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Saccharine Hope

Chapter Text

You opened your eyes…

Light streamed down from above you, blinding your eyes, and causing you to squint. The warm beam casted a serene glow around your figure.

Where were you?

You took stock of your surroundings as well as you could with your blurry vision; the light that you were in seemed to be spilling from the entrance of a hole, a hole that you were currently at the bottom of. The entrance was… dauntingly high up and you wondered how you had even survived falling from that height. You lied in a patch of golden flowers, petals appearing to glitter in the sunlight as buttercups’ did, yet these flowers were much different from the familiar plant. Craning your neck further to inspect the flowers proved to do more harm than good, rudely bringing attention to the pounding headache that you had not paid any mind to in favour of figuring out where you lie.

Resting your head back down, you closed your eyes in order to take a moment to breathe. Your head hurt like a bitch – the pain, you assumed, originated from the lengthy fall, yet why were you alive? Why was nothing broken nor bruised? Surely flowers weren’t enough to break your fall… but that was the only explanation you had at that moment. It really didn’t help that you couldn’t remember jack shit; how you fell, what happened before you fell, anything that happened before you fell, and even who you were.

It was troubling to say the least.

A sigh left your mouth as you pulled yourself into a sitting position, hand bumping on something solid, contrasting the soft petals of the flowers below you (to which you realised you were consequently were crushing with your butt, you apologised internally to the poor things). You squinted as you picked up the small object, realising they were glasses upon bringing them up embarrassingly close to your face for inspection. Of course, they were your glasses – that’s why you couldn’t see!

Feeling like a dumb child and glad that no one was around to witness your stupidity, you put the glasses on your face and blinked in your newfound clarity. Finally! Some good fucking eyesight. Clearly a rarity in your personal experience (you giggled because the joke was that your memory extended to like 5 minutes ago, 4 of those minutes having been blind… maybe you were not as funny as you’d like to think you were).

“Okay, now where am I?” your voice echoed gently across the rocky walls surrounding you and you found that you quite liked the sound so you continued talking to yourself; something you felt was out of the norm for you. You stood up, ready to explore, though the space you stood in seemed a bit small so you figured your adventure would be cut short soon enough.

“Hmmm… am I trapped here? No food, water, or company?” a short sigh, “Great! Sign me the fuck up, I’m ready, bring on the pain.”

Then you reached a… door? It didn’t have an actual door to interact with, so perhaps you’d call it an archway instead.  

You furrowed your brows at the implication that people possibly lived here, maybe it was a tribe ignorant to the existence of life aboveground, or maybe it was just a crazy cult that shut themselves off from society. Well, whoever lived here, you hoped they were nice. You took a few second to admire the elegance that was the door – pillars, weird symbol at the top, and all – before entering the next room that seemed to actually be a dark hallway with a patch of grass in the middle of it. You kept your gaze on the random area of greenery as you passed it before moving on.

Purple, this whole room was blindingly purple.

Not that you disliked purple, you actually rather admired it as a beautiful colour, but it was really was overkill how much purple the architects of this room stuffed in here.

Weirdly enough, there was a square of red leaves in the centre of the room that you chose to ignore in favour of the pair of stairs that led to a door below a sign. At this point you realised that they hadn’t built any of this with people your size in mind if the stairs so large your legs hurt climbing them and the too-high-to-read sign was any indication.

… How big were the people who lived here?

Putting that thought aside figuring you’d find out soon enough, you entered the doorway to find an equally as purple room with five large buttons on the floor, a switch on the wall, and a sign. You weren’t really sure what it was all for, but upon reading that sign (Only the fearless may proceed. Brave ones, foolish ones. Both not walk the middle road.) you realised that the middle two buttons were already pushed. Was this a puzzle? You supposed someone had already solved it as the door was opened.

Traversing to the next room feeling oddly as if you were in some weird game and not knowing how to process that sensation, you see a sign on the wall across from the entrance. Thinking that it was a clue to the next puzzle as the last one would dictate, you step off the path to read it.

“Stay on the path.” You read aloud, “What the fuck, that’s rude, I came all the way here to read you.” You did find it kinda funny though, in an ironic way.

You crossed a confusingly placed river to see a switch on the wall with writing and arrows beside it. ‘Please press this switch.’ it read, though it seemed to already be activated so you crossed another confusingly placed river to read to message beside another pre-pressed switch, ‘Please press this switch too.’ Again, it had already been pressed. You’d like to meet whoever wrote these messages, they seemed really polite and helpful. The third, and last, switch had nothing written beside it but you pressed it anyway – it didn’t say to not press it so you didn’t see why not! Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) nothing happened so you walked over some panels with holes in them into the next room.

It seemed like perhaps all the puzzles you’d see would already be solved for you, neat. Though, you had to wonder why there were puzzles down here in the first place.

You encountered a dummy in an empty room, upon closer inspection in seemed worn out and maybe a bit lonely. You patted its head in understanding and camaraderie before moving on.

An empty room? You walked through the space before spotting a sign, encouraged by this, you quickened your steps. In your hastiness, you didn’t notice the giant fucking frog hopping in your way until it was too late.

The world… became colourless.

The best way you could describe the sensation you were feeling was as if you were standing on the tip of a cliff, your veins flowing with adrenaline yet you felt disassociated from how small you were in the face of how big the world was. In this case, the world was frozen and all that mattered was this small encounter in front of you.

Well, small was not a very apt description for the gigantic frog before you. What the fuck was this? And what was that heart thing floating in front of you? The frog didn’t seem to be attacking you. It looked to be waiting for something, maybe for you to do something?

Despite the fast pace of your heart and your shaky hands, you spoke,

“H-Hey, um, I don’t want to hurt you. I trust you won’t hurt me?”

It croaked curiously, before it acted.

Flies were summoned, approaching the small heart. One of them grazed its target and it hurt like hell.

You screamed in agony as the flies disappeared. A sharp and pervasive pain spread throughout you. Now on your butt after falling in your panic, you panted and sent the frog a terrified look, backing away with your hand shielding your heart-thingy as it was clearly some sort of extension of yourself.

“Please, d-don’t. I don’t mean any harm! I just want to pass through.” You pleaded, the frog croaked again before its stare zeroed in on the heart. You pulled it in closer in response.

Suddenly the world regained its colour, it was like a child’s bedroom light being turned on by their scolding parent catching them in the act of playing video games in the dark; shocking and unexpected, yet you were so relieved to see the heart float back into your chest where you knew it probably belonged.

The frog croaked again, but this time you could understand it, somehow.

“I’m sorry, human. If I knew your Hope was so low… well I still would have Confronted you, but I regret doing so seeing as you have a kind Soul.” What?

“What?” The concerned-looking frog approached you, its long hops making your shuffles backwards insignificant.

“Here,” it (they?) dropped something at your feet, “again, I am sorry for the trouble I have caused. Take care of yourself, human; you will most definitely encounter others who are as wary as I was.” And with that, the scary gigantic frog left.

Well.

You looked down at what he gave you, finding a few golden coins, the same insignia you had spotted a few times on your way here pressed into them. Picking them up, you glanced at where it (they???) had gone and stood up when you found the room empty once again. You dusted yourself off, wondering what had just happened. You had felt a pop as that heart had been dragged from your chest and the world drain of its colour. That frog had attacked you and then apologised? It said something about low hope?

With a pain somewhere deep inside you from that frog’s attack that made you feel sluggish and reluctant to move forwards, you walked forward to the sign you were heading towards earlier, considerably less excited to read it.

‘The western room is the eastern room’s blue print.’

You scratched your head before looking towards the goddamn sea of spikes further ahead. So much for having all the puzzles solves already. You sighed, not in the mood to think after that encounter, or Confrontation as that frog had seemingly called it.

Thankfully, the spikes were surrounded by water so you rolled up the bottoms of your pants, took off your socks and shoes, and stepped in. Perfect! The water stopped right under your knees. Wading through the water took no time, and was considerably less stressful than figuring out that spike puzzle. You stepped out of the water and dried your feet on the wooden platform at the end of the spikes. Your socks would be a little wet but it was a small sacrifice to pay.

The following room seemed to have a diverging path to the left, you curiously stuck your head in the doorway of that path and found a room with a bowl of candy. Though this seemed suspicious and dangerous, you really needed something that made you feel good in this confusion. You took one piece of candy as the sign accompanying the bowl dictated and popped it in your mouth after hastily unwrapping the treat with your shaky hands, the sweet sphere dissolving in your mouth unnaturally. Amazingly, you started to feel monumentally better, the candy soothing something inside you. It had a distinct, unrecognisable flavour, perhaps a fruit you’d never had before?

Deciding to take a break, you sit down and lean against a wall in the small room, closing your eyes while wondering what crazy thing was going to happen next.

Chapter Text

You had left the candy room, as you had dubbed it in your mind, after a short while of resting, the candy had succeeded in healing whatever damage you had gotten from the frog but your headache was still very much present. Your time after the candy room was filled with avoiding other monsters as best you could and passing through odd mostly-solved puzzles, many of which involved you falling down holes (ironic because you’d fallen down a big one to get where you were in the first place). This was especially unfortunate since you had quite a few resulting nicks and bruises, though, nothing could compare to the deep pain that that frog had caused by hitting the cartoonish heart that came out of your chest. You distantly rubbed your chest where the heart had disappeared to while deep in thought.

At first you had thought that you were in a civilisation of frogs after seeing a few more (that you had swiftly avoided, afraid that they would Confront you as the first frog had described your experience as), but that theory was busted after seeing different variations of whatever beings that lived down here. You briefly had accidental run in with one of these different creatures, one that looked like a large bug with wings. A large bug might have scared you to high hell in another occasion, but this one actually looked kind of cute with its slightly ghost-looking body. The ghost-bug quickly pulled you into a Confrontation, but it apparently was even more frightened than you were causing it to flee as soon as you opened your mouth.

You weren’t complaining – you had honestly been on the cusp of a panic-attack after you were pulled into that space of black and white again, the feeling suffocating, constricting your throat against its will.

After that, you didn’t run into any more trouble with anyone else, though you were worried when you walked into a room with a couple of those frogs along the path you had to take but they were friendly enough. You would have asked them questions about where you were if you weren’t too afraid after your last encounter, you felt bad for judging them based on someone else’s actions, though. They (the first frog you ran into) did say that others would do the same as they did and to be careful, so you didn’t feel as bad as you could’ve.

You eventually came across another split where you could walk straight ahead or to the left through a doorway, you decided to walk straight ahead for now. There was an area that overlooked some sort of city and you wondered if you could visit there if you took the path that went left from earlier; not that it’d be a great idea as it would probably be densely populated. It was a beautiful city with tall buildings made of stone yet it looked so… sad. You got the feeling that, as much as it seemed to be teeming with activity and warmth, there wasn’t much time until it couldn’t expand much farther and its citizens would grow restless – or even more restless than they may be. You didn’t know a fraction of what was happening down here but most of the beings that you had come across didn’t seem exactly happy and you could guess it had something to do with the state of things here.

Walking a bit closer to the ledge you caught sight of something on the ground. It was a knife. Upon closer inspection, you realised that what lay on the ground was a toy knife. A little relieved at the revelation, you took one more glance at the city before heading back to take the other path where you were certain you’d make more progress.

You walked over a pile of yet more red leaves and found the possible source of all the leaves; a shedding tree, not a single leaf left on its dark branches. You walked up to the tree and patted its bark sadly. Whether the tree was dying or simply going through its yearly cycle of shedding its leaves and growing them back, you wished it luck.

Further ahead was a house, just as purple as the rest of this place, with yet another sign above its door that was too high up for you to read. Weighing the pros and cons, you decided to attempt to ask for help from whoever lived in the house since you didn’t see any other paths to continue on. There didn’t seem to be a visible door to open so you just awkwardly knocked on the side of the opening, hoping someone would come. When no one did… well you knocked again, unwilling to enter someone’s house without their consent.

“O-Oh! I am coming!” A feminine voice called out from inside of the house, sounding a little unnaturally rough as if the person had been crying.

“I apologise, I was not expecting…” She trailed off as she caught sight of you.

The woman (you assumed she was a woman from her voice, but you hoped you weren’t being an ass by assuming) that stood before you was a large (note: LARGE) bipedal cow, or maybe goat with how white her fur was. She was elegance in her posture as well as her expression, even when it was painted in surprise. You now understood why the doorways were as large as they were; the other beings you had come across couldn’t hold a candle to this woman’s height.

You spoke, “H-Hi, um, I’m kind of lost. I didn’t see another path other than the one that lead here… I was wondering if you could help me?” Your voice broke in the middle of your talking making you wince but you tried to posture yourself as confident, or as confident as you could be in front of a pretty but intimidating goat woman who could pull you into a Confrontation and break you badly.

The woman squinted at you, seeming to stare into your being. You sweat nervously before she sighed and brought a large furry paw to your shoulder to prompt you to enter the house with her.

“I was not expecting the arrival of two humans in one day, you will have to forgive my rudeness. Come inside, you seem to have some injuries that need attending to and you will find that monster food will do quite the trick.” She led you into a living room, pulling out a chair for you to sit in before walking into another room. Before she was out of sight, she turned her head your way and sent you a resigned smile,

“I imagine you have many questions, child, please be patient while I fetch some pie – you have chosen a good time to arrive as it is still freshly made.” And with that she left. 

Hesitantly, you sat in the offered chair and looked around. There was a fireplace with a really fluffy-looking couch next to it - you’d sit in it if you didn’t think it was rude – and on the other side of the fireplace was a bookshelf. You wondered what kind of books people read down here.

The goat woman, you realised you didn’t get her name but maybe people down here didn’t have names, seemed nice enough. You couldn’t help but feel at ease in her presence, well, as at ease as you could be around a stranger in an entirely unfamiliar setting. Something about her screamed regal and benevolent. She was an appropriate amount of generous without being too creepy and you were thankful to have come across her because you sure as hell were feeling overwhelmed and more than a little lonely after travelling here from the site of your fall.

“Forgive the wait, child.” The subject of your thoughts walked in at the right time, a plate with a slice of pie in a paw and a cup of something in the other.

You straightened your back awkwardly, clearing your throat as she set the items she held in front of you and sat in a chair across from.

“Thank- uh, th-thank you um…”

“Oh! I apologise I have not introduced myself. I am Toriel, child.” Toriel smoothed out her robe before bringing a paw up to her cheek, her gaze avoidant.

“I am just full of apologies at the moment it seems, I would apologise for that if it would not be terribly ironic!” she nervously giggled before sighing, “Excuse this old lady’s rambling, I am more than a little flustered by the events of the day. You see, you are not the first human to have passed through here today – it is a rarity for even a single human to fall, much less two.”

Halfway through her explanation you had started to eat, the pie (butterscotch and cinnamon? A combination you’d never heard of but enjoyed nonetheless) quickly healing the rest of the damage dealt to whatever was inside your chest - it was a dull ache that was soothed along with an uncomfortable and unfamiliar fatigue - though you found that your physical injuries remained the same. Sipping the beverage Toriel gave you (tea), you scrunched your nose at the slightly salty taste of it but continued drinking it anyway since you found it relaxed you in a strange way.

“Hey, Toriel,” you winced at how small you sounded, “you said that the food would heal me, and I do feel better, but I still have injuries. Does it heal something else?” you had an inkling of what was being healed, but you wanted to segue into asking about that heart you had seen when that frog confronted you.

