Chapter 1: Catching Z’s and Tears
After tossing and turning with no sign of getting any sleep tonight, Red sighed and decided to go get himself a drink. ‘Maybe some warm milk will help me get some shut eye,’ he thought. He sat up in bed and looked to his right, smiling when he saw his brother sleeping soundly in bed a few feet away from him. He decided not to use his teleporting ability to go to the kitchen, concerned that he might wake up his brother, and got up to walk downstairs instead. Carefully walking out of his and his brother’s bedroom and closing the door as gently as possible, he quietly walked down the stairs and yawned.
When he reached to the bottom of the stairs it was only then that he noticed a light coming from the kitchen. He squinted as he walked closer to the kitchen, his eye-lights still adjusting to the light when he stopped right at the archway of the living room to the kitchen. As soon as his eye-lights adjusted and landed on a lone figure in dinosaur pajamas, he immediately knew who it was. "Papyrus?" he whispered. He heard Papyrus gasp and saw his’ whole body tense up almost instantly.
"O-oh, Red!" Papyrus said, and Red almost flinched at how hoarse and cracked his voice sounded. He heard him cough a bit before saying, "W-What are you doing up this late at night?" Red didn’t respond right away as he took note how Papyrus didn’t turn around to look at him when he talked. Even when Papyrus tried to cough and clear his throat, it still sounded...raw.
A sudden sniffling sound caught Red’s non-existent ears, giving him an idea what that meant and not liking it one bit. "Couldn’t sleep." Red said simply and slowly. "Came down here to get myself some warm milk to help me catch some z’s."
"Oh, well what a coincidence! I just finished heating up some milk for myself. I used a pretty big mug so I think we could share. Let me get you a mug." Papyrus said and reached for one of the cabinets above him. Papyrus took out a red mug and poured some milk from his own mug into it, while Red walked towards him.
Red noticed how Papyrus grew more tense the closer he got to him. When he stopped right by his side, Papyrus shuffled his feet and looked away to the side. Red frowned and was about to finally ask what was wrong before Papyrus held out the red mug to him, still refusing to make eye contact with him. He took the mug, finding comfort in the warmth of it for a second. "Thanks," he said before glancing up worriedly at Papyrus. It was obvious that Papyrus didn’t want to talk about whatever it was that was bothering him, but Red knew he really wouldn’t get any sleep at all tonight if he didn’t at least try to comfort him, if only a little.
So, he gave Papyrus a gentle pat on the back and said in a soft tone, "I won’t question why you’re up so late tonight, and I won’t tell your brother or the others about this. I’ll even pretend this night never happened and that it was all just a dream. But just so you know, if you ever have any questions for me, I’ll listen...and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability." He started walking away and without looking back he said, "Hope you have a good night, Paps."
A hand caught his sleeve before he could reach the archway, almost making him spill some milk out of the mug. "I-I...," Papyrus voice cracked, making Red’s soul pang with worry, but when he turned around and got a good look at Papyrus’ face, his worry multiplied by the dozen. Papyrus’ face was completely tear stained, some snot was dripping from his nasal cavity, and his eye sockets were almost bloody red on the outer rims. He looked absolutely miserable, and more tears were starting to form and threaten to roll down on his face the more he tried to speak. "I..."
"Hey, hey, buddy. It’s ok, you don’t have to tell me," Red said and placed his mug down on the table right beside him. He gently patted Papyrus’ hand that was gripping onto his sleeve as if his life depended on it. "Seriously, if you can’t-"
"I want to...I want to talk about it b-but..." Papyrus gulped and blinked hard, letting the tears that were gathering up in his eye sockets roll down from his cheekbones to his chin and onto the ground.
Red placed a hand on each side of Papyrus’ face and began to wipe away his tears with his thumbs. It broke his soul seeing the usually cheerful, smiling skeleton looking so unhappy and sounding like he’s been crying for hours. Seeing how badly Papyrus was struggling to talk to him and having such a hard time keeping himself together, Red was starting to have doubts if he was able to help him. He began wondering that whatever was bothering Papyrus so much may be too personal to talk about with just anyone. ‘Maybe I should tell Sans...he’d know what to do,’ he thought.
"Get yourself some tissues and wait here, I’m gonna to get Sans," Red said.
Papyrus’ eye sockets flew wide open, his hand gripping on Red’s sleeve tighter as he shook his head furiously. "No, no, no, no. Please...please, Red, don’t...," Papyrus pleaded desperately, his other hand holding the mug shaking slightly.
Red was now more worried than ever, his soul suddenly feeling heavy in his ribcage. It was already hard enough for him to see Papyrus looking so miserable, but to see him look so scared and distressed was what crushed him the most. What was even more worrying to him was that Papyrus didn’t even want his own brother, Sans, to help him, much less know about this whole situation apparently. ‘Papyrus...buddy, what have you gotten yourself into?’ he thought.
"Ok...Ok, I won’t get Sans," Red said reassuringly.
Papyrus sniffles and says in a cracked voice, "Y-you won’t?"
"I won’t...but I do want you to at least try talking to me, buddy. C’mon, let’s take a seat," Red said and picked up his mug from the kitchen table. He motioned Papyrus with a nod of his head to head towards the living room. Papyrus nodded and followed him out of the kitchen, but not before grabbing a few paper towels to wipe his face from his tears and snot.
When the two entered the living room and sat down on the comfy couch, Red made himself comfortable and took a sip of the now lukewarm milk. He looked at Papyrus, who looked anything but comfortable, and waited patiently for him to speak. Papyrus took a sip from his mug as well, before drinking half of it down. Red noticed how much Papyrus’ hands were shaking as he held the mug and even when he settled it on his lap. Red placed a hand over his hand and rubbed his thumb soothingly over his knuckles, earning him a quick, small smile from Papyrus. Red smiled back and took another sip from his mug.
Papyrus’ smile vanished a second later though, and as he tapped nervously on his mug, his mouth opening and closing a few times but not a single word coming out of him. Sighing hopelessly, Papyrus took another sip of milk before looking away from Red and saying, "I-I’m sorry."
