It was late at night when Sans was called in for a Judgement.
Normally, Sans is given a few days’ notice before he has to Judge someone - it’s standard procedure, and it lets the information get to the recipient as well. It promises that whatever conclusion they come to, it’s the right one, because The Judge will be there.
This time is different. This time is very, very different.
Sans can’t remember a time he’s looked in the mirror and seen his own sins. He’s never made any - he’s got no LV, no blood or dust on his hands. As much as he’d like to believe it’s because he is a genuinely good monster, he knows at the end of the day it’s all because of what he is that he has yet to kill someone. Seems that isn’t necessarily consistent.
Standing before Sans was himself. A very angry, red version of himself. Cuffed with magic-resistant chains, unable to properly stand, he seemed to be in an entirely bad mood. One that even with the slightest glance, and without the Judge even riding him, he could tell was not an innocent monster. Scars littered his bones, and his one cracked eye must have come from something nearly deadly. This guy meant business - and he meant business in a way that Sans recognized from one of the human’s runs.
There was deadly intent in those eyes, and all of it was for those holding his double in that room. He could see it along with the LV this version of himself had stacked - the version of himself who’d killed at least 20 people to have LV so high. But that didn’t bother him the most.
The thing that really got him was that a version of his brother had killed over 40 people, and looked to have just as much murderous intent as this red Sans did. He’d never seen that expression on Papyrus before - he’d never had to. Papyrus was soft, caring, and made sure to be careful in every fight he had just to make sure the other party survived. He was forgiving and, honestly, one of the few monsters Sans could really find any comfort in these days.
This version of his brother did none of the same for him. Lucky for him, as he looked over the two he was required to Judge, he felt the threads taking control over his limbs again. The ones that The Judge took hold of whenever it was summoned or required. It let Sans take the back seat - so he didn’t have to deal with whatever was going to happen next.
He let himself get lost in the darkness of his thoughts. Allowed his senses to be overridden by The Judge themself, to let them have absolute control while the Judgement happened. He didn’t want to be there for it - he didn’t want to have to look at himself in the mirror later and see the other him’s sins written all over his face. So he didn’t look. He didn’t try to, even if the Judge left that option open for him. It always did.
This time, he let himself be taken by that comfortable darkness.
When Sans felt himself come to, it was sooner than he expected. (Sooner than he wanted)
He was still in the Judgement Hall. He was dizzy - next to one of the pillars that lined the hall. He leant against it, head spinning somewhat. No memories of the Judgement fizzled to the surface, no thoughts of what he’d done.
No memory of what this version of himself had done to deserve a Judgement.
That was all fine and dandy, of course. He didn’t want nightmares about himself possibly doing some really horrible things. The thing that got him, however, was the fact that so little time had passed that these versions of him and his brother were still there. Still chained and cuffed, still standing. But they looked like they’d seen a ghost - like they’d been launched through a movie sequence of every horrible, horrendous thing that has ever happened to them.
Yeah, the Judge’ll do that to ya.
Sans began to turn to leave, not intent on sticking around, when the King’s voice broke the intense silence brought on only after tears and emotions had been displayed.
“Sans, please wait a moment. I have a request for you.”
Stars, no. Sans has a feeling he knows what Asgore’s going to ask of him, and he has a feeling that nobody is going to like it.
“Yeah, sup, fluffybuns?”
Sans turned to look at Asgore, drained from the energy The Judge had spent. Normally, he’s pretty high on the magic supply - however, whenever The Judge comes out, it takes a lot of effort for them to actually force someone to relive their experiences. To see what they’ve done wrong, and atone for their sins. So honestly, he was feeling pretty damn tuckered out.
“I am sure you’re aware these two are… not from this world. They are not you.”
He had to pause - with the strings still loosely around The Judge’s fingers, he could see the hesitation and guilt flash across Asgore’s face when he decided to actually ask.
“But because they seem to be… versions, at least, as you’d initially described them - would you please be willing to help in their rehabilitation and assist in them becoming used to the surface?”
Even if Sans knew it was coming, it doesn’t mean he has to like or accept it. He let out a sigh - but really, he was too tired to argue with Asgore right now. Part of him had a feeling that’s why the King was asking him to do it right after a Judgement.
The worst part was the Judge wouldn’t like it. That’s why Asgore asked them to leave and let him return to the reigns - so he was the one making the decision, not the Judge. As nice a guy as Asgore is, he can be manipulative. Sans has seen it in him. It comes with having gained LV from killing six kids.
He can also see Asgore’s regret for having ever done something like that, too.
“You’re really pullin’ my leg here, Asgore.” He says, and he hopes the meaning of his words gets to the King. From the way he winces, it does.
“But I’ll help. I gotta tell Paps about it, but after that…”
He sighs. He really doesn’t know what he’s going to do after telling Papyrus - he’s going to have to make an entire plan that revolves around getting these two settled into the surface. He may have to ask the Judge a favor later - not a smart idea directly after a Judgement, as Sans knows better than anyone they can get an attitude - but later, once things have settled down and the Judge is leaving Sans to do as he does without interfering.
At least Papyrus would say yes without hesitation. He tended to be like that - he was very much for Asgore’s rehabilitation plan. Papyrus hated killing - hated the idea of harming someone with the intent of never wanting them to return again. Sure, Paps fought - and damn was he good at it - but Papyrus would never raise a sword against an opponent who could not defend themselves. Much less would he kill someone.
A memory begins to surface. Sans shoves it down. Not now.
“Thank you, Sans.” Asgore said, relief in his voice and an apology in his eyes. Sans doesn’t meet his gaze.
“I appreciate it, I really do. Until they have been found ready to live amongst the public, they will have a home here near the Hall.”
Sans nodded, and glanced up at Asgore. Even the King looked tired - it must have been hard, hearing Sans’ initial explanation about Quantum Theory and everything relating to the multiple universe theory. Hard to accept that these two, as much as they look like Sans and Papyrus, aren’t them. He didn’t blame Asgore - he hadn’t wanted to believe it either. It was a crazy idea - the idea that there are multiple versions of himself, his brother, everyone - all of them have more than one life. It really makes you feel small.
He thinks of a knife carving through his sternum. He doesn't realize He'd moved a hand to his chest until he hears Asgore's voice bringing him back to the present.
“Would you like me to take you home, Sans?”
That got an easy grin from the skeleton, and he gave a small shrug.
“Nah, that’s alright. I know a shortcut.”