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“Long ago, two races ruled over Earth: humans and monsters. One day, war broke out between the two races. After a long battle, the humans were victorious. They sealed the monsters underground with a magic spell.

Many years later, a young boy came to Mount Ebott, hearing of the legends that those who climbed the mountain would never return. He tripped over a vine and fell thousands of feet into a patch of golden flowers. From there he would have the adventure of a lifetime, fighting several denizens of the Underground and befriending them and many more.

He would be the one to break the barrier and set all of the monsters free. He would also be the one who be the dignitary of the monsters to this day - the connection between us and the Underground.

That’s all, folks, for this week’s preview video of-”

You clicked the button on top of your cell phone to lock its screen and then shoved the phone back into your jacket pocket. You sighed loudly and bitterly, triggering quick glances from passengers on the bus upon your sullen figure before just as quickly going back to their own thoughts and worlds.

You didn’t learn a single important thing about the boy from the video, the boy who fell into the Underground years ago - the person whose your new employer.

You graduated from an average liberal arts college about two years ago and you hadn’t found any use for your Bachelor’s of Arts. That is until you checked the job postings in the paper yesterday - which you only read out of desperation because you lost your job at Burger World and the rent deadline was quickly approaching. There was a posting about working at a private school. It immediately piqued your interest so you dialed the number provided.

You reminisced about the nerves you always felt when you called companies for employment. After a couple of rings, a click resounded and you remember faintly hearing the scratching of a soft surface on the other end.

“Hello, this is The Academy, how may I help you?” the pleasant-sounding voice inquired.

You remembered not stuttering as much as you thought you would thanks to the laxness from the voice. “Ah- Yes, I’m inquiring about a job posting in the Daily Aster about working at your school. There wasn’t a lot of information provided so---”

“Ah, I see. You are asking for my son then. I will connect you with him now.”

"To who-?”

The familiar ringing after ending a call came from your phone. You remember thinking you hadn’t heard correctly so you looked at your phone. You were right, the woman had hung up on you. You remember just sitting there in disbelief. The woman had such a kind voice but her action was rude.

You immediately redialed.

“Hello, this is The Academy, how may I help you?” You remembered wondering for a split second if that was what she was trained to say.

“Uh, yes, I just called about… five seconds ago about the job posting in the Daily Aster and I believe you hung up on me.”

“Did I? Oh goodness, I sincerely apologize for my mistake just now. I do not know how to work the switchboard on the phone.”

“Um… That’s alright, ma’am.” Your visage stated otherwise.

“I will just hand him the phone. Please allow me a moment. I have to walk to his office.”

“I understand.”

“As we are on our little adventure, may I ask for your name?”

You remembered that caught you off-guard. You then told the well-spoken woman your name as professionally as possible.

“I see. You have a very beautiful name.”

You remembered your face burned up in a flash. “Oh, thank you very much, ma’am. May I ask for yours?”

The woman tittered. “I am flattered that you want to know the name of this old woman. My name is Toriel Dreemurr. I am a kindergarten teacher here.”

Toriel Dreemurr, huh? It sounded familiar to you as if you heard the name in the media several times. “Ah, I see. May I also inquire about what I’ll be doing at your institution?”

“Of course, but, unfortunately, I have not a clue what the job is.”

“Huh?” You almost clapped your hand over your mouth. That came out borderline rude.

“My son only told me to expect people to inquire about a job posting and to pass it on to him. I apologize for the inconvenience.”

“It’s alright.” Once again, disgruntlement crept on your face.

You heard a knock on something wood on the other end. Far off, you heard Toriel say something but you couldn’t quite make out what she said. You heard another voice - relaxing that didn’t shift towards either gender - respond back. A couple of moments later, you could hear her saying something in a reprimanding tone while the new voice said something nervously. The phone is passed to the other person and you could hear footsteps and a door closing.

“Hiya, I’m Frisk Dreemurr. But you’ve probably heard that a million times on TV, haven’t you?”

Frisk Dreemurr - His name also sounded familiar. Still, you were unsure of the source. “Uh… I guess?”

“'I guess?' Wow, I haven’t heard that in a long time. Whenever I ask that, people immediately respond with a ‘Yes’." He said it so enthusiastically that it made you feel a bit guilty you didn't know who he was at the time. "Don’t take it personally. I find it refreshing, that’s all.”

“I see. Well, Mr. Dreemurr-”

“Wow, and I also hear someone calling me by my last name for the first time in a long time as well.”

“Uh, should I be calling you by your first name?”

“No, no, you don’t have to if you don’t want to. I think aloud, that’s all.”

“I see. Well, Mr. Dreemurr, I would like to inquire about your job posting in the Daily Aster.”

“Oh yeah, that. Let’s get down to business, alright. I can’t tell you any details about the job until you answer a couple of quick questions. Is that fine with you?”

You remember anxiety settling within you when he asked that question. Regardless, you agreed to his terms.

“Alright. First off, can you legally work in this country?”

“Of course.”

“Great. Second, do you have a college level degree in… something?”

“Yes, a Bachelors of Arts.”

“That’s excellent. Third, would you be willing to relocate so you could work?”

You remember just looking around your almost-in-shambles studio apartment and thinking that if you got this job, you should grasp it by the neck and run with it. It didn’t matter how far you would have to relocate from your home, if it meant working for the man on the other end, then you would do it. Besides, anything was better than the roach problem you were suffering right now. “Absolutely.”

“That’s excellent, really. Fourth, would you smooch a ghost?”

“Ye- Wait, what?”

Frisk laughed his head off while you sat there on the other end, absolutely dumbfounded. “Sorry, sorry, I’ve always wanted to throw in that question if I had to interview someone. You don’t have to answer that by the way.”

You were internally grateful because you were very reluctant to answer.

“This is the real question. How do you feel about Monsters?”

“M-Monsters? What do you-”

The Monsters - you know who I’m talking about. There hasn’t been another group of fifteen thousand or so creatures that came up from under a mountain, has there?”

You remember how big your eyes opened and how big your mouth gaped when you realized who Frisk and Toriel were. Frisk was the boy who claimed to have not only verified the existence of monsters and magic and the whatnot but freed them from their prison down below Mt. Ebott and acted as their liaison with humanity. Toriel was who he claimed to be his mother, a female monster who resembled a bipedal, white nanny that is always pleasant much like her voice and patient in the interviews various networks had with her. The two along with several others became famous overnight, seeing as how the world, as humanity knew it, completed changed.

You were fourteen when the first press conference happened ten years ago. Everyone was terrified. You were as well. Everyone’s lives were about to change, the better or worse unknown at that point. The whole world went silent for that hour; no cars on the street passing by your family home, no chatter from the crazy neighbors next door, no barking from Mrs. Robinson’s pooch, no birds chirping, not even wind blowing - silence.

Everyone expected the leader of the Monsters, whose name has drifted from your memory, to speak. No one expected that tiny child to walk up to the podium. Frisk, with his bowl-cut hair and ugly striped sweater, was so short that one of the Monsters had to use magic - the first witnessed usage of it in modern day - to levitate him high enough so he could even reach the microphone.

Despite the heavy air that seemed to almost ooze out your TV into the entire world, you will always remember what Frisk did. He smiled so big that his already tiny eyes became nearly invisible and he waved so hard that his arm almost came off. And he greeted the world how one would greet a new friend: “Hiya, I’m Frisk.”

And that’s how he would start every interview, conference, symposium, everything he would ever have to attend or do in the public eye; even your own interview.

You didn’t have a real opinion on the Monsters. They were mysterious folk, a good portion of them remaining near where their original home was so you had never met one in person as of yet. The ones on TV or in the paper or wherever or whatever didn't say a peep about their lives either. Even the first Monster actor in the industry and household name to both races, boisterous as he was, kept his lips tight about many aspects of his life.

Something told you to just be honest with Frisk. That’s how he always was on TV. Be honest, he would counteract the reporters with when they were hinting at particularly imposing questions.

So you did.

“Hmm… I see. A tabula rasa, it seems. And that’s who I need. If you like what I offer you as a position, you have the job.”

You remembered being so completely stunned that you nearly tripped over your tongue. “Really?” You couldn't hide the excitement in your voice.

Frisk chuckled. “Yes, of course.”

You remembered hopping off your couch and running and dancing around the house immediately. You also remembered that all the blood leaked from your face when you heard your new employer laughing his head off on the other end as if he had popped your cheeks with needles. You hadn’t meant to do that; not yet, of course.

“You’re going to be fun to work with, I just know it.” Frisk giggled one last time. “Anyway, here are the details.”

You sat back down on the couch, ready to listen. “I’m looking for a proofreader for my academic essays right now. Yes, I have a Master’s in Archaeology but I haven’t the time to edit my papers the way I had to when I was in graduate school.”

You’re older than Frisk, you’re positive of that, yet he had a Master’s. You remembered feeling smaller than you already did from just speaking with the man.

“Knowing me and my work schedule, you may end up having to do a lot more than editing, which is why I asked if you were willing to relocate. Do you live near Mt. Ebott at all?”

You told him you grew up and currently resided in a world-famous big city far, far away from the mountain.

Frisk whistled lowly. “That’s far, real far. Well, I have some connections so you can have a home waiting for you when you get here if you’re still inter-”

“I’m still very interested, Mr. Dreemurr.” You remembered grasping the phone so tight you were sure you almost broke it. Something told you to not lose that opportunity.

Frisk didn’t answer immediately. “... Can you come tomorrow?”

“What?”

“Can you come to The Academy tomorrow?”

Your eyes caught onto a roach crawling on the wall next to your messy bed. “Absolutely.”

“Great. This is amazing. You’re amazing. You can come anytime you can. I’ll give you the address to The Academy. If you don’t want to walk the distance from whatever station you may be coming from, call the phone number I’ll give you as well and ask for Papyrus.”

You had a disgruntled look on your face. “... Papyrus - like the paper?”

“No, like the font. Regardless, yeah, he and his brother were pretty unlucky involving the name game.”

“I see.” You grabbed a pen and pad and wrote down the information Frisk told you.

“Okay, so I can’t wait to meet you tomorrow. Have a nice-”

“Wait, don’t you want my name?”

“Nah, that’ll just ruin the surprise. I want to be absolutely blown away when I meet you.”

“Um… Well, I hope I live up to your expectations.”

“I know you will. Have a nice day then!”

That caught you off-guard. “T-Thank you. You too, Mr. Dreemurr.”

When you heard the line go dead, you practically leaped onto your bed and dragged your laptop over to you and searched on the internet for any bus tickets to the town at the base of Mt. Ebott. You found one for nine o’ clock on the dot and purchased it. When you got the verification from your bank, you jumped off the bed, grabbed your key, and ran out the door to tell your landlady that you’d be leaving tomorrow and never looking back.

And here you were, now arriving at your destination. You were glad - the battery on your phone was at twelve percent and your laptop was dead thanks to the fourteen-hour trip to the small town of Newfoundland Village. You were nervous when you got off the bus, expecting the town to have ninety-nine percent of the denizens as Monsters. You wanted to pinch yourself when you realized that your assumption was dead wrong. Everyone in the station was human. Even when you exited, all you can see within the expanse of the cozy, small town were humans.

You were unsure of what to do. Yes, you moved around often when you were a child but never to small towns like this. You looked around until you noticed a ticketing booth to the left of you. You walked right up to it and began your questioning. “Hi, uh, how do I get to Mt. Ebott?”

The bored-looking teen in the booth exhaled hard. “The Human side or the Monster side?”

You didn't even know anything about the mountain, much less what side you were supposed to go to. “... I’m guessing the Monster side.”

“You’re gonna have to walk.”

“What?”

“Yeah, seriously. They don’t let people just drive into the gates without a resident with you anymore. So you’re gonna have to walk all the way up there.” The boy leaned to look out the window of the booth and pointed to his right. You turned in the direction he was pointing and was stunned by two things: one, how close you were to the famed landmass, and two, how far you would have to walk.

“How long is the walk?”

“Seven hours.”

“How long is the drive?”

“About an hour. Less if you speed.”

You thanked the kid and immediately dialed the number you received from Frisk. No way in the world were you walking for seven hours, especially in the business attire you spent the last hour living in your hometown carefully ironing. A deep, masculine voice answered the phone, “This is Mt. Ebott Car Service, how may I help you?”

“Yes, I’m looking for someone by the name of… Papyrus.”

“Oh, you mean the Monster? Hold up, I’ll get him for you.” The voice shouted in the distance, calling the name of the Monster you were looking for. A moment later, the phone was passed over.

“HELLO, THIS IS THE GREAT PAPYRUS!” the high-pitched voice, reminiscent of a cartoon villain, shouted.

You instinctively pulled the phone away from your ear because the loudness shot pain right into your eardrum. When the ringing in your ears dissipated, you reluctantly put it back up to your ear. “Hi. I was told by Frisk to call you when I arrived and-”

“HUMAN, YOU’RE HERE ALREADY. WONDERFUL. ARE YOU AT THE STATION?”

“Y-yes.” For all that was good and holy, you hoped the conversation would end soon; not because of the person's politeness, of course.

“I’LL BE THERE IN A MOMENT. PLEASE WAIT PATIENTLY AS I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, GET MY PERSONAL STALLION TO BRING YOU TO THE… OTHER… HUMAN. SEE YOU SOON.”

The line went dead in a millisecond. Even a full minute after the call was hung up, you were still frozen, confused as to what just occurred. Regardless, you did at some point put your cell phone back into your jacket pocket. You only had to wait five minutes before a gorgeous sports car rolled up in front of you. You almost drooled at how shiny, how red, how well taken care of this car was. You weren’t sure what company the car was manufactured by but you wanted to give them a pat on the back for making such a beauty.

“HELLO THERE, HUMAN.”

You were mortified when you realized that a walking, talking skeleton not only just said that but was also the driver of the hot ride. You were proud of yourself that you didn’t scream immediately when you saw him. Skeletons don’t move or talk except in horror movies.

Did you make the wrong decision?

Papyrus jumped out the car and strutted over to you, a pep in his step and a big smile on his lips... teeth... mouth... You weren't sure. You settled upon teeth.

“You’re 'The Great Papyrus', I take it?”

“YES. GOOD OBSERVATION, HUMAN.” You didn't appreciate how loud he was. Something told you that you'd have to get used to his loudness quickly.

You held out your hand so that the Monster could shake it and told him your name.

“THAT’S A GOOD NAME. I’LL STILL REFER TO YOU AS HUMAN, THOUGH, BECAUSE I CAN.”

You shrugged your shoulders. “Fair enough.”

Papyrus took your hand into both of his gloved hands and shook you as if he was trying to mine for some gold. He probably did, since he could afford to have such a car in the first place.

“I’LL TAKE YOUR BAGS IF YOU LIKE.”

You were surprised by this. You hadn’t expected anyone to do that for you. You passed him your bags, genuinely delighted by his kindness. “Thank you very much.”

“IT'S NO PROBLEM. YOU TRAVELED MANY LANDS TO GET HERE. IT’S THE LEAST I CAN DO.” He took your bags from you and ran over to the trunk of the car.

Meanwhile, you just stood there, unsure what to do.

“WHY ARE YOU JUST… STANDING THERE? YOU CAN GET IN, YOU KNOW.”

You did as he said. You would have sat in the back, but Papyrus’s car is a two-seater. You got into the passenger side, seating yourself in the white leather seat, and closed the door behind you. You were already regretting not wearing warmer clothes but the lack of roof on the vehicle almost made you shed tears. You buckled up and prepared for liftoff. A moment later, Papyrus closed the trunk, scuttled over to the driver’s side and got in.

The skeletal Monster put his seatbelt on and turned to you. “HUMAN, DO YOU HAVE YOUR SEATBELT ON?”

You looked down to make sure. “Yes.”

“ALRIGHTY. LET’S BE ON OUR WAY.”

He turned on the car and pulled off at the speed most cars go on the highway. You were happy he did since the cold air whipping at your face at sixty-five miles per hour is a lot better than cold air whipping at your face at the max speed sports cars can get.

"SO HUMAN… WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO… FOR FUN?” The tone of his voice sounded as if he felt awkward.

You felt anxious, thinking that you made the situation that way. “Oh, I like to read classic literature.”

Papyrus seemed to perk up at your answer, “REALLY? I DO TOO.”

You were surprised. It was rare for someone to like literary classics. “Really? Have you read ‘Hope and Dream’ by D.R. Winters? That is such an incredible book, especially for its time.” You rambled on and on about literature for most of the ride. When you saw a wooden structure just ahead of you, you abruptly stopped. “Oh god, did I go on about books for the entire ride?”

"YES. YOU DID.”

“I’m really sorry. I’m such a nerd.”

“THAT’S ALRIGHT. I AM QUITE THE BOOKWORM MYSELF. I ENJOY CLASSICS SUCH AS ADVANCED PUZZLE CONSTRUCTION FOR CRITICAL MINDS AND PEEK-A-BOO WITH FLUFFY BUNNY.”

You found the first book to be quite intellectual. The second one had you at a loss. “Peek-a-Boo with Fluffy Bunny... I got that right, right?”

“YES! A LITERARY CLASSIC TO MONSTERS EVERYWHERE. I’VE READ IT HUNDREDS OF TIMES AND THE ENDING STILL GETS ME.”

You decided to change the topic, hoping that you would find his dignity with enough digging. “Do you live on the mountain?”

“NO. MY BROTHER AND I LIVE IN THE VILLAGE DOWN BELOW. HE WORKS IN THE SCHOOL YOU’LL BE WORKING AND STAYING IN FOR YOUR TIME WITH US.”

“Oh. I see. Do you like living down there?”

“OF COURSE. IT’S THE HUMAN WORLD, YOU KNOW.”

“Can you elaborate?” You were puzzled by his response.

“WHY, OF COURSE, HUMAN. AFTER LIVING WITHOUT SUNLIGHT AND WARMTH FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS, DON’T YOU THINK IT’D BE AWESOME TO LIVE SOMEWHERE WHERE THE RESIDENTS HAD THOSE THINGS THEIR ENTIRE LIVES?”

You found it to be a good point. If you were a Monster, you'd love to get away and learn more about humanity as quickly as possible. You would have to get with the times as quickly as possible. Besides, humanity has such a unique culture, hundreds, maybe thousands in fact. You would be dang interested too, you found. “What do you do down there?”

“I TRANSPORT PEOPLE LIKE YOU TO THE OTHER HUMAN.”

“The other?... You don't mean Frisk Dreemurr, do you?”

“YES, I DO. WE’VE ONLY HAD VISITORS COME AND GO FOR THE DAY. THAT IS, UNTIL YOU CAME." He seemed to rattle with joy from just saying that. "YOU’LL BE THE FIRST HUMAN BESIDES FRISK TO LIVE ON THE MOUNTAIN WITH US.”

You only just realized what he was implying. “Wait. I'm living with you all on the mountain?”

“ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY YES.”

“Wouldn't you guys want me to stay on the human side of the mountain?”

“ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY NOT.”

You were befuddled yet again. “Why is that? I mean… I'm a human.”

Papyrus pressed on the brakes, almost throwing you out the car. You thanked the seatbelt for being invented. He turned to you and stated, gentle in tone but still loud of voice, “WE HAVE NO RIGHT TO JUDGE YOU BEFORE YOU’VE EVEN BEEN INSIDE. THAT’S NOT WHO WE ARE - WELL, THAT’S NOT WHO WE ARE NOW. IN MY OPINION, I ASSUME EVERY HUMAN IS LIKE THE OTHER HUMAN, SO THAT MUST MEAN YOU’RE KIND AND STRONG-WILLED.” The skeletal Monster gave you a sincere smile.

You hadn't made a mistake coming here after all.

The two of you were right outside what you assumed was a gate. The gate itself reminded you of laser beams - several parallel beams of neon blue light stood in front of you two. As you drew closer, you realized they weren't just beams - they were a stereotypical bone shape. They were laser bones... You decided to not question it.

The beams-bones-whatever were connected to an oaken arch that had the word “Welcome!” painted on it, with several colorfully painted footprints of various, what you automatically assumed were, Monsters on another layer behind the word. All around the side of the mountain, the lasers were beaming down, encircling the settlement and its denizens.

Seeing the sign and gate, you were filled with an emotion you couldn't quite put your finger on. It's as if a fire burned within you, a strive to succeed and do well. Still, you couldn't identify the word.

Papyrus raised his right hand towards the gate. A light, similar in color to the gate, was emitted from his hand. You knew what he was doing: Magic. This was your first time seeing it in action. The lasers on the gate dissipated as soon he waved his hand down as if he commanded them to lower. You'd always thought it would be much more extravagant - grand displays, like fireworks exploding in the sky. You realized, once again, that you were wrong. You're sure you'll be learning all about magic while you were staying here.

Papyrus started driving again but at a much slower speed, giving you an opportunity to look at the Settlement of Monsterkind, the name given by the government to this side of the mountain. It reminded you of the stereotypical American town you’d see on television shows. Everything seemed to shine with joy and friendliness - the establishments, the streets, even the dang grass - bright as the sunshine. Nicely built homes of stone lined the street the two of you were driving down, rich green grass on the lawns but there were no picket fences. In fact, the only fences you had seen were those laser bones you already passed through. Huh.

Your eyes locked onto the second Monster you'd ever seen in person - a small dinosaur with a pink bow on his or her head. The little Monster smiled and waved at you. You politely returned the gesture. You noticed a large, golden flower in a pot on the doorstep the Monster was standing on. You looked on a porch next to that home and saw another flower. In fact, all of the homes had at least one of the golden flowers somewhere in sight in the front of their homes.

Papyrus made a turn. “IS THIS TO YOUR LIKING SO FAR?”

“Absolutely. It's so pretty and cleanly here, much different from where I came from.”

“EVERYONE WORKS HARD TO UPKEEP THE SETTLEMENT. I’VE DONE MY FAIR SHARE OF TRASH DISPOSAL AND GARDENING.”

“I can see. You all must really love this place.”

“OF COURSE WE DO. THIS IS OUR ‘NEWER HOME’ AFTER ALL.”

“‘Newer Home’?”

“YES. IT’S WHAT THE KING DECLARED THIS PLACE TO BE NAMED.”

“I don't mean to be rude but that's such an odd name for… anything.”

“THAT’S QUITE ALRIGHT." He grimaced. "WE ALL AGREE WITH YOU.”

Papyrus made another turn and you two were now in what you assumed to be the center of the settlement. Everything that surrounded the town square were businesses varying from restaurants, grocery stores, boutiques, and offices. Monsters were going about their day - taking a stroll, getting a haircut, conversing with one another - slowly, as if they had all the time in the world to boondoggle and relax. It was the small town that you always dreamed of living in. Sure, you'll always love the big city, but you didn't like the hustle and bustle of it all the time. You always wanted to live in a place where it was appropriate to take a nap in the middle of the day then go to the park to read a book. You always wanted to live in a place where you knew every resident by name.

Dreams do come true.

As the two of you drove around the town square, your eyes caught onto two statues. A statue of a small, goat Monster and a statue of a small human child stood side by side, holding hands. “Papyrus, who are those statues of?"

“YOU’LL FIND OUT SOON ENOUGH. I DON’T WANT TO GIVE SPOILERS, YOU KNOW.”

“I see.” Papyrus turned again and now you're surrounded on both sides by apartment buildings, slowly rising as you guys drove up the street. You must be going up a hill. “The areas are quite different here, aren't they?”

“INDEED. THE DISTRICT SHIFTS FROM SUBURBAN TO URBAN VERY ABRUPTLY. WE’LL BE BACK IN FOREST BRIEFLY.”

Just like that, the apartments were gone and now you two were driving up a well-polished road with plenty of trees. The leaves were turning already and the sea of golden and auburn looked as if they were from a photograph, the true definition of fall. The fresh air, the beauty of it all - you were in awe of such a gorgeous place.

Papyrus turned once again and the two of you drove up to a large building. The building reminded you of a Gothic-style cathedral but longer, as if it needed to accommodate much more than churchgoers.

“HERE WE ARE. WELCOME TO THE ACADEMY OF MONSTERKIND, THE FIRST ACCREDITED OF ITS KIND. EVERYONE HERE JUST CALLS IT THE ACADEMY. THEY TEACH FROM PRESCHOOL TO TWELFTH GRADE. I HAVE A FAVORITISM TOWARDS THE KINDERGARTNERS SINCE I PLAY WITH THEM SO FEEL FREE TO LIKE THEM MORE THAN THE OTHER STUDENTS.”

This is where you'll be working for now on. Seeing The Academy in its grand glory, you're once again filled with a hot feeling in your chest. You couldn't name the feeling once again.

Papyrus parked right in front and you two get out his car. “YOU CAN GO ON INSIDE. I’LL TAKE YOUR STUFF IN FOR YOU.”

“Are you sure? I mean, I can do it, you know.”

“AS I SAID BEFORE, YOU TRAVELED VERY FAR TO GET HERE. YOU’RE PROBABLY TIRED FROM YOUR JOURNEY. I INSIST THAT YOU LET ME ASSIST SO YOU CAN GET TO RECOVERING SOONER.”

You were genuinely surprised by the skeleton’s kindness. “T… Thank you so much, Papyrus.”

“YOU’RE QUITE WELCOME. GO INSIDE NOW AND ASK FOR MRS. DREEMURR. EVERYONE AND ANYONE WILL BE WILLING TO GUIDE YOU TO HER.”

“Thank you for everything. I'll see you later then, Papyrus.”

“ABSOLUTELY. BYE-BYE!” Papyrus waved his goodbyes to you. You waved back at him then you turned and headed into the school.

The school’s interior looked just as it did on the outside. The Gothic architecture was expertly constructed. The tiles were brown while the walls were gray, the floor and walls smooth. The area you were in was brightly lit by electric lights from above you. It didn’t look like you were walking in a school but a place of worship.

You assumed the school office would be the first thing in front of you but it turned out a grand staircase was. There was no one down here. To the left side was a hallway. To the right was a room with its door closed, and another door that said, “DO NOT ENTER. ARCHERY EQUIPMENT CURRENTLY IN USE.”

You went to the left, deciding to take the stairs only if you didn’t find someone to take you to Mrs. Dreemurr down here. The hallway was lined on your right side with those golden flowers you saw all over the town, each in various painted pots. You stared at one of them. It seemed as if it was looking right at you. You smiled at it and kept on your way. The hallway led to nothing but two bathrooms and a locker room, all devoid of anyone to ask for directions.

Was this going to be harder than you initially thought? No, you were sure it wasn’t going to be.

You turned around and suddenly something that wasn’t there before is there: one of those golden flowers in their pot. This was the flower that you were having a staring contest with earlier. You only knew because of the pot it was in. The others seemed to be painted by tiny hands and young minds but the pot of this particular one seemed to be crafted by expert hands and old minds. It was navy blue and glossy with a white geometric symbol of a winged creature of some sort painted on the side facing you. Like any normal person would, you shook at the sudden appearance.

“Howdy!” A high-pitched voice cheerfully greeted you.

You screamed. You hadn’t a clue where that voice came from, making you more anxious than you already were. Your eyes darted left and right, trying to find who said that.

“Down here, silly goose.” It was the flower. The flower was talking.

Yep, you were right all along. This was a horrible decision.

“I’m Flowey - Flowey the Flower.” The voice was like shoving down candy until one was sick. The flower now had a cartoonish-looking face that considered of two parallel lines for eyes and a big curved line for smile. This “Flowey” seemed innocent enough but something still felt terribly wrong about the whole situation. You felt guilty because your body was screaming for you to run from what you assumed was a Monster. No matter what appearance it had, it was still a being that deserved respect. You tried to calm down but the atmosphere was still suggesting that you should get out of this hallway.

You swept a stray piece of hair that felt out of place thanks to your earlier tantrum back into place. “Hi there… Flowey.”

“You’re new to The Settlement, aren’tcha?”

“Y-yes, I am.”

“Golly, you must be so confused.”

“I… I am. I’m looking for a Monster by the name of Mrs. Dreemurr. I believe her first name is Tori-”

“Oh, you don’t need to talk to that old woman. I can help you as much as you need me to.” It wasn’t a suggestion.

“Sorry, but I really need to speak with Toriel.”

“Seriously, are ya stupid or something? I just said that you don't need her.”

“Uh-what?”

“You only need me to show you around. Only I can help you - help you on your way to hell.”

You were scared now. This wasn’t what Monsters were like at all. They were friendly, like Papyrus, even that little dinosaur; not terrifying like this flower.

Thick, thorn-littered vines crept out of Flowey’s pot, slithering like snakes closer and closer to you. You instinctively walked as far away as you could from them until you hit a wall. You held onto the wall for support as you felt your knees give out.

“Someone ought to teach you how things work around here. I guess little old me will have to do.”

You were afraid, oh so afraid. This was where you were going to die. You didn’t give your proper goodbyes to anyone, not even your old landlady. You didn’t tell everyone you knew how much you loved them. You would die unsatisfied with your life in the appendages of an overly cheerful flower.

A ring of fireballs looped around the flower. The vines came to an abrupt stop. Flowey’s attitude, voice, and tone made a complete 180. Its voice was now low and brooding, like an evil voice one would hear in the dead of night. “What the-? Toriel, you---”

A monster came forward from the shadows that crept in your mind and grabbed Flowey by the pot and held it securely in her hands, all while the flower shrieked and cursed at her. The monster was the white nanny you had seen on TV those many years ago and the one you spoke with on the phone yesterday.

This was Toriel Dreemurr.

She looked at you with gentle eyes. “What a terrible creature, torturing such an innocent youth.” She gave a mean look to the plant in her hands. “Flowey, what have I said about bothering others with your sordid nonsense?”

“Burn in heck, Toriel.” A fireball appeared right next to Flowey’s petals, causing the plant to wince away in panic.

“It will be you that does such a thing if you do not stop your tomfoolery. Also, someone ought to wash your mouth out with soap for such naughty language.”

Flowey reluctantly stood down after that. “Fine… Screw you.”

"We will also be having a refresher about proper language in an intellectual environment later.”

The vines retracted back to their owner. “Yeah, yeah, whatever.”

Toriel sighed and, as if she had cast a spell to remove the hardness and power she just had in her, smiled patiently and softly at you. “I apologize about that debacle a moment ago. Flowey does this often to visitors. He is not like other Monsters so you will have to excuse his behavior as a special case.”

You stood up straight and wiped down your clothing. “I understand.”

“Good. You must be the lovely human I talked to on the phone yesterday, are you not?”

You nodded and introduced yourself to your savior.

“I am Toriel Dreemurr. It is very nice to meet you. Please, follow me. I will show to Frisk’s quarters.”

“Thank you very much.”

The two of you, Flowey in tow, left the hallway and headed up the stairs.

“As I mentioned before, I teach kindergarten here but I substitute for classes of any grade.”

“That sounds fun.”

“It certainly is. It is a pleasure getting to know the future generation. The kindergartners are fun to be with but I like working with the teenagers as well since they’re almost at adulthood.”

“I can understand. I worked with high-schoolers when I was in college. They were interesting since they all had fully developed personalities and opinions.”

“Ah, I see. So you do have experience working with minors. That’s good.”

The two of you stepped off the stairs into the foyer. Directly in front was an open room with a desk right behind the archway into it.

“I will give you a short tour of what we pass by on the way if that is alright with you.”

“No no, go right on ahead.”

“Excellent. This is the office. In there are the teachers and principal's offices. Even though Frisk is the principal, everyone affectionately considers me to be the law enforcer of the school.”

You glanced at Flowey, who’s quiet as a mouse. “I can see why.”

“I am still unsure of what Frisk hired you to do, however, please take note that you will probably have to do a lot more than the tasks Frisk mentioned. We do not have a great many hands on deck - specifically in the office here - so you may end up doing administrative duties like I was doing when you called yesterday.”

“Understandable. I can do that.”

“Perfect. Now, let us continue on, yes?”

You turned to your right towards three sets of oaken double doors. “This is the auditorium. The school does not use it often so after hours it is open to the public to use until dusk. It is incredibly beautiful inside. Frisk will show you the inside later on. If he does not, make sure to tell me. I cannot allow him to be so rude as to not show the pride of this school.”

You both turned right into a hallway with windows and glass doors to your right and a wall to your left. Beyond the windows was a courtyard with grass cut off in a huge rectangle by concrete paths. Off to the side was more of those golden flowers. The rest of the school seemed to encircle the courtyard.

“This is the courtyard. This is where everything happens during the warmer months. We have had activities of all sorts here, even concerts.”

“Concerts? Wow.”

“I wish you were here last summer for when we had our talent show. An old student - he grew up so well - came back to do some comedy. I was so proud of him. His comedy had really improved.” She smiled as she remembered the event. You were surprised not because of the talent of the children but more that Toriel knew and seemed to have an appreciation for comedy.

The two of you continued down the hall. As you walked, you noticed that the entire wall was taken up by a very long, acrylic painting on canvas of hundreds of Monsters framed in an expensive, ornate frame. You walked up to it and stared at one part of it. There’s a group of bird Monsters with snowflake-shaped patches on their faces posing happily.

“By the end of your time here with us, you may meet every single Monster in this painting.” Toriel was smiling at you again.

“Really? That’s incredible.”

“Do you mind if I show you where I am?”

“O-Of course.”

The two of you walked to the middle of the painting. Toriel pointed a fur-covered finger at a spot and you walked up to it. You saw Toriel and the Frisk that you saw so many years ago. They both looked very happy like everyone was. Next to him were Papyrus and a couple of more monsters that you believed you may have seen before.

“Ah, it’s Papyrus here, right?”

“So Papyrus dropped you off... Yes, it is. He is such a kind, loving Monster, even back then. I believe he truly emulates what we want humanity to know about us. Many feel that he is our mascot.”

“Really? I think that’s an excellent choice. He went above and beyond for me today.” Your eyes locked onto a pink robot that you’ve seen all over TV and movie theaters. “No way, Mettaton's in this as well?”

“Of course. Mettaton, Papyrus, myself, and several others are what we define as Boss Monsters.”

“Boss monsters?”

“Well, most of the ones here with me in this lovely painting were not originally Boss Monsters but you will learn what I mean by that while you are employed here. Boss Monsters are Monsters that have much more powerful magic than the general public. Every Monster can use some form of magic, I am sure you know this, but we have much more devastating attack power. After we came up from the Underground, my ex-husband and I created a task force between the ten of us in the front here to ensure the safety of every Monster in the event history repeats itself, goodness forbid it does.”

“I see.”

“Papyrus and Mettaton are two of them.”

“I would expect Mettaton. He blows up the buildings in the movies he’s in by himself, you know. But… Papyrus?”

“Yes. He is quite the fighter. His brother claims he is a natural.”

“That’s… pretty cool.”

“‘Cool’?” Toriel giggled. “He will appreciate your comment.”

The two of you continued on your way, but you glanced one more time at the painting. You secretly hoped you would meet every Monster depicted there.

After a walk up another flight of stairs and past various classrooms, you came to a door. Toriel opened the door and you walked closely behind her. The door led to a meadow. A little ways to the left was a cozy-looking cottage. The scene reminded you of the fairy tales you read as a child, stories of heroes and heroines starting their adventures in tiny homes like this.

“This is so beautiful, Toriel.”

“Thank you very much. The Earth made this all by itself so you should be thanking it more than this old woman.”

You two walked over to the home. You noticed another golden flower near the doorway.

“Frisk and I live on campus but in separate homes. As much as I dote upon him, Frisk is an adult now and he needs his space.” The two of you stood right in front of his door but before she went through the door, she turns to you. “Please excuse the mess by the way.” Toriel knocked on the door. “Frisk, the human is here.”

A person shouted from the other side, “You can come in.” It’s the voice of your new employer.

Toriel opened the door with her free hand. You followed right behind.

The house itself was messy, books and papers stacked up in towers and piles everywhere. You could barely see the hardwood flooring. In front of you was an antique desk, oak and glossy. It was covered with plenty of papers and an open laptop on the left of it. Every wall except for the one where the windows were, which was behind the desk, was lined with bookcases brimming with books of all kinds. It’s a bookworm’s paradise; messy but mess can be fixed.

Toriel was disgusted by the state of the room. “Frisk, what did I tell you about cleaning your home?”

“Sorry, Mom. I’ve been traveling way too much to keep it clean.”

“That is no excuse, young man. I am sure half of these documents have not seen the light of day in years.”

“I know. I know.”

“Also, Flowey was at it again.”

“Oh no. Flowey, do I have to use ‘that’ again?”

Flowey spoke up for the first time in minutes. He was fuming. “Bring it on, meatbag."

Toriel glared at the flower Monster. Flowey quickly ended his rant as soon as it started. “I will put him in the kitchen.”

“Thank you, Mom.”

Toriel went to her left, leaving the room and quickly returned without the Monster. “I will be taking my leave then. Make sure to show the newcomer around the school at least.”

“Of course. I’ll see you later then. Thank you as always, Mom.”

Toriel smiled. “Of course, sweetheart.” She turned to you. “I hope you enjoy living here. If you would like, you may come to my home later for dinner.”

“I'd like to take you up on that offer.”

“Excellent. I will see you then. Frisk knows where and when.”

With that, Toriel headed on her way back to the main building.

There he was, the man of the hour, and you were now alone with him. Frisk was the same height as you, with that same haircut and even uglier sweater you saw those years ago. Though he was young, he looked so tired. You can barely see his eyes but you can tell that they were tired. Those deep, dark under-eye circles didn't help either. He gave you a smile like one an elderly person would - as if he was still able to smile even after seeing the world as it truly was. He was an old soul in a young adult’s body.

“Hiya, I’m Frisk. Welcome to Newer Home.” He held out his hand for you to shake.

Seeing Frisk stand there before you, starting your new life in the world of Monsters, it filled you with that feeling again. This time, you knew what the word for what it was.

It filled you with determination.

Chapter Text

You hadn’t realized that you were staring at Frisk for so long. You had an excuse; you were marveled by him. Most people are. He’s so accomplished though he’s four years your younger. He’s been all over the world and back and has the respect of even the highest figures in power. People have written so many articles about him. Even a high school student at the school you volunteered at when you were a college junior wrote an essay about how he was her idol.

Yet, here he was, wanting to shake hands as if he knew you all his life.

You did as he asked. His grip was firm and reassuring.

“I’m grateful that you’re here. Really."

“I’m glad to be here as well.”

He smiled. “Then that’s excellent. Are you tired? I’ll show you around but that can wait until tomorrow.”

“No, no. I’m fine.”

He looked at you as if he was reading one of the several books all over the room. He sighed. “If you say so. I guess I’ll show you around The Academy then."

“Alright. Thank you very much, Mr. Dreemurr.”

He chuckled. You were confused by his reaction. “It’s just so odd. No one calls me that. The students here call my Dad that.”

“Your dad? You mean…”

“Yes, the King of the Monsters - His Majesty Asgore Dreemurr.”

You thought back to that first press conference again. You remembered everyone expected the white billy goat Monster to speak that day. You remembered your fear of the enormous Monster in his golden armor and dark cloak all the way from your living room couch. You felt it settling back in you.

“As I was saying, he’s very eager to meet--- Are you alright?”

You practically jumped out of your skin. “Uh-yes.”

“I was scared of him at first too.”

You could only look at him, filled with wonder.

He walked over to where you stood by the door - he had cleared some sort of path in the mess so he could walk in and out the house easily it seemed - and gave you a patient smile. “You're not wrong in your judgment. Asgore can be the fearsome giant you're imagining. However, when the armor is off and he's with his subjects… Every Monster can agree that my Dad is a big fuzzball.”

You gave him a wary look. “A big fuzzball?”

“You’ll see what I mean. We’ll run into him later, I’m sure.” Frisk walked to the door and opened it. “Let’s be off, shall we?”

You smiled at him. “We shall.”

The two of you began your walk side by side all the way back to where you entered the school. He claimed this was how he always started the tours for human visitors so you went along with it. As you walked through the halls again, you peeked inside the glass of the classroom doors. The classes reminded you of those in a regular old school - same old students at square desks, teachers at the blackboards, same old same old. However, the subjects were different. A specifically loud teacher was discussing something about a “Delta Rune” to his older students. A dainty sounding lady was informing her pupils about the proper execution of a chain of bullets. Then a robust voice pierced through them all, shouting about the wonders of the theater. You smiled, reminiscing about your own childhood, but continued on your way.

“Here’s some things you’ll need for your stay here. First off is this.” Frisk handed you a card that reminded you of a bank card. “This is your Newer Home ID card. Yes, I know, you probably have your own identification but this is special. Here, this one is more important than your regular one. If you don’t have this on you, you could possibly get kicked out by accident. I advise you to have it on you at all times."

You examined the front of it first. It had the symbol you saw on Flowey’s pot emblazoned in white on the lefthand side on top of a red gradient background. The front had "human resident” in large Arial font to the right. You found it interesting. You flipped to the back and there was the stripe common on identification cards. There was no sign of any actual information about yourself on the card, just the fact you were a human living up there.

You told Frisk about your observation.

“Sans will add you to the I.D. System when we visit him later. You’ll be in for a treat too.”

“Alright… Frisk?"

He stopped walking and turned to face you. “That sounded so uncomfortable. Are you alright?”

“No, no, it’s just… Are you seriously okay with me calling you by your first name?”

He scoffed and gave you a teasing look. “If leaders of mighty nations call me Frisk, then you have every right to do the same.”

“I see. Then Frisk it is.” You tucked the ID card into your pants pocket.

“That's more like it.” He smiled at you. “Second is this.”

The brunet handed you an antique-looking brass key. A pixelated heart etched into the bow. You found it beautiful and mysterious, antique and retro - as if viewing a piece of history that's already happened and waiting to happen.

“Since you don't know how to use magic, you won't be able to enter and exit Newer Home on your own. This is a key infused with my magic in it. I'll show you how to use it later.”

“Alright. Also, you can use magic?”

You grew up, knowing that magic wasn't a reality. But then the monsters came up from under that mountain, showing off that they had been able to use it for millennia. Of course, you thought that humanity would never obtain the ability. After all, it was magic for heavens' sake. Hearing from this ambassador that A) he had his own magic and B) he clearly had knowledge on how to use it pressed at your floodgates of wonder.

“Yes and that's one of many secrets you must keep to yourself. Both humans and Monsters have the ability to learn magic. Humans just aren't born with the ability. My magic was the reason I survived my adventure in the Underground in the first place.” He glanced away for a moment and smiled sadly but quickly looked back at you. “I'm sure by the end of your time here, you'll at least know about the different kinds of magic and such. You may even learn how to use it.”

You beamed at the young man, stars shooting across your eyes. He was surely going to break those gates in you. "Me - learn magic?”

“Yes, it's certainly possible, however, it all depends on whether you can unlock the ability or not.”

The pressure on your excitement fled. Disappointment remained. “Unlock it?”

“As I said before, Monsters are born with the ability, however, humans are not. Humans need to have a reason for everything, even a reason why their magic needs to be unlocked. Plus the way to unlock it, the reason for needing to use magic, is different for every human. It's difficult to do.”

“How did you unlock yours?”

His shoulders jolted. Your intention wasn't to startle him yet you found a way. Still, he answered, “I… I wanted to get out of the Underground but it seemed I had too few choices. It was a two-way street. I wanted more than just two options. Magic was the third option."

"I see."

“And here we are, back at the main entrance.”

You hadn't realized that you two made it back to where you were only a short while ago so quickly. You were so consumed in your conversation with him.

Frisk groaned and trudged over to the front of the staircase. He crossed his arms behind his back and stood tall to as if he was a tour guide of some sort. When he opened his mouth, however, that was when you realized he was a bored teenager only doing the job for the potential paycheck. “Welcome to The Academy of Monsterkind, the first accredited school for Monsters in the world. This school offers curriculums for children from-”

“You don't have to give it to me like that. Be casual with me. That's what you were implying earlier with yourself, right?”

He smirked. “Heh, fine then.”

“Also, Papyrus told me all of that already.”

“Really? Well, that gets rid of one job for me. I'll get down to the specifics then.” He pointed to the left hallway you encountered Flowey in. “This hallway leads to the locker room. The bathroom down there's faculty only and, since it's mostly used for hand-washing, it’s well forgotten about. Use it when you gotta."

He pointed to the door with the sign on it. “That's the gym for all of the students' physical education needs. Since pretty much all of humanity is afraid of playing ball with the students, we only have intramurals. The Faculty Game is usually a sold-out affair and you'll probably have to take part in it. Watch out for Mom. She dribbles balls like the heads of her enemies.”

He finally pointed to the door on the other side of the staircase. “And this is the security office."

He knocked on the door and there was no reply from the other end. He knocked again and, once again, no reply. A lightbulb seemed to go off in the human's head when he decided to knock a final time- this time knocking two beats into the door.

A deep, mellow voice replied, “who’s there?”

“Theodore.”

“theodore who?”

Frisk glanced at you with a shit-eating grin on his lips before turning back. “Theodore wasn't open so I knocked.”

The voice on the other side of the door broke out into hysterics. The sound of shuffling and footsteps came closer and closer before the door was opened by a short skeleton Monster. The Monster had a permanent toothy grin on his face that unsettled you for a reason you couldn’t quite put your finger on. He was donned in a security uniform - hat and all - yet he also wore a hoodie and pink slippers.

“nice one, kid. you made your ol’ buddy proud.”

“Thanks, Sans.”

Sans turned to you while leaning on the door with his hands in the pockets of his hoodie. “this is the human, i take it?”

You introduced yourself to the Monster.

“i'm sans the skeleton. you seem like a nice… kid-ney.” You could almost hear the drums play that ironic ditty in your mind.

Frisk motioned to the skeleton. “Sans here is our lone security guard.”

“i’m living the dream; plenty of breaks too. i don’t even have to leave the office and the job gets done.”

You realized that Sans definitely heard you scream earlier during your encounter with Flowey. The location of the office was too close to not hear your panic. You got the feeling that Sans here may need to be replaced.

You thought back to what Papyrus said earlier. “Papyrus mentioned that his brother worked in the school. Is that you by any chance?”

Sans’s eye sockets rose up like if he had eyebrows they would have moved up instead. “so you met my brother… well, what did you think of him?”

Something waving caught your eye. You glanced and it was Frisk, frantically shaking his hands across his neck. You were unsure why the human would act such a way so you ignored his warning.

You looked Sans right in the eye and grinned as you stated, “Papyrus was the first Monster I ever truly met and he left a great impression. Mrs. Dreemurr mentioned that he was like your mascot and I can see that he shows that the Monsters as kindhearted, comedic, and absolutely friendly. He went above and beyond for a stranger like me and I don't think I'll ever find a proper way to thank him for it. Your brother is... great, really great."

Sans’s grin seemed to widen even more than it already was. “that… that’s good. i better not find out you were pulling my finger bone, alright?”

You nodded. You know he wouldn't.

Frisk seemed to visibly relax. You weren’t sure what just transpired but you’re glad that you did whatever you did correctly.

“now, let's get you in the i.d. system--- that's what you're here for, right?”

“Yes.”

“alright. this'll be quick. put your i.d. on the floor right here.” Sans pointed a bony finger at a tile a pace away from him.

You pulled the card out of your pocket and gently placed it onto the square the skeleton asked you to.

"step onto the tile there.” He pointed to one a couple of paces from your current position.

You followed his directions perfectly.

When you peered up at Sans again, a shiver ran down your spine.

A grim, powerful aura seemed to emit from the skeleton’s frame. The white dots in his eye sockets had disappeared.

“here we go. this won’t hurt if you stand still… i think.”

A neon-blue light bright like the Sun combusted in his left eye socket, flowing out of it like flames.

You flinched, paralyzed with fear soon after.

Sans raised his open palm at you. He clenched his digits together and you felt as if something was crushing your very essence. It hurt. You closed your eyes and hissed. A second later, you felt that crushing feeling being pulled out of you.

You opened your eyes and saw “it”. You weren't sure what “it” was. You only knew it belonged to you and it shouldn't be outside your body.

In that brief second of time, you stared into the deep azure of it and allowed it to consume you. You saw things. Images of people you cared about. You saw your family, your friends. You saw silhouettes of those you'd just met. Happy times, sad times; you saw plenty of smiles and plenty of tears. You heard things. Laughter of young and old, yelling, sobbing. You heard the dialogue from moments you've always remembered. You heard a distant, distorted voice saying, “Hiya, I'm Frisk”. You smelled things. The perfume of someone you care about, the musk of the city you grew up in, the crisp air of the autumn on Mt. Ebott.

Seeing those people, hearing those sounds, smelling those scents, you felt your whole body ablaze. You wanted to have more of those times. You wanted to see those special ones again. You wanted to do everything within your power to do so. However, you felt that those sights would change if you yourself changed. You desired to remain true to yourself while protecting the past, present, and future.

And just like that, your vision came back to the real world and your body felt complete again. You were unsure of what in the world was that. You desired to know what “it” was and whether you could experience that again.

“congrats, you're now in the i.d. system.” The white dots in Sans's sockets were there again.

“What?...” You felt dizzy.

“your soul is now infused with that card. don’t ever let go of it.”

Something told you that you should listen to Sans and hold onto the card for dear life. As you bent down to get the card, you stumbled. Frisk laid a reassuring hand on your shoulder, helping center your coordination.

“I know it's rough the first time you have your Soul become visible.”

You looked at the human, puzzled. “My Soul?”

“Anyone can change their appearance, name, address, even their own birthday if they found the means. What makes you who you are on the outside can easily be altered. However, you cannot change what you are on the inside. You can't change your Soul. So the Identification System for Newer Home is based on that and nothing else.” He turned to the skeleton. “Sans is one of the creators and the lone moderator of the system. He’ll know your location wherever you are in Newer Home using his magic.”

“ah, c’mon, kid, you're pulling my tailbone.”

Frisk chuckled before continuing, “Everything comes from the Soul, even magic since it is the culmination of everything that you are. Seeing your Soul for the first time is the first step towards understanding everything about yourself and using that as power.”

“I see. So that… those… everything… That was my Soul."

“Yep.”

You placed your hands on your chest where your heart was and grinned like a goof. The culmination of everything I am, huh, you thought. You felt warm inside, thinking about what you just experienced.

“so, whatcha see, kid?”

You turned to Sans. You thought back to the event that just occurred. “I saw something… ocean colored; then images of my family and friends. I saw Frisk, Papyrus, Toriel, even you as well. I heard laughter, arguing, crying. I even smelled my hometown and my grandmother’s perfume. Then I suddenly felt this burning feeling all over and all I could think was that I would do anything to be protect these memories and to have more of them. I would have to stay the same, however, for their sake. I want to remain recognizable to those I cherish while I protect them… That doesn’t make much sense now that I’m saying it aloud.”

Man and monster were both silent.

