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Not Your AU

Chapter Text

It was a totally normal day. A totally normal, average day.

You were walking downtown to the mall so you could get to the bus station and catch the bus to school. It was a bright and sunny day in autumn, with the few trees that dotted the crowded sidewalks just changing their leaves, so they were green with splashes of red, orange, and gold. It was a warm, pleasant, peaceful, and completely ordinary day.

You decided on a whim to stop in to this neat little monster bake shop that had opened up in the market. It was brand new, something you only just noticed the other day, surprised that they even managed to rent a stall, but their treats looked delicious. Remembering that you haven’t had breakfast yet, and that you still have some time to kill before school, you figured you’d give it a shot.

Monsters were still kind of a new thing, but you weren’t against them at all – If anything, you were probably a tad too curious about them at times. A seahorse monster (literally a seahorse, curled tail and all, but with a horse head and buff human-like arms?) caught you staring at him on the bus the other day, just trying to figure out how to classify him (seahorse-reverse-centaur??). He noticed you, looked you over much like a frat boy checking out their next kill, and winked. You nearly barfed in your mouth and decided your phone was more interesting to look at anyways.

The little hole-in-the-wall bakery café has half the lights off for some reason, you’re not sure why. But the sign says OPEN, so you take a breath and head inside.

As you head for the doorway, a skeleton monster pushes past you like he’s in a hurry. He practically shoulder checks you on the way by as if he doesn’t even see you, and you stagger on your feet with your heavy backpack on your back, but manage to keep your footing. Scowling at his back, you tsk and turn away, heading inside in pursuit of delicious pastries.

Unbeknownst to you, the skeleton turned to look back at you at that moment and gasped.

BANG

You’re instantly deafened as a bright flash of light goes off right in front of you, so blindingly fast that you have no idea where it came from. You instinctively close your eyes and shield your face.

The next thing you know you’re outside again, with strong arms wrapped tightly around you by someone tall… And very bony.

There’s a lot of noise and panicked screaming that fades in, sounding like it was played back underwater, and you feel a wave of heat hit you from in front of you, on the other side of whoever is holding you. What just happened?

… Did they just save your life?

You push at their chest to try and figure out what’s going on.

He doesn’t let you go, but you get a look over his shoulder.

The café is up in flames.

You hear the roar of fire as all sounds start to come back into focus, and sirens in the distance converging on the disaster. All the windows on the block shattered from the explosion. The man who’s got you is talking to someone over your shoulder, and you start to pick up their words.

PAPY… I’M SORRY.

… we should go.

The next thing you know, you’re somewhere completely new.

You’re standing inside a large front entryway that looks like it’s from the cover of some magazine focused on the most extravagant homes possible. The ceiling is ridiculously high – fifteen feet maybe?

WHA-WHY DID YOU BRING HER?

Before you can really take in any details, the smaller figure starts shouting at the guy holding you, who finally lets you go.

i said ‘we’ should go, didn’ i?” he smirks. ”trust me an’ follow my lea-

“WHAT THE FUCK?!

Finally, you’ve found your voice again.

You stagger back away from the two figures – now that you can see them at a distance when you’re not being smooshed into the tall one’s rib cage – you can tell that they’re both skeleton monsters. One is shorter with a round face and two jagged scars over his left eye socket, an indigo kerchief tied around his neck and dark clothing under a heavy overcoat. The other is much taller than him, just one scar over the left socket, a long angular face, and a sharp gold canine jutting out from the left side of his mouth. He’s wearing a heavy orange hoodie with a fluffy fur lining, tight leather pants with a skull belt buckle, and a dog’s collar around his neck.

… Was it the short one that bumped into you?

You take off your heavy backpack and brandish it like a weapon, thinking it may do some damage if you can get a good swing behind it. The textbooks inside are all hardcover and pretty sturdy. The tall one just chuckles at you.

“WHERE THE FUCK AM I?” you demand angrily at the top of your lungs, completely frazzled. It was a normal day! You just wanted PASTRIES!!

… Were they the ones that blew the place up??

The tall skeleton slides something small and black from a pocket, flicking a lighter in his hand and taking a puff. It’s a cigarette in black rolling paper? “y’ can keep makin’ all the noise y’ like, darlin’. either way, boss’ll be here soon.

The shorter one stomps his boot. “PAPY, YOU STILL HAVEN’T EXPLAINED-

she’s our meal ticket outta this mess. follow my lead,” he reassures him.

EXCUSE ME??

You are both back ahead of schedule.

You’re alerted to a new skeleton standing at the top of the stairs ahead of you, descending them slowly as if he has all the time in the world. His face comes into view just as he speaks a second time.

How did it-

He freezes when he sees you.

His limbs are just long enough to be unnatural, verging on slenderman-like, and his hard face is also scarred – one crack going down from the left socket, another crack going up from the right. He’s very sharply dressed, his clothes likely custom-tailored to fit his awkward frame. He was fiddling with a cufflink on his suit jacket, but takes his long-fingered hands away and clasps them behind his back instead.

