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Survivor

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Monsters had become apart of your society, They had been for nearly two years. You never followed the news as closely as you should have: You gathered all the information you needed. There was a period of time at which the Monsters were forced into isolation, into a place just outside of Mt Ebott’s base by the government. After months of protests from some humans, a vote had been held: the Monsters were slowly integrated into society, and slowly, oh very slowly, over the course of the next year, given enough rights to make a… well, to not live in utter poverty.

 You’d never had a problem with them, though at first, it was strange getting used to these creatures, you soon learned, after observing them in various ways~ but never outwardly seeking them do to your social anxiety, that they were just like you, just like humans , but, erm Nicer. Society tried pinning things on them, making them out to be like the ghastly horrors from movies,to which, you always rolled your eyes, It had been born from the human imagination, afterall. It was just history repeating itsself, over and over and over…

 You were at the small park nearest to your trailer park, if you looked behind you, and could somehow see over the thick canopy of trees, you would see the large hill that held several trailers atop it. The trailer park was relatively new, You, Your younger brother, and your … father for the lack of a creative word, had moved there almost a year ago after losing your mother in an accident.

 Your body tensed. Accident. It hadn't been an accident. She’d been killed defending a group of teenage Monsters from an onslaught of human attackers. Your father had tried his best to keep the small family together after this, but he’d sunk into a depression, and his disabilities, to which, we're just beginning to heal, courtesy of your mothers kind coaxing, Had come back at more than a full swing. You weren't having as much luck helping him as she had.

 “____, Can I go play?” The words were spoken softly, the tenseness in your body clearly evaporated as you heard your brother, Cole, speak. He tugged at your baggy shirt a moment, Brown eyes wide and hopeful. You were planning on just passing the park, in favor of talking a short walk to breathe and get away from the stagnant cigarette smelling covered home you lived in. This was also a good option, so you smiled, in that bright way you always did around him. Looking around, the small park was crawling with both humans and Monsters. It was early June, and it was hot This kind of weather almost always attracted the civilians here. You already recognized several children from your brother's school, one of which, stopped and waved him over.

 "‘Course, Go play.” He tossed you a dashing, toothy smile and bounced over to join his group of friends. You sighed contently, taking a large breath of the somewhat fresh city air. “Aye!” you called out to him, though, once you remembered. “Don't got long, gotta be back ‘fore six!” He giggled, knowing Dinner was at six, and though, you weren't the best cook on the planet, You weren't the worst, and Cole absolutely loved Friday’s dinner choice.

 “Gotcha!” the twelve-year-old called, you smiled at how quickly he forgot you existed, in favor of playing his favorite Kick-The-Ball-around game. You kept a steady eye on your phone, checking the time at a constant, what started as a quick walk, ended up being an hour. You sat on that park bench, just watching, your eyes lit up with happiness, seeing the child so outgoing. God, He was like your son, You loved him so dearly.

 So when a grown-ass man approached the smaller group of school children, stomping like you’d seen your father do on many occasions, your body stilled. They weren't looking at Cole, but they were, in fact, staring at the young cat-like Monster they’d integrated into their posse. You were on your feet before you could calculate the situation. It could have just been an angry dad wondering where their child had run off to, He could have just been simply passing by after a rough day- but you had that spark in you, that hint of your mother, that little piece of your heart that told you This doesn't look right.

 You were right.

 He was tall, had greased back black hair, The man wore a suit, spotless, like he’d just gotten out of a fancy meeting, or from working at some high-end company. His skin was tan with splotches of lighter tan, almost as if he had some kind of skin condition.

 “Dean, get your skinny butt over here!” the man hollered, his voice striking the child like a fresh bite from a lion, the child in question, whirled around and meet his father's strikingly similar eyes. “But dad… Ive got twenty more minutes!” He cried out in a whine, pouting whilst he kicked meekly at the soccer ball that had tumbled before him. The monster child’s ears bent back as if he already knew why the anger was in his voice. You were there in an instant, your heart pounding in your chest, Protectiveness whirring to life.

 He reached his son and grabbed his wrist, tugging gently “I told you, Dean, These guys are a bad influence. I don't want you playing with them, they’ll rot your brain.” Dean opened his mouth to protest, but your voice rang out instead.

 “The only thing rottin’ ‘es brain is you.” Upon hearing your voice, Cole, who had previously been chasing around one of his friends, slowed to a stop, His eyes crinkled at the bottom in cautious narrowing, the perfect look of ‘Here we go again.’ scrunched on his soft tan face.

 “Excuse me?” The man said, Oh, for some reason you loved the way his eyes lit up furiously under the sun. “This has nothing to do with you, Who even are you?” He gestured to the child Monster. “This Thing Yours?” Now, that deadly tone in his voice would probably have caused anyone to run, or apologize, or stammer your way out of it. But you, No, you were from New York, and at that tone, you found yourself filled with determination. “ He ain’t mine, but He ’s still a-livin' breathin’ sentient conscious humanoid you black-hearted, crusty sac of~”

 “everything alright here?” the voice that stole your thunder somehow made you madder, You spun on your heel, to face the voice. It was a Monster, a skeleton of sorts, he was short and stubby, wearing a blue jacket and baseball shorts, and erm, Pink slippers, He was grinning widely at you, the white pupil of his eye... Sockets? Looking greatly amused. “Course it ain't!” You stated, voice still loud, accusing, angry. Cole slipped next to you, and tugged on your shirt. “Sis, don't get all~” You ignored him, of course, the blood pounding in your ears was loud enough to drown out his shy voice. “This leopard ass man’n black’s bein’ speciest.” You whipped back to the man, who looked only a bit defeated, if only because of the attention you were drawing. He glanced around, nervously eyeing the several parents who, unlike him, allowed the children to play mixed. Their whispers seemed to sting him.

 “You know you're bein’ speciest?” You demanded, your veins on fire with the unexpected anger, your hands shook even balled at your sides, and you knew, if you didn't force them to stay there, You’d take a swing.

 “I, um…”

 “Yah, ya do.” You finished for him. “Let’em play.” You demanded. Your eyes locked for a single moment, his nose twitched, oh it looked like he wanted to bite back, to scold you, like he did his child, but he couldn’t. It was clear the man's ego was much bigger then you’d thought, because he let go of Deans arm, and glared at you. “Twenty minutes.” He spat out to his child, before he turned and calmly~ but stiffly, left the area.

 You smiled triumphantly. Crossing your arms as you watched him go.

 “you good, Neo?” You heard the skeleton ask, your victory still causing adrenaline to surge through your body, your head turned slightly to look back at the stubby bone man. He was knelt down, petting the cat monster between his ears. “I-Im fine.” Neo purred out, though his voice was not convincing. He was shaking, but not shaking with the same sadistic mirth you were. No, he was shaking with fear. Your heart melted, and you sagged, seeing the destroyed look on the childs face made you want to tare after the man in black and strip him down to bones.

 “you want me to take you home?” the skeleton asked calmly. But the child shook his head no. Such a brave little kitten, after all that, he still wanted to play

 You looked down at your own charge, who stared up at you with a knowing smirk, You nodded your head towards the stricken Monster, and he in turn, nodded back. “Hey Neo!” Cole called, closing the distance, he nearly tacked the Monster cat in a hug. “I know where we can find some bugs!” he continued, his tone eager and happy, yet, You could hear the fakeness in its tone. Neo immediately perked up at the mention of bugs. This must’ve been another one of your brothers school friends, because the monster hugged him back, giggling. “Yes!” They scrambled off the floor, then took off towards the small pond on the far end of the park, Cole stopped though, The kid was wise for his age, because he’d let his caring side think for him. “You coming Dean?” The blonde, somewhat frozen preteen snapped from his spot, staring after his father, with the look of bemusement on his face, to look at your little brother. His tension melted away, and he smiled. “Coming!”

 You watched them go, feeling happy and content with your interfering.

 “damn.” That same, low drawn out voice caught your attention, you sideways looked at the skeleton who smirked at you, through that constantly grinning mouth. “you got some big balls, kid.” You stared back at him, the thought running through your mind, yeah, it did. Did he even have balls?

 “Fuckers’ gotta learn he can't fuck with kids.” You replied bitterly, shaking the thought from your head. The skeleton snorted, absently, hands deep in his pockets. “I hate scum like that." You continued.

 “you really busted on him.” he replied, You blinked. Catching onto his pun, part of you was annoyed with it, but you couldn't help it, your lip twisted up in a smirk. “I busted all over him, thank you very much.” He laughed a little at your prideful voice. Your adrenalin was starting to wear down, and your social anxiety was coming back. You sighed out, letting your brain pick through the situation. It went quiet, for a second you thought he’d left, but a quick glance proved he hadn’t, the two of you just stood there and watched the kids play. You didn't know him, He didn’t know you, but already, you felt comfortable standing next to him, even if it was a few feet apart.