Red patted his hand gently and said, "Its alright."
"I know you are, buddy. I know, and I appreciate that," he said, thinking for a moment what he could say to ease Papyrus’ nerves enough to get him to open up more. "You know, think of it this way, if it’s hard for you to talk to your brother about whatever’s bothering you, then maybe it’d be easier for you to talk to me or the others about it." When Papyrus tilted his head at him in confusion, he explained himself, "Sometimes, it’s easier to talk to friends or even strangers about certain things than with family, especially if it’s something personal."
Papyrus hummed thoughtfully for a moment about what he just heard before shaking his head a second later. "B-But I don’t want to worry anybody. I don’t like worrying anyone. It’s...It’s my problem, no one else’s."
"Papyrus," Red said in a gentle, yet firm tone, "I think it’s considerate of you not wanting to worry anybody but first off, too late," he said, pointing to himself. "And second, I admire that you want to handle your own problems by yourself but, buddy...it doesn’t hurt to ask for help if you find yourself struggling to find a solution. So what if you make Sans, me, your friends or anyone in this house worried about you? It shows that we care about you, you know that right?"
Papyrus’ eye sockets watered as he looked at Red with a smile, nodding while wiping his unshed tears with his sleeve before they had a chance to roll down his face again. "Y-yeah," he chuckled. "I know."
"You better," Red warned somewhat playfully yet serious. He smiled when Papyrus giggled at him and found himself chuckling as well. He gave his hand a gentle squeeze before raising his mug to his mouth and taking a few sips of his milk.
"Red? You said before I can ask you any question, right?" Papyrus said, nervously tapping on his mug again.
Red nodded and smiled, hoping this was Papyrus’ chance to finally let it all out, or at least ask for some help. "I’m listening," he said and gently squeezed his hand again.
Papyrus returned the squeeze and smiled but Red noticed how twitchy his smile was, and how shaky his hand was starting to feel. Red rubbed small, soothing circles with his thumb on the back of Papyrus hand and patiently waited for him to ask away.
It took a few seconds before Papyrus was able to find his voice and look at Red in the eye sockets to say, "Am...Am I scary?"
The question threw Red so off guard, it must’ve clearly showed on his face because Papyrus looked away guiltily and tightened his grip on his mug.
"I-I’m sorry, that was a stupi-"
“No!" Red whispered loudly, and patted Papyrus’ hand in reassurance. He cleared his throat before saying in a more calm manner, "No, Papyrus, that wasn’t a stupid question. I’m...I’m sorry for the way I reacted there, I just...wasn’t expecting a question like that, especially from you. There’re no stupid questions here, alright? I told you, you can ask me anything and I meant it. And to answer your question, no. I don’t think your scary."
Papyrus looked back at him and seemed to hesitate for a little bit before speaking up again, "A-Are you sure I’m not scary? Or at least...you know, ugly or threatening looking or..."
"Ok, woah, woah, woah, hold up. Where is this coming from?" Red asked in a stern tone. He felt a little bad for cutting Papyrus off, but he really didn’t like what he was asking and what it was implying about this whole problematic situation. ‘Does he actually think he’s any of those things?’ he thought worriedly.
Papyrus looked away, guilt written all over his face. "I-I’m sorry, I just..," He sighed and lifted his mug to his mouth to finish what was left of his now cold milk. He placed the mug on the small table beside the couch and looked down, folding his hands on his lap while twiddling his thumbs nervously. "I need to know...if I’m any of those things. And I want an honest answer, Red. Please," He said with such a desperate, pleading tone it, Red could practically feel his own soul slowly chipping away.
"You’re none of those things, Papyrus." Red said without any hesitation and looked at him right in the eye sockets with a fierce, determined look in his eye lights. "And I say that as a fact. No exaggeration. No lie. The day you’re any of those things is the day I finally exercise willingly," he said, only half joking about his last statement. He really couldn’t imagine Papyrus being...not Papyrus.
Papyrus quickly covered his mouth and placed a hand over his stomach, his whole upper body shaking form his attempts to hold in his laughter. Red snorted half-heartedly at the sight, happy to see his friend laughing and loosening up a bit, but also hoping Papyrus knew that he wasn’t completely joking. "Why can’t you make more jokes like that than your awful puns?" Papyrus asked, giggling.
Red shrugged and drank the rest of his milk before handing it over to Papyrus, who set it right beside his mug on the table. "Because they’re not as punny."
Red almost bursted out loud in laughter at Papyrus’ quick, unamused response but then remembered that everyone was still sleeping. So, he grabbed the nearest throw pillow to muffle his laughter. He heard Papyrus take the first step to the stairs and quickly reached out to him. "P-Papyrus, heh heh wait, I’m sorry," Red whispered loudly in between chuckles. "I couldn’t heh heh help myself. You did ask!"
Papyrus sighed and shook his head while waking back to the couch to sit right beside Red again. "I guess I should’ve seen that coming."
"Yep," Red said with a chuckle and wiped a lone tear from his left eye socket. "Wooh, that was a good one," he said more to himself than Papyrus. "But seriously, Papyrus, you’re a good guy. A great one no less that deserves to be recognized as such. So, if you don’t mind me asking, is there someone telling you otherwise?"
Papyrus looked down for a few seconds, his facial features twisting from conflicted to thoughtful until Papyrus looked back at him with a sad and tired expression on his face.
Red immediately wanted to make a pun or two, maybe even a non-pun joke that Papyrus might actually like just to see him smile again. Seeing him without a smile on his face, even if it was only an hour or just a few minutes, felt wrong to him. He didn’t like seeing him this way, not when Papyrus always tried to make everyone around him smile and be happy with his own smile and happy go lucky personality. He always made him smile, and the happiness that he’s brought into his life and the others was unimaginable. Now, he wanted to the same for him but before he could even attempt anything to cheer him up, Papyrus opened his mouth and said, "That’s the problem...t-they don’t tell me anything. They don’t say...a-anything. They just look at me and s-s-scream like...l-like I’m a bad guy."