And he’s just staring intensely at you. Almost as if he can see into your soul.

he wasn’t there, doc,” the tall skeleton notes aloud, clearly reporting in. “what’s worse is that the bomb blew early for some reason – m’lord almost didn’t get out in time.

Is that so?” He’s still staring at you. “And, what of our unexpected guest?

idiot damn near walked right int’ it goin’ off, but m’lord caught my attention jus’ in time to pull ‘er out,” he says plainly. He nudges the smaller skeleton… Proudly?

UH, YEAH!” ‘Milord’ adds.

he remembered you had some fascination wit’ humans wit’ red souls?

What. So he was staring into your soul?

THAT’S RIGHT!

I see,” the figure on the stairs hums, resting his chin in a hand. “Excellent work, the both of you.

B-BUT,” the shorter one stammers, fiddling with his gloved hands. “WE DIDN’T GET GASTER?

A problem for another day,” he dismisses. “For now, Black, would you kindly see to it that a room is made up for our new guest? And Mutt, please inform the chef to bring lunch to my study, for two.

… He means you, doesn’t he.

NOPE. FUCK THIS.

Just as the two skeletons immediately set off to do their assigned tasks, you also turn on your heel and go for the front door, but a hand beats you to it. A hand with eerily long skeletal fingers, and… A large, perfectly round hole in an otherwise solid palm?

Sure, you were curious about monsters. But you had absolutely no interest in getting mixed up with skeletons who bomb innocent little café’s and randomly decide to keep you locked up as some kind of pet. Because you have a red soul??

“Let me out of here!” you turn and demand from the giant well-dressed skeleton absolutely towering over you. Is that why the ceilings are so high? “I’m going to be late for class!”

I apologize for our rudeness and my associates’ involvement with your arrival here,” he bows. “However, I would like to discuss an important matter with you over lunch?

You did forget to eat breakfast this morning. Pastries were the plan, and then they got blown to hell by those two clowns. Black and Mutt? Plus you’re cheap, and he’s offering fancy food for free.

“… And then you’ll let me go to school?” you bargain.

His expression is irritated for just a second, almost too quick for you to catch, at the mere thought of you backtalking or bargaining with him. Then he takes a split second of weighing the options, before chuckling in a way he probably thinks is charming, taking one of your hands in his.

Perhaps that is one of the things we can discuss,” he offers.

“Not good enough.”

You pull your hand away and swing your backpack at him wildly with the other, forcing him to take a step back away from the door. You quickly turn the knob and let yourself outside, only to find…

Shit. You’re in the middle of nowhere.

You pull your phone from a pocket in your backpack, hoping you can find yourself on a map quickly, but a large hand snatches it out of your hand before you can even put your passcode in.

Not a long hand, like that other guy who seems to be in charge around here. A large hand, as in large in every dimension. It could smother your whole face in just the palm.

no phones, sweetheart,” a new voice says from behind you. “the reception out here’s shit, anyways.

You turn and swing your bag at him, but he grabs it away from you too.

… This is a new skeleton. How many fucking skeletons are there?

“Give those back!” you demand, infuriated. “I need to get to class!”

He cackles as he easily holds both of your things over your head one-handed. “you’ve got way bigger problems if you’ve just pissed off the boss than missing class, sweetheart.

Take her to her room, Sans,” the boss orders behind him, sighing. “Perhaps we can have a civil discussion once our new guest has had some time to calm herself.

don’t got to tell me twice,” he nods, grabbing you roughly by the arm. You try to wrench your arm away, but it’s too late.

You’re somewhere new again.

Chapter Text

“they blew the place and grabbed a human. she disappeared when mutt and black did, so guessin’ they took her with them.”

The skeleton sighs, tapping his pen against the table. “Why must they be so violent? How many lives were lost?

“seems like they’re still going over the bodies – human ones, at least. all the monsters inside were dusted.”

Grillby too?

“well, not him – immune to fire works for explosions too, i gather. bruised him up a bit but he’s fine. spooked the fire department real bad when he came out of that building though,” the shorter one chuckles. “they looked like they were considering blasting him with their hoses to put him out.”

Wait a moment. You said they took a human?

“yeah, this real cute girl with a heavy bag on her back. she was trying to go in as black came out, then mutt nabbed her right as it went off. i’m a little jealous – not even i can ‘port around twice in under a second like that. his reflexes are something.”

Why did they take her? Was there anything significant about this woman?

“not sure. just cute, kinda in a hurry? oh, and i noticed that she had a red soul, i guess.”

The pen snaps.

He stands from his desk urgently. “A red… Sans, we have to get her away from them!

“whoa, you got up. okay okay, i’ll take stretch and see what we can do.”

 


 

You grumble irritably as you work to tie the sheets together. They’re silk so they keep slipping out of your hands, and you’re not sure your knots are even strong enough to hold you. Why’d they have to invest in actually good sheets? Some plain old linen would be way better for this shit. More grip.

