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Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

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Surrounded by mountains and forests, the survivors of the latest barrage of violence against their kind, hid in terror as their kind beyond the contains of their little encampment were being decimated. The thinning winter trees and the rocky outcropping offered little in the way of cover but it gave them at least some semblance of protection. Amidst the frightened folk. Toriel, a beacon of hope, did her best to allay their fears. Currently she was tending to a young Moldsmal, curled into the warmth of her side, shuddering in it's simple terror. Trying to take comfort from the boss monster.

“It's OK.” She soothed, stroking it's gluttonous membrane. The Moldsmal managed a little wriggle in response to the kind and gentle voice but Toriel could still feel the trembles emanating from it's entire body.

Toriel smiled sadly. The poor thing was too young and too naïve to truly understand what was going on. It only knew that bad things were happening and that it should fear them. It should never have had to feel like this. None of them should. Everything had gone so wrong.

“Papa, Where's mummy? Is she coming back soon? I miss her. Where is she?”

In the huddled mass further in, a Flamesman child fretted at her father's arm, Tugging with confused hope. Her eyes tearful and needy as her father helplessly fumbled with his words. He looked lost as he tried to answer her.

“Your mama.... your mama... your mama is...”

The Flamesman father broke down, rivulets of lava like tears dropping like petals as his daughter continued to tug and query until he merely scooped her up and held her as his tears fell over her. She whined, her voice nearly muffled as he held her to his chest. Every word a twist to Toriel's motherly soul.

“Where is mama?”

She demanded, twisting in her father's grip.

“Papa, where is Mama?”

She squirmed harder, little hands twisting on her father's arm. Twisting and clinging and desperate. Trying to catch his attention until realisation started to set in.

“Mama. Mama. MAMA!”

Her voice grew louder and louder until the damn burst as the child started to realise what her father could not say. Toriel could not bear it. She sweetly patted the Moldsmal in her lap before gently lifting it to place it near it's own brethren. The Group of Moldsmal wobbled and vibrated in greeting to their new member. Oscillating in sympathy and distress as the young one melded it's membrane to their mass, seeking comfort.

Toriel turned her attention to the father and daughter, kindly smiling as she knelt down to the pair. The father, eyes still a torrent, turned his ache towards the kindly monster with the faint of a smile through his tears, his gaze beseeching, even as the child continued wailing in his arms.

Toriel gestured to the child and the Flamesman father with almost a sense of hope, adjusted his daughter for her attention to the new presence. The child alert to a change of her father's grip, struggled harder a moment more, fearing a second separation until she caught sight of the boss monster. She stilled, even her cries fading as she stared into the caring face.

Toriel moved one paw to wipe away the tears staining down the child's face. Inside her soul ached at seeing a child so distressed but her caring upturned mouth remained.

“Child. It will be OK.“ She gently spoke.

“Your father is still here. And I know it hurts but you are safe now. Your mama...”

Toriel paused, thinking of the gentlest way to continue.

“Your mama would be very proud of you. I lost my parents a long time ago. It was hard, but I know they still loved me. Still love me. Your mama is... gone. But she left you a precious gift. The magic in your soul. That's from her and your father.”

The child on the brink once more looked achingly at where her soul would reside. She whimpered at the loss as tears started to over spill again. Toriel cupped the child's hands in a gentle gesture, so tiny against her own, before putting them to the child's own chest.

“In here. Your mama will always be here. The warmth you sometimes feel in your soul is her love spilling over even when she can no longer tell you the words herself.”

“Mommy is here?” The child's voice pained with a touch of curiosity.

“Always, child. Always. A mother's love never fades.”

“But she's gone? The humans took her away?” Hope and dread spilled in the child's tears but she looked straight at Toriel despite the emotions flowing through her little body.

“I am sorry, but yes. She is gone from the world as you know her. But that does not mean she is gone from the world completely. It will hurt. It will hurt for a long time but never forget. And your father. “

The Flamesman adult, seemingly all but forgotten whilst his gaze was solely on his daughter looked up again. Toriel clasped his arm. His pain was more raw, more aware then the innocence of a child but she saw he took the words in as much as his daughter.

“Your father is here. Your father loves you. He will be there through the pain as you grieve. There is no shame in that. But he is here and we, myself, Asgore and the entire monster army will protect you. I promise. You will not be alone in this. You will not be parted. “

The child hugged her father something fierce. There was a possessiveness in it that was soulbreaking to see in a child but Toriel felt the hope in it too. The child would have her father. Toriel would make sure of that. They just needed to survive.

The moment was broken when the loud pounding of heavy footsteps interrupted the melancholy. The refugees huddled and cried out and shook in anticipation of an attack. Only for it to partial sate when a single monsters ran past the huddled masses. Toriel frowned as she watched the soldier storm past the group with not even a glance. She recognised the monster. Captain Trebuchet was hard not to recognise. He wore the standard armour of a Skeleton Captain; white like his bones and the tattered feather wilting from his helmet. And his face even for a skeleton was sunken in. One eye hole cracked and frayed around the edges but still sighted and the patch of plastered bone around his jaw from an old injury. And yet the smile he always aimed for was replaced with a deep scowl.

Worry pitted her soul as he stormed towards the enclosed area where her Husband was. The Captain should have been at his post, ordering his men but the fact he had abandoned that role to speak to the King directly was a truly bad omen. He didn't even bother to announce his arrival as he pulled open the slit and barged inside. There was an urgency in his actions that stirred ill omens.

Toriel gave the young Flamesman and her father a gentle pat, vowing to keep her promise to them, before setting off towards the large tent, Ensconced by a jutting rock at the mountain base. Even as she approached, the clear precise voice of the Captain carried. She fretted more as the usually tactician skeleton had an uncommon edge to it. She braced herself before following into the tent.

“It's not possible, Your Highness! We are being pushed back faster then we can defend. It's just not tenable. My men are dying left and right. There is more dust then dirt and we, are, losing!”

The Captain paced the tent like a tethered dog. He still ignored Toriel as his ranting increased. His focus entirely on her husband. Asgore himself did not look like he was enjoying the conversation any more then the Captain. Toriel saw the worry lines in his usually jovial face along with a hardened stare so unlike his kind nature.

“Captain Trebuchet. I know very well what the situation is. I have gone over the plans numerous times. We cannot pull back our troops now. Not when we are pushed as far as we are already.”

Trebuchet slammed his calloused fist hard on the sturdy table dominating the tent. His eyes glowed purple with magic and anger.

“We can't win, SIR. If there is nowhere to go behind us then we must go around the threat. These people need to be moved. It's only a matter of time before the humans surround us completely. ”

Asgore stood to his full height, making Trebuchet look small in his shadow. His teeth showed, and his claws flexed as his gaze bore the Captain down. Toriel felt a shift of something inside of her. Something faintly new and unwanted. A feeling that she never really felt towards Asgore before. It was fear she realised. Fear of her husband. He had made her feel many things but this was different. Fear of her husband, not for him. The war was pulling the dark part of his soul up and out like a weed. Fractured like their lives had become.

“Enough! I will hear no more. You have abandoned your post to tell me nothing of worth. If you fear for your men's lives then go back and stand by them. I WILL NOT BE MOVED!”

Yet Trebuchet was not cowed. He cared not for the height or the power difference in them. It was his relentlessness that garnered him the Captain armour in the first place after all.

“You know what you are really asking, My king?” His voice cold, “We cannot win with what remains of my army. We will need new recruits. You know what that requires. The humans already despise us...”