 “uh, thanks.” The skeleton said offhandedly, after a few more seconds of quiet, with the sound of peaceful laughing in the distance. You arched an eyebrow. “For?” 

“ya know, helping him.” He replied, rolling his shoulder. “usually my job, I watch out for him while his mothers out working, but damn, you had it covered.”

"Damn straight.” You replied, nodding your head firmly, you felt the air shift beside you, you looked him over, he had his hand outstretched. “names Sans.” he offered. “come here often?” You sighed out a laugh, You took his hand, and shook it somehow his punniness becoming contagious.  “Only when i feel like it.” You shrugged, His smirk widened, and you could tell he was holding back a laugh. “____” You finished. Trying to ignore the fact that his oddly warm, bony fingers, radiated this electronic charge, that caused the hair on length of your arms to rise.

Chapter Text

Sans.

 

You let the name bounce around in your mind a bit, as you took Cole’s hand and lead him back to your trailer. He's practically skipping, covered in dirt and sweat after a few hours of hard play. You easily kept up with him, your legs being larger, taking bigger strides. He still had a lot of energy though, He always had energy, He didn't have A.D.H.D or an attention issue, He just drank a lot of energy drinks. Just like you.

 

But my .

 

The thought of your caffeine addiction was being nudged away by the two abrupt words getting in the way...

 

What a strange name. What a strange personality. You’d never met someone who’d just thrown a pun at you like that. Now that you thought about it, you never met anyone who made puns, outside of a few geeks back when you were in high school. You weren’t the joking kind of girl, You'd always been serious, Your mother had described you as ‘A few years ahead of your time.’ No, You weren't boasting about yourself in your own head… It wasn't smarts, It was maturity. Or something near it.

 

It took about thirty minutes to get home, by the time you forced yourself up to the steps, you were practically heaving with fatigue. You were skinny and small, You looked about seventeen, because of this, but you were turning twenty-five in a few months. You fumbled with the lock on your trailers door a bit, Cole holding the first glass door open so you wouldn’t have to fight with that as well. You heard a voice filter in from behind you, of course you did. The trailer park had seven trailers, all scattered around on this small plot of land. In the middle of all this, there was a tiny house that held a silver plated sign with ‘laundry.’ written above the white front door. Around that, there was one giant yard, that belonged to basically everyone.

 

The neighbor's child was outside, splashing around in a kitty pool. You pulled open the door and, in return for your brother's generosity, held it open for him to enter first. He looked at you, rocking back and forth from foot to foot, unmoving at your kindness. He spared a few glances over at the lone child splashing away under the fading sun. You followed his look, taking in your neighbors. They had already been living there when your family moved in, It was a low-cost trailer community, so just about anyone could squeeze themselves in. Even Monsters were allowed here.

 

And, the child's caretaker was exactly that. A tall, white fur goat-like Monster. She always wore a shade of purple or blue, usually dresses. You didn't know her name, though, Cole had, on more than one occasion, spewed it out to you after hanging out with them.  

 

She looked up at you like your stare had become physical contact, your shoulders rose, you felt a twinge of fear in your stomach, you ducked away and turned your back to her.

 

It wasn't because she was a Monster, You told yourself, wishing you could walk over there and apologize for all the times you looked at her like this, but shame from the display was already sinking down your body. You couldn't go over there now, You just needed to hide. “‘Till dinners ready.” You replied to his unasked question, Cole quickly hugged your legs, detached, then practically leaped over the porch stairs in his effort to get over there quickly. He waved his hands frantically at the goat woman, Who then tossed something into the pool. The young, an otherwise distracted girl, popped out from under the water, She saw him running, grinned largely then started waving her hands back.

 

You tried not to linger, so you slipped inside your trailer and softly closed the door.

 

Your home was a simple layout, you entered into the living room, on your left, the kitchen, down the hall a small bathroom, then adjacent to that, the master bedroom. To your right, was a single two-door hallway, One on the right side, one directly before you. Your rooms. You stared longingly at your own light oak door, there was a poster of a Transformer sticking out his middle finger, the writing “ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK.” Scrawled in jagged letters. You smiled, remembering the day you’d spent slaving over your paints and markers creating this, it had been one of your favorite projects.

 

However much you wanted to sit on your bed, and just watch Netflix, hide away in your comfort zone until you had to sleep or go to work, You couldn't. Those were the things you’d been able to do when she was still around, but now…

 

You made your way into the kitchen, the walls were stained yellow from the time spent smoking here, you pulled out a pan and began setting ingredients on the table, you took a pause halfway through though, to slightly push open the door to your father's bedroom. He was sitting upright, legs crossed on his bed, wrapped in a blanket, a cigarette dangling between two fingers, his arm lazily poised off his knee, The only light was the soft glow of a TV, that illuminated the steady rise of white smoke.

 

He looked alright Like he normally did. You closed the door and went back to your cooking. Tacos, you were making Tacos.

 

Several minutes later you heard the soft thud of a closing door, then the heavier thud of bare feet against the linoleum floor. You looked back at your dad when came from his room, probably smelling the cooking meat. He was a large man, not at all fat, just big boned, he had a scruffy unmaintained beard, and messy curly hair atop his head to match it, he was wearing a blank gray sweater and pajama pants. Your eyes connected, he smiled weakly. His eyes were a little cloudy, watery, far away.

 

You’d thought he was himself, He looked like the normal father you sometimes saw, but he opened his mouth to speak, words just as heavy as his footsteps. “Katy, I've always loved your tacos.” You’d dealt like this so many times, You already knew how to act.

 

“Dad,” you said the word strongly, clearly. “Its ____.” you continued slowly, watching his eyes, that stared through you. He approached, then hugged you. You could feel his breath on your neck, He had to bend himself down a little to hug you like this, he nudged the scruff of his hair against the skin of your neck. Your hands dangled stiffly at your sides, as you cautiously sucked in your breaths, not wanting to inhale the ashtray smell of him.

 

Dad. ” You tried again, You pulled back and took his hands. “Dad. Its ____.” he blinked at you, knowing he didn’t register your words. “____.” You stated calmly, You opened your mouth to reply, but he’d already leaned forward. He kissed you, right smack on the lips, you stilled, fists clenching, you ripped yourself away and focused on breathing. He looked at you in a mixture of shock and horror, You hoped it was him recognizing what he’d just done. You'd hoped.

 

His body started shaking, and his face twisted. “One year, three months, fifteen days.” He sputtered out quietly, voice drawing out the words. “Oh Katy, I’m so sorry.” His steps became less stable now, he stumbled back, and instinctively you reached out and grabbed him before he could backstep into the table, and trigger himself.

 

The grip on his arm must've been enough today, Some days it worked, some days it helped, and some days…

 

“LET GO OF HER!” He roared, leaping forward, he caught you by the neck and slammed you back into the sink next to the oven. His hands were crushing your throat, you could feel your insides shifting under his strong, panicked grip.

 

“____.” You ground out, gasping but knowing, in this situation, it was best to keep as much breath inside as you could. “I will rip you apart! Get OFF HER.” You were both now on the ground, with dizziness dancing in your vision, you started to struggle, kicking too gently at his legs.

 

“____” You gasped. “Dad.” You gasped again, grabbing his face between your hands. You managed to muster the strength to cover his eyes with your palms. His grip softened around your neck, and you sucked in the air, even if it was nothing but that smell. “Dad, its ____.” you pleaded, his breath shook, and he let go, body trembling, you kept your hands over his eyes, even as you slid out from beneath him, there was a dull ache slowly getting stronger, from the base of your head.

 

“I'm sorry.” He whined out, pleading, his voice quivered just as his body was. You hushed him, leisurely standing to your feet, helping him up the best you could with your hands on his face. “Its okay Dad.” You muttered calmly. You turned his back to you, then finally removed your sweaty hands from his eyes. You lead him out of the kitchen, back to his room. Neither of you spoke, You didn’t want to press your luck, you just sat him on the bed, when he turned to look at you, you briskly grabbed his chin, and turned it away. “I'll bring you in food when its done, Okay dad?”

 

“Yeah… Okay.” Defeat, that was the only word that came to mind at your dad's voice. You let go of him and backed away from the door, you saw him numbly reach out for his almost empty pack of cigarettes, by the time it was finally closed.

 

On your walk back to the kitchen, you took steady intakes. The meat for the tacos were burned, you turned off the stove, then leaned over the sizzling beef, hands placed at the hot white edges by the burners. You tried to ease that churning in your stomach. Your head pounded, You had a headache now, God it was a terrible one. Just how hard had you hit the floor?

 

Your phone buzzed, realization slammed into you with the force of a crumbling mountain. The trailers were within a good stretch of yours, You knew Cole kept an ear out for any… disturbances. Disturbances just like this.

 

Cole: You Okay?

                                                                                                                                                      You: Yes.

 

Looking back on the messages sent between the both of you, these three words frequent, slipped in through ten or so minute intervals at random points of the day, usually sandwiching a short conversation.