Red wrapped his arms around Papyrus, who broke down crying as soon as he finished speaking. He felt his soul aching in his ribcage as he watched Papyrus trying to quiet down his cries by burying his head in the crook of his neck. Small bursts of pain shot up in his soul for every little whine and shiver that came out of the sad skeleton in his arms. He placed a hand on top of Papyrus skull and rubbed it soothingly, letting him cry on his shoulder while thinking over what he just heard. No doubt in his mind that "they" had to be humans.
Red mentally sighed as he thought a bit bitterly, ‘of course humans just had to be the ones causing trouble for Papyrus. I thought things were getting better, but apparently not...’
It didn’t surprise him or anyone else from another universe that life above the surface was not going to be that easy in any universe at all. The tensions between monsters and humans were still going to be somewhat...uneasy and confusing after who knows how long after the war. There was plenty of hate crimes in the beginning for them, and a few unfortunate acts of violence that’s stirred up a whole lot of problems and controversy, but to say it hasn’t gotten any better would be a lie. It took a whole year, but now the act of hate against monsters were quite rare. There’d still be a few humans here and there that still didn’t like them, but any actual violence towards them was a low possibility now.
He hoped the humans Papyrus was talking about were just scared of him and nothing more. Just the thought of them physically hurting him made him want to summon his gaster blasters and give them a really, really bad time.
"I-I’m not a bad guy," Papyrus said in a cracked, shaky voice. "I’m not. I don’t want be bad, R-Red. I want to be good. I-I am good aren’t I?"
"Hey, what did I say before?" Red asked with a growl. He started to feel himself losing his temper a bit. He couldn’t stand hearing Papyrus question his own virtues. "I said that you’re a good guy. A great one, Papyrus, and I mean it. Understand?"
Papyrus sniffled and looked up at him with teary eyes, nodding his head slowly.
"I want to hear you say it."
"No. I want to hear you say that you’re a good guy."
Papyrus hesitated at first, before pulling away from him, sitting up and wiping his tears away. "I-I’m a g-good guy," he said and sniffled.
"A great guy."
"A-A great guy."
“I am the Great Papyrus," Red said in a voice that sounded like a poor attempt to imitate Papyrus’ voice.
Papyrus giggled and a small smile managed to make its way across his face. "I am the Great Papyrus."
"Nyeh!" Papyrus said a little loudly, quickly covering his mouth and hoping he didn’t wake anyone up. Red chuckled and reached over to give him a hug. Papyrus hugged him back.
"Feel better?" Red asked, hopefully.
"A little," Papyrus said softly and pulled back from the hug. "Red, can I ask you another question? And don’t say that I just did," he said while waggling a finger at him in a stern, yet playful manner.
Red chuckled again and put his hands up in defense. "Alright, alright. So, what’s your question, buddy?"
"Well...um...if you aren’t busy tomorrow, can you help me convince the humans that think I’m scary that I’m not?"
Red was surprised by his question, feeling a bit skeptical about the idea. "I...I don’t know if that’s a good idea, Paps. I mean, if they don’t even give you a chance and just scream at the sight of you...I can’t imagine how they’ll react to me."
"But we’ll try, Red! We’ll try our very best! I’ve been trying for awhile now and...not much progress is being made...or at all....b-but no matter! I’m sure my efforts will not be in vain, and soon enough with your help, they won’t be scared of me anymore. Maybe we can all be friends too!" Papyrus said with a look that practically screamed with hope and determination.
Red rubbed his neck a bit nervously, feeling unsure how to tell Papyrus that his efforts might actually be in vain. ‘Ugh, how do I put this lightly to him...,’ he thought. "Paps, look...you can’t...I mean, not everyone in life is going to...some people are just not able to...," Red sighed, unable to find it in himself to tell Papyrus that the chances of becoming friends with the humans that are consistently afraid of him are possibly very, very low.
Papyrus’ hopeful and determined look slightly faded into a sad expression. "You don’t think friendship is possible with them?
Red hesitated and frowned for a moment before saying, "I think the possibility of friendship is...unlikely."
Papyrus suddenly had a small smile on his face. "As long as they’re not scared of me...that’ll be good enough for me. I’ll be sad if they don’t want to be friends, but being feared makes me sadder. I may be a monster but...I’m not a monster," he said in a bittersweet tone of voice.
Red stared at Papyrus in astonishment, never before hearing the skeleton in front of speak so...profoundly. He knew Papyrus wasn’t an idiot...but hearing those words come out of someone as naive as him was almost bewildering. This was the same guy who believed too willingly in some things or people and monsters, who saw the good in everything and everyone including the bad ones, who’s outlook on life is simple and fair despite life proving itself time and time again that sometimes it just isn’t like that. Those last few words he said sounded just like him, so simple and yet, it spoke volumes to him.
"Red? Red, are you crying?"
"Huh, what?" Red blinked and immediately the tears just barely hanging on to the rims of his eye sockets. He quickly looked away to wipe his face with his sleeve, effectively soaking up his tears while also hiding his face from Papyrus. He chuckled, "nope, no I’m not crying. I’m just...sleep is getting to me, you know? Yeah, heh heh, that’s it." He looked back and was not at all surprised to see how unconvinced Papyrus looked from his excuse.
"You got real deep there for a moment buddy. Did the milk hit you that hard?"
Red chuckled again, "Heh heh, nothing, don’t mind me...and yes."
"Yes, I’ll help you convince the humans tomorrow that you’re not scary. It’s worth a try...I guess."
"Really?" Papyrus asked with sparkles in his eye sockets.
"Really, and who knows, maybe they will wanna be friends. It’d be a shame if they didn’t though, you’re a really cool guy Paps."
Papyrus blushed and pulled Red into a tight hug. "You mean we’re cool! Nyeh heh heh."