“Needs must.” Asgore finished harshly for the Skeleton. His mood unchanged. His conviction the same. Toriel wondered what the weight was doing to her husband's soul. This was not the monster she had married all those years ago but then for a glimpse she saw the one she loved appear.

“It is a fool's errand to attempt to escape now. They will hunt us down,” The King spoke tiredly, though still the firmness remained. “They outnumber us. Here we know the land. Here we have... hope.”

Trebuchet, stubborn as he was, showed no signs of being swayed. Toriel could understand. Here they were sheltered mostly from the cruelty of war whilst the Captain had seen death and carnage face on. She drifted to her husband's side. Paw hovering just out of reach of his arm. Asgore glanced her way but said nothing to her. Toriel's paw fell limply. Her support would do nothing here.

“I can have my colleagues prepare for the new recruits, Your majesty.”

Everyone startled at the new voice. From the edges of the tent another Skeleton stepped forth, his existence appearing as if by magic, although it was only because he had been forgotten in his silence until now. He had a habit of doing that; Doctor Gaster. It did not help that his bones were as snow. Bleached from sun and heat. A ghost among skeletons.

“I had considered the possibility and brought the necessary equipment with me. The only hardship would be requiring the materials.”

Captain Trebuchet frowned at his fellow Skeleton monster. His mandible pulling down as such to show the edging of where his jaw had been re-affixed. The look of disdain clear in his eye sockets. The Captain did not like Doctor Gaster. Not one bit. Trebuchet saw Skeletons as strong; monsters of action and deeds. Doctor Gaster had hid in the shadows, cloistered away from his own like a pariah, entirely of his own choice. The fact the Doctor had little dealings with his own kind was a slap in the face to his fellow Skeletons. Trebuchet saw Gaster as a Skeleton who looked down on his own, as if he was better then them. But really the doctor was kidding himself, the Captain thought. He wasn't above them, he was merely the Royal lapdog. His frown turned into a sneer as he considered the doctor's own moral compass. The Doctor would side with the King no matter what.

For his part, Doctor Gaster paid no mind to the whirling contempt his brethren was sending his way. It wasn't the first time the Captain or some of the other Skeletons were openly disgusted with his presence and likely it wouldn't be the last. Over the years he had developed a thicker skin so to speak. Names like lapdog and royal pet that once would have sent him crying to his creator had long since dried in their hurt. Growing up with Asgore, the King and his open friendship was like a dam against the pain. Asgore did not shun or treat him lesser for being a Skeleton, and on the days the insults hurt the most, the King was there by his side. It did not matter that he was there in service to the crown; a child prodigy being moulded as an advisor, Asgore only saw a fellow child in need of a friend. A relationship that bloomed into a lasting friendship and deep respect and with it, Gaster had grown in confidence. Gaster would do anything for the monster that stood by his side despite their differences.

“Captain you have your orders,” the King commanded. Trebuchet hesitated. His conscience warred with his duty, daring him to defy the King and leave, but, he knew that he could not stand aside. If it must be so, then at least those doomed to die should have someone on their side.

“If that is what you wish, but know this, Asgore, and have it stain upon your soul. These will not be hardened warriors. These we will be new life sent to die. It will be a short brutal life and they will ask, why? Why must I be born to die?”

Not waiting or caring for a reply, The Captain turned on his heel and stormed out. Asgore stood firm for almost a minute as the clank of armour receded in the distance. Silent and steady until at last he sighed and slumped where he stood.

“Husband.” Toriel whispered, finally being allowed to place her paw about his arm. Feeling the spring of taut muscles lying beneath the fur and robes of his station. It was hard like rock but beneath it she could sense the vibration of undercurrent of stress he held beneath the surface. She leaned closer to him, hoping to offer her calming nature to quell his disquieted soul. She also hoped the closeness would ease the thoughts slowly clouding her own mind. Trebuchet's parting words... troubled her.

“I'm sorry, my dearest wife. This is not how I envisioned our future.”

Chapter Text

Once upon a time Frisk had believed Angels were a myth. A story told to scare and awe children and adults alike. The very idea that once, humans had lived side by side with them was ludicrous. Who could believe that humans like beings rode on the waves of the air with gossamer wings and untold elegance? That such beings deigned to enlighten humanity with their presence? That one day, she would meet many, including the one imposing it's shadow over her smaller form right now? His gaze like a heavy steel trap burrowing down deep into her soul where her heart fluttered like a hummingbird.

Terror coursed through her. Keeping her to stand in place. She did not know how she got here, nor how Angels had come to suddenly exist but she did know that Angels were not the beautiful benevolent creatures she had been taught. Not from when the moment she fell into this unknown place and had immediately been hunted and screamed at by winged beings of varying sizes and shapes, yet all with a malignant intent. Except this one. This one had swooped down from the sky and had done nothing more since then block her way.

Frisk twiddled her hands against her sweater, her eyes darting to and fro looking for a means of escape but the landscape offered little in places to hide and from her recent experience, Angels were not slow or encumbered by their vast expanse of feathers. If anything they moved at speed that belied their size. And she could tell as her eyes kept wandering in fear, that the stony Angel was anticipating her every move. Perhaps waiting for her to make a mistake? He gave an aura that spoke of threat, screamed threat despite the smile plastered on his round, almost chubby face. It was a fake smile that did not reach his eyes. Those were hard like diamonds, dimly glowing a faint blue as he considered her. Sprouting from either side of his body were two wings apiece. Each wing twice the circumference of his width, standing proud and stiff and smouldering in shades of black, unlike the varying shades of pale she had seen amongst all the other Angels. Frisk could tell this Angel was set apart. There was no running, there was no hiding from this one; warmth trickled down her inner thigh, there was no escape. Her legs collapsed under her and her knees hit the dirt as she awaited her fate. Mercy seemed a far off place.

The Angel ever so slightly cocked his head, then did the one thing Frisk did not or could anticipate, he laughed. His voice rung like a deep bell, almost resonating, and it held warmth and mockery and all that between. She almost felt insulted by the reaction. Almost.

Chapter Text

Oh was it time? Oh boy!

The sound of bones rattling about the house set the little dog's mind racing. His eyes opened from their nap on the coach and he saw the blur of busy skeletons. It is! He thought loudly. Wide awake now the little dog scooted up to sit on his hind quarters. His little tail wagging franticly as excitement kicked in.

It was! It was that time!

He yawned wide, teeth shining brightly and grinned with his little doggy grin as he watched his two Skeletons get ready. It was a work day (practically every day was a work day) A good work day. A busy work day. A fun work day. An important work day. Yes! Yes! Yes! Thump, thump, thump his tail went.

Happy he watched as the taller one packed up a box of the tasty yummy wriggling food and the smaller one slowly, so slowly put one foot then the other into a pair of slippers. They were not the little dog's favourite foot wear; his favourite were the harder bouncy ones that tasted awesome and made a maddening but satisfying squeak against his teeth when he chewed on them. But he liked these ones as well. The fluff was also fun to roll onto, especially whilst being worn.

The very thought made his tail whack harder against the couch and knocked over a pillow that flopped onto it's side. His ears flicked. It had almost startled him. He turned to the offender and growled at it with happy teeth. White fur puffed up. Bad Pillow. Bad. It seemed suitably cowed at his telling off. He huffed, satisfied at it's reaction before focusing back onto his favourite monsters . OH boy! His butt nearly elevated off the firm seat as his tail reached near stratospherical levels. He couldn't contain himself. The couch made a distressed sound as he launched himself onto the floor and circled on the spot. His tongue lolling out in happy refrain.

