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THE ALPHA TIMELINE

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How long had it been? It was hard to keep track of just how long you'd been trapped down here underground-each day felt like an eternity, struggling to survive with your new 'family'.

Sans and Papyrus-they had been let down so many times previous. It was hard to believe people so broken and bent out of shape could have once been so full of hope. Hard to imagine a time where Papyrus' teeth weren't badly misshapen, a time where Sans' didn't live with the constant itch from the hole broken in through his skull-a time where monsters weren't left to starve.

It was strange to wake up in the comfort of your bed with only the sound of Papyrus downstairs in the kitchen to remind you that you were, indeed, alive. That you had made it this far.
You were fifteen when a mere misstep had sent you spiralling down to the depths of hell. It'd been near four years since that day-two years in which you had started living with the skeleton brothers.

Originally you had merely planned to simply escape this hell by taking the life of a monster and leaving through the barrier-but something kept you here. A something that eats at the back of your mind-at your soul.
Was it pity? Was it Justice? Was it Kindness?

Either way, you were determined to survive.
That and you also knew there was no way you'd make it past the queen alive. So you laid low. Sure, you had to fight to survive as much as any other monster here-if not more so with no place of residence. You constantly put up with Papyrus' shenanigans (as amusing as his puzzles and traps tended to be), and were constantly being hunted by Sans' himself, in the end it all went to show just what someone was capable of when they needed to survive.
It was worth it, you guess. Because here you were-yet again, waking up underneath the thick woollen blanket knitted by the one and only (Papyrus), on top of the bed handcrafted for you especially also by Papyrus, tucked away in the corner opposite of his own race car bed. In all honesty, you'd have to say your own bed was much nicer than his own-perhaps because it was newer. The race car bed's once cherry red colour had begun to chip and fade, and Papyrus' inhumanely lanky legs hung over the edges. It looked rather uncomfortable, though Papyrus insisted that it was fine (it was not).

You wished to get them out of this hell. Though you were just one person-one human. All of the other human souls were gone-just one would make no difference, and considering you had been here almost four years and every human that had ever fallen was eaten-it was unlikely you'd be able to collect another 7 in your lifetime.
You wished there was more you could do-there had to be something you could do-though as time dragged on hope began to fade.
Just as it had for everyone else.
For now, all you could hope to do is help keep each other alive-and if possible, distract your two housemates of the reality that is the hell they live in.

You usually got up much earlier than this-the same time Papyrus did. Even Sans was awake at this point. Though these past couple days you've had a lingering heavy feeling that's settled in the pit of your stomach.
Papyrus concluded that you must be sick ("Y/N! You Must Be Sick! You Humans Are Very Fragile After All! Off To Bed Now!") and Sans merely hummed in agreement. You weren't. At least you didn't think you were.
Something was off -that was all.

With a splitting headache flicking at the inside of your skull, you threw your legs off and over your bed. Wobbling at first, you soon made sense of your surroundings and shuffled over to the bedroom door, rubbing the sleep out of your eyes as you tread downstairs.

"Y/n! I Am Glad That You Have Chosen To Join Us Sometime Today," your snicker was muffled by the hand rubbing at your eyes, "How Are You Feeling?"

" 'm good Paps, feeling better than ever. What's been happening?"

"Cleaned out the traps already-got a bit of carnage to clean out, but ya can do that later," A particularly gruff rumbled instead of Papyrus' usual warm one-Sans.

"Right," Shuffling past Papyrus, you gave him a short but not lacking warmth, hug, before collapsing on the couch. It was a tacky vomit green colour that was shredded at the seams as this point, though you had seemed to warm up to it at this point. Familiarity probably.
These days everyone here seemed to cling to the things that reminded of them of home-of where they were safe, because they all knew it would never last. Nothing ever did.