 

Cole: Dinner?

                                                                                                                                                    You: I kind of burnt the meat

 

You stood in the kitchen, daring yourself to part the blinds with your fingers just an inch to get a look outside, Cole was wet, but he was holding his phone in his hands, staring down at it, typing. The small girl was drying herself off, the goat woman helping her reach the places she couldn't.

 

Cole: Toriel invited us to eat with her earlier, i said no cuz you were making dinner, Should i say yes now?

 

Another sigh left you, This wasn't the first time Toriel had invited them both over, Not once had you agreed to join her yourself, Cole always had. The mention of visiting someone at this point in time was almost scary enough to make you sick, but part of you felt almost compelled this time. You didn't want to be here. You wanted to suck in the fresh air, You wanted to eat something other than the usual you always had. You didn’t know how to make much, you weren't an expert cook, every now and again you’d throw in something different, a recipe off the Food Networks mobile app.

 

For the first time...

You gave in.

 

                                                                                                                                                   You: Let me shower and ill be right over.

 

It was seen, but there was no reply, you spared a fleeting glance out the window, watching Cole jump with some excitement, he sprinted over to Toriel and hugged her. You frowned, understanding just now, how close your child was to the woman. Maybe it was time you started registering it.

 

You slipped into your room to put your phone on its charger, having to wrap the wire around the iPhone several times just for the battery to light up green. You needed a new one, but most of your money went to other things.

 

You grabbed up some of your favorite, halfway decent clothes, and made for the bathroom.


----

Twenty or so minutes later.

----

 

You scrambled out of the house, shoving your phone in your pants pocket, It was dark now, but the lamp posts that hung around the large yard were lit, so you could see where you headed. The outdoors had been abandoned in favor of the house. As you approached, you heard a voice yell cheerfully inside.

 

“DO NOT FRET, SMALL HUMAN! I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, WILL MAKE ENOUGH FOOD TO FEED SEVEN VERSIONS OF YOUR FAMILY!” You cringed, you heard this voice multiple times from inside your home, especially when the holder to the voice was outside. You recognized the name Papyrus, Cole had spoken joyfully about him a few times, The skeleton monster who was just, straight up the best adult that ever lived. Aside from you of course. You snickered. Now you’d be able to put a face to that name. You softly and hesitantly walked up the porch steps, nervousness jittering hard enough in your insides to make you instantly pale. Was it too late to turn around? Pretend you weren’t feeling well? That you needed to take care of your dad?

 

The front door swung open, the first one anyway, and through the glass door, that, looked like it had been replaced on more than one occasion, a tall skeleton stood with his hands on his hips, the biggest of eager smiles on his face, he wore a red scarf, red gloves, and positively beamed down at your short stalky self.

 

“GREETINGS HUMAN!” He cried out, swinging open the glass door, which would have slammed into you if you hadn't taken a flinched step back that millisecond. Pouncing forward, Papyrus snagged up your entire 101-pound body into a gentle, but firm hug. You ignored the dizziness, the wave of raw fear that crashed into you as he lifted you up off your feet. You’d been through this many times before, but this time, the results were different. It wasn't him. 

 

“IT IS VERY NICE TO FINALLY MEET YOU! SMALLER HUMAN COLE HAS SAID SO MUCH ABOUT YOU!” He quite literally screeched in your ear, they started to ring, you felt the blood drain from your face. Fuck, were you going to puke? Oh god, this couldn't happen, not your first time meeting, you could never come back from that~

 

Papyrus noticed this though, and he swiftly set you down cautiously. “FORGIVE ME HUMAN!” He added, patting your hair with his glove. “PAPYRUS’S GREAT HUGS ARE ALWAYS OVERWHELMING!”

 

“Oh dear.” a soft voice came from behind Papyrus, you glanced up to see that same goat woman, Toriel, she had a smile on her face, and look about ready to giggle. You appreciated the fact that she held it in. “Do excuse Papyrus, my child, He has been very excited to meet you.” She shifted around Papyrus, who looked only a tad crestfallen for his behavior.

 

“ALAS!” He began, any hint of being upset blinked out of existence, he spun around, raising a pointed finger. “YOU WILL TASTE MY GORMAY CHEFTING, AND ALL SHALL FORGIVE INSTANTLY!” He raced inside the small trailer, scooping up the small girl you’d seen from before. “TO THE KITCHEN!” although they disappeared around the corner you could still hear Papyrus like he handn't left your side at all.

 

“'s'alright.” You finally said when Toriel started to lead you inside, your breath caught at just how crowded it was. it was neat, yes, but there were boxes of items, toys cluttering the edge of the walls, several blankets laid neatly on one of the three lazy boy chairs that crowded around the television. There was someone sitting on the couch, next to the brown hair of your little brother, you instantly remembered seeing that light blue jacket before. Toriel was saying something to you, probably introducing herself, but she was walking away, thinking you were following, and her voice was too quiet to hear over the larger skeletons tone.

 

He shifted, Did all monsters have the ability to just know when someone was looking at them? Your eyes made contact, eyes, if you could call the dark pits of his sockets, eyes. His grin broadened, he gave a single, side hand twitch of a wave. “sup kid?”

 

You glanced at your brother who threw his head around to look at you, he smiled, then scrambled off the couch to clutch your waist in a powerful hug.

 

Well, at least now you knew where he’d gotten the sudden hug attacks from.

 

“You came!” He voiced loudly, you couldn't help but see the childish glint in his eyes, Something you never saw when both of you were at home, he was relaxed, delighted, stressfree. You didn’t see your regular, too old for his age brother, You saw that kid, the kid he had been just over a year ago. You couldn't help it, the tension melted off your body as you knelt down and hugged him almost too tightly to your chest. You barely saw this side of him, it made you feel lighter, somewhere inside…

 

“Yeah, I came .” You couldn't stop it slipping from your mouth, Just knowing he, Sans, was sitting right there, watching you and your brother interact. You just had to bring it up, even if the interaction had been no longer then a few hours ago.

 

Sans let out a laugh, it wasn't a long one, but it was genuine enough for your confidence to beam. His jaws parted to speak, showing off his almost too perfect teeth, and his sharp k9's, but he was cut short by Papyrus’s voice, which just now filtered back into your ears.

 

“SPAGHETTI IS SERVED! TO THE PICKNICK TABLE!” Cole grabbed your hand and all but yanked you out the doors after the large skeleton, who was, amazingly, balancing several plates on his arms as he marched to the outdoor seating area.

 

All you could think, as the cold air’s breeze struck you once more, was…

 

A pun

 

You’d made another fucking pun.

 

How many was that today?

 

You shook your head when you were basically forced to take a seat, by Papyrus, and Cole. A smile liting up your features when you turned to look back at Sans, who was slowly following behind Toriel, who came with a handfull of drinks.

 

The hell’s wrong with you?

Chapter Text

 

Dinner crawled by for you, not that it wasn’t enjoyable… because it was. Everything went great, you talked more then you talked in ages, you smiled and laugh so much that, in those moments, you wondered where the hell the real you went, and who this smiling, giggling mess was that replaced it.

 

There was just that part of you, that part in your body that just screamed at you to go home.

 

They told you about life on the in the underground, lingering on the subject much longer then most. You were curious about how they worked, deep down. Magic, was their answer to all of your questions, As you grew more comfortable, you asked them about the jobs they were into.

 

Toriel explained that, since gaining citizenship, she started teaching A.S.L to anyone willing to learn. You kept that in mind, knowing a skill like that could be useful. Papyrus boasted on about how he was trying to become a famous youtube cook. He showed you his profile, and needless to say, you were astounded by three hundred subscribers. As the night ticked by, You became less astounded, The Skeleton had a bright, loveable personality, he made you anticipate his next words, which you began knowing would be quality entertainment.

 

You memorized his profiles name, knowing you’d have to check it out.

 

Sans had almsot shrugged off the comment, but in your strange happiness of the evening, you decided to arch an eyebrow at him in invitation to answer.

 

Sans looked at you, sockets slanted. If there was a universal face for ‘Im tired.’ His look would be perfect. He’d eaten nothing over the course of the meal, and instead, sipped on a silver thermal water bottle. He made a show of pressing that bottle to his bony maw, parting his lips just enough to swig some down, as if he knew you had questions about his digestion.

 

You didn't notice you’d been staring at him, trying to figure out just where the liquid disappeared to after it vanished behind his teeth. This was all just surreal

 

“grillby’s” Was his answer. “owners a good friend, oughta take you some time, gotta warn you though, he gets flared up about some topics.” His grin broadened, he tilted his head to the side just an inch as he looked at you, Papyrus’s screech of discontent was lost to Coles giggles beside you. “just like you at the park. ‘Shoulda heard this girl go off, Tori. A real spitfire. ” Toriel giggled, covering her smile with her furry paw. You weren't entirely sure what was going over your head at that moment. You didn't know Grillbys, so whatever puns were being spewed, you were clueless.