There! Like a red rag to a bull (What WAS a Bull anyway?) he saw the scarf. The one he loved to chew on the ends of, that indicated the skeletons were ready to leave. He tried to contain himself to a spot, quite unable to stay still as he bounced on his rear. The shorter skeleton approached. Yes! The hand came close. Yeah! The touch against his head. Bliss! He whined, leaning into that brief touch as it caressed his think bushy head. This was amazing. Stroke. Pat. Perfect! He melted, wishing it could last forever before a bit of disappointment set in as it was removed, and his Skeleton casually moved away. It was a great pat, he would save that memory to his collection. But it wasn't over yet. His brief crash of melancholy evaporated under the rush of adrenaline. Not over yet. It was now. Now! Now! Now! No? Hang on. This wasn't right. This was not to script. The taller skeleton was opening the door. He was opening the door? Why? This was. No! He barked at the pair of them. NO! He said. No! You can't yet!

“Uh oh Paps. I think you forgot something”

Yes, you forgot! You forgot! You can't forget. The little dog barked again and again and again. Don't forget! Don't forget!

“I DID NOT FORGET. I AM MERELY TOO OLD FOR THESE SHENANIGANS.”

Too old? Never. Never!

“You're not long out of stripes, bro.”

“BE THAT AS IT MAY. THIS IS... EMBARRESSING FOR SOMEONE TRAINING TO BE IN THE ROYAL GUARD NOW.”

“No one will know, Papyrus. You'll make him sad if you don't, and you know he'll make you pay for it later.”

“OH, FINE. I SUPPOSE IF I MUST.”

So happy now. The little dog twirled as his taller Skeleton approached. He wriggled and and thumped his tail before eliciting a satisfied yip as he got his second pat of the day.

“THERE”

No? The hand retreated and so did the skeleton but that wasn't right. He barked affronted. Not right! A pat was bliss but it wasn't enough! He barked and barked again at the tall Skeleton who stood nervously, looking for a retreat.

“You missed a bit”

“WHY MUST I PERSERVE WITH THE ENTIRE THING? WHY DOES HE NEVER DEMAND THIS OF YOU, SANS?”

The shorter skeleton chuckled and shrugged his shoulders whilst the little dog tugged at the taller Skeleton's boots.

“Probably because you're his favourite”

Not deigning a response the taller cringed as slobber began to mark his footwear. His shoulder's slumped before he gave in. Bending down he picked the dog up and pulled the white fur close to his ribs and squeezed. The Little Dog practically leapt into the hold and before he could help himself, the dog tilted his head up and suddenly started to give the skeleton a ton of licks. I love you! I love you! I love you!

“ACK! I DID NOT AGREE TO THIS!”

Mine! The Little dog affirmed whilst the shorter laughed. But then the little dog felt the skeleton move to leave again. WAIT! The little dog paused his kisses and whined loudly causing the taller skeleton to freeze. Only to hesitate further as his jaw worked, before giving in.

“... Bye Dad...” He mumbled before making a hasty retreat. The little dog let them go, satisfied his kids knew how much he loved them and how much they loved him. Now where was that bone?

Chapter Text

“I'm sorry, Judge, like I said, we can't let you through.”

“Since when?!”

It isn't their fault, San's told himself even as his soul heaved with a bitter anger. Whatever game Undyne was playing, was hers and hers alone. Surrounding herself with loyal stupidity was merely one part of it. Respect and adoration and above all fealty was what she demanded. And Undyne had plenty of that these days, enough that killing the guards standing in his way would only be a mere inconvenience for her. The fact it would reduce their numbers more wouldn't even be a consideration. The years had turned the bitch soulless. Sans wasn't that far down the same route just yet. But he was getting there.

“We have strict orders. Direct from the Empress.”

As if sensing Sans temptation for violence, one of the guards nervously spoke up again. Head canted slightly to the left even as his shaky words were spoken, so as to directly avoid the glare of black empty orbs seemingly penetrating through his armour. Not that he was far off in that estimation. Sans had not been idle in the intervening years since “the incident”. His skills on picking up ticks had improved in the interim. Even at a glance he could spot the slight edge in the guard's stance. The placement of feet adjusting slightly as if preparing for a physical altercation. The ever so slight tightening of the grip around the long staff in his hands. For all the guard's jitters, Sans could tell a warrior's mentality about him. Undyne was a great trainer, he could give her that at least. The rest, well...

“Why don't you go and get her to tell me that herself.” San's demanded, his voice deep and irritated.

The Guards quickly glanced at each other, before focusing on San's again. Neither relaxed enough to look away for more then a moment. As if those few precious seconds even made a difference. Which it didn't.

“We cannot leave our post, Judge.” The other Guard finally spoke. This one was more stoic then his partner. More formal in the way he inflected, and very good at hiding the tremor, though slight, that was there. He also stood a little more firmer on his feet and slightly forward to his partner. San's picked him out as the one with seniority. San's smiled, but it was anything but friendly.

“How about I stand watch for you? Sound good? I'll stand watch and you go fetch her. That way someone will be watching your post, right?”

The guards dared another quick look at each other again, confusion and hesitation in their aura.

“You're kidding... right?” Nervous guard said.

“He's trying to play us, idiot.” Senior Guard retorted. “We can't do that.” He redirected to Sans.

“Fine” San's growled, taking a step forward.

The action caused both Guards to lean back in alarm and tense their weapons. They towered over Sans but he still intimidated them. Good.

“ Tell me where “she” is, and I'll forget this. For now.”

He made to take another step and was satisfied when the nervous guard nearly fell back on his feet before blurting, “She's in the flower garden!”

The senior guard growled at his partner but did not disagree with the statement. San's would have probably found Undyne regardless but getting at least something out of the guards would prove useful in the future. They would remember they had caved against his questions. Edgy monsters made mistakes.

“Thanks.” He smiled at them, not the dead smile but a seemingly casual one, before popping his hands into the pockets of his worn blue jacket and nonchalantly turning his back on them. Effectively dismissing their very presence. He didn't need to look to feel the tension even as he walked away down the corridor and out of sight. His smile turned a bit more genuine when he heard the senior guard berate the other once he was no longer in their vicinity. It was almost pleasantly normal. Normal, if not for the fact San's felt some spiteful joy at bullying a couple of guards who denied him access to his brother

Now to deal with Undyne. She must have changed the routine they had agreed upon for a reason. And San's wanted some fucking answers.

Chapter Text

As the door shut, Undyne let herself fold under the weight of her armour. She was exhausted both from battle and keeping up appearances for the troops. These skirmishes were becoming far too frequent for her liking. Vagabonds that were always easily defeated but somehow they seemed to be increasing number. The harsh winter could explain some of it but, no, something about their brazen attitude even against the might of the Monster militia was more then just desperate hungry humans seeking out any means to ward off against starvation and disease. She would need to speak to the Senechal and see if he could investigate matters. Not that she looked forward to dealing with that cox-comb. He was unsociable and abrasive at the best of times. However he did have connections and hands deep in the pockets of the elites and the less, agreeable company. Too deep, she often thought but King Asgore spoke highly of the monster and he did do his job with precision. His methods, well, that was why he was Senechal and she was the Marshal for the Castle Ebbot. Political shenanigans, so not for her. Let the thinkers do the dirty work, Undyne could take care of the hard graft instead.