"Heh, heh. Yeah," Red smiled and hugged him back, feeling his eye sockets getting heavy, "ice cool. cool to the bone...chilling like a-"
"Alright, time for bed. "Papyrus said, getting up from the couch and carrying a sleepy, giggling Red up the stairs. As he walked towards Red and Edge’s bedroom, he carefully opened the door as quietly as possible and tippy toed in. He quickly glanced at Edge, sighing in relief as he was still asleep. ‘Wowie, Edgy is usually such a light sleeper. He must be really bone tired.’ He stopped right at Red’s bed, feeling mortified and in disbelief at what he just thought. ‘I really need to get some sleep.’
He lay Red down on the bed and pulled the covers over him just below his neck, tucking him in gently. Red yawned and turned to his side, looking at him sleepily with a lazy smile. "Goodnight, Paps. Try to get some sleep, alright?"
Papyrus nodded. "I will, Red. Thanks to you...thanks for everything," he said with a grateful smile.
Red smiled back at him fondly and closed his eyes. "No problem, buddy."
Papyrus scratched the bed sheet a little nervously for a moment before asking, "Um, Red? J-Just to make sure...you won’t tell Sans and the others about tonight, right?"
"About what?" Red said, his eyes still closed but his smile widening to a smirk.
Papyrus giggled. "Nothing...I promise to tell everyone eventually...I-I’ll try to at least. When I’m ready."
"Tell them what?" Red chuckled and so did Papyrus.
Papyrus smiles and takes a few steps towards the door, raising his hand to quietly shut the door behind before he pauses midway. He glances back at Red for a moment, hesitating and taking a deep breath before walking back towards Red and kneeling in front of his bed. He wasn’t surprised to see that Red was already fast asleep, if his soft snoring was any indication. He gently gripped the bed sheets with both of his hands, feeling anxious but with another deep breath, he exhaled slowly and said, "If you weren’t like family to me...it would’ve been so much easier to talk to you...to any of you. I’m sorry for being so difficult."
He gently kissed Red’s forehead. "Goodnight, big brother," he said with a fond smile, a bright orange blush spreading across his cheek bones. He slowly stood up and walked out of the room, closing the door behind him as gently as possible.
As soon as he heard the footsteps grow more distant and the soft click of a door closing, Red opened one eye socket and stared at the closed door of his and his brother’s room. He felt his cheekbones burning slightly as he smiled and chuckled. He turned to lay on his back and stared at the ceiling, his soul feeling like it grew just a bit bigger. ‘Family, huh?’ he thought, and turned his head to look at his little brother, who was sleeping like a baby with a bit of drool escaping on the corner of his mouth.
“Looks like we’ve both got a new little brother, bro,” he whispered.
Chapter 2: The Worrywart’s Warning, Hypocrisy, and Spoils
"Yeah, we’re not, but we did hurt him once...more than once...who’s to say we won’t hurt him again? Unintentionally or not?"
My attempt at a trope challenge. This story focuses on the “Family of Choice” trope.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
As soon as the pair of humans entered his room, Edge locked the door behind him and leaned back against it. He crossed his arms and glared at them as they looked around his room, trying to look anywhere else but him. He cleared his throat, startling them and grabbing their attention. He almost smirked in satisfaction when they turned around and looked at him in fear, their bodies already shaking slightly.
"So, you’re the ones who were scared of Papyrus? The jerks who made him miserable?"
He didn’t expect them to give him an answer, they were both rhetorical questions. He just wanted to ask as a reminder to them for what they’ve done before giving them a warning. He wasn’t surprised at all when the two humans didn’t say a word. Instead, they shuffled their feet nervously and looked down in shame, still shaking like a leaf. He stood up straight and started walking towards them slowly, hoping by the time he was just a foot away from them, they’d be begging for mercy.
"You have some nerve to make him cry," he said, his voice low and his footsteps loud against the wooden floor. "I don’t care if it was intentional or not, haven’t your parents ever taught you never to judge a book by its cover?" he asked, and for a moment, he felt like a hypocrite knowing that he was also guilty of doing that once every now and then thanks to his old universe, the kill or be killed universe, Underfell. It was an old habit he’s been trying to get rid of for quite a while now, especially ever since he realized how wrong he was about the universe he lived in now, Undertale, and all of its inhabitants.
He paused, his eye sockets never leaving the scared humans. A wave of guilt hit him as soon as he remembered how awful he misjudged Papyrus at first, thinking his kindness was all just a ruse. He shook his head, not wanting to think about how much of a jerk he was back then. He began walking towards the humans again and said, "Well? Answer my question."
One of the humans, he couldn’t bother trying to remember his and the other one's name, gulped nervously and said, "Th-they d-d-did-"
"Look at me when you answer!" he demanded, his voice loud and commanding just like his days in the royal guard. Their heads immediately shot up, their eyes wide in fear as their bodies shook violently. He stopped right in front of them and tapped his foot impatiently on the wooden floor. He glared down at them and had to fight back a laugh when they looked up at him, their faces as pale as a ghost. He’s honestly surprised they haven’t fainted yet, or at least try to escape from him.
Not that they could with the door locked and the windows shut tight.
"They did!" said the two humans in unison.
"Oh, really? So why aren’t you following through with their teachings, hm? Does it only apply to humans?"
"L-Look, um...E-Edge, right? We-"
"You two will address me as sir," he said, silently daring them to say otherwise.
"S-Sir...w-we’re sorry f-for what we did-"
"Oh, I know. Papyrus told me and everyone else in this house about his predicament with you two, and how Red, my brother, helped him resolve it. But saying you’re sorry and meaning it are two completely different things."
"W-We’re serious! We are so-!"
"Don’t raise your voice at me," he said lowly with a growl.
”W-w-we’re sorry, sir. We r-really are sorry. We didn’t m-mean for any t-trouble..."
"As I said, I don’t care if it was unintentional or not. You hurt Papyrus, and that’s enough for my magic to boil," he said and grabbed each of them by the collar of their shirts. He lifted them off the ground until they were at his eye level, their legs dangling hopelessly in the air.