 

Thankfully, Toriel had cheerfully explained to you. “Grillby is a fire elemental, young one.” Papyrus had left the table you noticed, but only when he came back to swat Sans upside the head with one of his massive pink striped cooking gloves. The hit did nothing but make a soft ‘thup’ when it collided with San’s smooth skull. “NEXT TIME WILL BE HARDER!” Papyrus promised, Sans raised a hand over his head in surrender, just one hand, the other was still stuffed in his pocket.

 

“careful, paps, wouldn't want to bake my skull, I got enough~”

 

THUP

 

Papyrus stood behind Sans, body tense, a wild look of fury in his sockets, he had his hand raised, for another swing. The short skeleton was smirking, his grin wider than usual, and though, his sharp teeth should've scared you, you found your lips twisting up, wanting to look as badass as he did with it.

 

After that, he hadn’t said much at all. He kept looking at you though, from his spot next to you. You were seated at the far edge of the picnic table, Cole had squeezed himself next to you and Sans, Toriel, -the now seated- Papyrus, and Frisk sat on the other side. The young girl was sitting on the goat's lap, bouncing as she tried drinking a mouth full of water from her cup without spilling it at the same time.

 

He was looking at you, though. This creeped you out a little, he wasn't looking at you friendly, well, he was, but there was a dark glint in his sockets, his pupils had disappeared. Your heartbeat rose a bit, now unable to not feel when he was ‘glaring’ at you. This time you paid more attention before he could avert his gaze. No, he wasn't looking at you . He was looking at your neck.

 

Neck.

 

Your neck.

 

Oh shit he was looking at your neck.

 

When this finally hit you, your hands shot up to touch the sore spot on your flesh. You hadn’t checked for a bruise or even looked at it. You’d gotten so comfortable with your injuries that you stopped trying to hide them. You had no friends, Your coworkers often belittled you, and none of them cared enough to look. Your face drained of color, You refused to look at Sans. Your mind already yanking up excuses, should he ask. And just like that, the time you were having, the lightness in the air as the sun retreated and it got dark~ it faded, quicker than water draining from a sink.

 

In a desperate attempt to distract yourself, You looked down at your plate, it was empty, The tall skeleton, Papyrus, really knew how to cook. Their voices filtered in around you, and you felt yourself start to panic, you tried to think about the meal, the happiness, the conversations. You started giving slower replies until you stopped speaking entirely. Seconds slowed. Had they all seen it? Were you acting right? Like a normal person? Did you come off as needy? Oh god did they pity you? Had your brother told them everything?

 

You didn't notice that you were practically peeling the skin off one of your hands with your nails, under the table, until two small hands wrapped around your own. You looked to the source, expecting your brother, but instead, seeing that cute, short-haired girl you hadn’t introduced yourself too. She stood to your left, staring up at you with pleading eyes.

 

Caught, you’d been caught…

 

By a twelve-year-old. You expected her to lash out at you with questions

 

Why are you hurting yourself? Why are you nervous? Do you not like us? Are you okay? Your face is really pale, Are you sure your okay?

 

Those questions never came, the little girl whipped her hands up and moved them in a flurry of motions you couldn’t understand. Sign language, It was sign language, but you’d never bothered to understand any of it. The movements weren't directed at you, but at Toriel, Who read them quickly, her eyes became soft, and she smiled. “Of course dear.” She replied voice relaxed, but still.

 

Oh god, what did she tell her? You cursed yourself, wishing you knew sign language.

 

The child, Frisk, you’d caught ahold of her name a few times, hopped off the picknick table and took your hand. You were having a panic attack~ because your heart was beating too fast to be healthy, there was a lump the size of a rock jammed down your throat, and you were shaking, Severely shaking, to the point where you knew they’d all seen it.

 

You protested none as she led you into the bathroom, the quiet, and the sweet smell of the home brought you back to your senses. Embarrassment flooded through you, but Your hands were becoming steadier, You were looking around, responding. Frisk was sitting on the edge of the sink, holding your hands over a spray of warm water, she used a washcloth to wipe away the blood, As you calmed down, you started looking at her, really looking at her. She may have been young, but you could see something much, much older in the way she was acting now. Just like you, Just like Cole. The way a child acted when they went through something someone their age should not have been through. You felt the presence tying your vocal cords into knots loosen, you let out a breath.

 

What could you even say?

 

“Thanks.” Thanks, Thanks? That's all you could manage? This child pulled you away from a full-blown panic attack and was helping you clean the scruffles of scooped skin and blood off your hands, and thanks, was all you could muster?

 

She smiled up at you, eyes bright, she dried off your hands, then began sticking colorful bandaids on each mark. You ended up with three of them.

 

When she was done, she scrambled away and left you there. You were partially grateful for this. You closed the bathroom door and sunk down against it.

 

‘I’m a survivor...’

 

You put yourself through the same breathing exercises you’d taught your brother so many times.

 

Breathe.

 

I’m not ‘gon give up….’

 

The shaking stopped, your mind began to still. The song came full force in your head, but you already expected it.

 

‘I’m not ‘gon stop....’

 

This was the song your mother used to play to Dad. And that song… You could breathe.

 

I’m gon’ work harder.....’

 

Thats all you needed to do.

 

‘Im a surVIVOR!

I’m not gon’ GIVE up!

I’m not gon’ stop!

I’m gon’ work hARDER!’

 

Breathe.

 

------

Over the next twenty or so minutes, your heartbeat returned to normal, playing the lyrics over and over in your head, you no longer felt that lump in your throat. You were better.

 

It took you five minutes to gather the courage to leave the bathroom. When you stepped outside, they were sprawled out in various places in the living room. The kids were playing a board game on the floor, and by kids, you meant Frisk, Cole, and Papyrus, Toriel was sitting in a chair that suited her like no chair suited anyone in history before, kitting something small that could have been the start to just about anything. Sans small body was stretched, as much as his body would allow, across two couch cushions. Well, fine, you’d count it as three, His feet were touching the third cushion, So you guessed it counted.

 

Did you stay? Did you leave? Could you bring yourself to try and salvage what you could of this night?

 

“NO!” The loud, abrupt screech drew you from your daze, Papyrus was standing, somehow making himself look both extremely angry, and happy at the same time. Those expressions, You didn't know Monsters made from nothing but bones, could make such expressions.

 

Cole started upright laughing, curling over on his side. Frisk was letting out gasps of struggling air in her silent laughter.

 

“IT IS NOT POSSIBLE, THAT I! THE GREAT PAPURYS” He struck a hand against his heart, or, where his heart would've been if it was there. “COULD HAVE BEEN BESTED BY THE SMALL HUMAN COLE!” He reached down, and in his fit of, what you wanted to call fake, but was just way too real, rage, tipped the game board, splashing all of the pieces together beneath it. One of the pieces somehow sprang up and caught itsself in Frisk’s now messy hair.

 

Cole laughed harder, You were afraid Frisk was suffocating from the way she sounded. You found yourself smiling.

 

“paps, chill. ‘m’sleep” Sans muttered from his spot on the couch, sockets barely open, you noticed a line of blue drool seeping from the corner of his mouth.“YOURE ALWAYS SLEEPING SANS.” His brother protested.

 

This time, it took them too long to notice you, but when you looked back to the snickering Toriel, She was looking at you. ”I do think it is time to put the children to bed.” She said, standing up, she walked over to you and pulled you into a hug. “I trust you had a good time?”

 

You should've been apologizing for your behavior, your distance, but there was this gentle hushing coming from that sparkle in her eye. You smiled at her, returning the hug somewhat nervously.

 

“Yeah, best I've had ina long time. The spaghetti was great~” You were sure you were speaking quietly enough to be unheard, but the trailer was small, after all.

 

“OF COURSE IT WAS!” Papyrus stated happily, something telling you that was just his normal voice, judging by the way he’d only gotten louder, you had no proof that his voice could do anything lower than that decibel.  

 

“You’re welcome here anytime.” She continued, ignoring him for the time being. Cole hauled himself up off the floor. He was finally coming down from his energy, he nearly stumbled over to you and took your hand. You were about to extend your thanks, yet again, but Cole was already speaking.

 

“Can we come back?” His voice was drawled, a little crackly, you figured that the laughing drained what energy he had left from him, it was sheepish, and half spoken, but you could hear that word clearer than any other.

 

We.

 

Not just him, You, yourself . You spoke before your brain could talk you out of it.

 

“Sure, let's just get you home.” He put on his shoes sluggishly, and you used that time to ask Toriel if you could snag some leftovers. Papyrus ended up shoving four plates covered in foil wrap in your hands. Cole generously took two of them. You said your goodbyes, they were short, tense, but the monsters had somehow made it a comfortable ending. Sans never got up off the couch to say goodbye, He’s just peered over it, and tossed you a drowsy smile. You practically heard his voice.