You didn't need to pry open your eyes to know the soothingly cold phalanges running through your hair belonged to Sans. The pair seemed enamoured with it, probably because they themselves didn't have any. Luckily you were always a rather laid-back individual and tended to just go with things. Perhaps it was because of those tendencies that you learnt to adapt easily to this much harsher environment.
Though as easy going as you are, you were a much different individual from the one that first escaped through the Ruin door.
You had hardened, changed. At one point it had begun so difficult to look at yourself in the mirror that you had to start forcing yourself to. You needed to learn to live with your decisions, you wouldn't ever let regret or guilt control you.

You did what you had to. They all did.

"Well Then, I Will Be Cleaning Out The Shed, Come Get Me When You Are Ready To Recalibrate Our Traps!"

Popping your head up and resting it on the back of the couch, you gave Papyrus a tired grin, "Sure thing. See you there." Papyrus paused, merely staring at you for a few seconds in thought, before giving you his own very welcoming grin. With a hum of approval, he spun on the heel of his squeaky red boots and strode out the door into the bite of the cold.

"You sure your better peaches?" Eyes rolling over in your sockets to instead give Sans a curious look, you shifted to turn to better face him, "Just a sick human ain't a very useful human, ya know?"

"Sure," you snort, "but yeah- 'm good."

Sans grinned. Usually any kind of expression from someone such as Sans would be unnerving, you couldn't even remember what you originally thought of the skeletons appearances, though at this point you had become so adjusted to the warped condition of the people here that you had forgotten anything different. Other than yourself, of course. Couple scars here and there, maybe a chipped tooth or two and an ankle that never properly healed and now stung if you pressed down too hard (although not too hard to ignore), though you were in considerably better condition than everyone else.
You had learnt to take you scars in pride nowadays, tended to act as symbols of warning against anyone who may possess ill intent against you-which was originally everyone considering your species and the constant hunger gnawing at monster's insides. Overtime you had slowly become less of a target and rather someone who was off limits ("Oi, that's the Butchers property, you hear? Best stay away if you don't want to lose your head.")
Though the imminent threat never disappeared completely. Regardless, you were grateful for all you could get.

Having once again gotten lost in your thoughts, you were abruptly pulled out of them when a certain skeletons skull fell against your shoulder. Jumping, you huffed out a laugh at Sans hearty snores. As much as you'd have liked to simply join right in and start an evening long nap session like many times previous, you at things to do and places to be.
Cleaning the shed would be a piece of cake for Papyrus, and you had no doubt he would be near done, if not completely finished already. Best not keep him waiting, you had concluded.
Nudging Sans' skull off and resting it on the arm rest of the couch, you wandered back upstairs to your joined room with Papyrus to change into more appropriate clothing for this kind of work.

As you had previously anticipated, Papyrus had indeed finished cleaning and was waiting patiently for you. Wandering inside you were greeted with the same aluminium walls that had made your bedroom the first few months you had come under the wing of the skeleton brothers (Sans having refused to allow a human to sleep under the same roof as their own-for safety precautions).
You can still remember the feeling of the chill of the concrete pressing against you that was so obviously stained with blood.
It was obvious what had happened in this shed, especially considering what they had originally tried doing to you the first few years of your stay underground. You had sooner discussed the whole matter-however briefly, though they seemed rather 'rattled', when you had appeared so unbothered with the entire concept. (You later explained that you couldn't judge someone over actions needed to survive, they wholeheartedly understood).

Neither of the two of you needed to speak, rather you simply both collected whatever items required and you followed behind Papyrus towards the Ruin doors, where the first of the traps were laid out. By now you were well acquainted with the routine and knew what needed to be done. When you both arrived at the Ruin's door, Papyrus would recalibrate all the traps to the left portion of the forest, whilst you would take the right and you both would work back towards Snowdin.
It would take you both an hour, maybe less.

Papyrus, and you too usually, would have already swept by here early this morning to check all of the traps to ensure nobody stole anything that might have been caught and came by later to reset all of them. Though occasionally something was caught after Papyrus' sweep and that's what prolonged the task-usually rabbits and other small rodents that had fallen long ago from the surface world and repopulated here underground. Though occasionally you would find something bigger, perhaps a racoon or some other small animal that had somehow made its way passed the Ruins.

