One of two important days for all of monsterkind. That morning at school Sans had heard all his friends talking about how their parents were taking them to “The Hall” for their first public dance. In response to the yearly first dance recitals, the teacher encouraged everyone to draw their own promotional posters to show off their planned dance, like they would do when they’re dancing as adults.
With crayons and cheap pieces of paper, the little monsters were furiously scribbling as they hummed and wiggled in their mismatched chairs while the teacher went around nodding as she observed with interest, chattering with each of the students.
Along the classroom walls were displays with monsterkind’s history, a wall of story retellings of pretending to be a human, solved maths puzzles and their first science project. Sans really liked that subject and had made a starry night projector with some scrap from the garbage dump. The headteacher put it on display in one of the school’s dim corridors and even now Sans still got compliments.
Now, when the teacher looked down at Sans’ stickmen and lowercase lettering, a sad smile twitched at their lips before they bent forward, “Ah, is this what you would do if you were going, Sans?”
“I am going.” Sans stated flatly, so what if he didn’t have parents, he was still going to go, he’d promised Papyrus.
“Ah, you know the rules, you need an adult to take you before you’re 16.”
“then why don’t you take me?”
The teacher looked conflicted and awkward as they fidgeted, “Sans, I have my own child to take to the dance festival this year, perhaps I can take you next year instead.” The offer was weak and even to Sans’ young mind, a complete fairytale.
Sans scrunched up his poster, but the teacher felt too guilty to tell him off over it and watched helplessly as Sans flung himself on the desk to sleep. With his sockets closed, he thought about how he was going to sneak along to the hall. He had to dance. He really had promised Papyrus, even if he hadn’t meant to.
Drifting off to sleep, Sans could hear and feel the hazy steps of his big dance that would make his bro proud.
Slinging on his backpack, he checked out his outfit in the mirror one last time and shoved his feet into his sneakers. Papyrus was already waiting at the fairylit door, jumping up and down eagerly, “COME ON BROTHER!! YOU DON’T WANT TO BE LATE FOR YOUR FIRST DANCE.”
Sans chuckled as he waddled down the stairs, holding out his hand to grab Papyrus’ tightly, “just stick with me and don’t get lost, okay bro?”
Papyrus nodded, “OKAY!” He was already tugging Sans’ hand impatiently wanting to get to the hall already.
With a click of the lock, they both jumped out the front door into the snow, it crunched under their feet and they looked up to see a large line of monsters walking past them. The sounds of parents cheering on their kids as they strolled up the street towards the waterfalls that gave the air an energised hum, the boys’ bones prickled in excitement and they rushed to join the other monsters. The monster kids practised in the snow, making a slushy mess as they danced, Papyrus stepped forward to join them but a tight squeeze from Sans held him back.
“sorry bro, gotta keep you safe, kay?”
Looking disheartened, the short, slim monster looked down at the floor, kicking his boots, “OKAY, SANS.”
The crowd seemed to go on for miles, but over time it seemed to be dissipating into a room in the wall, until Sans was at the double pair of doors about to waltz in through the door. But much to his dismay, a huge monster slithered out and stood in his way.
“Adult?” It hissed.
“yeah, sure I had one around here, they must’ve gone in already, just let us pass and we’ll be outta your scales.”
The snake monster narrowed its eyes, “You’re that Ssssaaannssss kid I’ve been told about. Sssssorry boy, can’t let you in. No adult, no dance.”
“look, there’s a ton of adults there watching the whole thing, what’s bone more?” Sans tried to joke, but he could feel Papyrus shifting in his grip, getting upset. It made blue tears leak into his sockets and he tried to hold them back, if he cried, Papyrus would cry too.
“You know it’ssss not about that kid.” The snake stared at him, unblinking, “It’s the ssssong. You need ssssomeone to keep you in check while you dancccceeee.”
“I won’t lose control. I’ve practised plenty without a stupid adu-”
“Sans.” Papyrus’ small voice nearly broke his resolve and Sans swiped away angry hot tears, before looking up with a big grin on his face.
“s’alright bro, I promised you I’d dance here and your bro will.”
The snake coiled up tightly, as if expecting Sans to rush past, but Sans just pulled his brother close and whispered, “time to play that game, Papyrus.”
“O-Okay.” Papyrus screwed up his sockets, closing them tightly.
Sans flung his magic out behind him, the snake’s hackles rose as they felt a magic but couldn’t perceive what was happening. Stepping around the corner, into a rippling reflection of reality, Sans walked through the void straight into the hall’s danceroom.
“hey Papyrus, we’re here.”
Papyrus turned away slowly, opening his sockets in wonder as he took in the hall’s ancient splendour. Magic swirled along the huge sparkling cavern’s ceiling creating ghostly dancers who spun to a song only they knew, four waterfalls cascaded down below the cavern’s stone seats in an array of different colours, lighting up the room like one of the city’s fancy disco balls.
Crowds of monsters sat hooting and crying out happily as each child got up to the stage and did their first dance. Sans clenched his hoodie and strode forward to find Papyrus a seat.