The white dots in Sans’s eye sockets disappeared for a moment. “so you're not selfish like the kid over here, huh?”

Frisk swatted away his comment.

The white dots reemerged and scrolled up to you. “that could be your downfall but… that could give you strength as well. keep thinking about them when the going gets rough. that may be how you reach your potential.”

Sans walked away over to the front of the door to the school. “i’m going to grillby’s. want anything, frisk?”

“Nah. I’ll have lunch with Dad.”

“okay. see you later then.” With that, Sans opened the door and made his exit.

Sans deserved much more than that little closet he called a security office. He deserved his own fortress.


Frisk had shown you most of The Academy’s four floors and twenty-eight classrooms. You learned that the school was only accredited because Frisk lied on the forms saying that the school was a human-only school. It worked and even after the government found out, things were fine. You learned that the school building originally was a boarded-up cathedral but with a lot of magic and willpower, the building was fully renovated. There were some parts, however, that were still there from the original layout. Secret tunnels, doors that opened to nothing. He informed you not to let anyone know that there was a tunnel that Sans and he expanded so the two could escape to Grillby’s even in the most dire of circumstances.

“You ready to meet my Dad?”

You two were in front of that long painting you saw earlier with Toriel. You weren't prepared to meet the king yet. You wanted to wait a little more time before speaking with him. “Yeah, but… I'm curious about this painting.”

Frisk turned and looked at it with what you thought was a twinkle in his eye. “Yeah. Nice, right? Only an Annoying Dog and some… I-still-don't-know Monsters made this.”

You were taken aback. “Really? This is one of the biggest paintings I've ever seen.”

“Yeah. It made me happy too. I helped pay for one of the I-still-don't-know Monsters to go to college and she came back and made this.”

You both stared at the painting for a while. You saw those bird creatures again. Next to them were a group of rabbit monsters and a huge group of dog monsters. Everyone was happy. The rabbits were laughing and the dogs were dancing. Seeing this painting in greater detail gave you more insight about the monsters. They are a happy race, immortalized in this painting as a funny, jolly group. It reminded you of those good memories of home: the laughter and happiness that usually occurred under your family roof during holidays. You pondered if you'd be able to visit in time for the winter holiday season. You also pondered if this magnificent painting even had a title.

Frisk’s thick eyebrows rose when you inquired. “No. In fact, I was supposed to name it."

“Really now.”

“Yep. I just never came up with a name. For right now, its temporary title is About Us. I want to show the world that this is what Monsters are about. The Monsters are cheerful, prideful folk that'll accept anyone with open arms.”

“You're right about that. Everyone's so happy. I can even see a group over here drinking and singing.”

“The Monsters love to party too. You'll love their festivals. The next holiday is actually coming up soon.”

“Really? Well, I can't wait then.”

“Now, let's go meet King Fluffybuns.” You stood there for a moment. Frisk had already walked away and was at the door to the courtyard. He turned to you, giving you a look. “Don't… Don't let him hear you call him that by the way. He’ll go red from ear to ear.”

“Do I want to know why he’s called King Fluffybuns?”

“I didn't either. Now, let’s go.”

You follow suit into the Courtyard. You noticed several things you couldn’t have seen from the windows, such as the climbing ivy gently scaling the bricks, the little patches of Queen’s Lace scattered about the pasture, the leaves on the trees proudly turning into hues of golden, auburn, and green. It was beautiful, as if upkept by one who adored nature like it was a loved one.

The trees and hedges were lined up in a way that seemed to emphasize Asgore, practically guiding you by your hand along a path to him. The brightness of day shined directly on the king, a natural spotlight making his light yet heavy features visible to your eyes. Even from where you stood by the door, the lord’s presence was larger than life, especially yours. You felt like a bug under a giant.

Frisk left you there at the door to amble right up to the monster. The king of monsterkind was trimming the hedges on the opposite side of the courtyard, humming a pleasant tune as he did. He wasn’t wearing the armor and cape you expected him to be in. He was wearing pink, bubblegum pink.

“Hey, Dad.”

Asgore perked up and spun around giddily. “Howdy, Frisk. How was your day so far?” You were stunned at how deep the king's voice was. He laid his hedge clippers gently on the ground and strode gracefully over to the human.

Frisk smiled. “Good; paperwork as usual. I just got off the phone with the prime minister of Canada and he was pleased with the forms I finished last night.”

“That is excellent. I can never thank you enough for your aid.”

The brunet swatted away the compliment. “P’shaw, I’m not doing much. I’m actually on break now, showing the newcomer around.”

“I can see. I also heard Toriel complaining about the state of your office all the way from here.”

Frisk looked away, embarrassed. The father put a big hand on his son's head and softly ruffled his hair. The human chuckled as he did. “Oh, c’mon, Dad.”

“I was not messing it up any more than it already was.” Asgore added a hearty laugh right behind. “Was there not someone you were supposed to be introducing me to?”

“Oh, yeah, right!” Frisk signaled for you to come over hurriedly.

You reluctantly walked over. As you walked over, like a mouse walking towards its predator, the monster let out another laugh.

“There's no reason to be afraid. I don't bite.”

That comment helped ease you, though you were weak in the knees still. You stood next to Frisk almost at attention.You could barely sputter out, “G-good afternoon, Your Majesty.”

Asgore patiently beamed down on you, “There’s no need for the formalities. Right now, I am Asgore the gardener. And you?”

You introduced yourself in the same format the monarch-gardener did - your name and your occupation.

The king laughed at your witty comeback. “I think you’ll be a great edition to the faculty here.”

You eased your shoulders and back at his genuine comment. “Thank you very much, sir.”

“Why, of course. Now, would you like to have a cup of tea?”

“Who could say no to such an offer?"

You made the gardener chortle again. “Excellent. Do you mind if we have a picnic? It’s a warm day for autumn. The birds are singing, leaves are turning. The children are on lunch break now and I think it is high time for all of us to eat some lunch.”

You hadn’t had a picnic since you were a small child. The idea of having one made you giddy. Once again, you couldn’t refuse the kindly king’s offer.

“Excellent. I am glad you agreed. I had already prepared in advance for the occasion, you see.” Asgore walked over to the shrubs he was working on before and bend down to get something. When he turned back towards you two, you saw a woven basket in his hand. “Let’s eat.”


The sound of juvenile laughter and movement from the three stories of The Academy surrounded you, your employer, and his father as you all sat on a picnic blanket in the Courtyard eating sandwiches and sipping tea. Asgore was correct. It was a perfect day for a picnic. The winds common during this season were settled, the sky usually clouded was clear.

The sandwiches were delicious. The tea was the best you’d ever had. Even the assortment of cookies was to die for. The pie… wasn’t stellar, however. You smiled and claimed it was delicious, not to offend the Monster king.

“So, Frisk mentioned that you did not know much about my kind, am I correct?” the king- gardener today, asked, sipping some of his tea with his pinkie finger out.

“Yes. I apologize for my ignorance.”

“It is quite alright. You are like… well, almost every human out there. Frisk didn't know a thing about us, even our existence when he entered the Underground years ago now.”

“I would like to learn about you all as much as I can while I'm here.”

“That is good. You have an open mind, much like a book waiting to be written in. Frisk, have you explained the history of the War to our new faculty member yet?” Frisk nearly choked on his sandwich. “I'll take that as a no. Let's finish up our meal and head to the auditorium then. The auditorium will do the explaining.”

For a split second, you thought that the auditorium would actually talk to you. You shook the thought out your head immediately. There's no way an location can talk to you… Right? You honestly weren't sure anymore.

The three of you spent another half hour idly chatting and eating before wrapping things up and putting everything away into the basket.

“Thanks again for lunch, Asgore.”

He smiled big at you. “Anytime. Now, let's all head to the auditorium.”

The three of you did just that.

When you headed back to the lobby, there were preschool and kindergarten students donned in baby pink and baby blue jackets and yellow baseball hats crowded in front of Toriel and a bespectacled sheep monster. You noticed that for some students, their jackets had holes for their wings and for others, their horns burst right through their baseball hats.

You overheard Toriel’s announcement. “Everyone make sure to have a buddy and hold hands as we walk down to the park, alright?”

“Yes, Mrs. Dreemurr.” The students all got a partner and held hands with each other. It was the cutest thing you'd seen all day. The students and teachers began their walk to their destination. As the students wobbled down the stairs, Toriel and you locked eyes. The kindly monster smiled at you and Frisk but immediately frowned and looked away when she locked eye contact with Asgore. Toriel then followed suit with her students and fellow teacher.

“The kids are adorable, right?” You turned to him and the king of monsters was teary-eyed and smiling goofily.

Your voice raised an octave and you returned the grin genuinely and excitedly. “Oh gosh, tell me about it. That was, by far, the cutest thing I've seen all day. The little hats and jackets too.”

Frisk, unfazed by the adorable display, informed you about the outfits. “They wear them for safety reasons. Cars will be able to see them from a mile away with the bright outfits.”

Listening to the human’s relaxing voice, you also relax. “Oh, so that's why they wear them. That's a very good idea.”

“It was indeed. Dr. Alphys, who you'll meet sometime in the month, suggested it. She, unfortunately, got it from… one of her cartoons.”

Asgore turned to his son. “Alphys and Undyne will have your head if you refer to their shows as cartoons, Frisk.”

The young man snickered. “You're right about that. Shouldn't we be going inside?”

“Oh, right.” Asgore opened the center set of double doors and held it open for Frisk and you to go in. You couldn't see a thing due to the darkness that filled the room. Frisk walked all the way to the right to a wall. He opened what you assumed was a switchboard and flipped some switches up. Spotlights flashed on under the proscenium arch, illuminating them harshly and the room gently enough that you could see the billy goat monster again.

The auditorium looked like a small proscenium, just enough wooden seats to hold the entire student body and faculty. Large black-out curtains covered three sections of the walls on your left and right, covering what sunlight might come out from the windows behind them. In the walls next to each curtain were plaster statues of six different Monsters, dressed in armor, standing mighty before all. Even from where you stood, you could see the amount of detail that went into creating them. In front is the stage itself, made of the same oak wood as the seats. The stage was draped behind a mahogany curtain, hiding its contents behind it. It filled you with wonder, wanting to pull all those curtains away and find what awaited behind them. You contained yourself, however. They were closed for a reason.

“Here, let’s all sit here.”

Frisk rejoined you and the two of you headed to the row Asgore mentioned. The three of you sat down smack dab in the middle of the row, Asgore having a tight squeeze in his seat due to his massiveness.

“Now this is where you come in, child."

You turned to the king. “What do you mean?”

“Why don’t you tell us what you learn from the auditorium?” Asgore pointed a clawed finger at the proscenium arch.

You looked on and noticed what he meant: the carvings in the wood. You were so stunned by the beauty of them that you gasped. Those statues didn’t hold a torch to the pure amount of detail and precision of the woodwork on the arch. It reminded you of the 17th-century art you studied in that mandatory art history course from freshman year that you nearly flunked. The carvings were cut off by leaf motifs in some areas, reminding you of comic strips. It was as if they told a story…

You figured out then what you must do.

“The woodwork details the War and you want me to recite what I learn from each, am I correct?”

“Pretty much. Dad likes to show off the brightest of his kingdom. The woodworkers who made this also made the statues in here and the painting near the Courtyard.”

“Really? So an Annoying Dog and a couple of I-still-don't-know monsters made all of this.”

Asgore glanced at his son, awaiting something from him. Frisk simply shrugged, a smile that only a child who got caught stealing from the cookie jar would have. Asgore then shook his head, chuckling to himself. Then the king and his son answered, “Yes,” in almost perfect unison.

“Incredible. Absolutely incredible… Should I start?”

The look Frisk gave answered your question.

You started to the very edge of the left. In that frame, a human and a monster were depicted, standing side by side, facing forward. “There are two races in this world: human and monster.”

You went to the next. The human and monster face each other, glowering, bickering over something. “Tensions grew high among them. Neighbors fought neighbors. Royalty fought royalty. Until…”

You went to the next. On two sides, humans and monsters were divided, bearing swords, shields, bows, and banners. On the monster side, you noticed a large puff of smoke that wasn’t there on the human one. You weren't sure what that meant. “One day, a war began.”

You looked to the next. Two humans - one holding his or her staff in his or her hand, something… no, magic radiating from his or her hand and one with a book in his or her hand - stood before a group of crowded together monsters. The monsters were fearful, staring at the human’s magic. “The humans were victorious. The victors used magic to…”

In the final etching, a line was carved into the space between the monsters and humans. The humans celebrated under sunlight while the monsters walked into the darkness on the other side. Some monsters were scratching on the line, trying to break through it. “Create a wall and trap the monsters underground. The end.”

The three of you sat there in silence. The video from the bus ride here aided you in your explanation, however, something told you that you didn’t explain it thoroughly.

“That’s pretty much the basis of it. Good job. You did a lot better than most of the visitors we’ve had so far.”

“Thanks.” you replied, pleasant inside from Frisk's compliment.

Asgore went into further detail, recounting the history of The War to you. “Tensions had always been high between the two races. When something negative occurred in the realm of Monsters, we always blamed the humans. The humans returned the tradition.

One day, enough was enough. Human villages were ransacked and once again, the tradition was done. The Monsters, however, stood up. My father, the monarch then, told the human king that we did not do such a deed. Arguments broke out and citizens on both sides wanted the blood of the others. Next thing we knew, soldiers were taking up arms and storming fortresses.

We, of course, would later find out that the humans instigated the War because of their own fear. If the Monsters then got their hands on one human Soul, the tables would have turned in a fortnight. Hundreds, thousands even, would have been killed by a single Monster. It’s a fearsome ability but no Monster desired to ever use it. Sure, we wanted the heads of the humans, but that’s only because they wanted ours first. So we gave them their war.

A day turned into a month. A month turned into a season. A season turned into a year.

It was a bloodbath for us. Women lost husbands and boys lost fathers. Entire clans were eradicated overnight. The amount of dust in the streets became so thick that some areas looked as if a sandstorm had swept through.

Yet, not one human Soul was destroyed. There were no casualties on the human side. We all call it what occurred as a war but, in all honesty, what took place was genocide.

My father, king at the time, decided to surrender before all of our kind was wiped out. It was the only solution. Many of his best were now scattered in the wind. There was no end to the funerals that had to be held - if those who would attend even survived until then.

No one expected the humans to not take the surrender. No one expected for the humans to use that forbidden magic. They trapped every single Monster under the mountain range we sit above now, one of the entrances a couple of miles north of here.

Nearly two millennia past and here we are, sitting in this auditorium. The effects of The War are still present even though the Barrier is gone. You will encounter Monsters that are the last of their clans, some being the survivors of the raids. There are also many traditions that were started during the War that we practice to this day. You will get an hands-on experience with probably all of them while you’re here.”

You looked back onto the woodwork again, specifically at the section depicting the battle scene, the rising action. “I see…”

“You look as if you are guilty about something.”

You flinched. “I-I guess I am.” You turn to the monarch sadly. “I know I didn’t have any hand in The War at all but…”

“You feel guilty about the deeds of your ancestors."

“Yes. Absolutely. I feel like history is repeating itself. Not with the war part, of course! God forbid that ever happens. The name-calling, the hatred… It’s happening all over again.”

“Well, that’s understandable. We don’t know much about each other. When human and Monster don’t know something, they grow fearful, hateful.” Asgore looked at his humongous paws, a sullen cloud cast over his form. You now noticed the deep, dark circles under the eyes of the kindly king, “They start saying and doing things they would never imagine themselves doing.”

“And that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing.” Frisk put a warm hand on Asgore’s forearm. The king looked at the human, surprised at first but relieved right after. “This will all end if we get to know each other. No more name-calling, no more violence, no more wars. There’s no excuse for this either. It’s the 21st century, for goodness sake. If you don’t know something, you can google it and have an answer in seconds. Regarding Monsters, however, there isn’t much. A human may not find the answer to his or her Monster-related questions as easy as it is for a Monster to have their human-related questions answered. That’s why I write all these papers, do all these interviews, speak at all these conferences. Humans want to relate to something but on a human level. That’s just who we are. And I’m the human they relate to when they have questions. I’m their search engine involving the Monsters.”

“I understand. That’s what I must help you… both of you with, am I right?”

“Right on the money.”

“Alright. Then, I’ll do my very best.”

“What’s that supposed to mean: you weren’t going to if we hadn’t done this?”

“... Maybe.”

Frisk and Asgore howled in laughter. You snickered a little at your joke. Then you had to hold onto the armrest nearest to you to balance yourself as you chuckled along with them. You were sure then that you were going to do something great while here.


The sun had set and the students were already in their homes, doing whatever monster children did when they got home from school. You now stood in front of your own home, which was right next door to Frisk’s.

“This is a guesthouse we built for visitors. There are three bedrooms in here so pick and choose whichever you’d like to use. You could even switch beds every night if you want. It’s up to you.”

“Alright.”

“You want me to show you around or…?”

“Nah, I think I got it from here.”

Frisk gently smiled. “I’ll see you tomorrow then. 10 am.”

“Got it. See you then, Frisk.”

Frisk left you to your own accord. You used that antique key you received earlier to open the door. You had just come back from dinner with Toriel and Frisk mentioned the purpose of the key only after the white nanny goat reminded him, giving the human a scornful look only a mother would give her child. Yes, the key would help you get in and out of Newer Home with ease. He claimed you had to raise the key in the sky and say 'open sesame' and you’d be allowed back in but… something told you that you’d lock yourself out of the settlement if you tried it on your own. The key also had another purpose which was the key to your new home.

You turned the knob and opened the door. It was pitch black inside, the only light coming from the lamp overhead the outside part of the door. You swept along the walls next to the frame, hoping to find a light switch. Eventually, you found one that was shoulder level to your left. You flipped it and the darkness dissipated in a flash.

The house reminded you of your childhood home. The furniture was similar, the appliances were similar, even the wash of coziness that overcame you. There were some differences, however. There was a fireplace, one of those small hearths you saw in movies. Since you lived in the city and the heating was good in your home, there was no need for a fireplace. The temperature hadn't dropped yet so there would be no need to use it yet. The walls and flooring were made of oak paneling, giving it a log cabin feel. The house also smelled like clean laundry and lemons, as if it was freshly cleaned roof to floor.

You liked it. You really liked it.

You noticed a folded note card standing proudly on the round dining room table. You picked it up and opened it. On it was something scribbled elegantly in orange crayon.

 

 

Salutations Human,

It is I, The Great Papyrus! I wish you good tidings on your stay in Newer Home. Here, I leave you with a plate of my famous, homemade spaghetti. I hope you enjoy it so much that you weep tears of joy.

Sincerely,

The Great Papyrus

P.S.: Wait, I said that before. Disregard that.

P.S.S.: But the letter is still from The Great Papyrus.

The smile you had on your face was so big that it could make the crescent moon jealous of its curve. The skeleton was so kind. No, every monster you'd met so far was incredibly kind and helpful. You knew that in order to repay their kindness, you must work hard with Frisk to help improve their lives.

Just as Papyrus mentioned, there was a plate of spaghetti and meatballs covered in saran wrap. Even though you just ate, seeing the spaghetti made you hungry again. You would eat it once you had put away your clothes.

Next to the table, you found your bags. You smiled again, thinking back to the tall skeleton telling you that he'd dropped your bags off. He kept his promise, it seemed. You grabbed your bags and walked up to the second floor using the staircase conveniently located next to the doorway.

On the second floor was four doors. You opened the first one. It was a closet with shelves in them. You decided that you'd designate this as the towel closet, just like the one you had at home. You closed it and went to the next door. It led to a bedroom with three beds. You didn't need that many beds in one room. You went to the next door - a bedroom with two beds and two desks. Once again, you were unsatisfied.

Then the final door. You opened it and it led to the room you knew you'd like. It was one full-sized bed, headboard next to the window. To the right of it was a secretary desk, cherry tree wood in material, with a chair of similar wood that had a neon green hand-sewn cushion on it. Next to the desk is an oak, four-drawer dresser with glass knobs. The wall that had the door to the room also had a wardrobe on it.

You practically ran up to the bed and flopped face first into the soft comforter laid across it.

Yep, this was the one.

You took out the clothes in your bags and started to put them away in their appropriate places. As you did, you took notice that the room was very bare on decorations. You decided that you would ask Frisk if you were allowed to hang things on the walls. You wouldn't want to put nails in walls you shouldn't be putting nails in. Regardless, you could also use adhesive hooks as well.

When the clothes were put away, you placed the laptop you had since college onto the desk, plugging it into its charger. You plugged your phone into its charger and placed it on the nightstand next to your new bed. Finally, at the bottom of your suitcase, you took out the framed photo of you and your family and placed it on the desk behind the laptop. A misadventure with colored sticks, buttons, hot glue and stickers led to the creation of the frame. The picture was of you and your family during the holidays last year. You weren't sure if your family was considered small or large but you didn't care. It was your family and they were perfect and imperfect the way they were.

After everything was put away, you threw your bags under your bed. Your room was now set up. Your mission for this week would be to decorate it.

You went downstairs, excited to eat the spaghetti. You unwrapped it and put it right in the microwave. You set the timer for two minutes. As the timer trickled down and the food was heating up, you searched for silverware. You found a fork and knife in the drawer right next to the stove. Just in the nick of time, too, since the timer went off a moment later. You took your meal out the microwave and set it on the table.

You sat down and looked at the meal. It looked innocent enough. You twirled a bit of spaghetti around the fork and put it in your mouth---

You ran to the sink and spat it out into the drain. Yuck!


Somehow, seven o’clock turned to half an hour before midnight. You were talking to friends you met in college in a group chat on Skyline. You were all using webcams so you could see each other’s faces. Everyone was questioning you about the background change. You filled them in on what occurred over the last 24 hours.

“So you seriously moved all the way from one of the most well-known cities in the world to the boonies just for a job?” George queried, a puzzled look on his well looked-after face.

“Yep.”

“And you didn't know most of the details of the job before you got there either?”

“Yep.”

“That's so like you.” Michelle said, rolling her eyes and smirking.

“Mich, you saw what my apartment was like - crap, crap, and even more crap. Plus I lost my job at Burger World and you know that Bitchress was on my butt daily about it.” Your prior landlady wasn't a nice old woman.

“The dork’s right about that.” Ricardo said, “Shoot, I'd jump into the dude’s arms if he was willing to shelter me from the Roach dynasty in my place.”

“Roach dynasty? Oh my god, Ricky.”

“I’m on Ricky’s side about this. The place was infested. Seriously, why didn’t you call an exterminator?”

“Bookworm doesn’t have money like you, dude.” Ricardo stated, “None of us do.”

George shrugged. “Whatever.”

Jacob inquired, tucking his glasses up as he did, “So who is your employer anyway?”

“Frisk Dreemurr.”

“Who…?” George asked.

“‘Hiya, I’m Frisk’ Frisk Dreemurr.” That was your worst impression of the man you’d ever done or seen.

No one said anything for a moment until Ricky and George exclaimed, “What the hell?” at the top of their lungs.

Ricky asked, pleasantly surprised, “For real?”

“Yeah.”

“You’re working with the monsters…” The way Jacob said it concerned you. He glanced away for a moment, worriedly, tucking his glasses back up, before looking at his screen again.

You didn’t like the silence everyone was giving you. “Yeah… Is there a problem?”

Michelle cut in, agitation in her voice. “‘Is there a problem’; Of course there’s a problem! Why the hell are you working with them?”

“What’s the problem with that? I’m getting paid and---”

“Dude, they’re freaks; disgusting freaks!

You never really liked Michelle in the first place. She was the type of girl that spend all day popping bubblegum and talking about your male friends rather than doing any of her assignments. This, however, was new, and it shocked you. George was the type to say something outlandish like that - he didn’t know any better, growing up only around people that looked and lived like him - not Michelle. You once again considered permanently deleting the girl on your social media accounts.

You didn't know how to respond to the girl's comment. “Mich--- Wha--”

Ricky said, “Mich, dude, chill out. Bookworm’s alive, okay?”

“Yeah, but-”

“Just drop it.”

Mich scoffed and rolled her eyes.

Out of everyone in your friend group, you liked Ricardo the best. He could be a jerk sometimes, but he knew when to stop. He also knew when you were upset about something. You needed to thank him later when the chat ended.

George asked, “So… they aren’t psychos?”

You crossed your arms, exasperated. “No, Georgey. In fact, they’re nice, much nicer than any of you.”

Ricky dramatically put his hand over his chest. “Oh, you wound me.”

“Ha, ha, ha.” You rolled your eyes and smirked, sarcastically responding to his comment. You dropped the act a moment later. “Seriously, guys, the Monsters were so polite and--- I even had a picnic with the king of them today; a frigging picnic.”

“A… picnic?” Michelle twirled a piece of her hair.“That’s so baby-ish.”

“It’s not baby-ish. Well, I thought it was until I sat down with the big guy. He’s a big fuzzball, really.”

“The king of the monsters is a fuzzball?” Jacob's words were like a knife in your body, cutting through your statement. Jacob was usually not like this either. In fact, his behavior was making you anxious.

“Y-Yes, he is.”

Ricky asked, “What are you supposed to be doing there anyway? You mentioned you could finally use that degree for something.” Thank goodness. Ricky honestly was your savior tonight.

Thanks to your friend’s topic change, you were able to regain your composure. “I’ll be editing his papers, however, I might be doing much more than that. He’s the principal of the school that’s on the grounds here and they’re understaffed in the office, so I might also be doing administrative crap.”

“That sounds a lot better than what I’m doing.”

Georgey stated, “Anything’s a lot better than what you’re doing.”

Ricky rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah, Mr. Rich Boy.”

Michelle asked, snippy. “What are you doing again, Ricky? Construction? Oh yeah, right.”

“I have a job at least. What are you doing, Michelle? Oh yeah, right. Nothing.”

You oooh’d at Ricky’s sick burn and gave him a thumbs up. You never had the courage to sass the female. He gave you a smirk and a thumbs up back.

“You’re such an ass. I’m out. See you whenever,” and with that, Michelle left the chat. Finally.

“I-I’m going to head out too. Talk to you guys tomorrow.” Georgey left as well.

“I have some work to do for my boss so I’m heading out as well. T-talk to you soon.” And with that, Jacob made his exit.

You and Ricardo were quiet for a moment. He wiped his face with his hands, as if trying to wipe the stress off his features. Finally, he looked back at the screen, happy. He sighed. “And then there were two.”

“And then there were two.”

“So you’re seriously working in the Settlement?”

“Yeah.”

“Do you think you’re gonna like it?”

“It’s probably going to be the best job on the planet.”

“Then that’s what’s important.” You gave Ricky a look. “Don’t listen to them. Mich is jelly and Georgey will do anything to get in her pants.”

“Michelle, jelly of me?”

“Yeah.”

“Why would she be jealous of me?”

“Because you’re happier than she’ll ever be."

“What do you mean?”

“... Nevermind. Look, you’re happy with where you are, right?”

“Yeah. I love it.”

“Then that’s all that matters. Don’t listen to anyone but yourself.”

“You’re… you’re right.”

Ricky smirked at you and tucked his hands behind his head. “I know I am.”

You rolled your eyes but you couldn’t hide that smile on your face. You looked into your lap before looking back at the screen. “Thanks.”

“For what?”

“Everything. I can only handle a certain amount of Michelle and her drama. And seriously, did you see how Jake was acting tonight?”

“Yeah… He seemed ‘off’.”

“‘Off’ is polite, coming from you.”

“C’mon, there’s no other way to describe it, man. Jake was real distant, even more than usual.” Ricky's face showed how discomforted he was with the matter.

“Speaking of which, where does Mr. Robot-o work anyway? He said he got an internship a couple of months ago and now he’s working full time for the place. Did he ever mention it to you?”

“Nah. Not a word outta him to me. You know he don’t talk to me outside the chat like how Michelle don’t talk to you like that.”

“I see… I’m gonna knock out. I gotta get in the office at ten.”

“Shit, you’re right. It’s a minute to midnight now. I gotta be out at five.”

“Okay, I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Hopefully, before everyone else logs in. I honestly don’t want to listen to Michelle first tomorrow, if you catch my drift.”

“Understandable. Alright. I’ll log in at seven. No one’ll be on before then.”

“Alright. Thanks, Ricky.”

“Anything for the book dweeb.”

“Oh, shush.”

Ricardo laughed then gave one final smile. “Night.”

“Night-night.”

And with that, you turned off your computer and put it back on the desk. That didn’t go as well as you expected it to. You hadn’t even told your family yet. You began to wonder how they would react to your decision.

Regardless, you crawled under the comforter and settled in quickly. You set the alarm on your phone for eight am. You then locked the screen and placed the device on the nightstand. You turned the light out and put your head on the pillow. Your eyes began to flutter close when you heard sniffling.

Sniffling?

You rose up out of bed, searching the room desperately. You turned on the light and got out of bed. You weren’t going to be able to sleep a wink if you didn’t find out what that sound was. You opened drawers, moved the curtains aside, even looked under the bed, hoping to find the source of the sound to no avail. Oh no, you thought, I'm finding out what that is over my cold, dead body.

You swung opened the door to your room and the noise stopped instantly. You looked all around the dark hallway, even over the balcony and you couldn't see anything out of place from how you left it earlier. You closed the door to your room, thinking that maybe, just maybe, you should move your stuff to the room next door. Shoot, maybe you’ll ask if you can move in with Frisk.

Chapter Text

You closed your eyes at one point and woke up with sunlight gently filtering into your room through the cotton curtains. You hadn’t a clue how you slept last night after that disturbance but it seemed you not only did but had the most refreshing rest in a long time. You were still unsure of what that noise was but you hoped you would never hear it again.

You rolled out of bed and walked out the door of your room, desperately needing to relieve yourself. You never did search for that bathroom last night. You opened door after door in the hallway and downstairs, but alas, no restroom. You headed back into your room and noticed a door adjacent from the windows. You opened it and you finally found the bathroom. You wanted to kick yourself because you assumed that the door led to a closet.

You needed to stop assuming things in general.

After doing your business on the porcelain throne, you washed your hands in the sink. Above the sink was a round mirror and you decided to finally look at yourself in it. Your hair was a complete mess, strands sticking up all over the place. You laughed your head off at your image. You not only got a good sleep but you looked the part too.

You conducted your morning routine and quickly put on your clothing for today - business attire again. After tucking in your button-down, you headed downstairs. Just then, your stomach growled. Oh no, you thought. You didn’t get groceries. How were you going to eat?

Someone knocked on the door. You headed over to the entrance and open the front door to see Frisk standing there, surprised. “Oh! I didn’t expect you to answer so quickly… And you’re dressed too.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You got a lot of discipline. I actually just woke up.” You knew the human wasn’t fibbing. He was wearing a set of ugly flannel pajamas, bunny slippers too.

You looked at the clock near the dining room. It was two minutes to ten. “It’s two minutes to and you just woke up?”

Frisk scratched the back of his head nervously, worsening his bedhead. “In fact, Flowey woke me up.”

“The angry flower woke you up.”

“Yep.”

You sighed loudly. “You’re incredible, you know that?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Frisk had a smirk on his lips.

You gave your employer a look. “Wouldn't you like to know?”

“I’ll be taking your word for it then. Now, wanna eat breakfast at my place? I can make pretty good pancakes and I know you don’t have any food.”

You praised a higher being, bow and all, in your thoughts. “Absolutely.”

"Great, follow me then.”

You locked the door of your home - a habit from living in the city - and stepped into Frisk’s messy home again. This time, the two of you headed to the room left of Frisk’s mess of an office. You were alright with the mess but this was way more than you could handle. You made a mental note to discuss organizing this madness with your boss.

In this room was the kitchen, immaculate to your surprise. You felt that you’d start every workday in here and you liked the idea. The morning sunlight coming through the lace curtains of the windows and back door illuminated the sage green walls of the cozy kitchen. The creamy tiles reminded you that you really needed something to wake you up right now.

The kettle on the electric stove began to whistle and Frisk ran over to turn off the heat under it. “Want some tea?”

You were more of a fan of coffee than of tea but you weren't going to turn down the offer. “Does the tea have caffeine in it?”

“Earl Grey does. The cabinet behind you has the box for it. Take out a bag for me too.”

You did as Frisk asked of you. You opened the door of the oaken cabinet and looked over the products in there. Cereal, flour, spices, tea. You took out the box and closed the door. You then headed over to Frisk. You gave him the tea bags and he put them into the mugs. You returned back to the cabinet and put the box back.

“I’ll get started on the pancakes. Go ahead and sit down if you’d like.”

You turned to the oaken table and sat down in the chair that faced Frisk. You looked at the lace doily that covered the top and gently rubbed your fingers against it. Beautiful. It reminds me of Gigi.

“Hey, you, human.”

You nearly jumped out of your skin. You snapped your head to the left of you to see Flowey on the table, staring at you. “Oh, uh.” You breathed hard to catch your breath. “I didn’t see you there.”

“That’s the point. I was trying to scare you.”

“... Why?”

“Humans are stupid. I like to mess with ‘em.”

“... That’s an odd hobby you have.”

Frisk poured the pancake mix into the pan. The sound of sizzling filled the room. “Don’t mind him. Flowey’s not the best conversationalist.”

Your eyes never left the flower. “I can see that.”

Flowey rolled his eyes (you’d hadn’t realized the flower had a gender in the first place). “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” The golden flower turned back to you, an unsettling smile on his face. “So, do you wanna give up your Soul so I can destroy all of humanity and Monsterkind?”

You gave him a disgruntled look, “No, not at all. What the---?”

Frisk warned, “Flowey, stop it or you won’t get any pancakes.”

The flower stopped his charade, fortunately. Flowey and you had a staring contest after that, the only sound coming from the flipping of pancakes on the stovetop. He blinked once, twice. “You’re weird, you know that?”

Frisk gave the flower a chastising look. Flowey didn’t look to see.

"Well, you’re weird too. You’re a flower with a single gender.”

“So?”

“Flowers are hermaphrodites.”

Flowey scoffed. “Well, I’m a boy, you idiot. You shouldn't be talking either. You look like a hermaphrodite yourself-”

Frisk practically slammed the pan back down on the stove. “Flowey, you do not just tell someone that!” You weren't personally offended but you did agree with Frisk. Not cool, man.

“Well, he… she… I don’t know, called me one first.”

The human put the used pan in the sink and turned on the water over it, the water evaporating in a sizzle. “The newbie was stating a scientific fact. Plants can be called hermaphrodites and, no matter how you see it, you're a flower, Flowey.” He went into the cabinet above the sink and took down two plates. “Also you called them weird, which is also not nice.” He dug into a drawer next to the stove and took out silverware.

Flowey groaned long and loud, leaning back dramatically to let the groan have more effect. “God, you’re just like Toriel first thing in the morning.”

Frisk placed the plates and utensils in front of you, looking at Flowey. “You know good and well my mother can be much worse than this.”

Flowey let out a noise of disgust and looked away and the brunet came back with the perfect-looking pancakes he whipped up. Frisk placed the plate down in between you two and sat down. You passed him a plate and set of fork and knife and Frisk took them, saying his thanks.

You and he were putting some pancakes onto your plates when the two of you noticed the look Flowey was given the human.

“Oh yeah. Sorry about that. Here, I’ll deactivate it now.” Frisk waved his hand in front of the pot, drawing a triangle in the air. “Done.”

“Finally. You really should have done that sooner.” Using his vines, Flowey crawled out of his pot (you dropped your fork and jaw when you saw the sight) and wrapped himself around Frisk’s torso and arms, as if he was like the climbing ivy in the courtyard. After some more twisting, the flower crawled himself onto Frisk’s left shoulder, perched like a bird, his vines ensnaring his left arm.

“Don’t tell Mom about this, by the way.” You nodded your head in response, earning a smile from him. “Flowey’s pot has a spell on it, preventing him from ever being able to touch the soil again. You’ve seen him and his intentions clearly already. We can’t have Flowey running about without us being able to track him.”

“Why don’t you add him to the I.D. System?”

Frisk looked at you, pleasantly surprised. “You’re learning the works quicker than I thought. I’m impressed and relieved.” He glanced at the flower for a moment with a frown upon his lips. “Unfortunately, we can’t add Flowey to the system.”

“I don’t have a Soul. Literally.” Flowey looked away almost melancholically before looking back at you with a plain look to him.

“He can’t help being the way he is, however, he is dangerous. So at least we can keep him from burrowing and hiding in the dirt - by the way he does do that. Everyone, Mom especially, wanted to destroy Flowey when we came up to the Surface but I was persistent on befriending him too. So he lives with me, in this enchanted pot. Now we are fr-”

“Very mutual acquaintances."

“-And I don’t like to leave him in there all day and night so when we’re home and alone, I let Flowey stretch his limbs like this.”

You nodded, acknowledging the information you just learned. Now, you wouldn’t freak out again seeing such a sight, you hoped.

Frisk cut a piece of pancake and held up his fork to Flowey’s mouth. Flowey then leaned forward, chomped the piece and chewed it quietly. “I hate Frisk a lot, y’know; with every fiber of my being, in fact. I put up with him though since at least he feeds me something other than plant food.”

“Speaking of which, what do you eat anyway? I would never have imagined a flower could eat ‘people food’ in the first place." Your face fell for a moment. “Please tell me you don’t eat meat.”

“I’m not a Venus Flytrap, you idiot. I can only eat things solely made from plants.”

“So you’re vegan.” You finally ate a piece of Frisk’s pancakes. Frisk had every right to brag. The pancakes were amazing.

“I guess.”

You waved your fork in the air while talking. “So you’re a male flower that can not only talk, but also use magic, eat vegan food- all while lacking a Soul?”

“Yeah, pretty much.”

You inhaled and exhaled long and hard. “Alright.”

Flowey gave you a look. “‘Alright’? You’re seriously alright with me, even after I attempted to wipe you off the face of the Earth yesterday?”

“Yeah… Somehow. I have a feeling the stories are only going to get more insane.”

Flowey gave you a disgruntled look and scoffed before throwing his two leaves up as if they were his hands and rolling his eyes. Frisk took the opportunity to give another piece of pancake to his shoulder buddy, to which Flowey took greedily. Seeing the flower’s action, Frisk snorted and giggled. You cracked a small smile too.


“So, what am I exactly supposed to be proofreading?”

It was well into the afternoon now. Frisk, Flowey still on his shoulder, was running to random piles of books, taking some out, putting some back, and placing them on his desk. You were on your laptop, typing up a digital version of a draft he wrote, on a moss-green living chair that you had to remove a large stack of papers from. The young man’s manuscript was chicken scratch, however, you were starting to distinguish the h’s and t’s and the a’s and o’s.

“What do you mean?”

You were flipping through his draft, breezing over the text. “I can barely understand what you wrote but, from what I can see, there aren’t any major grammatical or spelling errors, just simple things.”

“I’ll be taking that as a compliment.” Frisk took a book from the steep pile on his desk and opened it up, zipping through the pages in order to find something. “As I mentioned before, I don’t have the time to really edit them as much as I could now. When I finish one, I have to start a dozen more. Plus, all the research I have to sort out, which is even more illegible than my awful handwriting I have you know, and the conferences and the- well, everything; it’s gotten rough and it’s only going to get worse.”

You glanced over the room and its untidiness once more. “I can see that.”

“I feel like I’m losing my mind some days.” Frisk stopped flipping the pages and began to run his finger down the text, darting his eyes left and right as he did. “That’s why I hired you: to help keep me centered while getting some of the workload off. Dad’s more of a talker than a reader and Mom’s gotta teach the future generation. So, you know…”

“You’re trying to say you appreciate the company?”

Frisk closed the book and peered at you. “Yes.”

A soft smile crossed your lips. “Well, thanks for the paychecks then.”

Frisk chuckled and scratched the back of his neck. “No problem. Also, you don’t have to wear business attire on days when we don’t have to look presentable. I mean, c’mon, I’m still in my jammies.”

“Nah, I kinda like to get all dressed up like this. It helps me wake up, get myself in game mode if you catch my drift.”

“I guess… You’re incredible, you know that?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know?”

The two of you laughed your heads off. Frisk slipped a hand and pushed his mug off the desk but crashing wasn’t heard. One of Flowey’s vines caught it just in time and placed it back on the desk.

“God, you’re an idiot, Frisk! You need to be more careful with your crap.” Flowey gave a dirty look to the person he was supporting himself on.

“Thanks, Flowey. You’re an essential part of this team too.”

Flowey was taken aback by the comment before he quickly shrugged it off, muttering nasty nothings to himself. Frisk gave the flower a patient smile before going back to his work. You followed suit.

You finished typing up the ten-page paper within forty minutes, moving on to proofreading the minute errors you didn’t catch as you went along. One thing that you particularly noticed was the word “monster” always had the first letter capitalized. Knowing Frisk, this was written deliberately but you weren’t sure why. You remembered then that it was alright to ask him a question like that. He wanted you to be casual with him. It was alright to not look like the most intelligent person around the young man, “Hey, uh, I have a question.”

“Shoot it.”

“Well… As I was reading over your draft, I noticed that you capitalized the first letter of ‘monster’ whenever you wrote the term. Why is that?”

“That’s the only way to tell the difference between Monster and monster." You looked up from your laptop with a puzzled look on your face. He noticed it immediately. “The Monsters you’ve met are anything but the monsters you read in stories when you were a little kid. The Monsters aren’t these ferocious creatures that take pleasure in hurting innocent human beings. You've met several of them already. You've seen how they are. The Monsters just aren’t that way and they never will. In fact, according to ancient texts, Monsters are classified as “people” just as how humans are classified as people. Being a Monster is something involving race, not genus. So just as how humans classify race by capitalizing the first letter of a color or country, Monsters have to do the same. That’s why it’s written as so.”

“I see… I’m sorry I didn’t know something so basic yet again. I feel like an idiot.”

“You’re not an idiot, no matter what Flowey or anyone else says.” The flower shot a glare at the human, causing Frisk to chuckle at his expense. “You’re learning, you’re evolving, and that’s what I’m trying to get the rest of our race to do. And despite what you think, you’re adjusting quicker and calmer than most of humanity. You’re also asking questions, which is a wonderful thing because the things I hear at conferences that people automatically assumed… Gosh, it’s horrifying what humans can believe.”

You thought back to your conversation with your companions last night and felt ashamed at what you heard them say. “You got that right.” You twiddled your thumbs around for a bit. “So… when Monsters are discriminated… it’s racism, right?”

“Yep.”

You thought back to Michelle again. Michelle had always been judgmental of people. You remembered the many afternoons at your campus cafe, listening to her go on and on about someone she didn’t like. You began to realize that her words were always rather harsh, especially to those not of her background. You always looked over it because you were trying hard to ignore her as much as possible without being too obvious. You suddenly felt like you were allowing to rant the way she did without consequences. You suddenly felt like you were adding onto the problem.

“Are you alright?”

You flinched. You hadn’t realized how deeply you were thinking about the matter, “I’m fine. I was just thinking about something.”

“Thinking about what?” You looked up and Frisk was now in front of you with a playful look on his face.

“Just… something that happened last night. It’s nothing. Really. Uh, should I really be telling you about this? I mean you’re my employer and all.”

“Nonsense. You’re older than me, first off. Second, I feel that we should be more like friends than coworkers. That’ll make the stress easier to handle.” Somehow, Frisk cleared a spot in the living chair next to the one you occupied and sat down, looking straight at you. You couldn’t see his eyes well since his eyes were so small, but you swore you saw a twinkle there.

You decided to take up on his offer to confide in him. “Well, I was chatting with some old classmates from college last night like we do every night. We live in different areas. In fact, one of us is living out the country right now so… yeah. Well. Uh. One of them said some things that honestly… frightened me.”

“Like something worrisome or…?”

“No, more like bad things about Monsters.”

Frisk frowned. “Oh.”

“I… I never suspected she would say anything like that. We have another friend that it was more likely to hear that stuff from. But that’s because he grew up only around people that look, live, and think like him if you catch my drift.”

“I understand.”

“Well, I was thinking back on what you said, about how Monsters are people just like how humans are and… I realized that she’s probably racist.”

Flowey sarcastically chimed in, “Probably?”

Frisk put a finger to Flowey’s mouth, silencing the Monster, keeping full eye contact on you the entire time. “Go on.”

“She’s the kind of person that seems to just find misfortune in even the best of things. And when she can’t, she’ll negatively comment on it until the point that it's nonsensical. I never realized that she was saying those things because well… she does it all the time and I learned to tune it out. I kinda feel like it’s my fault that she’s the way she is. I only added onto the problem because I chose to tune her out rather than comment on it.”

“Well, I can assure you that she’s the way she is because that’s just who she is.”

“Huh, what do you mean?”

“You didn’t have a part in making her the way she acts.”

“Idiots will be idiots, pretty much,” Flowey stated.

Frisk looked at the flower but shrugged as if agreeing with him. “That’s just the way she is. You obviously didn’t have any intent on letting her say those things around you. Would she have argued with you if you disagreed?”

Oh yeah. She’d never let me hear the end of it.”

“Then there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s her own battle, not yours. Just keep on holding your head high and doing what you think you should do.”

“Thanks… Do you think maybe I should stop talking with her? I mean, I'm going to be working around them all the time and I really don't think I'll feel comfortable being the way she is for much longer.”

“That’s also your own battle as well. I don’t know this person, however, I can tell you that people do change.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’ve heard of my story in the Underground, how I befriended all of those who wanted to hurt me. People aren’t static. We change a little bit every day. Also, sometimes, our views get jumbled up with other people’s views. It’s up to you to be the judge. Give it some time. Who knows, she may end up being a better person in the long run.”

You nodded. “You’re right. Thanks, both of you.”

Flowey huffed and looked away while Frisk beamed at you.

“Anytime.” the human said.

You had a goofy smile on your face, thinking about how life here was going to be very, very good.


The sun was setting now and you all got your work done for today. Frisk said that he was going to go to Grillby’s for dinner and asked if you wanted to come along. Thinking back to your empty fridge, you agreed. Sans mentioned the place yesterday so it must mean the food is relatively good.

“So what’s on the agenda for the week anyway?” You turned off your laptop and closed it shut. “You never filled me in on the details.”

Frisk clicked on his computer, looking up something. “Well, we’re having a visit from a Monster tomorrow and one from a French dignitary on Friday.”

You sat there for a moment, agreeing with the concept. Then it hit you. Someone's coming tomorrow. “What do the visits usually entail?”

“Well, for Monsters, it’s usually just a yearly catch-up on how they’re doing. I only usually do this kind of thing for Monsters that live outside the settlement. I ask them questions about how life’s been treating them on the Surface. It’s good for research and aid. For humans, it’s more about giving a tour of Newer Home and discussing some matters about the Monsters and their objectives and such.”

“And where are those check-ups and meetings held?”

“In here.”

You grimaced at the thought. “You’re seriously going to have a reunion and meeting in this black hole of an office?”

Frisk looked at you, almost confused at your questioning of his reasoning. “Uh- yeah.”

You practically jumped out the chair and threw your hands up. “That’s it! I’ve had it!”

“Had it with what?”

“The condition of this room. We can’t have visitors in here tomorrow. The place’s a wreck. There’s nowhere to sit, nowhere to stand. I’m pretty sure I lost my notepad hours ago. We can’t leave your office like this.”

“Uh, yeah we can.”

You crossed your arms and glanced at Flowey for support. “Flowey, tell me you don’t think this amount of mess is gross.”

The flower, joining in the conversation, looked up for a moment, collecting its thoughts, before stating flatly. “Well, you’re right about that part-”

“See!” You pointed at Frisk accusingly. “That means we’re cleaning. Now.” You began your trek, trying to walk over the books like you’re walking through knee-high snow. “How late is Grillby’s open?”

“Eleven.”

“Good. Get a broom. We’re straightening this office up.”

Frisk looked at the flower nervously, trying to get support. There was none to be found.

“Get going, idiot!” Flowey laughed at the human’s dismay.

As you grabbed the first stack of books, you asked, “Can Flowey lift things with his vines?”

“Yeah, up to a hundred pounds from what I know.”

“Then you’re helping too, flower boy.”

You could hear the flower Monster groan and the human chuckle as you walked into the kitchen. This was going to be a long day.


After seven long hours, the three of you were able to clean the office from top to bottom. The bookshelves were filled to the brim with the books that were originally all over the floor, organized by alphabetical order and purpose for both of your ease. The copies and other various papers were a lost cause until there was time for specific organization so they were placed in a filing cabinet haphazardly. You would have never known there was a chaise and all-in-one printer in the room if you hadn’t suggested the spring cleaning that was just conducted. The freshly swept and mopped flooring seemed to shine a little as if gratuitous of your gesture. The twin velvet living chairs were pushed right in front of Frisk’s desk. After placing the burgundy circular rug back in its place, you put your hands on your hips, beaming at your deed.

“Wow, I guess it is a lot nicer when it’s cleaner.” Frisk was marveling at the almost brand-new looking office. “Thanks for forcing me to do it.”

“You’re most certainly welcome. Now the guests will have a place to at least sit. We will also be keeping it this way, got it?”

“Alright.” Frisk had a pout on his lip like a child.

You couldn’t help but snort at him. “What time is it anyway?”

“Way past when Grillby’s closes.” Frisk must have noticed how you lost all the blood in your face at the comment. “No worries. I suspected this would happen so I asked Sans to bring some before he went home.”

You were taken aback. “Sans is still here? It’s so late in the night.”

“Yeah. We all tell him to head home earlier but he’s pretty persistent on staying late.” Someone knocked on the door. “Oh, that must be him now. Can you answer it? I’m gonna go ‘check on Flowey’.”

“Sure.”

Frisk went back into the kitchen while you went to answer the door. You’re about to open it but the door is jerked back into place from the other side.

“hold up, i wanna try somethin’." You released the door knob from your grasp, obliging him. Sans knocked on the door two times. “knock knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“mikey.”

“Mikey who?”

“mikey doesn’t fit in the keyhole.”

You rolled your eyes while letting out a groan.

“i know you’re smiling.”

“I am and I'm angry at myself.”

“okay, now, seriously, let me in, before I get chilled down to the bone.”

You snorted while opening the door for the skeleton. “Okay, I’ll let you have that one.”

“thanks. let’s eat this grub, kid--- what in the world happened to the place?” Sans gawked at the office, most likely stunned though his visage was unable to express it.

“I forced Frisk to clean up his mess. I couldn’t stand having visitors in the pigsty.” You were proud of your accomplishment.

“heh. good job… i guess. well, let’s go eat.”

You followed Sans into the kitchen to see Frisk - Flowey no longer on his person - was in front of the refrigerator, looking for something inside. “Heya, Sans.” He grabbed a red bottle and closed the door.

“heya, kid.”

“I have your usual choice of beverage.”

nice.” Sans placed the plastic bag he was carrying onto the table. “thanks for having me over tonight.”