That guy Sans had muscled you into this giant room on the second floor and locked you in – they took your book bag and your phone, to disarm you – and you were basically stuck in here. Screaming obscenities at the top of your lungs and shattering every breakable thing in here didn’t get their attention, so now you’re on to plan B. It’s a shit plan that only ever happens in the movies, but you don’t actually know if an over fifteen foot drop will break your legs or not.

Plus there’s like, manicured rose bushes right below you. You want as careful a descent as possible. Fuck thorns.

There’s a hard tap, tap, against the door of the room, and you grab the leg from the busted chair and take cover behind the bed. The door unlocks and swings open, revealing (who you guess to be) Mutt, dog collar and all.

He glances boredly at you, then at your mess of silk sheets on the bed, and chuckles in that raspy low baritone voice of his at what he sees.

were you really fixin’ on climbing out th’ window with the bedsheets?” he asks, highly amused.

“I mean… It wasn’t the first plan I had in mind,” you admit a bit sheepishly.

knock it off then,” he says gruffly. “th’ boss is willin’ ta feed ya if you’ll just sit an’ have a conversation wit’ ‘im. how’s that sound?

You groan. “Now I just want to climb out the window without the stupid sheets,” you bemoan.

He chuckles again, clearly enjoying every bit of your ire. “put th’ leg down an’ come wit’ me. no one ‘ere’s gunna hurt ya, darlin’.

“No, they’re just going to kidnap me, keep me prisoner, and make me miss my class!” you fire back. “I had a perfect attendance record, you asshole!”

He just laughs again. “come along. ‘e’s fixed up a meal for you darlin’. best get goin’ b’fore it gets cold.

You still haven’t eaten today, and your stomach betrays you immediately. The skeleton’s left bow perks up at the noise, then shrugs and heads out of the room. He obviously expects you to follow him.

You stall for a moment to get some distance between the two of you, still holding the chair leg. Once you spot the main stairs over the entry hall, you make a break for it. Sliding down the banister you charge for the front door.

You yelp as you’re suddenly scooped up in someone’s hard arms, the impromptu club ripped out of your hands and violently splintered into sawdust in one motion. You have to protect your eyes from the shrapnel, your feet swept up from underneath you before you can even try to scramble away.

When you pull your hands from your eyes you’re somewhere new, yet again.

wasn’t askin’, darlin,” comes the smug voice of your captor. He lets you down and you push away from him.

I must apologize for my associate,” comes that smooth, cultured voice from before.

You spin around to find yourself in a study, the towering ‘boss’ stood behind a large solid wood desk in the center of the room, bookshelves on all sides of the room teeming with thick volumes. He motions to a second chair in front of the desk, where he has two place settings of hot, delicious-looking food laid out for the both of you.

Would you care for a meal? I suspect you must be quite famished by now.

“Not hungry,” you fold your arms, staying put.

liar,” Mutt chuckles from behind you.

You turn and swat the air where he was, Mutt having already backed up. “Fuck OFF!” you shout.

‘k,” he shrugs, then disappears.

There’s a tense moment of silence where you weigh your options. Defeated, you decide to head over to the desk, sliding the chair out and dropping into it in a slouch.

I must admit, I am faintly surprised you did not attempt to leave just then,” the skeleton notes aloud, taking his own seat across from you.

“I figured if your goon is fine with leaving me alone with you that you’re probably a much bigger threat to me than he is,” you confess. You’ll sit, for now, but you’re not touching even one bite of food on this plate.

I see. Very perceptive,” he hums, amused.

“You owe me answers, though,” you point out. “Why the hell did your guys bring me here? Why lock me up in that room?”

I apologize for the rather brutish reception and how that must have ruined your impressions of me and the men that I employ.” He tilts his head forward in an apologetic bow. “But, I am afraid that time was of the essence, and we had little room in order to introduce or explain ourselves beforehand. My name is Doctor Wingding Aster,” he greets you warmly, offering you a hand.

You ignore his hand in your face, only noting the large hole in the palm again. “Was time of the essence because of that bomb that went off literally in my face?” You’re still seeing spots from that explosion. Then you wither slightly as you realize how lucky you must be to survive. How many people died in there today?

That would have been highly regrettable if it had - I am very thankful to Mutt and Black for their quick thinking. No, the bombing was a separate matter. You see my dear, you have a rather… Rare and unique soul, one that could be considered highly valuable to the other side. My intention in ordering my men to bring humans with red souls directly to me, is simply to deny them that resource.

“What’s so important about a red soul?” you have to ask.

Since you’re sitting still, you might as well get more information out of him while you can. You still don’t even know where you are, for starters - all you saw outside was a large property that stretches on as far as the eye can see, and the smell of country air. If you’re outside of the city, then it’ll take you hours to get back on foot.

He smiles proudly at your attention. “I will attempt to be brief; There are fourteen distinctly different colours that we can measure on the soul colour spectrum, yet monsters such myself and my associates can only possess one of thirteen such colours as the primary aspect of our souls. This has been the case for as long as any monster can remember.

