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Fate and All That Jazz

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There’s never been any doubt in your mind that Monsters existed.

When you were little, you used to get in trouble in class for “making things up” during storytime or show and share. You were praised for your imagination at first, and then whispered about, and then blatantly stifled when they decided you were too old for such fancies.

But it didn’t matter what others said--you knew that Monsters existed, and that they would one day take over the city. The Names among them, the monsters that served The Hours, would be first--descending upon the city with friendly faces and negotiations. Then The Hours would come, leaving the Mansus--the place where magic lives--in favor of the land of the magic-less humans, and there would be no stopping the spiral into an era of growth, magic, and uncertainty.

Once The Hours were here, there was no hope for the little people. The fragile humans and their misunderstanding of the way the world worked would not survive if they were too stubborn, and so The Names had a job to do--prepare the way.

But, that meant little to anyone but you and your family, and the people who granted you the power of Sight as a youngling. A Seer, they called you, a Prophet, and sometimes Blessed Eyes. You didn’t care about the nicknames--they were placeholders for your true calling. Forsee and facilitate the entry of the Names, to begin the transition for humans.

So you did all you could. You wrote. Your prophecies sold as science fiction, occult fiction, even historical occult texts. People ate them up, shocked and pleased that such a young girl could write such amazing and fantastical things. There were many more in the ranks due to the clues in your words, now, and it was a boon when The Day finally came.

When the Names came to the surface, your duty fulfilled, it was the day you finally became a true servant of the Mansus.

Your next duty became clear through a taste of the Glory of the Mansus, a glittering dream where the Mansus claimed you as it’s daughter. Your eyes grew cloudy and you could no longer see by traditional human means, but you were capable of seeing more than ever in the form of the latent magic of the world.

And the tiny red string that extended from your little soul became your fixation. It led to your True Reward, the Name that would care for you forever, the one you would know better than anyone or anything.

Your Soulmate.

And so began the true, blind search for love, in your relatively young age of 26, with no experience doing anything but telling what had been perceived as tall tales.


Sans hummed, pushing the papers around his desk. It was too organized, too clinical, too perfect and pre-planned.

He knows it’s a funny thing, being a Name who spits in the face of Fate. But his spot amongst the Mansus’ plan was not an indication of his own personality, and it never would be. He’s here to take over, not to preach Fate or the way of the Mansus.

The city was already bending to him, and he was more than happy for it. When the Hours came, he knew the world would change, but for now it was his plaything. The monsters that flowed through the city alongside the Names, along with their abundance of funds and amicable personalities, had created a boom in the economy, throwing the human world into a second Jazz age, where parties and frivolous spending abounded, and stolen imported goods fetched a pretty price. His brother handled the political part, and Sans worked the underground markets.

In short, they were what humans referred to as The Mob, and though Sans had never felt comfortable in his role in the Mansus, he had more than found his place in this human world of devilish deeds and smuggling. It was chaotic and exciting, and time meant near nothing to those involved. It wasn’t measured and stifling like everything else.

“Mr. Snowdin, the meeting is about to start. Are you sure you won’t meet with the Hours tonight?” Gloria asked, the fingers on her head curling judgementally. For a secretary with a hand for a head, she was capable of looking quite judgemental.

“positive. they want me to keep control up here, they can’t expect me to abandon my post twice a month. tonight i’m checkin’ on the progress of the cults--they’re growin’ faster than ever. so you can tell them that if they complain.”

“I SHALL TELL THEM,” his brother sighed, appearing from behind Gloria. “BUT YOU MUST SHOW NEXT TIME. I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO APPEASE THEM THROUGH YOUR ABSENCES MUCH LONGER.”

“thanks, paps, i’ll think about it,” Sans chuckled, winking at him. Papyrus rolled his eyelights, offering a furry coat to Gloria.

“NO, YOU WON’T. BUT I SUPPOSE I LOVE YOU ANYHOW.” His brother smiled at him, and he felt the tiniest twinge of guilt. “ARE YOU FINALLY FOLLOWING THAT RED STRING OF YOURS?”

“yeah, like i’m wasting time an’ energy on somethin’ as frivolous as soulmates.” Sans rolled his eyelights this time. “nah, hittin’ grillby’s speakeasy an’ then searching for the cultists again. shouldn’t be too hard.”

“IF YOU DON’T FOLLOW YOUR STRING, YOUR SOULMATE WILL FIND YOU FIRST, FACEDOWN IN A PILE OF BURGER WRAPPERS,” Papyrus huffed. “YOU DON’T WANT TO LOOK LAZY IN FRONT OF YOUR SOULMATE, DO YOU?”

“i won’t look like anything, because it’s a ridiculous myth. goodbye, papyrus. enjoy the meeting.”

With a flick of his wrist the door to his office closed, cutting off his brother’s disapproving, if slightly amused, frown.

Soulmates. What a lofty ideal, not meant for practical monsters like himself. The red string affixed to his pinky was nothing more than a ploy from the Hours to keep him obedient--at the end was likely an equally puppeted monster that he wasn't sure if he would even like, let alone want to spend his life with.

He sighed and pushed his paperwork away. Time to hit the bricks and see about having a presence downtown. If he's seen nearby his businesses, he's found that they generally get left alone that night. So he makes a point to make a round every night.

He grabbed his coat, and then he was gone.


The streets were warm this time of year, and thus bustling with activity. Smitten couples, shady deals, music spilling from dance halls and bars--it was his kind of town, with dames in swinging dresses and lads in vests and rolled up sleeves. He felt more at home here than underground, he liked the sun on his face and the sound of laughter. His businesses were booming and he hardly had to step in to check--the lines curled around and out the doors, especially for entertainment venues.

It's Friday night, after all.

The noise and disappearing daylight was comforting to a nighttime shadow like him. He watched a couple walk by, giggling, the girl hanging on the bloke’s arm with a twinkle in her eye.

Someone’s gettin’ some tonight, he thought to himself.

His pinky felt heavy, so heavy. Heavier by the day. The ticking time bomb on his phalange was always getting heavier, laden down with anticipation. He hoped it snapped and went slack--honestly, love was just a distraction he couldn’t afford.

Still, the sudden increase in weight had him curious, and if only so he could tell Papyrus he tried, he turned and looked about, trying to see if it led anywhere nearby.

The thread was thin, but if he closed his eyes and focused, it glowed like a long-exposure photograph, vague outlines of cars and people just an afterthought. The string was vibrating, excited. It seemed to weave between the cars, through the streets, until…

...a girl, in a simple dress, hair in a single plait over her shoulder. Her eyes are closed, but she’s facing him, and--

His eyes snapped open. That girl, that girl had seen him. You. Somehow, he already knows your name, and he can’t help but look past the cars to find you.

You looked awestruck, though your eyes stayed closed. Just as beautiful in the low light of the sunset as you were in his mind’s eye.

Shit.

This is not good. No. He was staring, and he felt his magic stir. This wasn’t what he wanted, he wanted it to stop, love is a liability, but goddamn, you are a pretty liability. He wanted to hold you--should he just ‘port over there, or would that scare you? Did he brush his teeth this morning? Did he still have bourbon on his breath from lunch? Are his suspenders and tie on straight? Papyrus always straightens them for him in the morning and before meetings, but he’d refused the meeting tonight and let him leave, so for all he knew it was crooked as fuck.

It took him a moment to register that you couldn’t even see him.

And he only realized when you stepped into the busy street towards him, eyes still closed and completely unaware of the car on your right.