Toriel stood up abruptly, “I did not know that you had more injuries besides that ones dealt to your Soul! Do not worry, I can help with those, child.”  She stepped around the table to hold a paw above your chest, her palm seemingly glowing a kind green and a warm, tingling sensation enveloped your being. Your eyes widened at the fantastical sight as your aches and pains melted away.

“There! You should be fine now, please do tell me if you still are feeling any more discomfort.” She moved to sit back down.

“Thank you! Wow that was...” you paused, “You mentioned my Soul… is that the heart thing that came out of my chest?”

“Yes, I forget that humans know little of Souls and magic now that they have forgotten of us monsters…” there was so much to unpack in the one sentence of hers, “Indeed, that is your Soul, the very culmination of your being. I presume that a Confrontation with a monster in the Ruins brought light to the existence of your Soul, child?”

So, Souls and magic were a thing, it definitely felt like you were in a game at this point; especially because Toriel had called the creatures you had seen monsters. You found the connotations attached to that word unfortunate and an inaccurate way to describe the beings you had encountered so far.

“Yeah, I ran into this big frog and they pulled my Soul out of my chest. They attacked me… and then apologised saying I didn’t have a lot of hope? If that makes sense.”

Toriel brought a paw to her mouth, “Oh dear, for a monster to cease attacking you for that reason… would you mind if I brought you into a Confrontation, child?”

At those words, you brought your hands protectively to your chest,

The goat woman waved her paws nervously, “No, no! I do not mean to attack you. You see, Confrontations can serve many purposes, one of which is to CHECK the well-being of others. As you may know, the Soul is most often concealed within one’s self unless under certain circumstances. One of which is a Confrontation. Confrontations allow one’s Soul to be revealed and examined, to get a sense of their intentions and the state of their being; be that their health or their sanity.” You relaxed at her hurried words.

So, Confrontations weren’t necessarily bad? You trusted this woman, strangely, and so you dropped your hands consequently causing Toriel’s shoulders to drop in relief.

“I know you have had bad experiences with Confrontations, but I assure you that my intent is not to harm you. I only want to see what had that Froggit worried enough to cease attack.”

“…Okay. I trust you.” You hadn’t realised that, during your entire interaction with her, there was a tenseness in Toriel’s expression until it melted away at your words. She smiled, curve of her lips melancholy, before you felt a pull and then a pop from deep inside you. The world became colourless again.

Your Soul floated a little ways in front of you, bobbing uncertainly in empty space.

“Hmm… You have a strong trait indeed, child. I see that there is little that can sway your mind from putting your Soul in what you believe in. I will have to keep that in mind.” Trait? What was she talking about? “Now, I will CHECK you.” She focused on the heart, appearing to look through it before gasping.

Your Soul returned and colour bled back into the world.

“W-What? What did you see?” There was a short silence.

Toriel’s gaze was sad, “First, child, I will explain to you what Hope is. Hope is, well, its as it sounds – how much hope one has. Though, it plays a large role in durability of self. When one’s Soul is attacked directly, their Hope is drained. This is much different from damage gained from physical attacks, though acquiring physical attacks will aid in the rate of which your Hope is lowered. Your highest achievable level of Hope at a given moment depends on how much hope one has for themselves, it is their will to persevere and continue on. A lower will to continue on… means a lower Hope count, consequently meaning the bearer of that Hope… will last a shorter time in a more violent Confrontation of Souls.” You think you knew where this was going.

“So, my Hope is… low?”

“Yes, it is abnormally low.” Were those tears that lined her eyes or were just imagining things? “for reference, the average Hope for humans lies around fifteen to twenty, twenty being on the higher end of scale. Some exceed twenty, but this is due to... certain circumstances that I hesitate to talk about.”

That didn’t sound ominous at all.

“What is my Hope level then?”

A beat of hesitance, “It is… one. Your Hope is one, child.”

Your heart stopped beating. One? How was your Hope at one?? You didn’t feel that unhopeful. Did you?

“I-I don’t understand.”

“It is surprising that you are not in a more critical condition, though I do understand that the monsters in the Ruins act more out of self-defence than violence. Intent is everything to monsters.” Toriel stood walked over, her large paw engulfing the expanse of your shoulder blade, “Are you alright, child?”

You leaned into her touch, realising just how small you were compared to this new world you were in, especially while sat down.

“I… I’m okay. I just don’t… Why is my Hope so low?”

“I do not know, is it not to do with your life Aboveground?”

You raised a hand to press on your chest, “I don’t remember anything before I woke up down here.”

“That is troubling, to say the least. Unfortunately, basic healing magic can only do so much for a broken memory.”

You looked up at the woman, “But you healed my injuries, what’s different?”

“Cuts and scrapes are simple enough to mend, but when it comes to things like diseases and brain damage; I cannot do much. Magic is much more complicated than willing something to happen, you need understanding and practice and I do not know too much about the inner-workings of humans. I apologise.”

“No, don’t apologise, I’m sorry for expecting so much of you. You’ve already done so much for me.” You sent a smile her way and she sighed.

“I am very glad that you are such a kind human, child.”

Chapter Text

You were flattered beyond belief, embarrassed, and happy that Toriel seemed to enjoy your company as much as you did hers. Silence descended, the lull in the conversation bringing to mind the multitude of other questions you had.

“Why are you guys down here? I may not remember much from my life before here but I don’t think I’ve ever come across monsters.”

Once again (you felt bad that Toriel had to walk back and forth from her seat so many times), Toriel sat down.

“Yes, it is a long story, one that I would love to recite to you next to the fire but I am afraid I only have one seat. Here will do fine, I suppose.” She settled into her seat, making herself cozy for the story to come you guessed, “I will give you a shorter version as I have a feeling that you may want to move on to the rest of the Underground soon.” A meaningful look was sent your way.

“Long ago, monsters and humans lived together in tandem . to form a single society, ruling the Earth hand-in-hand. Though, my words may paint their existences together as more peaceful than it truly was. Tensions were high and inevitably war struck; there had always seemed to be reasons why the two races could not fully intermingle. One of these reasons was the fact that many humans feared the potential monsters had, preventing them from truly accepting them. Although, humans were not all to blame as there were many monsters who chose to limit their interactions with the other race as well based on prejudice. There had been many monsters and humans who happily co-existed but it seemed that that had not been enough and the fearful took action. People in both parties were told to pick a side as desperation to protect their own grew. War spanned a majority of many humans’ and monsters’ lifespans until, eventually, the humans won. Seeing it as a form of mercy, humans trapped monsters underground with a spell. This spell… requires great sacrifice to be broken. Seven human Souls.”

Toriel ended her lengthy explanation, pausing to let the heavy air settle.

“Child.” Your gaze had drifted to your lap during her story, and when you heard her address you lifted your eyes to meet hers, “You need not feel bad, the actions of that past can be amended by those of the present who allows themselves to learn.”

“I- yeah… I guess so, I just- I haven’t met a blatantly bad monster yet, I don’t feel like it’s fair. 

“Many things in life are not fair, but it is those who accept that fact and try to fight back with the best of intentions in their Souls that are most likely to balance the scales.”

You took a moment to digest the new information. So, monsters were trapped Underground with magic? You didn’t think that there was magic on the surface… but then again, you could be wrong. It was really a lot to process – you still didn’t even remember your life on the surface. Maybe there were people waiting for you? Maybe you had a mother like Toriel that was weeping about your disappearance. You gazed softly at the regal monster before you. Toriel would probably make a great mother, perhaps a great teacher too – you felt like she had a lot to teach with her apparent wisdom.

“Yeah, I guess you're right. Thank you Toriel. I really mean it.”

A blinding smile was sent your way, “Of course, my child, you are most welcome.” She took a breath, “I assume you wish move forward through the Underground?”

“Honestly, the seven human Souls thing kind of scares me, but I do want to continue on – there’s something… something in me urging me to.” Her smile turned knowing,

“Ah, that would be your Soul, my child, and it would be best to listen to it in my experience. I just have a favour to ask of you if you truly wish to leave.”

You waited expectantly for her to continue, “As you may remember, I mentioned another human who had passed through here right before you.” You nodded, “They are but a child, and though I attempted to… convince them stay,” she avoided eye contact for a moment, looking at her fidgeting paws, “their Determination was too strong. I have a friend who has agreed to keep an eye on the child, but I am sure that having another human, especially a grown one, keep watch of them will further put their mind at ease as well as keep them safe.” You blinked,

“You knew I wasn’t a child? Then why do you call me one?”

Her cheeks flushed, “I do not mean to offend you, humans are much younger than I, this has caused me to develop the bad habit of calling even grown humans ‘child’.”

“How old are you?”

“Old enough to have lived through the war, my child.” Holy, this woman was old, she had lived long enough to witness a war that had been forgotten by all of humanity and thens some. She looked to be in fairly good health too. 

“Okay, yeah, of course I’ll keep watch of the kid! I’d feel insanely guilty if I left a child alone. You can count on me, Toriel.”

“Excellent! I am extremely happy that you are such an understanding Soul, young one. Allow me to show you the way to the rest of the Underground now that you have healed.”

Toriel stood up, gesturing for you to follow her back the way you two came. You glanced at the empty dishes, then at her, then back at the dishes.

If she had a problem with you leaving them, she’d say so right? You hoped you weren’t being rude. You followed after her.

Toriel lead you to a stairway that you had seen when you entered her house, the stairs leading down into a hallway. A very, very long hallway. At the very end was a large purple door, though you figured everything would seem large to you down here, most monsters you’d seen much larger than you were.

“I suppose this is goodbye, my child. I… I would have liked to have company as the Ruins get lonely once you memorise its pathways, but I do not wish to hold you back on what you feel you must do.”

Her tired sigh broke something within you and you could hardly stop yourself from giving her a heart-felt hug. Realising how rude you were being, you began to draw back.

“Ah! I’m so sorry I didn’t mean-“ you stopped when fuzzy arms encompassed you and brought you in for the softest hug you’re sure you’d ever received.

“No. No, I am grateful. Thank you for the short time you have spent with me – your compassion has spoken volumes about your wonderful character. I do hope your kindness infects all those you meet.” Oh god you wanted to cry.

“I-I don’t know what to say… thank you so much, Toriel.”

“You do not need to say anything; your Soul says it all.” You wondered that meant as she pulled away from you, her paws resting on your shoulders, “Now, we must not delay any longer. That child is a sneaky one, and I would not be surprised if they had travelled through half of the Underground already. You have a lot of catching up to do.”

Striding to the door, Toriel prepared to push it open before stopping,

“Take care of yourself, my child.”

Your throat caught on the emotion in her voice, and you regretted not doing anything as she smiled at you one last time and walked back down the hallway. The sound of her footsteps echoed loudly through the space.

Her steps engulfed you in their reverberation, making you feel so small, insignificant, and lonely but you refused to turn back – the pull in your chest prompted you to swallow down the feeling and traverse forward, into the unknown.

Chapter Text

You passed yet another dark hallway with a path of grass in the center (really, what was the point of those? Though you could comment on a lot of architectural choices made in the Ruins that you’ve seen) before coming across another purple door. You shivered as you registered the temperature change in the air now that you were near the next section. Was it possible for two places that were next to each other to have such drastically different temperatures? Well, you supposed it was time o find out.

You pushed the large double doors open.

Well, to say you pushed it open would be an exaggeration. It would be more accurate to say that you moved it… slightly. For god sakes, it didn’t even crack open, the sides of the door shifted enough to no longer lay parallel to each other but not enough to grant you entrance to the other side. You attempted to push the door again but it inched forward only slightly once again. From what Toriel had said, a kid went through these doors, meaning a kid opened these insanely heavy dumb-

“I’m not weak!” you steamed, clenching your fists and stomping a foot, “I won’t be bested by a fucking door, we’ll see who wins in a battle of strength – it sure won’t be you. 

Growling, you began to push the door with all your might, sweat beginning to form on your forehead before there was a hollow thud and you flew forward, getting a face full of snow.

“Oh, it wash shtuck…” Wait, did anyone see that?!

Your head shot up. Looking around, you didn’t see anybody, but you did see trees and… snow?

It was then that you registered the snow around you – how was there snow in the Underground? Then again, how were there trees Underground? Your memory may have been gone but you knew that trees needed stuff like sunlight, sunlight that was so obviously not present where you were. You squinted suspiciously at the perfectly white snow below you, you guessed it was magic. Honestly there were a number of things down here that confused you, but maybe it was time to throw away common sense and embrace the wonderful nonsensicalness that was the Underground. After all, you were just a piece in a puzzle, what did you know about the world?

A scream escaped you when you heard a loud thud from behind, prompting you to scramble forward a few feet barely off hands and knees in a panic. When you didn’t hear any more alarming noises, you cautiously turned your head to find that the source of the sound was the door closing shut behind you.

“I’m such a dumbass…”

Once again glad that no once was around to see your stupidity, you started to your way down the tree-lined path before pausing.

Wait.

Snow.

Snow… MEANS FUN.

You immediately dropped down into the perfect, fluffy snow, rolling around in the beautiful dream-like sea of white around you. Giggles escaped you as you made snow balls, throwing them at trees, a content sigh creating a cloud in the air as you made a snow angel. After caming down, you noticed a particular sensation on your now numb skin.

“Oh, I’m still a dumbass… but now I’m a wet dumbass.” But like, not in the dirty way.

The hoodie and leggings you were wearing when you fell had adopted dark patches of moist uncomfortableness from the rolling around you had done, causing your clothes to stick to you. You shivered, body practically vibrating.

“It was worth it. Totally, even if I die of hypothermia. Actually, no, that sounds painful.” On that note, you stood up to continue on with hopes that you’d find a town or something soon so you could not freeze. 

On your way, you crossed a stick that looked painfully mistreated – as it was broken in several places, a bridge with weird bar things that you couldn’t discern the purpose of (surely it wasn’t a gate, the bars were too far apart), a colourful lamp beside a wooden stand of some sort (you had hoped you could find something useful behind its counter but just found condiments, strangely), and an unoccupied fishing pole with a picture and a note on the end of it (Call me! Here’s my number!) which you decided you’d cast out once again since you couldn’t prank call the sap without a phone.

The next sight to see on your sight-seeing trip was a… cardboard box? It was a cardboard version of the station you had seen earlier, looking as if it could fall over any minute. That wasn’t a surprise since paper and water didn’t tend to mix well together – though you were sure that it had been well-constructed before it had been assaulted by the vicious snow. For shame.

You noticed a note on the front,

‘YOU OBSERVE THE WELL-CRAFTED SENTRY STATION. WHO COULD HAVE BUILT THIS, YOU PONDER… I BET IT WAS THAT VERY FAMOUS ROYAL GUARDSMAN! (NOTE: NOT YET A VERY FAMOUS ROYAL GUARDSMAN.)’

It was some sort of cliché, fanfiction-esque narration. You couldn’t stop a snicker from escaping you, who was this person? They sounded like a riot! You admit, you were skeptical in the first part, but the note in brackets really got you.

Body still bouncing in your mirth, you move on to the next sentry station; this one being made out of a material that wouldn’t get soggy in the snow. You thought it was empty but, upon close inspection, you found that there was a steam of smoke rising from the inside.  Curiously you peaked inside to see an anthropomorphic dog wearing military-looking clothing, the dog grumbled to himself while smoking a dog treat (?). In your excitement, you didn’t notice the two long knives sitting beside the monster and instead focused on the glossiness of their fur.

