can’t resist any longer. The pressure mounts tighter, and she leans forward until her careful teeth close firm on Blu’s shoulder, sparing Sans’s delicate bones to his passing and mild disappointment. After all, no one in here wants to feel Sans’s pain, only the intensity of his pleasure, and Blu wants the bite much more than Sans does anyways.

Blu’s magic sheds so densely Sans gets a strong impression of the way a Dog’s genitalia can feel rubbed against Blu’s; he’s far too small inside to be penetrated like this, but he likes the slick friction on his cunny and the firm pressure of teeth on his shoulders and arms. His body’s nice and sturdy, and he can take some mildly rough play anytime he wants to. He reaches out and holds them both tight, moving in closer to let Dogaressa get a better grip with her jaws.

Dogaressa shakes almost as hard as Sans for a moment, hold loosening briefly so she can thrust a few more times, then stills abruptly as she pulls down hard with her hips, like she’s trying vainly to pull herself out of his body. Sans knows she’s not; the pulling is what stimulates her true climax. Here it is, accompanied by a gush of magic so spiced with toothsome pleasure Sans’s neck cranes back as he screams silently, then his skull falls forward as he gives in.

He nudges his frontal bone dazedly on Blu’s soft, fragrant fur as Dogaressa’s spent magic continues to pool in his pelvis, drawn out and held inside by the walls of Moldbygg’s thickened magic. It’s mimicking the sensations she’d feel doing this to another Dog as it clenches Sans’s integral magic down tight to trap her genitalia inside his body. It’s giving Sans what it picks up of the sensations she recalls from having this done in turn to her, pouring it into his remarkable capacity to feel this kind of physical intensity despite his fragile body. The increased pressure pulls even more pleasure out of her in long, winding skeins that make her jaws clamp down on Blu until he wraps his arms around them both, squeezing hard and shivering with the sharp, exhilarating pleasure of it.

Sans’s sockets stream into the gelatinous ether as his phalanges scrabble desperately at warm fur, because he, he can’t… he needs…

…needs something

Sans’s body and Moldbygg reach a soundless agreement; Sans goes limp as Dogaressa’s blunt, soft fingers tickle light and repetitive at the loosened, quivering-hot juncture of his smooth, bare pubic bones.

She hugs Blu closer to help hold Sans in place, shuffling on her knees and yanking down hard with her hips to put even more pressure on her genitalia as she spends endless and rhythmic inside Sans’s stuffed-spread and practically creaking pelvis. She’s shaking all over, a silent, ecstatic growl reverberating through bone and fur alike as she rubs her fat fingertip ever-so-slightly inside his pubic symphysis, the joint spread even further by the tension Blu keeps on his wide-apart femurs.

No one could ever complain about Moldbygg’s timing. Sans almost faints when a nameless tension in him uncoils all at once; he spends out in a searing-sweet flood to mingle with Dogaressa’s magic as she finally pulls out of him as sudden as a cork from a bottle. Moldbygg catalyzes their mingled pleasure along with Blu’s addictive fragrance into spores so exquisite, Blu and Dogaressa don’t even mind missing out on the pseudomerge and shared push Moldbygg can’t bring itself to put off any longer. They’re too busy petting and cuddling the dazed and shivering skeleton between them, who hadn’t intended on participating in that portion of the festivities anyways.

In fact, Undyne ends up rejoining them because she craves one last indulgence after her physical exertions with Loren: the nap Sans wants more than he thinks he’s ever wanted anything in his life. They all fall into a soft-and-scaly, comfortably bony pile, and before Moldbygg’s even finished completing the merge they’re all fast asleep.

Sans wakes up under Blu’s now-heavy arms holding his bones against the furry chest beneath him, and looks up to flicker his eyes sleepily at the instance of Moldbygg towering above their reclining forms.

“heya,” he grins up at it muzzily. “how’s tricks?”

After a minute or two, a spore is produced and slowly descends towards Sans. He has plenty of time to glance over at the patted-together pile of his garments close to the wall, noticing that his slippers are set carefully on top, the socks tucked into the toes just like Sans always puts them when he’s otherwise disposed.

It’s sweet.

Then he blinks and snorts as the spore lands in his left socket.

This instance of Moldbygg lingered to thank Sans for his contributions, and make sure he’s feeling okay. See if he needs anything. The reorganization went swimmingly (Sans giggles), and Blu and Sans are the last participants to depart. Punk Hamster and Fawn alone provided so much magic in response to the overwhelming pleasure Sans and his partners supplied, Moldbygg nearly doubled.

Sans’s magic seethes in his skull; even after all that, he doesn’t actually feel all that hungry. But...he could probably go for another nice cream, if he’s honest.

“glad to help. and uh...” Sans looks up at Moldbygg’s sexy wiggle. “thanks.” Sans sighs, then shifts experimentally. “uh. you awake, blu?” Moldbygg’s starting to quiver away; Sans interrupts to request help waking the rabbit monster clutching Sans to his chest like a comfort item. Working together they manage to rouse him eventually. Blu and Sans get dressed together with some shy but enthusiastic chatter, and Sans flirtatiously insists on paying double for the nice cream.

see ya around,” Sans winks outrageously, catching a faint whiff of a very promising fragrance as he departs to seek his laundry.

Sans might have lost track of time, but it’s probably clean by now.

 

Chapter Text

Toriel finds Papyrus waiting for her in the woods, sitting the way he does when he wants to be found.

It’s the only way she’s ever seen him sit, since obviously if he doesn’t want to be found, he isn’t. He sits patiently on a log, the circumference of which is more than ample enough to accommodate both of their large, weighty bodies. She takes a seat next to him in the available space, just enough to be cozy without crowding, and arranges her robes in a pleasing, comfortable manner.

“Am I incorrect in assuming that something has changed?”

“YOU WOULDN’T BE ENTIRELY INCORRECT, NO,” Papyrus confirms reluctantly.

Toriel stares a hole in some shrubbery.

“And is it within the realm of possibility that this...conversation has no precedent?”

“I CAN SAY WITHOUT A DOUBT THAT A POSSIBILITY EXISTS THAT THIS CONVERSATION IS ENTIRELY NOVEL, NEW, AND HERETOFORE PREVIOUSLY UNHAD,” he confirms slowly.

Toriel exhales shakily; her hands tighten on her clothing, then relax.

“FRISK IS JUST BEGINNING,” Papyrus informs her gently. “THE WOUND IS CLOSED.”

Toriel’s tension slowly unwinds, then goes right into an odd little slump. Papyrus puts a gloved hand lightly on her shoulder; Toriel is also a very good actor. He can appreciate dedication to one’s craft. He knows she can too, and she also knows why rehearsal is so important.

Toriel’s one of the only people who knows the truth about his font, after all. Even his own brother doesn’t know that…but that’s mostly because he doesn’t want to, despite having spent most of his life cooperating with Papyrus in constructing a workaround. A few centuries of near-constant physical contact certainly helped with that; Papyrus never means what he says (he means exactly what he says).

“How is he?” she asks quietly.

“WORSE THAN USUAL,” Papyrus admits. “BETTER THAN EXPECTED. LAZY.”

Papyrus still stays with Toriel, after all. Even if his brother doesn’t anymore. As close as they are, Sans and Papyrus don’t do everything together; not by a long shot.

After sitting quietly together long enough for the sun to come back out, Papyrus asks a question.

“HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT TO KNOW?”

Toriel sighs.

Want to?” Her smile is so crooked it slides right off her face. Papyrus can relate, but the question still stands. Toriel already knows about the RESETS, of course. Not Chara, though. Not...Flowey. “I imagine this won’t stop them from fighting about it anyways,” she continues. “I have never met two more stubborn people in my life.” She sighs.