“Anytime. You seriously don’t have to stay so late here in Newer Home, y’know.”

“i know, but i gotta keep an eye socket on the settlement.” Frisk and you chuckled lightheartedly at the skeleton’s pun but the smiles lingered a bit longer due to what the pun meant. Sans and you sat down as Frisk walked over to the cabinet next to the sink, looking for something or another. “hey, newbie, let’s take this time to ketch-up.”

You put your face in your hand, trying to keep yourself from laughing.

“you’re even easier to get to than papyrus. this’ll be fun.”

“Oh, joy."

“so, i hear you’re from the big city… well, one of the several in the good ol' U.S. of A.”

“Yeah.”

“that's pretty awesome.” Sans looked away from you for a moment. “must be different from living out here in the mountains.”

“It certainly is. It kinda scares me that everything around here is pitch black. I’m used to the plethora of streetlights on every corner.”

“heh, so there really are streetlights on every corner...” Sans seemed to look out the window as if he was daydreaming.

Before you could inquire what he meant, your cell phone went off, Living La Vida Loca filling the room. You forgot that you set the ringer to turn back on at midnight so you were startled by the occurrence. You knew who it was immediately - Ricardo. His ringtone was the Ricky Martin song you always thought of when you reminisce of the insane Friday nights with him. “Oh, crap, I-”

“go on and answer it. i gotta think of some more material anyway.”

You smiled as you walked out the room, thankful for the skeleton's polite response. Once you were near the front door, you hurriedly answered it, “Oh god, I am so sorry about not coming on Skyline tonight, I-”

“Dude, I texted you at least three hundred times. That’s a new record.”

You felt your phone buzzing. “I’m getting the messages now. Sorry.”

You could hear the smirk on his face. “No, you’re not.”

“... You’re right. I’m not, really. I was having dinner with my boss.”

“Your boss? Oh oh, put him on the line.”

You rolled your eyes and held back a chuckle. “Shut up, Ricky.”

“Aw, c’mon, I always wanted to talk to the dweeb.”

“No, you’re not talking to him tonight.”

Please?"

“No.”

“Ugh, fine; don't say I didn't try.”

You were still feeling the buzzing coming back and forth in repetition. “Hey, speaking of which, you usually never message me like this unless it’s urgent. Is everything alright on your end?”

“Me? no, I’m fine. You, however, are about to get yo ass kicked via phone.”

“... Why?”

"Your mother has been calling me all day, claiming she didn’t know where you were.”

Oh, crap. “Oh, crap.”

“Yeah, 'oh, crap'. Your mom’s gonna wring your neck, you know that?”

“Uh huh.” You nodded your head, so lost in your building anxiety that you thought the person you’re speaking to could see it from thousands of miles away.

“Look, we can Skyline tomorrow. For now, get this mess straightened out with your moms, okay?”

“Okay. I’ll text you about what happened, alright?”

“Alright. Talk to you later, bookworm.”

“Talk to you later, Rickster.” You hang up and immediately dial your family home phone. It rings half a second before it’s picked up and you hear your mother screaming your full name and how late at night it was in that accent that oozed of your hometown. “Mom, I can-”

“You cannot explain to me why in the world your landlord claimed you moved out two days ago on the fly. Where in the world are you?”

“I-”

“And especially after I called you, what, forty-eight times. Seriously, how could you do that to us? You know how we worry about you. I was about to phone the cops.”

“Mom, I’m so, so sorry that I didn't call. I just was- well, busy.”

“Busy? Busy with what? Busy running away from the family that raised and loved you.”

Oh god, there she goes again. You loved your family from the bottom of your heart and enjoyed being with them. There was no denial that once the temperature dropped more, you’d miss them immensely. Your mother always pulled the guilt card on you. She did when you went to college hundreds of miles away. She did when you moved out into that apartment you just escaped from. You knew very well that she never meant that, that she knew your undeniable love for being at home with her and the rest of your family.

"Mom, I-”

Your mother went into an incomprehensible rant for a minute. You were glad your mother spoke fast when she was angry or what she was saying would have made you feel much, much worse than you felt right now. “You have twenty seconds to explain what happened or you're never welcomed home again, so help me god.”

“OkaywellIgotajoboffertoworkwiththehumanambassadoroftheMonstersyouknow’HiyaI’mFrisk’yeahhimandimovedallthewayfromtheretoMountEbottsoIcanworkwithhimandtheMonstersand… Yeah.”

Your mother didn’t reply immediately. “... English?”

You groaned. “I’m on Mt. Ebott, Mom.”

“Mount what? What kind of mountain’s name is Ebott?” Your mom called out into the distance for your father, asking if he’d ever heard of the mountain. Luckily, your father did know and stated where the mountain is situated. “What the- What are you doing all the way out there?”

“I got a job working for the ambassador for the Monsters. You know, ‘Hiya, I’m Frisk’.” You did the signature way and smile hurriedly and halfheartedly as if your parent could see you all the way from your family home.

“... Oh! That’s very nice, honey. I’m so proud of you.” The sigh you let out could be heard for miles probably. You were forever thankful that your parent - your entire family, also - was so carefree and accepting. Your mother hollered away from the phone, “Guys, guess who's child is working for the ambassador of Monsterkind?” You could hear your entire family shouting and whooping in celebration.

You hid behind your hand, trying to keep down the embarrassment. “Mom, really?”

“Yes, really. Why didn’t you just call sooner?”

“Things got, well, hectic.”

“Hectic? Well, I can understand why now. Work must be insane, with all the poor dork’s appearances on TV and such all the time. Good riddance you left the city too. Too many crazy people trying to hurt my baby and too little opportunity for you to express yourself.”

And there she went again. Right after screaming a little, your mother would always think about the bright side of your choices. She knew you were street smart and level-headed enough to make good decisions.

You gently smiled. “Mom…”

“Now, all is not forgiven. You make sure you call here at least once a week or text me or your father, you hear me?”

“Loud and clear.”

“And make sure you do whatever you’re doing well. And take lots of pictures and bring lots of stories to tell when you can come visit, alright? We will always have Sunday dinner here.”

“I know. Thank you so much.”

“Of course, sweetie. Tell the ambassador and his friends I said hi. Call me tomorrow or I’m hanging you from the nearest tree, you hear me?”

“Yes, Mom.”

“Good. Have a good night, sweetie.”

“You too, Mom.” You hung up and put your phone back in your pocket.

When you turned to go back into the kitchen, Frisk and Sans were standing there, the human concerned. “Is everything alright?”

“Yeah, I just forgot to tell my family I’m here.”

Frisk and Sans looked at each other with furrowed brows on both.

“How could you forget to tell your mom you practically moved cross-country?”

“yeah, tori would scorch the kid if he did something like that.”

You hit your forehead with your palm from the pun. “I honestly don't know why I didn't. Luckily, my family's so chill about everything. They're fine with it all.”

“Well, that's good.” Frisk put a hand over his heart. You saw Toriel's influence on him. “I was concerned that you'd have to leave, especially after I got to know you a little.”

“Well, concern no more. Also, my family said hi to you both.”

“well…” Sans walked over to a window and opened it. He stuck his head out from it and shouted, “hey!” at the top of his lungs - or, you could say, ribs.

You lost your balance from laughing your head off, double-whammied by the timing of both the incident that just occurred and the joke you thought of yourself. Frisk was on the floor with you, howling along as well. Sans had to hold onto the window frame to keep him from joining you all as he chuckled along.

“Now that was some fine incidental humor right there." You gave the skeleton a thumbs-up. “Nice one.”

When his laughter lowered down to a snort, Sans replied to you. “thanks. now, let’s eat this grub so we can hit the sack.”

The three of you returned to the kitchen and sat back down in the seats you all were in before. Frisk took the food out of the plastic “Have a nice day!” bag and passed the Styrofoam containers to their rightful owners. You opened yours to see a burger much bigger than your mouth and perfectly cooked french fries. You had to stop yourself from drooling all over it.

Frisk passed you a glass. “Want some lemonade?”

“Sure.” Frisk took the glass pitcher filled with the yellow beverage and poured some into your glass. You told him your thanks and he put it down. As you were about to put the burger in your mouth, Sans squirted the contents of the bottle of ketchup into his mouth. You paused and stared.

Sans locked eyes with you as he finished the act. “what? you want me to get a cup or something?”

You blinked once, twice. “No, no. You do you, man…” You told yourself that it was only going to get even worse. You finally bit down on the burger and it was the best burger you’ve ever had. The Settlement has some of the best food you’ve ever had.


It’s thirty minutes past midnight and you were settled under your comforter. You had finished texting Ricky about your conversation with your mother, much to his amusement and many “LOL”s.

You turned over to the side that faced the wall and snuggled your face into the soft pillow. You closed your eyes for felt like a second until you heard sniffling.

Oh god. Not again.

You turned on the light in the room in a flash and jumped out of bed. Oh, you were not letting whatever was making that noise escape again. The noise was more centered this time. It sounded as if it was coming from behind the door. You jetted it to the door and swung it open. Once again, the noise was swung away with the door. You stood there for five minutes, disheveled by your current circumstances. You felt like you were losing your mind. You wished that the source would just come and scare you already.

You went back to bed. You settled back in quickly, much to your pleasure. Your eyelids grew heavy again, your body warm and snug.

The sniffling returned.

Chapter Text

Someone knocked on your door at exactly two minutes to ten again. You were fully dressed in your usual attire and ready to go, refreshed yet again despite the horrors that occurred the evening prior. When you answered the door, there stood Frisk, once again in his pajamas. “Howdy,” he mumbled, before letting out a big yawn.

“Morning. Flowey woke you up five minutes ago?”

The human nodded, sending you both into chuckles. Frisk leaned on the door frame. “Breakfast in the office again?”

You turned to the kitchen, looking at how pristine it was. Once again, there was no food in there, the only dish used being the one belonging to Papyrus sitting in the dish rack. You turned back. “Obviously.”

Your employer smiled sheepishly, wiping some of the sleep out of his eyes. “Alrighty. Let’s head on in then.”

You accompanied Frisk into his house as he discussed today’s agenda. “Our guest is arriving at 11:30, so all the work I discussed with you about the conference in Brussels next week will have to wait until after he leaves. Knowing the guest how I do, we may end up not starting on the work until well after one o’clock. He complains- uh, talks a lot.”

“Alright.”

Frisk closed the front door and walked over back to you. He moved a piece of hair out his eyes. “I gotta make myself decent. Do you mind putting the books on my desk back to where they belong? I was up late trying to get some more research in and I never got a chance to put them away. Flowey dragged me away from the desk before I could.”

You weren’t sure whether Frisk was being literal or not regarding his last statement. “Of course.”

Frisk smiled and thanked you.

“No problem. Now, go on and get dressed.” You shooed him away with your hands.

“I’ll be back soon.” Frisk ran to your left, up the staircase located there to the second story of his home.

You did as the human asked, putting the large books and encyclopedias back where they belonged in the bookcases that aligned the walls of his office. When you pushed the last book into its rightful place, the corner of your eye caught onto something yellow. You turned to your right and there was Flowey, staring up at you. This time, you were not startled by his sudden appearance. Still, you made sure to stay cautious of him.

“Morning, Flowey."

The golden flower Monster gave you a quizzical look. “Uh… Morning, Frisk’s... proofreader… whatever you’re doing here.”

“Can I ask you something?”

“Uh… Yeah?”

“Does the boss stay up late often?”

Flowey answered almost immediately. “Yeah, and it’s a pain in the ass.”

You gave him a confused look. “What do you mean?”

He let out a noise of disgust. “God, Frisk always does that. He’ll just read and read until the sun comes up if you let him. And guess who can’t sleep with all those lights he needs to read and crap turned on: me. So I gotta force the idiot to sleep so I can get some shut-eye.”

You smiled patiently at the flower, much to his dismay. “Thank you for putting him to bed then. I’ll try my best to watch out for him so you can get some rest earlier, alright? We are a team, after all.”

Flowey crossed his leaves as if they were arms and let out a “Hmph! ” before extending some vines out of his pot to lift himself up and “walk” away into the kitchen. So, that’s how he gets back and forth.

Frisk hadn’t come back yet so you decided to call Ricardo on Skyline. It was Wednesday and he didn’t have work on that weekday. You plopped onto the freshly-cleaned chaise and opened up your laptop. You opened the application and signed in. After a happy chirping noise rang out, you were met with your contact list. Your eyes caught onto Michelle’s contact, which had a green plus sign to indicate she was online. You became anxious, thinking about what occurred two nights ago. You weren't ready to have another conversation with her yet. She wasn't your reason for going online either. You wanted to talk to Ricky. You clicked on his contact and clicked the call button.

In a matter of a couple rings, Ricky picked up and the screen switched to the chatroom you created. Ricardo was resting his head in his arms when his video came on. When he looked up at the screen, his eyes were half-lidded and his voice was husky. “Hey, bookworm.”

“Heya, Rickster. I woke you, didn’t I?”

“Yeah. You did. What the hell, dude?”

“Sorry, sorry. I just happened to have a list of people to say good morning to and you were next on the list.”

Ricky propped up his arm and rested his chin on his fist. “C’mon, couldn’t you have put me on the good afternoon list?”

“No way. Besides, I’m going to be busy then.”

“Oh… Well, mornin’ to ya, dweeb.” You stuck your tongue out at him, making him chuckle groggily at you. Ricardo wiped his eyes and smirked at you. “You’re pretty peppy for the morning. I thought you weren’t a morning person, like every other normal human being.”

“I’m not. I just have been getting really good sleep… somehow.”

“Somehow?”

“Yeah, uh… It’s a long story. I’ll explain it some other time.”

“Heh, okay. Has the work driven you nuts yet?”

“Not yet, but it’s gonna happen sooner or later. We’re flying to Brussels next week for a conference and we have a crap load of research and prep for it.”

“Brussels… Brussels…” He muttered as he typed away something on his computer. “Oh, wow, my little book aficionado’s going all the way to Belgium. Congrats. You’re the first amongst the squad to actually go aboard for work, not counting Jake.”

“I thought you went to Brazil last year.”

“That was to visit family. My sister had my nephew and everything, y’know.”

“Speaking of which, you never sent those photos of the tyke.” You put your hands on your hips.

Ricky laughed at your act. “Ugh, I’ll send ‘em later. They’re all the way at the bottom of my photos.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“So… What is this conference in Brussels about anyway? Give me spoilers.”

“I… I’m not actually sure yet-”

“It’s about the relationships between humans and Monsters.” You looked up from your computer and there stood Frisk, clean and dressed in another ugly turtleneck and jeans. You couldn’t even say a response before Frisk plopped next to you and looked onto the screen.

Ricardo smiled big and gasped dramatically. He exclaimed, mimicking a valley girl, “O-M-G, is that who I think it is?”

Frisk snickered. “I’m guessing you know who I am already.”

“Do I? You’re Turtle Man.”

Frisk scrunched his eyebrows but still had a curl to his lips. “... Turtle Man?”

Ricky returned back to his normal tone of voice, no longer husky from sleep. “Yeah, Turtle Man; because you wear those ugly ass turtlenecks all the time.”

You immediately yelled at your friend, which only made him howl in laughter.

Frisk was laughing along with him luckily. “I know, the sweaters are ugly but I gotta wear them."

“Why? Can’t you just - I don’t know - go to Gap or something? I don’t know if they sell reasonable clothes. I’ve never been inside ‘cause their clothes look boring as hell.”

You snorted - you and Ricky could agree on that - while Frisk responded, “My dad knits the ones I wear on TV and I can’t tell him no. He’s… well…”

“The King of Monsters, right?”

“Yeah, that too, but the reason why is because he gets all sad and oh, god, he and my mother know how to guilt trip me quite well.”

“Please tell me he gives you the sad puppy dog eyes.”

“He does, actually.”

Ricardo breathed out a chuckle. “Really?” He laughed his head off. “Oh my god, the dweeb was right.”

Frisk looked at you, trying to cover his snort. “I’m guessing you’re the dweeb?”

You gave your friend a dirty look. “Unfortunately yes.”

“And I’m guessing this is one of your friends.”

“Yes, this is Ricardo Santos, one of my friends from my college days and a complete asshole.”

Ay! I’m not that much of an asshole.”

“But you admit you're one.”

Ricardo crossed his arms and looked away for a second before looking back. “Hey, I know myself. And I have you know my colorful sense of humor and witty quips is the jalapeño to the mayonnaise I call our friend group.” You almost slapped yourself that’s how hard you hit your face with your hand. Ricky gave you a knowing look. “You know I’m right. You know I am.”

“... I’m not saying it’s not true.”

The three of you howled in laughter.

“Alright, alright. I gotta go. I have work to do.”

Ricardo sarcastically bellowed out, “No, really?” You gave him a dull look. “You know I’m just messing with ya. We still on for tonight?”

“I have a feeling that’s going to be a no.”

“I won’t wait up then. Talk to you tomorrow or something. Nice sharing a joke with you, Mr. Ambassador.”

Frisk smiled. “It was nice talking with you too.”

Ricardo scratched the back of his head and waved goodbye, beaming at you. You smiled and waved back. Ricardo ended the call and the screen returned to the white application window. You logged out and closed your laptop.

“Let’s go eat breakfast. It’s already done.”

“Really? I’m sorry for delaying you and Flowey. I know he must be hungry.”

Frisk swatted away your apology. "It's fine. Besides, Flowey can be a drama queen. Don’t mind him too much.” You chuckled at that and followed the human into the kitchen.


At 11:25, Frisk’s telephone rang and he picked it up from the receiver. He talked for a moment before putting the phone back in its rightful home. “Our guest is here. Get ready to rock and roll.”

You sat down onto the chaise, placing the ancient-looking cassette recorder on the side table and your notepad and pen in your lap. Frisk was seated at his desk, his hands folded politely in front of him. Flowey went upstairs to do whatever he was going to be doing for the hour or more the two of you would be talking with the Monster guest.

You were a tad anxious. Frisk didn't mention anything about what the guest was like. What if he wasn't nice like the Monsters you'd encountered so far? You twiddled with your pen, distracting yourself as the longest five minutes of your life slowly trickled down.

Someone knocked on the door and you looked up. It was time.

"You can come in.”

The door opened and a tall, orange-fur cat Monster dressed casually entered the office. The Monster peered groggily at Frisk and walked over to him. “Heya, buddy,” he greeted, a Southern drawl to his voice and a lopsided smile on his face.

“Heya, Burgerpants.”

The Monster was about to reach and shake hands with your employer but he paused his action. “C’mon. Really? It’s been almost a decade since I worked at the Emporium.”

“You know I’m just messing with ya.”

Burgerpants lowly chuckled. “I hope so.”

Frisk got up from his seat and shook hands with the Monster before Burgerpants sat down in one of the chairs in front of the desk. The Monster put his backpack down on the side and as he looked back up again, he noticed you. “That’s different. Who’s this?”

“This is my proofreader. They’ve only been working here for two days now.”

“Two days? Geez.” The Monster turned back to you. “Take it from me, kid. He’s a slave driver, whips and all. You’re gonna want to die by this time next week.”

“I have you know I’m anything but Mettaton.”

Burgerpants snorted. “Everyone’s better than Mettaton, well, except for those politicians in office that're giving you a hard time.”

Frisk’s eyebrows rose. “So you’ve been keeping up with the news. That’s good to hear.”

“Well, I kinda have to. I gotta read the stocks for work and there’s always a frenzy in the paper when you go down to D.C.”

“You’re right about that… So, shall we start?”

“I’m all yours.”

Frisk motioned to you and you placed your hand on the record button for the cassette player. “You know the drill. Do you mind if I record our conversation and use any of the information you disclose for research purposes?”

“Not at all.”

“Perfect. Just as a reminder, only my assistant and I will have access to the cassettes used in this interview, along with any prior tapes I recorded of you. Also, any information you disclose may end up being used in media publications in a non-anonymous fashion. I’ve done my best to stop the leaks, however, journalists will stop at nothing to dehumanize people.”

“I know quite well about that. I can’t believe Good Morning USA did that to me. I didn’t want all of America knowing I stuffed hamburgers in my pants to pick up some chicks.”

“I couldn’t believe it either.” Frisk looked down sheepishly for a moment before motioning to you again. You clicked down on the record button and the cassette started to turn. You clicked your pen and prepared to write down what you must.

“Alright. Let’s begin. Please state your name, age, current city and state of residence, and occupation.”

“Cat’n’pants but everyone calls me Burgerpants. I hate it. 29. Los Angeles, California. Accountant.” You wrote that information down.

Frisk looked pleasantly surprised. “Nice upgrade. They should be calling you ‘Moneypants’ now.”

Burgerpants chuckled uncomfortably and sadly smiled. “Thanks.”

“Please state your age, residence, and occupation when the Barrier was broken.”

“19, Hotland, burger flipper at the MTT-Brand Burger Emporium inside the MTT Resort.”

Twenty minutes passed as Frisk asked questions in a survey-like manner while Burgerpants answered them duly. You wrote down information when you felt it was necessary. Though the cassette would record everything, you knew that you nor Frisk wouldn’t want to listen to all of that dribble again so you wrote down notes to help make the work later easier.

Frisk cracked his fingers. “Alright, now that all of that boring crap is done…” He gave the cat Monster a patient smile, “Please, tell me, how have you been?”

“Horrible, but it’s manageable.” You wrote down the phrase and put it in quotes.

“I’m sorry to hear about that. Do you mind elaborating?”

“Well, I kinda have to, don’t I? Well… where do I start? You already know about my story and-”

“Burgerpants, you know I’m lazy. I don’t want to go back to the earlier tapes. Please, retell the stories you’re going to talk about.”

Burgerpants groaned. “Fine… You know I worked for Mettaton in the Underground and I hated it. How I honestly admired him and was foolishly delighted to work for him. How the rectangle-on-a-unicycle would drag me through the dirt, even made a friggin’ CD with songs about how bad I was at my job. When we all came to the Surface, Mettaton just went in, guns blazing with that stupid new body of his, onto off-Broadway. I was hopeful I could still make it as an actor up here so… after I heard about Mettaton and his crew’s success, I left Newer Home to follow him to NYC.

We all know how that turned out. I still can’t fathom why I was a bush - a fricking bush - for his stage play. That’s a role that a first grader would be given. And I was old enough to legally drink then.”

You were about to scribble something but you paused. Humans didn’t know much about Mettaton except for his large ego and heart. This was the first you heard of Mettaton being so… awful towards anyone. There was endless stories about him loving his fans more than himself, stopping at nothing to be humble while living his glamorous life - nothing like Burgerpants’s story. You scribbled down the words “METTATON - ASSHOLE?” and underlined it three times.

Burgerpants was frantically digging around in his pants’ pockets for something. “Hey, uh, buddy, you don’t mind me lighting one up in here, do ya?”

“I don’t mind but the Queen does. Do you mind if we conduct the rest of this behind the house?”

“That’s fine with me. I just need a cig right now.”

You took the cassette player and your notepad with you as the three of you walked to the back of Frisk’s home. As soon as Burgerpants got outside, he took a single cigarette out from a pack he had in his back pocket before shoving the container back in. He dug into another pocket and took out a lighter. He attempted to light the cig, however, no matter how many times he flicked the lighter, a flame wouldn’t ignite.

“Here." The human held out his finger towards the Monster. Burgerpants put the cig in his mouth and leaned in towards Frisk. Frisk snapped his finger and a flaming ball the size of his fingertip appeared out of thin air. Your heart stopped beating then. What the hell is that?

Burgerpants pushed his cigarette into the fire and his cigarette was now lit. The Monster inhaled a big puff of the smoke and exhaled it out happily. “Thanks, buck-a-roo. You saved my hide.”

“Anytime.” Frisk waved his hand around as if trying to put out the fire he had on his finger. He turned to you and noticed how curious you looked, like a child that just discovered something cool - stars in your eyes and all. The human heartily chuckled when he saw your face. “I can do a lot more than just that little thing.”

“What was that? It wasn’t like Sans’s magic at all.”

“Well, Sans’s magic is a lot different from most people’s magic. Most magic is formed into small shapes that everyone calls ‘bullets’. The pattern and shape produced are unique to each kind of Monster and each individual human.”

“I see… So is that your magic?”

“Oh, that? No, no. That’s not mine. That’s the magic of aristocrats and the current Royal family - fire magic. Humans can be easily taught multiple kinds so when I was adopted, my parents also taught me how to use their magic.”

“I see… That’s absolutely incredible.”

“Thank you.”

Burgerpants was a quarter into his cigarette before you guys went back to the discussion.

“Now, let’s get back to where we left off.”

“Alright. After getting kicked out of my apartment because I couldn’t pay the rent - even after working three side jobs alongside “performing” with Mettaton - I came back to Newer Home to live with my family. Everyone kept on saying, ‘Buck-a-roo, maybe acting isn’t for you. You need to get a normal job and do acting on the side’… I’m pretty sure I lost a year of my life from the amount of cigs I smoked that night...

I was reasonable at math and money handling, thanks to working at the Emporium, so I went to a two-year college for accounting. Immediately after graduation, I heard from Bratty and Catty that they needed an accountant for their store, so I went to California and well… I haven’t been back in a while.”

“That’s good… How are the two of them anyway? I know they can’t come east often thanks to the thrift store.”

“They’re fine. Trash To Treasure’s doing good. I actually got kicked out of the apartment I was in over there a year or two ago and they offered for me to stay at their place. Now we’re roommates.”

“That’s wonderful. But how did you lose your apartment that time?”

Burgerpants breathed in a puff of smoke and let it out. “Well… Financial issues again. The rent isn’t as bad as it was in New York but… it was still horrendous. I recently got another accounting job at a bank so I’m hoping to get my own place soon. The two of ‘em don’t seem to mind me being there so I’m not rushing.”

“Well, congratulations on that. I’m guessing you’ll still be working for the two or…?”

“Yeah, I’ll juggle the jobs. Nothing’s as bad as working at Wal-Mart on Black Friday or the Emporium… everyday. Besides, Bratty and Catty are my friends and roommates. It’s the least I can do, and they’re paying me for it.”

“That’s seriously good. But why did you say your life was horrible but manageable? If I can state my opinion, things seem to be going fine for you.”

“... Remember how when I first met you in the Underground I said that I was nineteen and I had already wasted my whole life.”

“Yes, yes I do.”

“My opinion hasn’t changed.” He was as bitter as black coffee.

Frisk looked disappointed, almost worried for the guest. “Can… you elaborate?”

Burgerpants ranted dramatically, oozing with sarcasm, “Oh, of course. Everyone was all honky-dorey when we came to the Surface. ‘Anything’s possible as long as we have the Sun shining on our backs!’ What a load of bull. All I’ve wanted to do my entire life was acting. I’m good at it too. Every audition I went to, they always said, ‘Great, great, but I’m going to have to turn you down. You don’t have the face for it.’ There’s no magic in this world that can make you any more attractive than you already are. That’s why… That’s why I’m so dead inside, buddy. I’ll never be able to achieve my dreams at this rate. I’ve tried everything. God, these cigarettes don’t even help calm me down anymore.”

This was the first time you were honestly apprehensive for a Monster. Hearing Burgerpants say those things concerned you. You figured by now that the cat was quite the pessimist by the way how he worded his rant. But that... That sent a chill down your spinal column. You put down your pen and pad and walked over to the Monster. You gently put a warm hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry to interrupt the interview but… you aren’t feeling depressed, are you?”

For a moment, the cat was stunned, just before pushing the feeling aside and letting out a nervous laugh. “I know very well that my outlook on life isn’t the most positive but I’m very willing to keep trucking through.”

You let out a sigh. “You haven’t felt that way before either, have you?”

“Nah. It runs in the family but it hasn't touched me. Don’t worry about it, buddy. I’m stressed out beyond belief but I want to feel the sunlight for as long as possible, thank you very much.”

You managed to smile despite your lingering concern. “Alright." You turned back to Frisk who was beaming as bright as the Sun at you. You unconsciously rubbed the back of your neck, unable to handle the joy that was directed towards you. You sat back down and put your notepad back in your lap.

Frisk put his firm hand on your shoulder for a moment and whispered, “Thank you,” before letting go and continuing with the interview. In his normal volume of voice, the human inquired, “You have such a bleak outlook for your future, which is why you feel horrible, if I’m correct, however, why did you also say all of this was manageable?”

Burgerpants breathed in a puff of smoke and blew it out quickly. “I’m not dealing with it by myself anymore.”

“You’re referring to Bratty and Catty.”

“Yeah… Whenever I have a shit day, they always find a way to make me feel better. Bratty’s always putting up wanted ads for actors on the fridge and Catty’s always talking smack about my co-workers at the bank. They drag me out of the house to go to the garbage dump to get stuff for their shop. They kidnap me to go to bars on Friday nights. They always tell me that Hollywood is only a little drive away… That’s why it’s manageable. Sure, they’re naturally attractive and I’m absolutely bitter over it but they’re good people; really good people.”

Frisk had a patient smile on his lips. “That’s good. I’m happy for you, seriously.”

You looked down at your notes and looked back at your note about the robot entertainer. Mettaton, Mettaton… There was something he was doing that needed actors… A moment later, a lightbulb turned on in your head. A week or so ago, you remember seeing a late-night talk show where Mettaton was one of the guests that evening. He came to announce the first movie he was not only playing a role in but producing as well. You then remembered that he said that he was looking for Monster actors for a majority of the roles, even extras for the film. He wanted the movie to be released by June of next year but the crew needed more scenes with many Monsters in them.

You informed Burgerpants of your memory. “Have you considered working on that movie Mettaton’s producing? I know you hate the bot and all but... he’s looking for as many Monsters as possible to be in the production. There’s gotta be a role perfect for you.”

The cat inhaled a bit too quickly and coughed out the smoke, squinting hard from the burning in his throat. You inquired if he was alright. “I’m fine, I'm fine. Just… What is the film supposed to be about?” He seemed genuinely curious.

Frisk filled him in. “It’s supposed to be an adventure film about my journey in the Underground, the only one I’ve approved of. Well, that’s only because Mettaton’s throwing quite the pretty penny in so that means it’s gotta be good. You know how he is.”

You thought back to the amount of movies you’d heard about that covered the topic. They were all horrid and put the race in a negative light, only displaying the horrors of the human’s fall into Wonderland. If a Monster was investing his money into the film and Frisk was approving of it, you were sure that this was going to be the one movie you needed to see next year. You hoped there’ll be a commercial for it on TV soon.

“... Really?!”

“Yes, really.”

Burgerpants was giddy, almost jumping out of his makeshift seat. “Doesn’t that mean… I can just play myself?”

Frisk paused for a moment. “Uh… Yeah. You can, actually. I did first meet you at the Emporium.”

Burgerpants threw his cigarette on the gravel and snuffed it out with his shoe. “Finally… A real opportunity…" After the cat picked up the cigarette to toss in the trash later, he looked up at you two with a twinkle in his eye and a genuine smile on his face. “I’m calling as soon as I get back to Cali. Thanks for telling me, tuts.”

“No problem.”

As Frisk continued to ask questions, Burgerpants answered them joyously, as if he found a spark in himself. And as you continued to listen on and write notes, you had a pleasant smile on your face. You wrote in big letters at one point, “YOU’LL MAKE IT, BP.”


Burgerpants was gone and your employer and you were back to work. You were listening back to the tape you just recorded and typing the information down into a document in a word processor.

“From a range of one to five, one being worst and five being excellent, how do you feel life has improved since coming to the Surface?”

“Three.”

You typed the question and number onto the document. This is going to take a while, you thought.

Frisk’s actual voice said, “You’re officially hired, you know that, right?”

You were confused by that. You looked over at Frisk, who was scrolling down a book, Flowey perched on his shoulder. “What do you mean?”

“I hadn’t officially hired you yet.”

You paused the cassette player and gave him a disgruntled look. “But you said you hired me.”

Flowey pointed to something in the book. “He lied.” The flower looked up and grimaced at you. “Duh.”

The human jotted whatever Flowey was pointing at on a piece of paper. “For the past two days, everyone on this campus has been observing you, testing you.” He looked up at you, “Did you really think I would just hire someone over the phone? I’m the ambassador for a race that is experiencing more prejudice than any other on the planet right now. I can’t afford to just hire anyone, especially after the information on some of my hard drives went public. That’s why everything’s on cassettes, y’know. Burgerpants was one of the victims of it, too.”

You sat there, stunned. You were tricked so easily. You felt like a complete moron. “I… Wow, I’m an idiot.”

Flowey flatly stated, “Yeah, you are.”

Frisk shot the golden flower a warning look, but quickly turned back to you with a kind look to him.“Yes, you didn’t know many things about the Monsters but not only were you calm and collected around them but you were kind, even genuinely concerned for their well-being. You see them how every human being should - as people. Monsters are made of love, hope, and compassion but humans don’t need those things to be considered human. You showed you were loving, hopeful, and compassionate over these past two days. You did good- no, you are good. I need an honest-to-goodness good person to work for them, to fight for them. After you asked about Burgerpants’s mental well-being and after you were open to me about your own feelings about racism in your own friend group - which you didn’t even have to do but you did - I knew that you had to be the one.”

Frisk walked over to you and put his hand on your shoulder. “I’m not going to lie, I am losing my marbles with the amount of work, however, I’ve been doing this for a decade. I could handle giving some papers a onceover. I wasn’t looking for a proofreader. I was looking for someone who I and every Monster could trust in while fighting with me to make their lives better. I was looking for an assistant. And you passed every single test everyone threw at you.”

You blinked once, twice - stunned by what Frisk said. You were unable to fully process it at first. You had never heard anyone say to you your entire life. Sure, your family would say those things to you from time to time but that was your family. This was a complete stranger until three days ago. You tried to say something but you could only fumble over and over on your words. “W… What would have happened if I-I had didn’t do what I did?... What if I wasn’t a good person?”

“Oh, you’ll see how we handle people like that soon enough.” Frisk looked at you intensely, as if he was boring holes into you. “So, what do you say? You want a promotion?”

“I felt more like your assistant than your proofreader from day one.”

Frisk laughed genuinely, his shoulders rocking with him, and gave you the biggest, happiest smile he could muster. “Well then, welcome to Newer Home - officially.”

“Thanks. Now when am I getting some groceries?”

The human snickered. “Tomorrow, I swear.”

“Tomorrow? But what about dinner tonight? Please tell me you weren’t expecting us to have Grillby’s again, were you? Flowey, please tell me he doesn’t eat burgers every night. That would explain why he’s up all hours of the night. He has the shits.”

The two of you went back and forth but for some reason you both were smiling and giggling. You were right. Life is going to be good here on the mountain.

Chapter Text

“Diane, why are you still so optimistic after everything. You lost your husband, your child, your home, your dignity. How can you still wake up with a smile on your face?

“Because, Mr. Prescott, I still hope and I still dream; because I never grew up.”

You were re-reading a literary classic and personal favorite: “Hope and Dream” by D.R. Winters. When your father, the man who sparked your love for literature, gave you this book as a present, you never truly put the novel down. When you were perusing the bookcase at home or in libraries, your eyes had this magical habit of finding it. When you saw that navy blue spine, you always picked it up to read. You knew the book word-to-word yet you still read it when you were happy, sad, even when you were bored out of your skull, which you currently were.

The queen came by your home early this morning to request that you handle the administrative duties for the day. You, of course, couldn't refuse. Toriel was sweet as sugar to you the entire time you've known her. This was a small task to do to repay her endless kindnesses. This didn't mean that you would be entertained with your duty. It was already the time Frisk would probably knock on your door, asking if you were going to eat in his kitchen again, and not a single call, fax, anything came in.

You decided to take a break at that moment. You put a piece of paper in between the page you were on and closed the novel. You got up out of your seat and stretched, letting out a loud groan as your muscles loosened up. This is gonna be a long day, you thought.

“Um… Excuse me?” You turned around and saw a little Monster standing before you. The Monster was a tyrannosaurus rex that was as tall as your upper thigh with lime green scales. The Monster was donned in a jade-striped dress with a baby pink cardigan like the ones the kindergartners you saw the first day on her shoulders and matching bow daintily on their head. She was absolutely adorable. The dinosaur glanced at her feet and twiddled her clawed digits nervously before looking up at you with big brown eyes. “Are… Are you the human I saw three days ago?”

You recognized the girl as the one you saw on the ride into the Settlement. “Yes. You must be the little one who waved at me when I was with Papyrus, am I right?”

The dinosaur nodded quickly, a small smile forming. “Mmhmm. My name is Dina. What's your name?” You told the Monster your name enthusiastically. “You're the first human I've seen in the office besides Frisk so that must mean you're his… Uh…”

“Assistant?”

Dina’s eyes lit up and she nodded again.

“Yes, I'm Frisk’s assistant. I'll be here for a long time so if you ever need help with anything, let me know.” You gave her a patient smile.

“Okay… Um… Can I ask you something?”

“Hmm, what is it?”

“Can I be your friend?”

You blinked once, twice, before beaming down on Dina. “Of course you can, Dina.”

Dina hopped up and down, overjoyed with your answer. “Thank you very much.”

“Of course, Dina.”

The little dinosaur suddenly went into a panic. “Oh, no, I gotta get back to class or Mrs. Dreemurr will be worried. I'll see you later then.” And with that, Dina wobbled out the office. Just as she was about to turn right she stopped and turned in the direction of the auditorium. Her eyes lit up, a large grin on her snout. “Hi, Frisk!”

“Hi there, Dina." It really was Frisk. "I see you're feeling better. Mrs. Dreemurr told me that you caught the flu last week.”

Dina rubbed her shoe into the tile, looking away from the person she was conversing with a coy smile. “Yeah. I'm good now, though.”

“That's excellent… Shouldn't you be in class?”

“Yeah. I had to use the bathroom but I heard something from in here so I went to see what it was. Mrs. Dreemurr said that a human would be joining the.. Uh… staff! And I wanted to say hi. Now, we’re friends.”

“That's wonderful, Dina. I'm so happy for you. But you should hurry back to class.”

Dina pouted. “Okay.

“Take care now.”

“Thanks. You too.” Dina scrambled down the hall back to her classroom.

Footsteps clicked towards you and Frisk entered the office a second later, in jeans rather than sleepwear. Frisk folded his arms on the desk and rested his chin on his hands. “I guess Mom guilt tripped you into doing front desk today.”

“Not guilt tripped. I have you know I was perfectly willing to do this.”

“Then why did you bring a book?” The human pointed at the closed book on the desk.

“... I had a feeling I wouldn't be doing much in here.”

“Mhm… Well, I actually came here to snatch you away from your ‘important duties’ today. We’re going grocery shopping.”

The sigh of relief you let out could probably be heard from the top floor of the Academy. “Finally. No more take out.”

Frisk laughed at your dramatic response. He got off the desk. “C’mon. Let's get out of here.”

You walked out the office but then you stopped in your tracks. “Hold up.” You walked back and wrote a message on a sticky note and pressed it onto the desk. Toriel would know that you didn't walk out without reason. “Alright, now let's go.”

You headed down the stairs to the entrance to the school. Frisk opened the door and held it for you as you walked through, thanking him. The two of you then walked over to the parking lot in front to see Papyrus, waiting patiently in his gorgeous ride. He immediately saw you as you both walk up to the car.

“HUMANS, I, THE GREAT PAPYRUS, HOPE YOU’RE BOTH HAVING A GOOD MORNING,” Papyrus said, in his usual high volume of voice.

“Heya, Papyrus.” You waved to him.

“Morning, Papyrus. And we definitely are. Thanks for picking us up as usual.”

“IT IS NO PROBLEM AT ALL. YOU ARE BOTH AN ESSENTIAL PART OF NEWER HOME. AND BESIDES, IT GIVES ME A REASON TO REV UP THE ENGINES OF MY CRIMSON CHARIOT.”

Frisk got in the front seat while you sat in the back. You put on your seatbelt as Frisk spoke to the skeleton. “I hope you don’t mind me discussing what’s going on for tomorrow, do you, Papyrus?”

“NOT AT ALL. NOW, LET US BE AWAY. BUT FIRST.” The skeleton looked at Frisk’s shoulders then yours. “PERFECT. YOU’RE ALL STRAPPED IN. NOW, WE CAN BE AWAY.”

Papyrus turned the key to the car, powering up the engines inside the vehicle. He pulled out the parking lot with expertise and drove away from The Academy down the road you were on only four days prior.

“SO, WHO IS THE HUMAN COMING THIS TIME, HUMAN?”

“Jacques Conard. He’s running for a position in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in France… or something like that. He claims that he will talk to me - and only me - about the relations you all will have with France.”

“THAT SMELLS LIKE WET DOG KIND OF TROUBLE.”

“Absolutely. Speak of the devil, I had Dogamy and Dogaressa do a background check on him and they said the same thing. The general public of France doesn’t like him either. He’s a joke on Chirper, users referring to him as ‘connard’ rather than ‘conard’. There's claims that he's more of a vampire than a politician, stories upon stories of him abusing his status to get whatever he desires at the moment… He’s probably going to be in for a bad time with all of us.”

“OH, COME NOW, HUMAN. I’M SURE HE WON’T BE THAT BAD… RIGHT?” The car stopped at a red light at the bottom of the hill, about to enter the urban district. Frisk took the moment to give the skeleton a serious look. Papyrus stared at him for a brief moment before looking into his lap, remorsefully. “... I HOPE IT WON’T RESORT TO THAT.”

“I hope so too.” The human frowned guiltily at the kind-hearted Monster. “I hate imposing on you two.”

“NO ONE ELSE CAN JUDGE THE HUMANS BUT A HUMAN, HUMAN. AND WHEN YOU MAKE YOUR JUDGMENT, WE WILL BE THERE.”

You chimed in nervously. “Should… Should I be listening to this conversation?”

“It’s perfectly alright that you listened in.” Frisk looked out into the buildings. “You’d find out sooner or later what we meant regardless.”


Papyrus drove you two all the way down to a supermarket in Newfoundland. Frisk claimed the only reason why he shops down here instead of the Settlement is because the store here sells snacks he likes. Once you arrived, you, of course, thanked the skeleton for his deed. Papyrus decided to wait outside for you both, which concerned you until you noticed he took out a puzzle book and pencil from his glove compartment. At least he won’t be bored. When you both walked in, Frisk immediately zoomed down to the snack aisle so you decided to do your shopping alone. You picked up food for recipes that were easy to prepare and store away for later. You learned from your family the true blessing of leftovers. As you put your items onto the conveyor belt at the checkout, you reminded yourself to cook as soon as you had the opportunity.

After paying for everything, you exited and went back into the cold. The chilly weather known in November came like a brick overnight. It was not as cold as the usual temperatures in November on the mountain but it still made you regret leaving your gloves back in your room already. As you walked back down the block to head back to where Papyrus parked, you caught a whiff of a heavenly scent of baked goods and cinnamon coming from an orange-lit shop directly across the street from his red vehicle. You hadn’t eaten breakfast yet and you had the cash to treat yourself just a little...

You walked over to the shop in a heartbeat. It was a fast casual service restaurant, only having a glass display case acting as a counter out in the open. A rabbit Monster with a hat and outfit meant for a warmer season and luscious lips and long eyelashes greeted you from behind the counter.

“Hiya, traveler. How may I help you?” she inquired, a Southern drawl to her.

“Hi, I want…” You weren’t sure what you wanted. “... whatever is making that delicious smell.”

The shopkeeper snickered. “Comin’ right up.” She went to the oven behind her and put a roll into the oven to reheat. She came back and rested her hand on her fist as she propped her elbow onto the counter. “You’re a fresh face?”

“Yes. I moved into Newer Home four days ago. I work with Frisk as his assistant.”

“Frisk? No wonder you’re one of the sweet ones.”

You appreciated the compliment but frowned at her reply. You knew what she was implying. “Have things been rough for you?”

“It’s rough for every Monster. My sister used to run an inn down in the Underground and when we all came up, she just couldn’t stand not running one. I always had my shop next to hers so when she set up next door, I squeezed in my business. Even though we're open to customers of all origins, we only get Monster business. And when we do get human business…” The shopkeeper pointed a furry finger at a large crack in the corner of the counter. “It never ends well.”

“I’m… I’m so sorry, ma’am.”

The shopkeeper crossed her arms and looked at you with tender eyes. “Nothing to fret about. My sis and I are hopeful for the future. We know that we’ll have our rights soon enough. Your employer’s working hard to get ‘em.”

“I hope so-”

You were cut off mid-sentence when you noticed a commotion coming from across the street. You made an 180 and looked on to see that Papyrus was no longer in his car. Papyrus was surrounded by a group of large men with threatening demeanors. The leader of the pack was pointing accusingly at the skeleton’s chest, feral look on his face, talking down aggressively to the skeleton. The Monster was obviously nervous, his bones almost rattling and his gloved hands up defensively.

“Oh, not again…” You heard the baker mutter under her breath.

Normally, you would have just stood there and watched the ordeal occur. They were much bigger than you ever would be. They could easily hurt you if they wanted to. You wouldn’t win. Yet, for some reason, after hearing what the shopkeeper said, you dropped your groceries in an instant and your feet moved on their own.

Never turning back to the woman, you shouted, “Watch my groceries for me.” You didn’t give the Monster a chance to reply as you went from a walk to a strut to a full-out run.

In a matter of seconds, you stood in front of Papyrus, holding your arms out, shielding the kindly skeleton.

“Who the hell do ya think you are?” The leader of the pack was practically in your face.

You exclaimed, new-found adrenaline rushing through you, “I’m a person with a soul, who the hell do you think you are?”

“Excuse me, shithead?”

You could hear your heart thumping in your ears but you kept going. “I know what I said.” You jabbed the man in the chest with a finger and snarled up at him. “And you will back the hell up, you hear me.”

“I don’t have to do shit. I’ll pummel you to the ground if you-”

“No, you won’t!”

The entire group was befuddled by your statement. “...What?”

“No, you effin’ won’t! You’re cowards, all of you! Preying on Monsters that only want to bask in the sun and go day-to-day in peace; how dare you. You won’t hit me. You won’t hit him. You won’t hit anyone. Because that’s all cowards do; talk, talk, talk and not do a damn thing.” For some reason, your mind wandered to an image of Michelle. You immediately shook it out of you and back onto the visage of this man, that started to lose his earlier fury.

“I… I…”

"‘I. I.’ Speak up, asshole.” You hounded, mimicking the man’s inability to speak properly at the moment, “You and your crew were talking a lot of smack just a minute ago and now you have the audacity to not even stand your ground?”

“Ugh, fuck you.” He walked away, stomping his boots on the concrete in hot embarrassment. A moment later, the rest of the aggressors dispersed, following him down the street. As soon as they all turned the corner, you let out a breath you hadn't realized you were holding.

You won.

You somehow won.

You turned to Papyrus and looked straight into his eyes. “Are you alright, Papyrus?”

“YES… THE GREAT PAPYRUS IS FINE. YOU… YOU DIDN’T NEED TO DO THAT.”

You were genuinely confused by his statement. “What do you mean? Who knows what would have happened if I hadn't stepped forward.”

“YOU WERE IN MORE DANGER THAN I WAS. THEY WOULDN’T HAVE LAID A FINGER ON ME. I KNOW THEM.”

You were dumbfounded. “You know those ass---” You caught yourself. There was no need for such vernacular now. You cleared your throat, embarrassed by how aggressive you sounded to the Monster you assisted. You continued in your normal tone of voice, “Excuse my language earlier, by the way - You know those people?”

“YES. THEY ARE MY CO-WORKERS.”

“Your co-workers? Wha-?” You then remembered that you first met the skeleton by calling the number to a taxi company. The drivers at Mt. Ebott Car Service were harassing one of their own.

“THEY DO THIS ALL THE TIME. I’M USED TO IT. I GIVE THEM MY LUNCH MONEY AS A... PRESENT AND THEY LEAVE ME BE.” The skeleton laughed loudly and smiled big at you.

You frowned hard, obviously upset by what he said. The skeleton was lying to you. His co-workers were not only harassing him but robbing him too.

“Papyrus, that's… That's a crime. That's an actual crime. Wh-Why do you allow this to happen? I know you know what's really going on.”

“BECAUSE I KNOW THEY’LL TURN AROUND.”

Your eyebrows lowered in befuddlement. The smile slowly crept off of the skeleton's teeth and jaw.

“PEOPLE - MONSTER AND HUMAN ALIKE - ARE NATURALLY GOOD. SOMEWHERE, BEHIND ALL THE THINGS THEY THINK AND BELIEVE, THERE’S KINDNESS AND ACCEPTANCE. PEOPLE AREN’T BORN THE WAY MANY HUMANS ARE ACTING TOWARDS US. SOMEDAY, THEY'LL CHANGE. AND THE ONLY WAY TO DO THAT IS TO BE THE WAY THE GREAT PAPYRUS WANTS THEM TO BE TO ME.”

You could only stare at Papyrus, stunned by him and his words. You were delighted that he was still so positive despite what was happening to him. Something, however, told you that his opinion was almost juvenile. He was just too hopeful, too kindhearted. Like how little Dina asked you to be her friend, Papyrus was almost doing the same to those men. You were afraid for him - very afraid.

“I… I respect your choice… Have you told Sans or Frisk about what's going on at least?”

Papyrus laughed it off. “THERE IS NO NEED FOR THEM TO INTERFERE IN THE MATTERS OF THE GREAT PAPYRUS.”

You cracked a grin but quickly frowned again.

You walked back across the street to get your bags from the rabbit baker, drained; dreading the future of Papyrus’s actions while coming down from your adrenaline rush. The shopkeeper was awaiting your return, your breakfast in a paper bag on the counter.

As you pulled out your wallet, she put her hand on yours and shook her head. “It's on the house. What you did back there was mighty brave. Those men could've killed you dead, y’know.”

You shuttered. “I had a feeling they could, but, my body just moved on its own. My mouth moved on its own quite a bit too.”

The rabbit chuckled. “Have a good day, sweet cheeks.”

“You too. Thank you again.”

You looked inside the bag to see your breakfast. The cinnamon scent hit you like a brick but quickly sent your senses gently down a stream. You felt your mouth salivating at the little rabbit-shaped cinnamon rolls. Wait… Rolls? You had only asked for one. You looked up at the shopkeeper to inquire about the mistake but was silenced immediately. As if the store owner could read your mind, she winked at you with a smirk on her lips. You beamed at her as you bit into one of them, too hungry to wait until you all returned back to the Settlement. Your eyes became as big as saucers. It was good, really good, but it was burning hot. You hurriedly breathed through your mouth, hoping to cool the piece down, sending the rabbit into hysterics.

