You woke to a sore back, puffy eyes, raw throat, and an ache in your SOUL. Only one of those was the consequence of sleeping on the couch, the rest were caused by the reasons why you were sleeping on the couch. Not even your own, either. Hell, you’d feel better if it was your own couch. You carefully untangled yourself from the thin throw blanket you snuggled with before sneaking to the bathroom.
After splashing your face with cold water, you debated sneaking out before they woke up. There would be way too many questions that you didn’t want to answer if they did wake up before you were gone. It was still early enough that you might be able to get out before even the earliest of risers woke up. First, however, you wanted to clean up the little mess you made of the couch. You didn’t regularly drink, but you did last night, and there were a few cans on the table. Before you could start your quick cleaning, a heavy hand dropping on your shoulder pulled a squeak from your lips.
“HUMAN. WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?” Edge’s voice was still loud, even if it was five-thirty in the morning. You spun around, hands rising up, forcing a smile on your face. He had gone to sleep before you had left, along with Blue and Papyrus as they all had set sleep schedules. Maybe you could lie to him? Sneak out before the others woke up? You opened your mouth, a lie ready on your lips, but his eye sockets narrowed, and your voice died in your throat. His eyes were already roaming around downstairs. The blanket on the couch, your puffy eyes, the cans. “HMPF. YOU WILL HELP ME WITH BREAKFAST FOR THE OTHERS SINCE YOU MADE THIS MESS,” he gestured vaguely to the couch. You quickly gathered up the cans under his watchful stare.
“I…sure but-“ you started, but your throat was still sore. It hurt worse than if you had allowed yourself to openly sob…but you didn’t want to wake the skeletons who were all sleeping when you snuck back into their house last night.
He sighed heavily, a hint of a growl at the end as he dragged you into the kitchen. “YOU SOUND LIKE YOU SWALLOWED RAZOR WIRE,” he complained, “I HAVE HEARD THAT TEA HELPS HUMANS WITH AILMENTS LIKE THAT. I SUPPOSE IF I AM TO HAVE ANY SORT OF CONVERSATION WITH YOU, I MUST MAKE YOU SOME.”
You didn’t bother talking, just nodded softly. Edge’s eye sockets narrowed again, but he turned to start the kettle. As he did that, you checked the cupboards for inspiration to make the others breakfast. Most likely Edge would have an idea already and would refuse to do anything else, but you didn’t want to just stand around and let your mind wander. The two of you were silent, and when you pulled down a loaf of bread and glanced over at him, he was studying you. Immediately, he straightened stiffly and looked back at the tea options. “WE ARE ALL OUT OF SEA TEA,” he said, and you resisted the urge to sigh thankfully. Sea Tea was the worst, way too salty. “DO YOU WANT EARL GREY OR ANY OF THESE OTHER PITIFUL HUMAN TEAS?”
You gestured to one of the teas that you knew you enjoyed. He nodded. As he prepped the tea, you placed the loaf of bread on the counter. “French toast?” you murmured, voice soft because of the soreness.
That was…short and easy? You thought he’d immediately take control and suggest something else. It usually was at least a ten minute battle of wits with him when it came to things like this. He gave up way too quickly…your eyes were drilling holes into at his back as he poured the hot water into a cup for you.
“Edge?” you hummed, and he turned around to look at you expectantly. You tilted your head slightly.
“WELL? WHAT IS IT?” he demanded when you didn’t say anything further. You tapped your throat, and he grumbled before handing you the tea. “I LOATHE ADMITTING IT, BUT I HAVE NOT MADE FRENCH TOAST BEFORE.”
You blew lightly on the tea before taking a tentative sip. The temperature was hot…but, really you weren’t feeling much right now. You quickly took a long drink of it, causing Edge to regard you coolly. He definitely knew something was up now. He had often complained that you were too weak when it came to temperatures. If you were cold or hot, you complained usually.
“It’s easy,” you said, voice a bit louder but still soft as there were still monsters sleeping. Your throat was soothed as you taught Edge, and then Papyrus and Blue when they came a few moments later, how to make French Toast. When Blue asked what you were doing here so early, you simply said ‘making breakfast’ with a gentle smile. Edge had given you a sharp look when you still refused to answer the question. It wasn’t often you darted around issues. Especially towards Edge or Red, they preferred directness…and you blowing him or any others off like this?