Speaking of hard work, the fight had been an arduous one. Despite their inferior skills the human rabble had had numbers on their side. A veritable maze of rats scurrying about the battlefield in ragged clothing, far lighter then a breastplate and more flexible. Their somewhat unorthodox fighting style of prodding home made weaponry against the knights proving irritating rather then deadly. Undyne had to chase down a number of them as they refused to stay still and die bravely. It had caused her to work up quite a sweat lugging around 55 pounds of crafted metal. She wrinkled her nose as the smell seemed to permeate. Her skin itched with the stickiness and her fingers twitched to scratch it, if only she could reach. Armour; great for fighting in, terrible for hygiene.

 

Buoyed by the idea of a good soak, Undyne perked up from her tiredness and frustration of the day. A nice burn of hot water to immerse her sticky scales was just what she needed. She just needed someone to fill her wash tub whilst she changed.

Undyne burst open the door of her chambers and sought out a face, any face of one of the many servants that pottered about the Castle's expansive layout. You couldn't move about the castle without stepping around at least one of them. She smiled a toothy smile when she spotted a rather familiar figure, trying (and failing) to act as if she hadn't just been looking at Undyne's door as she dusted one of the many tapestries that adorned the castle.

“HEY YOU!”

Undyne shouted down the hall, unmindful of who else may be resting in their chambers. The Chambermaid herself startled, dropping her duster and yelped in a rather high pitched fashion before slowly turning to see if it was indeed her that had been called. Undyne grinned at the servant as they locked eyes and the small yellow lizard went bright red in the face. Her mouth opening and closing in near distress before settling into a semblance of shyly muttered words that tumbled out, even as she fussed frenetically at the hem of her dress.

“Yes... Sir.... Undyne... Sir. Wh-at, what ca-n I do..oooo for you?”

“No need to be so Humble. I don't bite.” Undyne grinned back only for the yellow Dinosaur monster to wring her dress even more energetically as the blush spread across her face and down towards her neck.

“Oh. Oh of course. I'm. I didn't , wouldn't think that you err would bite me. You're too, well, that is, You're too nice. That is, a virtuous knight that would never err bite someone.”

So fricking adorable! Undyne thought.

“Well that's settled then, right! I always get told my bark is worse then my bite anyway. Comes with the job. Got to get those slackers in order. Am I right?”

“Oh, err, yes. You're very firm. Like your muscles.” As the words spilled out, the other monster's eyes widened ridiculously as her mouth ran a bit too far. She looked mortified. Undyne merely barked a laugh and flexed her arms in response.

“These bad boys? Took me a lot of hard work and training to get these puppies. But there's a secret to it too. Do you want to know? “

The chambermaid frantically nodded her head, still mortified but unable to take her eyes off those flexing pectorals.

“Relaxation! And not just sitting down but the most awesome way to relax! My gills are loving for some water right now. I need a competent monster like you to fetch water for me. You can do it! YEAH!”

“Of course! Of course. Of Course”

The dinosaur chambermaid somehow managed to find movement from her rooted spot.

“I'll get it right away!” She nervously called as her feet rushed down the halls as if the human scourge were right on her tail. Undyne appreciated the view.

“AWESOME!”

Something else flashed across Undyne's face that would have been easily missed if anyone had even been watching that final exchange. Undyne's longing look at the other monster was curtailed by regret. A shame she could only appreciate her ever constant stalker by looking. Their statuses were too far apart and besides, Undyne needed to MAN up. And she couldn't hurt the chambermaid by letting her know that the Captain she not secretly yearned for was not the guy she thought Undyne was.

Chapter Text

Frisk gave the monster next to her a sidelong glance. Noting his easy smile as he watched the two skeleton children walk away. The little Skeleton slung over his older brother's shoulder cheerfully waved his hands wide shouting loudly at them with his impossible lungs as his older brother hauled him off towards the distant town.

“BYE BYE HUMAN NEYEHEH!”

The child's enthusiasm was infectious. Frisk, unable to help herself, returned the wave with one of her own. The child's wide smile of teeth was a happy reward for her effort and she felt at ease for once in this strange place, watching the children crest over the hill. As they folded away out of sight, that calmness seemed to seep away as she felt eyes watching her. She titled her head to the side and noticed the monster that had been friendly and open before was suddenly scrutinising her with an impassive face in a way that made Frisk feel when she had first fallen into this world. She scratched the back of her head nervously. Noticing how the monster was warier of her motions as he watched her hand rise and fall. She laughed rather awkwardly at the tension. Wanting the warmth of earlier Frisk decided to break the ice that was forming between them.

“Those are some adorable kids and in all the fun I forgot to formerly introduce myself. Hello, My name is Eleanor Frisk”

She struck out her hand straight out and smiled in what she considered her most disarming smile. The monster only looked at her outstretched arm and then back at her face raising an eyebrow in the process. Frisk blinked to her hand then to his and Oh..

“Oh my God! I'm sorry. I didn't even realise you had no arms. We started on the wrong foot, I mean I didn't mean any arm, I mean harm! I just keep putting my foot, my arm, my hand. OH God! ”

Frisk sweated buckets.

“Hi, I'm Frisk!”

She slowly lowered her arm and blushed deep. She was mortified. The teenage skeleton, Sans had completely rubbed off on her in the short time she had known him. The poor monster must have been horrified. Or she thought he would have been had he not grinned widely and barked a laugh at her expense. Frisk not knowing how else to make it better tittered along with him until she managed to gather herself.

“I'm so sorry. My mind is all over the place. There's been a lot to take in and well. I apologise for being rude to you. “

The armless monster merely shrugged in response before carefully smiling. Not the same simple smile when the kids were around but it was far more kinder then the scrutiny that had caused her to babble in the first place. Though something still lingered behind it that could not fully make Frisk relax.

“ That's Ok, Miss. I've heard worse and, well, it was sort of amusing. I'm MK by the way. That stands for Monster Kid just so you know. But I kind of grew out of that name so it's just MK these days.”

He chuckled again.

“Besides I know how those two can do to cause chaos in an empty room and that's without even trying. They're a handful that's for sure, and it's infectious. Good kids. Real Good kids. The Coolest of kids...”

Frisk sensed a subtle shift in tone as he spoke fondly of the skeletons, even if his smile remained the same.

“Miss, I think you're a good person too. Golly heck, anyone who Sans takes to has to be a good person. Sans has this sort of special radar for that sort of stuff. And when it comes to Papyrus, he doesn't mess around. Papyrus loves everyone and doesn't like to see the bad, and Sans will protect his brother and his innocence no matter what. If he let you get close to Papyrus, well, that's a sign alright. But...”

The monster looked directly at her. Smile dropping away.

“Sans is still young and he wouldn't dare call anyone out in front of his brother. And he may know the stories but Sans hasn't met a human before. Civilians tend to get the more vanilla stories and the children taught even less so. But us Guards. When you sign up you get told ALL the details.”

MK paused for a moment. Swallowing before his next words and Frisk felt a coldness run down her spine as he suddenly glared at her.

“Because they like you and because I like you too I'll be blunt. You hurt those kids in any way, shape or form, I'll make you pay. Your soul won't be worth a thing, even to Asgore. There will be no love, only LOVE. That's a promise. A guarantee”

“I wouldn't dare hurt a child!”

Frisk retorted back, aghast at the very idea.

“I'm here to do the exact opposite of hurt anyone at all. I came here to help a child not harm one!”

MK eyed her up. His body tensed with a guard's intuition at the angered response.

“Humans lie” He said. “Humans lie and cause pain and suffering wherever they go. You may be one of the nice ones but it's in your nature. In the end you won't be able to help yourself. As I said, this is a courtesy because you've been decent. I'll even let you go despite my orders to the contrary.”

“Let me go?” Frisk asked, only realising perhaps this monster had not arrived for the fun and puzzles.