Papyrus watches a squirrel decide to be frightened by a leaf, attack it without actually touching it, then run at breakneck speed vertically up a tree. He can relate to that, too.

“SANS HAS A DISCONCERTING HABIT OF PUTTING PEOPLE UP ON PEDESTALS, AND THEN SOMEHOW FALLING OFF THE PEDESTAL HIMSELF,” Papyrus comments succinctly. “I’D WONDER HOW HE MANAGES IT, BUT I ALREADY KNOW FAR MORE ABOUT PHYSICS THAN I REALLY CARE TO,” he sighs.

“Anyone who spends a great deal of time around Sans ends up knowing more about many things than they might prefer,” Toriel agrees wryly. “And somehow none of those things end up being Sans.”

Papyrus just snorts, a sound like dry paper ripping.

“I am glad someone finally managed to catch him in his own trap,” she continues after a few moments, and Papyrus inexplicably blushes. Well. Maybe it’s slightly explicable. Toriel shoots an incisive glance over at the world’s tallest living skeleton. “Humanity is not without its appeal, as I have maintained for quite a few centuries.” Her smile sticks this time.

“MILLENNIA,” Papyrus corrects staunchly, ignoring the magic seething in his skull. “GHOSTS DON’T COUNT.”

Toriel laughs into her furry palm. “Indeed… although humanity remains appealing. As I have rediscovered recently, much to my surprise and…edification.”

They get quiet again.

Toriel sighs; an empty sound edged with dust.

“Tell me.”

He does. It doesn’t take very long. She cries for much longer than it takes to tell her. He can tell how angry she is; he silently presents her with something Sans gave him to give her. After a few minutes she takes it; after a few seconds Papyrus dutifully returns the empty, weatherbeaten plastic bottle to his phone. Minutes and seconds continue to pass in the expected manner and direction, each one similarly unprecedented.

“It does help a little, doesn’t it,” she mutters thickly after a bit. She lets out a strange, odd huff. Papyrus just looks forward, gives her privacy. “I have a question,” she continues, an edge in her voice he rarely hears. Papyrus expected this. But when she asks the question, it’s actually...not the one he expected.

“Why did you not tell me before?” she rasps. “Surely you knew the, the right thing to-”

“HE DIDN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW,” Papyrus interrupts sadly. “BECAUSE IT WASN’T HIM ANYMORE.”

“How can you say that?” It’s an outraged whisper.

“BECAUSE I FELT IT, AND H-HE… HE DECIDED IT.” Papyrus’s face is uncharacteristically hard for a long, tense moment. That clacking sound must be the squirrel again, shaking the tree branches. He’s certainly not angry or anything like that. “WHO HE WAS...WAS HIS DECISION. HE DIDN’T WANT TO BE Y- AH, TO GO BACK TO BEING A CHILD,” Papyrus makes a harsh, loud throat-clearing noise. “EVEN IF THAT WAS POSSIBLE FOR...SOMEONE LIKE, LIKE WHAT HE WAS, HE DIDN’T WANT TO B-BE THE PERSON, HE WAS, HE WAS BORN T-TO…” Papyrus’s voice strangles itself into nonexistence and he blinks his sockets slowly, trying to remember what he was just trying to say. He’s not sure what he was about to say.

“HE WANTED TO GO BACK IN,” he tries. Seems to work. “HE WANTED TO REST, AND THEN BECOME ONCE AGAIN WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT.” He makes a sound. He doesn’t know what kind of sound, but there it is. “EVERYONE DESERVES A CHANCE TO DO BETTER, TO BE BETTER THAN-” His breathing’s ragged.

Papyrus forces stillness into his body as hard as he can. It almost works.

“HE WAS MY FRIEND,” he caws harshly.

Toriel needs a little more time after that.

“At least I have one back,” she huffs softly. Papyrus gives her a handkerchief, but she waves it away and produces some tissues from her own phone instead.

“FRISK HAS ALWAYS BEEN WHO THEY ARE,” Papyrus states plainly.

“I do not know how Sans managed to raise you to adulthood,” she says with frustration. “Were you this contrary as a child?”

The silence hangs like a rotten fruit between them.

“I WAS NEVER A CHILD,” Papyrus says in a strange, brittle tone. The clacking sound is back, so of course it’s louder now. “I SUPPOSE I COULDN’T QUITE GET THE HANG OF IT.”

“Papyrus...” Toriel sounds flabbergasted. “I...I am-”

“YOU ARE, BUT IT’S NOT THAT,” he croaks angrily. She probably means the tears streaming uncontrollably down his skull. So much for making anything work the way it’s supposed to. “HE WAS MY BEST FRIEND.” They’re both upset and angry, and they both… well. It would have gone a lot worse if it were Sans or Frisk here right now, but that doesn’t mean it hurts any less.

Some messes are unavoidable.

Toriel touches his shoulder hesitantly, then rubs the back of his ribcage in a slow, hesitant circle.

Papyrus scoots away but only so he can tilt over sideways, then sets his skull down in Toriel’s lap with a bone-weary sigh. They’ve had other disagreements, other conflicts between them. They’re rarely bad enough for Papyrus to offer to bridge them this way, but it’s…

This is.

It hurts.

“I WAS NEVER A CHILD,” he repeats blankly. “BUT I HAD HOPED THAT IF I LEARNED HOW TO BE ONE PROPERLY, I COULD FINALLY GROW UP.”

Toriel’s furry fingers stroke his parietal bone; he shivers in a not-entirely-unpleasant way as her compassion crashes into him mercilessly. “IN THE END, I DID NEITHER,” he admits; Toriel just listens, pets him gently. It’s not fair, but not much about Papyrus’s life has been. No reason to expect that to change now, but he can certainly hope it will. He hopes for a great many things, both possible and otherwise.

“INSTEAD, I’M WHATEVER THIS IS,” he adds with a caustic, haunting bitterness in his voice that would come as a surprise to everyone except the one person who’s not around to hear it anymore.

“You are the Great Papyrus,” Toriel says eventually in her soft, musical voice; what she means by that comes through her touch, and orange-midnight tears soak her skirts anew. “You are tall, handsome, and clever, and you always do the best you can.” Her distant smile grows warmer and closer, and she wipes a tear of her own as she looks down. “I am very proud of you.”

That hurts too, for some fucking reason. Papyrus lets the unfairness pile up, unbearable. Maybe because she means it. Maybe because she understands how much bravery it took to be able to not only tell her the things he has, but to stand his ground regarding the rest of the decisions he’d made.

Maybe it hurts just because he needs to hear someone say it so very, very badly.

And there’s his own dry sob along with it; she feels the depth and breadth of his grief, the keen freshness of its wound. Eventually new tears stop soaking Papyrus’s impassive face, although they don’t dry. The knife of loss twists sharper than the one between his vertebrae in his soul’s present-tense memory: endless, nameless. Toriel finally understands they’re not mourning the same person despite herself. She resents it for one more sharp moment, and then she lets it go.

Papyrus feels it; he sighs heavily, and it’s a little uneven. He waits a bit, the next one’s steadier.

“I’M GETTING MARRIED, AND THERE APPEARS TO BE A RATHER GLARING VACANCY,” he says, sounding much more like he usually does. “WILL YOU PLAY THE ROLE OF MY MOTHER?”

Toriel wipes another tear.

“Of course I will. It is one of my favorites, after all.”

“MINE AS WELL,” Papyrus points out reasonably enough. “BUT I CAN HARDLY BE MY OWN MOTHER, ALTHOUGH...” He frowns. “I SUPPOSE I COULD, BUT IT’S LIKELY TO EXTEND THE CEREMONY PAST THE POINT SANS CAN REMAIN AWAKE.”