Well, you hoped you’d be off to home before they could bring it up again.
Soon, the four of you had made plenty of French Toast for the six skeleton monsters and you. They each went to wake their respective brothers as you tidied the kitchen a bit more. You drank a bit more of your tea, staring at the ground blankly.
Red was the first one out of his room, and he didn’t even notice you as he shuffled into the dining room. You didn’t often see Red without his signature jacket or baseball shorts, but there he was in a loose tee-shirt with a nerdy pun on it and pyjama pants with crossbones on them. He grabbed the back of the chair at the head of the table, yanked it out roughly before he slouched down into it. His eye sockets blinked slowly as he scratched at his cheek, grumpily.
That was when he noticed you sipping your tea at the kitchen counter, and a red flush covered his face. “…hey…doll, what’re ya doin here? Boss didn't say nuthin’ bout ya…” he grumbled, looking like he was trying to push aside his morning grumps to be semi-pleasant to you. You walked over and sat down at the spot near him, leaning your head on your fist.
“I made breakfast,” you said simply, sipping at your tea. You ignored him as his eye sockets narrowed and scrutinized you for a moment, the grumpiness returned full force when you dropped your gaze to the mug.
“tch…fine…don't tell me,” he grumbled slouching even further. “s’not like I care anyway.”
You offered him a small smile, even if you weren’t feeling it. You didn’t want to be the reason he woke up on the wrong side of the bed.“Not fully awake there, sweetheart?”
His face flushed at the nickname her typically gave to you, and he grumbled as his brother walked in and smacked him upside the head. “SIT UP FOR ASGORES SAKE, BROTHER.”
Red grumbled and sat straighter, but didn’t hide his glare aimed at his brother who merely pulled out the chair across from you and settled down. The two exchanged a look but didn’t say anything further, and your eyes flicked over to the door. What excuse would let you hightail it out of here sooner?
It didn’t take long for the others to enter the dining room. Stretch’s and Sans’ reaction were the same as Red, with significantly less grumpiness. They regarded you curiously, but neither of them said anything as they plopped down in their usual spots. Thankfully, no one brought up your presence or appearance during breakfast. Although you were wearing the same clothes as last night…but the guys had never commented on your clothing before. You had worn the same shirt for three days before when you were stressed during your final semester of university.
Besides, all of them were in various states of wakefulness and dress. Red and Stretch were both in their pyjamas still, while Sans was in the same thing he always wore but his hoodie was zipped up, and he kept nodding off as he ate until the breakfast pun-war occurred. You were able to lift your tea as Edge slammed his fist on the table, saving yourself from getting warm tea all over yourself.
Thankfully, the three pun masters knew when to quit and stopped before the table was flipped, and the conversation was pulled into a different direction. They began going over their schedules for the day. There was the Ambassador meeting down at city hall discussing new bylaws, but you zoned out of that relatively quickly. Not because you didn’t care about monster politics, but because it was too early for your brain to process and it wasn’t in the best state to deal with that anyway.
Thankfully, the conversation hadn’t turned towards you…yet, but from the looks, all the brothers were giving you, you knew they were going to bring it up sooner or later. Maybe it was time to get out before they did?
“SO, ARE YOU READY TO EXPLAIN WHY YOU STAYED THE NIGHT ON OUR COUCH? OR WILL YOU KEEP DEFLECTING LIKE THE LAZY IDIOTS?” Edge asked, interrupting a conversation between Blue and Red. The two instantly stopped talking, attention being drawn to you.
“you stayed the night, hun?” Stretch asked, leaning forward so he could look at you better, “coulda told me, i would’ve taken the couch.”
“heh…or ya coulda joined me in my bed,” Red winked at you.
“RED, YOU KNOW THAT SHE DOES NOT LIKE IT WHEN YOU FLIRT WITH HER. SHE’S GOT A DATEMATE,” Blue glared at the red skeleton before placing a hand on your arm, “BUT MY BROTHER IS RIGHT. ANYONE OF US WOULD HAVE OFFERED THEIR BED.”
“SPEAK FOR YOURSELF, BABY BLUE,” Edge snapped.
You had frozen when Blue had said ‘DATEMATE.’ Nope. Nope. You immediately stood up, chair pushing back. “I…I should go!” you said, forcing cheer onto your face. “I should get home! I didn’t think I could get home safely last night. I drank too much,” you lied.