A sharp click brought your attention towards a trap over in the distance. With a pleased grin tugging at your lips you moved towards the sound with the obvious assumption that it must have caught some sort of animal whilst you wearily moved to avoid traps you knew where placed out. Well, that was your assumption until the muffled whimper hit your cold ears. Pulling your hoodie down to further cover your ears you picked up your pace to find whoever the hell was dumb enough to get caught in one of the traps.

Sure enough, you found some yellow kid lacking any arms with its right leg bent out of shape and trapped between the claws of a bear trap previously buried in the snow.
Papyrus must have missed that one, though it was spread out deeper into the forest than the others and appeared to be quite old.
Very possible that it wasn't his at all, and rather some other monsters trap left out to catch something. Though you doubted monster kid, the town rascal was quite what they were hoping for. Trying to eat a monster was a particularly gruesome and strenuous job you had come to learn.
However, you also weren't a fan of bestowing unfortunate fates upon children, however...problematic, that kid may be.

"MK," you greeted, seeing the crunch of snow caused by your footfalls had apparently not alerted him of your presence. His head (that was previously gnawing at the beartrap desperately) snapped upwards towards you. He narrowed a crazed glare at you despite the eye full of pained tears collecting in his eyes.

" human ," he hissed in such a way that implied as if you were the source of all his problems. Honestly you were a little surprised the kid was alive at this point. Having no arms was a serious disability, and weaker monsters like him were mostly picked off in the first year or two of this famine, according to Sans, anyhow.

You crouched down to an eye level with him, one glance was enough to let him know that you meant business, whimpering, he avoided your gaze and looked away, muffling a whimper as your fingers met with the broken scales pressed against metal.

Shit. You shifted in your position without moving the trap to further inspect where his leg was trapped. By the looks of it, he had gotten it snagged in the beartrap, and then in attempts to escape, had broken his leg in the process. The more you eyed the large amount of bloody dust gushing from his leg, the more it seemed he wouldn't be walking away with both his legs. Or walking away at all.

Eyes flickering up to the boy in stripes, you briefly considered if it would be more merciful to simply put the boy out of his misery now. If you ended up having to cut off the leg, there was no chance he would be living much longer. It would be easy, Papyrus wasn't that far away, he'd go and get Sans and he would finish the job.
You probably could too, but the longer you eyed the monster, you realised just how much you'd prefer not to. Not while you had other options.

In the meantime, you needed to get that shit off of his leg.
"Mm, this is gonna hurt like shit kid," you warned to which he turned his head to look at you, already wiping the falling tears from his face.

"J-Just get me, get my leg out, please?" He begged, "Will it-how much will it hurt?"

"A fucking lot," you replied honestly, which only worsened the kids quiet crying, "You might want to bite onto something." From the corner of your eye you watched him bring his arm up to his face and bite tightly on his faded yellow stripped jumper. You already knew this would hurt from experience. It's how you hurt your own ankle, actually, though it seemed you were much more fortunate than this kid was.
"Ready?" He shook his head no. With a sigh, you ignored his panicked whimpers as you pressed your fingers against either side of the metal jaws ready to pry the ancient thing open, "Alright, count to three with me, okay?"

".... okay."

" one, " you spoke in unison, "two..."
You didn't bother to get to three when you ripped open the metal jaws, roughly pulling them out of the way and throwing it at least a foot away over in the snow.

"arGHHH!" Monster kid shrieked, falling over on his back and desperately clutching his mutilated leg, "Help! Please! it hurts so BAD- IT HURTS SO BAD! " he screamed, the red sprinkled with silver dust gushed from the boy’s leg, and you leaped over to him on your hands and knees. already pulling apart the ends of your tattered black hoodie to instead wrap around the wound.
You had no doubt that Papyrus had heard the screaming from wherever he was, you wouldn't even need the practically inhumane hearing sense he possessed to hear the fuss the boy was putting up.
Not that you could blame him, now having a better look, there was no way he was keeping his leg. As you hurriedly wrapped the partially severed leg whilst avoiding the boys thrashing, you could hear the light thumping of boots sprinting through the snow-Papyrus, undoubtedly.
Though you glanced back just to make sure..