Chapter Text

You woke up the next day, refreshed as you had for the past five days. Once again, the noises you had been hearing the past evenings at midnight visited. They came and went once you got up to open the door to your room. It was certainly odd but you were getting used to this routine. They still unsettled you but no longer frightened you. You were beginning to dismiss the noises as pipes pumping.

When Frisk knocked on your door at two minutes to ten, much to your surprise, he was fully dressed. He had a mug full of coffee in his hand. “The guest is arriving earlier than we thought. He's with Papyrus now. I'd love for you to be there for backup but…”

“I know. The politician didn't want anyone else to be in there.”

Frisk smiled glumly. He glanced at your kitchen before looking into his coffee and swooshing it a little, making the cream inside it swirl like a vortex . “This will be the first time you aren't eating breakfast at my place. It kinda puts you in perspective, eating without your assistant there.”

You cocked an eyebrow. “What's that supposed to mean? Are you falling for little ol’ me already?”

Frisk smirked at you, one eyebrow cocked up, mischief written all over him. “I would have been flirting with you from day one if I was interested.” He was probably serious, though he winked at you. His smirk shifted to a small smile. “You're good company, interesting to be around.” The human leaned on your door frame, taking a swig. “Flowey likes you too."

You leaned on the other side of the door frame. “Really now.”

“He would have tried to violently murder you more than once by now if he didn't like you even a little. He shows his appreciation in an odd way.”

You sighed. “I know quite well.”

A telephone rang from next door. Frisk got off the door frame in an instant. “That must be Papyrus. I’ll definitely need you later so have your cellphone on you.”

“Alright.” You told yourself to find and set a special ringtone for Frisk’s number.

“Volume on too. I don't want the same thing that happened two nights ago to happen again.”

You rolled your eyes and he laughed at your sassy remark. “Good luck. You're going to need it."

“Thanks.” With that, Frisk jogged off to his office.

This was technically your first day off since you got here. Since school was still in session, you weren’t sure what to do. Ricky was at work right now so he wouldn’t be available. Your family was all doing their business as well. You decided to explore the Academy after you finished eating breakfast.

You made pancakes that morning. As you put the piece in your mouth, you frowned. They weren’t like his at all.


It was thirty minutes after eleven and you were exploring the campus. You could hear the echoes of teachers educating students as your shoes clicked on the tiles. You looked at the various bulletin boards scattered throughout the hallways. Some were made by the students of the several grades in the school and some were made by members of extracurricular clubs. You stared long and hard at the literature club’s bulletin. Back in high school, you weren’t in any clubs. Yes, you were on a sports team, however, the team never really fulfilled you the way leisure reading did. After all these years, you still regretted putting in the tryout slip rather than the membership form for the book club.

As you made it back to the first floor, the hallway here dedicated to the preschool to first-grade students, you saw another bulletin board. The board had nothing but many sheets of colored paper folded in half stapled to it. You hadn't a clue what it was supposed to be.

“You’re Frisk’s assistant, am I correct?” What a motherly voice that was just now. You turned to your right and there was that teacher you saw with Toriel on your first day. She was quite the ewe, wool that was much cleaner than the wool of the actual creature. She smelled of baby powder. She was dressed professionally but colorfully like how Toriel always has. She tucked up her glasses with one of her hooves and walked over to you.

“Yes, I am.” You told the Monster your name.

"That’s a lovely name. I am Mrs. Baatholomew. I teach arts and crafts here at the Academy.”

You held out a hand and she took it kindly. You shook hands respectfully and let go right after.

Mrs. Baatholomew rested her hooves on her round belly and glanced up at the board before looking at you again. “I’m guessing Tori and Frisk haven’t told you about the War Board, have they?”

You shook your head and she giggled lightly.

“Toriel and Sans are both comedians in their own respect. It’s a sight to see when they duke it out in the faculty room. They go at it for hours, joke after joke. All while we all have to sit and nearly fall down from laughing too much. When we were making the lesson plans over the summer this year, Sans declared war on her, stating that they needed to finally find out who was the better comedian. And let me tell about how Toriel loves a challenge.

They decided to leave it to the students to decide who would win. So whenever they come up with a joke, they write it down and put it on the board here. You can tell whose belongs to whom once you get to know them better. Whenever students want, they can take one off the board. Once they read it, they put it in the box here. Sans and Tori claim they’ll count the tally once the school year ends but the box has overflowed several times already and it’s not even December yet.

I always take one daily so I can read it to my little one here.”

Mrs. Baatholomew looked down at her belly and rubbed it gently. Oh. She’s pregnant. Judging by the size of her belly, her due date was very near.

“Congratulations.”

The bespectacled ewe looked at you with pure joy written on her face. “Thank you very much.”

The teacher took down one and read it aloud. “Police were called to a daycare where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.” She giggled and you giggled along too. “You should take one. The jokes are corny but they always find a way to make you smile.”

You took her up on her suggestion. You took a white piece of paper down carefully to not tear it and opened it. “I'd tell you a chemistry joke but I know I wouldn't get a reaction.” You snorted. 

Mrs. Baatholomew went straight into hysterics and you followed right behind her. She suddenly stopped with a pained expression on her face and her hooves flew up to her stomach. “I guess you liked it too, didn’t you, sweetpea?” She flinched and laughed a moment later. “I guess you really do." The Monster teacher looked at you. “You are quite a sweet human, just like Frisk. I’m glad you are working with him.”

Your heart swelled. “Thank you very much, Mrs. Baatholomew.”

“You’re quite welcome. I’ll be taking my leave. Have a nice day if we don’t run into each other again.”

“You too.”

Mrs. Baatholomew put her note into the box below and walked down the hall to enter a classroom.

You checked your phone and not much time had passed. You decided to continue on your walk around the school. As you passed by the kindergarten classroom, you heard two familiar voices. You peeked inside and you saw Toriel reading a story from a book to her class, displaying the pictures so her little students could see. There to help explain the story was Papyrus. He seemed honestly thrilled to read the story, making big facial expressions and movements, dramatically telling the story to the little ones. When he put his hands up like claws and roared like a bear, the students giggled.

You thought about what happened yesterday. He was so nice, reading stories to children so enthusiastically, yet he had to deal with harassment like that. He didn't deserve it. He needed help... That was what you had to do. You had to help him. The best way to do it was to tell someone what was going on. And who else should know but his family.

You were about to jet it to the lobby but then you noticed you still had the paper from the War Board in your hand. You had to abide by the laws of the town now. When you needed to clean up, you had to clean up. When you turned back towards the board, you saw another student there. The student was a bluebird with that baby pink cardigan you’d been seeing on the little students, except in a vest form to fit over her wings. She was on the tips of her claws but she just couldn't get a certain note down from the wall, no matter how she tried to swat it down with her wing.

You walked over to assist the Monster. “Do you need help with taking down a joke?"

The bluebird flinched. She snapped her head at you, nervous.

You felt guilty. “Did I scare you? I'm sorry if I did.”

She quickly shook her head and looked up at you almost apologetically. You beamed down on her, patiently awaiting her answer. The bluebird looked up at you shyly through her thick eyelashes. She used her wing to point at a coral piece of paper on the wall. “This one?"

The bluebird nodded quickly.

You carefully peeled her choice of joke off the wall and handed it to her. She looked pleased. She opened the paper and read it. The noise she let out alarmed you. It was a hoarse, throaty noise; a noise that should never come out of anyone. Was that supposed to be a laugh? You weren't sure. The bluebird Monster didn't “laugh” for long, going into a coughing fit a moment later. You got on your knee in an instant and put your hand on her back supportively. When her coughing died down, she looked up at you with a sad smile on her beak.

“Are you okay?”

The Monster nodded.

“That’s good… What’s your name?”

The bluebird put up her wing in front of her as if she was telling you to wait. You were confused but you obliged her. She picked up a small dry-erase board and marker from the floor next to her. She opened the marker and quickly scribbled something on the board. When she was done, she turned the board towards you. In very neat handwriting was the bird’s name: Bluejoy. She also had written her nickname, Joy.

You didn't have a concrete answer as to why the little bird was communicating with you this way, but you went along with it to make her comfortable. “It’s nice to meet you, Joy.” You introduced yourself to the student.

Joy smiled at you before wiping the board with her wing and scribbling something on it. “Thank you,” she wrote.

“No problem.”

She erased her message and began to walk away, tossing the joke in the box as she did. Just before she walked through the door of the first-grade classroom, she waved at you. You waved back. Bluejoy opened the door, letting the voice of her teacher fill the classroom, walked in, and closed it behind her.

You tossed your note in the box and continued on your original route to Sans’s office. You zoomed down the stairs to the entrance and to his door. You knocked on it almost desperately.

“who’s there?”

You realized that he was waiting for you to say a joke. You weren’t good at making puns so you hoped the one you would say would satisfy him.

“Musty.”

“musty who?”

“You musty the person at the door.”

Rustling and shuffling could be heard from behind the door before Sans opened it and came outside. “wow, that was a bad one.”

“Hey, I tried.” You shrugged at the skeleton.

Sans put his bone hands into the pockets of his pants and leaned on the door. “so, what must be so important that you needed this little ol’ skeleton?”

You took a deep breath. You hadn’t realized how winded you were from running down the stairs. “It’s about… Papyrus.”

Sans cut you off, not looking at you. “if it’s about what happened yesterday in newfoundland, i already know. bunnette told me.”

You could only let out an “oh” at the skeleton’s statement. Bunnette must be the name of that shopkeeper yesterday. You were glad she told him.

“bunnette also told me what you did.” Sans looked up at you. The skeleton’s eye sockets creased, the pinpricks of light enlarged and his permanent grin seemed to be more gentle, more natural. “thanks.”

You were at a loss for words just as how you were with Papyrus yesterday. Sans was so genuinely happy with what you did, you didn’t know what to say. You weren’t expecting anything, even gratitude from your action. You didn’t do it for satisfaction. You did it to protect the skeleton, an acquaintance- no, a friend. Papyrus was your friend.

“… I’d do it again if I have to.”

“you’ll have to probably.”

“Has… How long has this been happening?”

“since the moment he started working there. he hints at it from time to time, only when it gets what he defines as ‘bad’. i find out everything from onlookers.”

“Have you tried to-”

“intervene? oh, i wish i could. if he’d allow me…” The pinpricks in his eyes disappeared and a terrifying aura seemed to leak out of him, like smog, entering your lungs and sending you head into a haze. “I’d send them to hell.”

You were frightened by the skeletal Monster’s response. The shivers that shot down your spine, like bullets from the loaded gun that was your brain telling you to run away, were proof of it. You were about to agree with your conscious but your feet were firmly planted on the floor. You weren’t sure what has been happening to your fight-or-flight response recently but you were hoping it would go back to normal soon.

“but, of course, he said for me to not do anything and i gotta respect my bro’s wishes, right?” The lights in his eyes returned and Sans glanced up at you as if nothing ever happened. You were still unnerved by that split second of time, but, for the sake of Papyrus and your sanity, you gulped your fear down. “R-Right…"

“by the way, frisk is gonna call you in a sec.”

“I’m sorry, wha-” Suddenly, Living on a Prayer filled the room. You usually only heard the song when the house phone in your family home called you, however, to your surprise, it was your employer. You had meant to change the ringtone for Frisk but you got caught up in lollygagging around the school. You glanced at the skeleton, earning a shrug from him. You pressed the answer button and put the device up to your ear. “Hello?”

“Heya, we’re almost done. You can come to my place now.”

“Alright. I’ll be there in a minute. See you in a moment.”

“You got it.”

You hung up and looked at the skeleton. “I’ll see you around.”

“nah, you’ll see me in an hour or so.” Your eyebrows lowered. “you’ll see what I mean.”

You shrugged his comment off. With that, you began your trek up the stairs. When you made it up the first flight, you were sure that you heard that familiar baritone voice say from below, “so it’s Bon Jovi this time.” But you quickly removed the thought from your head.


When you arrived back at the house, you knocked on the door to Frisk’s home. His voice rang out, “Come in,” and you did what he said.

Inside, seated on one of the living chairs, was Jacques Conard. Conard looked like every politician that ever lived - boring. They always inspired you to step up your business suit game so you wouldn’t look as fashion-revolting as them. Some politicians looked friendly but this one looked… like a word you would rather not use. You told yourself not to judge but the way how Frisk looked, how distant your employer and friend looked, you knew whatever the French politician had been telling him for the past hour was snore-inducing.

“Oh, you must be the lovely assistant the ambassador was talking about,” the guest gave you a onceover, smirking when he stared at a certain part of your body.

You felt your stomach pit. Ew was the only word you could think of. You instantly wanted this to be over.

“Yes, yes they are.” The look Frisk had on his face seemed to agree with your opinion. Your employer introduced you to the politician.

“I am Jacques Conard, junior minister for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the French Republic - soon to be. I have the general vote in my favor.”

How smug. You had to hold your tongue from saying anything that will upset the man.

Your boss got up from his desk chair and walked around it. “Now, my assistant and I will conduct a tour of the Academy of Monsterkind. The Academy is a landmark here in Newer Home. If you would follow me.”

The politician got up from his chair and followed Frisk out the door. You would have strolled next to Frisk but you didn’t want Conard to be able to look at your backside so you stayed behind them all. He creeped you out that bad.

Frisk walked you all back to the entrance to the school, answering every question the politician threw at him with precision. Conard seemed to be completely displeased by the school, a look on his face that made it seem as if the place smelled disgusting. You weren’t pleased by the Frenchman either, constantly having to shift behind him to prevent him from staring at you.

As you were walking past About Us, the guest stopped and looked at it with a blank look on his face. “Frisk, what is this?” Conard had a hard look on his face.

Frisk stopped in his tracks and walked back. “This painting’s title is About Us. Since I was the one who suggested that the royal family commission it and the Monsters credit me for breaking the barrier, I was given the honor to name it. This is almost all the Monsters when the Barrier was just broken, as I described to you in the office be-”

“Yes, yes, the boring history lesson. Go on.”

Frisk acted as if he didn’t hear the rude interjection. “As I was saying, this displays what the Monsters are truly like. The Monsters are a cheerful, prid-”

“But they murder.”

“Ah- Excuse me?”

“I’m sure I said that in English. They-Mur-der.”

You didn’t like what he said at all. Frisk didn’t either. Conard pulled a string that wasn’t supposed to be pulled. Your employer - for a moment and only the briefest of moments - scrunched up his brows and curved his lips downward. He instantly displaced his emotional response, hiding it from the guest. Frisk dug in his pocket for something and handed it to the politician. “Here, this is a gift from the Monsters and I to you.”

“Oh, thank you.” The politician muttered under his breath, “Finally getting some service around here.” Conard put whatever was in his hand onto the lapel of his suit jacket. When his hand returned to his side, you saw what the gift was. It was a red pin in the shape of a triangle. You felt a chill when you saw the minute accessory. It seemed innocent enough but it also seemed to ooze something awful from it. You shook the thought out your head, telling yourself that you needed to stop assuming things once again.

“Alright, let’s keep going.” As Conard went on ahead, Frisk stopped in front of a security camera. He looked into it and put up his index finger for it to clearly see. You hadn’t a clue what the gesture was. You left it at that.

You looked back at the painting one last time, marveling at its beauty. You couldn't wrap your head around the idea of not being enamored by it.

When you three arrived in the lobby, Toriel was there. She seemed to be searching for something. As you three walked in, Toriel perked up and greeted you three. “My child, there you are, I was waiting for you to-” She looked at the politician, realization on her features. “Ah, I forgot today was that Friday. You must be that politician, am I correct?”

“Yes,” Conard gave her a grimace. Has he the audacity to be that way in front of the queen? Is he nuts?

Toriel’s eye twitched as she continued to introduce herself as she did to you. “I am Toriel Dreemurr, the queen of the Kingdom of Monsters. However, I take on the role of mother and teacher much more than queen nowadays. It is very nice to meet you.”

“The pleasure is mine.” Conard's tone of voice matching his attitude.

Once again, her eye twitched, this time, her eyebrows doing so as well. The kindly teacher turned to her son. “Have you shown our lovely guest the auditorium yet?”

“I was about to. Would you like to join us?”

“I am afraid I cannot. I am currently looking for Dina. Papyrus and I were taking the class down to the gym for playtime, but she disappeared. If you see her, please let us know.”

“Of course. Good luck, Mom.”

“Thank you, sweetie. I hope I will get to see you all for some tea and pie after classes end for today.” Toriel looked at the pin on his lapel then flashed a hard, warning look to the French man. Before leaving, she looked at Frisk with gentle eyes. “I hope you make the best judgment for us,” she whispered to him, before turning and heading back down the hall to her classroom in search of the dinosaur.

“Did… Did that Monster just glare at me?” Conard whispered harshly, quite offended by her action.

“Oh, she only returns what she receives.” You clapped a hand over your mouth. You couldn’t stop it. You just had to sass the perv just once.

Frisk bore holes into you and you immediately stood straight as a pin. He had his mother’s eyes, even though you could barely make his out. Your employer acted as if he never did that and turned to the politician.“Let’s be on our way.”

“Yes.” It seemed your snarky comment fell on deaf ears.

Frisk held the door to the auditorium as you two walked in. Once again, the stunning woodwork on the proscenium arch and the powerful statues took your breath away. Conard was unimpressed.

“This is one of the landmarks of Newer Home. The auditorium here is used by the entire community for all sorts of events. Many of the addresses the king give are held in here. The statues to your left and right represent the Six Clans. The carvings on the arch retell the story of The War, which I mentioned in the office. It leads all the way up to the formation of the Barrier, which kept the Monsters under Mt. Ebott for centuries.”

“Good riddance.”

Frisk turned to the guest. “Pardon me?”

“Honestly, all this who-hah about magic is nerve-racking. Witchcraft and magic suddenly became real ten years ago. Plus, it wasn’t good magic either. It wasn’t ‘oh, let’s turn him into a frog’ kind of magic. It’s a weapon that humanity can’t use. I hope the lot of them stay in this country. My country doesn't need any of that foolishness. In fact, they should have stayed behind that Barrier, the lot of them.”

Once again, Frisk looked as if Conard had messed with something he shouldn't have. And once again, Frisk dismissed his anger in a flash to not let the guest get the opportunity to notice. You, however, noticed immediately both times. Your employer dug into his pocket and pulled another triangular pin out. “Here, this is another gift for you.”

“Oh, thank you.” The politician put the pin onto his lapel under the first one he received.

“Actually, this one needs to be turned upside down.”

“Ugh, whatever you say,” the dignitary mumbled, before turning the pin so that it would be an inverted triangle. As you stared at the new pin, that dreadful feeling came back, even stronger this time. There was something up with those pins. You weren’t sure what but there was.

“Let’s be on our way. I'll be showing you one of our classrooms. We don't have as many advanced resources that many public schools in this nation do, but we found a way to make due with this inconvenience.”

You all exited the auditorium. When you stepped out into the auditorium, Frisk turned to a security camera and looked into it. He held up his index and middle fingers so that the camera could clearly get a visual of them. Frisk then turned back to the guest. Once again, you felt that something was wrong. Frisk was doing this on purpose.

As you arrived in the lobby, little Dina was there. She seemed to be looking around for something, looking under the benches that were placed next to the wall to the office. Dina must have heard your footsteps because she banged her head on the top of the bench she was currently under. You hissed. That must have hurt. She shook the flash of pain away and crawled back on to her feet. She wobbled over to Frisk and you with a pout.

Frisk sighed, relieved to find her. “There you are, Dina. Mrs. Dreemurr and Papyrus are looking for you.”

“I know. I’m sorry for making you worry.” She looked genuinely guilty for her actions.

“It's fine. No one's upset.”

Dina was relieved.

“Hey, where did your bow go?”You noticed Dina’s bow was missing from her head.

“That’s why I got left behind when everyone went to gym. I tripped on the carpet over there and my bow fell off my head.”

Frisk hissed. “I'm so sorry to hear that. Luckily you and your brother are so thick-headed or you'd both hurt yourselves more often from all that tripping.”

Dina giggled at his comment. “I looked all over here and I- I even looked in the office - one time it ended up in the office - and I still can't find it.”

You asked, “Do you want me to help you? Then I’ll take you to gym.”

Dina nodded, happily. “Okay.”

Pitter-pattering came from the staircase that led to the second floor and a tall, armless dinosaur with yellow scales and a circular mark on his left eye came into the lobby. He was balancing a textbook on his head as if he’d done it millions of times before.

“Oh, hey, MK."

“‘sup Frisk." The voice of a scraggy, adolescent male came from MK's vocal chords. The dinosaur walked up to Dina. “Hey, Dee.”

“Hey, bro. You didn’t see my bow over by the stairs, did you?”

“Nope. You lost it again?”

“Yep.” Dina pouted at him.

“I’ll help you out. Lemme put this book down.” MK walked over to a bench and bent over to slide the book on his head onto the bench gently. He came back in an instant.

You said, “I’ll search over on this side and you two should search in the office and under the benches.”

“Okay.”

On the side where the two staircases start, there was a space that overlooked the staircase that leads to the entrance. In this space was what you recognized as Asgore’s throne. The throne was the only chair you’ve seen so far that was built large enough to hold Asgore’s enormous body. It sported horns similar to the king’s, which you found cool and ironic. It was certainly meant for the kindly king and his antics. And on the right one was Dina’s bow, hooked onto the end of it. You gently took the accessory down. “Found it."

You turned back to the group and Dina wobbled over to you, giddily. “Can you put it back on my head please?”

You realized that Dina couldn't reach over her head due to the length of her arms. “Of course.” You placed her bow back on her head carefully, making sure to clip it to her scale so as to not to hurt the dinosaur. When you were done, Dina looked up at you with a big smile.

“Thank you very much.”

“You’re welcome.”

MK looked at the guest, who was highly irritated, then at his lapel. MK frowned instantly. He turned to Frisk with a wary look on his face. “What did he do?”

"I'll tell you after we-”

Little Dina walked up to Conard, a glitter of juvenile wonder in her eye. And as she asked you to be her friend, she did the same to him. You felt a chill the second you saw how she looked, how the politican looked. No, Dina; Not this one.

Conard’s actions so far were minute compared to what he did to the poor girl. He swatted her away - a kindergartner - and shouted at her, “Get away from me, you dirty Prim!”

You and everyone were utterly shocked at what just occurred. No one moved right away. But when Dina realized what this human had said and done to her, she went from a frown to a sobbing mess. Her brother and you immediately dove to her side, you rubbing her back as she loudly cried.

As you muttered kind words and apologies to her, MK glared at Conard. “Hey, what’s your dam-!”

Frisk put his hand up and the older reptilian Monster was silent in an instant. Within the new almost suspenseful quiet, your employer got down on his knees and patted Dina’s head, gently smiling at her. “Don’t cry, Dina. We’ll handle this from here on out, okay?”

Dina sniffled back a sob and looked into Frisk’s kind eyes. She didn't respond right away, only staring at him. Then, she lightly nodded at him. “Okay.”

Frisk got back up and stared into the security camera behind Conard. He drew his middle and index fingers across his neck.

Your employer turned back to the politician as if he was calm. You knew that wasn't what he was . “I'll be showing you to the entrance to the school now.”

Conard looked confused by the human’s words but he followed Frisk down the stairs to the entrance. When Frisk made the turn to go to the next flight of stairs, you turned back to Dina and MK.

MK was rubbing Dina’s head with his forehead, consoling her. “It's alright, Dee. Don't listen to that human. You're not a Prim. No Monster is.”

“Thank you.” Dina wiped the remainder of her tears away and sniffled.

You weren't sure what that word meant: Prim. Of course, you knew the definition of the actual word. You didn’t major in English for nothing. Most associated the word with the phrase “prim and proper”, to be upkept and formal. However, the usage of this word in the context you just heard was new to you. You weren't sure why the word was used as a noun but you knew immediately that it wasn't being used in a nice way.

“Hey, uh, MK?”

“‘Sup?”

“What does that word mean? The one the guest used. I don't want to repeat it-”

“You mean Prim?”

“... Yes.”

The skin where MK’s eyebrows would be furrowed.

Dina looked up at him. “We can tell them, can't we? They’re a nice human, like Frisk. That's what he told everybody.”

He eased his expression. “You're right. They're still here for a reason.”

She peered up at you, melancholy filling them. “That's the bad word humans call us. It's short for… Uh...”

“Primitive. It's short for primitive. It also stands for how the human race should act around us. They shouldn't like us because we’re improper, primitive, compared to them… Some dumb journalist started the whole thing and now everyone’s using it.”

MK’s sister corrected his statement, “Not everyone. Frisk’s assistant is a nice human. We’re friends too. They won't ever use the word.” She looked at you with a glitter of hope in her eye. “Right?”

“Absolutely. I will never, ever use that word.” You set your resolve in stone, crossing your heart and hoping to die if you ever uttered the hateful word.

MK smiled at you. “Good.”

The lime green-scaled Monster solemnly looked to where the king’s throne stood . You inquired what was making the little one upset. “The guest has to leave now and it's all my fault.”

“What do you mean the guest has to leave?”

“Frisk made his… Uh…”

“Judgment. Frisk made his judgment.”

“Yeah, so he has to leave. I wish I never lost my bow. If I was in gym right now, the guest would have had another chance.”

“I… I don't understand. What do you mean?”

Dina cocked her head a little, like a bewildered puppy. “Frisk never told you? About the pinning?"

“What's that?”

MK looked at Dina. “Well, that question was answered. Let’s explain it to ‘em.” Dina nodded rapidly with a smile on her lips. MK turned to you. “Frisk isn't just the ambassador of the Monsters to the humans. He's also the judge of the humans for the Monsters.”

You figured that part out quickly. He tested you to get your job here. It wasn't any surprise that he was testing everyone.

“Not every human that comes here is as understanding as you. So As- Uh, Mr. and Mrs. Dremmurr came up with a way to deal with those who are like that guest. Frisk'll purposely give them a tour of the school and, if they make it that far, the town to see how they act. We all call it ‘pinning’. The pins he gave to that human are symbols. Dina, can you tell them what they mean?”

The sister of the duo nodded rapidly to her brother. “Mhm. The triangle means that the humans are getting a bad vibe from them. The upside-down triangle means that those were raised under the mountain-” Dina pointed to her and brother. “That means us - should stay away or be… wary? Yeah, wary of them. And there's a third pin but no one ever gets that one.”

“A third pin?”

MK turned to the banners that were displayed above the benches. The banners displayed an emblem that you'd seen several times so far but never truly examined. At the bottom were triangles that looked like mountains of some sort. And at the very top was a circle surrounded by two curved patterns. MK stated, “You know the thing at the top, the thing that looks like a bird. That's what the third pin is supposed to be: The Angel of Death.”

You reluctantly turned back to the duo. “The Angel of Death?”

MK nodded. “It represents judgment. It represents what Frisk decides to do.”

“Judgment.”

As you said that, you could hear a commotion from the entrance. Frisk was saying something you couldn't hear calmly and slowly but you could clearly hear the French human’s shouting.

Dina looked up at her brother. “Can we go downstairs and watch? I've never seen them do it before.”

“Well, can we?” MK and Dina looked at you.

You forgot that in the Academy, you were technically an authoritative force. You called the king and queen by their first names while the students called them by their surnames. You worked the front desk as well. You were part of the faculty of this school.

As your first work of authority over the student body, you declared, “Alright, I don't see why not. I want to find out what you two are going on about regardless.”

Dina looked at her brother, a light in her eyes. “I’m excited, MK.”

“I am too but we gotta keep quiet. We can’t disturb 'em, you hear me?”

“Okay.”

The three of you slowly went down the stairs but stopped a couple of steps down the staircase that lead to the entrance when you saw a red-faced, fuming Conard shouting at Frisk.

“What do you mean I’m being kicked off the premises? I’m the only link you fucking idiots have to the French.”

Dina looked up at you with a frown on her face. You frowned right back at her. You didn’t appreciate the Frenchman’s language in front of such a small child.

Your employer kept his composure, his words oozing of the flames that raged inside of him. “The elections haven’t even occurred yet so don’t get fresh with me, connard. Oh, yes, I’m pretty sure I put this on all my social media accounts but I studied French my entire time in college. And, y’know, despite studying abroad in Paris - by the way, I still prefer snail pie to escargot - your language is still very hard for me to speak. But I can read French like I was reading it from birth.

I’ve seen all the chirps and blog posts, 95 percent of them not being in your favor, especially with the way how you talk about my family and friends. So I had the police do a full background check on you. The royal family has read their findings. They didn’t like it at all, especially with the extortion parts. That’s never nice to find out about.

The king and queen unanimously decided to not even allow you to go past Newfoundland. I told you and your secretary that you weren’t given the authorization to visit but you still barged in. Then you had the audacity to not only make racist comments left and right but you called a kindergartner a highly offensive word to all of Monsterkind.

Don’t take any of us for idiots - because we are anything but that. And, if I say so myself, va te faire foutre.”

There was only one word to describe Conard then - stunned.

Frisk looked to the side of the staircase that had San’s office in it before turning back to the human that was practically boiling in rage. “This matter is no longer in the hands of humankind. Sans, Papyrus, he’s all yours.”

Sans, Papyrus, how are they involved? The skeleton brothers came from your blind spot and into your peripheral view with no rush in their step. Frisk walked over to the staircase when he locked eyes with you and smiled. He moved his hands in a come hither motion. You pointed at yourself and he rolled his eyes playfully, nodding at you in approval.

“C’mon, let’s go down some more,” you whispered.

The reptilian siblings nodded, their eyes never leaving the forms of the skeletons.

The three of you walked all the way to the bottom of the stairs and stood next to Frisk. As your employer and companion looked back on, he had a serious look to him, a flash of anger in his minute eyes. The goofy, joyful atmosphere that usually accompanied the brothers was long gone. You weren’t ready for what was going to occur. In fact, you hadn’t a clue what was going to occur.

“monsterkind has no right to judge humanity such as how humanity has no right to judge monsterkind. no matter how much of a bone i have to pick with all of ya, i’m not allowed to.” Sans put his hands up in defeat. “trust me, i would if i could but the kid does it for us.”

“THE HUMAN GAVE YOU A PIN FOR YOUR EVERY MISDEED AGAINST US. THE FIRST ONE - THE TRIANGLE - REPRESENTS THOSE WHO’VE ALWAYS RESIDED ABOVE THE MOUNT, HUMANITY. YOUR ACTIONS MADE THE HUMANS WARY OF YOU. THE SECOND ONE - THE INVERTED TRIANGLE - REPRESENTS THOSE WHO RESIDED UNDER THE MOUNT, MONSTERS...”

As Papyrus spoke, Sans turned a little towards you all. Dina waved at him. Sans replied by winking at her, his grin getting a bit wider. He then turned back to Conard.

“THE THIRD - THE ANGEL OF DEATH - IS JUDGMENT. THE HUMAN DETERMINES WHETHER YOU WERE WORTHY OF CONTINUING TO BE HERE IN NEWER HOME. HE DETERMINED THAT YOU WERE NOT. WHEN THE HUMAN SAYS SO, YOU HAVE TO END YOUR STAY HERE WITH US EARLY. THE HUMAN WAS YOUR JUDGE.”

“and, now, my bro and i..." The air suddenly felt cold and dark. "...are his executioners.”

Bam!

The front doors to the school suddenly swung open. The sound made Conard shutter so bad that you thought he’d jump right out of his skin. You snickered at the thought, imagining the human becoming like one of the brothers. The french man snapped his head at the door, slowly losing his rage, before turning back to the skeletons.

“DON’T GET US WRONG. WE LOVE HUMANS. I PERSONALLY BELIEVE WE CAN TRULY LIVE IN HARMONY ONE DAY. HOWEVER, I CANNOT ACCEPT YOUR CLOSED-MINDEDNESS IN THE NEWER HOME WE STRIVED SO HARD TO CREATE. SO, WE MUST ASK YOU TO LEAVE AND - MUCH TO MY DISMAY - NEVER COME BACK. PERSONALLY, I WOULD LIKE TO BEFRIEND YOU, BUT NOT HERE, NOT NOW.”

Papyrus rose his right gloved hand in the air and swung it downward. The French man’s eyes went as wide as saucers, clenching at his chest. He looked up at Papyrus with a carnal fear in him. “W… What did you do to me?”

“NOTHING PERMANENT. I JUST CHANGED THE COLOR OF YOUR SOUL. YOU’LL BE BACK TO NORMAL SOON. SANS, IF YOU MAY.”

“may, I shall.” You felt a chill run down your spine when he said that. Sans raised his open palm and slowly raised his hand up. As he did, Conard slowly floated up into the air. Dina was very impressed, gawking at the short skeleton’s display. You turned to MK and his mouth was slightly agape. You were positive yours was too.

“alright, pap, where am i aiming him?”

Papyrus put a hand under his chin, trying to decipher something. “A LITTLE TO THE LEFT.”

Sans moved his hand in the direction his brother told him to.

“A LITTLE DOWN AS WELL.”

“i can’t go any lower unless you lower the barrier in that area, pap.”

“FINE. IF THE GREAT PAPYRUS MUST.” Papyrus raised his hand out again and lowered it slowly. As he did, a part of the neon blue lights that surrounded the Settlement lowered. “ALRIGHT, THAT SHOULD BE LOW ENOUGH, AM I CORRECT?”

“i don’t know, papyrus. it looks like he’ll land on a mailbox from here. A… snail-box.”

Papyrus stomped his foot on the ground. “OH MY GOD, SANS. RIGHT NOW?”

“i see you smiling.”

“I AM AND I HATE IT. AND YOU ARE CORRECT, HE’LL LAND ON THE MAILBOX OF THE PLACE WHERE THE QUEEN BUYS HER SNAILS IF YOU TOSS HIM THERE.”

You turned to Frisk as Papyrus and Sans discussed whatever they were discussing. “Wait… so uh, I’m confused. I thought the gate was just like some magical barrier.”

“Well, sort of. The fences around Newer Home are all magic but it’s nothing like the actual Barrier. It’s comprised of only one person’s magic - Papyrus’s.”

“Wait… what?”

MK piped in, “Aren’t they the coolest? Sans monitors the I.D. system and Papyrus maintains the barrier.”

You were stunned. You learned quickly that Sans was not to be underestimated. You, however, assumed his brother was the opposite. The skeleton was gentle-hearted and fair to all, a mascot of Monsterkind. You just learned that he wasn’t a Boss Monster for nothing. He’s strong. He’s so, so strong. He could fend for himself, quite well in fact. If he could keep the gates around the Settlement up for 24/7, his magic must be something else. Papyrus could easily wipe his bullies out if he desired, but he doesn’t. And something about that quality of him made you now revere him highly. He was forgiving, he was kind.

He was merciful.

“WASN’T THIS THE ORIGINAL PLACE I TOLD YOU TO AIM AT?”

“yeah.”

“UGH. FINE. JUST TOSS THE HUMAN OUT. GYM IS ALMOST DONE AND I NEED TO GET BACK TO THE CLASS.”

“alright. i got a hot dog and a tall glass of cats-up waiting for me too.”

“OH FOR GOODNESS SAKE, JUST FIRE ALREADY!”

“fine. you’re no fun.”

Conard, realizing what was about to happen, yelled at all of you, “I-I’ll sue you! I’ll sue you all!”

Sans chuckled. “that’s what they all say.”

Sans went from a walk to a run, holding the hand he infused his magic with as if he were holding a basketball. Conard floated with him, moving ahead every step Sans did. And when Sans made it to the front doors, he shot his imaginary ball towards the hoop. And with it, Conard zoomed into the air away from you, screaming and hollering as well, until he landed most likely at the gate you entered in with Papyrus.

“get dunked on.”

Your mouth was fully agape, your eyes bugged out. You were completely and utterly stunned. Did... Did that just happen? Did Sans just throw a 3-pointer with some asshole French man as the ball and the entire Settlement has his court? What in the-

You were cut off from your thoughts by the front doors slamming shut.

“You threw him to the main gate, right?” Frisk was unfazed by the magical occurrence just now.

Sans turned to him, his left eye glowing a head-spinning array of bright blues and yellows. The skeleton blinked and the twin pinpricks returned into his sockets. “yeah. i think. hey, pap, check the cameras for me, will ya?”

Papyrus ran into Sans’s office. “YEP-A-GHETTI. THE HUMAN LANDED RIGHT UNDER THE ARCH. PERFECT AIM AS ALWAYS THANKS TO THE ASSISTANCE OF YOUR INCREDIBLE BROTHER.”

Sans fist-pumped. “nice. my record is going strong.”

As Papyrus rejoined you all, he said, “ALSO, PLEASE, CLEAN YOUR OFFICE. I DON’T WANT FOR THERE TO BE ANOTHER SELF-SUSTAINING TORNADO IN THERE.”

Sans shrugged and put his hands in his pockets. “okay.” You were sure he wasn't going to oblige his brother anytime soon.

MK turned to Dina. “Feel better now?”

Dina had a huge smile on her face, her eyes gleaming bright. “Do I? That was so cool. That stinkyhead human went like nyooom out of here and he was screaming like a baby and Sans and Papyrus were so cool too. They were like all spooky and serious and---” Dina hopped up and down a couple of times before exclaiming, “Wow!”

The school bell rang at that moment and you heard the opening of doors and shuttling of shoes overhead. The door to the gym opened and behind it was Toriel and the kindergarteners. As soon as her eye caught onto Dina, Toriel walked over to her hurriedly. “Dina, there you are. Where in the world did you go? We were all very worried about you.”

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Dreemurr. I tripped and I lost my bow and then Frisk and the humans came by and then… uh…” Dina looked sad. Toriel looked concerned for the little girl’s mood change.

Frisk stepped in and put a hand on Dina’s head. “The guest is gone.”

“Did you all give him a bad time?”

“Yep.”

“Did he scream and holler too?”

Sans said, his grin sliding into a smirk, “hell yeah.”

All of the kindergartners, including Dina, and Papyrus exclaimed, “Oooooooh! Sans said a bad word.”

Sans snorted while putting his phalanges in his pockets

“I am guessing you were quite happy to do so this time, Sans. Please do not tell me it had something to do with why Dina is with you all.”

“yeah. the guest called her the p-word.”

Toriel gasped, horrified. “Oh my goodness.” Toriel crouched down to Dina’s height and rubbed her head, “Do not listen to a word that human said, Dina. What he said was very wrong and very bad.” She looked up at Frisk, then Papyrus, then Sans before looking at the little one again. “And he got what he deserved.”

Frisk snorted. The kindergartners laughed.

Dina nodded. “I know. I feel better now. MK was there to make me not feel sad anymore. And Frisk and his ah… Assistant! Let me watch Sans and Papyrus use their magic. It was really cool.”

“That is very good. I am glad you are better. Speaking of which…” Toriel squinted her eyes at MK, making him practically hop out of his skin, “Why are you not in class, Kid?”

“Uh- Oh crap. I forgot to return the book.”

Frisk said, “We’ll return it. Just get to class. You know your next teacher will skin you alive if you don't get there on time.”

“Right. I'll see ya later.” With that, MK dashed off. As soon as he made it to the fifth step, the Monster caught his foot and fell flat on his face. No one seemed too surprised by him falling. He picked himself back up in an instant, which impressed you, and he was on his way again.

The class went up the stairs next, Papyrus going up as well. He waved at you, a big smile on his teeth, and you returned the gesture.

Sans returned to his office, closing the door behind him as if nothing occurred.

Now it was just Frisk and you.

“So, that's what happens when bad people come?”

“Yeah.”

“Aren't you worried about a lawsuit? I mean, he's a jackass but he has money.”

“No one will believe him. Seriously, say what happened just now aloud.”

You blinked twice, unsuspecting of his command. “Well... uh, two skeletons picked him up using levitation magic, power, bullcrap and flung him away like a basketball out of the building all the way to the main gates… Wow, that does sound stupid.”

“See? We’ve done it plenty of times already and no one’s been able to have a successful case against us either.” Frisk began his walk up the stairs. “C’mon. Let's get the idiot’s suitcase before Flowey steals all of his change.”

You followed Frisk up the stairs before stopping before going up the next flight to ask. “Wait, Flowey steals money?”

Frisk rolled his eyes playfully and whistled, ignoring your question.

“Hey, this is a serious question. C’mon, why won't you answer it, Frisk?”

And you followed him, continuing to beg to answer your questions. You needed to learn the way of the Monsters quickly. It's only been five days since you start working and living here and there would be many more days to come, more days to learn, more days to evolve. You knew you were changing. As the weather got colder, your heart got warmer. You were getting comfortable working here already.

Chapter Text

The end of November was near. Almost all the leaves on the trees were gone from their limbs, letting the wind cut through the mountainside and your body with ease. The temperature dropped so much that you could see your breath when outdoors. Soon, snow would come and the holiday season would begin all around the globe.

“So, how has your body been? You mentioned that you're still having issues with fully fusing with it.”

“I frickin’ hate it. I’ve been spooked out of my body too many times this year - over the littlest crap too. It's disgraceful, disgraceful, disgraceful!

A guest which Frisk nicknamed The Mad Dummy was the first interview for today. You were explained that, despite their appearance, this guest was a ghost Monster possessing a training dummy. He liked to say they are so upset all the time because the dummy was always as decrepit as it looked then.

Frisk looked like he wanted to cover his ears from the loudness of the ghost’s voice. You desired to as well. You both kept up your appearances and pulled through, however. 'It's just an interview' was your and more than likely his mantra for that part of the morning and, what wasn't supposed to be, afternoon.

“I'm so sorry to hear that. I understand that it's incredibly inconvenient. Have you considered talking with those who have fully fused? I know it's a different experience for each ghost but they might be able to shed some light on your fusion issues.”

“You…” Mad Dummy's eyebrow unfurrowed and their vocal volume lowered. “You're right.”

“How long are you going to be on the mount?”

“Until the end of December. The family’s having a big reunion for the holidays so I took my vacation early.”

“Excellent. I'll try to set up a meeting if you don’t mind.”

“Nah, go ahead. I’d probably scare them off if I tried to.”

“Alright. Well, you're free from my claws, Dumble.”

“Uck, finally. That took forever.” The ghost hopped out of their chair joyously.

You wanted to roll your eyes. The only reason it took forever was because the guest was ranting for hours about utter nonsense in that ear-piercing voice of theirs. But you didn't. You knew their almost uncontrollable anger wasn't their fault.

You turned off the cassette tape and put the cap back onto your pen. You mostly doodled on your notepad during the interview, the only notes being about what you learned about corporeality. Ghost Monsters have the ability to “become corporeal” - to gain a tangible form. Corporeality was achieved by placing the Soul of a ghost into an inanimate figure, more than likely a mannequin or doll. From then on, the Monster’s Soul would fill and fuse with their new body. It has always been difficult to achieve a full fusion. Those who haven't completed fused experience physical, mental, and magical instability. Mad Dummy was one of those unlucky individuals, especially in the emotional part. That was why you ceased the urge to roll your orbs.

“I'll be seeing you at the festival, right?”

“Yeah, probably.”

“Alright. Have a good day, Dumble.”

Dumble levitated their body using bits of cotton from the open seams on their mannequin and headed out the door. "You too, twerp."

You got up and closed it shut. The bit of cold air that got in gave you goosebumps. You then went back over to Frisk’s desk. “That was… interesting." You pulled a piece of cotton out from your hair. When Mad Dummy rampaged earlier, cotton from their body flung out all over the place.

Frisk was already pulling the puffs out of his locks. “They're difficult but their name isn't Dumble for nothing. They're pretty humble once you push past the puff.” You noticed a piece on the back of his head and pulled it out for him. “Thanks. Dumble is one of the only Monsters that visits when they're supposed to and doesn't reschedule.”

“Really?” You looked out the window and you could see the aforementioned guest heading towards the door back into the Academy. You cracked a small smile.

The human got up from his desk and stretched his arms, letting out a yawn. “Is it time for the next one?”

“Yeah, we ran over time. I guess we’ll be skipping lunch.”

Frisk groaned. “Mom’s gonna be upset that we ditched her today. I mean, she’ll understand why. The next people that are coming are Boss Monsters and all. But I really wanted that fun box.”

“Wait, what?”

Frisk turned to you. “The Japanese food part or the guest part?”

“The guest part.”

“I thought I mentioned that to you.”

“No, not at a-”

“Get down!”

You weren't sure why the human suddenly commanded you to do so but you dove down to the floor and covered your head with your hands. A moment later, heavy footsteps stomped rapidly towards the door. Then the sound of wood cracking and air slicing boomed in the office, causing you to flinch and squint your eyes shut even more than they were already.

After a moment of pure silence, you looked back up at Frisk and was so stunned by what you saw that your flight response kicked in, your body crawling on its own towards the chaise. Frisk had a glowing cyan spear firmly grasped in his hand, the head only inches from his face. He looked utterly unfazed.

“Holy shit, Frisk, are you alright?” You scrambled back up onto your feet, your legs weak as a newborn deer's.

“Yeah. Surprisingly." His tone was so nonchalant for the situation.

Your eyes darted between him and the door. Your heart thumped hard. Your breaths were sharp and short. “What’s going on? Who threw that at you?”

“One of the guests.”

“Wha-”

The door to the house banged open. You were surprised the door was still on its hinges. That kick was powerful enough to knock the whole door down, frame and all. A tall Monster entered the house slowly, the only sound coming from their footfalls. The sunlight beaming on their back cast a shadow on their face, like how the sun would on the villain in an action movie. As they entered, the sunlight dissipated and the lighting in the house shined on them, revealing who they were. You recognized the Monster to be one of the Monsters that stood next to Frisk in About Us. The Monster was the navy blue-scaled, fire red-finned Betta fish woman that was noogie'ing Papyrus in it. She was physically built like a warrior though her persona reminded you of a pirate. The eyepatch wasn't helping your internal rebuttals. All in all, your first impression of her was she was horrifying and badass all at the same time.

When she got a look at Frisk, she smiled wildly at him, fully exposing her sharp yellow teeth. “Frisk, you lil punk, you.” She was just as loud as the previous guest, much to your dismay. Her voice was sharp as a blade and rough as sandpaper but there was a mature femininity hidden under it all. “C’mere, tiger. I haven't seen you in years.”

The spear in Frisk’s hand dispersed into specks of light in an instant and the human ran over to the fighting fish. He seemed ecstatic to see her, an unwavering goofy smile across his face. “Undyne, I missed you so much.”

The two pulled each other into a taut hug, clapping each other on their backs as they rocked back and forth. You were still feeling the stun from seeing Frisk almost murdered yet a grin crept its way onto your face.

At one point, Undyne wrapped her arms around his shoulders and grinned at him with a wildness. “This calls for a reunion suplex.”

Frisk shook his head desperately. “Please, not a reunion suplex.”

Undyne hauled him off of his feet. Her voice rose a level. “Reunion suplex.”

His rose one too, panic lacing it. “No reunion suplex.”

Undyne screamed as if shouting ngahhhh! and Frisk screeched in a high pitched tone, desperately begging her not to do whatever she was planning to do.

“S-Stop it, Undyne,” a feminine, nasal voice shouted from outside the house and ended their charade.

Undyne whipped her head towards the voice and dropped Frisk flat onto his butt. The Betta fish's response had an edge of embarrassment to it. “Sorry, babe. I got excited.” Undyne moved out of the way to let a short lizard Monster with yellow scales into the house. This Monster looked familiar to you but you couldn't think of her name. “Look at the dweeb. Frisk’s so big now, man. I just had to.”

The lizard tucked up her glasses higher on her snout. “I-I know you missed him - I did too - b-but you can't just suplex him without permission.”

“Ugh, you're no fun.” Undyne slowly set her gaze on Frisk mischievously, much to his dismay. She picked him up like a groom would to his bride and swung him around as if he was as light as air. He shrieked at first but then settled into giggling his head off. The lizard stared at her with an eyebrow cocked up and her hands on her hips. Undyne noticed after a while and set down the human on his feet a moment later. “C’mon, you would if you could, babe.”

The lizard sighed and smiled softly. “You're right.”

Frisk wiped his sweater and walked over to the lizard. “I missed you very much as well, Alphys. I miss testing out your gadgets.”

Alphys put her hands on her cheeks and looked away. “Aw, shucks.” When she turned back towards Frisk, the two of you locked eyes. “Oh, another h-human. Are you a visitor?”

“No, this is my assistant.” He introduced you to the two. “This is Undyne and Dr. Alphys. They’re today’s guests.”

So these two are Boss Monsters. They seem relaxed enough. “Hey," you casually greeted.

Undyne gave you a once-over and smirked at you, “Heh, if Frisk trusts you enough to let you work under him, then that means you're a friend of mine. You know what that means?” Undyne pulled you into her cold embrace and lifted you off the floor. “Introductory suplex time.”

You were terrified. “Wait… What?”

“U-Undyne, maybe they would prefer an introductory noogie?”

The fish looked down at the doctor, perplexed by their statement. “And why’s that?”

“M-Maybe they…” Alphys looked as if she was coming up with something on the spot. “...have health problems.”

The fish put her hands under your armpits and lifted you up, like someone looking at a baby. She examined you quickly. “You’re right. This one needs some sun.” Undyne turned to Alphys, a wide grin on her bright red lips. “Alphie, can we take them back with us?”

The doctor panicked, her words a stuttering mess. You thought she mentioned something about how small the apartment was. Undyne cackled in laughter, dropping you on your behind and lifting Alphys in the air, spinning her gently, claiming she was joking. Alphys giggled, not a care in the world unlike a moment ago.

After several seconds, Undyne stopped and the two looked into each other’s eyes softly - no, as if they found home in each other’s eyes. They reminded you of the pictures you’d seen of your parents when they were dating - already in love even though they knew each other for a short while.

Frisk smiled as he whispered to you, “They’ve been married for five years and they still look at each other like when they did when they were on the altar.”

You smiled right along with him. You were right in your assumptions for once. The two women were in love, happily in it too. Your heart warmed at the sight.

“I hope you don’t mind LGBT+ couples, do you?”

“When you adore someone, you adore someone. I don’t mind at all.”

“Wonderful.” Frisk pointed into his mouth, making a noise of disgust, as if mimicking gagging, to the two playfully.

Undyne stuck her tongue at him as she set her wife down. Alphys tucked back up her glasses, a splash of red rising on her cheeks. Smiles were on both of their faces however.

“How long will you lovebirds be in town?”

“Un-Until the end of the D-Dust Festival.”

“Nice, nice. I hear it’s going to snow during these next two weeks. Will you be alright, Undyne?”

Undyne swatted away Frisk’s concern. “If I was able to be in Snowdin all the time, I can handle an inch of snow or two.”

Frisk chuckled. “Alright, if you say so.” He gestured to the twin chairs. “Please, come on and relax. I know you're rushing about like crazy but you guys are always welcome to chill out here.”