Dog.

Sad doggo. 

You pet the doggo.

They perked to attention, “P-Pet?? Again???” Their – you were inclined to start addressing the dog as he instead, at the deep voice – tail started wagging rapidly, making something bubble in your chest with pure affection.

He spoke again, “Who’s there?? I can only see moving things!” you felt the beginnings of a pull on your Soul, in a panic, you pet the dog again in an attempt to appease him.

“PET! POT! PAT!!!!” you bit your lip to hold in a snicker, continuing to pet him. He closed his eyes in contentment and you took your chance to step out of sight, to the other side of the station. “Another mystery pet-offender… I’m gonna need several more dog treats after this…” you heard him mutter.

You were sure your face looked all sorts of odd scrunched up the way it was in your struggle to hold in your laughs. Oh god! You loved dogs! Of course, dog monsters would be just as great.

After composing yourself, you made your way down the path again. You came across ice-covered ground…

Was that another dog???

You clumsily ran over the ice, slipping and falling more than once in your struggle. The dog barked happily when it noticed your approach. They were wearing armour and held a shield paired with a sword. Oh shit. That was not good. Fear gripped you but it was too late to run away. You crashed straight into the dangerous dog., toppling both of you to the ground

They yipped in excitement, tongue hanging out of their mouth as they panted.

Like an idiot, your heart seized and you lifted a hand to pet the top of the dog’s head. It… extended?

You got up and the dog’s head followed your hand while its body still sat on the ground. You really, really couldn’t resist. You continued petting the dog. Their head continued to extend for some unknown reason.

“Who’s a good boy? Who’s a good boy?? You are! You’re a good boy!” Their tail wagged at sonic speed, head extended so long that you had to resort to petting their neck, barks of happiness escaped their adorable little snout; this was your doing, this chaos was completely avoidable but you were just too weak.

There came a point where their neck became so long that you couldn’t clearly see their face, in concern you asked, “A-Are you okay?” They yipped in what you assumed to be confirmation that they were indeed not in need of medical assistance before dropping their shield and digging a paw in their pocket. The dog dropped familiar gold coins in front of you before running off to do whatever dogs with long necks did. 

Not sure if you should be confused, giddy, or concerned (you picked all three), you pocketed the coins in your hoodie. In the next area, there was a square of cleared snow with a path of heavy footsteps weaving a specific pattern into it. Was this another puzzle?

Out of curiosity you step on an area where there were no footsteps but nothing happened. Okay?

You travelled forward.

After your excitement died down you once again paid attention to the shivers that wracked you, this time realising that your teeth were chattering, and making you mess inclined to play around. That was too bad because you found an area where a large ball of snow seemed to act like soccer ball to be used in a game in which you kick the ball into a hole. After deducing the set-up’s purpose, you gave it a regretful glance and moved on.

There was a word search on the ground?

‘Monster Kidz Word search’ this seemed like a low-effort distraction from your slow decent into pneumonia!

You found all the words quickly, well, seemingly. There was a typo in one of the words, though calling it a word was a stretch as it looked like someone just smashed a keyboard in frustration in place of typing an actual word. Wow. You felt betrayed. What a let-down. You’d need to give whoever baited you into investing yourself into this puzzle a piece of your mind.

You muttered to yourself in your anguish, “Woe is me, I guess I’ll suffer without knowing what could have been. What a travesty!”

Next, you came across a table with a plate of spaghetti and another table with a microwave. The spaghetti was frozen solid… and though the microwave may have fixed this (especially with its multiple heating options for spaghetti, convenient), it had no place to be plugged in rendering its presence useless. You picked up a note on the ground,

‘HUMAN!! PLEASE ENJOY THIS PLATE OF SPAGHETTI. (LITTLE DO YOU KNOW, THIS SPAGHETTI IS A TRAP… DESIGNED TO ENTICE YOU!!! YOU’LL BE SO BUSY EATING IT… THAT YOU WON’T REALIZE THAT YOU AREN’T PROGRESSING!! THOROUGHLY JAPED AGAIN BY THE GREAT PAPYRUS!!!

NYEH-HEH-HEH,

PAPYRUS’

It was obviously the same person who wrote the note from before, and now you had a name attached to the character. 

Oh no! This dude was hilarious! You had to meet this Papyrus guy some time – he sounded like someone you’d wanna hang out with, just a ball of fun and cuteness. The human part of the note confused you a bit as you were sure you would remember if you met someone this great. Though, the note could have very well been for the human kid who came before you so you weren’t too concerned.

Your laughs barely began dying down when you came across a sign that simply read, ‘Warning: Dog Marriage” your head cocked but you otherwise didn’t pay much mind to the odd sign.

You headed down and past a bunch of holes that looked like the ones in the Ruins that had spikes in them, you shuttered in discomfort. After crossing a bridge, you headed down a path and saw two dogs in robes wielding axes heading your way. You gulped.

“Halt!” They said in unison, “Who are…” “You?”

They seemed to complete each other’s sentences,

“You smell like…” “Lesser Dog!” Lesser Dog? The dogs nuzzle their noses together and your heart died; they were so cute! A dog couple??

“Are you his friend?” “If you’re his friend then you’re our friend!”

“Oh, thank you!” you responded, “I’m happy!” you glanced nervously at their sharp weapons. Petting the other dog monsters you had come across seemed to ease any aggression they may have had towards you, so maybe you should pet them to be sure. But having a sort-of conversation with them made you think twice. These were sentient creatures… was it offensive to just pet them unwarranted? Was that like molesting them? You really didn’t want to ask, that’d be awkward.

Thankfully, they brought your internal debate to an end with their next words,

“You’re a…” “Good smell, friend.” They both pat your back and head off to do whatever they were doing before. You’re so glad that all the monsters you’ve come across so far have been friendly! And dogs! You were especially glad that they were dogs.

You passed a few completed puzzles (one of which was an odd grey tiling next to a machine) and stopped at a sentry station with a sign that read ‘AWARE OF DOG pleas pet dog’ (you snorted embarrassingly loud after reading the text. You guessed you should have pet those dogs back there?). Near the station was a deer monster that you waved hesitantly to, they gave you a nod and you quickly left. Phew, you knew how to handle dog monsters at this point but you were kind of intimidated by the other ones.

Making your way pass another completely puzzle, you walk through a clearing with a dog house, and a bunch of mounds of snow, and…

“Whoa, that’s a big dog.” A little ways in front of you, there’s a huge, spear wielding dog in armour (you were seeing a pattern with the dogs’ fashion choices and how... dangerous they were). They were white, fluffy, and so adorable but they looked… sharp.

“Uh… hey there!” Their ears snapped towards your direction, head following suit soon after. Sweat started to form on your face; that cold was starting to go away, huh? They sniffed the air before huffing and bounding towards you.

You squeaked and willed your legs to bring you to safety but your legs were dumb and wouldn’t listen to you. Well, if you died because of a dog, that sounded like a pretty good death.

Instead of skewering you with their spear, the dog jumped out of its armour revealing them to be a gigantic – what was the breed again – Samoyed? Leave it to you to remember the breed of a dog and not your own name but… 

Oh fuck. Oh fuck.

They’re so…

FLUFFY. 

A noise akin to a dying bird escaped you as the Samoyed licked your face, their fur apparently magnetic as you couldn’t stop your hands from burrowing into the white fur that encompassed your vision. You probably spent way too long petting and nuzzling and cooing at the dog monster, though they didn’t seem to mind at all. In fact, the monster actively participated in your play until they were lulled into a content sleep in your lap. You sighed in happiness. Was the Underground just a heaven of dogs? You would love to die and stay in this heaven. But…

You frowned.

You needed to progress, find that kid. You needed to honour the promise you had made with Toriel. You needed to find out if you had people waiting for you on the Surface, worrying about your disappearance. You gently nudged the fluffy cloud on your lap so that they lie on the ground instead, when you got up their head raised and their eyes looked to you in question.

“Sorry, cutie, I have a kid to find… Maybe we can play again later?” They yipped, tongue flopping out in understanding. They nuzzled their snout into your stomach and trotted away with their huge armour.

Okay, nowhere but forward.

Chapter Text

Screw going forward, you decided you didn’t want to go forward anymore, since going forward entailed walking across that bridge.

You started at the alarmingly long bridge that laid in your path. And then to the long, long, LONG drop below it. The trees were endless… you supposed the Underground was a lot bigger than you could ever comprehend. Realistically, the height shouldn’t scare you since you’d fallen down a hole with a drop that may have been even longer than the one you were looking at in that moment, but… something (probably magic) saved you, you probably wouldn’t be walking away with only a headache and a little disorientation if you fell.

But… Toriel, and the kid… you gulped.

Swallow your pride, man, this is the only way if you want to keep your promise.

Legs shaking, you took a step, and then another, your grip tight on the railings made of rope. Your breaths were shallow, you tried to not look down. Your heartbeat was deafening, and you wondered if your Soul had any relation to your heart. Maybe your Soul was beating in anxiousness too.

The bridge wobbled.

You screamed and braced by slouching forward and hunching your back like a cat. Okay. You weren’t dead. Actually, the bridge was pretty stable despite its absurd length. Well, fuck physics you guessed. 

Still extremely terrified, but less so, you made your way across the most likely magical bridge as fast as you were willing to go (which wasn’t fast at all) until you made it to the other side. You couldn’t be happier to be on solid ground, oh you missed stability. You practically hugged the snow.

Ah… you could go without doing that again the rest of your life.

Once you were made aware of your clothing becoming wet once again and the unhealthy chill of your skin, you stood up and made your way into a warm town. Figuratively, unfortunately.

You read a painted sign, “’Welcome to Snowdin’, huh? Wait… Is that a pun?” You didn’t want to know.

The first building you came across read ‘Shop’ above its door, perfect!

You entered the much-larger-than-your-tiny-stature doorway, oh god it was pleasantly warm in here. Maybe you shouldn’t leave ever. The monster behind the counter in the front of the establishment perked to attention.

“Well, hello traveller! Welcome to my shop!” the purple bunny monster greeted you kindly, her ears twitching. The woman’s posture implied she was a person you wouldn’t want to mess with, you were glad she didn’t seem to realise you were human.

“H-Hi! Um, I’m looking for some clothes, maybe some food?” She clicking sound with her tongue in concern,

“Oh hun, you’re soaked! I hope it wasn’t that Maykred asking you to play in the snow. I can’t count how many times the kid has begged the monsters of Snowdin to entertain him, he really has too much energy. Figures he would rope in a new face.” You looked away guiltily, how could you tell her the reason why you were soaked was because you wanted to play in the snow, by yourself, as an adult.

“Uh… no. I just… fell into the snow on my way over.” That technically wasn’t a lie, you just… fell on purpose, and rolled around a lot.

Sympathy coated her features, “You poor thing. Well, fortunately, we have plenty of clothes! I’m not too sure if we have many your size, though, but I’ll make sure to look extra hard just for you.” She turned away to look through a rack, continuing to speak, “Come to think of it, you look like the same type of monster as that little one who passed through earlier.” Your attention was caught by her words.

“Oh! I think you’re talking about the person I’m looking for! Do you know where they might have gone?”

She hummed, walking back with a few articles of clothes in her paws, “I’m not too sure where they might have gone, I can tell you that they were quiet a flirt, though! My, I don’t think I’ve ever been hit on as thoroughly as I was during that interaction, much less by a kid!” a chuckle escaped her, whiskers bouncing, “Anyway, hun, you may want to try the skeleton brothers if you want to know about the kid; last I heard, one of them was giving them a tour of the town. The tall one if I recall. Or maybe he was just roping them in one of his shenanigans, stars know those skeletons cause quite a ruckus on the daily around here.”

She shook her head, “Sorry for the rambling, it’s rare to see a new face in our small little community, you know how it is down here in the Underground,” you didn’t, “I could only find a few things you could use – it’s unusual to see such a small monster as yourself. Go on to the back, there’s an area where you can change.”

You followed her gesture to a small area concealed by a curtain.

“Thank you so much for your help! I’ll be sure to get out of your hair soon.”

“Oh no, take your time, you’re good company to have.”

Closing the curtain, you begin to try on the clothes the kind monster handed to you. There was a much-too-large t-shirt, a slightly less too-large hoodie, a pair of jeans that actually looked a size too small for you, a skirt, and a pair of baggy sweatpants. You quickly decided on the hoodie and the sweatpants, more concerned for your freezing body than your fashion choices; you wore the sweater over the shirt you were already wearing and the pants on your icy legs. After getting dressed in the new clothing, you stepped out feeling like a lazy shut-in, awkwardly shuffling back to the front of the store.

“Those look to be quite fine on you, you look much happier in dry clothes.” And you were, your shivering hadn’t completely gone away, but you were much more content than you were 10 minutes ago.

“Here are the rest, thank you again.” The monster seemed to contemplate for a few seconds at your outstretched hands before shaking her head,

“You keep them, hun. I don’t expect to see many more monsters your size, and the kids that have worn that size are out-growing their clothes already – they’d just rot away in the back of my shop.”

You sputtered, “B-But I only have 50 coins! I don’t think I can afford this much.” Going by the price tags beside various items in the shop, anyway. You could deduce that 50 coins wouldn’t be able to cover these many items.

“No, no, keep ‘em at a discount. I assume this is your first visit to Snowdin, so I’d like for you to feel as welcome as you can; after all, maybe it’ll lure you back. It’s completely selfishly motivated, hun.” she winked.

Your face felt hot, you were sure it was completely flushed. How could someone be this nice?

“Thank you! I-I don’t know how I can replay you-!”

She quieted your squawking, “Don’t mention it, you don’t need to do nothing. Besides, I feel bad for not being able to help you with your request for food. I can’t give away too many things for a discount or I’ll go out of business.”

“Of course! I couldn’t ask that of you.” You probably wouldn’t allow her to anyway, less your guilt would tear you apart. She replied as you handed her all the money you had.

“Luckily for you, I know just the place you can go to.” She reached under the counter and brought out a bottle, “There’s a bar just down the path called Grillby’s, give this to the bartender for me? Tell him Lorie sent you, he’ll be sure to give you a warm meal.”

You took the bottle, juggling it with the clothes in your arms.

“There’s a dimensional box just between here and my sister’s inn if you’re having trouble.”

“A dimensional box?

Lorie gave you a look, “Yeah, they’re storage boxes that are used by the community but only give you access to your own items. You can access your items at any dimensional box. Where are you from again, hun?”

Panic gripped you, “Uh, I’m from the Ruins, just came out of that door for the first time today.” She whistled,

“Well I’ll be, no one’s went in or out of the Ruins in a long time. How’s it like in there?”

You thought for a second, “Purple.” She laughed.

“Guess that makes sense, considering it was the first place monsters settled down Underground. Don’t tell King Fluffybuns I said this but I’m sure he designed the place with the ex-queen in mind – she really liked the colour purple, apparently. The two used to be disgustingly in love. Hm… so I’ve heard at least, I was pretty young before the queen disappeared.” Lorie shook her head sadly, “I’m not sure if monsters in the Ruins have heard, but the King’s been pretty down after his wife left. Hope he’ll cheer up when we make it up top again – we only have one more Soul to go.” You froze up, you weren’t dense enough to not be able to put the dots together. One more Soul to go, one more human Soul. That Soul was either going to be you or the kid who fell before you… and like hell you were going to let a child die.