“It’s possible that might be vexing,” Toriel exhales in amusement.

“SANS CAN HAVE NAP BREAKS AT HIS OWN WEDDINGS,” he gripes amiably as he sits back up, finally wiping his face off on his gloves. He takes them off, tucks them away somewhere and produces a new set from somewhere else as he finally sits up.

Toriel actually laughs at the idea of Sans getting married, then shakes her head wryly. “Will it be in the style of Dogs?” she asks conversationally, but Papyrus shakes his head dismissively as he tugs the new set of gloves on over his terrifyingly long, bare phalanges.

“THE STYLE OF HUMANS, IN HONOR OF THE OTHER BRIDE.”

Toriel nods graciously; she isn’t surprised he and Mettaton both chose Bride. She doubts anyone will survive that degree of spectacle with their vision entirely intact, but she’s rather looking forward to it anyways.

Papyrus exhales slowly, a little more of the tension leaves his shoulders. “I’M SO GLAD. DO YOU WANT TO BE THERE FOR THE PROPOSAL? WE’LL BE FILMING IT ON LOCATION AT-”

“No, no.” Toriel manages not to look desperate as she waves his suggestion down. “I am just as happy to watch the broadcast at Grillby’s with everyone else.”

Papyrus nods, then his sockets angle at the distance dreamily as he folds his long, gloved fingers under his chin with a lusty sigh. “IT’S GOING TO BE SO ROMANTIC, MOTHER DEAR. THE RING WEIGHS SIX POUNDS, DID I TELL YOU THAT ALREADY?” He tilts his skull, sockets all a-quiver. “I HOPE I SAY YES!”

“I...hope so too, my child,” Toriel agrees with an only slightly awkward nod.

“ALTHOUGH METTATON...HE’S SUCH A BIG STAR. SO RICH AND FAMOUS, SO IMPERVIOUS TO FLAMETHROWERS. I CAN ONLY WONDER WHAT HE SEES IN A POOR, INCREDIBLY ATTRACTIVE BACKWATER COUNTRY SKELETON LIKE MYSELF.” His sockets change shape yet again. “HE PROBABLY JUST WANTS ME FOR MY BODY. DO YOU THINK HE’LL WANT A PRENUP?”

Toriel tries to remember the last human film she’d seen involving marriages.

“You are not afraid he is going to leave you at the altar, are you?” she tries gamely.

Papyrus drops character completely; his harsh, sincere laugh echoes off several trees.

“THAT’S MY SECRET, QUEEN TORIEL,” he says with a deadpan wink. “I’M ALWAYS AFRAID.”

Chapter Text

Sans catches Frisk’s hand on the downswing just in time.

Just like always.

Well. He always catches it this time, at least.

He looks up into the glittering black irises charged with killing intent through the choppy fringe of hair, listening to Toriel breathing peacefully beside him. Neither he or the kid make a sound. They just stare at each other until Sans sighs in quiet relief after making sure everyone else is still alive. That makes it easier to decide what happens next, how hard he should bother trying. He forces his mind away from the thought of how many times the kid could’ve gone through and killed them all over and over, saving Sans for last.

He doesn’t know why he’s so goddamned sure about that last part. But he is.

He’s seen the truth in Frisk’s eyes ever since they got to the surface, ever since he found that photo with all their faces scratched out. The kid had to have used something real sharp to do it, etching away the softpaper surface careful and slow. And sometimes those eyes go flat and hard, watching Sans like a predator at the breakfast table, on the way home from school, in the middle of opening a gyftmas present. They both know Sans isn’t like other monsters, and his weakness is the same one it’s always been.

They both know he’s gotta sleep sometime.

Sans keeps himself from wondering if the kid keeps their own private kill count by tightening his grip and shortcutting all the way down to Waterfall, throwing Frisk across the cavern, and pedaling back as he draws them both into an encounter.

He waits a minute or two, watching Frisk’s chest heave, the sickeningly familiar glint of their knife in the dim bluish light underground. And it most certainly is their knife, always the same one. He doesn’t bother wondering how they always manage to find it again.

“you all good, paps?”

“YOU HAVE IMPRESSIVELY BAD TIMING AS USUAL, SANS,” Papyrus says, sharp-bright frustration and embarrassment laced through his harsh caw.

“it’s the kid,” Sans crackle-hisses shortly, watching Frisk’s eyes glint again. They let out a low, feral growl. Papyrus playing peek-a-bone with Mettaton in the woods is honestly the least of their worries right now, although Sans has to admit he really could have done without seeing as much as he had. But Papyrus is dressed again already, walking quickly through the woods and back towards their neighborhood, back towards home.

“HOW BAD?”

He’s awfully glad Papyrus can walk quickly in any direction, and not have to worry about petty things like “obstacles” or “gravity”.

“…s’not great.”

It’s worse than ever.

“I’LL GET EVERYTHING READY,” his brother answers shortly, and his steps become impossibly longer as he stalks back into Ebott, back towards the house they share. The place they go when Frisk gets like this, where they can all recover from the fallout without Toriel’s incomprehensible gaze weighing them down, heavy as the chains binding them onto this godawful, useless, pointless path.

Sans lets his brother exhaust his rather considerable lexicon of curse words on his own recognizance, concentrating on the task in front of him. He waits long enough for the kiddo to start jittering, letting their rage and frustration blind them to the twitch of Sans’s control hand calling up the blasters all at once in a facemelting circle of white-hot magic.

He’s already dodging before the white light clears, Frisk’s knife slicing only air with their murderous intent. He looks right through them to assess the situation.

One down.

Nineteen to go, because his kid’s a filthy fucking cheater (just like Sans). His KR should tear right through them, erasing them from existence and burning backwards through timelines like antivenom. Instead he watches them wipe their fresh-broken nose on their sleeve, malicious grin slitting their face like a wound as they lick blood from their teeth. He reminds himself not to get too close; they’ll spit it right in his sockets where he has to taste it if he’s not careful.

Seeing that tiny trickle of red makes Sans feel strange for a moment as most of what’s real about him just goes off to Somewhere Else.

The rest of him stays right here: the part of him that can keep it together long enough to deal with this shit.

The mask that runs his mouth.

The husk that survives this, over and over.

“you seem real excited bout somethin’, kid,” Sans hears himself say dryly. “we must jus’ be getting started tonight, huh?”

They dart in, knife flashing. They don’t get much better at this part, but it’s not like they need to. They’re a lot better at dodging, almost as good as he is by now.

Sans loses track of time, not that time means anything anymore. It won’t matter until it does, and he...he can’t…

(don’t think about it)

He loses track of what attack patterns he’s used already, can’t even feel his own exhaustion. Can’t feel anything.

He doesn’t even know what he’s saying anymore; just watches their expression to find out which way he needs to go this time. Finally, like always…he gets them down to one. A rusty, awful sound emerges from Sans; it’s like he and the kid are twinsies now. Ones across the board. They’re both exhausted; Frisk is battered and bloodied.

Sans dissipates the temporary dimension he called up for them to fight in without destroying everything around them; he and the kid collapse in unison as soon as it’s gone. He gathers what’s left of his will and starts crawling. When he gets close enough he grabs their head by the hair, yanks it back like a matted handle.

Sans shoves his face against Frisk’s and takes the deepest kind of breath he’s capable of. It’s every voice he has spoken backwards, Frisk’s splintered souls running in through the sieve in his skull and pulling it inside-out through itself instead of speaking out into it, the way he does to let them understand words they can’t actually hear.

Determination.

He sucks it right out of them in one massive inhale like venom from a snakebite.