“I have orders to kill humans on sight. The Captain is very firm on that front. But he's a die hard fellow who has dealt with humans before, one went so far as to blind him, so maybe he's a little biased. I like to think myself as more fair minded. Which is why I am letting you go. What happens after though, is on you. You hurt those kids or anyone else and I'll follow through with my Captain's orders. I can't promise for anyone else.”

Frisk felt an itch in her soul as the words dug in. The implications sent a flurry of thoughts in her head and a fear she was far too late in the task that had led her here in the first place. Fun and games were over.

Chapter Text

In the evening shadows of a long hall , stood a large front door with wood panelling and a bronze handle. There was a click and the handle was pulled, the hinges shuddering slightly in their brackets as it slowly swung open. Through the entrance and stepping over the threshold a fairly short stocky man entered. A wisp of cold breath from his mouth coiled in the air before cutting off as he shut the door behind him. Shuddering slightly as he adjusted to the warmth of his home, Sans called out.

“Papyrus, I'm home!”

He paused, waiting for a response, but the house was decidedly silent. The brow across San's forehead creased a little in surprise. He pulled up a thick wrist, pulling back a sleeve and checked the little hands on the Mickey Mouse watch he wore. The time was as he expected; within the usual thirty minute margin he gave himself, and he shook his head. Maybe Papyrus was busy?

Not really worrying but a little put off, Sans shook his jacket from off his shoulders and reached up to slot the blue tweed professor style jacket, complete with brown elbow patches, on it's designated hook, a little hand written card with his name spelled in crayon attached to the wall above it. He paused again, listening into the house and heard nary a footstep nor a voice down it's corridors.

The silence denied him the chance to finally shuck off the shackles of work stress. Pleasing people all the time with a smile etched on his rotund face was a chore in itself. Sans enjoyed the moment of coming home and having that burden be lifted off of him by his excitable brother. His strangely absent brother. Not that it was completely unusual he thought, as he slipped off his gloves and shoved them on top of the shoe rack. Papyrus was always finding things to do at home and yet, and yet, there was no sound at all of someone who did most things with eager enthusiasm.

Sans considered taking off his shoes to put on his comfy slippers with the soft bottoms, that eased the pain of standing too long, but that was setting the bar too far into comfortable, when a lack of brother, made him anxious rather then wanting to chill.

“Papyrus?”

He called again, wondering if Papyrus had not heard him either by being out of range upstairs or bopping along to his favourite tunes with his headphones on. But no. There was no reply and no brother. Sans openly frowned now, checking his watch a second time and tapping it to make sure it was still ticking. Over the last couple of years the two brothers had established a sort of routine. Sans had become quite particular about the time he came home, despite whatever work threw at him, and in turn Papyrus would be there with open arms and open hugs and generally be excited to see his brother back. The fact there was no smiling, happy brother, of whom needed and wanted that familiar stability, had Sans worried. Papyrus was punctual. Papyrus hated changes in routine. Papyrus thought the world of his brother. Something like fear stirred in San's soul. Sans needed to find him.

Hoping he was just being over anxious, Sans steadied his breath as he made his way towards the kitchen; his brother's favourite room. Reminding himself all the way that Papyrus was practically an adult now. When Sans was too tired from work to do household chores, Papyrus would pick up the slack and then some. Making sure Sans had proper cooked meals instead of eating take out and washed the laundry so Sans had clean clothes to wear when going out to his various jobs. Someone has to take up your slack, Papyrus would often say. And Sans couldn't be more prouder that his brother had grown to be so responsible, except he had no brother to admire with such fastidiousness, as the kitchen was decidedly empty when he entered it. The bottom dropped out of Sans' heart.

Trying to stymie the growing panic, San's mentally considered other options. Papyrus was rather fond of exercise as well. Helping to alleviate that energy he constantly had. He liked to jog the length and breadth of their street and sometimes further when the need took him. But never when it was San's arriving home from work time, never without leaving a note if Sans was out or letting Sans know himself when he was in. Even the spontaneity of wanting to run was tempered by Papyrus's need to establish that it was OK to do so. One time when Papyrus was much much younger, he had gotten temporarily distracted by a man dancing in the street whilst they were out shopping. Papyrus had been excited and wanting to dance too, letting go of Sans' hand in his momentary excitement. Earlier he had promised to not let go of his brother's hand and even though Sans was right there, the moment Papyrus realised he had broken his promise, his delight at the dancing turned into a crying fit. It took hours for Sans to calm his brother down. He had gotten better over the years but Papyrus had never quite out grown it.

It was a desperate hope nonetheless as Sans took in the state of the kitchen and felt an even deeper panic then the one Papyrus had had back then. There was obviously no note but their were signs that Papyrus had begun making dinner for when Sans got in. The old heavy duty pan that Papyrus loved to cook with was set ready to go on the stove. His cooking utensils that he had gotten for his birthday two years ago laid out in their exact order on the side next to the cooker. On the table was some half cut vegetables laid out on the chopping board with the pink handled utility knife resting in the juices of a half cut tomato. There was the back door, wide open and letting cool air wisp it's way about the room. San's brother panic mode went into full swing. Papyrus had abandoned his cooking mid prep and had gone outside, not even locking the door behind him. He always shut and locked the door when he went out. This was as far out of the usual for Papyrus as you could get. Feeling his heart thudding in his chest and now fearing the absolute worst, Sans rushed outside.

He half expected to find his brother sprawled out on the lawn, unconscious or worse. And if there was no body , at least he would see some terrible awful signs of a struggle or someone having been dragged away. Or a trail of blood. Or a blackmail letter Or any number of horrible things Sans feared had happened to his brother. What he didn't anticipate was seeing his brother alive and well at the end of their long garden. Sans felt his body fold in utter relief. As if popping a balloon his body sagged at the sight of his younger brother. Holding a hand to his chest to steady his nerves he soaked in the image of his brother safe and well. Furthermore he could see his brother gesticulating wildly with his hands towards something unseen. For a second he though Papyrus was waving off an attacker, and oh how he hated that flare of renewed worry, until it quickly became clear Papyrus was not showing any signs of distress. Rather his brother seemed excited. It was like the whole dancer fiasco again.

“Papyrus!”

Sans' found his voice and called loudly with a hint of unintentional irritation creeping in. He quickly stifled that emotion away, Papyrus never liked it when Sans was in a shitty mood. Thankfully it didn't carry across as Papyrus turned around. Big goofy grin on his lean face, waves of curls twisting in the breeze about his forehead and big eyes delighted at seeing his big brother.

“Hey Sans!”

His voice carried back. His wild arms now waving eagerly at Sans instead, flapping the sleeves of his green t-shirt like bed sheets. Papyrus's lanky body and long torso always made any shirts or T-shirts he wore look baggy on him.

“I made a new friend!” Papyrus added and Sans perked up at that little nugget of information. Friend could be a rather loose term for Papyrus. It included the goldfish they had a few years ago, to the neighbour's cat, to the nurse at the dentist's office who barely spoke a word to the patients that visited. For Papyrus, friend meant anyone who spoke nicely to him, and there were too few of those nice people in the world in Sans opinion. Acting nonchalant but warily curious, Sans shoved his hands in the pockets of his jeans and sauntered lazily down the path towards his brother. His eyes darted to and fro trying to pinpoint this new “friend” and finding no one in sight, leaving only the shadowy exterior of the woods that encroached the back of the property and what stood behind Papyrus's back. Ominous. He didn't like it. Yet Sans acted like he had no care in the world, until a delighted Papyrus made the short few steps to give his brother the biggest welcome home squeeze he could manage that had been missing when Sans first walked through the front door. Sans beamed and patted his brother's bony back as he was pleasantly crushed.