“I won’t be long, I’ll be up on that stage before you know it.”
His little brother nodded furiously, his sockets twinkling with excitement, “I KNEW YOU’D KEEP YOUR PROMISE BROTHER!”
Sans tried not to grimace, but instead rubbed his bony thumb on Papyrus’ orange cheek, “always will, bro.”
Sans had somehow managed to persuade his way past the stage manager and was currently waiting his turn behind a trembling Whimsum child. When they were called up, they squeaked in anxiety and fluttered on stage.
From behind the stone corner, Sans watched as the Whimsum twitched nervously, fidgeting with their fingers before they took in a deep breath, steadying their magic as best they could.
Slowly, a quiet, shy ballet started to resonate from the Whimsum’s soul, they started to sway side to side to the slow music. One by one faint white notes pulsed out into the air to twirl around Whimsum, each note in time to the song. The Whimsum danced and twirled with each solidification of their soul’s song. The longer they danced, the more in tune with their soul they were. Very rarely could a monster go to the full 100% but there were some talents that could.
1% 2% 5% 7% It was staggering, the crowd watched in honest shock as the Whimsum span and swayed quietly to their own song before them. Someone roared in enthusiasm as the Whimsum reached 10%.
Then the notes crashed to the ground as they shrilled a high screech and scampered away leaving the crowd to clap their hands and mutter in awe . The Whimsum had managed to resonate 10% of their soul’s song at such a young age, it was a cause for celebration.
Gulping, Sans scuffed his trainers, he wanted to make Papyrus proud, so he had to push past 10%. It was a tough goal, but Sans had to. He was the big brother.
When Sans came to the stage there was an odd murmur before tradition shushed them to let the child focus on their first dance.
Sans shut his sockets, feeling for that familiar pulse of his soul. The song that constantly ran throughout his body, awaiting for his dance to set it free for the world. His music at this moment was stressed and fast, he wished it was slower and tried to calm himself down, but he was feeling pressured for time as the feeling of his brother’s stares cornered him on the wide stage.
Sans stepped out in front of him, the pulse of a note slipping from his chest, his feet moved exactly to the feeling hidden inside of the note. The song was a bit too fast paced still, but he was managing to keep up somehow. Sans chased the notes that seemed to speed up before him as he hopped and bounced on stage.
He had to keep his promise.
It was getting harder.
He had to dance for Papyrus.
The notes nearly slipped under him.
He had to.
A heavy weight made his body sluggish, sweat poured from his skull.
A singular note sped up one beat too fast for Sans to step in time to. All at once, his grip on his magic ran amok from him, slipping from his body’s shadow and screeching as it spiralled away. He tried to regain it as he chased after the last step in a song that kept skipping ahead of him. Sans forced the song to keep flowing and his feet moving, he had to get control back or he’d shame his brother. His once white notes now converged into a shockingly blue and yellow whirlpool of notes swimming around him, tearing up the hall as it span out of control.
“SANS!!! BROTHER!!! SOMEONE HELP MY BROTHER!!!”
The song peaked higher and higher getting inmonsterly loud with an ugly pitch as Sans forced his feet to dance to the chaos. Then a loud snap filled the air and he collapsed like a puppet cut off its strings.
Years and years later, Sans was older, wiser and calmer, he loved to play pranks and jokes whenever he could, cheering on his brother who was practising to dance for MTT Resort and become a star like Mettaton. Everything was fine.
Till the kid came along.
Eventually the barrier fell, now there were bigger spaces for monsters to dance, fresher air for monsters to circulate their magic better and attend new opportunities. Papyrus had encouraged Sans to come to University and he wasn't one to turn down his little brother. Everyone was happier and wanting to become friends with the humans, learn their dances and fill the world with magic.
But what did that matter to Sans? He was too lazy to dance anyways. Heh.
The doctors voice sounded flat and neutral, “I’m afraid, ma’am, that your child is highly unlikely to ever dance at a competitive level again.”
Everything felt black around the edges and your small hands got cold at the tips, you were only 13 but it seemed like the whole world was already ending for you. Your whole life had been dance, feeling the pressure of the earth disappear under your feet before you connected to it to feel its entire life rolling under your soles.
What was there left for you?
Your mother echoed the words as she screamed at the doctor to do something, anything, but they only shook their head dismissively.
The loud blare of your alarm clock woke you up.
“Can monsters manage themselves under human law? With the recent law changes giving monsters their own rights to rule and giving the land around Mt. Ebott back to the rightful owners, can they truly live alongside honest, hardworking humans like--” You switched off the t.v. in annoyance, every day in and out all you could hear was monster this and monster that.
Since they had been released, it was as if the entire disney cast complete with song and dance had come spilling out of the mountain. An entire race who lived to...of all fucking things...dance. Was this some fucking huge joke meant for you?
For as long as you live, you will never ever fucking go near one of those dance junkies. People who waste their lives dancing will get the rug known as life pulled from under them and find out how fucking little they did.