 

see ya later, kid.

 

Back inside your own home, you let the familiarity take over you and calm you, You always hated knowing that this place, even with all its nightmares, could still calm you down. Cole stashed away all but one of the plates in the freezer, dragging his feet, but looking a little more awake then he had been before. It was nearing eleven now, you had work tomorrow, he had school. A reasonable, good parent would've sent the child to bed, but you…

 

“You gonna game?” You asked, unwrapping the plate of spaghetti and garlic bread, you stuffed it in the microwave and let it heat back up. Cole dug around in the fridge and pulled out a drink.

 

A Monster , You couldn't help but give a laugh at that irony. That was Coles favorite energy drink, and now, you kind of understood why.

 

“Yup.” he replied, striking open the cap he took a long sip, then slid into his bedroom. You were both pretty independent, both your mother and father were that way as well. You trusted he would sleep when he was tired. He finished his homework before their walk, and always managed to get to school every day without protests of lack of sleep. There were times you’d gotten up, nearing three in the morning, to your brother playing laptop computer games. You expected him to be horrible to get to school the next morning…

 

He hadn't been, of course, he had gotten up, gone through his morning routine, and went off to school just like every day.

 

After watching him retreat to his room, you pulled out the leftovers and headed towards your father's bedroom, slipping open the door slowly, as to not scare him, you walked inside and sat the plate on his bed. He was still sitting there, in the same place he had before. This time though, he only had three cigarettes left in his pack.

 

“Thank you, Love.” He breathed, pulling the plate up onto his lap, he didn't look at you. This gave you instant relaxation. It was him .

 

“Look, I'm sorry that I ~” He began but you cut him off, making a hard shushing noise. The shame in his voice had somehow gotten more and more sincere throughout the months. It squeezed your heart. “You’re good dad. Okay? I know you didn’t mean it.” He sighed.

 

“Doesn't make it right.” Was his answer. He stiffened under the blankets, instinctively, you took a step back. He continued his voice a straight line of sorrow and self-loathing. “Why do you keep me here? I belong in~”

 

“No, you don't belong in a hospital. You’ll never get better there’en you know it.” Anger rose in you, like it always did at this conversation, this… quiet argument. You hated kicking him when he was down, but you needed to force your point across.

 

“Mom would kill me if I let you go back there. She’d come back from the dead and kill me. You will get better, and you’ll get better here . Please stop working against me.” You sat tentatively down on the bed, and scooped up his dirty hands in yours, ignoring the clammy feel of them. “Your family. Broken, but family. I ain't giving up on you.” He looked at you, he did. Searching your eyes, looking for proof that he could trust this. His hand tightened around yours. He saw your mother in you, but not the way he’d seen before. He saw you.

 

His eyes were clear.

 

“Just like her.” He said, a little laugh to his voice. You smiled, then reached out and tapped his plate, the sound of your nails ringing on the glass like a bell. “Just like her.” You agreed. “Now eat, when I come back in I want half of it gone. Kay?” You stood, glaring down at him playfully. He grinned up at you. “Yes ma’am.” he said with a brisk nod, he forked the spaghetti and dumped the entire contents into his mouth to show you.

 

“Good man.” you stated proudly, then you turned, and left, closing the door behind you. Seeing him was what kept you focused, what kept you calm during those times you feared the most. Every time that door clicked behind you, you wondered if he stayed that way, aware of himself, almost happy, or did he just turn back into the man you’d grown to know?

 

You went to bed early that night, images of the joyous night you’d had floated through your memories, lulling you to sleep. Toriel giggling, talking so cheerfully about her teaching job, Papyrus’s fits of anger when his brother ripped off a pun, Frisk's loud personality despite her quiet nature, and Sans face, smirking at you as you walked out the door. You thought of his jacket, of his feet stretching across the sofa in attempts to make him look bigger then he was, You thought of his gentle, but dangerous voice when he had first introduced himself to you.

 

With that thought, You fell asleep.

Chapter Text

Your body felt light when you woke up the next morning. There's was this tingling sensation in the deepest pits of your stomach, It was not uncomfortable, and not upsetting in the least. You rolled over onto your back, and pet your stomach in your early morning haze, a smile crept onto your face. The spaghetti must’ve been better then it tasted, you already felt a degree healthier than when you fell to sleep. And that's something, because your body, was not healthy.

You moved to stretch, the movement set off your phone charging on your bed, if only because any slight movement near or around the iPhone's cord would cause it to un-charge. You’d woken up plenty of times throughout the months in the middle of the night wrestling with the thing just to stop it from vibrating.

Ten, You had to leave in half an hour. You had no doubts that Cole had already left for school.

Thirty minutes later, You were walking. You worked at a small general store in the busier part of the city, You cut through the treeline around your trailer, down this steep hill, and onto the main road. Looking straight out, you could see the park you’d gone to yesterday. Arriving at the store was something short of underwhelming. You hated working there on long days, you worked part-time, needing to be home to watch your dad and Cole, So four or six hour days were just fine. But it was the eight hours that killed you.

You, however, forced yourself to trudge on even when you were exhausted after the stacked hours of constant movement, you weren't healthy. You knew it had something to do with living in cigarette smoke, eating only one meal a day, and barely being able to walk a few feet before feeling weak. You hated making Cole take the bus home, So you’d brave the strained legs. The children were not nice to him about living in a trailer park. This was a nice city, plenty of suburb houses, fancy apartments and several large income homes, that could be considered mansions, were dotted around in between the rest of the buildings. Most of the children that went to his school came from parents who had money to spare.

Work was a drag, when two pm started itching around, you became anxious to leave. Your social anxiety was almost numb here, you put on a fake face, greeted people, and acted happy all day. When you arrived home, you were usually a pile of nerves and picked flesh, you’d barricade yourself in your room for a few hours until you were able to wind down and make food.

Two finally struck, you wasted no time marching into the back room to clock out. You threw your standard black purse over your shoulder and left without saying goodbye. Halfway out of the parking lot, you returned though, to buy your father a pack of his favorite cigarettes. Why would you say goodbye, anyway? Your co-workers only put up with you because you did exemplary work and tended to do enough of it to keep yourself busy, so they wouldn't have to do much more than standing at the register. They were useless, And they still got all of the respect.

The longest route of your day was walking to the middle school to pick your brother up. The two of you enjoyed a calm walk home. Plus, by the time the bus’s actually left to pick up the high schoolers, you would be more than halfway home. You always hated that system, having to sit in the parking lot of the high school for thirty minutes until the teens were released, another fifteen minutes for them all to filter into the right transport, five more minutes to get out of the damn parking lot…

It was a lot of waiting for little gain. They always beat the bus anyhow.

The two of you scrambled up the steep hill at the start of the small woodland strip. It acted as its own barrier, to protect the rest of the city from the trailer park people . Or, to give the complex more privacy, it could have been either one. You’d barely made it up to the top before the energetic thirteen-year-old was latching onto your hand, he started tugging you in some direction.

“So, You said we could go over together right?” His eyes, oh god his eyes were shining so hopefully. You spared a peek at Toriel’s trailer, knowing exactly what you would see before you saw it. There the monster was, standing neatly at the bottom of her porch steps, hands clasped at her front, waiting for Frisk to be dropped off at the bottom of the driveway. Your brother told you a story once, About how the Frisk y preteen hopped off the bus fully annoyed with her mother for ‘candoodling’ her, [Best word to describe the sign she’d imagined up, You remembered that word. Who wouldn't?] Frisk forced her to stay on the porch instead. You assumed it meant she wanted more independence, You could relate, as a preteen, it would always embarrass you having to get off the bus to your mother waiting for you. You could walk up the driveway on your own, right? She didn't have to go all the way down there.

The bright shine of her paw caught your attention and filtered you out of your inner ramblings, Toriel was waving at you, the tenderest of smiles on her face. Had this been any other day since moving in, you would’ve quickly averted your gaze, to pretend you hadn't noticed it, tuck your hair behind your ears and let your brother respond for you.

Today was different though, after meeting her truly, seeing the kindness and experience in her features, You couldn't stop yourself if you tried. Your hand came up to give her a half wave. The Wave That Gave Up In The Middle.

“Hi, Tori!” Cole called, he tugged the arm of your work shirt, He tugged it again. You sighed.

“Let me go take a shower and get dressed.” You paused. “Also homework first.”

“I can do my homework with Frisk! Their super smart~” Your mouth opened on its own accord, the words spilled out before you could catch them.

“Their?” For the first time since picking up his first Pepsi, Your brother completely stilled. Your eyes went wide. “So it's not a girl?” Embarrassment filtered up through you, it was 20XX, of course, you knew there were gender-neutral people. But a twelve-year-old? Was she even twelve? You felt bad for not understanding this sooner. Meanwhile, Your brother stared up at you in a mixture of realization and interest. Jeez, when had your ball of energy gotten so good at making these looks?