“Nyehehe. Sans you're back early.”

“Of course, bro. Work went easy on me today.” Sans replied refusing to correct his brother. Knowing it would only upset him to know that he had missed the usual routine.

“Now this friend of yours?”

“Oh”

Papyrus released his hold and smiled at Sans, cheeks a little flushed from the chill.

“They're a little shy.” His brother admitted. “ I was just making lunch when I heard this little tap on the door. I told myself, I'm just hearing things. It was that quiet, then I heard it again and I thought that George had come for some treats. That cat sure loves those fish bits. So I opened the door and there was my new friend.”

Papyrus scratched his nose and kept his smile.

“Like that huh?” Sans asked and Papyrus nodded his head eagerly.

“Of course! Anyone who knocks so politely has to be a friend.”

Not those crafty salesmen, Sans told himself. Those guys were vultures. He hoped Papyrus had not met one of them. Last time they ended up with half a dictionary set and free token for burgers. The burgers were tasty but the set of dictionaries annoyed him and bothered Papyrus in their incompleteness. The local library on the other hand had been ecstatic for the donation .

“But they were really shy. I tried to invite them in but they didn't want to so I said we could talk in the garden and I've shown them all the plants and the autumn leaf pile I've been building up. They haven't said much. “

“Cool, Paps” Sans tried to be enthused but the more he heard the more he didn't like this new “friend.”

“So where are they now?”

“Right here!” Papyrus sprung around almost taking out Sans in the process as his arms swung wide to point into the shadows of the trees. All Sans saw behind his brother was a mass of trunks stretching back into the wilderness. At least he thought he did until one of the shadows behind a nearby tree shifted. Sans tightened his eyes and stared at the subtle movement and felt his hands clench as it moved again. He could just about make out a silhouette. A rather small silhouette. Like a child rather then an adult, his internal voice told himself in relief. A child made sense. Well it didn't make sense that anyone would knock on the back door and seemingly came from the woods, but it was a hell of a lot better then the idea some adult had been skulking about.

“Hey. S'up” He casually responded, fully aware of how Papyrus had said his new friend was shy. He mostly expected the creepy shadow child to vanish and run in fear but raised an eyebrow in surprise instead when a clearly child like voice responded back.

“Hello. Are you Sans Serif?” It gently asked and Papyrus in big booming style spoke back instead.

“Yes new friend. That's my big brother Sans that I told you about.”

“I've been looking for you, Sans Serif” The child's eerie voice came back, completely ignoring Papyrus' which would have annoyed Sans a lot if not for the fact Papyrus himself seemed unfazed by it as he bopped back and forth on his feet.

“If it's about that alimony? She already took the car.” He joked. But the child didn't seem to find it funny and remained silent. The awkwardness had Papyrus patting his brother on the shoulder sympathetically at the lack of jovial retaliation, even though he likely had no idea what the joke was about, only that he could tell when Sans was joking.

“I don't think my friend knows what a car is.”

Papyrus said and Sans glanced to his brother in brief confusion. It was a rather odd thing to say, but before he could ask why his brother even thought that the child slowly shuffled out of the shadows. Sans turned this head to face back at the merging silhouette, reattaching his smile and readily held his hand out. And suddenly Papyrus's peculiar statement made some sense. Their new guest was definitely a child but everything else had Sans frantically grabbing his brother's arm to pull him away and behind himself. Papyrus huffed at the manhandling but Sans paid no mind. Those old fairytales had some truth to them after all. The child in a striped sweater, fearfully looked back with two wide eye sockets that sparked with a red pin prick of light and off set against the alabaster of a skeleton's skull. Monsters really did exist.

Chapter Text

“Will, someone for the love of god shut it up!”

“Sorry sir, you said not to use the gas. ”

“Well obviously that meant you should gag it instead. You know these things tend to make noise.”

“Apologies again sir, I'll get right on it.”

“Snap to it. This pathetic whining is giving me a headache.”

Dressed in scrubs and scalpel in hand the lead surgeon scowled behind his mask as his assistant scrambled for the muzzle they kept on standby. He wanted to rub his temple to alleviate from the noise and having to deal with idiots on his staff but his hands were currently preoccupied both with the scalpel and keeping the monster's soul tethered in place. The creature itself was arching it's back on the table it lay, arms straining in restraints with eyes popped open wide and mouth yawning impossibly large. It's legs scrabbled on the metal surface as it desperately tried to reach it's exposed soul. All the while screaming bloody murder. Pathetic really. The doctor had barely scraped the surface of the monster's soul. A mere nick really, that had sent it into this terrible fit.

“Hurry up!” Irritated now, the doctor squeezed the soul, eliciting a high pitched squeal that temporarily halted the out right screaming. Before it could catch it's breath for another round of caterwauling, the assistant rushed back in and clamped the muzzle roughly over it's face. Blessed silence followed, only metered out by the breaths of the over rushed assistant. The doctor eyed the monster briefly, noting it's new panic as it's eyes swam wildly in their sockets and spit flew through the gaps of the muzzle, before he continued his ministrations. He pushed the scalpel down again aligning with the initial nick and slid the blade through the outer core of the soul. He ignored the snap as one of the monster's arms finally relented under the pressure of the metal banding to focus on the way the soul shimmered through the cut. Magic leaked sluggishly from the wound and began pattering onto the monster's white fur. It was a wonder to see every time the doctor mused, as he adjusted his grip for a second slice, to see that flash of some indefinable layer of another world. Both more powerful and weaker then humanity itself. Such a squandered resource, wasted on the formation of such pathetic beings. Animals. Magic burst from the new deeper wound, congealing in a larger fount on the now unmoving monster's stomach.

“Still breathing.” His assistant unnecessarily added. The doctor ignored him. He knew what he was doing. He had plenty of practice cutting and slicing up monsters by now. He knew their limits, pathetic as they were. This one was one he had even worked on before. Rabbit monsters were conveniently like their domesticated brethren, good for testing, due to their more accessible body forms, resilience and high fertility.

Just a shame their young grew as slowly as real babies did. Even the government was not that unethical to suggest surgery like this on the young ones. Any funding and public support would wither and die if they tried that. Even monster children elicited primordial instincts to protect in people. But the Doctor was more practical then most.
It was only a matter of time, until the advances they made now would twist and weave hope into the masses; that the protests against the testing would lose support and the protesters themselves would lose interest for the next fad to wave their placards at. Then one or two officials would turn their heads, just long enough for the good doctor to prove testing on those young would be just as if not more beneficial to humanity. After all they were younger, fresher, more full of magic. A veritable fount of material to work with.

The Doctor waved a hand as the soul he worked on began to slowly thread up the wounds he had inflicted. Beautiful as it was to watch, this was the critical time. His assistant, finally being useful grabbed for the syringe next to the bottles kept on the tray by the surgery table. The Doctor snatched the needle and with a twist sunk it deep into the closing wound before depressing the plunger. At the sudden sting of intrusion deep into it's soul, the unconscious monster's whole body lurched up, gurgling up froth from beneath the muzzle. Prepared for that reaction, the Doctor leaned back on his heels, hand still firmly gripping the syringe until the body slumped back down. He waited a moment until he was satisfied the monster would not react again and began to extract the magical essence from it's soul. His eyes lit up as he admired the sheen of green liquid that filled the empty space, then he noticed flecks of dark green in what was supposed to be a clear viscosity.

