Chapter 1: Until there is nothing left
People in all walks of life; lived by certain credences. They either lived for themselves or for others.
Those that lived for themselves did just that. Every decision, action, benefit was for their own comfort. Never giving more than they had but taking all they could.
The ones that lived for others gave everything they had to those around them. All decisions were to benefit either those they care for or even strangers around them until nothing was left for themselves.
These two options were rare extremes, usually most lived in a middle “grey” area but nevertheless each individual always leaned toward one over the other.
Normal people lived a life style of give and take.
The entirety that was Sans was never his own since his very first breath. He was Gaster’s in whatever way the Scientist wanted. Switching daily between a test subject or an assistant, a punching bag or a sound board.
Everyone took a piece of him for themselves. He was Sans, the fun guy, the comedian, the helper. Whatever those around him felt they were missing they knew Sans would not only have it but offer it to them freely.
Someone was having a bad day and needed either a pick me up or a sympathetic ear? Needed an errand ran or a message delivered? Sans was your guy or well...child.
Because that is what he was, a child in an unfortunate circumstance and this was how his boyhood was spent.
It never occured to the Scientist or workers or even the people on the street that maybe this kid shouldn’t be doing what he was doing but they just needed so much and he had it to give.
Eventually, there was the accident and Gaster along with the Scientist were gone and new Monsters took the old positions but even that didn’t change anything, Sans was still giving but this time toward someone new.
Papyrus, his little brother.
Sans’s busy childhood became his frenetic teen and young adult years. He worked any job he could get that people oh so graciously gave him.
(but why didn’t anyone actually help?)
Holding down Three, four or even five jobs so that Papyrus would get everything he could possibly want. Papyrus would never have to give a single piece of himself for as long as Sans’ SOUL beat.
But unlike the others, Papyrus was grateful albeit innocent and unaware and while he did try to return the affection and help; It was hard to give back when the person you are trying to help refuses it earnestly. Sans was fine as long as Papyrus was so why would he accept anything back? That wasn’t the way it was supposed to be.
Sans was born to give and Papyrus was raised to take and accept.
Maybe back then, Sans could have gotten the help he needed before his mind fractured and his SOUL formed into a mess of scars and missing pieces.
But, if you think about it, everything was ultimately Sans fault. He got lazy, complacent, indulgent. He wasn’t attentive enough and Papyrus gave something of himself away to possibly the greediest being in the known universe.
A human child came and took not only everything Papyrus was in one fell swoop but also took San’s entire world. With open arms Papyrus offered himself unprepared for how gluttonous the world was and only dust was left. The world robbed of its star.
Sans never let the human take from Papyrus again. Papyrus wasn’t the center of his world, he was his world and the human would pay for a long time coming.
Even after the resets, the timelines, the meetings, even meeting copies of himself and his brother, only Papyrus mattered. Sans could pretend, smile, act like a normal monster but he stopped existing as himself; he was only a tool for another whether the person realized or not and...despite everything, Papyrus didn’t.
Now he could only watch with empty eyes while his world left him for another, happily innocent. Papyrus was in love, Papyrus was happy, Papyrus was going away but...what was Sans supposed to do now?
He was a force with no direction in a life built around another.
What...what does he do now? He didn’t know.
Chapter 2: Sometimes the prey isn't consumed, its adopted
There was something very wrong with Sans but no one seemed to noticed his mechanical song and dance.
Or so it would seem.
PLEASE MIND THE TAGS! THIS GETS DARK! THERE IS A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL BUT UNTIL THEN ITS HECKING DARK
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It was party number who the fuck knows in whatever month it was and the little bastard was doing it again.
They’d been having these get togethers ever since the machines were fixed and the timelines stabilized. Blood and his bro , Sugar, had escaped their hellish underground and carved out their own little niche on the surface of the classic universe.
It’s been some years since then and everyone has settled down, most have hooked up, made a life for themselves.
And for some reason it pissed Blood off something fierce. Here he was the “perfect” version of the Sanses with everything he could possibly want and the dude looked liked the walking dead. No pun intended.