“They’re not an in it either. They prefer gender-neutral pronouns.” Yup, You're definitely glad this came up alone with your brother and not at the dinner last night. Fuck, how many times had you referred to her~ them(?) as she? Your cheeks burned.

“Im’a go shower.” You slapped the words together quickly, already turning halfway through the words to fast walk towards your home.”Does that mean I can do my homework with them?” Your brother called out to you, You didn't break your stride. “Yes!” You returned. You basically became a shadow and slunk through the half-opened crack of your door. Once inside, you bid yourself to calm down, going straight to your bedroom. It wasn't a big deal, sure, a little embarrassing. But it was nothing, it was little, They didn't comment on it. You rounded up a pair of black yoga pants, after which, you searched through your closet for your favorite oversized hoodie. Keeping your entire body covered was your idea of heaven, It made you feel safe and comfortable, the only skin you liked to show was your face, and the tips of your fingers. Sometimes, your arms.

As you headed for the shower, you thought back to the nights you'd found yourself walking the city streets after the late shifts. Eleven pm, You'd always keep your hair in a ponytail, and throw up your hood. If you looked like a sketchy dude, then sketchy dudes wouldn't sketch on you. It was that simple.

Hot water rushed over you, you let out a sigh of relief.

Here we go again.

-

Dried and dressed, you stared at yourself in the mirror and whisked your wet hair through your hands. You looked tired, your eyes trailed down your neck, There were a few dotted bruises where your father's fingers had been, it didn't exactly resemble a handprint, more like a smudge with some dots on the side where his fingers had dug into you. You considered covering the bruises with some makeup. You never wore makeup, outside of really fancy situations that you’d never legitimately gotten into. Just some non-sparkle pale foundation dotted onto the affected areas, that would do.

You almost left the bathroom when you realized that going pee now would save you the trouble later, so you flopped down onto the seat to relieve yourself. A yawn later, and you stuck your hand out and froze when your fingers grasped cardboard. You immediately sat sideways on the seat and threw open the sink cupboard. Fuck. God, no, Fuck.

No toilet paper.

You groaned loudly, then yanked your phone off the bathroom counter where you’d left it after your shower. Your fingers hovered over the touchscreen, open on your brother's messages. You heaved a sigh. Cody had entered his own name into your phone, His ‘internet’ name he called it.

 

                                                                                                                                                                  You: Hey, Uh Cody?

 

Snakebite96: Sup?

 

Your entire body cringed as you began typing messages, you wanted to grab a towel and scream into it. “Ugh.” You voiced your nervousness loudly. You winced when you reread the text. “Ugh.” You repeated, before hitting send.

 

                                                                                                                                                                You: Do monsters use toilet paper?

 

Kill yourself, Oh god just kill yourself right now.

 

You yanked a towel out of the cabinet and smothered your face in it, letting out uncomfortable sounds and groans. Were you really about to ask your neighbors if you could borrow some toilet paper? Your monster neighbors which, you weren't entirely sure if they even used the bathroom? The reply came after a few seconds of silence. You sat there on your pristine white chair of relief, hunched over, face buried in the towel. After a few breathing exercises, you looked down at the message.

 

Snakebite96: Yes, Toriel says they use toilet paper. Mostly for Frisk

 

Oh frisk, of Course! Sh-They were human after all…

                                                                                                                                                   You: Can uh, can you ask if I can borrow some?

 

That's it, your body couldn't handle it. after you hit send your muscles instinctively tensed up, you threw the phone into the half-full hamper that sat in front of you, and scrubbed at your burning cheeks. You tried to imagine your brother gingerly asking Toriel for a roll, You didn't even have the courage to do it yourself. The poor kid, What kind of a sister are you?

 

Knock knock.

 

Snakebite96: Sans said he’ll bring it over. He's probably there by now.

 

Wondering how he’d gotten there so fast only flashed in your mind, before your face heated up even more at the thought, You wanted to cry, There was another knock, louder this time. Well, this was it, You couldn't let your father get up and greet the skeleton, that wouldn't end well at all. So you left your underwear down just enough to avoid touching and pulled up your pants.

The half wobble to the door was fucking embarrassing.

You opened the door leaving the glass one closed, you stared down at the skeleton with bright red cheeks and hunched shoulders. “heard you needed some Torilet paper,” Sans said smoothly, smoothly enough to almost instantly conclude that he 100% practiced it while you were battling with yourself in the bathroom. You opened the glass screen door and snatched it from his grip, hiding a smile with a downturned head.

“Thanks~”

“nice place.” Sans slid past you the moment you’d opened that glass door, you watched him, mortified as he sleazed around your living room, inspecting everything. “this is just like my room.” He gestured around. “ butt everywhere.” he finally got to the couch, he plopped his small body down onto it, then pulled up his hood, his face disappeared in the white floofs. You were trying to comprehend his actions, your feelings, and the puns he’d bombarded you with.

“Uh yeah, Okay.” You blinked a few times. “Sure, make yourself at home. I'm just gonna~” Sans waved you off with a hand, it was a half wave, The Wave That Gave Up In The Middle. You scurried off to the bathroom to speedily clean yourself up. Both mentally and physically. You prayed to whatever god was out there, for your father to stay in his room. The last thing he needed was seeing a monster, He hadn't since the fight. You didn't know how he’d take it.

After you freshened up, you stepped through the kitchen back into the living room, Sans was still laying there, sockets closed, there was a little line of blue drool dribbling down the short length of his chin.

Drool? Your eyebrows furrowed, you quietly rounded the couch and got a closer look at the liquid, then you bent down to stare at his neck. The fuck was it coming from? Where the hell was his tongue?

One of San’s sockets opened in a squint at you.

“you good, bud?” Startled, you threw yourself back, then straightened. You had no idea how you’d gotten on the other side of the couch so fast, by the looks of it, Sans hadn’t either. He stood up and looked you over, his white pupil lingering at your sneakers for a second. One of his bone brows raised.

“I’m sorry I was j-just looking at your face?” It came out as a question, it came out spilled, but honest. You wiped a hand across your chin. “You were drooling-And it looked cool-And I sort of wanted to touch it.but- but that's probably gross?”

Just shut the fuck up.

Sans had both socket brows raised now, his smile twisted up at the ends, he chuckled at you.

What the fuck ? What kind of reaction is that to a clearly distressed woman? He just laughed at your anxious displeasure. Wait, Why did you feel more relaxed? Your face scrunched up in anger, he sucked in a breath at the sudden change of emotion.

Then, he shrugged, lolling his head to the side. “ shake it off, pal.” your breath hitched at the pun. “i’m just laughing ‘cuz you're cute.” He winked at you, butterflies were born inside every corner of every intestine in your torso, you yanked up the collar of your hoody then threw up the hood itself, unable to do anything else in your embarrassment. Oh god, he called you cute . You padded back and for a moment on your feet.

He called you cute right to your flustered angry face.

Oh god and your reaction,

Don't look at him.

What the fucktitty are you doing?

SAY SOMETHING.

“My house is cold.” You said flatly, you turned and pulled open the door, robotically exiting the home, you got off the steps and breathed.

You're good, Your stable .

You patted your cheeks, willing the cool late day air to calm your agitated faceskin. A few seconds passed as you stood there. You didn’t look behind you, You needed to be brave now.

You’re alright.

You’re good.

You’re stable.

So smile.

Let's go.

You pushed forward, each step sturdier than the last.

Chapter Text

In retrospect, It hadn't taken you long to reach the house. In your mind, each step dragged out into infinity.  Every time a voice from inside the house was loud enough to be heard, it sent you a wave of distress. Your heart thudded painfully in your chest when you reached the door. Memories of last night stuck out in your mind, it caused your fingers to twitch at your sides. You quickly cracked your knuckles, a satisfying series of pops distracted you from your current situation. At this point, you were pretty much a professional knuckle-cracker, you did it as a way to relieve stress in situations that made you apprehensive. You reached out with a flutter of bravery to finally get the day started.~

Only to deflate when Papyrus whisked open the front door early, you huffed a little. So much for hyping yourself up.

“HUMAN! WHAT A STRANGE KNOCK?” You froze in thought~ Oh, he must’ve heard you cracking your knuckles. He looked utterly at loss. When your cheeks turned red, you figured right there on the spot, that they would stay that way for the rest of the night. You smiled up at Papyrus, the muscles of your mouth strained.

“I cracked my knuckles, I didn’t think you’d hear it but I guess you got like, super good hearing or something.” You reached up impulsively to rub the base of your neck, You stared at the floor, damn it! You always stared at the floor, where did all that confidence go?  “My bad~”

“NO! ‘YOU’RE GOOD!’” Papyrus reassured. You looked up in time for him to shoot you two thumbs up from beneath his red gloves.