"Quiet, and listen to me very carefully because I won’t repeat myself. You’ve been friends for quite a while now ever since the predicament was resolved, and Papyrus has nothing but good things to say about you two. But the moment you two slip up, the moment where he says just one bad thing about either of you or both, I will personally show you humans who you should be afraid of. Not Papyrus, not anyone in this house, and not any monster outside of this house."
His right eye glowed and released a wisp of magic as he summoned a few, sharpened bones that hovered just above the humans. He watched in amusement as they struggled to figure out where to look, either into his glowing red eye-light or the weapons above them. He didn’t give them a choice, nor did he care as he growled and slowly brought his bone attacks closer to their heads.
"Who you should be afraid of is me. I’ll give you two a good, damn reason to be afraid of a monster like me and no one else if you ever hurt Papyrus again. Emotionally, mentally, or physically, it doesn’t matter. Hurt him, period, and you two will pay for it dearly. Got it?" he asked with a growl.
The two nodded hastily without any hesitation. "Y-Yes, sir!" they shakily said in unison.
"Good," he said and nodded before letting them go. He almost laughed when they collapsed straight down on the floor, struggling to get up when their whole body shook violently like a newborn animal. The red magic from his right eye-socket disappeared slowly as well as his bone attacks. He glared down at them and watched as they tried to catch their breaths. When the two humans were finally able to stand on their own, even if they were a bit wobbly and their breaths were somewhat even, he motioned for them to follow him. He resisted the urge to smirk when they obeyed him without question.
He unlocked his door and opened it for them, reminding them one last time of his warning before leading them downstairs. As he walked down the stairs, he made his way towards the front door and opened it, telling them to start the car and wait for Papyrus. When they obeyed his order, he finally allowed himself to smirk and chuckle as soon as he closed the door. ‘Too easy,’ he thought smugly. ‘I was hoping they’d be more of a challenge just so I’d have an excuse to beat them up for hurting Papyrus. Which reminds me...’
He took out his phone and unlocked it, his fingers tapping the messaging app immediately before texting Papyrus.
Edge: You can come home now.
He received a reply in just a few seconds later.
Papyrus: Great! I’m almost there! So what do you think of Jeremy and Gabe?
‘Ah, so those are their names,’ he thought, though he still didn’t know which one was which nor did he care. Honestly, he couldn’t say much about them, other than the fact that he didn’t like them for what they’ve done to Papyrus, but he couldn’t hate them either. From what he’s heard from Papyrus and the others, they were nice, and the reason why they were scared of Papyrus was all just a big misunderstanding. ‘They didn’t seem like the types to love horror movies...’ he thought, before shaking his head. ‘Now is not the time to be a hypocrite.’
Edge: They’re nice.
He lied. All he did was threaten them, he didn’t get to know them at all, but he’d never say that to Papyrus. He hated lying to him, but sometimes he found himself lying to him more often than not. He’d argued to himself that he lied because he cared, and right now, he cared about Papyrus’ feelings and how they’d be crushed if he knew the truth.
Papyrus: See! I told you! I’ll be there in just a few minutes.
Edge: Alright. Your friends are waiting for you outside in their car, but I’d like to talk to you before you go.
He smiled and walked towards the sofa to sit and wait. His phone’s message notification tone went off as soon as he made himself comfortable. He chuckled when he read the message.
Papyrus: You didn’t say any embarrassing things about me to my friends, did you Edgy?
He hated lying to him, but teasing was an exception to that. It was cruel of him he’ll admit, but he loved to tease Papyrus whenever he had the chance. It was all just harmless fun in his opinion, but he did try and make sure he never went too far in fear of actually hurting him. That was the last thing he’d ever want to do to Papyrus.
Just the thought alone scared him.
He laughed when he received a reply almost immediately, easily imagining Papyrus’ voice while reading it.
Papyrus: Edgy! You’re the worst!
Edge: I know.
He smiled when he heard a knock on the door a minute later. He got up from the couch and walked towards the door to open it. He watched in amusement as the flustered skeleton walked past him and sat on the couch, pouting with his arms crossed. He joined him on the couch and waited for the argument that he knew was about to start.
"I couldn’t even look at my friends and wave at them without feeling self-conscious! Did you or did you not say embarrassing things about me?"
He hummed and looked up at the ceiling, pretending to look thoughtful for a moment before looking at him with a mischievous smile. "Hard to say...we talked for quite a while. I can’t remember all the details, but I think I did mention how much of a spoiled brat you are."
Papyrus’ blush grew as he sputtered, "I-I’m not a spoiled brat! I can’t believe you’d tell them such a thing, it’s not true. You’re a liar, Edgy!"
‘You don’t know the half of it...’ he thought sadly. He brought him into a hug, knowing it’d cheer him up, and chuckled when Papyrus was trying to push him away, but failing miserably at it. The blushing skeleton in his arms struggled a bit more before sighing in defeat and hugging him back. "Tell me something I don’t know," he said softly, rubbing his back gently with one hand while the other cupped the back of his head.
Suddenly, the hug felt too tight, and for a moment, he thought he may have gone too far with the teasing. He slowly pulled away from the hug and grew worried when Papyrus refused to look at him.
"Papyrus, what’s wrong?"
"I...," Papyrus started to say before looking back at him, his bright orange blush taking up almost his entire face. His mouth opened and closed a few times, but not a single word was able to come out. He sighed and closed his eyes with a shake of his head. "I want to tell you something, but...I’m not ready to tell you. N-not yet at least...I’m sorry, Edgy."
Edge hugged him again, confused, but more worried than anything. He opened his mouth and was about to ask one of the many questions he had in his mind if it wasn’t for Papyrus breaking the hug and taking his hands into his own. "It’s fine. I’m ok. I promise to tell you when I’m ready."
Edge closed his mouth, hesitating whether to listen to him or be persistent in trying to get some answers. ‘Are there more humans troubling him? Monsters, possibly?’ he wondered, feeling his magic starting to boil again. He felt Papyrus squeeze his hand and look at him pleadingly with a small smile.