Reluctant to keep talking about the subject of human Souls, you smiled shakily, “Thank you so much again, Lorie. I’m gonna to get going now, I’ll make sure to drop by Grillby’s soon.”

“No problem at all, come back to visit sometime!”

 With that, you left the shop, the chill in your bones less to do with the cold and more to with the unsettling feeling in your chest.

Chapter Text

You found what you figured was a dimensional box, a little skeptical when you placed your items inside but did so nonetheless, and headed further through the town of Snowdin. The citizens… looked happy. But a forced happy. You tried to ignore the feeling of guilt welling within you; you shouldn’t feel bad for existing just because your existence in the Underground was key to thousands of people’s freedom. You shouldn’t.

Oh hey, is that a Christmas tree?! Wow, never thought you’d see one down here, haha. 

… You were so bad at distracting yourself.

The Christmas tree was pretty gorgeous, you had to admit. Ornaments decorated its pines and presents littered the ground below it. Just past the tree you spotted an orange-lit building, the sign on it read… Grillby’s! That’s just where you needed to go.

You shuffled towards the building, bottle in-hand, excited by the heat you were sure was going to encompass the bar. And how right you were.

The warm air slammed into your face when you opened to door to Grillby’s, sending pleasant tingles throughout your system. The establishment was a cozy, tiny (relative to the monsters around you, not your own tiny human form) place with several monsters at its tables. What you suspected really made this bar warm was the bartender. Puns were a low form a humour in your books but you couldn’t avoid saying that the monster behind the bar counter was hot. As in, he was literally made of flames.

You walked to the bar, passing a large empty table in the middle of the room, the other patrons ignoring your presence for the most part. The man of fire was cleaning a glass, his flames seemed to shift almost curiously when you sat in front of him. 

“Um, Lorie sent me. With this.” You set the bottle down. Now that you weren’t desperate to leave an awkward situation, you read the label on the container, ‘Bun Rum, guaranteed to make your Soul spin!’.

“………Thank You, dear.” To your surprise, you didn’t so much as hear him speak as just knew what he wanted to say.

“She also said that you could treat me to a meal? I-It’s okay if you can’t, I don’t want to steal from your business.”

You heard a crackle from him, though you couldn’t interpret what he meant by that, “………………Of course. Wait a moment please.” He left through the door behind the bar. 

With nothing better to do, you tapped a vaguely familiar tune on the countertop, glancing to the monsters around you. There were really so many variations of monsters that you had come across. On your way to Snowdin, you had seen a few monsters besides the dogs in passing. You avoided encounters for the most part and had purposely avoided the path of people you saw, but you still did see some interesting characters. You wondered how many types of monsters there were. Counting on the fact that Lorie had mistaken you for a monster, even monsterkind couldn’t keep track of all the variations of monsters down here.

The fire monster soon returned with a plate of fries and a drink. He set the items on the counter before you and returned to the cleaning he was doing. 

You thanked the monster with as much sincerity as you could fit in your words before digging in to the fries. You had a bad habit of picking your favourite shaped fries first and leaving the more mediocre fries for the end; though, really, none of these fries could be called truly mediocre in the slightest. The drink that was given to you was a hot chocolate, steam floated up from the mouth of the mug before dissipating into the air. Once again, the food fizzled away when you chewed it.

Wanting to make conversation with the monster in front of you, you spoke, “Wow, this is really good! What I would do to have skills like these.” And you meant it, the food was great! Though, that may partially have to do with the comfortable atmosphere you were in, and how it relaxed a tenseness that you didn’t even know you had in your shoulders.

The flames below the monster’s glasses shifted to more of a blue colour. Was that a… blush?

Your confidence grew and you smirked, “Is your name Grillby?” he nodded, “Hot name for a hot guy.” Your grin stretched wider when the blush on his face got darker.

“…..Not so bad yourself.” It was your turn to blush.

“Can’t compare to you, though, bartinder.” He crackled again, this time it sounded friendlier,

“…….To each their own. However, do not undermine your own worth, dear.” Okay, time to change the subject – your face was getting way too warm.

“By the way, what’s with the bottle from Lorie?”

Grillby’s glasses glinted as he started moving his hands again, “…………Lorie’s family from the Core. Makes their own special rum. She occasionally brings some to me.” You hummed.

You didn’t know what the Core was but it sure sounded intimidating.

“Well, Grillby, sorry to cut this short, but I have to run. I’ll make sure to visit another time – and next time I’ll actually pay for your delicious food” If you were visiting Lorie again, you could drop by Grillby’s too.

Grillby’s flames flared up prettily, extending upwards for a moment before settling down. You took that as your cue to leave, so with a smile and a wave you were out the door. Out into the cold again you guessed.

You passed a couple more monsters and a building called a librarby (was that supposed to say library?) and a wooden house decorated with Christmas lights-

“IS THAT A…” you heard a gasp and your head snapped to the suspect – a (VERY, VERY, LARGE) skeleton who stood in front of the decorated house. The skeleton’s empty eyesockets seemed to sparkle, though you weren’t sure how even if you were witnessing it in front of you.

Okay, so it seemed like the world decided today was a good day to try to scare you enough to induce a heart attack.

“YOU’RE ANOTHER HU-!” Quicker than you thought you could ever move, you ran up to the monster, tugged him down by the arm, and slapped a hand over his teeth.

“Huggable monster! I know, right? Bring it in!” You awkwardly hugged the tall monster with your hand still preventing him from speaking.

“NYEH HEH HEH! I SEE YOU’VE BEEN CHARMED BY MY CHARISMATIC PERSONALITY! I UNDERSTAND SINCE I CAN’T SEEM TO CONTROL MY EXCELLENCE FROM EXUDING FROM MY VERY BEING. WORRY NOT! THE GREAT PAPYRUS WON’T FAIL TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE BOUNDLESS FEELINGS OF ADMIRATION AND ADORATION YOU MUST BE EXPERIENCING AT THIS VERY MOMENT!!” It seemed like your hand did nothing from preventing him from speaking. He didn’t need to move his mouth to talk, turns out.

You made a face at his blatant narcissism until you heard him say his name. Hold on, that sounded familiar… and the way he spoke…

“Wait, you’re Papyrus? From the notes?? Oh my god it’s you!” Letting go of the tall skeleton completely, you beamed up at him. If his narration was written through the result of his true personality, he couldn’t be all that bad.

Papyrus stood up tall, his hands on his hips and his cape flowing in an non-existent wind, you noticed now that he wore some sort of superhero outfit. What a cool dude!

“OF COURSE IT IS I! THE ADMIRABLE PAPYRUS! I SEE THAT I HAVE A FAN TO JOIN MY FAN CLUB!! EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE NO MEMBERS THAT I AM AWARE OF… BUT I AM SURE THERE ARE MEMBERS TOO SHY TO DIRECTLY FACE MY BRILLIANCE! YOU ARE THE FIRST. WHAT A BRAZEN HUM- NYEH??” as he was about to say the cursed word again, you patted his forearm to catch his attention.

Now that you looked at him properly, Papyrus wasn’t taller than Toriel – his lean stature simply created the illusion of added height, but he was only barely shorter than the kind woman. The skeleton was insanely tall, your neck was hurting just from looking up at him! You should have considered yourself lucky to have had your conversation with Toriel sitting down, but now you were enlightened. 

“Hey, Great Papyrus, could you maybe not say the 'H' word? I think everyone here doesn’t really know I’m not a monster… Please?" you whispered the last part. 

He squinted his sockets, stroking his chin with his thumb and forefinger, “THAT’S AN ODD REQUEST CONSIDERING YOUR INEVITABLE CAPTURE BY ME, IN WHICH YOU WILL BROUGHT TO THE CAPITAL AND ASGORE WILL DO… WHATEVER IT IS THEY DO WITH HUMANS THERE.” Oh no, no, shit. You couldn’t, you can’t-

“ARE YOU ALRIGHT, HU- F-Friend?” shakily you replied,

“Please, please. I made a promise; I can’t be captured yet!” 

“HMM… I SUPPOSE SINCE I AM A MONSTER WHO BELIEVES IN KEEPING HIS WORD, SO I ALSO BELIEVE IN HELPING YOU KEEP YOURS!” he patted your back gently, “NOW WHAT IS THIS PROMISE YOU MADE IF I MAY ASK?”

A heavy sigh of relief escaped you. Thank god your judgement of Papyrus was correct; he truly was a monster with a good heart. Something in your chest felt warm and fuzzy.

“I promised a friend that I would take care of a kid who passed through here before me. Come to think of it, Lorie from the shop said you could tell me where they went.”

“OH, THE SMALL HU-“ he paused at your look, “MY NEW FRIEND. THEY SUFFERED A HEART-WRENCHING REJECTION FROM ME UNFORTUNATELY, BUT THEY SEEM TO BE UNDERGOING A STEADY RECOVERY! THEY SHOULD STILL BE TRAVERSING WATERFALL… I’M SURE MY EXPERT TACTICS HAVE DIVERTED UNDYNE AWAY FROM THEIR PATH LONG ENOUGH FOR THEM TO MAKE A SPEEDY ESCAPE!”

“Undyne?”

“YES, THE CAPTAIN OF THE ROYAL GUARD AND MY BESTIE!! I HOPE YOU TWO WILL MEET VERY SOON! …Or Perhaps That Would Be An Unwise Idea Given Her Murdery Motives.” Skeletons sweat? How?? Wait, no, that wasn’t important.

The captain of the royal guard… was chasing a kid, and wanted to take their soul! You needed to make sure the kid was alright.  

“Papyrus! Where’s Waterfall?!”

You bounced in place in your restlessness, god you were so stupid! Here you were chatting monsters up and eating food leisurely while a poor kid could have gotten killed five hundred times already! What kind of adult were you even?! If Papyrus sensed your nervous energy, he ignored it, choosing to beam your way with a grin so bright you were positive he’d make you vomit rainbows. Why was he so adorable?

“IT IS JUST THE NEXT AREA, YOU SHOULD REACH WATERFALL IN JUST A FEW MINUTES GOING DOWN THAT PATH!” He pointed his long arm, your eyes followed his red glove to the place he was directing you to.

You started walking away backwards in the correct direction, “Thank you Papyrus! I’ll come back soon so we can hang out like proper friends-!” you tripped over your own feet, balance thrown off before you righted yourself. Face burning in your embarrassment, you looked to Papyrus only to find him squealing in excitement. A breath left you in relief at the fact that he didn’t see you stumble. You got up and started jogging down the path in order to make up for lost time.

You really hoped you made it to that kid in time…

Chapter Text

Just past Snowdin, there was an area of pure blizzard that blinded your sight and almost knocked you off your feet. You somehow remained grounded and moved forward, arms in front of your eyes and teeth gritted. The path seemed almost too long, and you wondered if you were really walking in the right direction and hadn’t strayed off the path in your confusion. You had reached the point of wondering if you were going to die as a human popsicle when the violent flurries subsided to reveal the other side of the path – a cave.

Wait, no. You were technically in a cave this whole time, but this area seemed to be the most… cavernous by far.

Waterfalls streamed from the low ceilings and glowing rocks were embedded into the stone that surrounded you. For the first time during your trip you really took in the beauty of the Underground as you walked. The echo of your footsteps was mystic and melancholy, emphasising the fantasy-like appearance of the area. Papyrus had called it ‘Waterfall’, right? The name certainly fit this place – in its cool, attractiveness as well as in a literal sense since there were actual waterfalls that lined the pathways as far as you could see. Coming up to another sentry station, you spotted a monster who stood next to a large, luminescent flower. The glow of the plant highlighted features of the orange monster’s face. Magical and breath-taking was the flower you stopped in front of, you sent a curious glance towards the fish monster. You were quite confident that the monsters past the Ruins didn’t know what you were and that you were safe for the time being, so you didn’t feel the usual rush of anxiety at an unexpected encounter when they spoke.

“It’s an echo flower… they repeat the last thing you say.” So, the flower really was magical. The orange monster brushed a fin against a petal of the flower.

“It’s an echo flower… they repeat the last thing you say.”

 That’s SO COOL!

A big grin grew on your face, making your face glow with your fascination in a child-like glee. You tried out your new discovery, 

“Thank you!” You tapped a cyan petal and it repeated your words to the monster,

“Thank you!”

The smile on their face became more genuine, “No problem, I love explaining the function of the echo flower to those who pass! Though, most already know what it does…”

You gave them a wave and moved on, passing another sentry station. And the station still had snow on it? Magic.

There was a giant waterfall up ahead, rocks falling from the top of it. Your chest gave a squeeze of apprehension – you had to cross that, didn’t you? After your pants were rolled up and your shoes and socks removed, your dipped a toe in the cold water and recoiled at the chilling temperature. Your breathing shallowed at the thought of being hit by one of those rocks.

No. Don’t be a coward.

Holding your breath, you awkwardly waded your way through the base of the waterfall, trying your best to maneuver around the speedy rocks. One of the rocks clipped your calf, causing you to hiss. That was sure to bruise.

Finally making it to the other end, you fall on your hands and knees. Oh god why couldn’t you be fearless; you were sure to have less trouble if the trembling of your body didn’t get in the way. You practically sucked in the damp air of Waterfall as you put your shoes and socks back on, your socks getting a bit moist again. No matter, they seemed to dry quick enough the first time you had to walk through water.

Travelling further, you came across a more… ominous path. Shadows seemingly dramatic in this area. For some reason, your heart was in your throat as you walked into a patch of tall grass…. Nothing happened, thankfully, and you made it to the puzzle that lie on the other end. The puzzle consisted of flowers that bloomed when you placed them side-by-side on the water, creating a path for you to walk on.

You completed the puzzles and entered a darker area of waterfall… one littered with echo flowers.

You excitedly skipped up to a flower and whispered into it,

“Butts.” You brushed a petal,

“Butts.”

You couldn’t help but burst into manic giggling, holding your sides while you laughed as if you heard the best joke of the century. You continued to hop up to each flower in the room and whisper ‘butts’ to each of the waiting flowers, tapping each one afterwards and snorting at your immature humour. Once your laughter died down you realised that you didn’t see an exit to the room… maybe you should backtrack?

Before you turned around, you spotted a telescope.

Odd place for a telescope. Unless…

You looked into the device, and there were words and an arrow directing you to a wall painted on the lens. Yes! It was a puzzle! You were a genius!

Walking up to the aforementioned wall, you placed a hand on the surface. There didn’t seem to be anything out of the-

The wall suddenly opened up with a thud to reveal a door. Oh!

Once you passed through the door, you were greeted with wooden platform built atop water, cattails peeked their way out of the water, peacefully swaying in a breeze of curious origins. There were glowing signs that sat on the walls detailing the events of the war and, after reading a few of the, you decided to skip them altogether to save time… not that you didn’t waste time whispering an obscene word into a bunch of plants. But that was clearly more important.

You finally reached a stretch of more long grass that you passed through, paranoia making you feel like you heard whispers in the coverage of the dark greenery before you made it out. You passed by another echo flower that you totally didn’t say an inappropriate word into and spared a glance before a telescope (that you didn’t touch because you spotted the red ink that was meticulously smeared onto the eyepiece) before heading into a room with a blue bunny monster with a cart and a dimensional box. The monster had his eyes closed as he leaned onto the cart with visible disappointment. You first glanced into the dimensional box and really did find your clothes in there – holy shit, that’s amazing!