Sans drops Frisk’s head like it burns him. He flops over and curls up; he struggles to hands and knees and pukes up Chara’s killing rage crouched on trembling limbs. Every aperture drools red like half-clotted gore out of his eyes and nose, he coughs it out through his teeth. This is always the worst part, but it’s gotta come out one way or the other. It looks fucking disgusting but it’s inert now, spattering out on the stone a few inches below his face. Can’t hurt anyone anymore.

He looks back at Frisk lying there on the dank, bloody floor. They groan in defeat, finally pull it together enough to really see Sans next to them puking up red; he falls over on his side just in time to meet his kid’s slowly clarifying but still-glassy stare.

And… yep, there it is.

The reason he can’t just give up.

The reason he keeps at this, over and over.

Frisk’s eyes open wide, then wider, their mouth pulls down into a rictus of grief and horror that would almost be comical if it wasn’t so soul-crushingly sincere. Their breath hitches in so hard he can see it hurts, and it happens over and over.

Then they get to the part when they start screaming, and this time’s no different. They can’t even hear themself but they do it anyhow, shaking all over with feverish intensity.

“c’mere,” Sans croaks. He starts wriggling over to them right through the blood and dirt, the spent determination on the ground. They know what they did. They watch him approach with dread and relief, like they expect him to just end them, expect to be put right out of their fucking misery. Like they welcome it, can’t wait to finally get what’s coming to them.

“…kid,” he rasps, finally close enough to take them into his arms. The screaming turns to toneless, squeaky sobs muffled in his grubby, red-spattered hoodie. Sans wishes more than anything he could tell them this is all just a bad dream.

Makes the part of Sans that’s still here think about what happens what he has a bad dream. Feels his fists shoved up under his jaw, trying to keep the words from coming out of his, from, from getting inside him but they just keep coming, and he, he can’t-

Sans remembers every word he says when he has his ‘bad dreams’.

Frisk remembers everything they do when this happens to them.

Sans still has a hand in his pocket. He touches his phone, skates quickly through the boxes and grabs a handful of candy. He lets all but one fall into the pocket, then takes his hand out and draws back slightly.

Sans unwraps the candy, taps it on Frisk’s lips insistently when they close their mouth.

c’mon kid,” he rasps, exhausted. “wouldja fuckin’… jus’ eat it.” He pulls it back since they can’t breathe out of their broken nose, and he doesn’t want them to choke. They suck in air, start sobbing again.

“i can’t do this again,” Sans whispers shakily, honesty strangling its way out into the phosphorescent Waterfall air. “don’t-” don’t die, don’t make him lie here while his kid bleeds out, don’t make him catch their knife on the downswing, “-don’t wanna do this again, k? ‘m gettin’ tired a reruns.”

Frisk eats the fucking candy, gets stable enough for Sans to drag them through a shortcut and onto their couch at his and Paps’ place. Sans shouldn’t actually be able to take anyone with him when he does this, but as long as he doesn’t think about it too hard, he can do it just fine. Funny how that works. Funny how his whole fucking life works that same way. Can’t think about it too hard, or you can’t do it anymore. Long as you don’t…don’t think about it. S’funny.

“YOU COULD HAVE WARNED ME YOU’RE BOTH STILL DRIBBLING,” Papyrus says from his prim seat on the coffee table next to the couch, but there’s no oomph behind his complaint. “I’LL HAVE TO DEEP-CLEAN THE UPHOLSTERY TOMORROW...AGAIN.” He pulls the blanket up over them, starts spooning the noodles between Sans’s teeth with expertise borne of long practice. He doesn’t wait for permission. He knows better by now.

“sorry, paps,” Sans mumbles. It sounds hollow, even to him. “didn’t mean to break th’ house drools.”

Papyrus manages a slightly more emphatic noise of frustration, then complains about the mess in Sans’s room, the way he and Frisk smell, the annoyance of being called back when he’s ‘Out’, and he’s telling the truth about all of it. It is annoying. Papyrus is not very difficult to annoy, and Sans finds the spaces between his complaints incredibly soothing.

For example, Papyrus doesn’t try to ask him if there’s a better way to deal with Frisk’s murder-y-er tendencies than taking them down to Waterfall to methodically beat the shit out of them until he can get close enough to suck the rage out without getting knifed for his trouble.

What he does do is scoop them both into his embrace once the spaghetti’s gone, replacing the massive amount of magic expenditure necessary for Sans to keep Frisk from killing him, plonk them into his lap to let them absorb his aura of health, and turn on his favorite Mettaton “reality” shows.

Sans snuggles into his brother’s comforting, neutral body with a sigh that comes from his soul. He lets out another one when Papyrus’s long, bare phalanges rasp over his skull, lets them share the nameless emotion that brings them relief every time.

Sans and Papyrus could utterly obliterate each other. Neither of them care about the irony of that idea giving them such profound comfort; this is private. The fact remains that the ways they could hurt each other are nearly infinite. And yet for millennia they have been so very, very careful. They’ve kept their promises, cared for and nurtured each other, built something unshakeable and true. It wouldn’t matter how bad they really are, the terrible suspicions that eat at them when it gets too quiet. Nothing they don’t remember could break their love for each other, and they save their hate for themselves.

Papyrus’s fingers make a promise on the surface his Sans’s skull until he falls asleep, and takes his brother and Frisk right along with him.

This time Sans wakes up first, which almost never happens.

Turns out he’s not a fan.

He untangles himself from his brother, but still manages to wake up Frisk. Sans sits on the coffee table awkwardly, staring blankly at the kid. His kid, his and Paps’s and Tori’s.

(don’t think about asgore)

Frisk is maybe 12 years old. They’re three or four inches taller than Sans now, and show no signs of slowing down their rate of growth. Their battered face is healing slowly but surely, even while Papyrus is sleeping. He checks his brother; looks like he’s full up. Sans is glad, he isn’t too sure he’s up to making anything to eat right now. Nothing he can gets Paps to eat, anyhow.

He’s empty.

(he wishes he was empty)

“ya smell like shit, kiddo,” Sans whispers with treacherous tenderness.

“I know,” they gesture, tiny movements close to their chest. Oop… yep. Okay, they’re crying again. Sans averts his gaze for just a moment, then sighs it out and turns his eyes back to his kid.

“I’m scared to go home,” they flick out. “I don’t want to hurt mom.”

Turns out Frisk doesn’t need a knife to carve him right open.

Sans feels his hands speaking inside his pockets. Betraying him, taunting him.

 

Me too, kid.

 

We always hurt her, don’t we. (It’s not a question)

 

We’re the same (we didn’t ask to be born)

(but)

We’re the same

(but)

“kid,” he whispers, voice cracked and broken

 

(but here we are)

 

Sans makes a dry noise, clearing a throat he doesn’t have.

“alphie can help you, too,” he finally says. “jus’ gotta let her take it out for you, okay?”

Fuck. Apparently Frisk’s not the only one crying. The rest of him came back while he was sleeping, but it’s not a good feeling. More like broken edges inside him scraping against each other, wounding all the tenderness left inside him, slicing up everything until he’s just meat and blood inside.

Ha. He doesn’t have either. He’s (nothing) empty

(he wishes he-)

“Sometimes it helps,” they reply, not looking at him anymore. “Sometimes it just makes it worse.”

“that’s. that’s uh…”

Something else in him breaks.

Sans can acknowledge that at some point he must have taken another shortcut to his stargazing spot, since that’s where he is now. Little cliff up over the ocean, far enough from Ebott proper to be able to see just about everything the night sky has to offer without muddying up the darkness.

Welp.

Guess he bailed again.