“And the missing colour you can’t get is red?” you figure out.

The Doctor nods. “Only humans seem to be able to be born with a red soul, and it is an unusually rare occurrence at that. While the statistical average should be one in fourteen, I have travelled far and wide and have never personally met a human with a red soul before today. Out of billions of humans on the surface, you are only the second that I have heard about.

“If it was so hard to find me in the first place then why kidnap me?” you charge. “Maybe the other guys wouldn’ve found me either.”

I suppose I would rather see to your safety personally than leave it up to chance,” he explains. “Furthermore, we had reason to believe Gaster’s men were at the scene, and could have easily taken you had we not reacted with haste.

You fold your arms again and glower at him. “And it couldn’t have waited until after I got to class?”

He chuckles. “It seems that I will be making many more apologies before the day is out.

“So hey, what’s the big deal about a red soul anyways? You said why it’s rare, but why is it so valuable?”

 


 

“he’s bringing out the whiteboard now.”

“damn. is she gunna eat that? i’m starving.”

“i wouldn’t if i were you. it’s probably drugged. the fact she’s not eating right now might mean she’s thinking the same thing.”

“she’s smart not to trust him. geez, are those potato wedges? i could go for some-”

“drink your ketchup, slob.”

“just tell me when to shortcut us in, ‘honey’.”

“his back’s turned- now.”

 


The Doctor was in the middle of drawing out his explanation when you felt yourself being taken somewhere else again.

You immediately fight off Mutt again, angry at him for earlier but also just really confused at the same time. You were sitting with his boss and not running away again, what gives?

As you try and get your bearings again, a pair of smaller hands fasten something hard and metal around your wrist. It clicks into place with a buzzing sound.

You swat at the owner of the hands who’s gone before you get to him. Then you try to pull at the thing on your arm. Why the fuck did they put some metal bracelet on you?

“easy, honey. we’re the good guys,” the tall one tries to placate you.

You wheel around on him, so beyond tired of this guy’s bullshit, when you stop yourself short.

He’s not Mutt. He’s got the same body type, smoke aura, and orange sweater, but the similarities end there. His teeth are straight, his hoodie’s a pullover not a zip-up, and he’s wearing sweatpants and sneakers. He looks ready for bed if anything.

“What the fuck?!

A shorter skeleton appears next to him, and you immediately notice the differences between him and Black. Blue sweatshirt with grey hood unzipped over a stained white t-shirt, basketball shorts, and… Pink slippers? His face is unscarred like his orange counterpart and his teeth are straight as well.

“welcome to, well- gaster’s apartment, i guess? i’d call it our ‘base’ but it’s not nearly cool enough. also i kind of live here, so yeah,” the shorter one chuckles.

“i know it’s been a pretty rough day for you so far, honey, but-”

You ball up your fists and start screaming. “WHO FUCKING GETS KIDNAPPED TWICE IN ONE DAY?!

The short one cackles out a belly laugh, while the tall one in orange narrows his hard brows at you. “try to keep the swearing to a minimum, yeah? my little bro might hear you.”

“also, the answer is you, apparently.”

Shit, are there little kids here? Now you feel a bit sheepish.

But no less angry. “How do I get out of here? Actually, what the heck is this thing on my wrist?” you ask, holding your hand up.

“yeah, uh, sorry for the new jewelry. uh, you need a special key to remove it, and gaster’s got the only one. on the plus side? it should prevent anybody teleportin’ you around without your consent from now on.”

… Is that true? Then, maybe neither Mutt nor that big guy Sans at the other place can pop out of nowhere to grab you again.

“sans had to act fast, i know that other me is quick on his feet,” the tall one points out.

… He’s Sans too?

“... Thanks, I guess,” you sigh.

“we are really sorry ‘bout all of this,” the shorter one says. “and i know you’re hungry. if you’ll just hang out here for a few, gaster can explain everything, and then you can even go home if you want. he’s in the kitchen right now waitin’ to fix you something to eat.”

… He’s going to cook for you too?

“Fine, whatever. Where’s the kitchen?”

“hey, you okay?”

No. What was your first clue?” you snap.

“i mean, i figured the answer would be no,” the short one says, looking down at his feet and shuffling them sheepishly. “that’s a given with the day you’ve had. but your soul just dimmed all of a sudden, and like, by a lot more than what i was expecting?”

“maybe your dad will know why,” the tall one suggests.

“right. um, if you’ll follow me?”

He offers you his hand. You look down at it uncertainly.

“i’m sans, by the way, and that’s stretch,” he introduces, jerking a thumb over his shoulder. “honestly, we don’t mean you any harm. we’re just gunna feed you and send you on your way. promise.”

You’re not sure if you trust him yet, but there’s this earnest sincerity in his words and expression, and a very large part of you that is just done fighting for right now - honestly you’re feeling spent.

But you decide to give him a low five, and he chuckles warmly when your hand claps together with his.

