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Old Voicemails

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You felt the slender bones of his fingers tighten as he tugged you along. He didn’t want to do this. And neither should you. But you’d thought, just maybe, if he could face it all, that he’d feel better. No, that you’d feel better. That he’d forgive you. Selfish. This Sans knew nothing of that world. Not really. And you were ruining everything.

Your promise not to reset burned in the back of your mind. You were risking something like this on your final run?

It wasn’t until he’d tugged you all the way across the street, down the sidewalk, and up the front steps that he released your hand. He then shoved you unceremoniously into the living room and locked the door behind him. His breath was labored as he leaned back against it, eyes dark and empty. He hadn’t used one short cut all the way back, and he wasn’t exactly in shape.

You watched him from your spot in the middle of the living room floor, petrified. You’d never been this afraid of him. Not even when he barred your way in the hall of judgement, taunting you as you tried again. 

Suddenly you realized it was quiet. Not more panting. He just stood there, stock still by the door, eyes deep and empty. Slowly, he stepped away from it, coming, coming toward you. 

“What,” he began in his usual nonchalant tone, “Did you do that for, kid?”

Still you didn’t speak, and no tears welled in your eyes. They never did. You were still you, after all. You’d learned so much about relationships in your many journeys through the underground. But still, you lacked even a basic ability to communicate. And when you had exhausted every possible outlet to convey what you felt, Sans filled in the gaps. He always did. He could have a whole conversation with you, even though you never said a word. 

It was no different now. He didn’t expect a reply. “Toriel should be home soon. Until then, it’s my job to look after you. And we could’ve had a lot of fun in town if you hadn’t thought it would be a great idea to tune in to the ancient history channel in the middle an ice cream shop. How the fuck do you still have those recordings?”

You winced. Shrugged. Tilted you’re head a little. 

He sighed and put a hand to his eyes. “No, I don’t remember. Not what you’d call remembering, anyway. And even if I did it wouldn’t change anything. What did you expect to happen? That I’d ask you for more, and we’d take on a little science-history combination project? Or that I’d… I’d…”

He trailed off, and the little pinpoints of his eyes blinked into life as he looked down at you from beneath his hand. “What do you want, kid?”

You let out a breath. Looked at the ground. Your face crumpled slightly in what passed for a frown. And then you coughed. Just a little. Enough for a fraction of a voice to sound. Wiped at your nose. “Sorry.” The sound was so small you weren’t even sure you’d made it.

Neither was Sans, apparently. He looked behind him briefly, then back at you, the only other person in the house. You wondered if he’d assume you meant what happened in the shop.

You should’ve known better. Sans read whole paragraphs into your silences most days, and one word out of you was like a book to him. 

You heard him take a few steps forward. You squinched your eyes shut, bracing yourself for his reaction. His hand descended onto the top of your head and pushed it back, forcing you to face him. “Kid. Don’t ever do something like that again. Especially not if it’s just to get some kind of reassurance for your own guilty conscience. I’m not that Sans, so I can’t forgive you. And you’re not that you. So I don’t want to hear another word about it. And give me the fucking phone.”

Tremblingly, you handed him the device and watched as he dialed voicemail. Beep. “You have eight thousand, one hundred, and seventy three saved messages,” the robotic voice chirped. Leave it to Alphys to enable such incredible memory storage.

Beep. “First saved message, sent - ” Sans’ thumb descended swiftly on the number seven. Beep. “Message deleted. Next message - ” Beep. “Message deleted. Next - ” Beep. “Message Deleted.” Beep. “Message - ” Beep. “Mess - ” Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

An unfamiliar sensation pricked at the corners of your eyes while each voicemail vanished before it could sound. The ones you played for yourself each night when you awoke in a panicky sweat, unsure where you were, of when you were. The ones you listened to intently, searching for any sign in his words, in his voice, that he could forgive, that he could forget. One by one, old timelines retreated into nothingness. Erased from electronic memory, seeming to fade even from within your own mind. His hand grew heavy where it rested on your head, but he wasn’t looking at you while he systematically keyed the number with practiced ease. They were nearly gone. Destroyed. Soon, there’d be nothing left. Like they never existed. As if none of it had ever happened.

Your shoulders shook. Tears dripped to the floor. His hand started to pinch. Your hands went up to your eyes. Your body shuddered. Still he kept deleting. 

“End of messages.” Beep. With a snap, Sans flipped the thing shut. The two of your stood in silence for a moment. You weren’t shaking so much anymore, but your face was an ungodly mess of creases and tears and snot you never knew you had in you.

Finally, he released your head. Handed you the phone. You put it in your pocket. Wiped at your eyes. Took his hand when he offered it. Followed him back outside. Let him buy you a hot dog from nearby truck, and sat on a bench beside him with your feet dangling above the ground, listening to the sound of the birds singing and the flowers blooming. Distant traffic. The wind and the sky and the trees and the sun. The gentle humming of his voice as he sat there, one arm slung over the bench behind your head. The sound of today.