Sans isn’t watching the stars right now, though. He’s staring at the sun, which is in the same spot as always, even with the earth and a whole fuckton of nothing in between them. Looking this far always scares him, just a little. It’s a nicer fear than the one that brought him here, though. Fear that’s a false floor leading to something worse, waiting for any excuse to collapse under him and drop him right into it.

Drop him right into nothing.

(he’s nothing)

His breathing starts to go short-quick; he doesn’t think about why.

Sans is staring into the sun. He likes watching the filaments of plasma chasing the waves of magnetism around. It kinda gets him hot, actually. Reminds him of the way his magic oscillates when he gets… when he feels…

He’s so fucking tired.

He lets it happen.

Sans steps right on the fear; it breaks like paperthin ice and he falls into what’s underneath it.

(there’s nothing here)

Sans doesn’t know his hand, still in its pocket, is sliding to the front of his pelvis. It claws his pubis through layers of cloth to grip it hard and painful; Sans’s breath hisses through his teeth. He’s watching the spaces between the stars now, looking into nothing, feeling nothing. Bones creak dangerously in his fist like they’re going to break; Sans can’t hear it around his rough, shuddering grunt as his neck cranes back hard. He watches all that space out there until (it hurts) his eyes draw out wire-fine and sharp like an aneurysm, everywhere there’s nothing, there’s nothing, there’s-

His despair turns itself over into a slow-burning coil of temptation.

Control breaks like human skin under a bone fist.

A flood of pain-spent magic gushes into his bony palm as he yanks, soaks through until it drips right down his femurs, his tibias, drenching sick-sour into his socks.

Sans doesn't know when he started running to the edge, and he doesn’t care. As fast as he can is actually pretty fast, a lot faster than most people would imagine he’s capable of.

He pushes off the edge and his whole body does a complex twist; he squeezes hard as he pivots around the joint at his core. A few of him are peeling off already, the ones that actually manage to crush bone in hand.

Ones across the board. It doesn’t take much.

Sans is facing up toward the stars and the spaces between them as he begins his descent. He shakes so hard his teeth clash, lets go of himself to throw his arms out wide in anticipation as he moans with nauseating, mindless arousal.

Oh.

Oh, fuck yes.

Here it comes.

Selves tear their way out of him in a scouring swarm as he screams in agony, each one a skull shattering to powder across the pebble beach below. His endlessly possible selves burning themselves out of existence one by one, every inevitable death wasting sixteen thousand years of survival for one moment of rage, lust, hate, and utter despair. It’s absolutely decadent, a positive orgy of self-annihilation. He’s facing the other way, so he never even sees it coming. Just poof! and he’s fucking dust.

Each ending snaps back into him like a riffle shuffle, fills him right up with his own obliteration as his scream sharpens, tortured voices adding themselves in a polyphony with its own dissonance.

(In seven years you’d have known he was coming in his shorts; he never figures it out and you’re not likely to tell him)

Of course he turns out to be the Sans that hits the water instead, because he’s the only one that still exists to be that Sans. He won’t know how many times Frisk had to reroll the dice until he winked back into existence. Well. Not until the next time he sees their face. Until then, he’ll just feel it.

He feels his soul sliced apart into paper-thin-infinity.

Then an unexpected bonus: At least half as many of him got his neck snapped when the water hits him in the back like a freight train.

The impact smacks the thoughts right out of his skull, sends his eyes jittering apart so far they don’t work anymore.

In other words, it knocks him unconscious.

Bliss.

Sans’s body continues to leak out everywhere even without his mind there to enjoy it as the selves that dusted slow at the bottom of the ocean burn their way inside him, too. His body breathes when it needs to without his permission. It processes water as easily as air, since what he’s filtering out of it to sustain him isn’t either of those things.

Slugs and snails, crabs and clams stroll in to eat Frisk’s blood and hair out of his knuckles, feathery mouthparts and all those little legs wafting his spent magic out and away. A few of them mutate in ways that will prepare them for what’s coming when his not-body passes through the space between where they exist. Sans won’t be awake to notice, although he will have to pull a crab out of his skull before he can make his right eye work again.

Silence creaks deafeningly under the waves.

Chitinous bodies rasp and peck.

All those little legs.

They pick his bones clean.

 

 

Chapter Text

The first thing Sans does when he can focus his eyes again is check to see where Papyrus is.

At home, of course. Awake now, and holding Frisk’s hand as they weep with remorse and grief. Tori’s at her home too, still sleeping. Sans doesn’t bother trying to move against the weight of the ocean here; just slides right through several of the illusions that comprise reality and sits up in his room. He leans forward weakly to let some of the seawater and sand pour out of his skull as he retches and shudders, chilled to the bone.

Heh.

The inside of his skull tastes like the blood of a dying world; poison and death and rotten clams. He still feels cleaner than he did before he hit the water.

Getting to the surface, getting that whole thing over with...that was supposed to be it. The goal. Now he’s left in the wreckage of what comes after you finally achieve the impossible.

His indifferent grin doesn’t falter as near-boiling water scours his bones in Toriel’s shower. He’s rather not be around Frisk or Papyrus right now.

He doesn’t want to be alone.

He goes to Toriel’s bedroom, pulls on some relatively clean clothes. He could go to Grillby’s, let himself get fed and drunk and touched and fucked until he forgets how to hate himself, but that would just make him feel better.

He doesn’t deserve want to feel better.

He doesn’t want to be alone.

Sans looks down at the sleeping lump of Toriel in their bed. His soul quivers like it’s going to break, and he kind of wishes it would. Or maybe he just wishes he was some other Sans, the one whose soul shatters right here and doesn’t get dragged right back by some human kid with a soul-wound that bleeds endless mulligans.

Well. Not just some kid. God fucking damn it; his kid.

Sans lies about a lot of things. But he loves Frisk, and he loves Toriel. That’s no lie.

(he doesn’t deserve to love them)

Problem is, the more he loves someone…the more he lies to them.

(don’t leave me)

Everything’s a mess, and he can’t fix it anymore. He’s too tired.

He’s so. Fucking. Tired.

“Sans?”

Oh. He’s standing here crying, his bones rattling even though the sobs that shake him are silent. No wonder he woke her up. Toriel just looks at him, sleepy and gentle. She opens her arms and lifts the blanket invitingly. She doesn’t wear clothes to sleep, since it’s not like she has anything to cover up with it. He crawls into bed with her like a starved, half-dead animal, losing his slippers somewhere along the way. He loses his hoodie too, loses his cool as he scrambles with eagerness to lose himself in her massive, warm body. Then he loses everything and he’s fucking howling, he’s falling apart into a sobbing mess of grief and exhaustion right here in her arms. He stays lost for a long time, but she holds him until he finds part of himself again. Enough to force himself to be here, for now at least.

Eventually something a little like numbness, a little like calm seeps into him. He goes limp, but he’s too tired to sleep. Feels like his soul’s filled with broken glass, like if he moves too quickly it’ll slice him in half before he can even feel it.

“Would you like another baking lesson today?” Toriel’s musical voice slides into him along with her warmth and care, her kindness and compassion and all the other things about her he loves, the wonderful things he doesn’t deserve. He helps himself to it anyways, because he’s weak. Because he’s selfish.

Because he needs her.

He feels a little pang of embarrassment, realizing he’s curled up tight with Toriel around him, her front snug against his spine, and her hands curled likewise around his, rolling the proximals between her hot fingers idly. He stares at the traitorous bones, hoping they didn’t say anything unforgivable. They always give too much away; it’s why he keeps them in his pockets.