“come on. kitchen’s just through here,” he leads.

Chapter Text

Sans called this place an apartment, but honestly it’s way too big to be just that. Does this Gaster guy have a penthouse or something? No, an entire floor of the building to himself, perhaps? It’s spacious and modern and clean and warm. It just feels nice to be here – not nearly as stuffy as the other place you were just at, which honestly just felt like it was trying too hard.

He brings you down a long hallway to a large open concept kitchen and dining area. There’s a crystal chandelier hanging over a long and wide dark wood table with tall cushioned chairs on every side. The only separation between the large kitchen and dining area is a combination bar and island with three stools lining the bar side, with wide open doorways to pass through on either end. Standing on the other side of the island is another skeleton.

The first thing you notice is that he has the exact same cracks in his face as the Doc – but he’s not as tall, and he’s much broader in the shoulders and chest, and more normally proportioned. The sleeves of his dress shirt are rolled up as he washes his hands in the large sink embedded in the island, a suit jacket and tie left on the seat of one of the barstools. As you’re surveying the room he looks up at you, closing the tap and drying his hands on a towel.

Thank you for coming,” he greets you warmly, stepping out from the kitchen and offering you a hand in greeting. His hands have giant holes in them too! “My name is Doctor Wingding Aster, though you may call me Gaster, if you would prefer.

“I didn’t really have much of a choice,” you sigh. “But, I guess this place is a lot nicer than the last one,” you add. Looking at his hand, you decide against taking it. “Am I going crazy or do you have the same name as the other guy?”

So you have already met him. That is unfortunate,” he notes grimly. “Yes, as a matter of fact, we are the same person, but from two distinctly different timelines, I am afraid.

The same guy from two different timelines in one place? “I have so many questions,” you admit.

I intend to satisfy all of them, but first – what would you like to eat? I can cook a wide variety of recipes in this kitchen, and thought it best that I prepare the food where you can see it so you can rest assured it has not been tampered with.

That’s smart. Anything you want?

“… I could really go for a steak. And chicken. Can I have both? I’m actually starving by now,” you admit, hoping the request isn’t too selfish.

Of course you can,” he smiles genially, returning to the kitchen to fetch the ingredients. “How do you like your steak prepared?

“Medium rare, please.” You take the stool across from him to watch him work.

Any vegetables or a side dish that you would prefer?

“Grilled potatoes are good,” you guess. “Maybe something sweet? Like corn.”

If you’re getting a free meal, might as well just go for it.

Anything for dessert?

“I don’t know if I’ll have any room left after all that,” you chuckle, resting your arms on the counter and your chin on them.

I will prepare something light. In the meantime, may I ask whom I might be cooking for today? he grins charmingly.

Oh, he wants your name. The other guy never got around to asking you that, although honestly, you’re not really sure you’d want him to know.

… This guy seems alright, though. After all, he’s cooking what you like in front of you so you know where your food’s coming from and that it hasn’t been messed with. He’s making an effort to earn your trust.

“I’m _____,” you introduce. “_____ _____.”

He wipes his hands on a rag before offering you one for a handshake again. “It is a pleasure to meet you, _____.

 


 

He works dizzyingly fast.

You yelped when he was cutting potatoes before, because he was slicing them so fast, but you realized belatedly that it’s probably a lot harder to cut himself when his fingers are just bones and no skin. He chuckled and thanked you for your concern. He did slow down a bit after that, and then he was a bit slower on other steps as well, aware of you watching him perhaps and just not wanting to go too fast. This is clearly old hat for him, though – he’s an experienced cook, maybe even a chef himself? When you asked he seemed flattered, and just said that it’s a minor passion of his that he’s had a lot of practice with.

He made several portions of everything, preparing two identical plates from all of the same pans and things, and brought them over to the table so you could sit across from one another. There was a lot of food still left in the kitchen behind you, but after sitting for a couple of minutes and enjoying your food, you saw the other skeletons from earlier come and help themselves. Stretch took two plates, muttering that his bro would love it.

He digs in before you do, and you know that that’s because he wants to prove to you that he’s not concerned about any poison or anything – his food came from the exact same place yours did. Although, would drugs that affect humans affect monsters in the same way? Still, you didn’t see anything funny going on, so you decide to take the dive and take a bite.

This is the most delicious steak you’ve ever had in your life.

It melts in your mouth and it’s just absolutely perfect in every conceivable way. Your mouth is actively drooling before you can carve off another piece. You try some chicken next and that is perfect too – moist and seasoned perfectly. It’s incredible.

You’ve already finished half of your steak before you realize Gaster is staring at you with a faint smile on his face.

“… Shut up,” you mumble between bites.

He starts, his expression stricken as if worried he’s offended you. “Ah, I am sorry, I meant no offense. I am just glad that you are enjoying the food,” he apologizes.

Maybe he just enjoys cooking for people? “I’ve just had a very long day,” you dismiss.

I am sure, although you were humming a moment ago.

You stop. “I was humming?