“uhuh,” Stretch hummed, before shrugging, “ill walk you home.”
“You don’t have to,” you said quickly, almost too quickly. Stretch’s brow bone rose, and you saw his smile tense. Shit. The others were regarding you with curious suspicion.
“i wanna smoke anyways,” he stood up, jerking his head towards the door. “come on, hun.”
You knew he wouldn’t let you go alone, he always knew when anyone was lying. Your heart was pounding in your chest as you nodded curtly and then looked at the others.
“Sorry for crashing on your couch without asking, I’ll see you guys later,” you said and walked around the table, but Edge’s hand shot out to stop you. It was a firm grip, not meant to hurt, but to keep you still.
“DO NOT THINK THAT YOU HAVE ESCAPED THE QUESTION, HUMAN,” Edge said, eye sockets narrowed up at you.
“Didn’t think you cared that much, Edge,” you said, trying to force your tone to sound like a tease but it came out too flat. His grip tightened slightly, but then he let go.
“I ONLY CARE BECAUSE YOU WERE IN OUR HOUSE WITHOUT OUR KNOWLEDGE. HOW DID YOU EVEN GET BACK INSIDE?” he huffed, crossing his arms and looking away from you. “EVEN THE LAZIEST OF US WOULD LOCK THE DOOR BEFORE GOING TO BED.”
“Magic,” you lied, with a wink and jazz hands, “see you guys later.”
Stretch placed a hand on your back between your shoulder blades and guided you to the front door.
The moment the door closed behind the two of you, he lit a dog treat and took a deep breath before exhaling slowly. His eye lights shifted over to you lazily before he gestured towards the road. You knew he would wait until the two of you were a decent distance from the house before he questioned you.
You had known the skeleton monsters for years now, ever since you had started dating Frisk in university. The skelebros, as you affectionately referred to them collectively, had even remained your friends even after the two of you ended your relationship amicably. You were introduced to the whole motley crew of skeletons during a Gfytmas/Christmas party that Toriel had invited you and Frisk to.
Surprisingly, at least to Frisk, you got along the best with Edge and Red. You knew where you stood with them at all times, they weren’t afraid to tell you when you were stupid, and you weren’t scared to talk back to them. Hell, fights with those two were quick and straight to the point. ‘You did this wrong, I’m angry, fuck you, okay I’m good.’ You couldn’t think of one time where you felt bitter feelings lingering after the fight, because everything was out in the open with them.
Although, with Stretch, he was the kind of guy you could tell anything to. Mostly because he knew the instant you were trying to hide something. It was his sixth sense. He always told you he could ‘feel it in his bones’ with a wink whenever you asked him how he always seemed to known. You knew that he was holding his fair share of secrets and trauma to himself…and you had offered to listen but he still just brushed it off saying that he would and then never did.
However, that wasn’t to say you weren’t close to the others either. You, Blue, and Papyrus attended a self-defence class since monsters weren’t allowed to use their magic against humans and you wanted to be safe. You’d garden with Papyrus during the spring and summer. Red let you help when he was tinkering around in the garage because you were honestly in love with learning new things. Edge and you didn’t have an ‘activity’ to do together, but you still enjoyed his company. You went to every one of Sans’ comedy shows to support him. They were some of your best friends…and they were all so different but so similar. Currently, the most similar aspect that you were worried about was the fact that…well…
They all hated your ex.
“so,” Stretch exhaled the smoke through his nasal bone and draped his arm around your shoulders. “why’re you avoiding our questions and lying to us? i know you left for your home…i was smoking on the balcony when you did.”
You stopped dead in your tracks, nearly getting yanked forward by his arm but thankfully he stopped almost immediately. He didn’t drop his arm and watched you quietly. For a moment you were panicking trying to think of an excuse…but none came.
Besides…they’d figure it out eventually. Might as well be from you.
“I…he…” you started before pressing the heel of your palms into your eyes. Stretch was probably the least likely to freak out…maybe Sans too but…
“what did he do?” Stretch asked, stepping closer his arm tightening around your shoulders slightly, “did he hurt you?”
You clenched your fists tightly, trying to ease the pressure in your chest by inhaling deeply. It didn’t work, and as you exhaled, it turned into a half-sob. His hand began to gently rub circles into your arm. “hey, hun, if he hurt you, i ain’t taken you back there. ill take you back to my place.”