“mm…maybe,” he whispers, warming up even more. She feels so good. “i still got a lot to learn, huh?” His voice is a little rough, but almost passes for normal. He lets out a long, tight sigh as his body relaxes further into hers. He loves those ‘lessons’, her heat and strength pressed against his back, her hands over his showing them how to measure and knead, mix and stamp, roll and fold. Feels a lot like they are right now, just vertical, and in the kitchen. Usually with a few more clothes...but not always. Heh.

She always whispers against his skull how his fingers are perfect for making those careful pinches of dough all around the outside, tiny distal tips leaving a delicate little rim practically quivering with eagerness to be gilded by her fire magic. Her touch making the juices inside bubble, pressure building and pushing against the restraining crust until the surface cracks open.

Her humid, nutmeg breath warm against the top of his skull as the boiling-sweet insides well up, purple and glistening as her thick, blunt thumb passes over, insistently coaxing her magic into it.

His naughty fingers dipping in to steal a taste of the escaping juices, tiny tips slipped and wiggled between his teeth before she can catch him. Giggling and tilting his head back against her chest so it dissolves out in his mouth, so he can watch her face as the intent pushed right into the pie along with her magic slides inside him, becomes part of him; her breathless anticipation as he moans with the sweetness and spice of it. The heady pressure of her hot mouth around his fingers, that broad, flat tongue curling stolen stickiness away from their smoothness. That same tongue later, laving across his grin. The secret, deep shudder that wracks up and down his spine deliciously as that chiming voice tells him what they make together is never sweeter than when she tastes it on his bones.

“Or perhaps,” her voice turns mischievous, ticklish breath against his zygomatic process and oh god that really does something for him, “we could linger abed for some time longer? Today is Sunday, is it not? Frisk-”

“paps’s got ‘em,” he rasps, the ice creeping in despite him. Toriel goes still for a moment; her exhale is too controlled to be called a sigh, but Sans knows better. “they’re uh. said they had plans ta go get some nice cream today.”

“Well,” she says after a pause that’s only a little too long, “I am sure I can think of some dairy pleasant activities you and I could engage in during our unexpected privacy.” Sans’s giggle’s only a little reluctant, but it tightens into a significantly different noise when she suddenly whuffles deep into his cervical vertebrae. He chokes it off, magic seething hard across his skull.

“hey now,” he drawls pleasantly, forcing nonchalance into his voice and a lazy grin onto his face as he flops over to look at her. “you tryin’ ta milk my vulnerable state ta get some foolin’ around outta me?”

She blinks at him innocently as she folds her hands up between her cheek and the pillow, then graces him with a broad grin, her lovely little fang-teeth showing. “Well, that depends. Is it working?”

Sans feels the pain in his chest loosening. A helpless laugh shakes out of him as he wriggles back over to her, pulls her hands out from under her face and holds them hostage in a light, teasing grip.

“think ‘m easy, huh? been listening to Dog gossip again?” He scoffs, narrowing his sockets playfully as one of her hands escapes his. “s’gonna take smoother moves than that to get inta these pants.”

Toriel’s fingers slip under his shirt, and the broad tip of one digit runs along his ribs and under his arm. He lets out an undignified squeak and jerks away. “What you are wearing does not qualify as pants, you terrible goblin,” she gloats, her eyes sparkling.

“ohh, didn’t know we were playin’ dirty pool,” Sans grins, then slips under her mostly nonexistent guard and gets his arms around her. Then he unleashes his special attack: he starts scratching her back between the shoulderblades, all those little itches she can’t reach herself unerringly found and destroyed by his pointy little fingertips.

“Oh nooo,” Toriel whispers, tongue lolling visibly at the back of her open mouth. Her pleasure-narrowed eyes gleam at him under her long, feathery white lashes. “It would appear that I have lost…”

“yup,” Sans agrees a little breathlessly. He hides his seething-flushed face in her neck, nuzzling and huffing at her spicy, rich scent. “you’re in fer it now…”

It’s not unusual for Sans and Toriel to spend time touching each other the ways they like, the tiny bones that comprise the tips of his fingers finding the tender places around her ears and horns, carding smooth and slow through the fur on her chest. The distal points scratching the places she can’t reach herself while she shows her long fang-teeth, groaning in easy, uncomplicated pleasure. Sometimes she roams his body with blunt, soothing fingers inside his clothes, tracing frail ribs with confidence and enjoyment, thumbing the thick outer knobs of his femurs to make him giggle and shiver. Big, furry arms pulling him close and snug until he feels like she’ll never let him go, never leave him alone. They laugh and tell little jokes, snuggling and petting and feeling real good together.

Right up until it feels too good. Every time, Sans pulls away once he gets wet. Apologizes for the magic seething towards the surface of his body, then past it. Makes a joke out of it; laughs and acts like he doesn’t want it to happen, like it’s just something his body does. Once his teeth get warm and his touch penetrates deeper than skin, gives away more than bone. He pretends the lie doesn’t husk him empty and cold, stops himself before things go too far. Before he gets carried away.

He realizes that this time, he can’t stop himself. That it’s already too late.

He lets her hands grow bold; not that he hasn’t plenty of times before, but not when he’s…never when he’s like this. Not when he feels like he’s about to shake right apart inside, crack open and let everything spill right out. All the horrible secrets, all the lies and pain and awfulness. She’s not pushing magic with her touch, but he feels like one her her pies anyways. He heats up obediently under her fingers, unbearable pressure building against the crust and boiling inside with scalding-sweet poison, just dying to be tasted. He bites back a desperate whine, tries to keep it from overflowing.

He holds her tight, even though he’s panting heavily as those blunt fingers explore his ilia, delicately test the resistance that holds his femurs in their sockets. Her curious, careful thumb finds the curve of his sacrum, lingers hesitantly at delicate point of his coccyx. He keeps his face hidden, even though he knows she can feel it when his breath sucks in suddenly. She stops her ministrations, lays her hands on him in neutral comfort: one palm along the posterior flat of his sacrum, the other across his shoulderblades. That doesn’t stop his breath exiting as a soft, hungry moan. He knows she hears it; he feels her hands tremble against him.

Tori’s hot exhalations into his neck make the spaces between his vertebrae tingle and sweat. So close. His fingers keep tracing half-spoken words on the secret skin under her fur, and his body stirs and arches into hers. A nasal ghost of his voice pushes itself out of him as he feels his body seethe…his jaw and his shoulder move apart a little more, and his body becomes not-part of him along his neck as everything he is yearns for this.

This isn’t what they usually do together.

This is dangerous.

Toriel stops even when he doesn’t, goes still. She waits for the joke, the weak laugh, then uncomfortable shift of his sensitive vertebrae away from her mouth that doesn’t come. She can smell the sweet fragrance of his sexual self, see his magic misted fine over the surface of his bones to offer itself to her. He can’t suppress the soft clacking from deep inside him, traveling all the way from the base of his spine up to where her mouth is inches from his quivering bones, and more than he could suppress his body’s response to how he feels. How she makes him feel.

“Sans,” she whispers into his neck. His phalanges creep slowly up to the back of her head. Pet her gently. They tremble indecisively, then stay.

“…go ‘head.”

The traitorous whisper shakes right out of him. He wants her. He wants this, he’s wanted to feel her taste him for so long. A cracked moan pushes all the air out of him as her hot, sensitive tongue laps the fear right off his bones. She gasps when she tastes it, tries to pull back. Phalanges tighten in her fur, and his sockets try to close themselves even tighter as he whines with need through his fixed, flattened grin.

please…” he hears himself whisper. “tori, please…”

His magic beads up twice as thick where her tongue warmed him, left its own traces of her to mark him with her taste and mingling their magic. She leans back in, eager breath blowing hot down through his body. She tastes them together for the first time, and the sound she makes isn’t one he’s ever heard from her before.

It sets his soul on fire inside him.