As you ate. Please do not be embarrassed, it was rather endearing,” he chuckles.

Well, you’re still embarrassed either way. “Tell me about this bracelet thingy?” you distract, tapping it on your wrist with your fork.

Ah, of course,” he clears his throat, then takes a sip of his water. “The device is a bit of a work in progress, so it is not complete as of yet and there is still much room for improvement, however what you have there is our latest working prototype. The thick band is made of a tempered silicon carbide, a very strong material we use to prevent any direct damage to it or the machinery inside. It should also be able to withstand an exceptionally strong monster’s attempts to tear it off with their hand – I have done many tests on it with my son, and I have not been able to puncture or break the band myself, so it stands to reason that the Doctor should not be able to affect it either.

Taking a closer look at it, the outside shape of the ring is like a hex nut, and the inside a perfect circle with stress lines in the metal. It’s also like an inch thick at its thinnest and kind of heavy to have hanging off your arm.

… Gaster made it so he couldn’t rip it off with his bare hands. So anything less hard and dense might be something that he could break bare-handed? Just how strong are these monsters?!

“What does it do exactly?”

It cancels any magic used on you that does not have your express consent,” he explains.

“And how does it know whether I consent or not?” you press. “Is it like a voice thing?”

He smiles. “There is a mechanism inside that can read your emotional state from your vital statistics. If you are not consenting, then there will be a spike in your stress hormones and heart rate that will cause the device to deny the use of any magic used on your person. If your emotions are neutral it will deny magic use as well, to prevent you from being caught off your guard. It will measure trust in the same fashion, and allow magic to pass through, should you desire to be teleported after all.

Huh. It’s not overly tight, but maybe it doesn’t have to be.

That counts for myself and my sons as well, just so you are aware, as well as Stretch and his brother,” he adds. “It would be far less practical to attempt to attune it to the magical signatures of every single party on either side of this conflict, so this is a stopgap solution that will negate the effect of any monster’s magic universally.

“Sans said you had a key, so there’s a way to take it off?”

He frowns. “Would you like for me to remove it now?

“Uh, no,” you admit. “I was just curious. This thing is kind of bulky, though. I don’t think my t-shirt will come off very easily when I need to change for bed later.” But as annoying as it seems to be, you appreciate the sense of security it gives you.

If you would like me to remove it for you, just inform me ahead of time. I would prefer that you be under guard while it is not on you, as they can sense where you are when you are not wearing the device and teleport to your location at will.

Your mouth drops open in horror. “Geez, they can just appear out of nowhere and grab me no matter where I’m at? No wonder your Sans wanted to put this thing on me right away!”

Yes, that is a very real concern. Hopefully this will keep you safe so that you can return to your home this evening without any more of their interference.

“Well, I guess I appreciate having the personal magic shield,” you smile. “Although, I have to ask… The other guy made it sound like he was trying to keep me away from you. And the reason’s because of my soul or something?”

His expression becomes grim when you say that. “How much did he tell you?

“That monsters only ever get thirteen out of fourteen soul colours, that they don’t get red, and that only humans do but it’s a lot rarer than it should be. And that humans with red souls were ‘valuable’ somehow, but he didn’t really get to the reason why.”

He clasps his hands and rests his chin against them for a moment, deep in thought. Then he sighs and straightens in his seat. “Very well then, I suppose it falls to me to fill in the gaps.

Gaster excuses himself for a moment, returning with some blank paper and some pencils to draw diagrams with, showing you the spectrum of soul colours and explaining primary and secondary aspects. You guess Wrath pretty much embodies how you spent the first half of your day, and Determination is a pretty good descriptor for your bull-headed personality. He helps you understand more about what the other Doc started explaining before getting to the new stuff.

The reason why a human with a red soul can be valuable to us monsters is twofold,” he begins. “The first is because a soul of Determination possesses more of a resource by the same name – More so than any monster, and even other humans. Determination is useful to us, particularly recently, as both myself and the Doctor are working on a project that requires a great deal of that specific type of energy.

You wince as he explains it. “No wonder he said I was valuable,” you mutter, kind of grossed out. They want to harvest something off of your soul? “But they can get Determination elsewhere, can’t they?

They can, but not as much. It is a painstakingly slow process, and requires the human stepping into a specialized machine to extract it. Convincing a human to do so of their own volition is rather difficult, as the appearance of the machine as well as the, physical and emotional cost to the human that comes with having their Determination extracted, can be very unsettling. Monsters cannot step into the machine, as we naturally have so little Determination that it would be undoubtedly fatal in every case.

“So that’s his deal then – He wanted to take my stuff without my consent, or at least try and manipulate me into doing it willingly.” If that food just now wasn’t so delicious you could almost barf, you’re so disgusted right now. Has he kidnapped anyone else and stolen their Determination before you? What kind of sick bastard… “Oh! What’s the other part of the reason?”

… I must admit some hesitation on my part in telling you this,” Gaster begins with a pause, fidgeting with his phalanges on the table in front of him. “As it can be… A bit jarring to hear.