As the two took off their coats, Undyne helping her spouse out of hers, the fighting fish said, “Yeah, we haven’t seen Papyrus yet. We just came in a couple of hours ago and we’re supposed to be staying with him and Sans.”

“That's awesome. I know the two missed you two immensely.”

Alphys sat down politely in her chair and Undyne slammed down sloppily next to her. The fish Monster did, however, sit up properly. Frisk nodded to you and you took your seat in the chaise, putting your notepad in your lap and your finger on the cassette player. Your employer sat down in his chair.

“You both know the drill. Do you mind if I record our conversation and use any of the information you disclose for research purposes?”

The two said they didn't mind in their own fashion, Alphys politely with a stutter in there, Undyne casually and simply.

“Perfect. Just as a reminder, only my assistant and I will have access to the cassettes used in this interview, along with any prior tapes I recorded of you. Also, any information you two disclose may end up being used in media publications in a non-anonymous fashion.” Frisk placed his hand on the desk over in Alphys’s direction. “I can never stop apologizing for the leak, Alphys.”

The lizard looked into her lap and twiddled her fingers solemnly. “I-It’s alright, Frisk. It wasn’t y-your fault. I only wish I could have told the humans m-myself first before… before that happened.”

Undyne gently placed a hand on her wife’s head. The lizard looked over at her, a gentle smile crossing her features. Alphys silently mouthed a “thank you” to her wife. The fish patted Alphys’s head two times then put her hand back into her lap.

“Alright, let’s begin. Please state your names, ages, current city and state of residence, and occupations.”

“Undyne. Thirty-five. Miami, Florida. Teacher.”

Frisk’s eyebrows rose. “I hope you’ll be elaborating on what kind of teacher you are.”

The Boss Monster dismissed his comment. “Yeah, yeah.”

“Uh, I’ll start next. Alphys. Thirty-three. Miami, Florida. Professor.”

“You two, Alphys.”

“O-Of course.”

“Please state your ages, residence, and occupations when the Barrier was broken.”

“Twenty-five. Waterfall. Captain of the Royal Guard.”

“Twenty-three. Hotland. Royal Scientist.”


 

For the next half hour, the couple answered the survey questions Frisk threw at them. Slowly but surely, Undyne grew more and more bored, shifting in her chair and groaning out her answers. Alphys would twiddle her claws more and more as time passed too. You wrote down some answers that particularly intrigued you as always.

After the final question, he cracked his knuckles. “Alright. We’re done with the boring part.”

Undyne stretched her arms, groaning out, “Finally,” loudly.

“Now let’s move onto the not boring part. Please, tell me, how have you two been?”

They both stated in unison, confidently, “Great.”

Frisk and you glanced at each other with big smiles on your faces. “I’m happy to hear that," he said, "You know you gotta tell me all about it.”

Undyne lightly tapped her wife's shoulder. "Babe, you gotta tell ‘em about the hookup at the university.”

His eyebrows rose. “University? I like the sound of that.”

Alphys adjusted her glasses and began her story. “W-Well, as you know, I am the creator of Mettaton’s original body and the one he uses now, the E-EX model.”

You immediately wrote down your thought in your notepad: ALPHYS CREATED METTATON? HOLY SHIT!!! You hadn’t a clue who his creator was until then. The masses surely thanked her daily for her skill.

“When humanity found out about my skills in robotics, I got hundreds of offers to work all over the world. Mettaton’s a w-walking advertisement, after all. I kept on turning down offers for a while, especially after much of my research notes about… o-other projects were released to the human public. Shortly after Undyne and I got married, I got the offer to work with NASA then so we moved down to Florida. It was nice for a while, building robots for them, but you must remember how… I really didn’t l-like working there.”

“Yes. I remember quite well about your experiences working with the scientists there. I still heavily apologize for the issues the staff gave you.”

Alphys put up her hands apologetically. “No, no, it’s fine. Well, uh, it isn’t fine, actually, but it’s fine now. B-Because I’m not working there anymore." She inhaled and exhaled hard, a proud smile emerging on her snout. "I’m the head of the new robotics program at the University of Miami.”

Frisk's face lit up. He got up from his seat and bent over the desk to hold Alphys’s hands supportively. “Oh my god, I’m so happy for you. This is incredible.”

You wrote the information down in your notes before you returned to observing joyfully. It was the first you had heard of a Monster being a college professor, much less the head of a department. You were immensely happy for the scientist.

“How are the students? I'm curious.”

“T-They're surprisingly pretty cool with me being a Monster and all.”

“Do they have an anime club there? I gotta know.”

Alphys lit up like a firework and she nearly blasted out her seat. “Yes! Yes, they do! The robotics department only has 24 students in it and they're all into anime too."

He burst out laughing, shaking his head in disbelief. “You're joking," he countered.

“I'm not. L-Like I wore a Mew Mew Kissy Cutie shirt in class one day and all of the students screamed and stuff. This one kid - I think his name is Clarence - took off his hoodie and it turned out he was wearing the same shirt. When we’re building stuff for projects and competitions, we watch all anime together.”

Undyne chimed in. “When they have marathons, I always come with her. One of the professors brings free food and you know how I am with that.”

Frisk cracked up again then turned his attention to you. “I hope you like anime.”

“Actually…” The couple turned to you as well, curious. “I don't know what anime is.”

The women were petrified by your response. Frisk howled, gripping onto his desk in order to keep himself from falling out the chair. What? You would rather spend your days reading books than watching this "anime" thing. 

The scientist explained, “Anime is Japanese animated shows. Have you heard of Mew Mew Kissy Cutie?”

“No. In fact, what the heck is that?”

The fighting fish shook her head, "They wouldn't know what that is, Alph.”

“That's true. It's not as mainstream. Uh, have you heard of Dragonsphere Z?”

A lightbulb turned on in your head. “Ohhhh, so that's what that is. My little bro watches that stuff all the time. Isn't that for kids, though?”

The couple burst out laughing. Undyne banged her fist on the table, cracking the surface every time she did, as she roared in laughter. Frisk frowned at the sight. Once the Betta fish calmed down, she looked at the damage she did and smiled nervously at the human. “Oops.”

“It's fine… Sort of.” Frisk went into a drawer and pulled out a lace doily. He flung it onto where the crack in the table was. “At least you didn't break it like the last one.”

Alphys asked, “Is the one in the k-kitchen still functional? We still owe you the damages on that one too.”

“I covered it up. As long as Mom doesn't know and I still have doilies, everything’s fine.”

“I hope so.”

“Besides, I can always go to IKEA.”

“That’s true. We practically live in there since U-Undyne… You know.”

Frisk chuckled at that. “Now, I need to know what's going on with your job, Undyne.”

She crossed her arms and looked up in thought before starting, “Well, as y'know, I've had trouble keeping a job since we moved down south. Even though Alph was making money hand-over-fist while at NASA, we still couldn't afford to live in the place we were at. Y'know the story. The bank raised our mortgage rate. Plus you gotta drive to do anything in Florida so that costs money. Plus tons of other costs." Undyne scowled at the thought.

"I worked everywhere, man. Everywhere. Karate schools, toy stores, diners - shoot, even Walmart during the holiday rush one time. I kept on getting fired for lots of reasons. I know I like to break stuff.” The fighting fish put her hands on her hips and smirked widely. “In fact, I love to.”

“Don't forget the brashness,” the scientist added, “and the resting b-bitch face. You're a professional at that.”

The Betta fish and Frisk cracked up as if she wouldn't ever utter such a thing.

“But sometimes…” Undyne dropped her hands in her lap before scrunching them in a fist, frowning deeply, “It's about things I can't change about myself. Even when I'm on my best and I mean my best behavior, I still get fired. I wish they'd just admit it, y’know; that they fired me because I'm too Monster for ‘em. I wouldn't have minded if they just admitted it. I would have respected them for having the balls to say it. But they're cowards.” Undyne looked at you then at Frisk with a hopeful look. “It's okay though. I got a job that's much better than all those jobs combined.”

“Oh really?”

“Hell yeah. I'm a gym teacher at a private all-boys’ Catholic high school now.”

His eyebrows rose yet again. “That's an excellent position you got. It's perfect for you. You were the gym teacher here until you two moved after all. I'm worried though as to how you got it. You don’t have the official credentials.”

Undyne glanced away nervously, a forced toothy grin on her lips. She said through her teeth, “Uh, well.”

He sighed and put his face into his hand in disbelief. “How bad was it? Please, just tell me.”

“Well… At the interview…”

“At the interview…”

“I kind of…”

“I kind of…”

“Jumped on the desk, shoved one of my spears under the principal’s chin, and yelled at him to give me a job like I was his army sergeant."

Frisk laid his head on the desk, unable to deal with what he'd just heard. You wrote in your notes “DON’T PISS OFF UNDYNE” and underlined it three times and drew asterisks all around the text.

“Hey, I've been working there for as long as we've been in Miami and that's, what, a full school year and a half already. And I haven't received any complaints from my students.”

He peered up in an instant. “Really?” He rose back from being hunched over on the desk. “A full term?”

Undyne nodded, pridefully.

“That's… That’s good. That’s really good. I'm happy for you too. Do you like it at least? Considering it's a private Catholic school, I'm sure the kids and their families are… a tad snooty.”

“Oh, hell yeah they are. The kids gave me shit for a while. The first month, I let them get away with calling me Davy Jones’s Dinner and Sushi Queen. Then the national health exam came up and they never did it again.”

“How many laps around the school did you have them do?”

“Only nine. They have to run a mile for the exam so I had them run three.”

“... Compared to what you used to do the kids here, that's so basic.”

Alphys adjusted her glasses. “I should inform you t-the school is on a very steep hill.”

Frisk nodded in acknowledgment. “Ah, there's the catch.”

“Hey, I have you know I also… I also sat them down and talked about… life and crap. Y’know, the kind of stuff Asgore or the queen would sit you down and talk about. The boys understood. In fact, they thought my Royal Guard stories were badass. One of the dweebs said that he was thinking of joining the Navy so he was really inspired or some bullcrap like that. Now they love me. Their parents - not so much. But the boys are what's important. In fact, I got a photo of my one of my classes on my phone.”

“Really? You gotta show me.”

Frisk bent over the table as Undyne sat on it and pulled out her phone from her pants pocket. She looked over at you and made a come-hither motion with her free hand, “C’mon, punk. I don't bite. Promise.”

You put your notepad and pen on the chaise and got up. You went over to the two and looked at Undyne’s phone screen. She swiped on her smartphone to unlock it and delved into her photos. After going to her favorites, she scrolled through it quickly. With a tap, she enlarged a selfie of herself with thirty or so teenage boys. “I teach the freshmen and this was my first class. They’re my favorite so far. Y’know, I can name all the dorks too.” Undyne pointed at each face as she named them all. “Timbo, Mattie, Jake, Bryan, Damien, Robby, Buddy, Chris, Christian, the twins, Gi-Gi - he’s a total softie - Zack, Patrick, Kai - Kai has like eight brothers. Insane, right? Anyway, Bud, uh… Um… Winston? I think this one was Winston. Whatever. Jordan, Ty-Ty, Mason, Jack - He’s got issues but he’s the funniest motherfucker I've ever met - uh-”

“Don't forget Tristan,” Alphys added, "Tristan was t-taking the picture.”

“Right, Tristan. Anyway, Artie, Steve, Eric, Mohammad, Sichen, Drake and Josh - they're brothers - Jesus, Arin and finally…” She pointed to the kid she was noogie’ing in the photo. “That's Scampi.”

“Scampi? Like the dish?” The human was genuinely confused.

“Yeah. Everyone called him that from day one. I don't know why. I went along with it. I don't think I ever learned his first name but he's my favorite.”

Frisk inquired why.

“I don't know. I guess he kinda reminds me of Papyrus. And Papyrus is my best friend, ya know. So, of course, I have a soft spot for the dweeb.” She laughed wholeheartedly after. Undyne got off the desk and turned to her wife. “I know you got a picture of your class on your phone too.”

Alphys choked up at that. She nervously tucked her glasses up. “I-I do. I don't remember their names, though.”

Frisk gave her an encouraging smile.  “That's quite alright. I really wanna see regardless.”

Alphys dug into her purse and pulled out her smartphone as well. She quickly unlocked it and tapped on the screen of it multiple times before turning the phone to you all. The phone displayed a group photo of herself in the front with twenty-four students in lab coats next to and behind her. Undyne is also in the photo, noogie'ing someone again. “Well, I don't remember most of their names unfortunately. They don’t frequent the department building often outside of class. I really only remember this one here.” She pointed a finger at a young man of South Asian descent with wild hair and thick-rimmed glasses. “This is Raj. He's a senior who decided to completely switch his major last year. Out of everyone I've seen both in the department and NASA, he shows the most promise and talent. And his drive - oh gosh, his drive. I'm thinking of having him work under me after he graduates this spring.”

Frisk’s eyebrows rose. “You know, you didn't stutter at all when you talked about him.”

“R-Really?”

“Yes. Whenever you want, send him up to the mount.” The human winked at her. “I'll give him a tour, just for you.”

“I was thinking of sending him up here anyway.”

“Oh really?”

“I'm not sure what to task him doing yet. T-That's why I h-haven't contacted you yet about it.”

“Of course. We’ll talk about it another time. Enjoy your break as much as possible.”

Alphys smiled at him. “O-Of course."

A knock resounded on the door and you clicked the record button on the cassette player. You didn't need to document whatever conversation was going to occur at the door. Frisk opened it and he let out a noise of surprise. “Oh, hiya, Mom.”

Toriel entered the house as gracefully as she always has. She was carrying two large plastic bags in her hands. “It is very nice to see both of you, Undyne and Alphys.”

Undyne and Alphys immediately got up out of their seats and stood at attention. “Your Majesty!”

Toriel giggled. “Now now, there's no need for that. You know you both can be as casual with me as you are with my ex-husband.”

They dropped their shoulders in an instant.

“I'm so sorry for ditching you earlier, Mom.”

“It's quite alright. I'm only upset because you did not call me to tell me what was going on.” The nanny Monster gave him the “stink eye” which made Frisk flinch before looking at the couple with gentle eyes. “I overheard from the students that you two had come Home and were here so I took it upon myself to provide lunch for everyone. I was not sure what you two wanted but I know you like everything Japanese.”

Frisk took the bags out of Toriel’s hands, which the polite Monster thanked him for, and took them into the kitchen. Toriel took off her coat and placed it on the coat rack by the door.

“There's a Japanese r-restaurant here in Newer Home now?"

“Yes. It opened up last year. They have dishes named after you two so I guess you can they just had your names on them.”

Undyne laughed and slapped her knee while you and Alphys snorted.

Toriel came over to you. “Were you and Frisk done with the inquiries yet?”

“Nope. But who says we can't finish up while eating some grub?”

“You are quite right. Come, children, let us eat.”

The four of you entered the kitchen to see Frisk was taking each of the various entrees in their plastic takeaway containers and placing them on the table. Once he finished his task, Frisk turned to you. “Can you use chopsticks?”

“Yeah.”

“Awesome. No dishes for now.”

He ran back into the office and returned with one of the living chairs. He pushed it near Toriel. “For you, Mom.”

“Why, thank you, Frisk.”

He helped his mother into the chair and tucked her into the table. “No problem, Mom. I gotta test out my moves on someone, y’know.”

The queen playfully rolled her eyes at her son.

Everyone sat down in the oak chairs and Frisk passed around the dishes for everyone. “The Undyne bowl for you, Undyne. The Alphys roll for you. Your rolls, Mom. And here, your fun box.”

The two of you ordered from the Japanese place before one evening. When you looked at the menu, you were stumped on what to order so Frisk suggested you order the restaurant’s fun box special. The Fun Box Special was a bento box filled with whatever the chef chose. You'd gotten lucky the first time you ordered it. It was filled to the brim with your favorite dishes. When you opened yours that time, you frowned immediately. Every Japanese dish you've ever hated was in your bento. The goddess of fortune wasn't smiling at you today. She was frowning just as much as you were.

Frisk suddenly snatched your bento and switched it with his, dramatically saying, “Oh no, it seems I didn't get anything I liked. I guess we should switch.”

His had some of your favorites inside. You beamed over at him. “You're the real MVP.”

The human chuckled at your praise of him. “It's no problem. Besides, I really love this particular roll.” He picked up a piece of a roll that you really hated and ate it, letting out a satisfied moan as the flavor hit his tongue. You grimaced, earning a hearty laugh from him.

Alphys was looking at her roll in awe. “You know, I'm wondering why there's tamago on top.”

After slurping up a length of ramen noodles, Undyne pointed at her wife’s hand then back at the sushi. The egg was yellow like her scales. Alphys let out a noise of realization. “That makes sense- oh, Undyne, look, this piece here looks like it has my glasses on it.”

“For real? Cool.”

“Oh, yours has oden in it. Is it your favorite kind?”

Undyne nodded. “Oh yeah.” She looked at Toriel. “Who owns the restaurant by the way? This is really good.”

“Their name is foggy in my memory but I know that they are an octopus.”

“An octopus? That’s… That’s plain creepy, ain’t it?”

Frisk inquired, “Speaking of which, isn’t it creepy that you’re eating ramen?”

“Whatcha mean, punk?”

Toriel gasped and guilt flooded her face and body in a second. "It just dawned on me all that salt would make you ill, would it not? My deepest apologies."

Undyne started to sweat at the comment. She smiled big. “Well, uh, as long as I have a ton of water, it’ll be fine.”

“Speaking of which, I should get you some more.” Frisk got up and went over to the refrigerator.

As he did so, the nanny inquired, full of concern, “I wanted to ask you two about your housing situation. Are you two stable now?”

“Yeah, s-s-somehow."

“Somehow?”

“W-Well it’s nothing like before. We’re in a condo now so no having to worry about mortgages.”

Undyne added, “Right on the waterfront too. It’s paradise. We have a balcony and it has the perfect view of the coastline.”

“That is wonderful. But, Alphys, why do you still look so downcast?”

“Our l-landlady is… well…”

The fighting fish banged so hard on the table the dishes and bottles on the table bounced ever so slightly. “The scum of the earth, that hag!”

You nearly jumped from the noise but neither woman at the table seemed shaken. Frisk came back with a glass of water he purposely placed over where the fish Monster banged on the table. He sat back down in his chair with a disappointed look on his face. “I’m guessing your landlady is one of those humans who'd have a bad time with us.”

“Abso-fricking-lutely!” If looks could kill, Undyne would have slaughtered you ten times already.

“How bad are we talking?”

Alphys put down her chopsticks and tucked up her glasses. She sighed sadly. “The kind of person that has been raising our rent every month.”

Toriel dropped her chopsticks and whipped her head towards the scientist, completely and utterly stunned. “You better elaborate what you mean.”

“It’s as Alph said.” Undyne crossed her arms and rocked her knee impatiently. She practically tore a hole in her biker jacket from her sharp nails digging into the leather. “We’ve been living in that apartment for as long as we’ve been living in Miami which is almost two years now, right babe?”

“Y-Yeah. We couldn’t come Home for two years straight because of work and our unsteady financial situation. Our a-apologies for that.”

“There’s no need to apologize," Toriel stated.

“The hag’s raised our rent almost 200-percent since we’ve moved in.”

You nearly choked on the food that was currently in your mouth, throwing you into a coughing fit. Frisk put his hand on your back as you kept yourself from dying by sushi. You were able to swallow it a moment later and guzzle down some water, ending your hacking.

“Are you alright?” He asked.

“Fine. Just… I’m stunned. Why would she raise your rent so high? I understand that it's over by the waterfront so the view is an extra expense. But... 200-percent?”

“It has nothing to do with that. It has everything to do with her attitude towards Monsters," Undyne answered.

“A-And lesbians. D-Don’t forget about that," Alphys added.

“She had the gall to put a letter under the door, calling us spawns of Sathan, or whatever the heck the red pitchfork dude is called. She told us to go back to hell.”

“Let me specify. S-She told us to c-crawl back to hell.”

“Same difference.”

You were stunned by this information. “... There’s no legislature that makes that illegal yet, right?”

Frisk frowned deeply. “No. Not at all. I’ve been sending bills to Congress over and over again. And once they hit the floor for debate, they’re ripped to shreds. I’m not giving up, however. Every time I send it, more and more votes in favor of the Monsters come in. I’m determined to get this passed.”

Toriel picked up her mug and, calm as a breeze, stated, “And when it is passed, we can sue the living hell out of that retch.”

Everyone turned to her, puzzled and surprised by her statement. She simply sipped her tea, as if she hadn’t said anything of concern. You made a mental note to yourself: Don’t mess with the queen.

The five of you ate in peace after that. Once Undyne finished her noodles, she patted her stomach and let out a bellow of praise. “That was great. Can’t get anything like that in Florida. No imitation crab either.”

Toriel set down her chopsticks momentarily. “Yes, indeed. By the way, Frisk mentioned you have photos from down there. I hope you will show me them, won’t you?”

“‘Course.” Undyne took her phone out of her pocket and tapped on the screen quickly. “Here you go. Swipe to the right.” She handed the queen her phone. Undyne got up from her chair and picked up her dishes. “Where am I putting them?”

Frisk replied, mouth full of dumpling, “Sink. I’ll wash ‘em now.”

“Awesome. I didn’t want to anyway.” She plopped her dishes into the sink and sat back down.

Toriel looked up from the phone with a big smile on her face. “I accidentally swiped to the left and I’m glad I did.” The nanny Monster showed the screen to its owner and Undyne smiled wide. “I cannot believe you have your wedding photos still on your phone.”

“I know, I know, but it’s one of the best days of my life.”

“Speaking of which, did you inform my son’s lovely assistant about your wedding? It was quite the affair.”

Alphys put down her chopsticks, finishing her food. “N-No, we didn’t.”

Undyne beckoned to you. “C’mon, get over here. Lemme take ya down memory lane.”

You had just finished your food and was about to put your container in the sink. “Uh, sure, just-” Frisk swiped the container from your hands and winked at you when you were about to question his action. Heh, alright. You moved your chair between the couple’s chairs. Frisk took Alphys and Toriel’s dishes and went to the sink as you settled. Undyne gave you the phone and you knew what to do.

The first photo was a photo of the entire wedding party. Undyne was dressed to the nines in a white suit, vest and all. Alphys was stunning in her wedding dress, a poofy, white ball gown that accentuated her beautifully. The men were dressed in black suits and aqua ties. The women wore aqua wrap dresses. Everyone looked incredibly happy. Asgore, Papyrus, and Sans were amongst the men in the photo. Toriel was amongst the women. Frisk, a teenager then, was in front next to his father with whom looked to be a preteen MK. The human was wearing a baby blue dress and, much to your surprise, rocked it.

“The wedding was huge.”

“T-T-Too huge.”

“We knew way too many people. I was the head of the Royal Guard so everyone from the Royal Guard attended. Alph was the Royal Scientist so everyone that worked in the castle came. Then the Royal family were invited and we forced Frisk to be the flower boy so tons of aristocrats attended. And Gerson - the Hammer of Justice by the way - came so he and his buddies from The War came along. Only fifty people were invited to come but that’s not how Monster weddings work. Usually twice the amount of people come. At our wedding, two hundred people showed up, most of ‘em uninvited.”

"Damn,” you bellowed out.

“At M-M-Monster weddings, it’s common courtesy to let whoever is related to the couple or anyone invited in at the door for the reception. We didn’t have enough seats for everyone, not even at the temple. Almost everyone had to sit on the floor at the banquet hall. We still thank Sans and P-Papyrus so much for running to the grocery store at least twenty times to bring food and drinks once we ran out.”

“Papyrus was my best man.”

“And Frisk was mine. He was also the flower g-girl, w-w-well boy technically but, uh, you know what I mean. He wore a dress and everything.”

Frisk announced, never turning from his dishes. “And I slayed.”

“You really did, punk. Anyway, let’s talk about the actual ceremony. Mettaton bought everyone's outfits.”

“Everyone?” you asked, seeking confirmation.

“Y-Yes. We were as shocked as you are. They were designer too, he claimed.”

Undyne turned to her wife with a shit-eating grin. “You know how he is, babe.” The fighting fish badly imitated the robot’s voice and mannerisms, “My darling friend cannot be seen dead in a wedding dress from some atrocious store like David’s Bridal or-” She gasped dramatically. “A hand-me-down.”

Mother and son laughed their heads off. You chuckled too. You knew of the robot’s antics from watching interviews and following his social media accounts.

You swiped to the next picture. It was the two on the altar, holding hands. Undyne was hiding her eyes with her sleeve and Alphys was wiping hers with a handkerchief. Despite the tears, they had smiles on their faces.

“Okay, so no one was going to take me down the aisle. Yeah yeah, play the sad violins. I wasn't bothered by it. I was on my own all my life and I turned out great. I could have handled strutting down the aisle like the badass I am.

When Gerson arrived, he knocked on the door to the room and demanded to see me. So I came out and asked what the heck he was doing here. He was supposed to be in the temple with the guests. He demanded to be the one to walk me down the aisle. Now, let me tell you, when I was little, I used to stalk the geezer. I wanted to get strong as hell and he’s the Hammer of Justice, a war hero. All I did was trouble him. I broke the merchandise in his shop. I used to practice spear volleying at him too. I didn’t expect for him to even show up much less walk me down the aisle.”

“Undyne cried like a baby as they walked down.” Toriel said.

“Hey!”

Frisk added, “She was actually crying before she even came to the temple doors.”

“Snitch!”

“W-well, I wasn’t originally going to be walked down either. My parents pretty much abandoned me after some… stuff… came to light. Asgore found out about the whole debacle when he arrived at the hall. He was fuming.”

You looked at her funny.

“Y-Yeah, King Fluffybuns was fuming angry at someone. It's rare to bring it out but he can and it's s-super scary. He called my p-parents and demanded to know why they weren’t at the temple. They told him why and... h-hung up on him.”

Toriel added, “I may abhor my ex-husband but even I was stunned by the gall of the two. I made sure to give them a piece of my mind when the festivities ended.”

“M-Monster men aren’t allowed to see the bride until she walks down the aisle. It’s bad luck. Asgore didn’t care. He barged into my dressing room and told me that he was going to w-w-walk me. I… I ended up having to stop halfway down the aisle because I was crying my eyes out.” Alphys looked into her lap at her ring finger. Her ring was a simple thin silver band. “I’ll … I’ll never forget what he did for me that day.”

Undyne put her hand in Alphys, earning a squeak from the lizard Monster. The scientist looked up at her with a smile on her lips. Undyne continued, a smile setting in as she did, “The ceremony was simple. We did the usual crap at weddings. Yadda yadda. Then we went to the banquet hall for the reception and… that’s when all the cool crap happened.”

“We had five hours of toasts. Sans’s speech was l-literally twenty minutes of puns and m-maybe a minute of sentimentality.”

“Then the Queen joined in halfway through and the afternoon went from good to great. People were falling out their chairs from laughing so hard. Plus, everyone was pretty drunk by then. Frisk told everyone during his speech to just start drinking because he was going to take forever. Even though we jammed two hundred people in there, we had enough alcohol for everyone.”

“Plus we stayed way later than we were s-supposed to. The reception was to end at six at night. We left at six the next morning.”

Toriel mentioned to you, sipping her tea, “We party as long as there’s fun to be had.”

“The banquet hall was in Newfoundland and Monsters were banned from having any engagement there ever again once we were done with the place. We didn’t wreck it enough in my opinion.”

“W-W-Well, we made sure you couldn’t break anything using your hands at least.” Alphys turned to you. “There’s a loophole in many insurance policies that don't cover magical damage to property or people. We didn't have to pay a dime for damages to the place.”

The next picture was a screenshot of a video with a play button icon on top of it. It looked like a gym class of sorts. “Oh, yeah, this is the party the students held for you on your last day teaching at the Academy, Undyne.”

You pressed the button and the video played. The students were squirting Undyne with colored liquid from water guns. Undyne was laughing her head, her chuckle growing more and more maniacal as she was spritzed. Sans, on his brother’s shoulders, dunked a bucket of red liquid all over her. She screeched and summoned a wall of spears at the two, causing the cameraman to move the camera and end the video early.

The scientist tucked up her glasses. “People from Undyne’s clan dunk water dyed with colored powder on them for good luck. So the students bought water guns and stuff and went wild. The colors have meanings in Monster culture.”

Frisk said, “Sans and Papyrus went really hard with determination, didn't they?”

“Hey, I should thank ‘em for it. I'm practically filled with the stuff now. That's probably why I got that job y’know.”

“Which, by the way, I am absolutely overjoyed you got.” Toriel added.

“Thanks, Your Majesty.”

The next hour was spent with the two showing you and Toriel the many photos of the two and their adventures in the Sunshine state. You learned that the two had plenty of fun while living down there. Undyne rode the waves on her surfboard while Alphys built excellent sand castles. You learned that the two drove up to Orlando every once in a while to go to Universal Studios and Disney World. Undyne loved the roller coasters but Alphys preferred the teacups. You learned that the two sat on the edge of the boardwalk every evening to watch the sunset before heading home to eat dinner and watch an episode of an anime.

You learned the two had moved five times before finding the condo they currently resided in. It wasn't that they couldn't afford wherever they settled down, Alphys assured. It was either their neighbors or the people within the general area giving them trouble. You learned that they moved from their first house only because one day, they came home to find the house to be covered wall-to-wall with graffiti of slurs and hateful symbols. Undyne was ready to kill but Alphys was terrified so the two fled from their home. That incident was the reason the two couldn't return to Newer Home for the holidays two years ago. You learned that the two couldn't return last year either due to troubles their current landlady gave them.

You learned the couple have no regrets living where they do.

“Despite all the crap the humans give us… I wouldn't trade the memories and experiences I've had down there for the world.”

“I agree with you, Undyne. Even while I was being bullied by my coworkers at NASA, I was- n-no, I am happy living in Florida. I love it all.”

Toriel and Frisk seemed satisfied with their answers. You were as well.

“Alph, we should get out of here. We need to find Papyrus and Sans.”

“Y-You're right.” The two got up. Undyne had already left the kitchen when Alphys walked over to Frisk. “We’ll pay you back for the door, b-by the way.”

“Take your time. It's not too badly damaged… I think.”

“If you say so. I'll be seeing you all later. It was nice meeting you as well… Uh, what's your name again?”

You repeated it for the scientist, not offended by her forgetfulness.

“Right.” Alphys left the room.

As the two had a conversation in the other room as they put on their jackets, Toriel turned to Frisk with a gentle look on her face. “Did you notice Alphys’s stutter?”

“Yes. It's improving. You should have heard her earlier. She said that Undyne has resting bitch face and she didn't apologize immediately.”

Toriel laughed at that then took a long sip of her tea. “I am happy for her. Being with Undyne is making her more confident in herself. I do not know the two like how Asgore does but I could tell she was a nervous wreck from back then.” Toriel looked into her mug and clicked her tongue. “Frisk, could you be a sweetheart and-”

“One step ahead of you.” He rose from his chair. He walked over to the stove and took the tea kettle there to the sink.

As he was refilling it, Undyne popped her head into the kitchen one last time. “We just close the door behind us, right?”

“Yep. I don't lock it.”

“Alright. See ya later then, dweebs and Toriel.”

You all sent your goodbyes to the couple. The front door was slammed and the couple went on their merry way.

Frisk placed the kettle onto the counter and started a flame under if. "You want tea?” he asked you.

“Yeah. Earl Grey. Make it as strong as possible.”

Toriel peered at you like a mother would, “Are you sleeping well? You didn't have dark circles this bad when we first met."

You were pleasantly surprised by the nanny’s concern for you. “Oh, it's the stuff for the conference in Brussels. We’re cracking down to get it ready.”

“Speaking of which,” the Queen turned to Frisk, who was now returning to his seat, “Why was the conference pushed back? You never told me.”

“Issues with the venue. It probably has to do with the rallies going on at the campus. Something about a student being wrongfully expelled or something. The conference’s been moved to the 4th of next month.”

“Oh my, I hope it's not too dangerous over there. You know Asgore and I worry.” She said the king’s name bitterly.

“I know quite well.” A soft smile crossed his lips. “We’ll be careful.”

The kettle began to whistle. Frisk got up and walked over to the stove and turned off the heat under the pot. As he prepared your and the queen’s tea, you looked out the window next to you. The sky was overcast with thick clouds. I wonder if it'll snow soon. It would make since. The temperature was at the appropriate degree for snow to form. Whether it would stick or not is up to the ground.

Frisk came back over with your tea and set in front of you. You thanked him and - for some unknown reason - pulled it to your lips and--- ow, ow, ow! You slammed the cup back onto the table, your eyes bugged out. Did you really just put a burning cup of brewing tea to your lips? Yes, you had. Your tongue was on fire. You reminded yourself to keep focused. You would need to for these upcoming weeks as the conference slowly approached.

Chapter Text

The first day of December arrived. The temperature drop hit the mountainside like brain freeze after eating too much ice cream. Light sprinkles of snow stuck to the grass like confectionary sugar. Newer Home was abuzz about the first snow of the winter. Many of the Academy's students wondered if they could build snowmonsters or have snowball fights soon enough.

You and the only other human on this side of the mountain could care less about the snow outside.

Both of you were stressed out beyond belief and it was only going to get worse. The conference in Brussels was approaching and you both were working nonstop to get everything prepared. Frisk was concerned this conference was going to be a bad one - maybe one of his worst. Parts of a major point of his presentation were spotty and there was no way things could turn around in the three days that remained until the conference.

You needed a coincidence, a miracle - something.

It was ten o’clock on the dot when the phone in the Academy’s office rang. Toriel somehow pulled you away from your work to do administrative duties for the day. Frisk didn't agree with her action but you did silently thank her. You would have lost your mind by now if you were still cooped up in the human’s home.

You answered the phone, trying your best to hide the tiredness in your voice. “Hello, this is the Academy. How may I help you?”

“Oh you’re not the queen,” a telegenic voice on the other end stated matter-of-factly, “That's certainly new. What's your name, sweetheart?”

You refused to put up with flirtation without your morning cup of tea yet. “You have to tell me yours first.”

“Oh, really? Hmph, I’m sure you can recognize me by my voice, darling.”

If you could, you'd strangle the person on the other end with the phone cord. “I and all the other staff at the Academy are quite busy so we don’t have time to waste playing games. I need a name.”

The voice didn't reply back immediately. “Strict too. I like being bossed around.”

You scoffed, desiring to melt like the snow outside as it touched the concrete.

“Look, tell little Frisky that I'll be at the Academy in an hour and he better clear his little schedule for me.”

“Uh, excuse me?”

“Tell Frisk Dreemurr that I'll be at the Academy of Monsterkind in an hour and that he better clear his schedule for me.”

“No, I heard what you said. I'm just confused as to why you think the ambassador of all of Monsterkind can just clear his schedule for you, Mr…”

“Metatron.”

“- Mr. Metatron. Frisk is not taking appointments again until the 10th as the automated message notified you. He cannot take your appointment, especially on such short notice.”

“Well, that's just too bad. I'm almost in Newfoundland now.”

You were stunned. “Wha-?”

“And I just made the turn on the freeway. Look, you tell him that I've got some things to butter him up with. He’ll make room for me. I am a star after all.”

You slammed the phone back into the receiver. As soon as you got up out of your chair, you groaned so loud you were sure that all of the Academy could hear its echo. This day went from bad to worse in a matter of seconds.

You ran at full speed to the human’s home, not a second to waste. As soon as you arrived, you knocked on his door, letting out some of your frustration on the wood. You took note of the hole from Undyne’s “entrance” the other day. You both would have to find a way to cover it up.

“Come in,” Frisk exclaimed from the other side, sleep in his voice.

You entered his office which had books scattered all on the floor and surfaces. It wasn't as messy as it was when you first arrived however the state of the place still displeased you. You would allow it only once. You were too busy trying to work to concern yourselves with tidiness. It would be cleaned the day you both returned from the trip, however. You demanded it to be.

Frisk was at his desk, still in his pajamas. He was a complete mess - hair sticking up in every direction and sleep still in his eyes. You probably looked just as bad since you both pulled an all-nighter the night before and hadn't taken the opportunity to freshen up yet. You still couldn’t fathom why the queen pulled you away even though you looked like you just walked out of a tornado.

“Frisk, bad news.”

The human looked up at you, Flowey - looking just as groggy as you were - on his shoulder. “Don't tell me that it's Mom’s choice of pie today. I can't handle snail pie more than once a month.” You understood the human's woes completely. You had a slice of the aforementioned pastry and you did not enjoy it one bit.

“No, it's worse. A guest is coming.”

Frisk responded by slamming his head onto the desk and covering his head with his arms. He groaned long and hard like how a little girl would into a pillow.

Flowey luckily was smart enough to fling himself backward so he didn't face plant with the human. He scowled at the human. “I knew you didn't set the answering machine, you frickin’-” The human put a finger to Flowey’s mouth, silencing the Monster immediately. The flower looked stunned at his action but stopped his nagging.

Frisk peeked up just a bit. “Who… Who’s coming?”

“Someone by the name of… Metatron?”

Frisk looked up more, his face displaying disgruntlement. “Like the Transformers character?”

Flowey rolled his eyes, “No, the idiot misheard them. They probably mean Divabot - Mettaton.”

Mettaton? You visualized Mettaton with the person on the other end’s voice. It was a perfect match. The guest that would be coming would be the most famous Monster entertainer on the Surface, Mettaton. You would have been excited to meet him - after all, he seemed to be a kind person despite the glitz and glam - but the phone conversation left a bad taste in your mouth.

He’d be receiving no mercy from you today.

Frisk rolled his head back and shrieked, “Are you kidding me?”

Flowey’s eyebrows rose. The flower looked at him excitedly, stating mockingly, “Oh, you look pissed.”

“Look? I am pissed. I'm--- so pissed.” The human heatedly rose up from his desk and stomped past you into the kitchen, empty mug in his hand. You haven’t seen the human so openly infuriated as of yet. He always kept his composure when he was angry, his distaste hinted calmly through his actions. That afternoon, however, he was fully open to expressing his anger.

You followed him into the kitchen. He practically slammed his mug on the counter as he continued his rampage. “How dare he do this to me.” He stomped past you, ignoring you completely. “I know I set that answering machine. I know I did. He just chose to ignore it.”

He searched the dry food cabinet for the tea he was looking for. “He has a lot of nerve to suddenly show up after eight and a half years of ignoring my calls, pleading for him to get these incredibly important surveys done. Now he expects me to suddenly jump over the Moon for him when I'm losing my marbles over this conference. He hasn't come Home ever since he left for New York either and now he thinks things will be a-okay?” The human closed the double doors to the cabinet hurriedly. He stomped past you to get to the cupboard above the sink.

Your nerves were settling. Frisk was reminding you of your little brother when the tyke was angry, huffing and puffing about. You would giggle but you didn't have the audacity to.

“The whole part about romantic relationships is in shambles. I'm going to make a complete fool of myself- no, the entire Monster race - if I don't find something to present to the masses in four fricking days. And Sassy McQueen has the nerve to fucking-” Frisk snapped his head at you. “Where is the Earl Grey?”

You picked up the box that had been sitting patiently on the counter next to you the entire time and shook it twice.

Unlike your sibling, who would continue to rant, Frisk’s face cleared and was replaced with embarrassment. He walked over to you and nervously took the box from you. “... Sorry about that." He looked like a sad puppy.

“It's alright."

“I didn't freak you out, did I?”

“No, not at all. To be brutally honest, you reminded me of a chihuahua.” Frisk snorted at that but you continued. “But, I'm just as disdained as you are. I'd be hollering along with you if I had the energy.”

“That's… That's good.” He still looked guilty.

You honestly weren't upset with him. You placed a supportive hand on your companion’s free shoulder, hoping he would understand your feelings. “Look at me, Frisk.” The human weakly did. Your brother would do the same when you got to calming him down. “I know we’re both losing our minds but we have to calm down or else this conference will go much worse than it should.”

“You're… You're right.”

“We’re going to survive this. And this is how we will. Frisk, you go upstairs and take a shower. I'm going to take one too. We’re literal trainwrecks right now and we can't be trainwrecks in front of a guest - ever. We have to look like we give a damn right now. From the words of Her Highness, the façade is what's important.”

“Can I still wear my pajamas?”

“Put a sweater over them. Your desk will hide the pants.”

Frisk cracked a small grin. “Can I wear my slippers too?”

“I don't see why not.”

His grin curved into a shit-eating one. “The bunny ones?”

“Okay, now you're just messing with me.”

The two of you laughed together wholeheartedly, de-stressing yourselves of the current situation.

Now to get Flowey on board. “Flowey, do what you do best.”

“And what would that be?”

“Hide.”

The flower Monster smirked at you. “Oh, you know me too well.”

The three of you dispersed to quickly get ready. You cleaned yourself up and put on a different set of business clothes. You would have put on some jammies, however, there was no desk to hide your legs under. You'll sacrifice comfort today.

You arrived back and Frisk was still in the shower. Flowey, however, was in his pot, on the human’s desk. “Hey, you, get me down from the desk.”

Flowey reminded you of the times your brother would get fresh with you. You wouldn't be allowing him to talk down to you. “Say ‘please’ and maybe I will.”

The golden flower looked offended. “Excuse me? I almost ended your puny life a few weeks ago and you have the audacity to demand I say ‘please’ for something?”

You began to pick up the books and put them behind Frisk’s desk. Sure, the robot was certainly rude to all of you but he was a guest. A guest deserved to at least sit in someplace clean. “Yes, yes I do.”

“How dare you. I am the…” Flowey ranted and raved about him being the darkest of nights and the most fearsome of shadows. Honestly, you couldn’t care less about his ramblings. You had a task to do and you were not putting up with the drama queen today. As you set the last book down, you walked back to see if Mettaton would be able to see the stacks. No, he wouldn't, you deducted. “Are you ignoring me?”

“For the most part, yes.”

Flowey groaned loudly, bending his stem back to bellow it out. You snickered at the display. Just like your brother. “What's so funny?”

“It's just that you and Frisk are more alike than either of you think.”

Flowey was speechless from your deduction. He looked away with a puzzled look on his face. You'd have to use bribery to teach the Monster some manners. “Flowey, if you say ‘please’, I'll make you pancakes later.”

His petals perked up. “... With syrup?”

“Yes.”

“And blueberries?”

“Uh huh.”

“And powdered sugar.”

“If Frisk has it, then yeah.”

Flowey slowly turned to face you again. “...I'm only saying this once, you hear me?”

“Alright.”

Flowey looked down at the desk then around the room before mustering up his courage to say, “May you please set me on the floor?” The question came out forced and sickeningly sweet, but the flower did politely ask you his request.

You did as he asked and placed him on the flooring with care. “I'll make them as soon as the guest leaves, alright?”

“Fine. You better remember or else.” Vines crept out of the pot and Flowey used them to walk up the staircase. A minute shiver zapped down your spine. You knew what the flower was implying. That's the only thing that made you wary of him. He could do attempt to murder again.

After you prepared the room for the interview - clearing Frisk’s desk, getting the cassette player and your notepad ready - Frisk returned, hair washed and body smelling gently of flowers. He wore a sweater now but was still in his nightwear below it. “No calls or anything?”

“None.”

“Good. Now, we just have to-” Buzzing came from Frisk’s cell phone. Wait. Frisk has a cell phone? You didn't know the human had one. You'd have to set that number into his contact on your phone. He took it out of his pants and- Hold up, this dork has the latest iPhone? No fair! But then, you really thought about it. Frisk could afford to pay you thirty-five dollars an hour. He could easily buy plenty of the devices. Frisk answered the phone and put it on speaker. “What’s going on, Sans?”

“i don't know, but i know it’s not as good as updog.”

Frisk and you were befuddled.

“... What's updog?” He dared to ask.

“i don’t know, kid. what’s up with you?”

You two hollered at the skeleton’s joke. Frisk walked right into that one. The skeleton joined you all shortly. As the laughing died down, Frisk asked, “Okay, seriously, what's up, Sans?”

“guess who's soul came up on the system.”

“If it's Mettaton, I already know. He called about an hour ago.”

“...but did he tell you about the human that's with him?”

Frisk and you looked at each other. “A human.”

“yeah.”

“Can you see what their Soul looks like?”

“not much but i can tell you the color is very saturated.”

Frisk looked pleasantly surprised. “That's interesting - very interesting. I wonder who this human will end up being.”

“probably his agent or manager or whatever the person is called.”

“I can't reboot your guess, now can I?”

Sans snorted at that. “okay, you got me that time. they’re making the turn to head up to the academy. get ready, kid.”

“Gotcha. Thanks for the info, Sans.”

“no prob. i gotta keep an eye socket out for newer home anyway.”

You and the human chuckled. “Alright, see ya later, Sans.”

“yup. peace.”

Frisk hung up and put the phone in his pocket. You were curious about what that conversation about human Souls was about so you inquired about it. “Hey, Frisk. What did all that mean about saturation and such?”

“Well, Monster Souls are pure white. They're unable to gain a color, unlike human Souls, which are very colorful. You saw that flash of color when you saw your own, correct?”

“Yes, it was a deep blue color.”

“Monsters believe that certain colors symbolize certain virtues. That's how they judged the character of humans from ancient times. The more saturated the color, the more trustworthy that person is because those with vivid-colored Souls embody the traits associated with those colors more openly. That’s why I put my trust in you so quickly. Your Soul has quite a lovely hue.”

You glanced away for a second, unable to handle the genuineness of his compliment. “What’s the virtue of mine?”

“Integrity.”

Integrity: honesty, righteousness, moral uprightness. That's what your Soul said about you. Yes, you were good at being honest. That's how you got the job you have now. You were honest with Frisk. Did you have this quality involving yourself? Were you being true to who you were? No, not that past couple of weeks. Your fight-or-flight response has been out of whack. You’ve only spoken to your family and Ricardo outside of the Monsters and Frisk, which is unlike you because you enjoyed talking with much more people than that. Speaking of which, you hadn't talked to the rest of the gang since your first evening on Mt. Ebott. Plus, those noises you heard at night were still happening. You were losing yourself every morning you woke up as if you were the morning person you definitely were not.

“Integrity. Huh. That's pretty surprising.”

“And why’s that? I think it's perfect for you.”

“I don't know. It's just… I feel like I don't know who I am anymore.”

Frisk looked honestly confused. “What do you mean?”

You explained to the human your dilemma, surprising yourself how much you were able to be open with him about, though you've only known him for a little less than a month. You were pretty private about your life, even within your friend group. You weren't sure why you were able to spill so much to him. Was it trust?... Yes. It was trust. Frisk is a good friend of yours now. You worked together, ate together, hung out together. You knew his parents and they adored you and you were sure yours would love him just as much. Ricardo was introduced to Frisk and Ricky’s opinion was important to you, which was a thumbs up from him. You knew that he’d be able to quell the questions in your head just as you quelled his rage earlier. You knew you could rely on him. You made sure to keep out the information involving what happened with Papyrus at the supermarket. Papyrus would have to be the one to tell him, not you.

You went on and on for about ten or so minutes, the human listening intently to you. Once you finished, Frisk looked towards nothing in particular as he spoke. “Being with the Monsters changed me too if you'd believe it.”

You were surprised by his statement.

“I… I don't remember much of the time before I fell into the Underground but I knew that when I came out of it, I was different. And even now, up here on the Surface again, I don't wake up the same person I was the night before. Every day, I wake up, determined to make a change - even if it’s small.” Frisk turned back to you. “Maybe you weren't the person you thought you were before you came to the Mount.”

He had a point. These things that were occurring within you weren't necessarily bad things. Well, except the midnight Twilight Zone-esque episodes in your bedroom. That was plain weird. Maybe you really weren't the kind of person you thought you were. Maybe you've been so focused on abiding by human society and its unspoken rules that you lost yourself in the process - no, you never got the chance to even know yourself. On the mount, they didn't care where you came from or who you were. They cared about who you were now. And, honestly… You were beginning to like the person you were now.

“Heh… You're right.”

“You'll figure it out over the course of your time here. I'm sure of it.”

“You're probably right about that too.”

Frisk beamed mildly at you. “Now, is that all?”

“Actually, one more question.”

“Shoot it.”

“What's the color of your Soul?”

“Red, the most saturated red visible to the human eye. It's the unofficial virtue of Determination.”

“Determination… That suits you well.”

“And Integrity suits you - seriously. You'll notice what I mean someday.”

You hoped so.

Your heads both snapped towards the door as you heard the voice you heard over the phone coming closer and closer to Frisk’s home. Your employer whispered to you, “Oh, I should mention one thing. You know how Dumble and Burgerpants were?”

“Dumble?”

Frisk rolled his eyes. “Mad Dummy.”

You'd forgotten that was their actual name. “Yeah. I remember.”

“Mettaton is twice as bad as they were.”

You gulped and the door was knocked on rapidly.

“Come in."

The door opened and there he was, Mettaton in his full glory. You were half expecting the theme music that played when his radio show started on Friday evenings, half expecting confetti to fall down from nowhere.

Helllloooooo everybody!” the mechanical robot bellowed out into the home, like the announcer of a game show would. You hadn't expected that either - not only his entrance but his voice. The voice wasn't as electronic sounding as you expected it to be. It was clear, deep, and nice to the ears, like the voice of a… radio show host. How ironic. “How is everyone doing today?”

Frisk and you sat in silence.

“Oh, you’re no fun.” The robot bent down a little to walk under the doorway. You hadn't expected that the robot would be as tall as he was. You thought everyone next to him in photos from magazines was just short. No, he was just way taller than them, maybe a few inches shorter than the king, and that was saying a lot.

His heels clicked swiftly against the wood flooring before he stopped halfway. His visible eye lit up and a charming smile crossed his features as he gasped dramatically. “Oh my goodness. Is that my Frisky Business?”

The human in question put a hand on his hip and a hand in the air, posing like a cheerleader would. “Is that my Tonton?"

After a brief moment of silence, the two squealed like two women seeing each other after years of separation.

Mettaton bent over the desk to hug the human. The robot coiled his arms around and around the human like how a boa constrictor would its prey and almost violently rocked him back and forth. “Oh goodness gracious, you've gotten so big and handsome.” The robot released him from his grasp. “I'm sure you're driving the ladies and gents mad, aren't you?” Mettaton winked at him.

Frisk chuckled. “The only people I'm driving nuts are politicians. For now.” The human winked back.

The two laughed forcedly together. There was a certain tension in the air that wouldn't go away, no matter how lighthearted they appeared to be.

“Oh, and aren't you the fine specimen.” You flinched and looked up to see Mettaton was staring down at you. “What's your name, darling?” You introduced yourself to the Monster entertainer. The robot gasped and pointed accusingly at you. “Were you that awful person on the phone with me earlier?”

“Yes, I was.” You crossed your arms. “Is there a problem?” You glared at him.