“You are so sweet,” she whispers shakily, then drags her tongue slow along his jaw.

So soft, its curious texture dipping into the little crevices and joints. She makes that noise again like he tastes good to her.

Like there’s nothing wrong with him.

Like he didn’t just spend the entire night methodically beating the everloving shit out of their kid.

Guilt and shame burn through his chest like a hot coal as he lets Toriel take off his clothes, lets her taste him all over. He hears the helpless, breathy noises he can’t keep inside as he pets her fur with shaky hands, repetitive and needy. His delicate fingertips guide her mouth, then move to touch her in all the places he knows she likes best. He pants and moans softly, her wide, flat tongue teasing at the spaces between his vertebrae. He manages to open his sockets, meets her eyes as she laps fear, despair, and self-loathing from his ribcage, his femurs, his pelvis.

He hears himself moaning her name, begging and whining pathetic nonsense as her jaws close gently around the crux of his pubis. Her sharp teeth are so gentle against his fragile bones as she rolls the middle of her tongue insistently against the dense magic that joins them. It’s incredibly mobile, and he makes a strangled grunt when it curls all the way around to tickle the back of his pubic symphysis with the tip.

She pulls back just as gently, soothing strokes with her hands as he gasps and shakes uncontrollably.

“Is this too much? I would not want-”

“lemme make you feel good,” Sans sobs desperately, deep voice cracking right down the middle when her huff of surprise blows into his pelvic inlet.

It is too much, but not the way she means it. It’s just infinitely more than he deserves.

“fuck, please, i jus’…” Selfish, selfish.

Toriel gives him a soft, mysterious smile. A little kiss to the inside of his femur as she gets up, then settles herself against the headboard.

“Come here,” she requests quietly, and Sans climbs into her lap facing her, shaking all over as she takes him into her massive arms once more. She strokes up and down his spine until he chokes on his voice before it comes out, gives him away. But he’s already lost.

Then he feels her soul surge, yearning toward him from deep inside her, and he can’t bite the desperate noises back anymore. When he leans up and sees the expression on her face, breathless with anticipation, he can’t help it. He brings his hand to her chest, cards through her fur the way they both like, but it’s not the same. A familiar touch transformed into something completely different by his intent; the way she moans isn’t like anything he’s heard from her before, either.

He realizes he’s calling her a moment too late (it’s been too late since he got into bed with her); the sound she makes and the sensations afforded by her answer obliterate the part of his mind capable of making decisions like stopping.

Her massive hand comes up to cup his skull as it lolls; his eyes blend out so wide he feels the need to narrow his sockets, like they might just drip right out of his face, just like his magic’s dripping down the insides of his femurs now. Like everything he is is more than ready to melt apart right into her. She starts to slide down the headboard, arching up into his touch, his call, and he feels everything she is answering him, wanting him. He thinks he hears his voice; nothing but oh fuck, oh fuck, like a chant of worship a million miles away. All he sees is her, all he can feel is her soul yearning beneath him.

Sans knows his call feels good; he knows part of why it does is because it takes such a long time. Starts easy and soft, building up strong and deep the more he keeps asking, teasing the answer out slow. Not everyone has the patience for Sans’s tug, and the fact that he and Toriel have never done this before, nothing even close to this...well. Toriel must know he’s a dirty liar by now; four years of holding back, four years of his longing for her has her hands shaking low on his hips, following his movements as he grinds on her thigh, her belly and chest undulating as his fingers dance along her skin, getting insistent now.

“ohhh… tori, please...please...”

“Sans...”

“gonna come out for me?” He’s panting. He’s lost.

Yes…Sans, I-I want you to see...”

He pulls

and Toriel’s shaky, vulnerable cry burns into him like molten lead

as the (im)pure light of Toriel’s soul smashes his illusions like a plate-glass window.

It is not painless.

She enjoys being the person Sans thinks of her as, but she is also even more than that. Sans is old, but Toriel is even older; she has seen and done things he can’t possibly imagine. Sans sees: friend, companion, lover, playmate, angel, temptress, goddess… all are reductive, short-sighted impressions of Toriel’s truth. She’s embodied roles he doesn’t have names for, witnessed, prevented, committed and catalyzed events beyond his comprehension.

Sans lets out a dazed, breathy grunt. His teeth hang open as much as they’re able, and a fine, iridescent sheen appears on every bone in his body at once.

She’s ended hundreds of lives.

She has no LV, only love.

She has birthed nations and outlived all of her children.

But one.

He sees the truth, and she quivers and pants with the roasted-cinnamon pleasure of his regard, his witness borne to her true self. A deep, satisfied growl emerges from between her long white teeth as her fingers slide into herself; she’s already pushing her magic inside to capture the strength and depth of Sans’s gaze, the moment his incredible, impossible eyes first drove into her soul.

He watches her magic go inside, colorless-into-colorless like soaking gelatin, its rich scent filling his skull like thick nutmeg and allspice until he can barely string two thoughts together. She shows him his own caramelizing gaze, blooming hot and sweet until she wraps it with her powerful body, separates it from herself distilled into pure pleasure, and uses it to push his gaze down into depths that stretch his sight to the absolute. He breathes raggedly along with her; her fingers spread and he sees it go in again, then bloom back up toward the penetrating touch of her lazily circling thumb. She captures each echo of his eyes inside her and tucks it into her infinity, lets it swirl up to the surface again and again for their shared delight.

“tori, tori...” Sans murmurs, voice crumbling out of him as he glides his smooth pelvis along her thigh, smooth bone points of one hand caressing tender skin under the fur on her hip, the other up around her favorite spots near her ears. Her hot palm cradles his sacrum gently, not guiding his movements, merely enjoying them. She loves how he feels writhing sweet-shaky in her lap, the soft plush of his integral magic nudging its full, shadowy song against her body. She loves his eyes in her soul, the secret damp between his femurs slicking her deliciously.

“Is it good, Sans?” Her whisper’s rough in her throat, but her hand on him is gentle. Her sloe-eyed expression makes him drunk on its lazy pleasure.

“yeah,” he sobs harshly, giving himself over utterly to the molten softness of her dewy fur sliding up and down the deep cleft of his subpubic angle, wetting her with his helpless need over and over. “can hardly stand it, you’re, you’re so...” His voice strangles itself to a rough whisper as his head ducks; he coughs faintly, sockets narrowing as he gushes out onto her again. God, he’s making a mess but he, he, he can’t-

“tori, please…you’re so… so gorgeous, you’re so good...”

“Yesss, do that more,” she says low and husky, “give that to me...”

Sans realizes his sockets are streaming, this is breaking him inside because he just, he loves her, he loves her and his shed magic’s dripping down onto her soul. It’s not the same as pushed magic, but it’s incredibly intimate anyways. He’s a liar; he always wanted this. He weeps the truth of it right into her soul, and instead of throwing him out of her bed, she asks him for more. He’s coming apart, and he gives her this, too.

His hand shakes because it’s gripping the headboard so hard; his other hand is at the back of her neck, gliding around to touch her ears, guides her to put her forehead against his so they can gaze down into her infinite depths together.

Sans lets out a warbling hum; she cries out and arches into him when his eyes focus in on it, pluck gently at the culmination of her being.

(frisk’s blood spit into his eyes)

How can she stand him? How can she stand this, to be with him even this much?

(he’s just like asgore he’s just like)

She knows something’s wrong with Frisk, and that Sans is doing everything he can to help. She knows he lies to her; she thinks of it the same way Papyrus and Sans lie to each other. To make survival possible.

Not for her, of course. Toriel is immortal, until she isn’t.

He lies to her to protect himself.

She knows, and she forgave him a long time ago.