He never hard to starve like they did, or fight like the fells or swapfells, and yea he had a few genocides but did you see the shit storm of Underswap? God damn that place was dark for being a “good universe”.
But no, Sans- he got to keep the name since he was apparently the first- acted like there wasn’t a damn thing in the world worth living for.
Now Blood could somewhat understand his pain. I mean Papyrus made a big step in life and moved out to live with his mate Edge. Hell, the party was at the Edgepuff- Red’s ship name for them- house and they were celebrating Papyrus getting a promotion at work.
Blood had been almost inconsolable when Sugar moved out to be with his mates but he had Red to keep him sane. If a guy like him could get a mate like Red then Sans shouldn’t act like he’s standing in an empty room despite it being full.
Yea, it might be hard considering most of them have paired up but there was literally an ever expanding multiverse out there where anyone could find a mate if you tried hard enough.
He could even follow Stretch’s example and try to weasel into an already formed pair. There was no way the lanky skeleton’s “harmless flirting” was anything less than him trying to be the cream filling in a spicy sweet sandwich.
Even Sugar might take him on, always one to baby the underdog but his brother already had his hands full with the swapfell brothers, Black and Slim, along with the hyper little Blueberry taking his time. Sugar had a lot of love to give and Blood would bet money that Black and Blue wouldn’t mind a new pet under them.
All he had to do was take one fucking step forward and stop acting like a giant neon sign practically screaming “FREE XP” for five fuckign seconds-
Blood blinking stupidly for a moment. He was in fact growling and the plastic cup he had in one of his hands hadn’t survived the aggravated death grip. Thankfully he had already drank the soda inside, he wasn’t allowed alcohol for both his own health and everyone else's, and his plate of ‘finger food’ was still somewhat balanced in his other grip.
“Sorry babe. Can’t help it” He acquiesced. He peeked over at his mate who was giving him that all knowing look again. Red already knew all about his odd obsession with Sans. He understood it actually. Red was from a Fell verse and despite being on the surface for so long in a peaceful atmosphere you just don’t lose long honed instincts.
Instincts that Sans set off every time they were in the same vicinity.
Sans was never quite in the group. Always on the fringes, never eating or drinking anything unless it was practically forced on him. Not finishing it either which set Blood’s teeth on edge. The food wouldn’t get wasted but you just don’t leave food, you eat the damn thing! Besides that, Sans didn’t seem to talk or react...normally.
If it wasn’t that you could sense his magic flowing; anyone would think he was a puppet on strings or an actor playing a role, shoddily.
Every action set off predator instincts and how no one else besides Blood and Red picked it up was one of life’s mysteries. He as weak in hp, weak from bad eating habits and far enough from the “herd” that anyone could swipe and dust him before he could scream for help.
But that wasn't going to happen and the only thing screaming was their LV demanding to be fed by the obviously easy kill.
But his control over his LV would always be tenuous at best and before Blood noticed he was already doing a pre hunt check at this prey’s stats.
“What the fuck…” Blood wheezed out his sentence, dropping his mutilated cup and half eaten food to the carpet. If that didn’t alert his mate that something bad has happened the rattling of the bigger skeleton’s bones did.
Red opened his mouth to ask what was going on before he got cut off.
“Check him, holy fucking shit-what the fuck…”
Red blinked and looked over at Sans and activated his Judge skill to check the original.
Sans the Skeleton
A hollow victim. Walks the same path. Can he just go home?
They could only watched in horrified silence while Sans, noticing their stares just turned to them with an empty grin and grey eyelights.
The original was dying and they had no idea why.
Neither would admit that they ran from the party like death itself was chasing them. Something was wrong, very very wrong.
And they were going to find out what.
Logically they knew it would be bad but nothing could have prepared them for what was found. Utilizing all their learned skills from hard life underground, in little more than two weeks they knew more about Sans than everyone else, even Papyrus apparently.
The house the Tale brothers had bought once the law had passed allowing monsters to own land, was mostly abandoned.