"Y/N? Are You Alright?"

"Yeah Paps, kid got caught in some bear trap," you quickly explained, eyes never leaving the boys leg as Papyrus fell to his knees beside you to hold the boy down as you worked.
The following minutes could have easily been mistaken as hours, though you knew all too well that it was mere minutes as MK fell unconscious from the blood loss.

It was silent for all but a minute, "We're going to have to cut it off," you informed Papyrus quietly, but from his observing gaze, you had no doubt he already knew that.

"Yes...It Would Appear Now Would Be The Best Time....While He Is Unconscious."

"We could leave it to his parents?" you suggested, having noticed his hesitancy, but he merely shook his head.

"No, He'll Have Dusted By Then If We Leave Him In This Condition."

You frowned, but nodded, standing up to sit on the other side of the boy in preparation for what was to come. You could only hope he didn't wake up.

----

 

You had since dropped MK off to his parents-still unconscious (thankfully).
Upon opening the door, you had gotten to see their expressions of first confusion, then shock, then dread morph onto their faces all at once. Papyrus had briefly explained what had happened, before they had taken the boy and shut the door on your faces.
Whatever. Neither of you did if for the thanks.

Either way, the previous events left the both of you in a sombre mood. Despite, you still had work to do. You had both encountered scenarios like this countless times before, but time waited for no man, and everyday chores still had to be done.
The both of you walked back to your previous position in silence, as you occasionally glanced up at Papyrus, wondering if a change in topic was required. Though it seemed somebody beat you too it.

"Sans?" Papyrus questioned, the two of you now halted in your spots, "What Are You Doing Here? Not That I'm Not Happy-"

" The barriers broken. "

 

The two of you seemed to freeze alike the frozen wasteland around you-everything stilled, even the wind and sound itself seemed to have disappeared. "The, Barrier...Is.... broken? " Papyrus spoke quietly, missing the usual fortitude in his voice. Sans nodded quietly in reply, seemingly in shock himself. As if he could hardly believe the words that just left his mouth just as much as the two of you.

After a moment of silent contemplation, Papyrus spun on his heel, before scooping you up in his arms much like how one would with a baby, shifting your weight to just one singular arm, redirecting his pace to Sans where he proceeded to tuck him firmly under his spare arm before marching off in the direction towards the barrier.
The journey there was swift and silent. No one dared utter a word as Papyrus- unfazed with the weight of the two of you, essentially sprinted by any humans’ standards, out of Snowdin, into waterfall, and so on.
The underground was busy- busier than you had ever seen it. Everyone was out of their homes, bags and boxes in their arms as they scurried away in the same direction as you. The more people you passed, the more you were convinced the barrier, was in fact, broken.
You had never seen so many monsters out and about without a single conflict.
You briefly wondered if this was what the underground was like before the famine.

Eyes eventually beginning to hurt from the blur of everything as Papyrus picked up his pace in assumingly eagerness to reach the surface, they instead drop to look at Sans-who was already staring at you. The short skeleton's permanent grin seemed to stretch wider than you had ever previously seen it, and a toothy grin of your own spread across your features as you both stared silently at each other.

You were making it out.
The barrier had broken.
Sans and Papyrus, they would finally get to see the stars you had so desperately tried to describe to them. Get to see the world you had so often told them about, promised you would show them if you so ever got the chance.

Despite the obvious eagerness that Sans carried in his grin, there was also a large amount of anxiousness that seemed to weigh in his sockets and pull at the ends of his grin. Something like worry- like fear.
Your heart sunk, and you could only imagine what it must be like for them. For you- you had an idea what might happen to you, but to them?
No, now you were only making yourself worried.
They would be fine right?
With a firm glance to met Sans' gaze, you swallowed your rising nerves.
Right.
Everything would be okay.
Reaching out, you held out your hand to reach for Sans' own. His eye lights flickered down to your own fingers, before tugging his arm out of his pocket, phalanges slipping comfortably in-between your own with a tight squeeze.

They would be okay.