“Check!” He growled out to his assistant.

“Breathing slow!” The assistant cried.

There was no time to waste. No longer taking dallying in admiration the Doctor sped up the extracting process, stopping the end of the needle after the syringe was full. He snapped out to grab another one. Again he repeated the process, filling syringe after syringe until the assistant quailed.

“ We're losing it!”

It didn't matter. The Doctor had got the last of what he needed. It was sink or swim now. He stepped away from the table and pulled his surgical mask from his face, gratefully breathing freely now. This part was beyond his means or his inclination. Whilst it was in his interest to keep the monsters alive on the table, sometimes they simply succumbed despite his best efforts. Falling down, was what those creatures called it. And not even they could say for certainty what the cause was. Maybe once his other interests had been sated, the Doctor would look into this. And by then they could breed monsters by the dozen, so losses would not be so insurmountable. A shame though, he thought, as he watched the monster gasp it's last, body flopping lifelessly before starting to crumble away. This one had been a useful tool. Not only in it's numerous donations to the greater good but it's contribution to new healthy subjects. But it was what it was and he had material to store.

Pointing to the fine layer of dust that remained of the subject, he sneered at his Assistant, “Clear that up”

Chapter Text

In a room of ornate pillars holding up a mosaic roof a Froggit lazed as it watched two small figures laugh and chase each other. It puzzled mildly, in a mild puzzling Froggit way what was so fun about chasing someone. It supposed, as one child tagged the other's striped sweater before turning to become the chased, that pressing buttons in this particular room could entertain only for so long. (For others, not itself, pressing buttons was never tiring. ) And children as opposed to sensible grown up monsters could not be expected to have long attention spans. The Froggit would have puzzled some more about why chasing was fun, if not for one of the wayward children to run in it's direction and almost barrel it over. It ribbited in alarm as the small body barely missed crashing into itself before tumbling away laughing with a shouted sorry, followed by the other child that merely smirked at it. No. Chasing was certainly not fun. Not for this Froggit. It hopped away.

“That was hilarious! Did you see it's face?” The smirking child shouted gleefully. The other child; finally tiring slowed to catch their breath, hands on knee, wheezing, turned back to their friend with a guilty look.

“I didn't mean to.” The child heaved between intakes. “I hope I didn't scare it too badly.”

The other child just laughed again and pointed at their friend.

“You scared it so bad, it almost peed itself”

“Oh No!” The wheezing child said aghast. “I better say sorry. Mom says you always have to apologise if you know you did something wrong.”

The smirking child still giggling gave their friend a look.

“What for. It was stupid to be standing there in the first place. “

“But I still scared it and the Froggits are always nice to me.” The wheezing child finally began to find their breath as they pulled up from their hunched position to look to where the Froggit had been. They frowned unhappily to see it had already left.

“I better go find it.” They said as the made to go look for it before, smirking child stopped them by wrapping an arm around the other and jostled their shoulders together in a friendly manner.

“It's long gone now, Papyrus. Besides I've just thought of a new game we can play.”

“but..” Papyrus felt really bad now. He must have hurt the Froggit's feelings if it had ran away. He wasn't in the mood to play games any more.

“We can play this new game tomorrow. Besides it's almost dinner time.”

Frisk turned to Papyrus, dropping the smirk to frown instead, lips quivering and tears forming in the corner of their eyes.

“You don't want to play with me any more?” They wobbled. Now Papyrus felt really bad, not only scaring the Froggit away but making his new friend cry.

“You're my only friend. If you don't play me with me no one else will.”

“That's not true!” Papyrus shouted. “I am your friend. I am.”

Frisk turned away sniffling, a grin forming on their face.

“A real friend would come play this game with me.”

Papyrus hated seeing anyone cry. Sans had cried when he had scraped his knee once long ago and Papyrus had felt the first little heaving discomfort in his chest as he watched tears run down his big brother's face as their mother, Toriel rocked him in her arms and kissed the hurt better, until eventually the tears stopped. His new friend Frisk was probably about the same age as Sans had been then. Sans had felt better afterwards so maybe it was a little OK to make his friend feel better? Mum would understand. Toriel had been more then understanding when Frisk turned up in the ruins a few days ago. Taking the new child in the same way she had when first Sans and then later Papyrus had suddenly appeared in the ruins.

“Will it make you feel better?” Papyrus asked, trying to smile through his own tears. Frisk didn't look but hummed a little and nodded, still sniffling themself.

“OK then!” Papyrus perked up a little. “As long as it's not too far. Mum won't mind if we're a little late. Sans dawdles anyway.”

Frisk slowly turned to look back and even though their bangs covered their eyes, Papyrus could see them manage a watery smile.

“Yeah.” They sniffed pulling themselves up and gaining confidence. “It's where all those pretty flowers are.”

Papyrus balked for a moment. That was at the other end of the ruins in the place his mother always told him to stay away.

“We have to run there and then run ALL the way back. The game is whoever the fastest person is wins.”

“Oh” Papyrus replied. It was far if you walked, but running? He was quite fast, he preened to himself. If they ran there and back it wouldn't be any time at all. And Frisk would feel better too. They might only be a little late and he was always hungry after lots of running. Papyrus suddenly grinned at his friend, forgetting about the Froggit, Frisk being upset and the fact he wasn't supposed to ever go there alone.

“Alright. But I'm going to win! I beat Sans all the time in a race and he's bigger then me.”

“Well, I've been holding back!” Frisk shouted back, laughing now, “I once ran down a mountain!”

“Wowie!” Papyrus genuinely awed. He had never seen a mountain from the outside but he knew it must have been huge.

“Last one there is a rotten egg!” Frisk practically screamed and then they ran. Papyrus stared startled before grinning himself.

“THEN I'LL BE FIRST!”

Papyrus chased after his friend, soon catching up and passing them. He turned back to stick out a tongue, Frisk stuck their own tongue out in response and Papyrus pumped his legs to extend the lead. When Papyrus was facing ahead again, Frisk slowed up a little to watch their friend's back. Frisk smiled, wider and wider and wider and wider until their face was almost splitting at the seams, whilst their eyes twinkled and their rosy red cheeks blazed.

Chapter Text

He ran and ran and ran. The heat of Hotland unbearable, pasting his lab coat to his bones but Sans dared not stop. In the distance the voices of the guards had long gone silent but he could imagine them focused on the hunt. Chasing down his scent like the criminal he was. Sans did not presume the silence meant safety. So he ran.

In his arms Sans squeezed the bundle he held to his chest. The weight slowing him down but his grip was like a vice. He refused to relinquish it even though fear ran down his marrow and his strength was dwindling. Sans was exhausted but he could not rest. Not yet. Not so close to the palace still. Only in Waterfall where the guards were nearly non existent could he rest. There was also more places to hide. Nooks and crannies to catch his breath and finally take into account how much trouble he was really in.

The bundle began to squirm in his hold and Sans faltered. So near to Waterfall now. So near.

“Shhh” He whispered keenly to it. Head bopping to and fro, as he scanned the area for other monsters. “Shhhhh”

The bundle seemed to react to his voice and quieted in it's movement again much to Sans relief. He dared not think what attraction it would have caused if the bundle started making noise. He could see no other monsters around but any out of place sound might get them curious to find the source. Sans could not allow that. Not when he had risked so much to get here.

He breathed a sigh of relief as the heat burning his feet began to offer relief with warm water splashing over them instead. He started to slow, gather each heaving breath as the shimmering heat reflected off pattering slithers of water until all there was was gushes of wet liquid seeping down the walls. Somehow he had made it to Waterfall and the pursuers he was escaping from seemed to have given up. For now.