Sans sobs in impossible denial, shakes his skull in negation against her horned forehead as every bone in his body tries to shiver him right apart.

“tori, please...” it’s a hollow whisper. “’m no good. i don’t deserve it.” Sans half-collapses, moaning dazedly as what she feels for him floods across her soul, again when he sees how much pleasure it gives her. The pleasure it gives her to feel this way about him, whether or not he sees it. Whether or not he shares it.

In the privacy of Toriel-to-herself, this is what she feels for him.

She wants him to touch.

God, she wants him to know.

Everything he ever wanted fills his eyes, fractals outward endlessly into all dimensions of his vision.

Sans’s breathy noises tighten to jerky cries of scalding pleasure. So close. Toriel spreads her thick fingers and opens for him completely, so perfect in every way. So loving. No, more than that. It’s not that she’s just a loving person, it’s that she loves…

loves Sans.

Toriel loves him.

Toriel moans and arches up toward him, her sweet, open soul thrumming with desire. She wants him to touch her, she wants him to know how much she loves him. She wants him to know why; she wants to feel him, she wants to feel everything he has, everything he is, and--

No.

Sans’s eyes shrink and go sharp, contracting so suddenly that Toriel grunts.

There’s something wrong with him.

(no no no nonono)

Poison boils up in Sans out of a place he can’t find, the impossible presence of an absence at his very core. It grips him from the inside with cold fear, freezes his soul solid, tells him that he can’t (don’t)…

he can’t

(do this)

He doesn’t deserve her, doesn’t

(please don’t do this)

deserve

(oh god don’t please don’t oh god please)

to share this with her.

(don’t leave me)

It’s too good.

And Sans…is not.

He hurts himself, he hurts other people. He tries to get other people to hurt him too, and he’s not...he’s...

He’s bad.

Sans knOWs this, kNOws he’s sick aNd grOss and she DOesN’T deserve that.

Poison floods his system, tells him without doubt that he’s bad-wrong-disgusting, he’s

Toriel feels his gaze twist, feels his fear and pain, the sudden and absolute conviction of his own worthlessness. Denial/anger/protectiveness slash across her soul (Who made you feel this way?? I will-).

Sans flinches hard, but he can’t stop looking even as his bones rattle, a hollow sound like something dead. Of course she’s angry. Of course she is, and he. He needs. He needs her judgement, needs to take what’s coming to him. He has to face this moment, when she finally realizes how terrible he is, and-

Toriel feels his fear of her, his fear of her anger, and her soul responds before she does. Alarm and concern flood out all the way to the edges, obliterating her peaceful desire. All his fault, she’s upset and it’s all his fault

he’s-

he’s (he’s dirty) hurting her , tainting he r with h is (f/i/l/t/h) just by looking, oh god HE’S HURT ING her, what has he done

Sans mewls in stark, unbridled terror. He puts his hand on Toriel’s forearm, presses her hand back to her chest. The moment her sweet, private glow disappears, he scrambles back before she can do or say anything, leaking his own nasty guts like a half-crushed little crab.

“s-sorry, ‘m sorry,” he hiccups, already weeping uncontrollably. He can smell himself, smell his own sick arousal, feels stolen pleasure clinging nauseatingly to his bones.

He’s wet and broken, drowning in his own honeyed filth.

Sans makes a loud retching noise he can’t hear. It isn’t a good sound, and it makes Toriel’s face twist with-

“’m sorry,” Sans chokes.

She reaches out, but he’s just as good at dodging today as he was last night. Before she can even shout his name, he’s gone.

He never comes back.


(u n h a p p e n e d)

 

Mudhoney – Touch Me I’m Sick

https://youtu.be/_nGsT_qFMBs

 

Two years later, Sans comes back to reality in his bedroom, immediately staggers and falls onto his mattress. It’s not much of a surprise, considering both his hips are dislocated this time. (.ooo4657oo90043456…) Shoulder too, maybe. Other stuff. One of his eyes is starting to work again, but...did… He mean to cOME? here? he’s NOt sure. he doesn’t know...doesn’t kNOw anything.

Where is he?

Doesn’t matter. Hell, he barely knows who he is, which is exactly how he likes it. Just some bawling, filthy thing to be used until it breaks. Until he can finally, finally be thrown away.

It hurts. Oh fuck, he can’t even think right now but he knows it hurts.

.ooo4657oo90043232…

Something pulls at his waistband. Sans flinches, then cries out when the instinctive movement jars his injuries. He’s weeping indifferently; he’s going to die if they hurt him any more. He wants it. He’s going to die if they leave him like this, too, so whatever. He wants it.

A hand pulls his shorts back up. It’s…

He’s being lifted; a numbing warmth wraps around the pain. It’s still there, a few grating edges and the movements of bones hitting each other in ways they’re not supposed to go, but...

He doesn’t pass out until he’s settled back down, embraced by a familiar aura that soothes, the scent of (home) driving out some of his own awful pain-smell. The numbing warmth stops surrounding the pain and starts replacing it.

Unfortunately… he eventually wakes up.

There’s something familiar about this. The way his body feels. His brother’s arms, grown huge now but still, he doesn’t (wAs papyRUs ever smALLer than HIM?) know why but there’s something (--jus’ babybones, they’ll let you kNOw--) familiar about the boiling-cold, acid shame washing over him, his brother’s comfort where the pain used to be, and he, he can’t--

Sans eyes open and focus. He looks up at the underside of his brother’s mandible as he snores, and realizes this is the end.

It’s not that he thinks Papyrus can’t take this. Paps is strong; the strongest person he knows.

Sans can’t take it.

Can’t take having been seen like this.

Sans’s shorts are drenched with his own spent magic, rank with the agony and ecstasy he tries to stuff into his own decaying emptiness. His spine is clogged with castoff human filth, and he can smell the end of the world inside his own skull: poison and death and rotten clams. He manages to get up without waking his brother; all his bones are back where they go now after all, wounds in his integral magic sealed back up with Papyrus’s HP. He should go make the...he should. Paps needs to eat something when he, when he…

Sans rubs his fingers together, feels the dust forming.

Sans looks down at his sleeping brother, Papyrus’s scarf wet with tears. They don’t smell like anything but innocent love and concern; Sans feels his sockets go empty except for dried jizz. Shaking phalanges scrape his face without his knowledge or permission, claw at a crusty socket. There’s some blood in there too, turns out. Guess wasn’t the only one pretending to have a good time.

He doesn’t go to the kitchen. By the time he gets to the door to his bedroom, he’s crawling. He manages to get into bed. The last thing he does is pull his blanket over himself; he almost manages to get his forehead against the wall. But in the end it’s too hard, and quitting is easy.

Sans goes to sleep.

He never wakes up.

A week later Frisk yanks back the blanket, eyes the gritty silver dust between it and the bare mattress. They look almost calm, dark irises glittering as a voice that doesn’t exist carves itself into reality.

*Very funny , it says brightly. The slit of Frisk’s mouth smiles like a wound.

* This might be your best prank yet…but there’s just one problem. You don’t GET to give up, Sans.

Frisk pulls.

Reality crashes into itself, annihilating everything.

Two years later, Sans shoves open the door to Grillby’s with one socket shut tight, but he still sees that the elemental himself is somewhere in the back doing prep.

He feels relieved, limps heavily toward Lola’s booth. She nods without actually looking at him, and he drops to the floor with a stifled grunt of pain before scooting under the table, wiggling back until he’s curled in like a snail against the wall.

He tries to ball up even tighter, but this is about as small as he can get. He doesn’t think about anything at all, wipes something that isn’t a tear from the groove under his eye.

It’ll start working again eventually, although he’s not really looking forward to it.

Just kidding.

He doesn’t care either way.