“Yes. Yes, there is.” The robot crossed his arms. “I know quite well how Frisky treats his guests.”

“And I know quite well how I told you repeatedly that you couldn't come in today. Don't get fresh with me, Divabot.”

The entertainer scoffed, insulted by your nickname for him- well, Flowey’s. You’ll tell the flower of his response.

“I'm siding with my assistant.” Frisk’s lips were in a thin line, his eyebrows furrowed, his hands firmly folded on the desk. “Why are you here, Mettaton?”

“Well, I’ll tell you that in a moment but first-”

“It better not be you bragging!” The human was fuming in his seat.

Mettaton blinked once, twice, seemingly unaffected by the human, before going over to one of the living chairs and picking up a box. You didn't know when he'd actually put the box in the chair in the first place. Wait. No. He's a performer. He probably used a theater trick to put it there. “Actually there's a bit of bragging sprinkled in there - if you'd call it that - but here, some liquor; to dilute the salt.”

The robot handed the long white box to Frisk. Your employer quickly opened it to reveal a bottle of red wine. Frisk seemed thoroughly surprised by the gift. The human read the label and rose his eyebrows at something particular on it. “‘Made from the 1883 batch.’ Wow, you really want me to get hammered.”

“I know that's the only way you're giving me mercy today, darling.”

“You're right about that.” Frisk put the bottle to the side of the desk gently. “I'll be drinking this when I return from my conference in Brussels however. I need to stay sober.” Frisk turned to you. “I hope you don't mind a little alcohol after the conference.”

“I can't wait for the imminent hangover.”

Frisk snorted at that and turned back to the robot. “Now, what is this news you're so desperate about telling me?”

“Oh, finally. You see, my-” Mettaton looked left and right then behind himself, not finding whatever he was looking for. “Wha- where in the world did she g-” The robot's face flattened. “Oh.” He looked down at the human with a pleading look. “A moment, will you?”

He walked back to the door and swung it open. He stepped just a step and turned to the wall outside of the home. Mettaton put his hands on his hips and pursed his lips. “Really, Lena?”

A voice that reminded you of songbirds chirped nervously, “I’m sorry, Metty. You know I'm nervous.”

Your and your employer’s eyebrows rose. You hadn't a clue who the voice belonged to. You glanced at each other as the two had a quick conversation outside. It seemed Frisk didn't know either.

Mettaton walked back in, his attention to the open door. He twiddled the fingers of his right hand expectantly. “Come, come, darling. I don't want to be left hanging.”

The first you saw of the human was her head. All the way from the door, you could tell there was something good about her, the sunlight haloed around her like that of an angel’s. She poked her head from out the side of the door. “Are… Are you sure? I really don't want to intrude.”

“Darling, we’ve already busted through the gates. We must continue our charge.”

The woman ambled in slowly, her boots clicking light and measured on the wood. She resembled a doll: prim, dainty features set in porcelain, rosy cheeks and lips bitten by the cold, and gently tousled waves of caramel that rolled to the small of her back. Her seafoam green eyes looked like that of a canary’s - gentle, always smiling. She was probably the prettiest girl you've ever seen.

The two were almost polar opposites - day and night, sun and moon - as if they were parallel lines. Yet, as the two laced their fingers together, there was uniformity, as if their universe of differences perfectly met in their hands, where the two lines intersected. As the two gazed into each other’s eyes, you saw those photos of your parents unconsciously.

The robot whispered something to her and she nodded. Mettaton motioned to the human and softly announced, “Frisk, this is Lena.”

“Oh, well, hiya, I'm Frisk.”

“Lena is my fiancée.”

Frisk and you blinked once, twice. The young man could only let out an “Oh.” Then another. His eyebrows rose and he got off the desk. “Oh.” Then he whipped himself towards you. “Oh!”

You knew what he was implying. You got up from the chaise and shouted, “Oh!”

Frisk hopped out of his chair and yelled at the top of his lungs, “OHHHHHH YEAHEHEHEHHHHH!

Mettaton said something along the lines of “I’m positive the line was ‘oh yes’ but what-” but you couldn't hear correctly because Frisk and you practically jumped into each other's arms and shrieked for joy.

There it was: your coincidence, your miracle - something.

Mettaton laughed his head off and the young woman next to him giggled as the two of you hopped up and down, squealing like how little girls do when they're excited. “Do my eyes deceive me or are those rabbits on your nightwear?”

“Yes.” Frisk had an unbreakable grin on his lips. He lifted one of his feet in the air. “Bunny slippers to match too.”

Mettaton laughed again, hiding his face with his arm to try to hide the chuckles that came out of him. “We really did catch you at an awful time.”

Frisk plopped back down in his chair and you did yours. The tension from earlier was now gone. “Yes, you really did. But that's alright now. Do you want to play the role of our savior? Because you already got it.”

The robot in question cocked an eyebrow. “Oh, really now.”

“Yes.” Frisk dug into the drawers of the desk, searching for something as he continued, a rush of energy flowing through him. “You see, on the 4th, my assistant and I will be in Belgium for another one of my conferences. This one’s about the intermingling between humans and Monsters. I'll be discussing mostly platonic relationships, however, I’ll also be covering… Hey, uh, where's the flyer?”

You walked to the file cabinet under Frisk’s printer, making sure to go around the front of the desk instead of the back because of those damn books. You opened the drawer to it and fingered through the folders until you found the one you were looking for. You took out the folder and quickly pulled out a flyer as you closed the cabinet shut with a swing of your hip. You passed the flyer to the couple and sat back down.

“Thanks. Anyway, I'll also be covering romantic relationships between the two.”

“Oh, I see what this is. You want us to spill all the dirty details and then you'll forgive me.”

“That and you have to do the survey as well. Then I'll love you again.” Frisk looked at the robot playfully. “No if’s, and’s, or but’s. I never will if you don't.”

“Come now, darling, you know how this thing goes. I haven't the time.”

Lena looked up at him. “Metty, I don't see why not. You said the other day that you wanted to be more open about us.”

“Yes I certainly did, love, however you know it'll take at least half a day to get to New York City from here. We haven't the time.”

“If you take the train, you'll cut the travel time by half.” The couple turned to you. “That's what I regret not doing when I originally came here. The highway takes on a curve through New England. Then you have to pass through D.C. so you have to add another hour if the traffic isn't that heavy. The express train cuts straight through to Penn.”

“See? Then we’ll make it back for the Dust Festival without having to freak out.”

Mettaton was about to interject but she gave him a sweet, pleading look. He slowly stopped his advances. “... Fine.”

Lena smiled at him and wrapped her arms around where she could reach. The height difference between them was staggering, her face reaching the heart-shaped chassis on his waist. Mettaton patted her head, pleasantly beaming at her. You honestly liked the two together. They seemed to be a very happy couple.

“Oh-uh- where are my manners,” Frisk said. The human woman released her fiancé and looked on. “When’s the wedding?”

“June 15th!” The entertainer exclaimed.

Frisk’s eyebrows rose. “For coming up with that on the spot, that's actually a wonderful day to marry. The best of the year in fact.”

Mettaton’s eye widen in realization. “You're right... because that's a week and a day after Soulance. I… I didn't even consider that.”

“What's Soulance, Metty?”

“Soulance is the Monster celebration of Souls. It's a little bit like your Valentine’s Day - the ‘-ance’ comes from ‘romance’, after all - but it's open to bonds of all kinds.”

Frisk continued, “It's one of the only holidays now that has roots from before the War. Many of the traditions of the Monsters were wiped out after they were all trapped underground. This festival is one of the only things that withstood time.”

“The date that is a week and a day after Soulance is said to be the luckiest day for couples to be wed on. Blessings abound and such. If we choose to have the wedding on that day, we definitely can't have it on the mountain.”

“Plus, it's in the summer so that'll be hard to reserve a venue everywhere else.”

“We’ll figure it out.” Lena's eyes were glittering with hope. “We always do.”

Frisk turned to you and noticed the confusion on your features. “You're confused about the festival or something else?”

“The ‘when’s the wedding’ part. Didn't you guys just get engaged recently?”

Lena inquired, “Do you mind if I explain?”

“Not at all,” you answered.

The human woman giggled softly. “I only learned about this two nights ago - when Mettaton proposed - so please forgive me if I get any of this wrong. After Monsters get engaged, they have 72 hours once the next dawn after the proposal arrives to tell each other's family and close friends about their engagement. The term is coined as the ‘engagement run’ because it's practically a race to get all these visits on time.

Tradition goes that when you find out about an engagement, you have to ask about the wedding date. One person, preferably the proposer, has to say the first date that comes to mind, no matter how ridiculous it may be.”

Frisk continued, “Monsters believe that once you decide to get married, you can't have the date in the air. It's as if your love for each other’s in the air. Marriage is something that is firm, grounded. You made the decision so you can’t be nonchalant about any part of the matter, even when people ask you for details you haven't confirmed yet. So you have to say a date.”

“Ah, I see…” You shrugged your shoulders. “Okay.”

Mettaton explained, “No wonder you're my Frisky’s assistant. You're just as loosey-goosey as he is.” The robot winced his eye and imitated the human rather impressively. “Oh, I guess I have to do this because I'm the ambassador to Monsterkind. Besides, I'm never getting laid ‘cause of it so I gotta keep myself busy.

Frisk gasped and cried out like a juvenile, “Tonton”, sending the robot into a laughing fit. Lena joined in as well. Her laugh was just as pretty as her voice. You snorted at the "getting laid" part. There was no way in the world the human was doing any of that. You wouldn't believe it.

Frisk cocked an eyebrow at the human woman. “If you ever get tired of Mettaton’s bull, dollface, my house is yours.” He winked at her, bedroom eyes and all.

Mettaton was stomping his heel on the floor. “Frisk, you keep your grimy claws off my darling, you hear me!”

And the whole room broke into hysterics. This time, the laughing wasn't forced. It was real, bonafide laughter. When the three of you stopped, the robot kept on going, chortling and snorting. “Don't you ever tell anyone I laugh like this.”

“Never have and never will… Unless, you don't sit down and do this survey.”

Letting out one last snort, Mettaton rolled his eyes. Gesturing to his fiancée, the robot sat Lena down first, removing her coat for her and hanging it up on the coat rack before sitting down next to her, crossing his amazing legs. The two held hands as the survey began.


Mettaton answered the survey honestly and openly, despite the protests earlier. You were surprised to learn many things about the robot you didn't know about him from the various media outlets you consumed.

First off, you didn't realize Mettaton was a ghost Monster. Dr. Alphys made his body so advanced that humanity believed he's just a robot. But humanity has been wrong about many things. The ghost has multiple bodies, the first one being a machine on a unicycle. Surprisingly, Mettaton hasn't fully fused with any of his bodies either. However, he's 99.9-percent fused with his current model: Mettaton EX.

Mettaton was also a Boss Monster by trial. You learned that Monsters such as Asgore and Toriel were Boss Monsters by right, meaning they were born that way. These were the aristocracy and royalty of Monsterkind. Boss Monsters by trial were Monsters that endured trials and tribulations so hard that their Souls strengthened enough to gain the status. These were ordinary Monsters that became the cream of the crop. These included Papyrus, Sans, Undyne, and Alphys, along with the Monster in the room.

Though the ghost was an entertainer, he's only had success being an actor in the human Hollywood and a radio show host for the Monster airwaves. He worked his - straight from his mouth - “shiny, metal ass” off to get where he is but even still he has trouble. No matter how many projects he juggled and how few breaks he had, he still had issues getting work. Directors have literally called him and told him that he was turned down because of his race. There were some roles he only got because the studios lacked the budget to use CGI. But, he kept his upper lip stiff and took on as many roles as he could.

Mettaton also knows quite well that he has a lot of pressure on him to succeed. Monsters were torn apart in many industries simply because they’re Monsters. Only seven have made it in the human entertainment industry and he’s the forefront of them. Every role he got was another door open for a Monster behind him. Even if it would be the death of him, he assured that he would keep on working his damnedest to change the industry.

But, of course, he would do it with class. He was offered several, very risque roles that he flat out turned down simply because he refused to be seen in that light. Sure, he had the legs of an Adonis, hips like Marilyn Monroe, and a signature smirk and wink that made many faint, but he wasn’t a whore to the masses. The way he refused to downgrade himself to make a quick buck earned him your respect.

Plus, he also had a humongous heart, much bigger than the glowing one on his chassis. When he listed out the number of things he’s done - from creating homeless shelters for Monsters all around the country to clandestine charity donations to even buying little kids who dropped their ice cream a new cone - you were flabbergasted. Yes, he was sweet but you didn't realize he was even sweeter than he was portrayed by the media.

You were beginning to wonder what in the world could have caused Burgerpants to get on the robot’s bad side so hard that he was treated so badly. Or, was it that Mettaton - as you learned quickly - was misunderstood. You would have to inquire the specifics from the cat to make sure your opinion of the robot was correct.

“Alright, that’s the end of that.” Frisk stretched his arms as you all finished that part of the interview.

You turned off the cassette player and ejected the tape inside. You handed it to Frisk, which you received his gratitude for, and went over to the cabinet under the printer for a new tape. After searching the bottom drawer of it, you found an unused one and closed the cabinet with your foot. You put the new tape in and sat back down.

“Onto the next one.” Mettaton groaned while his fiancée giggled at him. You pressed the record button. Here you go again.


After two grueling hours, the interviews were done. You almost leaped for joy that’s how elated you were when you realized this. Mettaton got up and stretched by slamming his foot onto Frisk’s desk and using it as a ballet barre.

Frisk didn’t seem to mind, stretching his arms and releasing a groan as he did. “So, I’m guessing you two will be going on to continue your engagement run.”

The couple said, “Yes.”

“Lena, if you don’t mind, would you like to have a tour of the Academy? It’s a-”

Mettaton slammed his other foot on the desk and sneered at him darkly, “Don’t. You. Dare.”

Frisk put up his hands defensively. “Hey, who says she’s going to have a bad time?” The robot glared at him, making Frisk stutter. “I-In fact, I think Ms. Robinson will have a wonderful time.”

“We’d probably run into many of the people we need to talk to while walking around, right?” Lena turned to her fiancé with a pleading look.

The Monster put his foot down and sighed. “You’re right. You’re both right. Besides, I do need to speak to you about a couple of things anyway.”

Frisk looked surprised. “Oh really.”

“Yes, really. It’s in regards to the movie I’m producing.”

“Oh yes. I was getting curious about that as well.”

The couple exited the house as you turned to the human male. “Frisk, what's this about? Why are you giving her a tour? Are you seriously going to do your judgment bullcrap on her.”

“I simply think I should show you what a nice human on the tour looks like, that's all.” Frisk smiled at you. “Let's head on out, shall we?”

All four of you exited Frisk’s home and walked back to the main building. Mettaton and Frisk walked briskly in front, discussing whatever they needed to discuss, while Lena and you took languid steps back to the building. The human woman looked dreamily at the scenery. “The mountains are so beautiful this time of year,” Lena said, “I wonder if the next snowfall will stick to the ground.”

“The meteorologists are saying that it’s going to be uncharacteristically warm this December. We may hit 50 on Christmas up here.”

“Oh, yes, I’ve heard. It’s going to be in the 70s in New York that day.” The human turned to you. “You mentioned that you wished you took the train from Penn to here, right?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“Did you live in New York?”

“Yes. I was born in Queens then my family moved pretty much all over the country when I was growing up. When I graduated middle school, they ended up moving back to the same house we first lived in New York.”

“Really? That’s… pretty exciting in my opinion.”

You shrugged. “Yeah, it was; sort of. Tons of sights to see but I didn’t keep many friends as we moved. Luckily, the clan is nice and all. I’m a family sort of person if you catch my drift.”

“I understand. I enjoy being around my family too. I grew up in Brooklyn but my grandmother on my father’s side has lived in Forest Hills since forever.”

“Heh, that’s ironic. My family lives in Forest Hills.”

“Really? That’s nice to hear. It's such a pretty neighborhood. I missed visiting her in the summer.”

Something in your head was nagging you to inquire more about that last part. Lena’s last name, Lee-Robinson, is starting to sound familiar to you. “What street does your grandmother live on?”

“Oh, she lives on 69th. A couple of blocks from Queens Boulevard.”

You stopped and turned to her. “Wait. My family lives on 69th and a couple of blocks from Queens Boulevard.” You were starting to figure out who this girl was. “Does your grandmother own an annoying chihuahua that barks at all times of the night?”

Lena’s eyes widen in realization. “Yes. Does your family have a huge Sunday dinner that keeps the entire neighborhood up?”

You nodded, shamelessly. You knew your family was quite loud, even worse when everyone came over on Sunday evenings. Mrs. Robinson was always talking about how she had a very beautiful granddaughter that was making things for movies and companies. Of course, the old woman was knowing for overly exaggerating many things so most of your neighbors dismissed it as ramblings. You deeply regretted not listening to her about the aspect about her granddaughter now. Because you knew her.

You remembered Lena from your childhood. Lena was the girl that came by one summer to stay at her grandmother’s for the season. You were four while Lena was six. You first met in Yellowstone Park, the playground down the street from your homes. You instantly clicked with each other. The two of you would make mischief, forcing kids to pay a quarter to use a makeshift water slide the two of you created using water from the sprinklers in buckets and the spiral slide in the park. With the earnings you made, you bought ice cream from the ice cream truck that'd come by around two o’clock and talked for hours and hours about your adventures, families, even make-believe happenings. Once you two found out that you lived down the block from each other, you were constantly in each other’s homes. The girl you used to push on the swings, the girl you used to run down Austin Street with, the girl you used to watch the sunset with while eating rum raisin ice cream, was the 26-year old next to you.

You don't know why but you immediately hugged her. You weren't a touchy-feely sort of person. Well, you thought you weren't. Lena returned it happily. “Oh my god." You pulled away from her. “I cannot believe you're that girl.”

Lena chuckled. “I can't believe you're that kid either.”

“Hey, are you two alright?” Frisk called out to you.

The robot and he were already by the door back into the Academy.

"D-Dandy." You smiled at the long-lost friend. “Just dandy.” The two of you talked as you walked. “What happened to you? I vaguely remember you telling me you'd return the following summer.”

“I got sick, very sick. I ended up spending most of my time after that summer in the hospital.”

Your heart fell. “I'm… I'm so sorry to hear that.”

“It's fine. I have a handle on my condition now so I'm fine for now. It was worth the sacrifice.”

“That's good. Does Mettaton know about it?”

“Of course. He worries a lot about me because of it.

“Is that why he's so clingy?”

Lena snorted. “No, no, that's just his nature. He told me he did the same for Frisk, especially when he was little. He's a mother bear involving people he cares about.”

“Does he shout ‘That's my baby!’ when you do things? Because that's the mental image I'm getting.”

Lena chortled and nodded. “He actually has - multiple times.”

You laughed hard as you two reached the two males. Lena walked over to Mettaton and laced her arm with his, much to his audible delight. Frisk walked back and inquired to you, “What was that about?”

“We were chatting and it turns out we knew each other when we were little.”

Frisk looked pleasantly surprised. “Really? That's adorable.” You told Frisk about what you two used to do together and he snorted when you mentioned the water slide part. “I didn't think you could be cute.”

Your eyebrows furrowed. “What's that supposed to mean?” Frisk walked up back to Mettaton, avoiding your question. “You're not getting away from me, Frisk. Answer me!”

You gave chase, like how you used to chase Lena in the playground. Fate had an odd way of reuniting people. Nonetheless, Lena's arrival to Mount Ebott was welcomed in many ways.

Chapter Text

The tour around the Academy so far had been very successful. The human visitor had endless compliments about the school, much different from the human visitors that came before. After Conard, two other humans came to visit and all received the Monsters’ wrath. Seeing Lena so open minded towards such a landmark to the Monsters was refreshing to you both. And whenever she said something particularly sweet, Mettaton would glance back at Frisk with a smirk on his lips. The robot knew quite well how his darling fiancée was.

When the four of you arrived in the hallway that contained About Us, she ran up to it, awed by the painting. “Oh my goodness, I haven’t seen a painting this detailed and big in years. Oil too. It must’ve been very difficult to render.” Lena mentioned earlier that she was working in the art field so you trusted her knowledge of mediums much more than your employer.

You whispered to him, “I thought you said it was gouache.”

Frisk shrugged. “Who said I knew anything about art?”

You were about to slap yourself but you caught yourself before you could.

“Are these all real Monsters?” Lena looked up at her fiancé.

“Yes. You can meet every single one in this painting. Of course, you've already met my glamorous self.” When she giggled, Mettaton looked as thrilled as a young boy getting his crush to laugh. “And you've met Blooky and Shyren earlier. The two seriously adore you, darling.”

Lena grinned sheepishly. “I hope so. Frisk, was this commissioned?”

“Yes. If you want specifics, a couple of Temmies assisted but one Annoying Dog rendered most of this.”

“One? Wow.” The human looked honestly stunned. “How long did it take?”

“Three whole years.”

“Ah, that makes sense… This is a masterpiece, really. Of course, they'll be critics, but take my word for it. This right here is good.” Lena’s eye caught onto a certain part of the painting - where the Boss Monsters you've met were.

You decided to look at it as you've done several times already. Ten-year-old Frisk was right in front, smiling big. Toriel and Asgore were right by his side, the queen regally beaming at the viewer and the king standing tall. Undyne had Papyrus in a headlock with Alphys panicking by her wife’s side and Sans shrugging with a hot dog in hand. Mettaton was posing dramatically while an incorporeal Ghost monster with a top hat tearfully smiled. You had met every single Boss Monster in this part of the painting now besides the dapper ghost. They all looked incredibly happy.

“What’s the title?” she asked.

Frisk informed her of it. "The title’s temporary,  however. I was given the honor to name it but I’m not very artsy. For now, the title suggests that this is what we want Monsters to be known for.”

“Monsters will be immortalized as jolly, prideful drunkards. It’s certainly accurate.” Everyone laughed at the robot’s joke. “But, of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“I see.” Lena looked over the features with a twinkle in her eye, as if she was viewing the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen. “Frisk, if I may… Can I suggest a new title?” Everyone’s eyebrows rose. “O-Of course, I don't want to impose on you or anything.”

Frisk smiled at her, easing her concern. “Of course. Shoot it.”

Lena then turned back to it. “... How about Above?”

“Above - That’s even simpler than my idea. Can you elaborate?”

“Well, this painting's time period is when you all came to the Surface, correct?”

“Yes.”

“There's this saying King Asgore repeats whenever he's on TV. ‘As long as the sunlight is beaming on our backs, we can achieve anything’. Many think it's just wishful thinking but I disagree. The impossible was done. The impenetrable Barrier was broken. The shackles were released. The bars to the jail cell were cut. Metty, Frisk, all of Monsterkind escaped from a wrongfully declared death sentence. It's still nothing short of a miracle.

This painting doesn't just immortalize joy and pride and drunkenness. It immortalizes hopes and dreams touching the light of day and symbolizes the many more to come. When you came to the Surface, when Monsterkind rose above from the Underground, everything - no matter how gloomy and dark it could get - was joyous and bright to you all. And as long as there's love, hope, and compassion to be shared, Monsters will rise higher and higher, shoot for the stars even. As long as the sun is beaming on your backs, anything is truly possible.

That's why I think this should be called Above - because life truly began when you all came up from the caverns and the unbreakable smiles on everyone's faces is proof.”

When Lena turned back around, she was greeted by you all looking at her in awe. Her cheeks burned. She timidly played with the lace hem of her white dress.

“It's perfect.”

Lena looked over at the ambassador, thoroughly shocked, releasing her hold on the fabric. Frisk was beaming brightly at her. You were too.

Above - It’s simple and has a nice ring to it. When we see my parents, you've got to tell them what you just said. I'm sure they'll love it as much as I do.”

“… We’re meeting the king and queen?”

“Of course, gorgeous.” The robot immediately noticed the young woman’s concern. “Don't worry your pretty little head. They'll like you, I assure you.”

“The king’s a giant fuzzball and the queen’s sweet as butterscotch. You have nothing to worry about.” You were telling the absolute truth.

Lena gulped. “I'll be taking your word for it.”

The four of you went out into the Courtyard. The warm glow that was there when you first met the king was replaced with the cool overcast from the clouds. Asgore was seated on a bench, a big mug in his even bigger hand. The king was enjoying the weather, bundled up and sipping something hot to stay warm.

Frisk and you greeted the king warmly.

“Howdy. I hope you both are enjoying this wonderful winter afternoon as much as I am.”

“We definitely are.”

“I’m glad you’re getting a much needed break, especially you, my child. I know the work’s tough. I wish I could do more to assist you.”

“It's alright, Dad. I'm happy to help the kingdom out in any way I can.”

You leaned on Frisk’s shoulder. “Besides, the tyke has me to keep him from going nuts, even if his anger’s like that of a preschooler.” You and the king laughed when Frisk narrowed his eyes. Yep, definitely a chihuahua.

Asgore took a sip and sighed blissfully. You realized the king was drinking hot chocolate with humongous marshmallows floating on top. You desired to have some. It looked delicious. “Mettaton, I don’t understand why you’re hiding in the shadows. Come, join us.” The king never turned toward the door where the couple stood patiently. Asgore’s definitely sharp.

“Oh, I just wanted to have a dramatic entrance is all.” Mettaton walked over from the door to join you all.

“And you must be that human Sans mentioned.” Lena yelped, still by the door. “There’s no reason to be afraid. I don't bite.”

The human shyly joined you all, standing by her fiancé’s side.

“Now.” Asgore put his mug on the bench and got up. “Why in the world are you here, Mettaton?”

Mettaton put his hands on his hips. “Is everyone seriously going to ask me that? Geez, you’re all so mean to me.”

The king's hearty chuckles rumbled deep in his chest. “Toriel’s going to have your head, I hope you know that.”

“I wasn’t sure what liquor the queen drank so I hope she'll accept sweet words as bail.”

The king chuckled again. “I'm glad the human world has not changed you too much.”

“The same to you, Asgore.”

“Now.” Asgore gave Lena that gentle look he always had. “Who might you be?”

Lena curtsied and introduced herself respectfully. She reminded you of when you first met the king - extremely nervous.

Asgore swatted her formalness away. “All is well, Lena. I can already tell you are quite the selfless human.” Lena exhaled out in relief, causing the king to laugh. “Now, I know quite well that Frisk wasn’t having visits until after the 10th so you must be with Mettaton. Are you his agent by chance?”

Mettaton corrected him. “No, fiancée.”

The king was thoroughly stunned. “I’m terribly sorry. I think I misheard you.”

“I assure you that you heard right.” He announced, as if portraying a Shakespearean character, “Lord Asgore Dreemurr, Lena and I are engaged to be wed.”

Asgore covered his mouth and his eyes glimmered with oncoming tears. He gasped. “Really?”

“Yes.”

The king of Monsterkind did something that you wouldn’t have expected him to do if you didn’t know him how you did. He laughed with all his being and engulfed the two in a big hug, lifting them off their feet. “Oh my goodness, I’m so, so happy for you!” After giving them a good shake, he set the two down and wiped his eyes. “I-I'm stunned. I can't believe how fast time has past. You even came to me during your engagement run so you must want me in your wedding party... I wish you both many blessings upon your marriage.”

The two graciously accepted his good wishes.

“When’s the wedding?”

“June 15th,” the couple said.

Asgore beamed at them. “That’s the perfect day and you're so confident about it... That's a good sign.” He turned to his son. “Frisk, we must have Sans put this lovely human in the I.D. system.”

“You're right. She’ll be coming here often enough... Are you making a stop to see Sans on your run?”

Mettaton dramatically sighed, “Yes. He may be lazy - which ticks me off to no end - but he's my number one fan’s beloved brother.”

“Two birds, one stone. Besides, I think Papyrus is in the gym with Mom’s class right now.”

“I'm sure you're here to see Undyne and Alphys as well and they're roaming the campus but you know how my former captain gravitates towards gyms.”

The five of you went back inside and headed to the school entrance. Lena walked by your side along the way. “That went very well.”

“Told you he’s a fuzzball.”

“You're right. It was silly of me to think he'd be disdained.”

“And why’s that?” The human nearly leapt of her skin when Asgore turned to her. She began to sputter apologies but the king reassured her that he didn't mind, he was just curious.

When she wanted to give her response, she glanced at her open hands then at her fiancé's back then back at her hands. “Because I'm human and Metty’s a Monster.”

“Well, the only reason I would be upset is if he wasn’t happy and I don’t think I’ve seen him so overjoyed in years.”

“Really?” Lena was genuinely curious.

“Of course. Love is love. There’s no need to object it unless it isn’t… well, love. In both of your eyes, I see nothing but it.”

Frisk poked his head out from the other end of the hallway. “Tell him about the title suggestion,” he reminded before heading back into the lobby.

Asgore asked for her to elaborate, which she timidly did. The king was completely thrilled with her suggestion. “Your explanation was so heartfelt. I can tell that you’re truly kind towards my people.” Asgore put a firm hand on Lena’s shoulder. His hand was so much larger than her shoulder but you knew his touch was gentle. “There’s no need to worry. My subjects will welcome you with open arms, I’m sure of that.”

The two began to have a conversation about the human as you all joined the robot and your employer again. Lena would answer and the king would calmly responded, that is, until she mentioned she was a children's book author. Asgore began to ask rapid questions about the topics she covered on her books which she delightedly answered.

She was going to be fine, you were positive of it.


When everyone was assembled at the school entrance, Frisk knocked on the door to Sans’s office. “Knock knock.”

“who’s there?” the skeleton asked from behind the door.

Frisk couldn't respond. He turned to you all, stumped. “Oh crap, I forgot the joke.”

“oh crap, i forgot the joke who?”

Lena volunteered and Frisk motioned to the door. “He's all yours then.”

She gently knocked on the door. “Knock knock.”

You could hear Sans shift in the room. “... who’s there?”

“Britney Spears.”

“britney spears who?”

She knocked again. “Knock knock.”

“...who’s there?”

“Oops, I did it again.”

All was silent for a moment. Then you heard Sans laughing his head off from the other side. You and everyone else in the hall snickered too. Sans opened the door and entered the hallway, closing the door right behind him. His eye sockets widened briefly. “nice one, uh, miss.”

“Thank you.”

The skeleton exchanged glances with everyone. “the house is packed too. heh, nice.” He turned to Mettaton. “so you finally decided to come home. i bet you mettaton of fans of yours today.”

Mettaton rolled his eye and put a hand on his hip. “Already with the puns I see.”

“duh. pun extraordinaire is part of my job title.”

The robot groaned, earning a giggle from the human woman next to him. Noticing the voice, the pinpricks in Sans’s eye sockets shifted over to Lena. “so you’re the human that came up on the system. good pun, by the way.”

“Thank you. I’m Lena. I'm guessing by the jokes that you're Sans.”

“bingo. kid, you're giving her a tour?”

“Of course. Boring Tour Guide is part of my job title.”

Sans snickered at the joke. “heh. alright. so, asgore, why are you tagging along?”

“Oh, simply because I wanted you to put Lena in the system.”

The skeleton’s eye sockets widened. “huh. interesting. does this mean you'll be coming home more than once every millennium, mettaton?”

The robot rolled his eyes. “Uck, screw you, Sans.”

The skeletal Monster chuckled the insult off.

“And yes, my darling and I will be coming Home more often.”

The skeleton glanced the robot and human over skeptically. “... why are you here anyway?”

Mettaton huffed, “Is every person I see today going to ask that?”

Sans said, “yeah.”

Frisk said, “Uh huh.”

You said, “Yep.”

Asgore said, “Of course.”

The robot groaned in embarrassment while Lena giggled.

“but seriously, why did you come home?”

“Well, because I have an announcement to make and my darling is involved with it. It's no fun to spoil the surprise after all.”

The pinpricks in the skeleton's eye sockets vanished. A chill ran down your spine for a brief moment, remembering what occurred the last time you saw the Monster like that. Sans, unlike last time, sighed loudly before the lights in his sockets returned. “alright. so what's this big announcement?”

“I'm getting married, Sans.”

Sans was speechless.

“Ugh, I was hoping that I'd tell you and Papyrus at the same time, but alas, even the greatest plans fail. Sans, Lena's my fiancée. We’re here for the engagement run.”

What felt like a full minute ticked by as slowly as possible in pure silence. You weren't sure how Sans would react to the news. Sure, he was relaxed with you, but that was because you proved yourself. He just met Lena, however. What was going through his skull, you didn't know but when he broke the silence by laughing so hard that he fell on his coccyx, you were calmed.

Mettaton pursed his lips. “Out of every reaction I would have expected, I didn't expect this out of you.”

Sans wiped away a nonexistent tear. “heh, i don't know about all that, pal. i’m pretty easy to read since you can see… right through me.”

Mettaton groaned so loud you thought the heavens could hear it. Everyone else found the well-timed pun hilarious, chuckling in reaction to it.

“when’s the wedding?”

“June 15th.”

“heh, nice… papyrus’ll be excited.”

“I'm sure he will.”

Sans’s pinpricks glanced up at the human woman. “lena, right?” Lena shuttered and nodded. “...stand on the tile over here.”

Everyone backed away while Lena stepped on the tile the skeleton told her to stand on. Sans gave her the mercy of explaining what was about to happen unlike when you were put into the system.

“I bet her Soul’s blue,” Asgore said barely above a rumble, “She seems to have the same air as you.” The king looked down at you with a smile on his face. Oh, he means me. You smiled back, flattered by his compliment.

“I bet hers is cyan,” Frisk whispered, “She must have the patience of a god if she can put up with him, much less marry him.”

The kindly king chuckled while the entertainer shot the human a glare. “I have you know you're both wrong.”

“Ah, so that must mean you've touched Souls with her.”

Soul Touching: the most intimate experience magic users can have. You learned of the term earlier during the interviews. The practice was exactly as it sounded: a person touches another’s Soul. All of the things you experienced when you saw your own Soul would be seen by the one who touches it. You also show what you experience when you're with that special person. Of course, it's not exclusive to couples since it’s not a romantic or sexual experience. Family members and close friends can do so as well. It's about strengthening your connection with those you love, your employer explained, which is why he’s done so with his parents multiple times already. After each time, he felt closer and closer to the royal family and they the same towards him.

Of course, you were concerned. Sans had technically dragged your Soul out of your body before. You definitely did not want him seeing yours. That's when Frisk explained to you that Sans didn't do so. First off, in order to “touch” a Soul, it has to be physical contact, not magical contact. Second, you had just met Sans. It's very unlikely anyone could present that kind of information to a stranger. Finally, Soul Touching must be consensual to all parties. You wouldn't have been able to present any information to the skeleton regardless. You were relieved immediately when you found out.

You secretly hoped that one day you might be able to touch someone’s Soul. You didn’t have an exact person you wanted to do so yet but you knew you wanted to experience that.

“Of course. And the color of her Soul suits her perfectly.”

Asgore nodded, looking on to Sans, who was about to begin. Finally, you would get to see what occurred to you your first day in Newer Home.

Sans’s left eye socket combusted into cyan flames. “here we go, miss.”

Lena nodded in response. “I know you won't hurt me, Sans.”

Sans’s eyes flashed back to their ordinary state for the briefest of moments and his bones rattled. Did Lena… Did Lena just surprise him? The thought process you were trying to have was silenced when you noticed that Sans had raised his hand in her direction and clenched his digits into a fist. Lena gasped, gripping at her dress. Sans swung his arm back. With his movement, a blinding chartreuse light came out of the human’s chest. You instinctively winced away. The light died down a second later, allowing you to see what had occurred. Floating over the I.D. card was Lena’s bright green Soul, gently illuminating the corridor. It was shaped like a heart shape you’d seen before.

You dug into your pocket unconsciously and took out the key Frisk gave you the day of your arrival. Yes, the heart on the bow was the same shape as the human’s Soul. Interesting, you thought. As you shoved the key back into your pants pocket, Sans flung the Soul into the card. Bing! An electronic noise came from the office. Sans then pulled the Soul back out and thrusted it back into Lena’s body.

The whole process took barely half a minute. You were surprised. When you were in Lena’s shoes, it felt like it took hours to finish.

As Mettaton joined his beloved’s side, you asked, “What does the color of her Soul mean?”

“Kindness. Green represents the virtue of Kindness.”

You watched Mettaton inquire about Lena’s current state, which she reassured him that she was fine. “Mettaton’s right. It suits her perfectly.”

The king turned to you. “You say that as if you know her.”

You turned to the king. “Actually, I do.” You informed the ruler of the coincidence. As you explained it for the second time today, the less it sounded believable. The likelihood of that occurring was so unlikely. Yet, it occurred.

Asgore cooed, “Life has an odd way of keeping those who are meant to know each other together. In your case, it’s quite the adorable method.”

Frisk said, sarcastically. “Right? I can’t believe they can be cute.”

You knew when he said ‘they’, he only meant you. You snapped your head towards your employer. “I'm gonna castrate ya with a spoon if you say that one more time.” You clapped your hand over your mouth. Your New York accent slipped and you just threatened your employer - in front of his father, no less.

The human turned pale as a ghost and stiff as a board. Asgore fortunately roared at your reactions. Mettaton, overhearing the conversation, whistled low. “You better keep your mouth shut, Frisky. New Yorkers are nuts. They’ll do it, y’know.”

Frisk nodded. “Oh, I know.”

“So where’s your brother?,” Mettaton asked, completely ignoring the human.

“you’ll see in a sec.”

“What-” The robot was cut off by the school bell ringing. The scuffling of feet and moving of chairs in the floors above filled the air. The door to the gym opened and a mass of small students in baby-colored sweaters entered the hallway. Many of the students gasped at the sight of the robot and ran up to him, begging for autographs. The robot giggled, keeping his composure. He took out a marker from a compartment on his hip and began signing whatever the students gave him.

“CHILDREN!”

You knew exactly who that was. You all turned to the door to the gym and there was the Great Papyrus dressed in fitness apparel a '90s aerobics instructed would wear, sweatband and all. “I WAS GIVEN THE TASK TO TAKE YOU ALL BACK TO CLASS QUIETLY. AND WELL, YOU’RE NOT… QUIET. WHAT IN HEAVEN’S SAKE ARE YOU---”

Papyrus dropped his jaw. “IS THAT…” The skeleton smiled wide, stars in his sockets. “IS THAT METTATON?”

The robot in question gasped, before putting his hands on his hips and cocking a brow like how he did for the cameras. “Is that my number one fan, Pappy?”

Papyrus shrieked and ran over to Mettaton, engulfing him in a big hug. Mettaton returned it happily, chuckling wholeheartedly as the skeleton rocked him side to side earnestly. “I… I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU FINALLY CAME HOME, METTATON,” Papyrus let go.

“Neither can I, darling.” Mettaton side-eyed his fiancée. “And it's all this one’s-”

“Watch out!” Frisk shoved you away when the air sliced right by your ear, sharply piercing your hearing. When you landed, you whipped your head around to see that the cause of the disturbance was one of Undyne’s spears. Seeing how it was lodged in the wall directly behind the robot’s head, you were sure that it was aimed at Mettaton, however, in your prior position you would have been injured. You thanked Frisk for his aid, which he responded with a “no problem”.

The ghost Monster was completely unaffected by what just occurred, even though the spear missed him by nearly an inch. “Undyne, would you not?”

The Betta fish jumped down from the staircase, leaving small cracks where her feet hit the linoleum. “No, I will!”

The students quickly backed away. They knew well not to mess with Undyne in the bloodthirsty state she was in. You and Frisk did as well. Noticing Lena was still standing next to the bot, you pulled her over. Asgore, not moving an inch, pleasantly waved at his former captain and Undyne returned it swiftly.

The robot scoffed and put his hands on his hips. “Is this how you greet an old friend - tossing bullets about and shouting at ‘em?”

Undyne swung her hands in front of her as if she was swiping away something. In the wake of her movements, a cyan spear appeared. She grabbed it and shoved the tip at Mettaton, nearly piercing the artificial skin under his chin. “Alph’s ticked at ya too.”

“Oh, and why’s that? Because I came Home?”

“No, it’s ‘cause---” She backed down for a moment, lowering her spear. “Speaking of which, why the hell are ya here? You never come Home.”

“I would have told you if you didn't try to shove a spear down my throat.”

“Well, I think you deserve one up your a-”

“U-Undyne!” You looked up to see Alphys coming down. You silently thanked her for her intrusion, filtering Undyne’s possible curse word for the little students. The students didn't wait for her to excuse herself to clear a path for her. As soon as they did, she ran over to her wife, exasperated. “Geez, w-why did you r-r-run off like that?”

“Oh, I heard Mettaton’s voice and I got that mighty urge I get when I hear the voices of people I'm angry at and watch bad anime - to beat something up.”

“I s-see.” After catching her breath, Alphys turned to the aforementioned robot. “Mettaton, i-it’s nice to see you again.”

“Yes, it is, Alphys darling.”

She tucked her glasses back up onto her snout. “I’m very upset with you.”

Mettaton scoffed at her displeasure. “And why’s that?”

“Because y-y-you haven't been coming down for your checkups. The first time I excused it. Y-You were really busy after all.”

“But a second time? Now that's just plain disrespectful.” Undyne leaned in and snarled at him. “And I don't take kindly to those who disrespect those I care about, even if it’s you.”

“Metty…” You turned to your side and immediately inched away. Demons wouldn't be able to touch the fury that was radiating off of Lena’s small figure. She had a forced grin twitching on her lips. “What do you mean you haven't been going to your appointments?”

The three Boss Monsters looked surprised to see a human here.

Mettaton couldn't hide the nervousness on his features, looking away from the human woman. “Well, darling, I-”

“Answer me, Mettaton.”

Lena walked right up to her fiancé and Undyne walked away, as if giving the floor to the human. Alphys joined her. Papyrus stood by the gym entrance, absolutely confused.

“Uh, well, I…”

The robot gave her that famous smile of his, as if trying to claw his way out of the situation.

“I was busy.”

Lena’s kindly façade was wiped off. “Mettaton, what did I tell you about not taking care of yourself?!”

Now you realized why you inched away from her. Yes, Lena was the nice person she has proven to be all day. But you remember her also having a nasty habit of reprimanding people to near death in public. If you got past her nagging you twenty billion times, you’d receive this. Of course, it was well deserved every time one received it, so you didn’t stop her.

“Right now, Lee-Lee?”

“Yes, right now. You’ll ignore me unless there's witnesses.”

Mettaton sighed. “Fine, I'll humor you. Look, you know I was busy with shooting those scenes in August and that's when we do the tests.”

“You could’ve rescheduled. Like how you could’ve made time to visit your own people every once in awhile.”

Mettaton tripped over his words. Regardless, he kept his appearances up. “Lee-Lee, I-”

“Like how you dropped everything to come visit me two years ago, which was also in August.”

You and Frisk hissed at the sick burn she gave him.Lena was undefeatable, the power of truth on her side.

“Lee-Lee, I’m a star. I can’t just call out of work.”

“But you have - many times. The other day you left shooting early because you wanted to get nice cream with me.”

Undyne was trying her best to keep her laughter down, holding onto Frisk’s shoulder for support.

The robot looked offended. “Lena, I have...”

You felt your pants’ leg being tugged on. As the two bickered- no, what was occurring was more like a tiny, timid human roasting a large, confident robot alive in front of his friends and fans - you looked down to see a concerned Dina peering up at you. “Is this human gonna have a bad time?”

“Oh, no, not at all.”

“But she's yelling at Mettaton.”

“Well, uh, this human does that when she's worried about someone. It's like how… You know when you don't listen to your parents and they get mad at you.”

Dina nodded.

“Well, Lena does that too. She, uh-” You weren't sure how to explain this to a Monster child. Then you remembered the virtues. “Her Soul is this green that was so bright that I had to close my eyes because it was so bright.”

Dina’s eyes lit up. “Really?”

“Uh huh. She worries about people she cares about, like how your parents worry for you. She… You know how Monsters can touch each other’s Souls, right?”

“Uh huh. ‘When in doubt, touch ‘n’ find out’. I touched Souls with my mommy yesterday. It was nice.”

“That’s fantastic. Well, Lena can't do so. She's a human. So, this is how she gets people to touch her Soul. Sure, you're going to hate every second you're on the receiving end of it unlike when you're touching someone's Soul. But… When you need to hear it, you need to hear it.”

Dina nodded. “I see. So she's a super nice human.”

“Yes, too much for her own good.”

“...Do you think she'll want to be my friend?”

“Of course, Dina. I'm sure she wants to be every Monster's friend.”

Dina hopped in place, giddy by your response. “Okay. I'm going to ask her when she's done letting it rip on him.”

You laughed out loud. You didn’t suspect the child to say that. Kids always found a way to surprise you in the best of ways.

“Hey, Frisk.” Undyne was asking the human a question. “Who is this chick?”

“You actually should be asking my assistant that. They knew each other when they were little.”

Undyne was surprised. “Get out.”

You said, “Yup. Her name’s Lena; Soul’s bright green. Mettaton deserves every word out of her.”

“No pins?”

Frisk continued, “None, and I’m sure she won’t be getting any.”

“Awesome. I like her already. Not many have the nerve to yell at him.”

Alphys gasped and turned to her wife. “Wait, you said her name’s Lena, right?” You nodded. “Oh my god, this… T-This is her.”

The scales over Undyne’s eyes furrowed. “Huh?”

“You know, t-the girl he called about two years back, the one he was freaking out about and he called me to give him advice.”

Undyne seemed to remember… sort of. “He never said the chick’s a human.”

“He certainly didn’t but that's probably why he was freaking out so much. Oh my gosh, I realized something else. D-Do you realize why they’re here?”

“Not at all, babe. Enlighten me.”

“They’re probably here for the engagement run.”

Undyne was stunned. “No way.” She swatted the comment away. “There’s no way in hell Mettaton’s getting married. That ain’t him - being all domestic and crud.”

Frisk said, “Actually, Alphys is correct.”

Alphys turned to her wife and excitedly squealed. “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh! I've shipped them for the longest and now it's canon. All my students can eat it, saying my ships would never be real.”

Undyne was holding her gut from laughing so hard. “It's so not him.”

“But it's reality. It's reality.”

Undyne's laughing died down, ending with a pleased sigh. “I dig it. He deserves to feel the pain of married life.”

Alphys came down from her high as well. “He definitely does.”

The four of you listened in on the conversation again. Lena was winning by a landslide. “Lena, you know I run my calibration tests every morning, seven on the dot, and you know they all came back negative of defects.”

“Don’t lie to me. I know you've been glitching. I have video proof too.”

The robot crossed his arms. “Really.”

“Yes. You fell while you were on that show last week.”

Mettaton rolled his eye. “You can't be serious.”

“I am. You don't fall.”

The robot chortled. “Love, I appreciate that you think of me so highly but-”

“That's not what I mean. You were designed to literally not be able to fall. You have sensors in those ball-and-socket things on your ankles that automatically shift your weight to suit the environment.”

Mettaton was stunned. “... How did you know that?”

“When I found out the person I was online dating for so long was, well, you, I was intrigued. I wanted to know more about you. So I found a recording of an robotics symposium Dr. Alphys was a guest speaker at. You were the star of the show. She explained how your body worked. I couldn't understand half of it - you know I'm not a science girl. But I learned of what could happen if your body was in need of repairs. And Mettaton, you need some.”

Mettaton was silent, blown away by her.

The anger left Lena’s features and was replaced with genuine concern. “Mettaton, you need to take care of yourself. I know I'm a human so I won't ever be able to fully understand how your body, how corporeality works. But even I know when I need to go to the doctor.” She took his hand into her own, holding it tenderly. “Yes, I know you're busy - I know quite well - but… I can't allow you to do that to yourself, Metty. You have to take care of yourself.”

Mettaton sighed loudly. He looked at her as if he was turning into putty in her hand. “If it’ll make you happy, love.”

Lena shook her head. “No, don’t do it just to satisfy me. Do it so you can stay healthy, so you can continue rocking out. That will make me happy.”

Mettaton pulled his hand out from her grasp and cupped her cheek. “I guess I am in need of repairs.” The entertainer turned to the scientist. “Alphys darling, would it be trouble if I asked you to perform the checks while we’re here?”

The lizard tucked her glasses up on her snout. “N-N-Not at all. I c-certainly can but if you need replacement parts, you're going to have to come back with us to Miami.”

Mettaton and Undyne groaned, complaining about how the other didn't like the kind of cartoon they liked.

“There's an Earth’s Universe marathon on the fourth. W-We can watch that then Frisk’s conference while I’m working on you.”

The two seemed to agree on that.

Just then, Dina wobbled over to Lena and gently tugged on her dress. The woman meeped in surprise then looked down. Lena swept a piece of hair out of her face and smiled. “Oh, sorry about that. I didn’t see you there.”

“It’s okay.”

“What’s your name, little one?”

“Dina.”

“I see. You have a pretty name, Dina, just like you. You have such lovely scales and your bow suits you so well.”

Dina looked up at her the way Shirley Temple would when getting a compliment - fluttery eyes and almost mischievous smile. “Thank you, ma’am. You’re a really pretty human.”

Lena accepted the compliment shyly.

“Can I ask you something?”

“Of course, sweetie. I’m all ears.”

“Can I be your friend?”

Lena was surprised by her question then replied with a beautiful smile, “Of course you can. I want to be every Monster’s friend.”

Dina was overjoyed by her answer. The dinosaur turned to you. “Oh my gosh, it’s just like you said.”

“Told you so,” you stated.

Dina faced her classmates and repeated the exchange that just occurred. The students then crowded around Lena, introducing themselves and asking to befriend her. She was surprised but gladly introduced herself and complimented each and every student. As a puppy blushed and pulled his baseball cap down over his eyes, the door to the gym creaked open. Toriel, Mrs. Baatholomew and another teacher came into the entrance.

“Is everything alright? We heard shouting so we came up early and---” The Queen put her hands on her hips when she caught eyes with the robot. “Well, would you look at who it is?”

Mettaton put on a dazzling grin and waltzed over to the queen. “Why, of course, Your Majesty. I just had to dazzle you with my presence.”

Toriel’s eye twitched. “Oh, yes, of course, after breaking several laws and disrespecting my son and his assistant, which in turn, means disrespecting the royal throne and our connection to humanity.”

The smile on the robot’s face fell in an instant and was replaced with fear. He couldn’t hide it, no matter how good he was an actor. Once you touched fire, you burned. Once you touched Toriel’s fire, however, you were instantly reduced to ash. Everyone, even the king, backed all the way up to leave the robot in the claws of the quickly-becoming infuriated teacher.