"I promise," Papyrus said and reassuringly squeezed his hand.
He sighed. "Alright," he said, feeling displeased about this situation, but didn’t want to push it any further if Papyrus wasn’t comfortable with it. ‘I’ll give him time...for now,’ he thought.
Papyrus smile grew brighter. "Thank you, Edgy," he said. "So, what is it you wanted to talk about."
"Oh," he said in surprise, almost forgetting why Papyrus was still here and not with his friends at the carnival yet. "That’s right, I wanted to talk to you about your day today. It’s going to be a long one, so I want you to text or call me about it once every now and then, alright?"
"Oh, I don’t know, Edgy. There’s going to be so many games and rides! What if I have too much fun and forget? Don’t worry, I’ll tell you and the others all about my day as soon as I get home."
"I’d prefer if you do as I say," he said, glaring with a slight growl in his voice, his words sounding more like a command than a suggestion. His eye sockets widened immediately as soon as he heard himself. He didn’t like how he sounded like his old, terrible self, back when he was in the Royal Guard, and back in that awful place he once called home. He also didn’t like how Papyrus was now looking at him in shock and worry as if he did or said something wrong. He shook his head and cleared his throat as he squeezed Papyrus’ hand reassuringly. " I-I’m sorry, Papyrus," he said gently. "What I meant was..."
"I’ll text and call you whenever I can," Papyrus said with an understanding smile. "Worrywart," he added with a chuckle.
He felt a warmth spread across his cheekbones. He scoffed at him and said, "Worrywart? Please, I’m just curious is all."
"Oh, what’s that?" Papyrus asked, his hand cupping the side of his face where an ear would be and pretending to have trouble hearing. "Do I hear the Terribly Great Edgy using curiosity as an excuse for being a worrywart?"
The warmth in his cheekbones spread further across his face, but he refused to back down and let Papyrus get the best of him. He smirked as he repeated Papyrus’ gesture and said, "Oh, what’s that, Jiminy and Gale? You want to hear more embarrassing stories about the Great Papyrus? Alright! Let me tell you about the ‘Laundry Incident’ that-"
"I’m going to the carnival with my friends, bye!" Papyrus yelled in embarrassment and shot up from the couch, his face flushed bright orange. Edge laughed as Papyrus made a dash for the door and slammed it shut. He laughed even harder when Papyrus opened the door only a few seconds later to yell, "It’s Jeremy and Gabe!" Papyrus slammed the door shut again and Edge had to wipe a single tear away from his right eye-socket.
"Oh, dear Asgore, that was funny," he said to himself, his laughter dying into small fits of chuckles. "I should’ve taken a picture, that was priceless." He sighed in content and heard his phone go off. He took his phone out of his pocket and saw he received a message from Papyrus. He smiled when he read it.
Papyrus: Never bring that up again!
Edge: We’ll see.
Papyrus: You’re the worst, you worrywart!
Edge: I know, you spoiled brat.
He hesitated to send another message when he decided to add just one more thing before doing so.
Edge: Tell me something I don’t know.
He told himself he’d give Papyrus time, but sometimes even he underestimates his own impatience. He stubbornly thought that he’d at least give it one more try before giving him the time he needs to be able to say whatever he wants to say to him. Hope bubbles in his soul when he saw a little sign indicating that Papyrus was texting, only for his hope to fall flat when the sign disappeared.
"What are you trying to tell me?" He said out loud to no one.
"Hey, what’re you smiling about, huh?"
Edge looked up from his phone to see his brother walking towards him. As soon as Red sat right down next to him on the couch, he showed him his phone. It was opened up to a text conversation that showed him the most recent thing that was received. Red chuckled when he saw that it was a picture of Papyrus grinning and holding a stuffed dog toy in one hand and a bag of cotton candy in the other.
"Looks like he’s having fun."
"He is. Surprisingly, those humans are showing him a good time."
"They have names, you know."
He dismissively waved his hand. "I’m aware," he said with an eye light roll.
Red sighed. "They’re good people, bro. How many times do I gotta tell you?"
He looked at his brother with an annoyed look on his face. "You don’t have to keep telling me."
"And you don’t have to keep being so stubborn. Seriously, it’s been weeks! They’ve been nothing but good friends to Papyrus."
When Edge refused to respond and ignore him, he placed a hand on his shoulder and shook him a little, barely earning him a glance. "There’s gotta be more to this. Everyone else has forgiven them and moved on from this, except you. You’re the only one holding a grudge against them, and that says a lot considering that even Sans isn’t holding one anymore."
He continued to ignore him and received another text message from Papyrus.
Papyrus: Edgy, do you like stuffed animals? There’s a bunch of them as prizes here, and I want to win you some!
He felt his soul touched by how thoughtful Papyrus was, always giving and rarely asks for anything in return. Papyrus wasn’t a spoiled brat, far from it actually, but that’s why calling him one was so funny, because of the irony of it.
He didn’t care for stuffed animals or stuffed toys in general, but if Papyrus wanted to win him one he wouldn’t mind. Plus, he could only imagine how happy Papyrus would be for winning him something.
Edge: How considerate of you, spoiled brat. Sure, win me some. Surprise me.
Papyrus: I’m not a spoiled brat! You’re going to be the spoiled brat today because I’m going to win not just some, but a whole bunch of prizes! You’ll see!
He chuckled. Oh, what he’d give to see that. He could just imagine Papyrus running like a mad man to each stall and carrying a mountain of stuffed animals in his arms. ‘Maybe I could ask him to take a video? Those humans can make themselves useful and take the video.’
"C’ mon. Just tell me what’s your problem with them?"
He rolled his eye lights and looked at his brother, who interrupted his thoughts. "Nosy," he said when Red kneeled beside him to look over his shoulder and read his text messages.
A small, fond smile formed on Red’s face while reading his messages. "Good, I like being nosy. I get to see adorable stuff like this."
He blushed a little and tried to shrug his brother away from him with his shoulder. "It’s nothing new..."