The squeal of excitement that you couldn’t conceal alerted the bunny to your presence, he immediately perked up and a large smile grew on his face.

“Hi there! Would you like some Nice Cream? They’re the frozen treat that warms your heart! The flavours are right there,” he pointed to a sign that had 21 flavours painted over what looked like ancient glyphs… well you didn’t know anything about monster culture so maybe it was okay for him to do that, “and each time you buy a Nice Cream you get a punch card, three punch cards mean a Nice Cream on the house! What do you say, they’re only 25G!”

You wanted to but… “I don’t have enough money, I’m so sorry.” You had spent all your money on the clothes a Lorie’s, and definitely didn’t have not enough to purchase what you were sure was a delicious treat.

The monster’s ears drooped, letting out a disappointed “Oh.” Before attempting to mask his displeasure, “It’s okay, I haven’t been getting that much business here anyway. I should have known that Snowdin and Waterfall weren’t ideal places to sell Nice Cream. I guess I’ll try Hotland next?” Wow these place names sure were special.

“Yeah!” you didn’t want to dampen his mood any further, “And when you do, I’ll be sure to buy a Nice Cream there. I’ll definitely have enough money by then.”

The blue bunny monster finally perked up again, his exuberant positivity shining once again.

“Okay, yeah! Thanks for cheering me up, have a nice day!” you couldn’t wipe the grin from your face, even if it was a bit awkward and strained, and left the room with a wave.

Chapter Text

What you saw next was most definitely the most beautiful sight you had ever laid eyes on… probably. You couldn’t exactly be sure because, y’know, memory.

Lakes of what looked like pure cyan starlight, patches of glowing grass that brushed at your shoes and willed you to stay to enjoy the view, lily pads and cattails peeking at you from enchanted waters only to teasingly stay just out of reach from your fingertips. You couldn’t help but stare in awe at the trees with luminescent bark as you crossed a bridge, hands raised to attempt to catch the sparkly specks of light that floated up from the water. A sense of peace flowed through you, the deep breath you took carried fresh air through your lungs and the exhale washed out all your anxiety. The Underground was so beautiful… if monsters could make such a beautiful home even while trapped and surely low on hope, why did humans hate them so much? Maybe you didn’t know every monster down here and their reaction to you being human, but you knew that the monsters you had met so far were nothing short of pleasant for the most part. Was your life worth the continued entrapment of such kind people? But… you weren’t the only human down here, were you?

You sped up your pace after a spark of guilt. You had already wasted so much time, there could be a skewered kid by now and you wouldn’t even know it! Despite your desire to take in the gorgeousness of the place you had found, you strode through the paths and bridges with purpose, choosing to avoid any monster you happened to come across – which weren’t many. There didn’t seem to be many people in Waterfall, but you were sort of thankful for that since Papyrus’ words had increased your urgency to find the kid.

Once you had found your way through the lakes, you came across a hallway with an octopus monster. At first, their tentacles popping out of the water they lived in freaked you out, but they had soon revealed their head. The octopus’ name was Onionsan (the name briefly reminded you of something from the Surface, specifically the ‘san’ part) and it was obvious they wanted to have a conversation. You told them that you were in a hurry, guilt in your voice, but in reality, you were kind of glad that you wouldn’t have to hold a conversation because social interaction wasn’t really a strong point of yours. Sure, you seemed fine with Lorie and maybe Grillby, but they were just enough confident to balance out your awkward. Onionsan sadly bid you goodbye and you left the hallway.

The next point of attention on your trip was a statue with an umbrella propped in its hands, a hopeful melody colouring the air around it. You spent a second to let the song stir something in your Soul before you carried on.

There was a bucket of umbrellas and a note directing you to take one, so you did just that to cover yourself from the rain that was falling up ahead. Not too worried when your shoes became a little damp (well, you were a bit worried about your feet becoming smelly, ew), you maneuvered around puddles along your way. You faintly recall not really liking rainy days on the surface world; even though the smell of wet concrete would send pleasant shivers through your system. Rain meant you had to stay inside, that there wasn’t much to do and many people to see in the wet downpour that coated every surface it could. A memory tugged on the back of your mind; you could spottily envision a younger version of yourself staring through a window at heavy rain outside, your small hands grasped painfully tight on a windowsill. Something was distressing you in the memory, but the reason alluded you. 

Hopefully, this snippet of memory that returned to you signalled the eventual return of the rest of your memories.

The lowered cavern ceilings ended at some point, opening up to a path that showcased a castle in the distance. You figured that was the King’s castle. Stones glittered at the top of the area, making them look like stars. You marvelled at the strangely sad sight before the path’s ceiling lowered once again. There was another bucketful of umbrellas up ahead that you put your used umbrella into. Up ahead was a ledge that you weren’t sure you could climb up… but you sure as hell were going to try.

As you rolled up your sleeves, staring up at the daunting structure, something from the top of the ledge fell onto you with an alarmed shout.

You exclaimed as well, arms flailing before steadying the figure. It was a yellow dinosaur monster with a stripped sweater and no arms. They looked to be a child… though they were bigger than you. The only indication of their age was their size relative to the other monsters you had seen and their large, innocent eyes.

They groaned as they stood up, “Sorry, I gotta stop doing that…” they trailed off while squinting at you, “Wait a sec you look like… are you… a human?!”

You flinched back at the exclamation, ready to enter a Confrontation at the monster’s discovery.

“Yeah I am. Are you… g-going to do something about it?” your voice trembled just a little bit, even if they were just a child, you were sure you’d die just as easily.

They shook their head rapidly, tail thumping against the ground, “No! No! But just listen, dude! I met this kid and they were all nice and sappy, but then Undyne told me they were a human! A human can you believe that?! How can a human be so nice… oh, well, sorry. Anyway! You gotta save them, since you’re a human too an’ all! Undyne took me aside to talk to me, but who knows how long it’ll take for her to catch up with them again?” Wait wait wait, what?

“Undyne? Is chasing the kid? …UNDYNE IS CHASING THE KID?!” The monster kid flinched at your sudden loud volume and their expression grew nervous when you grabbed their shoulders, “Where are they???”

“Faaaar up ahead, dude, just keep going forward and you’ll fine ‘em! They’re near the entrance to Hotland.”

You sent them a thankful smile and ran forward… into a wall. Or more specifically, the ledge you had been intending to scale.

“Duude! You’re just as clumsy as I am! Don’t worry, I’ll lift you up, just hurry!” They kneeled down for you to climb on their shoulders, you hesitated for a second since they didn’t have arms to hold you in place but quickly stumbled up. Their tail steadied you as they stood, and you reached out an arm to grab onto the ledge, the other arm accompanying the first one once your grasp was firm enough. You pulled yourself up.

“Thank you!!” You shouted as you ran.

“No problem, dude!” their voice faded as you ventured further.

You weren’t sure if you’d make it in time since there seemed to be the most frustrating mazes in your way that made your life so much harder. The first maze was of bridges, and it was frustrating enough with its dead ends, but the next maze was the kicker. It was in a large, dark room with glowing mushrooms to light your path, the issue was that the mushrooms refused to stay lit, requiring you to tap them every few second to light up again. Eventually, you made it through in your panicked state only to enter another dark maze with dimming lamps instead of mushrooms.

“For god sakes!” you threw away the idea of relighting the path and just tried your best with your limited sight in the dark. Eventually, you ran through a room filled with echo flowers (you’d definitely come back another time) and walked over a bridge. Though your heart almost beat out of your chest when you crossed the railing-less deathtrap, you put up with the fear that seeded its way deep into your bones in order to made it to the kid as fast as possible.

Entering a cave mouth similar to the ones you had passed through when you had encountered the view of the castle – calling it a cave mouth ironic because you were in what was essentially a cave already – you entered a hallway with a large lit up sign that said ‘WELCOME TO HOTLAND’ on the wall. You only took a few steps inside before you spotted a human kid running away from a blue armoured fish woman wielding a sharp-looking spear of death.

Chapter Text

Typically, your first instinctive reaction to fear (even though you understood how stupid you were for doing it) was to freeze – you knew this, and you had experienced this multiple times that day even. You had been terrified for your life several times since entering the Underground, even though monsters appeared to be mostly of a pacifist nature by your observations. Honestly, you were probably relatively safe, though strangely the hot and cold sensation of fear that had washed through you seemed to be more of a gut reaction; more instinctive than anything, washing out reason and replacing it with the need to escape. And you hated it, you hated being scared – unable to face your fears head-on with a brave face. Instead of bravery, all you had was… cowardice.

Though, this was not the case for the circumstance you were in at that moment.

The scene of a kid’s life being threatened by a woman with a sharp, glowing blue spear… it awakened a new kind of terror inside of you. Captured in your mind like a still-frame, yet time moved too quickly all the same; you could compare was lay in front of you like a horror movie. It ate your stomach away until it was just a pit of dread and desperation. The violent panic that ripped through you was something you had never thought was capable of manifesting within yourself, it bloomed almost artistically like a deep blue anemone flower, wilting just as elegantly. Strangely, you felt a fierce protectiveness for this kid you didn’t know, an urge to preserve the life of the innocent individual that ran for their life at such a young age.

This time, for some reason (perhaps it was because the stakes were higher than your small, insignificant life) you didn’t freeze – couldn’t afford to freeze.

You dashed forward even before the kid tripped and fell to the ground.

You pushed your limits even before Undyne lifted her spear to strike.

And you wrapped your arms around the delicate child that you were so desperate to protect before they could get up to run once again, or before they could be pulled into a Confrontation – their Soul painting their body in a slight glow, one you barely registered was completely different in hue from yours, as it was about to be pulled out, only for it to recede back into their chest. You cradled them to your chest, staring defiantly at the towering fish woman as her stance faltered, strained grin twitching down in confusion.

“What the HECK?! Who are YOU!?!?” you took her hesitance as a chance to make a run for it, sprinting away with the child in your arms. Though, your speed was burdened with the extra weight, which resulted in Undyne successfully scratching you with the tip of her spear as she made a swipe at you. You cried out in pain, gritting your teeth to ignore the burning sensation in order to make it to a safe place.

You entered what you assumed to be Hotland as the ‘Welcome to Hotland’ sign form earlier and the hot temperature implied. You sure hoped you weren’t drenching the kid in your arms in sweat. You passed by a sentry station with a monster snoring inside to reach a bridge that you didn’t have time to worry about crossing. As fast as you could, you ran across the bridge with little thought to how you could easily fall.

Though the fish monster had been close on your tail at the start of your chase, you could hear the clank of her armour get farther and farther as you travelled further into Hotland. Finally, when you reached the end of the bridge the clanks got slower, the kid in your arms started patting your shoulder hurriedly when the noises stopped. You curiously looked down at the kid and they pointed behind you. Cautiously, you slowed your pace and looked over your shoulder to see Undyne on a knee at the end of the bridge. She panted,

“Armour… So… Hot…” she took a second to gulp air into her system, “But I can’t… Give up…” she took a few more steps but her legs finally gave out as she fell to lie on her stomach, tongue hanging out of her mouth.

You felt a little bad but… the kid’s safety was a priority.

The aforementioned kid rapidly patted you with more vigour to gain your attention once again, and when they had it they pointed to the ground, you figured it was to signal you to put them down. You did so hesitantly, watching them walk to a water cooler that you hadn’t even noticed until that moment and grabbed a cup of water.

You were confused about their timing until they started to approach Undyne.

“Kid I don’t think-“ It was too late, they stood in front of the blue intimidating fish woman, cup of water in hand, and dumped it on her head.

What the fuck.

Flinching when she started stirring, you approached the human child and put an arm around them to pull them away but Undyne stood up before you could do so, scanning her surroundings before sending both of you and odd look and walking away sluggishly. You were nothing short of baffled.

What the fuck, indeed.

You relaxed your tensed body, arms loosening when you saw Undyne disappear into the distance. You sighed in relief as the kid still trapped in your hold wiggled to face you, naturally neutral face brightening into a goofy smile and chubby hands coming up to pat your cheeks. You drew back, offended by the unauthorised face-touching and they giggled at your expression.

They finally spoke, “I’m Frisk! And is it hot in here or is it just you?” oh. Oh! Lorie did mention something about the kid being a flirt, that detail had slipped your mind until just now.

You gave them a look, though you couldn’t help the upward twitch of your mouth, and responded, “It seems I have amnesia from the fall, so I can’t give you a name, but it’s nice to meet you Frisk. We should probably talk about things, yeah?” they nodded, mop of brown hair flying around their face, and their small form bounced over next to the water cooler where they sat and patted the space next to them. You screwed up your mouth but didn’t say anything, instead choosing to follow their instruction. You groaned as you sat down, attention brought to the cut you had on your arm from Undyne’s spear… looked like this hoodie was a goner. Your new vantage point near the edge of the platform you were on gave caused you to notice the lava that flowing below. Great. Not terrifying at all.

“So, Toriel sent me her to look after you, said you were pretty mischievous.”

Joy lit up in Frisk’s eyes and they giggled, “Oh! Mom! She gets too worried.” You questioned their choice of calling Toriel ‘mom’, as well as the strange familiarity they appeared to have with someone you assumed they didn’t spend too much time with, but brushed off the need to ask.

“Hey, not to say you aren’t capable, but you’re just a kid – I think her worries are pretty justified.”

They grinned at you, but that expression of mischief dissolved into furrowed brows and pouted lips. They couldn’t seem to keep their hands still, fidgeting them in their apparent internal debate.

“Who are you?”

You couldn’t help be scrunch up your nose at that, god would you like to know too. But it was the way they said it… that didn’t seem to mean what you thought it should. You couldn’t figure out the double meaning to their words for the life of you, though.

So, you gave them the best answer that you could, sweat dripping from your face from the heat, and wound stinging. You were almost sure it was bleeding through your shirt; you self-consciously shifted that arm away from Frisk so that they wouldn’t see it.

“Well, kid, I already told you I don’t remember much of anything. I’d like to find out who I am too, but right now it really beats me.”

That answer didn’t look to satisfy the child as they shook their head, standing up. They pointed further into Hotland as they looked into your eyes.

“Let’s go.” You stood as well, dusting off your butt of any dirt from the ground.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Frisk. It’s dangerous. You just had a face-off with Undyne; you know it’s dangerous.”

They took your hand, eyes glinted, filled with… determination.

You took a sharp breath at their next words.

“Trust me.”

And with the way they said that, you just couldn’t help but put your faith in the hands of this small kid.

Chapter Text

In the distance, there was an industrial-looking building, tubes running up the side of it. It seemed as though you may have had to pass through it since it was directly in your path, and there were two monsters covered in armour blocking a path to the side. You were at least smart enough to know armour and weapons equalled a big, fat no no.

You held Frisk’s hand, the kid appearing not to mind your protectiveness as indicated by the large smile on their chubby face and the tune that spilled out in a hum from their lips. When you were about to pass the two guards – or at least you assumed they were guards – Frisk perked up, and came to a full stop in front of them. You pulled them closer, nudging them as to prompt them away from the dangerous people, but they stayed rooted and spoke,

“Hi! Can we pass through here?” their -toned voice inquired, head tilted up to accommodate the height difference between them and the monsters (and to be honest, you also had to tilt your head quite a bit as well, but that wasn’t new). You really wondered how Frisk was alive still, seeing as they were so friendly. You were willing to bet that they had stopped to talk to nearly every monster they came across until meeting you.