“THOSE WERE VERY IMPRESSIVE! NOT AS IMPRESSIVE AS THE GREAT PAPYRUS, BUT IMPRESSIVE!” His thumbs up melted into a sweeping motion with his hands. You understood the non-verbal command immediately, you stepped back. He opened the glass door to let you in. Heh, he probably remembered almost bashing you onto your ass the last time he opened it.

“Do I get to see the impressiveness of your knuckle cracking, Papyrus?” You challenged, walking inside, taking in the home for the second time. You could do this, just act with more confidence than you actually felt, and eventually, you’d forget that you were acting.

“ONE DAY WE CAN DO BATTLE, HOOMAN~”

“Human.” Toriel sang from the kitchen in correction.

“HUMAN! AND I,” Papyrus rectified smoothly, not missing a beat. “THE GREAT PAPYRUS WILL SHOW YOU THE FULL STRENGTH OF MY UNCOVERED FINGERS!” He concluded with a very positive self-nod. He barked out some Nyeh’s then snagged you up, lifted you off your feet, and hugged you… then decided it was OK to carry you like this for several steps, just so he could put you down on the stable ground in the living room. He patted your hair with his glove, then promptly slid into the open kitchen.

You felt much more at ease with Papyrus around, You’d never really gotten ‘instant relief.’ Around a somewhat stranger before. Your eyes scanned over the living room, they landed on Sans, as you weirdly suspected, he looked as if he’d long since become one with Toriels couch, and he was asleep, He was literally inside your house not two minutes ago? the loud videogame noises sounding from the TV didn't seem to bother him. You were sort of jealous, You wish you could just lay down and pass out on the spot, ‘Instant sleep.’ How many more hours of shut-eye could you get for that?

You briefly wondered if Toriel had given the skeleton permission to primarily live on her couch-

Does he pay rent?

-Or, if Sans just adopted the item on his own and the goat mom has to put up with it. You wouldn't doubt the latter after your earlier meeting with him.

Cole and Frisk were battling it out on an old Xbox 360, the graphics of the game were kind of bad, and looked geared towards toddlers, but the two of them were enjoying themselves. They sat at the foot of Toriels?-

No seriously, does he pay rent?

-Couch. Toriel was~ You blinked, Toriel was actually standing next to you. How long had you been staring? You blinked again, just to make sure you weren't seeing shit.

“Oh, Hey Toriel, It’s nice to see you again.” You sad earnestly, pushing past your fears you wrapped her up in a brief hug. Hugs seemed to be a thing for this crew. Act confident.

“It's nice to see you too, Young one.” She hugged you back. You felt her fur beneath your fingers and grew amazed by how soft and plushy they were. Holy shit. You needed a pillow made out of this stuff.

...

…..wait, w a t?

No! No, you didn't need a pillow made from Toriel.

That's a terrible thought. The hell is wrong with you?

 

You smiled and pulled back after the train of thought. They couldn't read thoughts, right? .. .Right ?

“So do you all live here?” You asked, hands curling around the sleeves of your hoodie. The smell of something new caught your nose coming from the kitchen. It wasn't Spaghetti. You’d been here once before, but knowing your brother's conversations, the word ‘spaghetti’ was stupidly common, so you just assumed you’d be eating it again.

“Yes, They live in a tent in my backyard, Well, Papyrus does.” She gestured to Sans. “He lives on my furniture.” She concluded.

So he does pay rent.

Sans shifted on his chosen nap spot. “thank you for lettin’ me live on your couch tori.” he mumbled his voice softened from the sleep and what also sounded like a pillow or a blanket. After a few moments, Sans stretched and reached out to ruffle both Frisk and your brother's hair. He heaved himself up off the couch much like the movement killed him both inside and out. You blinked, now he was standing next to you. Okay. That's a thing. You rubbed one of your eyes. obviously, it was magic. You weren't drunk or high, The skeleton was legit teleporting. You decided not to bring it up. Accepting is accepting, right? act confident. 

“a couple of meat sacs~” Sans began.

“Humans.” Toriel hummed, flicking some hair from her face.  

“~a couple of humans threw firebombs through our apartment window. set the whole complex on fire. the landlord wasn't too happy, kicked Papyrus and I out on the spot.” He shrugged like it was no big deal. “now I couch-crash.”

Toriel cleared her throat. “Or you could move into one of the empty lots here.” she whisked her hand through the air, pointing out the few empty trailers through the wall. “I told you I could help you pay the first few off.” Sans grinned at her almost eager words. You smiled, seams like Toriel wanted him out. ‘Instant out’

“would still couch crash tho.” Sans turned his attention to you, giving you a questionable look. “yours is pretty good too, is it new?” You nodded lightly, about to reply when he continued. “nice, I could couch-crash at your place too. who needs a whole new building?” He finished, smirking at Toriel. She rolled her eyes with a vengeance. You didn't know the beautiful monster could make a face like that. You were becoming so suddenly aware of just how many faces Toriel had. Anyway, the implication of the skeleton basically living on your couch set your mind ablaze, your father would not be very happy.

So you laughed nervously. “Uh, yeah, yes!...but-no, Its uh.” You gave up a little, fuck talking was so hard when your mind was thumbing through the scenarios. “It's not a good idea. Not right now but maybe in the future?” Your voice died out. You could feel your hands curling into fists, Something in Sans expression changed. Your eyes locked with his orbs, something within him got a little darker. His voice was pointed when he spoke:

“an’ why’s that?” You felt trapped by his look, there was something deeper in his question that you knew you weren't going to answer. Your heartbeat started to pick up. Goddamnit! Your a mess ___. SHAME.

“Well, you saw it.” You began, letting out a whistful sigh of air, you diverted all the calmness you had to your voice. “You saw it, it's gross. I have to clean the house before you come over or something~”

“i don't care for messes.” Sans protested flatly. You continued, shuffling a bit on your feet at his tone.

“~And also my dad is kind of, well he's a really private person, so yeah, not a good idea.” The silence that followed this was awkward, Toriel had shifted her attention to the children at some point apparently coming to the conclusion that this was a private conversation. You knew she could still hear you though. Damn, Were they ganging up on you? Was she throwing you under the bus?

“can tell, never see him around.” Sans glanced at you like he knew more than he was letting on, and boy was he looking at you, his white orbs were going straight through your eyes, and down to your heart. He was staring right into your soul . It was pretty freaking intimidating, you made the connection quite quickly. The skeleton brothers lived here, for how long though? You’d officially met them just the other day, how long had they known you? How far back did Coles stories go? Your eyes widened in horror at your memories, Just how thin were your walls?

“hey.” Sans sighed out after seeing your face twist, you blinked back your thoughts and looked at him. It was just Sans, regular met-at-the-park Sans, the intenseness that was in his expression was simply gone. “don't worry about it, Toriels couch is sofa cking soft anyways I'm pretty sure she used her shedding hair as stuf~”

“Language, Sans!” Toriel chided. Sans broke off his sentence with a shrug and a laugh at this. Your worries had flushed away in those moments, you found yourself giggling, hiding your mouth behind the oversized sleeve of your hoodie. Your eyes lit up. Toriel shedded? Did she use her own shed hair in her furniture? That means… you could get a Toriel pillow!

“Can you make me a pillow!” You cried out before you had the chance to stop your outburst, you hid deeper in the sleeve of your jacket, your entire face is probably ripe as fuck right now.

“Of course!” Toriel replied.

From there, your night went smoothly, it turned out, Paprys had tried his hand at making a Chinese dish, focusing more on the lo mien part of it. He’d been over excited to show off his skills to you, and skills they were. The tall skeleton brother really had a passion for cooking. The food was borderline perfect, aside from the fact that everything was just a tad over-cooked.

You didn’t plan on staying here too long, but as the minutes trickled by, you began to feel like you didn’t want to go. Cole convinced you to let him sleep over, You all moved to the elegant kitchen table to eat the food prepared for you. Sans sipped on that same thermal you saw at the park and did nothing more than slurping a few noodles in emphasis to some pun or another. A short while after dinner, You and Sans found yourselves hogging the couch, battling it out on an online multiplayer game. You'd hoped to show off some skill to him, after all, your expertise of video gaming had a long track record, but halfway into the second game, you began to get frustrated. Sans really knew how to sneak up on you, even when playing split screen. You could see what he was doing~

God fuCKING DAMNIT!” Your tone thundered with the storm in your brain, when the skeleton’s avatar popped out from behind a wall and shot your character. Sans slouched back on the couch, tilting his head just a hair to show you his shiningly smug sockets. He sent a wink your way, you swatted it, returning the rejected invisible affection back at him. it buried itself straight into his soul, he lifted a hand to clutch at where the imaginary wink had entered him. The skeletons bone-brows scrunched, and his smile cracked in fake pain. “ah, fuck~” He got no further.

A glass jar slammed down onto the wooden table at the front. You flinched back at the sound, The newfound cringe on Sans face was real.