"I know, but it’s still really cute to see how you two get along so well," Red said, chuckling when his brother’s blush grew brighter. As much as his brother loved compliments, he couldn’t handle certain compliments without denial.
"W-whatever," he said and began texting Papyrus his request.
Red watched him type, and his smile only grew bigger. ‘Such a softie,’ he thought before an idea popped into his head. Before his brother could send the text, he quickly snatched his phone and teleported a few feet away from him. He laughed when his brother made a surprised, almost undignified sound when his phone suddenly disappeared out of nowhere.
Edge glared at him and stood up from the couch, stomping his foot down angrily. "Red! Why would...what are you doing-"
"If you answer my question, I’ll tell you a secret about Papyrus...even though I really shouldn’t...," Red said, mumbling the last part.
"Oh, a secret?" Edge scoffed and crossed his arms. "What could you possibly know about him that I don’t?"
Red smirked and chuckled darkly. "Oh, I don’t know...maybe...what he really thinks of you?"
A look of astonishment only lasted for a second on Edge’s face before he scoffed again and frowned. "I know what he thinks of me...I’m one of his best and greatest friends," he said.
Red noted a hint of uncertainty in his voice and used that to his advantage. He pretended to look uneasy and looked away, scratching his neck and shrugging. "I don’t know about that..."
Edge was astonished again, but this time it stuck. He opened his mouth and tried to say something in retort, but grew frustrated when he realized how speechless he was. Not a single word escaped him no matter how many times he opened his mouth. He stomped his foot angrily one last time before sitting back down on the couch, sighing in frustration. "What...what do you know?" he asked angrily, but Red could hear the worry in his voice a mile away.
"Tell me what I wanna know first.”
He eyes his brother and the phone for a few seconds before sighing again and extending his hand out. "Fine," he growled.
Red smiled in satisfaction and gladly handed over the phone back. He sat beside him again and waited patiently for his brother to speak while he sent his request to Papyrus and received a reply not a minute later.
Papyrus: No! No video. I want to surprise you!
Edge: You already told me you’d win me stuffed animals.
Papyrus: Well...yeah but...you don’t know what kind of animals so it’s still a surprise!
Edge: Alright, then I can’t wait for the surprise then.
Papyrus: Nyeh heh heh!
He smiled for a moment before sighing and putting his phone away in his pocket. He glanced at his brother with a hesitant look, and his brother looked back at him with a small smile. He looked away and crossed his arms across his ribcage, staring at the blank TV. "They’re a threat, brother...they’ve hurt him once, they could do it again."
Red look at him in empathy. "You can say that about a lot of people...monsters...us," he said and patted his brother on the shoulder. "Remember when we first met him?"
"Don’t remind me," he said softly, his voice full of remorse. "I...we’re not like that anymore."
"Yeah, we’re not, but we did hurt him once...more than once...who’s to say we won’t hurt him again? Unintentionally or not?"
He swallowed a lump that suddenly formed in his non-existent throat. He nodded, understanding what his brother was saying. ‘I’m such a hypocrite,’ he thought, frustrated when he felt the pinpricks of tears in his eye sockets.
"H-hey, don’t cry-"
"I’m not crying!" he yelled, wiping away his eye-sockets with his wrist. "It’s just a bit dusty in here is all," he sniffled.
"...Did someone die in here?"
"Brother!" He yelled, appalled by his brother’s joke.
Red put his hands up in defense, chuckling nervously. "Ok, yeah. That was bad. Yeah, that...that was a really messed up joke, bro. Sorry, my bad."
He shook his head and sighed, burying his head in his hands. "I don’t know what to do, brother. I’m being such a hypocrite about this whole thing, but I can’t help what I feel. I can’t help but to worry about him and...and I just want him to be safe and happy. That’s all I want, is that too much to ask?" He felt a hand pat his shoulder and looked up from his hands, seeing his brother smiling at him fondly.
‘I can definitely see why Papyrus thinks of you as a big brother,’ Red thought. "That’s the same question I asked myself a lot when you were a baby bone. I still do even now."
He looked at him, confused. "What do you mean, brother?"
"I always worried about you when you were a baby bone, even when we had some moments of peace, I still couldn’t help, but to feel that way. I always wanted to keep you safe and make you happy, just your smile alone made my day. I know you’re not a baby bone anymore, but I still worry about you and want nothing more than for you to be safe, feel safe, and be happy. And I always will. So, keep smiling for me, bro," Red said with a smile of his own.
Surprised and speechless by his brother’s words, he felt another stinging sensation starting to form in his eye sockets. He surprised his brother with an almost bone-crushing hug and silently cried on his shoulder.
Red returned the hug and rubbed his back gently, whispering to him how much of a cry baby he was at the moment.
He laughed and whispered back, "Worrywart."
"Hey, that’s Paps’ nickname for you, not me. Speaking of Papyrus...," Red grinned and pulled back from the hug. "He really looks up to you, you know?"
Edge blushed and looked away, rolling his eye lights. "Obviously," he said and looked back at him with a frown. "I hope that wasn’t the secret, because that is no secret to me or anyone-"
"You have no idea how much he looks up to you, bro." Red smiled.
"I’m pretty sure I do but go ahead, enlighten me," he said, unconvinced.
Red’s smile grew, hearing the doubt in his brother’s voice and couldn’t wait to prove him wrong. "Well, bro, what if I told you that Papyrus looks up to you the same way he looks up to Sans?"
He tilted his head at Red, confused. He thought about his brother’s words for a moment, and when he realized what he meant, his whole face turned as red as his scarf. He opened his mouth and tried to speak, but only unintelligible noises came out him. He suddenly felt overwhelmed with complicated emotions and clutched his battle body where his soul would be, shaking violently.
”...Call an ambulance, brother.”
“Because my soul is currently trying to burst out of my ribcage as we speak...”
He grabbed his shoulders and looked him over once, twice, before turning him around and repeating the process. He nodded when he didn’t find any evidence of harm or any sign of a struggle at all. He turned him around to face him again and smiled when he saw how embarrassed Papyrus was, despite having a small smile etched on his face.