You imagined Frisk walking up to Undyne and saying hi, maybe even flirting with the fish lady… how were they still alive?!

Or maybe your paranoia was ill-founded if such a social kid was still kicking this far into the Underground. You still chose to pull Frisk closer as a precaution.

The guard on the left responded, “Sorry… Undyne, like, told us there was totally a human in the area.” That immediately spiked your fear, though you supposed that if he was saying that, it was likely he didn’t know that you both were, in fact, humans.

He continued after a pause, “So, like, us royal guards are blocking off the elevators for now. Nyah!” He exclaimed in a way that seemed foreign out of his mouth, like if he were imitating someone, “Even if the elevators aren’t working anyway, we’ll do our best Ms. Undyne!” He shouted to the cavern ceilings. The other guard, who hadn’t said a word until now, chuckled; armour clanging slightly at the movement. His laugh was affectionate and warm, contrasting his otherwise cold presence.

“Thank you! We’ll find another way.” You sent Frisk a stern look and pushed them a bit firmer this time to the direction of the metal building. There was a sign above its door that said ‘LAB’ that you read as you got closer.

Once you were in front of the door, you whisper-lectured the child. Still a bit on edge with the two guards nearby, you combed a haky hand through your hair, “You have to be more careful, you don’t want Toriel to find out you got turned into a shish kabob, do you?”

They glanced at you and giggled, moving forward to the door and taking a step inside when it automatically opened.

“Frisk! You rascal! You have to knock… first…” you started reprimanding Frisk as you followed behind them into the lab but trailed off when you stepped into darkness, a single spot of light following the both of you. You quieted at pulled Frisk closer, grabbing at their small hand. For the situation, the kid was alarmingly calm, expression relaxed yet intent on moving forward.

There was a strange buzzing in the air, walking further into the building and squinting at a shape on the wall, you spotted an escalator leading to what you assumed was a second level; the elevator most likely being the source of the sound. However, what was beside the escalator attracted your all of your attention the second you laid eyes on it.

It was a huge screen, one of those old ones that was made of glass and had a convex curve outward.

On the screen was you and Frisk, at that very moment.

You froze, like you always did, and painfully squeezed Frisk’s hand. They tugged you just as hard, insistent on pulling you through the rest of the lab. They pulled you past a few black blobs that you didn’t make an effort to see in the darkness and stopped.

You were about to say something to Frisk in your fear, mouth open and body quivering, when you heard a whooshing sound accompanied by the sight of something moving ahead of you.

A blood-curling scream escaped you when all the lights turned on.

The moving blob from earlier also screamed, the owner of the feminine-sounding voice appearing to be a mass of yellow through your squinted lids and disorientation. Frisk burst out laughing in front of you.

“Oh my god, OH MY GOD. I’m so sorry! I-I I wasn’t expecting you so soon, I swear I didn’t mean-! Well, I, uh.” your eyes finally adjusted to the sudden lights, making out the form of the monster who was in a panicked ramble. She was a yellow lizard monster, she fumbled her claws and shifted her feet awkwardly. Her eyes shifted rapidly behind her round glasses, seeming to want to look anywhere but the two of you. The white lab coat that draped over her thick tail prompted you to think that she was the resident scientist.

She slowed her panic, settling into less anxious (but still anxious) posture, “I’m Dr. Alphys! I’m Asgore’s Royal Scientist!” 

You pushed (the still laughing) Frisk behind you, “Asgore- the king? You work for the king. And you’ve been expecting us.” She threw her claws up,

“N-no! Not like that! I… I’ve actually been, uh, ‘observing’ you two.” She wilted at your suspicious glare, “I really don’t mean any harm, I swear! At first, I watched the small human, Their fights, their friendships. It was all so exciting! I didn’t report them to Asgore, cause, w-well, I thought ‘I want to get to know this person!’. And you, you weren’t violent at all either! Your persistency to move ahead. Just. I-I wanted to root for you!”

You still didn’t trust this Alphys completely, but she didn’t seem like a bad person. She was a little awkward, but so were you. Your empathy of her situation made you relax the slightest bit. If you didn’t have Frisk with you, you’d probably throw caution to the wind, but you couldn’t afford that now.

“So, will you let us pass through?”

She perked up, “W-Well, um, that’s just the thing! I wanted to help you guys through Hotland! There are a lot of puzzles and, aaah, I thought my knowledge might help?” the end of her sentence trailed off into a question.

“That… That might help. We would appreciate that, Alphys.” The monster’s smile raised into something a little less nervous and more genuine before dropping a bit,

“G-Great! There’s just one… problem.” You hoped it wasn’t a lethal one, “I- A while back a made a robot. An entertainment robot; you know, like a TV star! But, uh, I recently built in some features that… that are kind of… detrimental to humans. That is to say, I built in a-anti-human combat features…………” there was a silence 

“You WHAT!?”

“A-Ah! Of c-course, after I saw you two I decided to remove those features! B-But… I made a.. teensy weensy mistake when doing so and… now he’s a human-killing machine with a thirst for human blood???”

Alphys laughed nervously, face scrunched up in her guilt.

“Alphys, you-“ There was a thump, “What was that?”

The thumps kept getting more frequent, worrying you immensely. You took a few steps back.

The yellow monster in front of you squeaked, “Oh no.”

There was a flash of bright light.

“OHHHH YES!”

Chapter Text

You were starting to question the point of all this.

After your encounter with the metal box that was Mettaton, Alphys upgraded the phone that Frisk had somehow possessed with her powers of science and then left in a hurry. You weren’t too sure how she could modify such an ancient-looking phone within what seemed to be a few seconds - maybe it was because of magical reasons?

Your encounter with the flamboyant “human-killing machine” was nothing short of entertaining. You had expected to have been skewered on the spot, but he seemed to conduct some sort of game show in which there was one rule; “ANSWER CORRECTLY… OR DIE!” as Mettaton had explained before pulling your and Frisk’s Souls into a Confrontation. You had thought that Confrontations were solely for the purpose of engaging in battle – though this could have been seen as some type of battle – but apparently you were sorely mistaken. Though, you did vaguely recall something Toriel had told you about how Confrontations served multiple purposes... but you couldn't remember exactly what she has said about the subject. In this instance, the two of you were made to take some sort of multiple choice quiz that had appeared easy enough at first, but quickly (VERY quickly) because much harder than your small human brain could handle.

Luckily, Alphys had guided you every step of the way, even through some bullshit math question about trains. Unfortunately for her, she was exposed for sharing answers after she had (endearingly) gotten too excited when Mettaton asked a question about some dating game, her enthusiasm immediately clueing the robot into her deception. You found it hilarious that the following question that was asked involved the yellow monster’s latest crush. Maybe you should have felt bad, but the whole situation was ridiculous, even more so when you found out that her crush was Undyne – the same Undyne that had tried to kill you and Frisk moments earlier!

You could see why someone would have a crush on a buff warrior woman, especially since she had a position of power. Perhaps you would have a crush on her too if she didn’t try to take your life away.

Or maybe the reason why Alphys had a crush on the fish woman was because the monster wasn’t as bad as your terrified mind wanted to make her out to be. 

Anyway, the quiz show that seemed more about comedy than killing ended soon enough and you and Frisk were left with your own devices inside Alphys’ lab. Frisk, the little shit (that you hated to admit was growing on you a lot), had starting exploring the place immediately, even going as far as to take the woman’s escalator to the second floor of her lab to a much more private-looking area. Your scolding didn’t seem to do much as Frisk had just giggled at you and continued hopping around, skimming through the manga on the shelves oddly labelled with the words ‘Human History’.

You couldn’t exactly remember history from the surface, but you were sure magical girls and robots weren’t involved very much. Then again, you’d love for surface life to be that cool, so maybe you could hold out hope.

After you got a hold of the rampaging Frisk, who only stuck a tongue out at you when you literally dragged them away from the strange cube they were slapping in the corner of Alphys’ second floor, you continued through Hotland. You had truly taken the cool air in Alphys’ lab for granted, and you started to wish you had given in to Frisk’s exploring and stayed longer after your face was coated in a disgusting layer of sweat. You decided it was probably a good idea to remove your sweater and tie it around your waist.

Venturing further into Hotland proved to be… somewhat of a challenge. It wasn’t that the terrain was difficult to get through or that the puzzles were especially difficult, it more had to do with the fact that Frisk’s phone kept blowing up with notifications from none other than the notorious Doctor Alphys. When the yellow lizard-like woman tinkered with Frisk’s phone, she had created an account for the child on the Underground’s most popular social media site, and had added them as friend. Though, the thing was that she seemed to forget the fact that she had added them based on the multiple status updates about her anxiety involving helping ‘the humans’.

That was another thing – why did it seem like no one in the Underground felt the need to ask for your names? Honestly, it saved you the trouble since you couldn’t even remember yours, but it felt a bit rude in your opinion. Then again, everyone was nice enough to you so that made up for the fact that they didn’t care for your name rendering you not annoyed at all, just curious.

Every time Alphys updated her status, Frisk stopped to read it, and – despite your slight exasperation – you’d join them in reading the scientist’s latest thoughts over their shoulder. Honestly, part of the reason why you weren’t too bothered by the multiple stops was the fact that you found Alphys extremely relatable and entertaining. Sure, she was sort of cringy; but so were you. You related to her intense anxiety and obsession for the things she liked. Though you were unsure about a friendship between the two of you, you didn’t dislike her for sure. In fact, you laughed out loud when she posted a picture of a garbage can with a bunch of cute filters layered on top of it with the caption, ‘CUte PIC OF ME RIGHT NOW ^. ^’. Frisk giggled at your reaction and you blushed, avoiding eye-contact out of your embarrassment. She had even posted a status about Undyne supposedly trying to flirt with her without the lizard monster realising, which had you feeling giddy since it was the cutest thing they had mutual crushes on each other.

You had soon found out that Hotland was filled with air vents, conveyor belts, and lasers. The most concerning being the air vents since they propelled you across small gaps to other pieces of ground. You had probably almost pissed yourself using one at first, but you quickly became accustomed to the hops since there were a bunch of puzzles that included them and because you never seemed to be at risk due to the jumps being quite precise (definitely not because Frisk had no issues with the air vents and looked like they were born to ride them and you didn’t want to be upstaged by someone most likely more than 10 years younger than you, nope).

The calls from Alphys guiding you forward didn’t help too much, to be honest, but you and Frisk just played along – you solving some of the puzzles while Frisk went off to chat with various monsters – until you had made it to some sort of kitchen.

And lo and behold, of course it belonged to the ever-dramatic, Mettaton.

It was for some sort of cooking show, in which the robot asked the both of you to fetch items for him, which you made quick work of. You should have known that something would go wrong when he claimed the last ingredient was a ‘HUMAN SOUL!!!’, luckily, when Alphys interfered, he was willing to use an ‘MTT-BRAND ALWAYS-CONVENIENT HUMAN-SOUL-FLAVOUR SUBSTITUTE’… whatever that was.

Fortunately, it was on a table on the far side of the set. Unfortunately, the table was hundreds of feet high.

Long story short, Alphys installed a jetpack on Frisk’s phone (??) and Frisk zoomed up towards the substitute before you could tell them not to while Mettaton threw various cooking ingredients at them (???). You were much too close to getting a heart-attack while you watched Frisk maneuver through the items thrown at them, but once Frisk reached the top and Mettaton claimed that he didn’t need the substitute anymore and that he’d already baked (‘HAVEN’T YOU EVER SEEN A COOKING SHOW BEFORE? I ALREADY BAKED THE CAKE AHEAD OF TIME!!!!! SO FORGET IT!!!’), you were wholly ready to put the whole event behind you and progress.

You hadn’t even scolded Frisk due to your exasperation, and who were you to mother hen the kid? You were practically a kid yourself!

So, after passing a terrifying metallic structure sitting in a sea of lava in the distance, you entered an elevator to head to ‘Right Floor 2’.

The elevator was a small reprieve from the heat of Hotland, being cooler than the pathways you’d traversed previously but not as cool as the moderate temperatures of Waterfall. The silence that accompanied your first still moment since meeting Frisk made you restless, prompting you to speak,

“So, I’m sorry to have to ask, but are you a boy or a girl?” you asked Frisk, you had been referring to them as ‘them’ the whole time you’d known them due to their androgynous features and felt bad about not being able to discern their gender.

The kid sent you a look you couldn’t decipher, and replied, “I can be whatever you want me to be!” with a wink.

You took that as gender neutral? Maybe.

You had noticed how little Frisk wanted to speak, telling you the most concise answers to your questions and never attempting to extend a conversation, so you decided that it was probably best to leave the topic to rest with the worry of making them uncomfortable. Soon your short elevator ride came to an end and you stepped out into the painfully hot temperature. You were tempted to cry out in your displeasure 

This area didn’t look any different from the other parts of Hotland that you had encountered, though you did see a few monsters and one of those stations that you saw back in Snowdin and Waterfall – were those some sort of watch outs?

Though… looking closer, you were sure that the monster in the station was selling hot dogs.

Wait, how was there snow on the roof in this heat?

Frisk suddenly ran forward, rushing to greet the skeleton monster that was serving people hotdogs. You sped up your pace to keep up with them.

The skeleton had small dots that acted like pupils in his eye sockets – interesting since Papyrus didn’t have them – and his sockets were lidded lazily, though he seemed to tense when he glanced your way for a split second before his gaze rested on the kid. 

The monster spoke, “hey buddy, what’s up? wanna buy a hot dog?” oh boy, his voice was… sinfully low. No! Don’t think weird things!

The child by your side was reaching for their coins before the skeleton even gave them a price, he gave them one anyway, “it’s only 30G.”

You put a hand on Frisk’s shoulder and they looked up to you in question, but you only narrowed your eyes at the monster in front of you.

“30G? Isn’t that kind of expensive for a hot dog?”

he responded, “did i say 30? i meant 50.” Your jaw dropped, was he really doing this?

“Are you really trying to scam a kid?” you were a bit surprised at how unusually brazen you were being, you should have probably just walked away, but the way the monster stared at you in challenge… it lit something in you, made you want to fight back.

Shivers went down your spine when the skeleton monster’s eyes extinguished, making him appear much scarier. He spoke through his tight smile, though his clenched teeth didn’t impede his next words since, much like Papyrus, he didn’t need to open his mouth to speak.

“hey lady, i’m just trying to run a business here.”

The warning tone of his voice made you much more aware how much bigger he was compared to your small human body. He was a foot or two taller than you, and though he was shorter than Toriel or Papyrus, he wasn’t short by any means. His wideness only added to his intimidation factor, bones thick enough to probably break your hand if you punched him. You couldn’t fathom how a skeleton could be thick 

Despite not knowing him, you probably weren’t as afraid as you should have been; mostly just annoyed and intimidated. That was probably why you continued on as if you were as brave as you wished you were, even though everything about the skeleton screamed ‘I’m threatening you’,

“Well maybe you should run your ‘business’ for people who won’t get caught up in whatever you selling them – which, by how you’re running things, seems to be primarily BS.” You moved your gaze from the now silent, pupil-less skeleton and patted Frisk on the back, the child looking torn between being amused and disappointed, “Let’s go, Frisk." 