“Mettaton EX, you have a lot of nerve coming into Newer Home after all these years without apologizing in advance. First off, you haven't reported to my son in over eight years - eight years. He has been working his hardest for the entirety of a race he doesn't even identify as and you cannot even do the courtesy of at least checking in annually. Second, you show up practically unannounced. Yes, yes, everyone can come back to Newer Home. That’s where the phrase - coming Home - comes from. You must, however, tell someone the latest a day before your arrival, which you certainly did not. Finally, you brought a human here without authorization, which is a law set in stone and you shattered into a million pieces. Please tell me the human hasn’t received any pins.”

“None, Mrs. Dreemurr." Frisk walked over to his mother. "In fact, I’m sure she won’t be receiving any.”

Toriel calmed a bit.

“THE HUMAN WAS ALSO BEFRIENDING THE STUDENTS HERE. ISN’T THAT RIGHT, EVERYONE?” The students, as if a choir, agreed with him by saying “Yes” in unison.

“The human’s said nothing but kind things about our people. You should have heard her earlier, Tori- Mrs. Dreemurr.”

“Also, the dork chewed the bot out when she found out about him not coming down for repairs. God, you should have seen it. I haven’t laughed so hard in months.”

“B-B-But she meant well, like, uh, really well.”

“Yeah. That rant was so full of passion. I was getting a bit jealous of how passionate she was and I don't ever get jealous.”

Toriel said, “Ah, that must be what we heard downstairs.”

Lena walked up and stood next to her fiancé and deeply apologized. Toriel’s fury dissipated when she looked into the human’s eyes. “It’s quite alright, human. Sometimes the only way to get Mettaton to do anything is to yell at him.” She shot a glare at the robot, making him wince away.

“also her soul’s bright green.”

What Sans said seemed to be the fact that quelled the fires in the queen. “Now that’s wonderful. I must ask, however, how do you know so, my friend.”

Sans glanced over at Mettaton and winked at him. The robot took the reins. “Well, now that everyone I need to tell this to is here, I guess I’ll just say it. Your Majesty, the gorgeous woman you are, I have a confession to make.”

Toriel gave him a dull look and put her hands on her hips. “And what is this confession?”

“I’m getting married. The lovely human here is my bride.”

No one said anything for a full minute. All of those who hadn’t known of the engagement was speechless - that is, everyone except for Papyrus. The silence ended when Papyrus giddily ran up to Mettaton, a twinkle in his sockets, the biggest smile he could muster on his teeth. “ARE YOU TWO GOING TO HAVE BABIES?”

Everyone in the hall roared in laughter. Once again, Papyrus’s comments were hilariously unexpected. The tension cleared and everyone was smiling at the couple, the students whispering excitedly amongst each other.

The queen had an unbreakable smile on her face. “Congratulations you two. When’s the wedding?”

“June 15th!”, the human woman exclaimed.

Undyne smirked and clapped Lena hard on the back, almost making her fall over. "Now that's some passion right there! I can feel the fire raging in your heart."

The children then started to sing together.

Mettaton and Lena

Sitting in a Tree

K-I-S-S-I-N-G

First comes love

Then comes marriage

Then comes a baby

In a baby carriage

The couple laughed together. Everyone was laughing. Everyone was happy. This is why you liked being around the Monsters. They always found a way to be happy, no matter how bad the circumstances were.

“None of you are upset by this? I-I’m a human.”

Undyne shrugged. “Nah. Not really. The only thing I’m weirded out by is the fact that Mettaton is settling down.”

Mettaton huffed. “I have you know even stars desire to do all of that boring domestic crap: hugging, holding, filing taxes.”

“In any case, I-I already know that you’re a nice person and all, Lena,” Alphys said, “Mettaton’s always talked about you, even though I didn’t know you were a h-human and all but that’s besides the point.”

Toriel added, “My child, we have no reason to judge if you are good-hearted.”

“JUST LIKE THE HUMANS - UH, FRISK AND HIS ASSISTANT, I MEAN.” You felt your heart swell at the compliment.

The little students told their own opinions, all positive and sweet.

Lena glanced down before beaming at them, tears welling up in her eyes. “Thank you all for being so accepting of me. I’m still worried about what the other Monsters will say but… your kindness gives me confidence. Thank you, really.”

Undyne played with a piece of her scarlet mane, “Ugh, stop saying crud like that. It’s making me soft.”

Everyone chuckled. It seemed that Lena was well-received by Monsterkind.


 Mrs. Baatholomew and the other teacher took the students back to class a while ago as the Boss Monsters ecstatically chatted. Somehow, during the good cheer, you noticed something was missing. The king and queen were here. Sans was telling puns while Papyrus was bickering at him. Undyne was laughing loudly while Alphys was giggling lightly. Frisk was listening intently to the conversation. Everything seemed right… Wait, where was Lena? The human of the hour was nowhere to be found. Where could she have gone?

You tapped Frisk on the shoulder. “Hey, Frisk?” Frisk responded with a noise of recognition. “Have you seen Lena?”

Frisk’s eyebrows lowered. He scanned the room quickly. He looked at you concerned. “Yeah. Where is she?” Frisk notified the group and they all looked around as well.

“That's odd. Lee-Lee does have a habit of wandering off but she would've told someone.”

“M-Maybe she went to the, uh, bathroom. Isn't there one on this floor?”

You said, “Yes, but no one told her about it.”

Everyone was immediately concerned. It's as if everyone knew where she could have gone - towards the locker room. You felt the pores open on your face, heating up from the illness in the pit of your stomach. You imagined what happened. Lena heard a juvenile voice call from the hallway and, the curious cat she was, pursued its owner. And down that hallway she would meet the one Monster that she should never meet alone. And her curiosity would be the death of her.

You called for her, barely able to mutter her name, “L… Lena?”

A scream replied, filling the corridor. Not of one you heard when you pushed her on the swings or played tag with her - one of unadulterated fear.

Her curiosity hadn’t killed her yet.

Though you knew that you shouldn’t, that you’d make things worse, you ran forward anyway. Everyone followed. The hallway was stuffed to the brim with thick vines. Your assumptions were right - Flowey was at it again. There was no way for you or anyone else to get in. Toriel commanded Papyrus and Sans to go up and around to block off the staircase nearest to the locker room. They did as she said immediately. Undyne quickly summoned and volleyed spears at the vines to no avail. Asgore ordered her to move back, which she did. The king swiped his arm in front of him and summoned a wall of fireballs. You were fascinated - Frisk was correct about the little trick he did with Burgerpants being nothing compared to the real thing - but your anxiety shook the wonder away.

The queen turned to Frisk and you with a grave look. “Sound the alarm.”

You weren’t sure what that meant but you followed Frisk upstairs to the office. He ran to the wall where the students’ official documents and forms were stored. Next to the file cabinet was a yellow switch, much like a fire alarm.

“... Underneath all of the bad words and actions, Flowey is a good Monster.” Frisk turned to you with a soft look on his face, as if desperately hoping for approval. “You know that, right?”

You nodded. Was it to appease him? Was it your actual opinion? You weren't sure why but you did.

“Good. Sometimes, Flowey won’t be able to control himself. And when he can’t, when he attempts to kill, we have to pull this alarm.”

“What does it do?”

“You’ll see.”

And with that, Frisk grabbed the bar and pulled it down. Suddenly, alarms blared from all over the Academy. Rapid echos of heavy, metal objects falling down filled the air. Frisk grabbed you by the wrist and pulled you out of the office. When you tried to turn back to look at what occurred, a metal wall fell down and sealed the entrance. You turned to the hallway nearest to the office and it was sealed off as well. The one that lead to the courtyard was barricaded as well.

“The barricades and alarms are enhanced with fire magic to keep Flowey’s vines from spreading. So that no students or faculty will be in the crossfire. Now, come, we have to help Lena.”

The two of you ran back down. Toriel was just lifting a yellow bar similar to the one in the office up when you arrived. The queen informed you all, “Mettaton and Undyne were able to squeeze in. They're clearing a path now.”

You thanked a higher being for their actions.

Asgore bellowed, “We’re in!”

“Excellent.” Frisk turned to you. “Let’s go get her.”

Everyone ran into the corridor. You stepped over the many fallen vines, cauterized edges on all of them. Mettaton and Undyne were using their magic to pierce through the last thicket that was separating them from the culprit and victim. Asgore put his hands on their shoulders and told them to step back. They both were reluctant to do so but they obeyed him. Asgore waved his hands and summoned a wall of fireballs and whisked them at the thicket. In an instant, the vines were burned into ash. Mettaton pushed past Asgore and ran into the scene of action. You all followed.

The green light you saw earlier was the only thing that was illuminating the hallway. Crawling vines covered the floor and walls. In the center of it all was the golden flower that caused all of this. Before him was your old companion, face down on the floor. Your heart fell at the sight. Flowey’s tendrils were mere inches away from touching Lena’s Soul. Mettaton however flung a lightning bolt-shaped bullet at the vines, severing them.

Flowey shrieked in pain and turned towards everyone, his face horrifyingly angry. “Damn you all! I’m not letting this opportunity get away.”

The vines on the walls lunged at you all. Seeing the imminent danger, wanting to help your long lost friend, you were filled with a familiar feeling you weren’t sure what it was. Your vision for the briefest of moments was colored blue. But your vision returned to normal and the feeling disappeared within an instant.

The vines had stopped in their tracks and limply fell down onto the floor. The lights in the hallway turned back on.

For some reason, you thought to look at Frisk. The human had one hand forward, his pointer finger pointed and glowing white. Your eyes followed the length of his arm to the flower. The flower was encased in a white barrier, a pulsating inverted triangle glowing on it. Flowey was panicking, desperately hitting the barrier with his “head”. Once the flower stopped, he looked up at Frisk and cursed at him. Frisk seemed unmoved by Flowey’s fury. Meanwhile, Papyrus and Sans walked down the stairs to be right next to Flowey. The flower cursed under his breath when he realized who was next to him.

“Flowey, stand down.”

The green glowing in the hallway disappeared. Mettaton had Lena in his arms, a hand on her chest. He must have put Lena’s Soul back into her body.

“Flowey, stand down.” The human’s voice was an octave higher.

All of the Monsters in the hallway besides Alphys, who stood next to you, had bullets at the ready to strike down the golden flower.

With every fiber in his being, Frisk ordered, “Stand down, Flowey!” Now, that wasn’t chihuahua rage. That was the kind of rage that sent chills down your spine, the kind of rage a commander would have over his troops. Note to self, don't mess with Frisk too much.

Flowey shot daggers at the human. In the end, he made a sound similar to sucking one’s teeth and threw his leaves up in the air. “Fine, I stand down! Now back off.”

The Monsters withdrew their magic and cleared a way for Frisk to walk over to the flower. Frisk got on his knees and crossed his arms. “Are you kidding me, Flowey - to a visitor?”

“Look, idiot, I’ll say this once again as a reminder. IT’S KILL OR BE KILLED. Besides, the human was willing to give up her Soul.”

Mettaton cut in, “Bullshit! My darling would never do such a thing. You tricked her.”

“I did not. She said, ‘Oh goodness, Mr. Flowey, you can have my Soul so you can destroy all of humanity’.”

Mettaton summoned a circle of bombs around the flower. “Don’t forget who sided with the queen.” The features on the flower fell for a moment. “I could wipe you off the face of the Earth right here, right now. And I should for what you’ve done to my beloved.”

Flowey condescendingly said, “But you can’t because the spell works both ways.”

Mettaton rolled his eye and turned to Frisk. “Out of every Monster in the kingdom you can execute, you chose to spare this thing?”

“I’ll say it until the end of time if I have to.” Frisk turned to the robot, determination on his features. “Everyone deserves a second chance - even Flowey.”

The queen's arms were crossed, her face hard. “This is at least the twentieth chance at this point. You are very lucky my son is still willing to pardon your crimes, flower. Remember your place. The day he has no mercy is the day you die.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Flowey glanced away for a moment and muttered, “I know good and well, lady.” The flower looked over at Asgore, who had a disappointed look on his face, and quickly looked away, almost guiltily.

You scrambled over to Mettaton, neding to know if your childhood friend was alright. Lena’s face was twitching, as if she was waking up. A second later, her eyes cracked open. She could barely mumble out her question, inquiring where she was. You and Mettaton were instantly relieved. “Love, you just went through something awful. Are you alright? Are you hurt?”

“... I’m fine. I just… Where am I?”

“You’re near the locker room. It’s past where all of those golden flowers were.”

“Oh, yes I remember… I thought one of the flowers spoke. It asked to touch my Soul. I told it that I would love to show it my Soul but I couldn’t take it out of my body so it offered to do so. Then everything went dizzy…” The human touched her forehead and looked at her beloved guiltily. “I’m so sorry, Mettaton. I must’ve scared you, haven’t I?”

“No, no, there’s no need to apologize. You wouldn’t have known about that atrocious flower.” Mettaton shot a glare at Flowey before returning to his beloved without an ounce of anger. Lena tapped lightly on his shoulder and the robot gently set her to her feet, though he kept a firm hold on her. “Are you sure you should be standing so quickly, love?”

Lena nodded. “I’m fine, really.”

Just then, pitter pattering came from behind you. Everyone turned to see little Bluejoy with her board running towards you all. Everyone was immediately concerned as to why she was there. The bluebird raised her wing and everyone quieted. She scribbled something on her board and presented it to you all. “I wanted to say hi to the human and got left behind. I’m sorry.”

You felt bad for her. She probably got stuck behind the barricades so even if she wanted to return to class, she couldn’t.

“All is well, Joy. You are not in trouble. Are you hurt, my child?”

Bluejoy shook her head, relieving the nanny immediately.

The bluebird walked over to Lena and wrote something on her board. “Are you okay?”

Lena nodded. “Yes. Thank you for asking, little one.”

Bluejoy nodded. “The teachers tell us to always say no to Flowey.” Flowey was represented as a quickly drawn flower.

“And why is that?”

“He doesn’t have a Soul. He doesn’t have L-H-C like everyone else.” L-H-C probably meant love, hope, and compassion. Lena looked genuinely saddened by what she just found out. “But Frisk says to be polite to him. Everyone deserves kindness.”

“I… I understand. Thank you for telling me, little- Oh, I shouldn’t call you that. What’s your name?”

Bluejoy introduced herself the same way she did to you.

“That's a beautiful name, Bluejoy. I noticed you amongst the students earlier. I'm sorry I couldn't get to you.”

“Really?”

“Of course. Anyone would notice you. You’ve the most gorgeous feathers I've ever seen.”

All of the feathers on the child’s body stood up. The bluebird covered her face with her dry-erase board and spun around frantically, stomping her claws. She then stopped and wrote hurriedly on the board. “Thank you very much.”

You weren't sure what just occurred was but you found it… cute, as if this is how she expressed a strong emotion. It was as if one could see under her feathers, she'd be blushing.

Lena giggled. “You're very welcome.”

“I’LL TAKE YOU BACK TO CLASS, BLUEJOY.” Bluejoy nodded and followed the skeleton. Before she ascended the staircase, she turned to Lena and waved at her. Lena waved back, gently beaming at her. Then the bluebird skittered up the steps.

Frisk, Flowey in his hands, walked to Lena and inquired if she was alright. She nodded, stating she was fine. Frisk then narrowed his eyes at the flower. “Uck, fine!” Flowey said as forced as his request to you earlier, “I'm so sorry I tried to kill you and steal your Soul for my nefarious schemes.”

You could feel the eye roll almost every Monster in the room gave the flower.

“Also, the kingdom of Monsterkind will take responsibility for any damages you have and is totally okay, for some stupid reason, with you suing them for all their money should you choose to.”

“Oh, no, the thought never crossed my mind. I would never do that. Also, I accept your apology.”

Flowey wiped his “brow” and let out a noise of relief. “Awesome ‘cause I didn’t mean it one bit.” Frisk glared at him. “What? You told me to be honest.”

“It's fine, Frisk,” Lena assured. “At least it attempted.”

Flowey asked, “By the way… Who the hell are ya?”

“I'm Lena.”

“Oh. Why are ya here? You aren't dressed like one of those boring politicians.”

“Well, Mettaton and I are engaged. We’re here for the engagement run.”

It took the flower a minute to process what was said to him. “So, is that why you're here, robot?”

Mettaton groaned so loud you thought the walls of the Academy would shake.


Sans went back into his office and Toriel went back to her class. Undyne and Alphys wandered off as well, heading out to grab lunch. Frisk told Lena he was going to put Flowey back in his home but she insisted she didn't mind the flower coming along on the tour with them. Even though Mettaton visibly disagreed, he kept his mouth shut.

The rest of the tour went splendidly. Just like you, Lena saw the auditorium and was blown away by the artwork and statues. Just like you, she was asked to talk about what she knew of the War and the king told the Monsters’s side of the story. Just like you, she empathized with the Monsters. As she ran into more and more Monsters, she continued to be kind. As she did, Mettaton’s smile came more naturally, more often. Frisk and you locked eyes several times and snickered. They were insufferable but they were dynamic together.

After school let out for the day, Mettaton and Lena prepared to leave. The Boss Monsters she met earlier that day waited for them in the entrance. Frisk, Sans, and Papyrus stood in front of them, like the last time you saw the three stand in the corridor - as if to send a bad guest off. All three - no, everyone - was happy, however.

“Lena,” Frisk started, “I'm going to be honest with you. I lied to you earlier. All of this wasn't just a tour. It was much more than that. Sans, Papyrus, if you may.”

“monsterkind has no right to judge humanity such as how humanity has no right to judge monsterkind. that's why we have frisk, since he's human ‘n’ all, do it.”

“THE HUMAN CAME UP WITH A SYSTEM OF JUDGMENT CALLED ‘PINNING’. HE WOULD TAKE YOU ON A TOUR OF THE CAMPUS AND FOR YOUR EVERY MISDEED AGAINST MONSTERKIND, YOU WOULD RECEIVE A PIN BASED ON THE SYMBOL OF OUR MIGHTY KINGDOM, THE DELTA RUNE. THEN MY BROTHER AND I WOULD ACT AS HIS EXECUTIONERS. PERSONALLY, I WISHED HE USED MY IDEA OF ENDLESS PUZZLES AND JAPES, BUT I DIGRESS. YOU WOULD HAVE RECEIVED THEM BUT…”

“well… you didn't do anything to earn them.” Lena looked surprised.

“I could tell every word from your mouth came from your Soul. You see, Monsters associate the colors of human Souls with virtues. Yours is the color of kindness. Just like yours, you've been nothing but kind to each and every Monster you've met today. You view my family, friends, acquaintances as how they should be viewed- as people. Plus, oh gosh, the compliments. I thought you were just kissing my ass at first (sorry Mom), trying to satisfy me and Mettaton, but you weren't. You meant every sweet thing you said. Honestly, everyone appreciates it. I don't think I've ever seen Bluejoy so flustered before.”

“I WILL GO TO BED SNUGGER TONIGHT, THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU SAID ABOUT ME. A COOL GLASS OF WATER ON A HOT SUMMER DAY THE GREAT PAPYRUS IS.”

Frisk giggled due to the skeleton’s enthusiasm. “You did so much more as well. You suggested a new title for the painting by the Courtyard-”

Toriel added, “Which I find certainly lovely. Above is such a simple title but the explanation why is truly the selling point.”

“-and you yelled at Mettaton-”

“Which earns ya a page in my book,” Undyne added.

“-out of concern for him and his health. Did you know I overheard one of the first graders saying they wanted to be like you when they grew up?”

Lena looked so happy you thought she'd burst into tears. “Really?”

“Yeah. Really. Everyone thinks you're swell. Personally, I think you're smoking hot but---”

Mettaton glared at him, sending all in the hallway in hysterics, except for Papyrus who was confused.

“basically, what the kid’s trying to say is… thanks for being a good person. we appreciate it.”

“VERY MUCH SO - LIKE A WARM PLATE OF THE GREAT PAPYRUS’S SPECIAL SPAGHETTI.”

Lena giggled. “I should be thanking you. Everyone has been so accepting of me and our relationship. I was so afraid that you weren't going to. Now, I see that my anxiety was for nothing. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you all so much.”

Frisk scratched the back of his head. “Heh, no problem.” He took a card out of his pocket. “Here, your ID card. Don't lose it.”

The human thanked him.

“Now, I'm guessing you two will be heading off to New York.”

Mettaton answered, “Of course. We’ll be back on the third.”

“Wonderful. Well, we shouldn't delay you anymore than we already have. It isn't called the engagement run for nothing. Bon voyage, Tonton.” Frisk posed dramatically.

Mettaton posed as well. “Merci, my Frisky Business. Au revoir, everyone.”

Everyone said their goodbyes to the couple. The robot and human, hand in hand, exited the building and into the sunset. With that, everyone dispersed, heading their separate ways. Undyne and Alphys accompanied Asgore to his home, desiring tea and cookies. Papyrus drove off back to Newfoundland, needing to start dinner. All who remained were you, your employer, the queen, the security guard, and the flower.

Frisk tapped you on the shoulder, indicating that you both should head back to the office but you both stopped when you heard what Sans said. “this is gonna end badly.”

Toriel turned to him. “What do you mean?”

“their engagement run. everything was dandy with us because, well, lena’s nice and all. but we all know how humanity is.”

Toriel was shocked. “Sans, I'm surprised by you. I know you can be a Negative Nancy but this--- on their own special time.”

“I'm sorry, Mom, but I'm agreeing with Sans.” The queen could only stare at her son, who had a grim look on his face. “The surveys say so. Lena’s family and friends are going to raise hell when they find out about this.”

“well, i think things are going to be so bad that mettaton’s going to ask to end their engagement.”

The queen scoffed.

“now, this doesn't mean that this won't have a happy end. the girl honest to goodness loves the bot. she won't let him get away… probably.”

“Well, I think things will work out in their favor. Lena's so well mannered and open-minded. I am sure her family is just the same. Remember, cruelty is a taught trait. Besides, Mettaton is a celebrity. I'm sure they will soften around him because of his status.”

Sans’s teeth curved into a wild smirk, his eye sockets wide. “wanna bet on it?”

The queen smirked back. “Bring it on, bone boy.”

Sans took off his hat and presented it as if asking for money. “i bet hundred bucks that they're not only going to have a bad time with the humans but Mettaton's also gonna want to end the engagement.” He dropped a wad of cash in the hat.

The queen dug into her pocket and pulled out her wallet. As she looked through it, she said, “I bet one hundred dollars that the happy couple will have a good time.” She put the money in.

Frisk put in a hundred bucks. “I bet a hundred bucks Sans is right.”

All eyes turned to you. Oh, you loved making bets with people, however, you always had to put a spin on things. You pulled out a notepad and scribbled something down on it. Then you pulled the paper you wrote on out and folded it in half. “I bet a hundred dollars that Toriel’s right, however - and I mean however - if Lena says whatever I wrote on this piece of paper, no matter what happens, I win the entire pot.” You put your cash and the paper in. It was the first in your entire life you ever had hundred dollars to toss around and still have some leftover money in your wallet. It felt good.

Everyone was surprised at your bet. Alas, they accepted your wager.

“Now if you need me…” You picked Flowey up, earning his disdain. “... I'll be tying up loose ends with this one.”

“Wait… I still get those pancakes?”

“Yes, and only because of your actions earlier. Not because of what happened with Lena. I honestly shouldn't even be making them, since you almost murdered an old friend of mine, but a promise is a promise. I don't like breaking them.”

As you walked back to the office with him, you informed the flower that you successfully called the robot Diva Bot. The flower was over the moon in that sinister way he always was for the misfortune of others. When he told you to stop stealing his ideas, you snickered. You quietly hoped your old friend was laughing too and will come back to you all with that lovely smile of hers. In the back of your head, however, you knew Sans was right. Things were about to take a turn for the worst for the two of them. There was so much evidence to back his argument up. Still, you held onto to hope, like how to held onto Flowey’s pot. Note to self, Flowey is surprisingly heavy!

Chapter Text

The morning of December 3rd was a quiet one on the mountain. To the rest of the country, however, the morning was abuzz with televisions being turned on and news show hosts all saying the same thing: Mettaton is engaged. It all started with the photo he posted on his Instapic at midnight. Lena was the subject of it, the camera angled as if the viewer was looking at her on their bent knee. At the bottom, the robot was holding the human’s hand, the new silver band on her ring finger, gleaming gently. She was practically radiating joy, the warmth of the sunset behind her giving her an ethereal glow. The caption of the photo was simple: “She said yes!”, followed by three ring emojis. Everyone knew what he meant, which is why much of America woke up either with smiles or frowns.

You, Frisk and the Monsters were amongst the smiling crowd. The ambassador made sure his support for his Tonton was public - reblogging the photo on Instapic, chirping his congratulations on Chirper, writing a witty and sweet paragraph on FaceSpace. You shared every one of your employer’s statuses to show yours.

By 8 am, the media found out Lena’s identity. Networks ran like rabid animals the evening prior, trying to find out who this mystery human lover was. Someone must've told a station what they knew. At 7:50, they thought the woman was Jackie something-or-another. A name change within ten minutes couldn't have been caused by pure luck.

The media didn't have an exact view of the couple. Some said Lena was the timid lamb in the fangs of a monstrous wolf (one newspaper having the nerve to have a headline of “Keep Our Girls Away from Prims!”). Some said Mettaton was, like many celebrities, the victim of gold digging - an attractive woman using her appeal to live lavishly. All in all, the exposé was very negative.

You were absolutely disgusted, horrified, mortified to read these things. You kept your lips tight and your fingers away from the keyboard, however. You were one of the few who knew whom the two actually were.That's all that mattered. Someone knew the truth.

That's all that mattered. Someone knew the truth.

It was 8:30 when the call came in. You were in Frisk’s kitchen, lurking on FaceSpace, scrolling past every share of that surprisingly beautiful photo of your childhood friend. Maria, the nice girl who worked in your college library your entire time there, was very open with her disgust. Clark, the stereotypical hockey head, was supportive of the couple. You were becoming more and more surprised as you scrolled down your newsfeed, reading more and more opinions. Then, your cursor stopped moving. You quickly swept on the trackpad. Oh great, the screen froze. What in the world could---

The familiar chime which rang when you get a call on Skyline chimed and a black window popped up. Someone was requesting a group call. You read the username of the caller: Michelle. If there's a higher being, why do you forsake me now? You swore you told everyone that you had an early morning flight. You swore you did. So either she forgot or she was being disrespectful.

“Oh, what the hell.”

Frisk was facing the stove, making pancakes. “Well, it sounds like you're pretty spirited this morning.” You narrowed your eyes at him, earning a chuckle from him. “Who’s calling?”

“Michelle.”

Flowey, on Frisk’s shoulder, asked, “Isn't Michelle that chick you don't like?” Frisk shot a glare at the flower. “What? I thought it was obvious. They groaned like how I do whenever I talk to Toriel.”

"To answer your question, yes, I don't like her.” But I have to put up with her anyway.

You reluctantly pressed the accept button and turned on your webcam and microphone. Michelle was there along with George, Ricardo, and… Jacob? You were surprised to see the dark-haired boy. He hadn't chatted with you all since your arrival on Mt. Ebott.

Mich greeted you, as if you were her best friend, “Hey, you--- what's that noise in the background?”

“Oh, I'm making- uh, hash browns.” She didn't need to know Frisk and Flowey were there. You hoped she didn't press for more details.

“Oh, okay. Whatever. And how have you been doing, lil Jacob?”

Jacob tucked his glasses up, the monitor reflecting on the lenses. “... Swell, I guess.”

“Oh, that's good or whatever. But let's just cut to the chase for this week’s- no, this year’s headline: Mettaton and Lena.”

You already knew what was going to happen.

“I think they’re cute. The chick’s smoking too. 9/10 though. She seems too nice for a bad boy like me.” Ricardo would agree with you in some fashion as always.

You snickered and rolled your eyes as always.

Michelle huffed and rolled her eyes as always.

“Well, I think it's weird, y’know, a Monster and human getting together like this.” Georgey would say whatever would make Mich happy as always… As Ricardo said before… Wow, he was right.

“Someone said it!” And there was Mich-nado as always. “Seriously, I think it's the grossest thing. It's like fucking a poodle or something.”

“A poodle with really pretty eyes…” The raven-haired girl glared into the camera as if was meant for Georgey. The blonde shushed up in a millisecond as always.

“Well, I've met them both two days ago and they’re super nice. It's like they were made for each other.”

“Yeah, that’s what Frisk said on FaceSpace.” Then everyone realized what you said and flipped out. As always. “You got to meet Mettaton?”

“Yeah, uh-”

“Shut. Up. A no-life like you got to meet the Mettaton. That's no fair.”

You were offended. You deserved to interact with a person as much as any other person would. You definitely had a life too. Just because you preferred books over whatever Michelle thought was vivacious behavior didn't mean you didn't have one. You kept your offense under wraps.

“C’mon, Mich, that's a bit harsh. Bookworm, yes; No-life? Nah.” Ricky the Savior strikes again as always.

“Whatever. Anyway, are his legs as good as they are on camera?”

“Better. Ten times better.”

Michelle squealed. Yes, the girl was one of those. Mettaton had quite the human fan club and Mich was an outspoken member of it. She forced you to watch the movies he was in many times. She taped all of his appearances off the silver screen too. There was a full year she did her makeup like his, claiming it gave her confidence. Yet, despite all of this, she had the audacity to say horrid things about Monsters. She was an enigma. As always. “What did you say, what did you say?”

“I called him Divabot and yelled at him.”

“...What?”

“Yeah, he deserved it too. He was an asshat Tuesday.”

“An asshat? You… You're unbelievable. The things I would do to him… And you - the one who got the chance of a lifetime - yelled at him. This is so not fair.”

You glanced up at Frisk. He was pointing at his mouth as if mimicking gagging himself. You covered your mouth, trying to hide your snort. You were thinking the same thing - you didn't need to know she wanted to do the horizontal tango with the Monster your employer affectionately called his uncle. That's how she was. As always.

Mich’s face twitched and she pursed her lips. “Uck, I don't understand. Why her? Why this snotty-looking bimbo?”

“Because she's incredibly selfless and she doesn't view her fiancé as some sex machine to be lusted after.” Unlike you.

“W-Well, he was designed to be that way,” Jacob counter argued, “He wants humans to lust over him.” And there comes Jake with his creepy responses as always.

“Still doesn't mean he wants every person - human or Monster - to slobber over him like some object.” You were thinking back to the interviews then. He said the exact words which came out of your mouth. All you could see was the face he made when he uttered that - the genuine depression. Then you thought of the gentle touch and knowing look his fiancée gave to him. Then you thought of the loving look he returned, the relief on his features. He found who was best for him. He found who would see him the way he wanted to be seen while still caring for him. He deserved it too, with all the things he's been through.

Michelle laughed mockingly at you. “God, that's so you.”

You were about to inquire what she meant by that - the lack of sleep was sparking fires in you - but she let out of a noise of surprise.

“Hey, look what TMZ just posted. They got a full article on her now.” You could hear clicking from Michelle’s mic. She must be bringing up the article. “Let's see here. Lena Lee-Robinson. 26. Brooklynite. Illustrator but known for her award-nominated children’s book on… growing up biracial.”

You flashed to Ricardo’s screen. He looked uncomfortable already. You didn't want Michelle to continue for his sake. Yet you also desired for her to continue. You didn't know that last part about her. You always assumed she was just white. You had only met her grandmother and Lena was a spitting image of the elderly woman in her younger days. What in the world could she be?

“Holy--- She's half Native American? Get the fuck out.” Yeah, get the fuck out. You would have never guessed that. “Her mother’s Native American from an undisclosed tribe and her father’s presumed to be white.”

“Wow, that's ironic, considering history and all.” You wanted to shut George up. You've heard enough ignorance for today. You desired not to hear any more, especially from him.

“Yeah, really. Oh yeah, aren't you biracial too, Ricky?” Mich had a sly grin on her thin lips.

You looked at Ricardo who was clearly dispirited. Your heart fell. Ricky should never be sad. “Yeah… So?” He was so quiet too.

Sooooo it's no wonder you like her so much. Marble cookies gotta stay together, y’know.”

Ricky looked solemnly away for a second then attempted to laugh it off, though you could hear the nerves in his voice. “I… I guess?”

“Y’know, I don't understand what people think when they go do those kinds of things. Sure, mixed kids are gorgeous and all but… I just don't understand what that girl’s parents were thinking when they had that kid together.”

Bam! You nearly flew out of the chair. It came from Ricky, slamming on his desk. He was at his boiling point. “You know what, I'm out. I can't deal with this shit this early in the morning. Bye.” And Ricky left.

Michelle seemed confused but that smirk was saying otherwise. “What? What did I say? Whatever, it doesn't matter. Ricky’s just a stupid-”

You slammed on your trackpad, pressing the end button. You had to escape that hellhole of a call. You exhaled hard and leaned back into the chair for a minute, needing the silence.

“... Wow.” Frisk put the plate of steaming hot pancakes down on the table. “You weren't kidding. She's something else.”

“Yeah, for no reason too.”

Frisk sat down in the chair closest to you, as always.

“I'm calling Ricky. I need to check on him.” You did as you said. The sound of a telephone ringing came from your laptop.

“May I ask what that whole thing early was about? He sounded very upset.”

“You can ask him yourself. He's fine with talking about it, just sensitive.”

“That's fine.”

A moment later, you were greeted to Ricardo pacing back and forth, speaking rapidly in Portuguese. You knew barely a lick of his native tongue; just some general phrases and curse words, which he was using a lot of now. Vaca - that meant cow. Uma meant “a”. He was repeating Michelle's name a lot. You were only able to make out one phrase due to the fact that he was chanting it like a prayer: “Michelle é uma vaca estúpida.” Michelle is a stupid--- oh. You silently agreed with him but you needed to get him to calm down.

“Rickster, are you alright?”

“Yeah, great. Just great.”

“‘Don't let Michelle get to you’, right? You said that to me before.”

“... So?” He looked at the screen finally.

“So listen to your own advice, estúpida.”

Ricky chortled. A smile slowly weaseled its way onto his face. “First off, it's estúpido. I'm a boy.” He was about to continue but the two of you ended up laughing. When the chuckles died, he had a lopsided smile on his lips. “And.” He exhaled. “You're right.”

“I know I am.”

“Ay, that's my line.”

You chuckled, earning one from him as well.

Frisk asked, “Are you alright, Ricardo?”

He flinched. “Oh shit, you're here too.”

“Of course. Bookworm over here told me about Michelle and I got curious. I suggested that I eavesdrop on one of your chats.”

“Oh. What’d think?”

You looked behind Frisk’s shoulder and there was Flowey, hiding. He put up a leaf to his mouth, as if asking you to be quiet. You decided to listen to the flower. Besides, how could you even explain his existence to your friend? It would be next to impossible.

“She… Well… I don't know how to describe her without using a bad word.” Ricardo and you fell out. “Are you alright, however? You didn't seem fine a moment ago.”

“Yeah, just… Mich likes to pick at people and she picked at something I'm touchy about.”

“Your race?”

Ricky’s eyebrows flew up. “You're observant.”

“Have to be.”

Your college friend rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah. I'm biracial like that Lena girl is.”

“Oh, I think that's a lovely thing, Ricardo. There's no need to be ashamed of something like that.”

“Oh, I know. I'm not ashamed of it. Down in Brazil - that's where I'm from - it didn't matter. There's no real image of what the standard Brazilian looks like. So when this white Aussie fell in love with a Rio gal, things were fine. The hazel eyes and voluptuous booty are great for picking up chicks, y’know.

When I came up here, however, … I started having issues with it. All over the Internet, people rant and rave about how gorgeous we are, like we’re exotic pets or somethin’. But when we log off, we get nasty looks and ignorant crap like ‘oh you can't be Brazilian’ and ‘oh you can’t be Australian’. It's a pain. I shouldn't have to fight between which culture I attach more to. I shouldn't have to choose what race I am. I love them both the same. I just… I'm not a marble cookie. I'm a person.”

Frisk nodded in understanding. “I understand completely. You just want to live your life while still being close to the two cultures you were born into.”

“Yeah. Pretty much.” Ricky shrugged then glanced away, embarrassed.

A funky song began to play in the kitchen, coming from Frisk’s back pocket. He pulled his phone out. You got a quick glimpse of who was calling: Tonton. You wondered what he was calling about but you assumed you'd find out. Frisk excused himself and went into the office to answer the call.

“You know, I didn't mean to say all of that. Makes me look uncool, y’know.”

“He has that effect on people.”

“Huh. Cool, cool. Why did you leave the conversation so fast? I know it wasn't ‘cause of my beautiful self.”

You snorted. He's back to his good old self. You were relieved to see so. “I got tired of Mich and her salt. I bet you she’s still talking about Lena now.”

“I believe you. Lena doesn't deserve all the madness going on either. Nobody does.”

“Yeah. Also, because I know Lena.”

“That makes sense.”

“No, I mean before all of this. Her grandmother lives down the block from my family.”

Ricardo banged on the desk, his eyes wide. “You're lying.”

You explained the coincidence for the millionth time. It still felt odd you two were reunited after all these years. In any case, it still was a welcomed reunion.

“That's… That's crazy, man.”

“Yeah. Mrs. Robinson was always raving about her granddaughter. Now I know she wasn't lying…”

You realized then you needed to call your family. All of the paparazzi in New York City was probably at the elderly woman’s doorstep, maybe your family’s as well. You would have to give them a ring when you got the chance.

“In any case, how was the lovely couple anyway? Spill all the dirty details.” Ricky batted his thick, dark lashes at you like how a valley girl would, earning a full-out laugh from you.

“Well, they're total opposites. Lena's real relaxed and quiet and Mettaton's Mettaton yet there's a connection between them, a strong one.”

“Well, opposites do attract when there's hot people involved.”

You let out a loud laugh at that. He had a point. “They really care for each other. Lena started nagging him about how he's overworking himself and Mettaton had this big goofy smile whenever he made her laugh. It's gross, only because it's cute.”

“Huh. Do the Monsters like her?”

“They adore her. The king started tearing up when he found out. Alphys - I told you about Alphys, right?” Ricardo nodded. “Yeah, Alphys was squealing about how her ship became canon or something like that. Oh, and my favorite one, Papyrus asked if the two were going to have babies.”

Ricardo fell out of his chair. You immediately asked if he was alright. His reply was uncontrollable laughter. He got back up and asked, breathlessly, “Are you serious?”

“Yeah, man. I was dying when he said it.”

Ricky sniffled back some snot that tried to come out. “Oh god. That… That was funny. I gotta meet these Monsters. I gotta.”

“I wish you can. They'll seriously like you. You already have Frisk’s approval and, trust me, his opinion is very important.”

Ricardo nodded. “Let's see what happens, yeah? Oh, before I go, I gotta ask ya: when are you heading home again?”

You honestly weren't sure. You could ask for time off for the holidays at the end of the month. Christmas isn't the same without your family. “I guess maybe for Christmas. I didn't ask for time off yet.”

“Ah, I see… You think he'll give it to you.”

“Maybe. The kids have off around that time too."

“Okay. I gotta head to the site. I’ll talk to ya later, ‘aight?”

“Alright. See ya, Rickster.”

“See ya, bookworm.”

You stuck your tongue out at him and his grin grew wider. You then ended the call. You felt better. You always felt better after talking to him.

Frisk came back in, serious look on his face. “Well, I have good news and bad news.”

“Oh, great.”

“Well, the good news is that we don't have to take the bus to the airport. Mettaton and Lena are going to drop us off.”

Yes!” You didn't want to take the gross, untidy bus to the airport.

“The bad news is that they're going to report what happened with the rest of their engagement run -” The smile wiped off your face. “- and from what Mettaton implied, we’re not going to like what they have to say.”

“How long do we have until they come?”

He sat back in his chair almost unwillingly. “Twenty minutes. Let's eat quick.”

“Alright.”


You and Frisk were walking down to the school entrance, bags in hand. When your feet landed on the brick-colored linoleum of the entryway, Frisk pulled you away to the corridor that led to the locker room, which you decided to now call the Flower Hall due to the golden flowers which align its walls.

“What was that f-”

Frisk shushed you and pointed. You leaned your head out of the archway like a spy would. Mettaton and Lena were standing in front of the main doors, talking about something. The robot was glancing at the floor periodically. Something’s up. Something’s wrong.

“‘sup guys.” You nearly jumped out of your skin. You turned behind you to see Sans was there, hands in his hoodie’s pockets as usual. “hey, i’m supposed to be the skeleton, not you.”

You breathlessly chuckled at his joke.

“they're there, aren't they?”

You nodded. The three of you began to eavesdrop on the couple’s conversation.

“Lena, I have something to confess.”

“What is it, Metty?”

The robot looked away again, a guilty look on his face.

“Mettaton, you can tell me anything. You know I'll listen.”

The robot looked at her, his eyes downcast. He didn't respond at first, looking at his toes. “Lena, I think we should end our engagement.”

You suddenly felt ill, as if something from a bad dream became a reality. You glanced at Sans, who was focused on the couple. You went back to listening into the couple. Lena's back was turned to you all so you couldn't see her reaction. Not a noise came out of her.

“-This doesn't mean I don't care for you anymore, because that's the exact opposite. Darling, you are my one and only starlight and forever will be but yesterday… with your family.”

“Metty.”

“With your friends…”

“Metty.”

“The things they said, the way they scorned you.”

“Mettaton.”

“And then last night, when you were crying in the bathroom…”

“Mettaton.”

“I… I can't stand to see you like that!” The robot cried out to her, explaining panickingly whatever he was trying to. Most of what he said was deaf to your ears. The sound of your heart thumping consumed his voice. Your grip on the arch tightened to the point that your knuckles turned white. This can't be happening. They really weren't going to break up, right? They were so happy on Tuesday. They couldn't break up because of something like that, right? Right-

“Mettaton!” Lena’s voice bounced off the walls, slowly rising up to echo throughout the Academy. It shook you out of your thoughts and ended Mettaton’s shouting.

Lena lowered her voice to the soft level she always had. She frantically chirped, “Oh, oh my god, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to raise my voice like that.”

Mettaton’s voice lowered as well. “No, no, it's fine. Besides, I was shouting first so I should be the one apologizing. In any case, you know how I get. You gotta yell at me to get me to do something, just as… the Queen… said.”

In the midst of their apologizing, the two had grabbed at each other’s hands absentmindedly, as if it was a habit. Mettaton practically forced himself to let go.

The robotic star looked more and more heartbroken the more he talked. “You're the light of my stars. I can't stand to see clouds covering it. This is my fault, my responsibility. I can't run away from it. That's why I want to end it. You still have time to go back to and apologize and-”

Lena, gentle like a breeze, requested for him to bend down. The robot was obviously befuddled but he did bend down a bit. “Like this?”

“A little more.”

He did so. “Is this good?”

“Perfect.” The human softly cupped his face and pulled him a bit closer to her, as if she wanted to get his full, undivided attention. “Mettaton, may I tell you something?” Her voice was melodious like a lullaby.

“... Yes.”

“Do you know why I hate being called ‘dollface’ or ‘doll’?”

The robot shook his head.

“Because I’ve always felt like one.” You didn't know anything about what occurred to Lena after that summer with her. For her, the child you used to share rum raisin ice cream with, to say that… The tables turned. You were the one who felt heartbroken now.

As she spoke, Lena treated Mettaton with care - running her fingers through his hair, caressing his face, as if he was the most important thing to her at that moment. You couldn't see her eyes but you knew she was looking at him with such tenderness.

“All my life, I've felt weak. After I got sick, I spend most of my childhood in the hospital. Doctors probing at me 24/7, my family tossing me back and forth; I understood quickly that no child shouldn't have to go through what I did. Even when I got a handle on my condition and went to high school, the damage was already done. I had no self-confidence. I was painfully shy. I felt gross all the time.

People took advantage of that. Sometimes, I was that doll in the window every child wanted until it was forgotten and thrown into the bottom of closets. Sometimes, I was a puppet, moved by someone else’s hand and forced to perform to entertain onlookers. For a long time, I thought this is how life was supposed to be. This is how life would always be. I'd always be controlled by others. My world would be dull and black and white for all of my days. I thought it was normal, since I didn't have much of a childhood to tell me otherwise.

But when I met you… You pulled me out of the closet, grabbed those strings and, little by little, plucked them away.

I've never felt freer, happier. Everyday with you is an adventure waiting to happen. You filled my black and white world with color. You made me laugh, made me smile. You did countless things out of the blue just to make me happy.

You… How do I explain this?

Mettaton, you taught me what love is.”

If you were melting all the way from where you stood, you could only imagine how the Monster felt.

“I know you want to end the engagement so I can be happy. Truthfully, if we end it, I'll be miserable. I'd just go back to being a sad little doll. After running from it for five years now, I don't think I can handle going back to it. Besides, I'm your starlight, right? Why fight for your chance to see the stars only once, right?”

Mettaton was clearly shocked by her statement.

“Forgive me if I'm being selfish but I refuse to let a person who cares for me so much out of my grasp over - what, people who were supposed to teach me the things you do everyday? And trust me, I'll stop crying about it one day. Everyone does.”

Mettaton's voice was barely above a whisper. “Love, that’s your own family.”

“Well, as Bernard M. Baruch said, ‘Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who don't mind… matter.’”

A smile slowly crept onto the robot’s face, his eye intoxicated by her undying devotion to him.

“Besides, I'm realizing now you can love people from a distance. I will always love my family but they changed - and not for the better. What matters is that there are people out there who do support us, who don't mind us being together. Even if my side of the pews will be empty, that's fine with me. They're people willing to seat on my side, on our side anyway.”

Lena swept her fingers through his hair one last time before letting go of him. The robot stood up straight, an unreadable expression on his face.

“Is… Is that alright with you, Metty?”

Mettaton glanced down at his feet one last time before giving his beloved that charming smile he always had. “Alright? Starlight, I feel like a fool for doubting you- no, us for even a second.”

He lifted her off her feet and spun her around, earning protests from her. In the end, the two chuckled wholeheartedly, as if nothing happened- no, no, they wouldn't act as if nothing happened. It was more that their bond grew even stronger, more resilient.

You turned to Sans and Frisk, who looked pleasant after what happened. “seems we won the bet.”

“Actually, you're dead wrong.”

Sans took off his hat and all the money fell out… Why was he wearing the hat if it had the money in it? Regardless, you picked up the fallen note and opened it. On the card was the quote the human mentioned. The two were flabbergasted.

“That's cheating!”

“No, it's not.” You had a shit-eating grin on your lips. “Besides, you all agreed to the terms and I won. Now, I'll be taking my earnings.” You grabbed all the fallen wads of cash and put them in your bag. “And use them to buy me something nice.”

“Like what?”

Train tickets home for the holidays. “I… I don't know yet.”

Sans shrugged. “fair enough… how'd ya know lena was going to say that?”

“The quote’s on the wall in her grandmother’s house - one of those little embroidery things. We would always stare at it, not knowing what it meant. One day, Mrs. Robinson explained the meaning and… I think she took it to heart.”

“Obviously I did.”

The three of you turned and there stood the happy couple.

Mettaton leaned his back against the arch, giving you all a dirty look. “Betting on whether we’d break up or not?” He scoffed. “The nerve of you all. You have no class, I swear.”

Sans shrugged the comment off. “doesn't matter now. things turned out well.” He put his hat back on. “now if you need me, i’ll go back to patrolling.” Yet the skeleton walked right back into his office. You didn't question it. He did get the job done.

Now to get yours done.


"-Alright, sweetheart, I'll make sure to tune in tomorrow at--- one? Wow, I thought it'd be an odd hour of the night or something, not the afternoon.”

“Me too, mom. It'll be seven at night in Brussels though.”

“I see.”

You were in one of the bathrooms in the airport, washing your face. Your flight was delayed by a half hour, giving you a chance to breathe after what you just heard. You decided to call your family like you desired to, away from Frisk, away from it all.

“Also, mom… How is Mrs. Robinson doing?”

“You mean the old woman down the street with the yippy pooch?”

“Yes.”

“Uh, I don't know, I mean--- Oh my god!”

As you tried to ask your mother what was wrong, you could hear her call for your father and Gigi to look out the window. “Mom, what's going on?”

“There's all of these news stations in front of her house. What--- What’re they doing, bothering that old bat?”

"Haven't you watched the news this morning?”

“Yes, of course.”

“You know the Lena girl that's on TV, the one who's Mettaton’s fiancée.”

“Yes, and your Gigi is devastated with the news. She didn't want to share that robot with no one."

You wanted to snicker but you couldn't. You felt awful inside. “Mrs. Robinson is Lena’s grandmother.”

“Oh- Oh my god, are you serious?”

“Yes. You know that little girl that I used to play with when I was little, the one that used to drink all of my juice boxes?”

“Yeah, clearly. She was the sweetest little thing too-... Don't tell me.”

“Yes. That's her.”

Your mother didn't respond right away. “I'll be right back, sweetheart.”

“What do you--” You heard your mother pass the phone over and your front door make its familiar slam.

“Hello, is this you, kiddo?” Hearing your father's calm voice relieved you.

“Yes, it's me. What happened to Mom?”

“She, uh… She's running over to Mrs. Robinson’s house.”

“Oh no.” You knew what she was going to do.

“And she's--- yep, she's yelling at those cameramen in front of her house. I… I should probably go get her.”

“You should. I'll call back.” You hung up in a split second and dashed out of the bathroom. Frisk was sitting patiently in the terminal, awaiting your return. He still had his laptop out luckily. You fell down into the seat next to him, adrenaline pumping in your veins. “Frisk, look up the news stations in New York.”

“Well, you're back fast- Why?”

“Because--- uh, you'll see what I mean.”

Frisk did just that. He clicked onto Channel 7’s website, where a live feed of the front of Mrs. Robinson’s house was on the front page.

“Click it, click it.” You were getting antsy.

Frisk did just that. After a bit of buffering, there was your mother, telling the press to (you were mentally censoring this is as much as possible) back the heck off and get their behinds back on Queens Boulevard to head back to crusty frigging Manhattan. “Holy crap, that woman's got balls.”

“I know… Because that's my mom.” Your employer could only stare at you. “My family's nuts. Every last one of them.”

“I'm starting to realize that.”

Your mother shouted at the press, “You leave that old woman alone, you hear me. She has a crazy pooch that'll tear ya to pieces.”

You informed him Mrs. Robinson’s dog’s a chihuahua which earned his laughter.

“Excuse me, ma’am, what’s your opinion on Mettaton’s engagement?”

“None of your God-” You thanked a higher being the network decided to censor her now. “- business! Now, scat-”

The forest green front door opened and Mrs. Robinson came out into the cold. She wrapped herself in a shawl you knew she crocheted herself. She was a crafty woman, probably the person who inspired Lena’s love for the arts. In that pleasant voice of hers, Mrs. Robinson stated she'd given them her opinion. She thanked your mother for her bravery before beginning.