“I don’t think there’s much that’s worse than stealing soul energy or whatever,” you reason.

And I do not intend to lie to you or obfuscate information from you, either.” He takes a breath and straightens his posture, fingers still clasped together but more relaxed like he’s in a meeting. “The reason why Determination as an aspect is so significant, and why monsters cannot have Determined souls themselves, is because humans born with red souls are mages. Determination is human magic.

“… What the fuck.”

He gives you a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor before continuing. “That is correct – you have magic, _____. Some ability of your own that you can use, and is undoubtedly stronger than any monster’s, including my own. You are more powerful than you know, and with that you can either be a boon to have on his side, or a serious threat to him and his work.

You slump bonelessly in your seat as you process things. “I don’t know how I feel about that. I don’t know how I feel about anything right now.”     

Perhaps now is when we should part ways for the evening,” he gently suggests.

You need Determination too, don’t you,” you point out. He frowns. “You said you both needed it for some project.”

… I do, but I would never take it without proper informed consent,” he admits. “It is more important to me that you understand why you were involved in this conflict to begin with. And… Perhaps if you have more understanding of the situation, then I might feel more comfortable asking for your participation in it.

He slides out of his chair and stands. “But that is a conversation for another time, if you are interested in hearing more. For now, it is getting quite late, and I have promised to see you home safely.

Chapter Text

You’re walking to school the next day, having slept poorly all of last night. You’re dreading the conversation with your professor when you show up without your textbooks and notes, and after an unexplained absence no less, when a pair of large, hard arms wrap themselves around your midsection, and a deep, breathy voice rumbles by your ear.

gotcha, sweetheart.

And then they disappear. You check the watch you borrowed from your Aunt, counting down the seconds.

what the fuck?

You hold up your arm with the heavy metal bracelet for him to see. He grabs your wrist and pulls it closer, inspecting it.

one o’ these fucking things again. fucking figures,” the much larger, sharper-toothed Sans grumbles openly, letting go of your arm. “guessin’ you met gaster then, huh?

“You’re guessing right.”

shit,” he spits. He glances up and down the street, internally debating whether he can just carry you off, but it’s a crowded downtown area in the middle of broad daylight. “well, i didn’t have a plan b, so i guess i’ll just… hang out?” he says, falling in line to walk beside you.

Ugh,” you groan. “And if I don’t want you to?”

too bad,” he chuckles. “’m not goin’ anywhere you’re not today.

“Well, I’m going to school, so can I have my bag back now?” you ask irritably. Maybe if he gives it back that’s one less thing to have to talk to your teacher before class about. You really don’t have the funds to pay for new textbooks, anyways.

depends. you gunna take any more swings at monsters with it?

“Maybe, if they piss me off again,” you huff.             

then no,” he chuckles.

You roll your eyes. “Not if it means it gets taken away from me, then. I need my bag.”

It appears out of thin air right in front of you as you’re walking, and you yelp and stumble to catch the thing. You’d already forgotten how heavy it is. He cackles at your struggle, enjoying how much difficulty you’re having.         

But you’re also a bit surprised. That worked? He just gave it back, just like that? Mental note for next time: Don’t weaponize things you need.

You shrug it onto your shoulder and hold out your hand. “And my phone?”

not yet, sweetheart,” he denies. “you could create a lot of trouble for us if you called the cops or somethin’, or figured out where the estate is.

Rolling your eyes, you decide to just keep walking then. You get a few steps ahead before he falls in line next to you again.

Piss off,” you hiss.

nah.

“What do you assholes even want from me anyways?!”

He rolls his massive shoulders in a shrug, cackling a laugh. Apart from size, sharp teeth, frustrating personality, and red glowing eye lights, he is pretty similar to the short Blue Sans you met last night. He’s got the same round skull, the same frame though thicker set

hell if i know. the doc wants to see ya again though. and, if possible, keep ya indoors and away from those soft pieces of cartilage workin’ for gaster.

You squint at him as you push open the doors to the mall. “You seriously don’t even know?” you ask, perplexed.

’e’s the boss. i don’t make the rules,” he grins, unperturbed.

“Well, I’m not interested in whatever he wants,” you snap back. “I couldn’t give any less of a shit who he is or what he wants with me.”

Well, if Gaster is to be believed, you know the answers to both of those questions already – He’s a Gaster from a different timeline, and he wants your Determination for some project. Gaster wants the same thing, he admitted, but is far more interested in gaining your consent first. The Doc showed you no such courtesy.

an’ i don’t give a shit that you don’t give a shit, sweetheart,” he grins, face tense. “all i know is i’ve got a job to do if we’re ever gunna get out of this weaksauce timeline. like it or not, that job includes you.

… That’s right. This bigger, saltier Sans and the other skeletons are displaced from whatever timelines they were from originally. It almost makes you pity them.

Almost. Not quite, though. They DID kidnap you.

“Go jump in front of a bus or something,” you curse him out.