You stepped forward and wrapped your arms around his chest. He gently patted your back, humming soothingly. However, as calm as he was trying to be, you felt the tension in his form this close. The angry thrum of his magic against you. The sharp feeling of vertigo jerked you from his arms as you blinked away tears. Instead of the street, you were standing in the middle of a very messy bedroom. Bookshelves lined the room, with books practically pouring out of them…a tornado in the corner was filled with books, papers, pens, and a package of suckers.
It wasn’t the first time one of the skeleton brothers used their shortcuts, but they usually distracted you a lot better than just hugging you.
“i can get one of the others if you’d rather…” Stretch murmured switching the cigarette for a sucker. You slowly shook your head, and he gently shoved your shoulders. You lost balance, not really expecting to be pushed and landed heavily in a beanbag chair. You slowly started to sink into it as he dropped down beside you, “what happened?”
Tears prickled at your eyes now that you two were both staring up at his ceiling instead of at each other you felt a lot less…confronted. He didn’t ask again, and the two of you just sat in silence, staring at the popcorn ceiling. There were a few knicks and gouges taken out of it that you trained your gaze on.
Anything to keep your mind off the pain in your chest.
“I got home,” you whispered, and your tears instantly started to overflow. You found his hand and squeezed it. He gave a comforting squeeze in return. “Y’know how you guys offered me to stay the night because the marathon was gunna run late? But I said no?” your voice was barely audible, but you felt the words start bubbling up, and soon you couldn’t stop yourself from spilling everything out. “When I got home…I-I heard noises upstairs, and at first, I thought he was just…yknow, masturbating so I didn’t think anything of it. But then I heard a woman’s voice that I knew. I should’ve just left, but I couldn’t stop myself. I was so fucking angry but empty at the same time and I just…” your hand clenched his harder, and he sat up, but wasn’t looking at you. He placed his other hand over the top of your joined hands and gently rubbed your knuckles. “He was fucking my sister.”
Stretch’s head snapped to you, but you couldn’t really see him past the tears overflowing. Your body wracked with sobs, and he immediately pulled you into a hug. The numbness that you had forced over your heart evaporated, and you felt the full impact of his betrayal. The more you sobbed, the more you thought about all the times he said he loved you, all the times he held you, all the times you two were together. It hurt. It felt like a weight was settled on top of your chest, pushing and pressing down on you until it felt like you were going to explode from the tension and pain. You wanted to be numb again. You didn’t want to feel this.
Eventually, your sobs lessened. Your tears dried. Your chest felt even the tiniest bit lighter. Only then did Stretch pull away from the embrace.
“do you want me to tell the others?” he asked after a stretch of silence. “’'m not sure how to handle this, to be honest…” he rubbed his neck, gaze on the floor. “nyeheh kind of want to kill the asshole but...what do you want me to do? what do you want to do?”
You know he was joking about the killing part, and you took his hand in your own. “I...want to get my things,” you said softly, throat sore from sobbing again. “I want to kick his ass and my sister’s ass. I want to cry. I want to…hurt something or myself or anything…I want to just not feel like this,” you threaded one of your hands into your hair tightly until it hurt slightly. Stretch gently urged your hand from your hair and pulled you from the bean bag.
“no hurting yourself, honey, or anyone else…what we can do is go get your stuff,” he said, guiding you to the door after releasing your hands. You hesitated, you felt your emotions beginning to build upon each other. Enhancing each negative emotion until it felt like you were about to burst.
“Why?” you asked.
Stretch looked back at you, calmly waiting for you to clarify the question.
“You don’t need to help me, you know,” you said softly, you stared down at his shins. “I can do this myself.”
A beat went by where he didn’t say anything, he only spoke when you met his gaze. “tibia honest, i know you’ve got the backbone to deal with this yourself, honey, but you don't gotta.”
You huffed a weak laugh at his bone puns. It was refreshing, he hadn’t whipped a pun out since breakfast, and even then they were interjected amongst other jokesters.
The real question was, should you let him help? You were confident that your ex would be at work, so you could go in, get your shit, and send him a text saying that you grabbed your things and you wouldn’t be sleeping there anymore. Honestly, there would be no point in having anyone come with you…but at the same time you didn’t want to be alone. You had never felt so alone in your life; even with Stretch standing in front of you…you couldn’t imagine what it would feel like if you left this house without someone else.
“Alright,” you murmured, and his grin widened.