To the untrained eye it looked occupied but a simple shortcut inside showed layers of accumulated dust, everything undisturbed. No one had stepped foot in there for months.
They encountered the same results when they checked San’s previous employment locations/ All five gave them the same results, Sans had quit suddenly the day after Papyrus had moved out.
If they were to guess, that was also the last time the house had been occupied.
How could no one have noticed?
Sans was always...everywhere. There if you needed a helping hand or a good laugh to lift your spirits. He was a constant presence in people's lives, in the background and, they thought, in their hearts.
The people who supposedly loved Sans couldn’t give them a straight answer when asked if they had seen Sans or where they had seen him last.
It was only through one of Red’s contacts- he had built a web of informants even here in a safe universe- mentioned seeing a skeleton matching Sans description going to and from the mountain often.
No monster ever returned to the Mt.Ebott- their prison. Whether from superstition, fear, or respect to those that never made it out, the place was a ghost town...now plus one skeleton apparently.
Both Blood and Red had tried on their own or together to follow Sans everytime he was spotted but the paranoid skeleton could sense he was being followed, they were unsure if he knew it was them or not, and would disappear around a corner only to vanish from everyone's lives for a few days.
It left the couple with no choice but to go to the mountain themselves.
It...wasn’t a pretty picture. Blood had become almost neurotic at the thought of going back underground even if it wasn’t HIS underground.
He had begun to tug at his eyelight again right under his cracked open skull- something he hadn’t done in a long time. Red almost called everything off, they didn’t need to know if Blood was going to relapse like this but everytime he closed his eyes he would see Sans’ empty sockets and that damn description.
‘ A hollow victim. Walks the same path. Can he just go home?’
They couldn’t just let it go. Timing it where Sans would be busy that day. Easy enough to drop an idea to the Edgepuff couple to drag Sans off on some errands.
Which found them outside the dark cavern that the monsters had emerged from. Red was holding Blood’s hand tightly, anchoring the shaking skeleton and perhaps keeping himself in place as well.
They had taken into account their own traumas and prepared accordingly. Blood had an inventory filled with food along with a backpack filled to bursting.
Red had his magic topped up in case he had to summon blasters and Blood had even lent him his sharpest axe.
They probably looked silly from the outside. The underground was empty and they could always short cut out if they were hungry. No barrier to stop them, no one to attack them.
They still stood there for an uncomfortably long time.
“Well...let’s go” Red huffed. He tightened his grip just a bit more, bones creaking from the strain, and took the first step forward.
He was also almost the first one to run out once the darkness of the cave swallowed them but stayed firm. They spent almost their entire lives underground and could see just fine in the dark. The sunlight had spoiled them.
It was weird walking through the castle.
In Underfell the walls were coated in petrified vines, claw marks and the outline of poor fools that had been incinerated leaving not a mote of dust behind.
In Horrortale the few times Blood had seen the castle after Undyne became queen it was an imposing black stoned fortress with nothing but propaganda and hate painted on its walls surrounded by dozens of starving refugees.
They felt like trespassers here. Walking past the portrait of the Royal Family, around the throne with its bright gold field of flowers. They would never admit under penalty of death they sprinted past the sunlit halls of the judge room; not stopping until they reached the elevator to Alphys lab.
There was no way she had turned off her cameras. The monsters might not want to go back inside the darkness but curious, or malicious, humans would.
If Sans had been visiting the cameras would have it recorded. But the worn trail they had been following was already casting a dark, depressing shadow.
Someone else had been taking this path and often judging by the marks.
The cameras quickling proving their theory once they arrived at the Lab and Red entered her password -Undyne- to see the footage. How he knew that Blood had no idea but it was obvious if you thought about it.
It was like watching resets from the outside. A morbid show that kept repeating itself over and over every time it ended.
Sans would come in through the cavern opening, make his way through the castle then vanish through a shortcut after standing in the judgement hall motionless for a few hours.
He would reappear at the ruins door and walk the snowy paths, making a walkway through the chest deep snow. His smile a jagged, painful rictus. Unflinching at the cold snow he was forcing his way through.