You make it through the mall and to the bus station on the other side, which is timely. Although, without your phone, you’re now stuck relying on a paper schedule and a borrowed wristwatch that may or may not even have the correct time set. Usually there’s a screen that shows arrival times, but it’s broken today. Again.

the fuck’s your problem?

“I don’t know when my bus is coming without the app on my phone,” you complain. “So I’ve got to do this the old fashioned way.”

Actually, you know that the bus you’re taking comes about once every three minutes, and today you’ve left yourself plenty of time. You’re just hoping to fake him out so you can lose him in the crowd somehow. There are a couple of local buses unloading passengers and making the crowd on the platform swell.

He’s wide and tall, and you’re about average for either dimension, but you can weave through a thick group of people if you have to.

Two express buses pull up at the same time and you duck down and bolt from him towards the back door, slipping just past his giant hands grasping for you.

wh- hey!

The bus is packed like sardines, but enough people are getting off that you can slip in to an available aisle space. Ducking down behind a couple occupied seats, you watch through a sliver of window for the big guy as he searches for you fruitlessly in the crowd. He looks up at the bus you’re on, then the one in front of it.

Honestly, you’re surprised that even worked. There were so many things that could have gone wrong there, but you rolled the dice in spite of everything and somehow won. He could have grabbed you, you could have crashed into somebody and caused a scene, hell, someone could have pulled a face at your antics and given you away.

“ARE YOU OKAY?”

You start as a new voice greets you from behind. And… Yeah, you must look pretty weird ducking and covering behind seats like this. As the bus starts moving and your pursuer moves out of sight, you let out a breath and stand up.

“I’m fine,” you breathe. “I was just trying to get rid of that-“

Skeleton. He’s a skeleton.

And he’d look just like Black if he had the two long scars over his left eye socket and a different colour scheme to his outfit. Bright blue eye lights shine up at you as you try to stop yourself from screaming. As if you needed any more skeletons invading your life. There’s an open seat right next to him.

“… Which side are you on,” you ask flatly.

He looks confused. He looks down at the seat. “I’M ON THE LEFT SIDE? OR, WELL, IT’S THE RIGHT SIDE FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, I GUESS! WHY DO YOU ASK?” he rambles innocently.

His teeth are flat, much like Blue Sans’, Stretch’s, and Gaster’s, so maybe he’s on their side. You’ve noticed how the Doc and his guys all seem to have sharp teeth by now, and thank your weird obsession with details for picking that out. Looking him over, you actually see one of the anti-magic bands on his left wrist. That confirms it for you – he must be one of the good guys.

… Well, better guys. Gaster may have more going for him right now, but you’re not at all sold at being at the center of this conflict.

“Not what I meant by that, but- Look,” you say, holding up your right arm with the heavy metal thing on it.

“… OH!

“Mind if I sit?” you ask, nodding to the open seat next to him.

He nods and shuffles over into the window more. You’re not sure why, there was plenty of room.

“I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS!” he says, his attitude shifting immediately to bubbly and friendly. This is definitely a change of pace from the big guy just minutes ago. “WHY DO YOU HAVE ONE OF THE BRACELETS TOO? HOW COME YOU ASKED ME WHAT SIDE I’M ON? DID YOU MEET GASTER?”

“I met Gaster,” you admit, tapping at the dense metal arm band. “He put this on me, after all. Hey… How come you don’t know what I mean by what side you’re on?”

“I’M NOT REALLY INVOLVED IN THAT STUFF. MY BROTHER PAPY IS THOUGH! HE’S WORKING WITH GASTER TO GET US BACK HOME! … OH! WERE YOU THE SPECIAL GUEST HE WAS TALKING ABOUT LAST NIGHT? GASTER DOESN’T USUALLY MAKE DINNER HIMSELF BECAUSE HE’S SO BUSY, BUT IT WAS SOO TASTY!” the bubbly blue skeleton rambles on. “ALTHOUGH, IF SOMEONE HAD JUST TOLD ME WE HAD A VISITOR, I WOULD HAVE LOVED TO MAKE MY EXTRA-SPECIAL FRIENDSHIP TACOS FOR DINNER INSTEAD, AND THEN GASTER COULD KEEP WORKING WITHOUT HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT IT! I DON’T LIKE TO BOTHER HIM TOO MUCH, AND THE SOONER PAPY AND I CAN MAKE IT HOME TO OUR FRIENDS-“

“Whoa, slow down,” you interrupt, holding your head as a headache begins to stir. “Sorry, it’s just… It’s been a long twelve hours or so.”

“OH, OKAY. UH, SORRY,” he sheepishly settles down.

“You’re okay, uh…”

“BLUEBERRY,” he offers a hand, a gentle smile returning as his eye lights shine at you. “YOU MAY CALL ME BLUEBERRY!”

“… Blueberry,” you take his hand in yours. “My name’s _____. Nice to meet you.”

He’s not so bad, just overly friendly for the kind of day you’ve been having.