Sans knew it was only a matter of time until they put a more concentrated effort to find him, he thought, as he carefully dodged rocks to rest against a partially hidden wall. King Asgore was as magnanimous as they came to Monsters, but even he would not idle knowing the murderer of his friend was on the loose. A joke really, Sans grinned as he started rocking the bundle. Gaster was about as friendly as a fire ant at a picnic, yet somehow he had wheedled his way into the King's good books. Probably because of their shared dislike of humans, Sans mused as he finally caught his breath and his soul stopped pounding a mile a minute inside his chest.

Sans knew he wasn't much better. Gaster may have used the King's prejudice to extend his own research but Sans had knowingly allowed himself to be used as well. His own prejudices whilst dimmer, had also existed. Past tense. Sans couldn't care about the humans now. Not after this. The bundle seemed to awaken again as his rocking became a little too forceful and a tiny hand reached out from it to grip the edges of his coat.

“Shhh” Sans crooned once more. He may have felt safer having reached Waterfall but he couldn't relax just yet. “It will be alright. I won't hurt you.”

Irony at it's finest, Sans bitterly thought. No he wouldn't hurt the bundle, not any more. That wasn't him any more. Never again. Then the bundle began to softly cry, as if accusing Sans to be a liar. Sans felt his grin falter and he adjusted his grip so the bundle was shifted more up right and the cloth covering his charge slipped down to reveal two big wet rimmed eyes staring back at him.

“No hurt?” A child's voice mumbled from a lipless mouth and Sans felt his sins crawling on his back.

“No. No hurt. I promise. I promise I won't hurt you.”

The child squinted as if assessing that statement before new tears formed and it hugged itself against Sans. “Who?” It asked between hiccups.

“I'm Sans.” He said slowly, but the child merely shook it's head against his chest. Sans took a pause to consider that reaction as he leaned around the corner to watch for any monsters. It was all clear still. Except the child's question.

“what do you mean?” Sans questioned the child. It simply gripped tighter, crying still and shaking it's head.

“Do you mean me?” Again the child's head moved in the negative. That left Sans with the other obvious.

“Do you mean who are you?” The child nodded again but this time in the affirmative, before it's voice haltingly asked the question again.

“Who? Don' 'member”

Ahh, that was the rub. The child was confused. Sans didn't blame it. Not one bit. In all honesty Sans didn't know how to answer it either. Where did he even begin? Tell the whole truth? His soul clenched at that. Maybe. Maybe this was a blessing. The child not remembering. No. There was no maybe. It was a miracle the child didn't remember. Those sins crawled so heavily over Sans, he could feel the cracks in his soul thumping against them. Some recompense for his past misdeeds. Not enough though. Theodore Welles was dead. Gaster was dead. Sans had killed them. Murderer. The child was staring back up at him.

“Well, that's just silly.”

Sans smiled.

“Obviously you are.... you are..”

Think Sans, think!

“You're... You're Papyrus!”

Sans was such a liar.

“Papyrus?”

A fake. A fraud.

“Yeah. How could you forget such an important name.”

Blood on his hands

“I'm Papyrus? You Sans?”

Gaster, I can't be a part of this any more.

“Got it in one kiddo. I'm surprised you forgot though.”

If you tell me where the human soul is, I can forgive you for this Sans.

“Why don' 'member?”

You'll never find it, Doctor Gaster.

“That's just because you're still a bittybones.”

What did you do?!

“Bones. Bones like you?”

What I had to, Doc. What I had to. Like what I have to do now.

“Yep. That's cause we are both Skeletons”

Sans what are you doing?!

“Why skeletons?”

SANS!

“Isn't that obvious? Because we're brothers of course.”

Murderer? Saviour? Such a thin line.

Chapter Text

“Go away already” Sans grumbled at his unwanted sleeping companion. He waved a bony hand to shoo the creature away but it merely blinked at him and nothing more. Sans frowned and turned away burying himself under his threadbare covers, hoping that by not looking at it, the creature would take the hint and go away by itself.

He grumbled and nestled in and for a while he nearly drifted off until he heard a low rumble right by his non existent ear and felt the huff of warm air on his skull. San's shot up from his nest and scrambled away, his good eye flashed blue as he materialised bones to fight against his intruder only to feel an ever growing frustration as he realised it was just the creature. Still here. And being annoying now.

Sans dropped his hand and the bones slowly dissipated. The creature eyed the magic with a quirk of it's massive head before trying to nip at one of the fading bones. It clipped thin air and it's eyes widened in googled surprise. Sans watched it as the head circled the room, looking for the missing bones and sighed. The thing was an absolute idiot. No wonder it was so useless in his training with his father, Gaster. All those endless months of trying to get the damn blaster to follow his orders and all it ever seemed to do was stare at Sans. Sans had been so proud too at being able to manifest his first blaster and get his father's undivided attention, only for it to end up being a disappointment on both fronts.

“Why are you so useless.” He angrily spat at the thing only for it to stop it's search for the impossible tasty looking bone and to stop and stare back at Sans. It's eyeballs rolling back into it's elongated skull as it did so to regain it's lifeless dead look. Sans would almost think it was upset at being called useless. Almost. It was really just a tool as Gaster said. No more, no less. And to prove such a point, Gaster had materialised two of his own blasters and had one destroy the other. The dying one not even putting up a fight. Gaster had offered to deal the death knell to this one too but for some reason Sans had refused. Despite the thing being annoying it was still his first blaster and Sans was DeTermined to get it obey him before making the decision to obliterate it. How was he to learn to control them if he just gave up so early on.

Staring back at it's dead stillness, Sans was starting to wonder if he should just have it destroyed now anyway? After numerous attempted failures with this one he had managed to move on to create two more. The new ones proved far more malleable, whilst the first merely drifted silently in the background. It was a superfluous tool that was simply draining his magic. And drained his magic it did. The blasted blaster refused to be put away now. It's first few months of doing absolutely nothing had changed to it doing absolutely nothing of use. Instead of sitting at a discrete distance at Sans back, it had started to become curious. Moving from it's blank spot of staring at Sans to staring at different things with some sort of semblance of actual curiosity. That fake emotional curiosity seemed to have stirred it's need to not be put away again. Like now. When Sans wanted to sleep and it kept bothering him.

At least his latest insult seemed to have killed the blaster's restlessness. Sans yawned. He was too tired to bother calling up the other two to dispose of it now. He eyed it for a moment, watching for movement and when it didn't he sighed and laid back down. Tomorrow, he'll put it down tomorrow, he decided. Gaster would not be amused if Sans was late for his training any more due to restless nights like this. Maybe he could regain Gaster's favour with a show of might? There was a certain rush when pointing a blaster at a target and letting it rip. He yawned again and tucked in lower. Inevitably the Blaster moved again, slowly sidling back up to Sans. This time though Sans was far too tired now to berate it or shoo it away. Deep in the land between awake and sleep his softer side allowed the blaster it's last night of curiosity. Buoyed by the lack of rebuttal, the blaster leaned in closer until it's head rested against San's back and settled into the edge of the mattress. Almost subconsciously, Sans shifted until the blaster was nuzzling his side rather then his back and his hand slipped out to rest on it's snout.

“Hmm, warm.” Sans mumbled as his hand began to lazily stroke the muzzle. Maybe he could hold off on the euthanasia for now, his drifting mind thought, and the blaster seemingly agreed as it quietly crooned with a satisfied “nyeh” sound as they both fell to sleep.