The two of you took a few steps before you heard a, “who even ar-” and felt a thin hand grab your wrist. The bony appendage was rigid while strangely being warm and almost welcoming. You didn't have long to analyse the gentle warmth that seeped through you though the touch on your arm. Your chest clenched in what assumed was fear or anger, or something before you turned to glare at the skeleton that seemed to have appeared out of thin air without a sound behind you. You didn't pay any mind to the fact that he had cut himself off without a clear reason and instead yanked your wrist out of his grip (which you were surprised you could do since the clasp he had on your seemed pretty solid). You decided a leave a few final, scathing words before your departure, more than ready to leave the rude monster behind,

“Leave us alone.”

And then the two of you left the hot dog stand and the gawking skeleton behind, unable to see the reaction that he had after you turned your back. You were sure it wasn’t pleasant, but you were too angry to care about the stupid, scamming skeleton man enough to check.

Chapter Text

‘dinner with my girlfriend ;)’

Alphys’ latest status update was accompanied by a picture of a catgirl figurine next to a bowl of instant noodles. Before you could comment on it to Frisk with a laugh threatening to bubble up from your chest, someone named CoolSkeleton95 replied with ‘ARE WE POSTING HOT “PICS???” HERE IS ME AND MY COOL FRIEND’.

You were 90% sure that ‘CoolSkeleton95’ was Papyrus based on the eccentric and incredibly endearing way the commenter spoke, and that deduction was only confirmed by a picture posted a few seconds after of the very skeleton in your mind. Wearing sunglasses. Flexing in front of a mirror… giant muscular biceps pasted on his arms that, of course, also wore sunglasses.

There was no possible way you could control your laughter, unable to stop even when Frisk sent you an amused look. The feeling of shame at being so immature in front of someone you were supposed to take care of was a small thought in the back of your mind, instead, all you could think of was the sheer ridiculousness of the monster named Papyrus. You had to take a moment to sit on the ground in an attempt to compose yourself. Oh my god. You couldn’t believe how hilarious and precious Papyrus was. What an awesome guy! You really wanted to be friends with him. You couldn’t believe someone like him existed… and he was not only funny but seemingly caring based on the one interaction you’d had with him. It was a bit worrying that he’d wanted to turn you in to the guard, though.

Alphys replied quickly with disbelief of how serious Papyrus was, and you were a bit curious too – how could someone be that funny unknowingly?

Of course, he responded with, ‘THE ONLY JOKE HERE, IS HOW STRONG MY MUSCLES ARE.’.

What a cool dude.

Clearly, not all skeletons were as cool as him, but sure did you wish they were.

Needless to say, you had wasted a lot of time laughing in the middle of Hotland’s pathways, Frisk patiently waiting for you in order to continue on. And your second bout of laughter after Papyrus’ response to Alphys’ inquiry didn’t help in the slightest time-wise.

As soon as you had calmed down, Frisk headed forward, unwilling to wait for you any longer. Though you were had regained proper motor control of your body once again, you still occasionally quivered in withheld laughter as you joined their side.

As usual, you had to solve some puzzles – one of which involved air vents and buttons, driving you almost insane with how many times you had to attempt to solve it (Frisk solved it after a single try after giggling at your exclamations of rage, the cheeky genius) – before running into the guards from outside Alphys’ lab, warning you of humans in the area.

Long story short, they attacked the two of you and Frisk had somehow got them to confess to each other? You were there to witness the events that had transpired but you still weren’t completely sure what happened. But go them! Plus, they stopped trying to kill you and Frisk which was always a bonus!

The next area… well, you did think Mettaton was kind of hilarious and entertaining, but he was also quickly becoming a pain in the butt. You were thrown into some sort of news broadcast, and instructed to report on one of various items strewn on the ground. And of course, they all turned out to be bombs. That you and Frisk had to diffuse. Within a time limit. Else a larger bomb go off. And Alphys had so conveniently installed a bomb diffusion software on Frisk’s phone. Hmm.

Well, you managed to fail spectacularly but Alphys had so conveniently saved the day. Hmm.

You had decided to brush off the incident. Frisk also didn’t seem to care too much so it must have not been worth the brain cells used to think about it. Though, speaking of Frisk, they seemed very unfazed by most everything that had happened so far. Sometimes, it was almost as if they were anticipating certain things. You must have been going crazy. Maybe they were just a really brave kid, or just very traumatised to the point of numbness… though, they acted fine. Maybe you were already crazy.

Walking away from Mettaton’s shenanigans and shifting your attention to what was to come was gradually becoming easier and easier. It had previously stunned you how odd and unnecessarily grand the robot’s attempts to halt you were, but you guessed you were just coming to expect it at this point; which was kind of scary now that you thought of it. You were coming to realise that you were… having fun in the Underground. The weight of the fact that your Soul was needed to free an entire civilisation had left your mind in your fun, but of course you had to be forced out of your fantasy in some way, in this case, it was due to a call from Alphys.

You were headed towards another elevator, Frisk a bit ahead of you, when their phone rang. Like always, they put it on speaker for the both of you to hear.

“Um… I noticed you’ve been kind of quiet…” She must have been referring to Frisk, though you hadn’t said too much to Alphys in your suspicion of her either “Are you w-worried about meeting Asgore…?”

Your heart felt like it sunk to your stomach, you froze, unable to say anything other than a pathetic, “Oh…”

Alphys was silent before she responded, “W-well, don’t worry, okay? Th-the king is a really nice guy… I’m sure you can talk to him, and… w-with your human Souls, you can pass through the barrier!” for some reason that didn’t alleviate your dread.

“S-so no worrying, okay? J-just forget about it and smile.” She hung up before you could think up something to say in response.

Frisk looked up at you, their face blank and their eyes full of some sort of knowledge that a kid their age never should have had. Suddenly, you felt like you were the one being baby-sat, and that you were sorely underestimating the potential of the child that gazed at you with a stare too deep to analyse. For the first time since meeting Frisk, you were unsettled by them. You shakily smiled,

“Let’s go.” And they nodded.

The whole elevator ride, your mind thought about what it really meant to be a human down in the Underground. How could you have forgotten? How could you have gotten carried away just because you felt like you were included in something, like you weren’t holding back thousands, or even millions of people from achieving freedom?

You kinda sucked.

But you put those thoughts on the back burner as you stepped into a dimly lit room, some sort of bake sale being held by a spider monster. You sighed when Frisk went up to talk to them.

“Welcome to our parlour dearies~. Interested in some spider pastries? All proceeds go to real spiders~.” The monster had a higher-pitched voiced, drenched in an insincere sweetness. She pointed you towards a pair of webs to her side. You followed her direction as Frisk talked to another customer.

The spiders on the webs held up a sign with the price of a doughnut.

9999G?!

You tapped Frisk on the shoulder and gestured towards the exit of the room nervously when they glanced at you. They smiled and hopped away.

A few more puzzles later and you reached a dimmed purple room, similar to the one with the bake sale, covered in cob webs.

Oh no, you had a bad feeling about this.

You walked forward, cautiously, behind an unaffected Frisk.

You heard a high-pitched giggle.

The familiar voice spoke, though you couldn’t locate where the source of it was, “Did you hear what they just said?” you decided to keep quiet.

“They said a two puny humans will come through.” You paused, limbs suddenly feeling icy, before continuing forward.

“I heard that they hate spiders.” That wasn’t true! …to an extent.

The two of you walked into a thick layer of spider webs on the floor, sticking to your shoes and slowing you down. You glanced at Frisk unsurely but they kept looking forward with a determined gleam in their eyes.

“I heard that they love to stomp on them. I heard that they love to tear their legs off. I heard…”

From the darkness, the spider woman from earlier appeared, along with a butt-ton of spiders, surrounding you. You gasped and took a step back from the monster.

“… that they’re awfully stingy with their money.” She giggled, “You think your taste is too refined for our pastries, don’t you, deary?” she giggled again, her voice lower, “I disagree with that notion. I think your taste…”

You felt a pulling in your chest, “Is exactly what this next batch needs!”

And with that, you were, once again, in a Confrontation.

Chapter Text

You hadn’t realised that the very few Confrontations you had been pulled into up until that point had been very tame, and much less life-threatening than what Muffet – the name of the spider monster that you had found out mid-battle – was currently subjecting you to.

Both your Soul and Frisk’s were quickly drenched in a deep purple, limiting your movements heavily. It had freaked you out at first, since the other Confrontations hadn’t altered the colour of your Soul, but you soon became accustomed to the latter-like magic you were forced to climb. You weren’t a very athletic human if you were being completely honest, so you were surprised that you were able to dodge the various projectiles headed your way.

Spiders skittered towards you in an attempt to hit you and your Soul and pastries shot your way. At first, you were preoccupied with protecting Frisk, but you soon realised how… natural they were at finessing their way to safety. You were a bit shocked that such a small child moved as if they were made for such battles, having the precise movements of a dancer and the forethought of a veteran. You were quickly realising how much you didn’t know about Frisk. It was natural to assume a child wouldn’t have too much depth to their character yet as a growing person… but clearly you were very wrong.

Things seemed to be going well, or as well as they could be when being attacked by a giant spider woman throwing croissants at you. Your muscles ached and you were breathing heavily, but the adrenaline coursing through your veins did wonders for your performance. It really helped to know that with just one or two hits you could die on the spot, if your extremely low Hope indicated anything.

You could faintly hear Muffet talk about her spiders and something about your and Frisk’s Souls over the pounding of your heartbeat and the panic in your every movement. Luckily, Confrontations worked in a turn-based fashion, where, after every turn where you literally dodged threats for your life, you had a brief period to rest. This was technically ‘your turn’, but you and Frisk couldn’t think of any way to use it other than catching your breath.

Just as you thought you were getting the hang of things, Muffet spoke, 

“Oh, how rude of me! I almost forgot to introduce you to my pet~. It’s breakfast time, isn’t it? Have fun you three~.”

At first you were confused since her next attack was very similar to her last ones, but then you saw it approaching.

A gigantic fanged muffin.

What even are the limits of what monsters can be??

In a blind panic, you frantically climbed out of danger, a.k.a, away from the big muffin trying to tear your legs off with its giant teeth. You watched as Frisk maneuvered expertly around spiders above you. How did they do that? Unfortunately, it was a major mistake to get distracted.

While your attention was diverted by your travel companion, a spider lunged for your soul, successfully dealing damage to the small purple heart. You screamed in pain – the sensation was as if your chest was being seared by red-hot metal, and your veins were filled with acid, flowing through your limbs and causing them to stiffen. The direct and prolonged contact with that spider on your soul was leagues more painful than that small scrape against that frog’s fly in the Ruins.

A gasp escaped you as your body began to fail, causing you to drop from your position on Muffet’s webbing to the vicious monster below. Instinctually, you squeezed your eyes shut, prepared to embrace the death that was sure to come in a few moments. An unbearable burning pain spread throughout your being, originating from your very core, and you could feel your consciousness fading away in the intensity of the sensations you were experiencing. Your fingertips started feeling numb. In the back of your mind you could hear something about a telegram and the Ruins before a floating feeling overcame your fading self and your mind slipped away.

You couldn’t feel anymore…

Chapter Text

You didn’t have dreams.

Well, you wouldn’t say that what you experienced was dreaming anyway.

In the darkness of your mind, you could feel sensations of things brushing against your skin, taunting you before drawing back. Your paralysed state rendering you unable to answer the teasing touches. Occasionally you would feel jolts, as though your body would panic during a fall, but you knew that your physical body remained still, unmoving. Your mind conjured up outlines in the dark, things that weren’t there but laughed at you in the corner of your mind, and you couldn’t even fully feel fear in your unconscious state. Truthfully, you weren’t even wholly aware that you were conscious. You barely knew you existed. You floated (no, lied down? …you weren’t sure) in a space between universes, in a bubble separate from life. Your limbs didn’t exist.

Flashes of dull, nonexistent pain, emotions you couldn’t comprehend – it wasn’t couldn’t be truly labelled a nightmare, but a sense of unease grew with every second that passed by.

Not that seconds meant much in the deepest caverns of your mind.

You couldn’t remember what had happened before the moment you were in, or after. Could you even know what came after a moment you were in? It seemed unreasonable that you couldn’t.

You existed.

You felt.

You didn’t truly feel.

Until you woke up, in a different type of darkness, chest tight and body aching.

It took you to realise that the darkness was caused by your eyelids before you lifted them, despite how heavy and unwilling to comply they were. You blinked away the crustiness to your eyes and wiped them with your hands, sitting up. Where were you?

You were in a dimly lit room, on a sparsely (and by sparsely you meant not at all) covered mattress, a thin blanket draped over your form. Unable to inspect the room, due to your poor vision, you prayed and swiped a hand across the mattress space nearest to your head, celebrating when you felt the familiar shape of your glasses. Honestly, you forgot you even had glasses until you weren't wearing them. You truly took clear sight for granted. 

There seemed to be random things strewn about the decently sized room you were in, mostly socks. There was a cardboard box with a lamp on it in the corner (that is a floor lamp, why is it not on the floor), a treadmill in the center of the room, and some sort of mini tornado? Honestly, your head hurt too much to process how that could possibly have worked, instead you chose to take a deep breath in, the small of the room strangely powerful and calming.

Not only did your head ache, but your whole body did; the kind of dull ache that came after a day of working out too hard. Glancing downwards, you briefly regarded the odd choice of colours chosen for the carpet in the room. Teal and purple zigzags? Interesting.

Amazed by how the room you were in was neat and messy at the same time, you almost forgot to question why you were there. Last you remembered… you were getting attacked by Muffet, and she… you almost died.

You shivered thinking about how painful that attack on your soul was, and the distinct sensation of your life slipping away. You definitely should have been dead.

Maybe the relief of knowing you were alive was what made you so calm about waking up in an unfamiliar place.

There was a window above the mattress you sat on. You stood up in order to peek outside.

That was definitely Snowdin. Unless there was another snow area of the Underground you weren’t aware of. Why would you be back in Snowdin? And where was Frisk?!

You lunged from the bed in a panic, ending up in a heap of limbs and tangled up blanket on the weirdly coloured carpet. You aggressively jerked your arms and legs about until you were successfully detangled and struggled to get back on your feet quick enough for your tastes in order to reach the door, legs feeling like jelly. You slammed your hand on the handle before putting all your strength into pulling the door open and running out into a short hallway… only to find out you were on the second floor… and that you were running towards the end of the second floor…to a ledge…with no railing…

And you were falling.

You shrieked and closed your eyes, waiting for the inevitable. Oh boy, you’re really gonna go and die right after escaping death. Go you. What an intellectual. You were so boned.

…why was dying taking so long??

You peeked an eye open and found yourself staring into a chest, and you suddenly realised that you felt arms around your waist. Holy shit, what?

Looking up, you saw the dickbag skeleton that sold hotdogs??

You gasped, quickly bringing your arms up to push away from him, but his hold was rock solid. How did you break away from him last time? With a glare, you looked up at him, still pushing. Though, he only tightened his grip. In your struggle, you noticed how out of it he appeared to be – sockets lidded, eye lights fuzzy, and grin more relaxed than you had previously saw it, the skeleton looked to be almost drunk. Why? You didn’t know. And you didn’t want to know why his gaze on your face did things to your chest, things you chose to ignore as much as you could.

Why he was still holding you??

“Can you fucking let go of me?” your scathing tone seemed to do the trick of snapping the monster out of his (freaking weird) daze, causing him blink away whatever funk he was in a loosen his hold. Quickly, you pushed away from him and took a defensive stance while backing up.

“Where the hell am I? Who even are you?? Why are you here???” You really hoped your fear didn’t communicate through your voice. Though, with your luck, it probably did.