Classic would stop at each of his stations, Grillby’s, their old home before leaving Snowdin and repeating the same station stops in Waterfall and then Hotland before stopping at the Core to stand motionless for a few hours. Rinse and repeat.
A soft beep drew their attention to a blinking icon in the corner of the screen.
“Whazzat” Blood asked, leaning over Red’s shoulder. He wasn’t very tech savvy so left everything for Red to handle.
“Something tripped the motion sensors”
They prepared themselves for a possible fight. Red clicked the icon apprehensively.
“What the fuck”
It was Sans and he looked worse then they had ever seen. His bones were grey and he was shaking fiercely. He hadn’t walked in like he did normally it seems. The playback showing Sans blinking in right at the center of the Core bridge, dangerously close to the edge.
There was no mistaking that something had happened on the errands. Something that broke what little HoPe Sans had.
“He’s gonna jump”
“He’s gonna jump”
They shortcut simultaneously, almost slamming into each other but only just, grabbing Sans on the way down and away from the walkway fringe.
Sans started screaming.
“WHY!? LET ME GO! PL-PLEASE LET ME DIE...please, please, please, please, I'm sorry let me go. Let me j-jump” Sans’ cries were loud and heartbreaking before splintering into a mantra of sorrow. This was a monster broken and desperate to die.
But Blood and Red refused. They held onto him tighter. Begging him.
“Sweetheart no, come on, we got you. It’s ok, you’re ok. Don’t cry, we’re here for you” Red cajoled trying his best to pacify their captive. Had Sans always been this small compared to them? So fragile?
“Ya don’t gotta do this Sans. Ya don’t gotta hurt no more, we got ya. We promise” Blood did his best to keep the thrashing hand from latching on to his wound while he spoke but the limb froze when he was done speaking.
Sans had stopped his wild twisting and was staring at them eyeless. They held their breath seeing what Sans would do now. Would he keep fighting? Would he try to attack them, ward them off long enough so he could off himself?
He did neither.
Sans began to wail loudly like a child. It was a tragic sound that made their SOULs clench inside their chest. The vice only grew worse when Sans revealed everything to them. Expelling all the toxins he had been nursing inside his mind until he was limp and breathless. Trembling and empty.
If Blood hadn’t already promised they would take care of him he would of pledge it again in a heartbeat.
Blood was the one that carried Sans home, their home not his. Cradling him to his large chest like a priceless treasure. Red leading the way, pass the doors, up the stairs, to the bed they hadn’t bothered making this morning. After what they learned today it really didn’t feel like the same day anymore.
Sans had fallen asleep on the way, his body going lax but his fingers fixed around Blood’s primary ribs through his shirt. Blood didn’t try to pull him off. Just crawled into bed with him- Red taking the other side- to sandwich Sans between them.
The couple briefly made eye contact over Sans skull to have a wordless conversation before coming to an agreement.
In this world of give and take, Sans was theirs now.
Let me know if you enjoyed this!
Chapter 3: Is being happy, selfish?
A happy ending to a sad lifetime but ultimately a bright future.
Small happy ending!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It was party number who the fuck knows in the newly dubbed HoneyEdgepuff house and the ltitle bastard was doing it again.
Sans was being fucking adorable.
Red, Sans and Blood had taken residence by the coffee table with their food and drinks. Sans had nudged Red into feeding him mouthfuls of ketchup-soaked fries. Smiling after each bite.
They had never told anyone what had happened. How close Sans had come to killing himself. The others had noticed a difference in Sans but chalked it up to him getting together with Blood and Red.
Which yes, that did happen eventually but they didn’t need to know the rest. They didn’t need to know how damn proud Red was that Sans had asked to be fed, taking initiative instead of waiting to see if it was alright, or how Blood felt like he was damn near floating because Sans had curled his daintier hand around Blood’s mitt of a paw to pull him closer.
They sat in their own world, outside of skewed rules. Just them, holding hands and snacking.
Just good times and fun laughs.
Lord angst is hard. let me know what you think