"Edgy...," Papyrus whispered and whined, glancing back at his friends who were watching curiously by the door. "Y-you’re embarrassing me in front of my friends."
"Just making sure that they didn’t...I mean, you didn’t strain yourself from winning me all these prizes," he said and gestured at the couch where all the stuffed animals Papyrus won him was.
"Nyeh! The Great Papyrus could never strain himself from an easy win! Some games were very challenging though, I think you’d love it, Edgy. You should go with us next time!" Papyrus said excitedly with a hopeful grin.
Edge glanced at his two friends with squinted eye sockets, who waved at him a bit nervously and looked back at him with a smile. "We’ll see," he said and gestured at the stuffed animals again. "Can you take the prizes up to my room? I have no idea where to put them, so I’ll need your help. Meanwhile, you can tell me more about your fun at the carnival."
"Nyeh!" Papyrus practically squealed in excitement, and gathered all of the stuffed animals in his arms and ran upstairs. "Bye, Jeremy! Bye, Gabe! Thanks for today, I had so much fun!" he yelled over his shoulder and smiled at them before walking towards Edge’s room. Papyrus dropped a few toys trying to open the door, but quickly picked them back up as soon as he entered the room. Edge chuckled at him, before turning to look at the pair of humans with a frown.
The pair of humans said their goodbyes and were about to leave until they noticed his expression. They froze in place at the door, looking at him nervously, unsure if they could leave just yet.
He walked towards them slowly with his arms crossed and almost laughed when he heard them gulp. Their bodies shook as soon as he stopped just a few inches away from them, their eyes looking up at him nervously with a hint of fear. He placed his hand on the doorknob and said, "Thank you for showing him a good time today. He seemed to have a lot of fun and appears to be unharmed."
They appeared to be shocked at his gratitude and sincerity, which was no surprise considering how he treated them earlier, but he still felt a bit offended by their reaction. ‘It’s called common courtesy, jerks’ he thought and glared at them. The two humans immediately avoided his glare by looking everywhere else but him and started babbling away nervously.
"N-no problem, Edge-I-I mean, s-sir!"
"He’s really fun to h-hang out with, sir! H-he’s a really good friend!"
"He’s right, sir, and w-we’d never hurt him, sir!
‘Sir...I could get used to that,’ he thought in amusement. He cleared his throat to catch their attention. "At ease, humans, you did a good job today. You may go home now. Drive safe...Jeremy and Gabe."
Only after he closed the door on then did he let himself chuckle. Their complete shock of him remembering their names and saying it will be a memory he’ll hold onto for a while whenever he needed a good laugh. ‘Their faces are priceless,’ he thought and also wondered if all humans made such funny faces like that.
He heard Papyrus call his name and quickly walked up the stairs and into his room. He smiled when he saw all the stuffed animals neatly placed on his bed. It was going to be quite a chore making his bed now if those were going to be there, but it’d be worth it. Just seeing Papyrus look at them with such a pure expression of happiness and pride convinced him that it’d be totally worth it.
Papyrus turned to him and tilted his head, smiling while hugging the same stuffed toy dog he saw before in the pictures. "Now you’re the spoiled brat," he said and stuck his tongue out.
Edge chuckled and walked towards him, wrapping his arms around him. "Guess, I am," he said.
"Do you love them, Edgy?" Papyrus asked with a hopeful smile. "I made sure to win you only the toughest looking toys they had!"
He bit back a laugh, knowing if he didn’t, he’d probably hurt Papyrus’ feelings. None of the prizes were tough looking, not even the predatory animals in the bunch. They were all cute, and if they felt just like the stuffed toy dog that was slightly smushed in between them, then they were very soft and cuddly too. Nevertheless, he appreciated them either way.
"I love them," he said sincerely and placed a soft kiss on Papyrus’ forehead before resting his own onto his. "But I love you more."
He smirked when Papyrus face flushed immediately.
"E-Edgy," Papyrus whined as looked down at his stuffed animal, smiling bashfully. "You’re embarrassing me..."
He chuckled. "In front of who? Your friends aren’t around, and no one else is in the house right now except for you and me."
"D-Doesn't matter! I still feel embarrassed. When you say things like that, I..." He gulped and took in a shuddering breath, looking right into Edge’s eye sockets with tears on the brim of his eye sockets. "I feel like my soul is going to burst."
"Papyrus...," he said almost breathlessly in astonishment, remembering his own words from earlier. ‘I felt the same way when my brother told me your secret...,’ he thought.
"I love you too, Edgy. I love you so much that...t-that I think of you as a...," Papyrus hesitated.
"Yes?" Edge asked gently and hoped he didn’t sound too excited, not wanting to act suspicious.
"Talk to me, Papyrus...please," he said almost pleadingly, wanting nothing more at this moment than for Papyrus to reveal his (not so) secret. "I’m sure that whatever you want to say, I’ll love, " he said, genuinely. ‘You have no idea...,’ he thought.
Papyrus blinked and let the tears flow from his eye sockets and roll down his cheekbones, closing his eye sockets for a moment and shaking his head. "You’re sure...but I’m not," he said softly and opened his eye-sockets to look at Edge with a remorseful smile. "I’m not ready, Edgy. I still can’t tell you...not yet. I’m so sorry."
Edge nuzzled his forehead and whispered to him that it was okay, that there was no need to apologize, and other soothing words of comfort. He had so many questions in his head about Papyrus’ uncertainty, but he wouldn’t push it.
He’ll encourage him in any way that he can.
He’ll support him.
He’ll give him time.
He can wait.
For his little brother.
Again, I couldn’t stop writing...so that’s my excuse for this chapter being so long.
Thanks to all who read, comment, and give out kudos to this story.
Also, if there are any tags that you feel that this story should have, such as warnings and such, please feel free to say so in the comments below.
To SuperSam: THANK YOU SO MUCH
To carolc24: Awwwwww thank you!