The large skeleton man started sweating (?), blue beads of liquid dripping down his skull. It was kinda gross… and maybe a little cool. He (though you had mostly slapped gendered pronouns onto monsters you had met based on their quality of voice, or general feel, you weren’t completely sure about what they identified as since they were a different race) shoved the hands that were held up in the same position you had left them when you escaped into the pockets of his blue hoodie (you hadn’t noticed before, but that was a pretty ratty hoodie… was that a red stain?) before clearing his throat awkwardly. His eyes took a moment to inspect you, making you feel incredibly self-conscious. You felt the itch to cover yourself up, but you felt like you’d be losing some unsaid battle if you did. After a beat, he spoke,

“uhh… that’s a lot of questions there, sweetheart.”

You scowled, “Yeah, well, how about you try answering them then, sweetheart.”

You could see him visibly wince before taking a step forward, to which you matched with a step back. He put up his hands in defeat.

“well, uh, the name’s sans, sans the skeleton. and to answer two of your questions in one; this is my house.” Okay, so now you had a name for the jerkwad. Perfect.

Wait, in his house?!

In your outrage, you took a few steps forward, watching Sans’ eye lights dilate as you got closer, “I’m in your house?! Why am I in your house?? Did you kidnap me?!”

The amount of sweat on his skull suddenly doubled, his grin tightened.

“no! what??” making a decision to get the fuck out of what looked like a dangerous situation, you glanced at what looked like a front door behind him before dashing towards it. 

Adrenaline once again flowed through your veins as you made a desperate attempt to escape a skeleton monster that you couldn’t help but assume was psycho. You could only take about two steps before Sans was suddenly in front of you, bony arms around you once again, keeping you in place an denying you your freedom.

“k i d ,  i  w o u l d n ‘ t  d o  t h a t  i f  i  w e r e  y o u.”

Your face was stuffed into his chest once again, but this time you weren’t able to see anything, though you could feel something in the air brushing and crackling against your skin. Even if you were able look up, you physically couldn’t, body so terrified that you were afraid to even move, like you were a deer caught in the headlights of a car. Your heartrate, which had already been fast, was pumping even harder, and was quickly becoming the only thing you could hear – the pounding beat in your ears deafening you. Your skin felt as if someone dumped a bucket of icy cold water on top of you and proceeded to impale you through the chest with a javelin made out of molten lava.

You were barely breathing, your vision getting blurry; from lack of oxygen or from fear you didn’t know. After a few moments, despite your dry throat, you opened your mouth to scream but was interrupted by a loud bang somewhere in front of you.

Getting a hold of yourself, you began to push away from Sans as he glanced behind himself to assess the source of the noise.

A booming voice spoke, “I KNEW MY DEVIOUS PLAN WOULD WORK! NOW BOTH OF MY GREAT FRIENDS ARE FRENDS AS WELL!! SHE-!” the voice paused as you managed to push yourself away from Sans’ previously iron grip, once again (was this going to be a thing now?).

You backed away from the skeleton that had entrapped you, making sure you were out of reach before shifting your gaze to the door.

To your surprise Papyrus stood proud at the entrance of Sans’ house, eye sockets scanning the situation, brows furrowed. If you oriented yourself better you could see the top of Frisk’s brown mop of hair behind the hulking figure of Sans, their grin wide but their eyes piercing. You looked back to Papyrus.

“I See…” the taller skeleton spoke in tone you found difficult to decipher. His voice much brighter, he followed with, “SANS! STOP MISTREATING OUR GUEST! YOU KNOW YOU’LL NEVER GET ANYWHERE BY ACTING LIKE THAT.” You weren’t sure what he meant by that last part.

Sans didn’t respond, so you chose that time to speak, “Papyrus?? Why are you here?” you heard a faint sound from Sans, who was still facing you with his eye lights extinguished, before Papyrus spoke.

“HELLO HUMAN!! I SEE THAT YOU DON’T RECOGNISE THIS STUNNING ABODE FROM OUR EARLIER MEETING, BUT THIS IS, IN FACT, MY HOUSE!!! I WILL PAUSE TO ALLOW YOU TIME TO EXPERIENCE MARVEL AND AMAZEMENT FOR A MOMENT.”            

You did, in fact, take the time he gave you to look around the room you were in. Though the house didn’t seem like anything amazing, you’d never tell papyrus that in fear of hurting his feelings. By your immediate left, there was a large table pushed against the wall that you assumed to be the dinner table with a plated rock on it? Why did the rock have sprinkles on it? Okay, moving on. There was a sock to your right on the floor with a bunch on sticky notes on it – you’d read them another time if you got the chance. Beside the misplaced sock was a flat screen TV on a TV stand and it weirded you out a bit to see much more modern technology in the Underground for the first time. Granted, you’d seen a sentient robot, but that was out of your comprehension; almost fantastical. The rest of the room consisted of a lime green couch faced towards to TV against the wall, a small table with a book on it in the corner of the room and a staircase leading up to the second floor that you should have used earlier. Oh, and the oddly coloured carpet beneath your feet once again. Overall, Papyrus’ house was kind of sparse, but it was home-y in atmosphere.

Wait, Papyrus’ house?

You turned your attention back to Papyrus, “Do you guys, live together?? In the same house??? You guys know each other???” how could such a great guy like Papyrus be acquainted with someone like Sans? And live with him? 

The tall skeleton sighed, hands on his hips and expression one of exasperation and displeasure, “AHH, YES… Unfortunately.” He muttered the last part, “THIS SHENANEGAN-PULLING BALL OF GREASE IS UNDOUBTABLY MY BROTHER. THOUGH, SOMETIMES I QUESTION OUR RELATION ANYWAY.” He proceeded to pose in some sort of distressed, ‘thinker’ pose with his arm curled with his gloved fist pointed towards his face and his head bent to rest on that very fist.

You were sure your face was scrunched up horrifically in confusion, unable to comprehend how Papyrus (Papyrus!) was related (!!) to Sans (SANS!!). From the very beginning of your introduction, Sans had never failed to be a complete and utter dick, constantly provoking you and threatening you and- and-! He was just a big meanie!

A snort broke you out of your thoughts, and you identified the offensive sound from the very skeleton in your thoughts. His eye lights – that had returned at some point – scanned over your face as his features twisted up in an attempt to hold in his laughter, though he was clearly failing as sounds occasionally escaped his teeth and tears pooled in the corners of his sockets. He bent over slightly, harms hugging his torso in mirth. You glared at him.

“You want to fight??” though you were genuine in your question, it seemed the prod did the opposite of what you wanted. Sans could no longer hold in his laughter and loud guffaws and gasps left him, he closed his eyes in an attempt to control himself.

Your expression screamed ‘offended’ as you contemplated barrelling into the skeleton who had scared you shitless only moments earlier.

“NYEHEHEH, WELL! IT SEEMS THE TWO OF YOU HAVE BUILT UP A PLEASANT ATMOSPHERE, SO THE SMALL HUMAN AND I SHALL TAKE OUR LEAVE! UP TO MY ROOM!! WHERE WE WILL HAVE AN EPIC HYPOTHETICAL BATTLE WITH MY HYPOTHETICAL BATTLE FIGURES!” Papyrus scooped up a giggling Frisk under his arm and took large strides towards the stairs 

“P-Papyrus, wait!” you exclaimed, but it got drowned out by the heavy slamming of his door.  You slowly turned back to Sans so see his gaze already on you. You darted your eyes away nervously.

Now that you knew he was Papyrus’ brother, you kind of wanted to make peace with him, or at least come to a reluctant agreement so that you could trouble the taller skeleton as little as possible. But it was just so hard to be the one to make the first step – it felt almost like you were giving up! And you were stubborn as hell when you wanted to be, which was almost all the time. 

Unfortunately, it didn’t look like Sans was going to anything soon, he just stared at you creepily while you fidgeted. Maybe you should go up and join Papyrus and Frisk? But you didn’t want to butt into their fun… Oh god, it was so much easier to make decisions when you had someone to protect.

Glancing his way a final time (and totally not getting shivers from the way he stared at you… it was almost seemed like the kind of stare that- no. You were just imagining things.), you squeaked out an awkward, “U-Umm… I’m just gonna be… over there…” before speed walking to their couch and throwing yourself onto it in order to curl yourself into a ball and hide away. You were embarrassed about acting in such an immature way in front of a stranger, but you also really didn’t want to deal with the stand-off you were having with Sans, feeling defenseless after losing all your fire.

You didn’t hear him approach before he spoke, “hey…uh, sw- kid. i know we got off on a bad start but mind if we start over?” you turned your body a bit to peek over your shoulder at him where he stood at the end of the couch. Once again, sweating, Sans’ eye lights were focused off to the side as he shifted in place.

You paused before you answered, “Y-Yeah…okay.” You didn’t realise how tense Sans was until he relaxed and sent a grin your way, and though he was technically always grinning, this grin seemed much happier than his previous ones. Shifting to the far end of the couch, you sent him a look communicating that he could sit if he wanted. Though, you still didn’t trust him completely, choosing to squish yourself into the armrest to your right to make sure the two of you had as much space between you as possible.

Sans’ eye lights flickered and dilated before he took your offer, unfortunately sitting towards more of the middle of the couch.

It seemed things were peaceful, for now.

Chapter Text

The silence was deafening. You would take quick glances at the monster beside you every so often, and it seemed like he was doing the same since your gazes would meet occasionally. Whenever your eyes would meet his white eye lights, you felt an zap akin to an electric shock thunder through your body, aftershocks travelling through currents to your toes – it was a bit addicting. The way his glowing lights seared into you, undoubtedly giving you all of his attention, how the implications of him only being focused on you made you tingle and burn and you hated it.

You hated how you couldn’t control how your body felt and the way you kind of wanted to know how his bones felt against your skin. You hated it because you were supposed to hate him. Once you had an opinion, you were extremely hesitant to change it in fear of being called a hypocrite. But for some reason, it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep that opinion, thought the two of you had barely talked.

Right, talking to each other was what got you to hate him in the first place, so maybe if you had another conversation your traitorous body would finally behave and stop feeling things about a person you hardly knew – a rude one at that.

“So uh, how did I get here anyway?” your question seemed to shock Sans out of some sort of stupor, causing him to sharply inhale, consequently straightening his back, and blink dazedly at you. Now able to look at his face for a prolonged time without emotion (i.e. annoyance or rage) clouding your vision, you observed how much rounder Sans’ features were compared to his brother’s.

While Papyrus looked comparable in some regard to a human skeletal system, Sans appeared as if an artist drew a more stylistic and interpretive take on a skeleton. His sockets were wide and expressive, teeth stretching far across his skull. Papyrus on the other hand, had a longer and narrower skull, with teeth that didn’t seem to smile every second. Or at least, that’s what you gathered from the unhappy frowns he sent Sans earlier. Perhaps it was a personal choice of Sans to constantly smile – though it made him look a bit creepy. What Sans lacked in the facial expressiveness Papyrus had an abundance in, he appeared to make up with the eye lights that Papyrus didn’t have. Expanding, contracting, growing dimmer or brighter, it seemed that the wider skeleton’s eyes portrayed more than he let show through his face. You just had to figure out how to read the cues he was putting out.

And of course, the most obvious difference between the two skeleton brothers were their statures – Papyrus being long and lanky while Sans was stouter and chubbier. His chubby features were a bit… cute. God, you hated that you thought that. Just wait for him to speak. Just wait for him to speak and you’ll remember how much you don’t like him.

He finally answered, voice rough, “uhhh… here?” you turned your body a bit to face him more, and he leaned a bit closer in response, putting you on edge,

“Like, I just woke up and was in your house? Last I remember, I was dying.”

He tensed at your words, relaxed grin tugging down slightly (so he could frown!), “you’re fine.” You cocked a brow at him, puzzled at his choice of words.

“I know that? I’m breathing and talking now so…”

He paused before responding, shoulders lowering once again. It seemed you weren’t going to figure out the enigma that Sans was anytime soon. All his reactions were odd and didn’t make any sense – you’d probably have to be able to read minds to decipher why he did things.

“yeah, i brought you back here, and paps healed you.”

But how did he find you? How did he know you were in trouble? How did he get you back in time for you to survive? Did he not answer questions directly like this all the time? Maybe you could start hating him again if he kept being this frustrating.  

You didn’t bother with trying to get him to answer your inquiry again, too exasperated, unwilling to argue, and just generally feeling like shit. You instead asked something else,

“So, Papyrus healed me? I thought that only food could heal your Soul.” you thought about that for a second, “Wait, is that why I feel so crappy? Because he couldn’t heal my Soul?”

As you finished speaking, Sans bolted up from the couch, quickly glancing at you with contracted eye lights before disappearing before your eyes. You blinked.

Umm… did he just disappear? Like out of existence or to another location? Did he die or something?

“Sans?” there was a beat before you heard rustling across the room and an answer.

“over here.” His response was brief, voice low and smooth and somehow a slightly different in quality from earlier. You were glad he couldn’t see your shiver at the dulcet tones.

You wandered over to a kitchen you hadn’t noticed earlier since you had been facing away from it in the craziness of the events that had transpired. The room was decently sized and contained a standard counter, stove, oven, fridge, and garbage bin. The thing that immediately drew your attention was the insanely tall sink; how could anyone reach that? The sink was even taller than Papyrus himself and he was already much too tall for you to comprehend. You stepped onto the orange and maroon tiling and observed Sans rustling through some drawers underneath the counter top.

“What are you doing???” You really couldn’t understand the anomaly that was Sans. Everything he did confused you – why couldn’t he just make sense for once?

The skeleton had the nerve to just grunt in response.

Huffing, you were tempted to just walk away (or kick his hunched-over form), but decided that you wanted to find out what he was doing and elected to wait.

After a few more seconds filled with the sound of plastic crinkling and things unidentifiable by sound toppling over, Sans emerged from the depths of the counter to reveal a single bag of potato chips. He immediately focused on you and shoved the bag in your hands.

Huh. It was labelled ‘Popato Chisps’. Funky.

Sans looked at you expectantly, his creepy grin back and his gaze expectant if you had to guess.

You started feeling warm with the silent attention, “Um… should I eat this?” he nodded, “Thanks?”

You pulled on the sides of the bag but had troubles with the thick material. You put all of your strength into pulling, curling in on yourself in order to do so, before you finally managed to open the goddamn chip bag, a single chip falling out and landing on the tiles below you.

You started at the chip (chisp?), unwilling to look at Sans in your shame, before darting down to pick it up before popping it into your mouth. It was… actually pretty good! And it was then that you realised that you hadn’t eaten since Grillby’s; you were starving.

As if a switch had been flipped, you started shovelling the potato disks into your mouth like a pig, uncaring of the audience you had at that moment. All that mattered was that the food was so good, and that you were feeling increasingly better. Though, you still ached, your chest felt lighter.

After you finished the whole bag, you realised you were just standing in the kitchen with Sans, in silence, shovelling food down your throat. You looked at the skeleton through your eyelashes, unwilling to match his stare but also wanting to survey his reaction to your savage display. He looked pretty neutral aside from the large fuzzy eye lights he now sported. Okay. You could work with that.

“Um… yeah, thanks again.”

His grin widened a bit, “i take it you would appreciate a trip to Grillby’s?”

Oh my fucking god yes. You guessed that your excitement translated to your face because he chuckled as you answered, “Yes, please!”