“Swear jar,” Toriel spoke, her voice an angered whisper, she stared both of you down, eyes glinting dangerously enough to give you shivers. Neither of you moved, Sans stilled at your side, and though he wasn't moving, somehow, he managed to sink further into the fluffs of his jacket. Her glare deepened, you could see a little it of sweat beading at the side of the skeleton's skull. In a single swift movement, Sans yanked out the change in his pocket at this and teleported it into the jar. His unsettled gaze of shame was locked on the opposite wall. Gulping unconsciously, you dug into the jeans of your pants and fished out a single quarter. You leaned forward and dropped it in.

Sans’s AFK character got shot by another player in the background. He did not move.

It stayed like that, much to your dismay. You slunk back on the couch as the mad woman loomed over it, blocking out the TV.

“Good children.” Toriel prided, melting into a friendly smirk. She finally moved, leaving the living room to continue cooking… whatever it was she was cooking this hour. Again. They made so many meals, It was freaking weird. You found the courage to return your shaken grip to the controller. Your eyes relocked on the TV.

Your character took three steps.

Three

Fucking

Steps.

Sans hooded character strafed out from behind a cargo box, shotgunning yours directly in the face during his slide.

“YOU FUCKING COCK!” You found yourself screeching, you lunged at the controller in his bony digits. He lifted the controller out of your reach, then lifted it up in the air with his levitation magic. You slapped at his hand, the one that pointed upwards, holding the controller at least four arms lengths away from you.

“you really have no controller  'over that fresh mouth do ya?” Sans teased, You crawled onto his lap, his attention wavered, He stared up at you in a mixture of confusion and determination. Too late, you already had a plan. You lifted your knee, then smashed it down on his femur. He let out a yelp, his magic broke, and during that second, you stood up, on top of him, and grabbed the controller out of the air.

On your way back to a seated position, you forced Sans’s character to commit suicide off the edge of the map.

You felt satisfied.

That was until Toriel’s massive shadow stretched over you from behind. Once again, you shrunk, feeling her red eyes repeatedly stabbing you in each little crook of your spinal column. You dug for more coins, Working at a store, you’d always find some coins lying around, abandoned, So you, ever the kind soul, would always snag up the orphaned change and give it a home. You only found that quarter today. Toriels eyes were unrelenting, she would not settle for your ‘b-but ...I’m poor .’ excuses.

“I’m…” Your voice cracked a little, you spared a look to Sans who looked way to happy with himself. “I'm gonna go grab some change.”

You made a mental note to grab a few handfuls from your change cup at home.

 

-

 

Upon returning to your home, you noticed one of a few things. One, the living room television was on. Two, All the lights in the area were off, and Three, there was an outline of your father chillaxing on the couch. Sometimes you forgot he existed outside of his room. You slowly closed the door, peeking over at him curiously. He was out of his room? Seriously? More importantly, he’d gotten past the bathroom. Was this some kind of joke?

A bright scene on the television illuminated your dad's features, you found yourself walking past the couch to get a better look at him. You’d be lying if you weren't feeling some excitement at this rare moment. He had a TV dinner pressed against his biceps. You assumed it was there to catch any of the noodles that may have fallen.

“Hey, Dad.” You smiled when he looked up at you.

“Hey, love.” He replied, sounding equally excited. You sat down next to him, eagerly taking in his features. He was still wearing a version of pajama pants, and a tee shirt, but the clothes were clean and stainless, you could smell the lingering caress of ocean breeze laundry soap. A quick look at his face showed a trimmed beard. He laughed a little, obviously taking note of the fact that you were openly inspecting him. “You showered?” The words slipped past your lips in disbelief, sure, the man semi-regularly cleaned himself on a semi-regular basis, but a full on cut clean shave was a miracle in itself. Your father puffed up at the question.

“Showered, Did the laundry, did the dishes.” he jerked back a thumb towards the dark kitchen sink. The movement had you flinching, but you regained your composure neatly enough. “Picked up some of the garbage around, and .” he held up the microwave meal. “'Made my own food.” You couldn't help it, You smiled. Your father looked so damn proud of himself, You couldn't begin to put yourself in his mind frame. All you knew is that he looked better. For now, for this moment, he was better.

“What's the occasion?” You relaxed back on the couch, your memory flashing randomly to when Sans been laying there. You remembered his drool. Fuck, that drool shit was cool.

“I’m not sure, I woke up from a nap, just felt like getting up. Wondered a bit, figured you were workin’.” He settled back, reaching towards his end table, he lifted a bottle of water nervously to his lips.

Your heart twisted a bit, damn.

He was really trying.

You talked for a while, laughing and joking just like before. You caught him up to speed, telling him about work, about your friendly neighbors. [you left the whole ‘monster’ part out] He was interested, very much so. He asked questions and spoke up at just the right time. He never let you sit in silence. He was kind and lighthearted, his voice a tight embrace, a safe embrace, he was back. You had no idea how much time had passed, enough time to watch a small handful of cartoons on comedy central, all the while you shoved chips and other cheap snacks down your throats. This had been the most honest time you’d spent with him in what felt like generations. There had been a heated conversation about your father wanting to try working again. It was around this time when a knock came to your door, by the soft muffled sound it made, you could instantly tell whose giant paw it belonged to.  It was late, You’d completely forgotten about going back to Toriels, Shit, you should've texted her or something, was she worried about you?

You slid off the couch before your father had the chance to. 

“I got it.” You said sternly, forcing your voice to stay calm. Okay, this was a bad situation, on a scale of one to ten, how negatively would seeing a monster effect him? On one had~ Your thought vanished when you pulled open the front door, just enough to see the kind monster through the crack.

“Oh hey, Toriel. Sorry about disappearing, I got kinda tired, ill bring the change tomorrow~” Toriel giggled a little, peeking somehow respectfully into your home.

“Goodness, no child, there is no need to feel sorry. I was simply coming to offer a bit of this.” She lifted up her arms, the dull light of the tv barely showing the items she had in her hand. You reached out and flicked on the porch light. Containers, oh sweet. Were those cookies? Shit dude. Toriel's awesome.

“After the last time, I assumed you would not turn down some leftovers. I've never seen anyone eat Papyrus’s food with eagerness like yours.” She giggled again, your face reddened and you laughed as you took the containers from her. Three in total, one stacked.

“Thanks, I fu-freaking loved the lo mien~” You cut yourself off when you turned to bring them into the kitchen, your eyes locked on your father, who was standing up, staring directly at Toriel when the goat woman stepped inside.

Nope. 

You weren't going to make it to the kitchen.

You sat the containers down on the nearest surface. Then began towards him, you slowly stopped when you realized he wasn't… exactly reacting.

He was just staring at Toriel, who, stared right back at him kindly. His body still and stiff.

“Dad.” You began, taking a breath. Okay, so this was going better than most of the thoughts in your head. “This is our neighbor, remember the one I told you about? Her name is Toriel.” You spoke lightly, your voice stunningly even. You gave Toriel a struggled look, she smiled at you, though her body was rigid, seeing the stress in her body made you feel instantly bad.' Instant grief' She was probably used to bracing herself during human interactions, that really sucked.

“Toriel this is my dad, Nathan.” Your voice dropped, you continued, a bit quieter. “Easy, Okay?”

Toriel stared at you, you didn't deserve the amount of trust she showed you with one simple look. “Okay.” She straightened, then relaxed. Your father shifted.

Toriel took a breath. “It's nice to meet you, Nathan.” He’d moved so quick the actions hardly registered in your mind, he reached behind him and pulled out a gun you didn't know he had on him, and focused it right at her face.

“You were there when she died.” He said coldly, You stepped in front of Toriel, keeping each movement slow and steady, to keep him calm. You didn't look back to see what Toriel was doing, you kept your eyes locked on his face.

“I recognize you, from the aftermath. You just watched.” There was pure venom in his words, his hand twitched around the trigger. Hearing him say this had questions popping into your mind, you couldn't focus on that right now.

“Put the fuckin’ gun down dad.” Oh, how quickly he’d reverted. You were scared, but you knew deep down he would not shoot you. Despite his actions, his eyes were still clear. “Don’t you dare, Toriel is an amazing woman and she would never hurt anyone. It's not her fault. It's not your fault.” His panicked pupils flicked to yours as you drew nearer, in the path of the gun. You watched his brows furrow as he contemplated this. You pressed on, reaching out you closed your hand around the barrel of the gun. Toriel stayed quiet for good reasons.

“You’re alright.”

“I’m alright.” He breathed.

“Yes.” you answered, giving him your best smile. You slowly started lowering the weapon, he let you do this.

“You’re good.” you murmured, you extended the other hand in attempts to get the weapon from his grasp at a trustful, respectful level.

A steady breeze cruised in through the open door,  it had other ideas.

The wind pressed against the containers you’d sat down, unknowingly, on an unsteady surface.

One of the containers crashed to the floor.

That noise was deafening in the silence.

But the sound of a gunshot was louder.