“Now, I have to be honest with you all. I haven't seen my granddaughter since she was a small child. My son began to deny she even existed, which I will never forgive him for. But I can tell you that she was always very sweet and very accepting. And that is because she is my granddaughter.

Lena, wherever you are, I hope this finds you. I know you're sad. I know you're scared. You've always been gentle-hearted and your mother's family are descendants of stoic warriors. I already know what they told you and you don't deserve it one bit. But your grandmother is here to accept you with open arms and hugs as always. Your grandmother’s home is always your home and for good measure.

Please, I implore you to come visit whenever you feel lonely. Bring your fiancé too. I want to meet him before Gina across the street gets to see his legs.”

The press and her laughed. Frisk and you laughed as well. Your grandmother, Gina (everyone calls her Gigi), does have an admiration for the robot. She's always cheering him on. You know she's cheering him on even now.

“Lena, remember the quote on my wall. I don't mind. I will never mind. Now, if you need me, ladies and gentlemen, I have a cup of coffee that needs to be nursed.”

The old woman turned towards the door. Before she went in, she looked into the camera and with the kindly look only a grandmother would have, said, “Have a good day, sweetie.”

With that, Mrs. Robinson entered her home and closed the door shut behind her.

Frisk closed his laptop and turned to you. “I know you were crying. That's why you went to the bathroom.”

Your vision fell into your lap. You thought you didn't make it obvious. You swore you did. You looked away due to embarrassment. You hated when people saw in such a vulnerable state.

“It's fine. I used to cry a lot too.”

You could only look back up at him.

“When I first started out, I used to cry myself to sleep sometimes after hearing about what was going on with my friends and acquaintances. There wasn't anything I could do directly to prevent things like this from happening. That's not my job as an ambassador. I'm supposed to be an encyclopedia, a hand to shake. Still, after almost ten years of doing this, I still feel awful after some interviews. Trust me, my heart is aching for them, even if I don't look it. They're both good people. They don't deserve any of this.

But another part of my job is to be hopeful, to pray the information I tell the masses reaches good hearts. That's why I'm not crying - because there's hope for them. Do you care that a Monster’s infatuated with a human?”

“No. Not at all.”

“Then that's all that matters. We, as supporters of Monsterkind, have to stay hopeful. That's all we can do. Now, there's no shame in crying. It shows you care. Just make sure not to drown in them or else your hope will be washed away too.”

“I… I getcha.”

Frisk was right indeed. There was hope for the two. The Monsters were alright with it. Lena’s grandmother was alright with it. Your family and Ricky were alright with it. Frisk was alright with it. You were alright with it. There was a lot of hope already.

An announcement echoed throughout the airport, stating your flight was ready to start boarding passengers. Frisk put his laptop in his backpack and offered you a hand. “Now, c’mon, let’s get this show on the road.”

You put your hand in his. "Yes. Let's."

Chapter Text

It was five minutes to seven on December 4th. Frisk and you were at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, one of the best universities in the city, at the Etterbeek campus for his conference. You were given the biggest lecture hall on campus, three hundred or so seats. When you saw the line to get in, you realized the university should have lent out their auditorium, dare say a stadium. The house was packed with student, faculty, and foreigner alike.

It’s going to be a long night.

On the side, three fold up chairs were set up for you, your laptop, and the ambassador. You took advantage immediately. Frisk, sitting next to you, donned a sweater Asgore knitted for him. It was bright red - perfect and ugly for the holiday season - that had “Pretty as a North Pole-aroid” over a camera. You hoped Sans wasn't the one who gave the king the pun idea. In any case, you were impressed by Asgore’s technique and skill. The script of the text was incredibly well-woven. Plus all of the braids in the yarn were incredible.

Frisk was chewing his lip, bobbing his knee.

“Are you nervous?”

“A bit. I think it's more adrenaline.”

You nodded your head. “You're gonna do great.”

“I hope so.” Frisk stretched his arms, letting out a satisfied groan. When he settled down again, his knee kept on bobbing up and down.

“By the way, Ricky wished you good luck.”

“G-Give him my thanks.”

His nervousness was clear as day. You needed to do something to calm him. You decided to take a risk and play-punch him in the hip. You know that didn't hurt him but he let out a ‘ow!’ anyway.

“What was that for?”

“You're freaking out. Come and take a selfie with me or... something. You have to chill out.”

Frisk sighed hard. "Fine. We haven't taken one together yet, have we?”

“Not at all.”

Frisk pulled out his phone and unlocked it. He flicked up on the lock screen and opened up his camera. He pressed the icon on it to switch to the camera in the front. You two got close together and posed, smiles on your lips. He took the picture and opened it to see the results. The picture displayed you both exquisitely. You wondered if it was luck or Frisk was just good at photography.

“Oh, now this is a Instapic-worthy photo. My cheekbones are sharper than Kim Kardashian’s in this lighting.”

You ended up laughing your head off. You hadn't expect him to say that. Hearing your laughter, he roared as well. With each rise of your chest, the anxiety faded away.

After one more chuckle, Frisk beamed at you. “Thanks. I needed that.”

You needed it too. “Anytime.”

A teacher walked up to the podium and tapped on the mic. He spoke in Dutch, causing the entire audience to settle down.You both quieted and sat up, knowing what was about to begin. It was time to be professional, not laughing young people. The cameramen flicked on their cameras and checked their mics as the teacher continued.

“Now, presenting our guest for this evening, Frisk Dreemurr, the ambassador of the Monsters.”

It's showtime.

Frisk got up, greeted with applause. He walked over to the teacher and shook hands with him, as if his prior nervousness was never there. The teacher sat amongst the audience and Frisk took his place at the podium. He glanced at you and gave you a thumbs up. You returned the gesture.

Get ‘em, tiger.

“Uh, is this working?” Frisk tapped lightly on the mic. “Oh, I guess it is. I'm sure I'm going to butcher this so give me mercy on Chirper, Dutch viewers.” The ambassador did his signature wave and greeted, “Hallo, ik ben Frisk.” He hissed. “Yeah. That was bad.”

The audience chuckled.

“Let's start this off on a different note. Hiya, I'm Frisk! Welcome to my conference on Human and Monster Relationships. I want to thank all of you for coming out this evening to learn more about my family and friends and how they are getting along with humanity.”

He glanced over the audience.

“You know, I love speaking at universities. Our generation is such an innovative, open-minded one. There's so many social justice movements going on right now that I can't name all of them within the time allotted. Many started at universities like this. College students, fresh minds ready to conquer, collectively got up and said enough was enough for one reason or another. They went to social media and a revolution began. That's how I unintentionally started the ‘I <3 Monsters’ movement.”

He held up his wrist, showing off a periwinkle rubber bracelet.

“Plus you're smart too. You guys are finding answers to questions those before you couldn't, creating things beyond our wildest dreams, shooting for the stars and making it to Mars--- Wow, that was corny but I digress. You guys are doing amazing things with your incredible minds and hearts. So, before we tackle down about this topic, I just want to thank you all for being, well, awesome."

A round of applause echoed throughout the auditorium. You were impressed at the way Frisk moved the crowd.

“Now, let's begin, shall we?”

Frisk spent the first half of the conference discussing research about how humanity and Monsterkind were acting platonically. All in all, a Monster had a two-thirds chance of having a bad time with humanity in some format - lowering from three-fourths two years ago. There were plenty of stories of Monster children being bullied by their human classmates, Monster adults being harassed in and out of work. There were also plenty of stories of Monster children becoming close friends with humans, Monster adults having a wonderful time in the world of humanity.

Frisk was much more of a storyteller than a researcher. You learned that just by working with him. It was far more obvious during his presentation, however. He mostly told recollections from interviews over the years. Yet, the audience ate it up, some members of it even taking notes. There's a international travel ban on Monsters so you're positive no one in that room had seen one in real life yet they were so focused on learning about them. It pleased you. You were beginning to understand why Frisk enjoyed speaking at colleges. The attendees came to learn, not for anything else.

After another round of applause, Frisk sat down next to you and the twenty minute break began.

“You're doing great so far.”

“Thank you.” You passed him a bottle of water and he, after thanking you, opened it and drank some of it. He exhaled hard. “Here comes the hard part.”

“Yes.” The romance part.

You two sat there in comfortable silence. You both needed it. Even though you weren't up there with him, you still felt the pressure. You closed your eyes, letting the background noise whisk you away briefly.

“Man, all I can think about is dinner.”

You didn't open your eyes. “Me too. Or are we just hungry?”

“Yeah, we’re probably hungry. The hotel had menus for a Thai place that delivers.”

You opened your eyes to give him a look of disbelief. “We’re in Belgium and you want Thai food?”

Frisk shrugged. “There's also Italian.”

You groaned, earning a chuckle from your friend. “... The Thai place does sound nice right about now.”

“Perfect. I hope it goes well with the wine Mettaton got me.”

You were stunned. “How did you sneak wine into another country, especially out of the one where it's illegal for you to drink it?”

“Wouldn't you like to know.”

The two of you roared. You weren't going to question it. After this, a glass of wine would be much appreciated.

The two of you relaxed a bit more, freshening up within the remaining minutes of the break. When Frisk came back from the bathroom, an audience member asked to take a selfie with him, which he happily accepted. As you watched him do so, you could only think that Frisk was so approachable unlike many dignitaries. He had the air of a friend in the making. Plus, he was, though you hated to admit it, charming in his own right. That's how he was able to stir the hearts of many, convince people to accept his family and friends. That's how he was able to pull information out of others without them realizing it. That's how he was able to be casual with this audience member, having a quick conversation with him after the photo was taken.

You silently thanked Lady Luck for having him fall into the Underground when he did. You couldn't see any other human being able to be the incredible ambassador he was. You couldn't see any other human being your employer and good friend... Wait, friend? When did you decide you were friends?

“Hey, you've been staring at me for awhile now.”

You flinched. You didn't realize how long you were staring at him.

The human cocked a brow. “Are you falling for little ol’ me?”

You quickly corrected him, “I was staring into space.”

Frisk snorted at your response and plopped back into the seat. “I kid, I kid.”

You looked away for a minute then turned back to him. “Hey, uh, I have a question that's going to sound pretty dumb.”

“No question’s dumb. Shoot it.”

“... Are we friends?”

Frisk’s eyebrows lowered for a moment but then he laughed so hard that he almost fell out of his chair. “Okay, that was a dumb question.”

“What's that supposed to mean?”

“Exactly that.” He looked right into your eyes, a twinkle behind his thick eyelashes. “Of course we’re friends. We eat most of our meals together. We work together for long periods of time. And, you practically jumped into my arms when Mettaton came on Tuesday. I'm pretty sure we’re good friends at this point.”

“Oh.”

Frisk cocked his head to the side. “What, you thought we weren't?”

“That's not it. I just never thought about it. With a lot of people, I have to think about it but with you and Ricky, we just kind of… clicked.”

“Well, the best of friendships are the ones that just click together. Besides, I think you're great. You’re a comforting person and you're honest when I need the cotton pulled out of my ears. Plus, your casseroles are the bomb. You’re not just my assistant. You're my friend.”

You smiled. Hearing that confirmation filled you with joy. You asked the same thing to Ricky after a couple months of knowing him. He mocked you for it but then, in the same fashion, confessed that you're friends. Sometimes, you just needed confirmation. Sometimes, you needed a friend who you just clicked with, like two puzzle pieces being put together.


Frisk was back on the podium and the romance section of the conference was well under way.

“Now, let's get on with the part that everyone's been waiting for: romantic relationships between Monsters and humans. Yes, intermingling has finally occurred. The two races are taking long walks on the beach, nose nuzzling, all of the like. In my opinion, the development’s heartwarming. It’s a new way for the two races to relate to each other.”

You turned to the next slide by clicking the right arrow key on your laptop, just as rehearsed. You were in charge of the presentation. Frisk talked briefly about the historical part - which there wasn't any of. He made a point to show this was the first time in history any of these relationships occurred, according to the research found. There were plenty of fables about such relationships but no one ever acted on their feelings. He didn't have that anthropology Master's for nothing. He had done all of the research by himself. You sometimes desired to set your degree aflame because, compared to his intelligence, you didn't have much.

“Now, all of the couples that came forward didn't intentionally search out for their partner. Their relationships were the result of accidental meetings. One Monster, who I'll be discussing later, was technically catfishing the human he’s with. But, as King Asgore says, ‘love is love; there’s no need to interfere with it unless it isn't, well, love’.”

Frisk pointed at the data on the slide.

“Out of all the Monsters I interviewed, only seven even informed me they were with a human. And even then, most didn't allow me to discuss their relationships with you all. It's understandable. One-hundred-percent of the couples received backlash from others, primarily from the human side. No one should have to sacrifice their comfort and safety to be open about who they love. And I respect their decisions to stay quiet so they can still have these things.

It's honestly a shame. The couples are sweet, the humans are good people too. I wish I could tell those who’re watching that are infatuated with someone outside of their race that it's fine to admit it, that it's fine to have public displays of affection, that it's fine to update your relationship status online. I can't, however.”

For the first time during the conference, Frisk looked concerned, as if pleading with his eyes.

“Please, take care. Be wary of who you tell.”

You turned to the next slide, which was blank on purpose.

“Now, I'm going to be honest with you all. Four days ago, I was losing my marbles. My lovely assistant flat-out stated I was like an angry chihuahua.”

The audience chuckled at that. Your face burned from embarrassment.

“Now I don't understand what they have against chihuahuas but I digress. Now, the reason why I was so upset was because none of the couples I interviewed before four days ago gave me permission to tell their story. As I mentioned before, it's understandable and I respect their decisions. It's just that I would have had to end the presentation right now. Of course, that's certainly unprofessional. Then, a miracle came to me in the form of a picture.”

You pressed the arrow key, revealing that famous photo all over the news yesterday: the Instapic picture of Lena. There was a standing ovation instantly, much to your and the ambassador’s surprise.

After the applause ended, Frisk swiped a bundle of hair behind his ear. “Well, I'll be happy to report to Mettaton he has Belgian fans. I'm curious, how many of you all knew of him before yesterday?” A couple of hands went up. “Oh, well, I guess the publicity is doing him good.

In any case, Mettaton and Lena came to Newer Home on the 1st for their engagement run.”

Frisk explained what an engagement run was to the audience.

“Of course, that was no excuse for him not to call ahead. The queen’s still giving him the stink eye, I'm sure. Regardless, the two were miracle workers. They gave me - and only me - permission to tell their story. Honestly, my reiterating of the story won’t hold a torch to the way I heard and observed it. I’ll try my best as always. Now, let's start off with talking about who they are.”

You turned to the next slide, which displayed pictures of the two by themselves.

“Mettaton’s a ghost Monster rising to Hollywood fame for his roles in science fiction and action movies. Back in the Underground, he was an all-around entertainer, beloved by most of the Monsters as their 'star'. Yes, his personality on camera is mostly the same off camera. He's very kind when he wants to be though. He's given all kinds of secret donations and funded homeless shelters for Monsters. Despite him seeming like a diva, he takes his Boss Monster status seriously. That’s the only reason he wasn’t torched alive by Queen Toriel on Tuesday.

Lena’s a Brooklyn-based illustrator known for her children's books and incredibly detailed artwork. Seriously, check her portfolio site. Her watercolors are remarkable. One of her books was nominated for a big award too. Just between you and me, I thought she was the subject of the art, not the creator of it. You’ve all seen how gorgeous she is. Her heart, though, is what makes me like her so much. She had nothing but incredibly kind things to say about the Monsters and I. Plus, she went above and beyond to make everyone comfortable with her being there. She said I have really nice eyelashes. I didn't even know I did. I’m still blushing about it.”

The audience laughed.

“Now we have two people who are very different from each other - practically polar opposites. Yet, they fell in love. That's how love is, y’know. It just happens. Now, here's the surprising part: how they met. They met online.”

Audience members were looking at each other, befuddled.

“Right? I thought he was lying too. In fact, I actually laughed right in his face. Well, he always says he’s full of surprises. Even more surprising is the site they used: Anondate. Anondate, for those who don't know, is like Chatroulette but for dating. After one makes a profile and answers a series of quizzes, you're paired up with another user and put into a chat room. You can choose to show video or audio whenever you want. If you don’t like the person, there’s a skip button at the bottom you can use to your heart’s content.  Now, the reason why I'm surprised they met on this site is because Anondate became a hookup site. So of course, I asked why they even signed up for the sites and they both said they did as a joke. Thank goodness.”

The audience laughed again. You knew quite well the horrors of that website. You made an account as a dare from Michelle and you saw your fair share of private parts that evening. As soon as she left, you deleted the account and prayed that you'd be forgiven for your sins and transgressions.

“Lena was stressed out and her best friend thought it'd be a way to blow some steam off. Mettaton was sad and his cousin - now I should mention his cousin is the most pure-hearted Monster I’ve met - told him to literally catfish some humans to make him feel better.”

One audience member made a negative-sounding noise a bit too loud.

“Yeah, that's messed up, right? In any case, Mettaton declined initially - saying he didn’t want to have humanity fall for him anymore as they already have. Yet, he made an account after his cousin left. He said he was desperately lonely and he didn’t wish to be anymore. Of course, I asked him to elaborate and he gave me one of the saddest and most well put responses I've ever gotten in an interview, so most of this story will be from his view.”

As Frisk read what Mettaton said, you could only imagine the entertainer was on the podium instead of the ambassador. You remembered every downcast look, every frown, as if you were recollecting a theatrical performance. It was Mettaton's monologue and Mettaton was owning the part.

“There’s this one thing I love doing - holding hands with people. I do it with family, friends, coworkers, fans - shoot, even old women when I help them across the street. I had this habit of taking Blooky and Shyren by the hand and dragging them all along with me on adventures when we were little. After a while, they were the ones who grabbed for me first, setting my love for it in stone. It made me happy to know that people depended on me for something, even something as simple as keeping their hands warm.

After we came to the Surface, things stayed the same for a while. We did small theater performances very much off-Broadway for a year. Blooky composed, Shyren sang, I acted - as always. I dragged them by their hands all over the place after the performances as always.

One day, I got my first movie offer. I was ecstatic but hesitant on leaving them behind for a second time. I told them the news and I don’t think I’ve ever seen them smile so big since we first saw the Surface together. I, of course, would go for it and that’s how I started out my career up here.

A year later, Shyren would get the offer to work for the opera house she's with now. She got out her shell as she built her audience. She initiated phone calls. She dragged people out the house. She slowly but surely let go of my hand. A year passed again and Blooky started getting recognition on the Internet for his work. He was approached by an agent to sell his music through a website. He accepted the deal after much encouragement and he’s doing great. He’s still shy and claims that he’s garbage, which I abhor to the ends of the Earth, but he let go of my hand as well.

Now, don’t think none of us talk anymore, that we’re too busy being busy to be lifelong bosom buddies. No, no, quite the contrary. We’re still as close as ever. And don’t think that I’m not satisfied with them being successful and happy. I have you know that I’m oh so proud of both of them."

You remembered the way the robot looked at his hands, that were in his lap at the time he was talking originally - how solemn, empty his eyes looked.

"However, my hands grew cold. I’ve always had issues with loneliness. I never liked not having people around. The one thing I hated was coming home after a long day to my frigid, empty house. I felt the place was a representation of how I was on the inside - cold and empty, just like my hands.

And one night after weeks and weeks of lying in bed wide awake, I realized, shit, Metty, you need a hot date.”

The audience roared with laughter.

“So I did. Of course, it would be too late when I realized sex symbols have horrific love lives. I had twenty partners in a year, twenty, and each romp ended dreadfully - yelling, screaming, broken vases. You see, how I am outside of my home is quite different than how I am inside of it. They were expecting freak shows, magic tricks, mindblowing sex. When they realized I didn’t have any of that to offer, they pulled their hands right out of mine, always blaming me for some bs or whatever they decided to come up with as an excuse. This one guy even have the audacity to cheat on me. On. Me.

I know good and well Monsters aren’t supposed to sign up for human dating sites. I just wanted to relieve some tension, spend a night laughing and joking. I didn’t imagine I’d meet her on there.”

The monologue ended and the robot dissolved back into the human. The audience applauded his performance.

“Look, whoever cheated on my Tonton, watch out. You're getting no favors from me. You have a lot of nerve too. He’s nuts and rich. That's never a good combination.”

You snorted at that. That’s something Ricky would say. The audience chuckled.

“Anyway, the two bumped into each other on the site and hit it off. They talked daily until Anondate’s policy changed. Users who found someone they talked to over a month had to pay a usage fee. So they moved their conversations to Skyline.

Mettaton was afraid of even hearing her voice, much less seeing what she looked like. He said, and I quote, ‘What if she isn’t the sweet woman that always told me to have a nice day. What if she was, goodness forbid, ugly?’ What if he was getting catfished in return? Oh, now that would’ve been hilarious.

But Mettaton hit the jackpot with this one. He reacted the same way many men and women, including myself, did when they first saw what she looked like. He got up and said ‘wow, I didn't think humans can get that hot’.”

The audience laughed, some whistling at his comment.

“She tried to play it off - that's how she is - saying her hair wasn't combed and she was in her jammies, but it didn't matter to him. For once. The two were smiling and laughing and blushing. That's all that mattered. That's all that mattered.

The two talked for the next three years daily at 5:30 on his coast and 8:30 on her coast. Every time they talked they fell harder and harder for each other.  She would listen to his daily ravings as if they were the most interesting stories. He would always tell her funny happenings when she was having a bad day. And during this entire time, he never turned on his webcam. Lena didn't mind. In fact, she was constantly sketching, her imagination wildly trying to put a face on the voice she was falling for. He always felt guilty about it but he let it happen. Here's why, straight from his mouth.”

Frisk glanced at his papers again. You imagined the loving look in Mettaton’s eye when he originally said this.

“Because every morning, when I got that good morning text, I would have the goofiest grin on my face. Whenever I passed by a pretty scene, I would think that Lena would enjoy sketching this. Whenever I passed by a clothing shop, I would get flustered, imagining her in the clothing on the mannequins. And every evening, I would go to bed, squealing like a little girl, consumed in my thoughts about how cute her giggle was that day.

Because I was in love. Because I was afraid of change.”

The audience cooed at the quote. You remembered Frisk and you did the same when the robot said it originally.

“A year and a half ago they met in person for the first time. One night, Lena burst into tears during their chat. Her apartment was broken into and her cell phone along with a couple of other small electronics were stolen. When he saw how terrified his girlfriend was, something tore in Mettaton’s chest. He felt he couldn't watch over her due to the distance between them, a common problem with long-distance relationships. Then he had an epiphany. He was going to start shooting for a film and guess where it'd be shot: New York City. So he went a couple of weeks ahead to see his girlfriend.”

Frisk left out the part Mettaton only got there by getting an airplane ride from a man who owed him money. It's illegal for Monsters to take flights of any sort so you were sure the human didn't want to eat him out. You remember asking why the man owed him money and it was because he lost a bet with the bot. The man bet Mettaton would be a one-hit wonder. The man was proven dead wrong.

“So the two met up the night of his arrival in the city. As he got ready for their evening together, Mettaton finally questioned things he should have been questioning from the longest. What if Lena wasn't okay with being catfished for three years? What if Lena hated Monsters? His mind was a mess that entire afternoon. Meanwhile, the human in question was prancing around her house, dancing like Cinderella did the night before the ball. She’d finally get to see the man she loved. She’d finally see what he looked like. Shoot, I would've been excited too.

Now, New York City has a large ghost population. After a certain time of night, restaurants start offering ghost food and clubs start playing Monster music. I still don't understand why they all congregated there but it happened. Plus, not many New Yorkers care. It’s just another anomaly in the craziness of the city. Mettaton used the late night shifts to his advantage. They'd be able to meet clandestinely, no risk of the paparazzi finding them.

They met at midnight at a restaurant on 6th Avenue. For the full time of the reservation, Lena never showed. Now, now, Mettaton soon figured out he wasn't getting stood up. Remember, Lena was expecting a human to be sitting at the table. She just didn't see who she was looking for. So, he got up, and as he expected, she was in the waiting area, almost in tears. Lena thought she got stood up and had no way of contacting him. No phone, remember?

He didn't know what to do. So he, and I quote, hid behind the podium in there and called his nervous, nerdy creator for dating tips.”

Frisk sighed hard, the audience in hysterics.

“Surprisingly enough, Dr. Alphys gave him pretty outstanding advice. She told him to stop being a drama queen and just talk to her. The Mettaton she knew would go for it, dazzling and glittering no matter the outcome. Alphys’s wife told him, besides, if it doesn't work out, he could always suplex her.”

The audience laughed again. You did to. Just imagining it was hilarious enough.

“He listened to Alphys’s advice. He walked right up and crouched before her, asking if she knew who he was. Lena answered that he was Mettaton and Mettaton repeated the question. Of course, she was confused. Now, here comes the cutest thing. Mettaton’s writing a song for her and guess what: he sang for her, right in the middle of the restaurant. Send me to the dentist because that gave me cavities.

Of course then, Lena put two and two together then and she started laughing and crying. Of course, Mettaton was anxious. No guy wants his girlfriend to cry. It’s practically a sin. She explained why she was reacting the way she was. That morning, a thought popped her in her head: the guy she was dating sounded a lot like Mettaton. She dismissed the thought, however, thinking he was just obsessed with the robot like everyone else. The two laughed and hugged for the first time and they claim it was just perfection.

As they held hands for the first time, they both realized they found ‘the one’. And they haven't let go yet.”

Applause filled the room. Frisk waited patiently for it to end.

“Sweet story, right? Makes me sick every time I think about it - only ‘cause it’s cute.

Now, everything has been pretty swell for them until recently. Mettaton admits the proposal was an accident. He was thinking of moving back to New York to be closer to his family and friends and he wanted Lena to move in with him when he did. That's all he wanted to ask her. He had one thing he wanted her to do for him however and that was to allow him to touch her Soul.”

Frisk explained what Soul Touching was.

“Now, as I mentioned, Soul Touching is a very intimate, emotional experience. In the heat of the moment, you may say things you may have not been ready to say, maybe things you've never thought of up until that point. And, Mettaton accidentally said ‘marry me’. He tried to cover it up but Lena’s ears are just as sharp as her eyes.

And she said yes. She said yes.

At first, Mettaton kept on trying to cover it up yet as he attempted to act like that never happened, he started to like the idea. In fact, after an hour of freaking out, he ended up liking the idea a lot. Marriage would finally end his lifelong worrying about loneliness. No more broken vases, too. Plus, no matter how much he refused to admit it then, he loves her from the bottom of his heart. So they packed their things a couple of days ago and went to Newer Home to do their engagement run.

Now, we’ve had many humans visit the Mount. I’ve seen plenty that were way more nervous than Lena was. That doesn’t mean she wasn’t. She really thought no one would like her since she's human. Honestly, no one cares. In fact, the Monsters love her. She proved to be one of the kindest people we’ve ever had visit. Plus, she proved multiple times she genuinely loves Mettaton. Everyone knows he’ll be happy with her. That's all that matters to us.

The Monsters and I are very excited for their wedding. I can't wait to bust out that tux again. Also, it's not an MTT-brand event without great music and enough liquor to fuel an army and I’ll be legal then.”

The audience and you laughed.

The smile wiped off of the ambassador’s face.

“Things turned for the worst when they went to New York."

Frisk sighed hard, the silliness from before coming out of his body like the air he exhaled, leaving him hollow inside.

"They went to Lena’s family first. Her mother and uncles wouldn't let Mettaton enter the home so he had to stand out in the cold while all of this discussion was happening. Due to the nature of Lena’s tribe and their desire to keep their culture and practices away from the media, I won’t be discussing what happened on her side of the door. Luckily, Mettaton didn’t hear too much either so only she knows exactly what happened. As he stood out there, a bouquet which was meant for the woman that slammed the door in his face in hand, there were random intervals of people shouting, never Lena until the very end. Lena had shouted that Mettaton wasn’t a monster. Of course, everyone behind the door went off. That's who he is. Mettaton’s a Monster. She then said, and this is something he claims he’ll always remember, ‘you know what I mean’. You know… what I mean…

Twenty minutes later, Lena came out, her face completely devoid of emotion. She announced she was disowned by her family and tribe and she could never see them again.”

You glanced all around the crowd. The students were stunned, one covering her mouth in shock. You were that last one when you initially heard it.

“Then they went to visit her best friend and her family. She wasn’t there, at work or something. Her family also disowned her. They're very conservative. But before the two could get kicked out, her best friend came home and defended them. Lena’s best friend was the first human who accepted them and one of the few who did.

They went to meet a couple of Lena’s friends after. Their opinions were all over the place. Some were fine with it, gave their congratulations. Some were fine with it then but then made a complete 180 overnight. Some were angry right from the get-go. The thing that made Lena upset was one of the people there was  a person she based a character off of. Lena worked briefly on a cartoon called Earth’s Universe. It's good stuff; go watch it. There's a character named Bonnie who she was asked to design. She ended up basing the design off of her friend. That friend told her to never speak to her again.

All in all, they didn't get a good response. The two tried to make the best of it. They got an engagement ring. At Lena’s place, they watched movies and ate ice cream. And at midnight, together, they posted the picture we’ve seen everywhere.

The next day came and that's when everything went downhill. On the way back, Lena received a call from her boss, saying she was fired. Her publisher didn't want a, excuse my language, Prim lover in their staff. With her termination, she lost her nomination for the award on her book as well. Then she received a call from her landlord. He kicked her out of her apartment and he won't let her back in to get her things. There's no laws protecting those who are dating Monsters. It's perfectly legal. For now. Plus, tens of thousands of hate email in both of their inboxes per an hour - an hour.”

The audience was completely silent, all eyes focused on Frisk. Everyone was horrified. You still were.

“Don't think for a second they haven't taken any of this seriously. Lena lost everything within a matter of hours and Mettaton blamed himself for it. They both took everything very hard. Lena barely sleeps at night, trying to hold back tears, and Mettaton can do practically nothing to comfort her. He actually wanted to end the engagement, y’know, to keep her out of crisis. Luckily, Lena convinced him otherwise.

Besides, Mettaton - I know you're watching - please know that none of this is your fault. It's neither of your faults. Her boss didn't need to fire her. Her landlord didn't need to evict her. They did it because they wanted to. They did it because their ignorance clouded their rationality. You just want to spend the rest of your life with the one you love happily and you wanted to spread that joy to people. There's no fault in wanting that. You deserve to be happy. Everyone does.”

Frisk had a look filled with determination on his face.

“They're going to make it, I'm positive of that. What they have right there is love, hope, and compassion. It's unbreakable, immalleable. It's their sword and shield during the worst of battles. There isn't much that will break them apart now. They were able to get through such a hard blow. I'm sure they will be get through plenty more. Strike me down with lightning if I'm proven wrong.

And that's the point of all of this. As long as there's love, hope, and compassion, there's a chance for everyone. As long as the stars shine in the night sky, the two will be together. That's why Mettaton calls her Starlight, y’know. It’s the first thing he saw when he first saw the Surface - the stars. She’ll always be there, like those stars that greeted him.”

With that, Frisk opened the floor to questions. As long as the stars shine, huh? You looked out into the window behind you. Yes, the stars were out. It was as if they shining brighter than usual.

Absentmindedly, on your notepad, you wrote, “YOU’LL MAKE IT, MTT + LENA” in big letters.


The two of you were in Frisk’s hotel room, eating that Thai food at the small table. The television was playing the news in English in the background, the newscasters discussing the conference. You took a sip of the wine in your glass. Mmm! It was fantastic with your curry. You would have to make sure you thank the robot for the liquor.

“So, your first conference is over.” Frisk put a bit of his pad Thai in his mouth. He hummed affectionately. Guess his food was just as good as yours was.

“Yes, finally.” You put a spoonful in your mouth.

“You did well. Kept your composure too when people asked who you were.”

“Yeah… Do you think I'm gonna get hate mail for it?”

“Probably. Watch out. If you get one, let me know. I'll have Dr. Alphys put one of her email filters on your inboxes.”

“Really now.”

“They're fantastic. I've been getting hate mail since I first started. You'd think they'd cut me slack because I was ten. You're wrong. The filters deleted 99.9% of them without me even getting a notification I received them.”

“I see. Alright.” You looked out the window. Those stars were still twinkling as bright as before. “Hey, Frisk.” Frisk let out a noise of recognition. “Did… Did we do good?”

“Who knows.” You looked at him funny. “Humanity will interpret the information in any way they please. For example, the newscasters on the TV are supportive of humans and Monster relationships.”

You listened in. The two broadcasters were happily discussing the information Frisk presented an hour or so ago. They wished good tidings to the Monsters.

“Now check your FaceSpace or Chirper.”

You unlocked your phone and opened the FaceSpace application. You went to the hot topics of the evening, one of them being the conference. You read through the statuses that had words associated with the topic. The first ten statuses you read were very much against Monsterkind. Someone used the p-word too. You felt compelled to block the stranger on the site.

“As I said before, I'm a search engine. People will interpret what I present to them in all kinds of ways. There's not much we can do but hope for the best.”

You looked out the window again, taking another sip of wine. “You never answered my question. Did we do good?”

“... Yes. Yes we did.” Frisk had a hopeful look on his face.

“Then that's all that matters, right?”

Frisk beamed bright as the moon at you. “Yes.”

You scrolled down a bit more and saw a status that made you smirk. “Also, Susan from Idaho says you're super cute.”

Frisk practically leapt out of his chair. “Really? Is she hot?”

You fell out your chair, roaring. He joined you on the floor, laughing just as hard. You both turned on your sides to face each other, big smiles on your faces. You held out your fist. Knowing what you meant by the gesture, he held out his. The two of you fist-bumped, you letting out a sound effect of an explosion after you disconnected.

Frisk fell out again. “What was that?”

“What, you don't do the booosh after fist bumping?”

“No.”

“You're lame.”

Frisk feigned shock, gasping like a princess would. “How could you? I thought I was the coolest person ever.”

“You're wearing a sweater your dad knitted which, by the way, has an awful pun on it. That's dorky as hell.”

“But it's comfy.”

“... That's true. That does look mighty cozy.” You suddenly felt the world spin. The tiredness and the wine was getting to you.

“Oh. My. God. Please tell me you're not drunk after having half a glass of wine.” A mischievous grin cracked on his lips.

“I'm not.”

“Oh my god.”

“Back off.”

“You're a lightweight.”

“Shut up.”

“That's adorable.”

You turned over away from him. “I'm gonna sleep right here. Goodnight.”

“No, you're not. Go to your room.”

“No.”

“It's next door. There's no reason to sleep in here.”

“No.”

“Are you so drunk you can't get up without tipping over?”

“... Maybe.”

Weakkkkkk!"

“Back off!”

As the two of you lightheartedly bickered and bantered, you realized then that you really enjoyed working with Frisk and the Monsters. You realized that you wouldn't want to work anywhere else. Your job as his assistant, as a person who clung to hope, was your dream job.

Now to figure out how you were going to get rid of that hangover tomorrow morning.

Chapter Text

It was two minutes to ten on the well-anticipated seventh of December. You just finished putting on your Halloween costume, excitement adding jitters to your every movement. You thanked a higher being the package came in time. You also thanked your mother for insisting on getting overnight shipping.

After gelling your hair a bit more, you looked into the mirror. You were dressed as Pearl from Earth’s Universe. Your little brother loved the cartoon, so much that he forced your entire family to dress up as all the characters of it for Halloween. It was a grand spectacle. The bathroom walls were covered in so many different colors of body paint that the tiles turned black. Your Gigi’s sewing skills came in handy that month as everyone scrambled to make the costumes. Plus the amount of hair gel used and spandex pulled up - true insanity happened that night. The unbreakable grin on your brother’s face that evening was well worth the time and pain you sacrificed to get everything ready.

The reason why Halloween was happening all over again was because today was the day of the Dust Festival - the Monsters' Day of the Dead. From sunrise to sunset, Monsters of all ages donned costumes and conducted in mischief and fun. It’s a favorite holiday amongst many of the student body. Dressing up and eating candy was the best thing in the world to them. You preferred Christmas over Halloween but it was a very close second place. You decided to reuse your Pearl costume for the festival. You were supposed to dress up as someone or something that made you happy and, though you particularly dislike the character, the good memories that came with donning the costume filled you with joy.

You walked downstairs into the living room and picked up the character’s staff. You twirled it gently like a baton, looking at your handiwork. It wasn’t the best. In fact, it was something akin to the work of a five-year-old. You followed tutorials professionals made online and you still managed to ruin it six times before making the barely functional lucky number seven in your hands.

The front door was knocked on and you immediately got up to answer it. There on the other side was Frisk in his costume. It consisted of a long royal purple tunic with the Delta Rune embroidered on a periwinkle patch on his chest and long white undergarments. On his head was a headband with small nubs for horns and white felt for goat-like ears.

“Frisk, are you dressed as the Queen?”

“Bingo. I switch between dressing as Mom and Dad every year.”

You weren't going to admit you found it adorable. “She’ll honestly appreciate it. You look great.”

“Thank you.” He gave you a once-over. “Are you Pearl from Earth’s Universe?”

“Yes. I am Pearl, the most anal and salty character in history.”

Frisk snorted. “Why them? I can clearly see you don't like Pearl.”

You explained the recollection you had earlier regarding your brother’s love for the show. “He decided I had to be Pearl, that they were literally me in cartoon form. It was the only costume I had on hand, besides a crappy cat costume from college.” You didn’t want to tell him the part about seeing your brother smiling and such. Frisk would never let you hear the end of it.

“Ah, I see… You look nice, though. The bitterness and organization maniac part of the character really describes you.” You glared at him and Frisk flat out laughed. “C’mon, let’s eat breakfast then head out.”

“Alright.”

Frisk and you left your home and went into his kitchen, Flowey in his pot on the table. The flower had a purple and blue-striped ribbon tied loosely on his stem and some wrapped around his pot like a gift would be.

“You're dressed up too, Flowey?”

“Yes. And before you ask, I hate every second of it.”

Frisk put a woven basket small enough to put in Flowey’s pot on the table. It was filled to the brim with rainbow-colored candies. “Flowey likes to pass out Monster Candy to the children.”

“It gives me a chance to ask the idiots for their Souls. One of these days, one of ‘em’s gonna say yes.”

“Not on my watch, of course. We pass it out together.” Frisk motioned to the table. “Go on ahead and start eating. I have to get some things from upstairs.”

Frisk left the kitchen and you sat down, grabbing a plate. As you put the pancakes on the plate and covered them in syrup, you realized something. “Hey, Flowey.”

The flower practically spat at you, “What?”

“Are you dressed up as someone?”

“Yes, and I hate it even more than the fact I’m wearing these girly ribbons.”

Your eyebrows furrowed. You were too curious now. “Who?”

“... Frisk.”

You nearly dropped the syrup bottle. “You’re dressed up as Frisk? That’s…” A grin crept onto your lips. “That’s adorable.”

Flowey looked obviously disgusted. “I don’t want to be cute! I want to be feared! I can’t be feared looking like this.”

You put the bottle back to its original place in the center of the table. “Wouldn't you be more approachable by the children? They'd think you were playing along and such.”

Flowey was taken aback by your comment. He blinked twice before his face twisted into that sinister grin which sent shivers down your spine. “I never thought of it like that.” He cackled to himself, rubbing his leaves together like how a villain rubbing his hands while thinking of something devious would. “I'm gonna get me a Soul tonight.”

You cut a piece of pancake and put it in your mouth. Delicious as always, a pumpkin spice flavor to them today as well. “Whatever you say.”

Frisk came back with a nicely decorated basket filled with autumn-colored candies of all kinds. You secretly wanted to take some but you refused your urges. The candy was for others, not for you.

Frisk sat down and began loading up his plate with pancakes. “You can take one, y’know. I usually put a ton in there, anyway.”

You immediately grabbed an orange one and popped it in your mouth. It tasted a bit like Toriel’s pie. You were in bliss, ignoring the human's laughter towards your actions. The cinnamon was just perfect… In fact, there was cinnamon in the pancakes too. The basket wafted the smell of the spice. There was cinnamon everywhere. You inquired about your discovery, wondering if its presence was significant to the holiday.

“Ah, you noticed.” Frisk cut a piece and gave it to Flowey, which the flower chomped greedily. “Anything that reminds one of fall is used in the food during the festival. I'll explain why when I get the chance.” Frisk popped a piece in his mouth. “It's better to show it than tell it.”

“I'll take your word for it.” You took another bite and ate it. “By the way, I feel like a basic Starbucks girl right now. All I need is the Han Solo outfit and I'm good to go.”

Frisk nearly choked on the piece in his mouth. “Oh my god.”

"You know I'm right. The pumpkin spice and all.”

“You are and I love it.”

The two of you laughed. Flowey gave Frisk a dirty look and the human popped another piece into his mouth. As the flower munched on it, you swore you heard him say ‘thank you’. You dismissed it, however. Flowey would never be thankful for anything.


 Frisk, Flowey, and you stood in front of the Academy’s main doors. The weather was warm for the coolness of December so you were able to go out in only a light jacket. One basket was held by Frisk while a much smaller one was in front of Flowey. You had a random basket from the kitchen filled with assorted Halloween-sized chocolate for the passerby to take.

“So how long do we have to stand here?”

“Until you pass out as many candies as your age, so that's twenty for me and twenty-four for you.”

“And how long will that take?”

“Probably an hour. Many students stop by up here because they know I give out a crap load of candy. It only takes a while because of the long walk up here.”

“I see… Where's the king and queen by the way?”

“Those who were ever married can’t participate in this part. We’ll run into them in town eventually. Mom sells her pies in the square and Dad tells stories.”

“Alright.”

The first group came - Monster Kid and Dina. MK was dressed up as a superhero of sorts while Dina was dressed as a princess. The two looked carefree as always.

Frisk and you repeated what he told you to repeat when visitors came today, “Welcome those brimming with youth. We offer ye wisdom and experience.”

“Thank you, wise folk… Oh crud, I forgot the rest.”

Dina gave her brother a dull look. “C’mon, MK, you had one job.”

Frisk helped the two, “You're supposed to say ‘Thanks be to ye wise folk. May your wisdom come unto us like the dust flowing in the wind.’”

MK and Dina let out a noise of recognition. “Okay.”

“Here you go, Dina.”

Dina grabbed a candy from both of your baskets and put them in hers. She bent down to Flowey.

“Howdy, Dina! Would you like to exchange your Soul for a piece of candy?”

“No thank you, Flowey.” She took a piece and put it in her basket. “Bro, what candy do you want?”

“Uh… The pumpkin flavor and the Reese’s Pieces. Get me the first one you see from Flowey’s.” You took one out from yours and Frisk took an orange candy from his basket. You both put the candies into the basket balanced on MK’s head. “And no, Flowey, no Soul from me today.”

“Then I'll ask ya tomorrow, twerp.”

Dina took a candy from Flowey’s basket and tossed it into her brother’s basket.

“Heya, Frisk.” MK had a curious look on his face.“First off, congrats on the great conference. I watched it when I go home and stuff… Uh, yeah. Second, are ya doing the effects for tonight?”

“As always.”

Monster Kid smiled wider. “Rad. We’ll see ya guys later then. C’mon, Dina, let's go get some web cake.”

As the two walked away, Dina seemed apprehensive. “O-Okay, but you gotta order it. You know about me and spiders.”

The two left with a pep in their step. You enjoyed seeing the siblings interact. They reminded you of you and your little brother. After forty minutes, Frisk and Flowey were able to pass out all the candy required. You had four more to go.

“Welp, that's it for me. Flowey, are you sure you don't want to hide in my costume? You haven't been going out much as of late.”

“I know, I know, I just… haven't been feeling the greatest.” Flowey did certainly look different. His petals seemed almost paler than usual. Frisk frowned. “Oh… You'll be better soon.” “I know. I know.” Flowey looked honestly dismayed. You were concerned for the flower. Though he was evil, he didn’t deserve to be ill. You quietly hoped he’d be back to his lively (if you can it that) self soon.

Frisk picked him up by the pot, excusing themselves for the moment. You were then left with Frisk’s basket in front of the school. As you waited and waited, no one came by so, at one point, you checked your phone.

Ricky had texted you, asking you to take a selfie of you in your costume. You obliged him. When you went to check the photo, you dropped your phone in an instant, fear flushing over your body. What… What was that, you thought. No, no, I'm just imagining things. You picked up your fallen phone and looked at the picture again. Your eyes weren't deceiving you. There was something behind you in the photograph - a spirit... a ghost.

“Umm… Excuse me…”

You shrieked, dropping your basket on the concrete and falling down.

“Oh- oh no, are you okay? Did… Did I scare you?” You finally got a look at the presence behind you, calming down instantly when you realize what it was. They were just a ghost Monster that wanted candy. This was your first time seeing an incorporeal ghost. The Monster looked like the stereotypical ghost - as if there was a white sheet over their body. Plus they had these big sad eyes that screamed purity. You weren’t afraid of them for long.

“Is it my fault you fell?… I’m really sorry… It's… because of me.”

“No, no, it's alright.” You got off the ground and picked up your basket. “You startled me, that's all. I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable.”

“Oh… Uh… No, you didn't… Were you the human that was with Frisk at his conference the other day?”

You introduced yourself to the ghost politely. They seemed to be a nervous, sad kind of Monster. You smiled warmly at them, hoping to calm them. “Who are you?”

“Oh… Me…? I'm Napstablook…”

You recognized the name from when Mettaton talked about his composer cousin in his interview. “Oh, are you Mettaton’s cousin?”

Napstablook looked pleasantly surprised. “Y-Yeah… How you do know?...”

“He mentioned you in his interview. You make music, right?”

“Yeah… It's not very good or anything but I'm building an audience… Sorta.”

“Is there any way I can get access to your music?” You honestly did want to hear the ghost’s creations.

“Oh… Uh… You can listen to it on my website... Here's my card.” Napstablook pressed at their hip using their tiny nubby appendage and took out a business card from their body. They gave it to you by levitating it right into your hands. The card was bitter cold, like taking something out of the refrigerator. Still, it was a sleek, professional looking card. You put in your back pocket.

“Uh, do you want some candy? Frisk has a lot left over and I'm sure you're older than me so you can't take from mine.”

“Sorry… I can't eat it… It’ll phase right through me…”

You then remembered that ghosts can't eat regular food due to the composition of their bodies. They can only eat food that's made specifically for them - ghost food. Luckily, ghosts don't necessarily have to eat so many are able to live in areas where the food’s unavailable. “Oh, crud, I forgot about that. My apologies.”

“It's… fine… You know… You're as nice as they say you are… Just as nice as Frisk…” Napstablook gave you a sheepish smile.

“May I ask why does everyone say I'm ‘just as nice as Frisk’?”

“Not everyone saw a human before Frisk came into the Underground… so we use him… as a pinnacle of sorts… to compare to other humans… I hope you don't think it's a… bad thing…” They looked as if they were going to cry.

You waved your free hand, panicking. “No, no, I'm alright with that. He's a great guy. I was just curious.”

“Oh… That's good then…” The tears in their eyes went away. “I'm going to go… Tell Frisk I said hey…”

“Of course. See ya later, Napstablook.”

Napstablook then floated away down the hill, heading back into town. You found the ghost to be a very sweet person. You hoped the best for them.

Frisk came back once the ghost was out of sight. “I'm back. Did you give out all of that candy?”

“No. Not yet. Napstablook stopped by and said hi. They also gave me their card.”

“Oh, that's wonderful. I'm glad to see they’re getting more confident. You know, they used to cry when people asked for it.”

“Really now.” You weren’t surprised.

“It's a running joke that Napstablook’s the sad ghost and Mettaton’s the happy ghost. I hope there’s a day when the two are both happy ghosts. I'm sure it'll be soon. Being on the Surface is really helping Napstablook.”

Another ten minutes passed and you gave out the remainder of your required candy. The two of you then went down into town, leaving the baskets in front of the Academy with a note that said ‘In town. Take as many as you like!’.

The town was decorated with fall-themed decorations all around. In the windows of homes and shops were stickers of leaves, pumpkins, the like. Hanging up in the streets were orange banners with the Delta Rune emblazoned in burgundy. Along the main street, booths were stocked with various leaf-shaped merchandise. The whole town seemed to have an autumnal glow to it. The one thing you noticed the most was that the street was covered with the fallen leaves from earlier in the season, crunching under your feet. It snowed only a few days ago. You were curious as to why they were there so you asked your friend about it.

“Oh, so you noticed. You see, fallen leaves are the main symbol of the Festival of Dust.”

"Why is that?"

Frisk bent down to pick a leaf up. “You know that Monsters, when they die, they ‘fall down’ then turn into dust, right?” He got back up with a bright orange maple leaf. You nodded. “Well, poets compare that to the way the leaves turn and fall during autumn. The leaves turn, representing aging. Then they fall down, representing the end of life. Then…” Frisk crumbled up the leaf until it was almost dust. “The leaves crumble up and flow away in the wind, symbolizing the completion of death.” Frisk blew the dust into the air, the wind sweeping it away.

“That… That’s beautiful.” It was something that you would find in a novel. You needed to let your father see this. The nature and literature lover in him would love it. “Hey, uh, can I take pictures?”

“Of course, just not the part at night. You’ll understand when you see it.”

“Alright.” You took out your phone camera and began taking pictures of everything you could. “By the way, Frisk, can I take a picture with you? My mom still can’t believe I work for you.”

“Of course. You know about me and selfies.” You love taking them.

The two of you came close. You were about to click the button but then you noticed someone came in behind you.

You turned and beckoned the Monster closer. “MK, don’t be a stranger. Get in here.”

“Aw man, I wanted to photobomb.” The dinosaur leaned in next to Frisk.

You took the photo and, once again, the selfie came out perfect.

The human was pleasantly surprised. “I gotta keep taking selfies with you. You highlight my best features.”

You put your hand on your hip and glared daggers at Frisk. MK laughed his head off.

“Roary, where are you? Dina left to go with her friends so you gotta get back to the booth.”

When MK heard the voice call, he was instantly nervous. “Oh, crud, that’s my mom. I’ll catch ya later.” He left immediately. A little bit down the road, he slid on a leaf and fell flat on his face, yet he picked himself right up, just like his sister does. It must run in the family.

“His… MK’s name is Roary?”

“Yeah. He has an actual name.” Frisk did a fake roar and you gave him a dull look, earning a chuckle from him.

“Why does everyone call him Monster Kid then?”

“Oh, during my first television appearance, he somehow got on stage. Someone asked who he was and I didn’t know his name at the time, so I said he was just a ‘Monster kid’. Everyone’s called him that since.”

You shrugged. You’re sure you’re going to hear even weirder stories. “Alright.”

Nearby where Grillby’s was, your eyes caught onto a berry-colored table that had pastries which reminded you of the funnel cake from Coney Island. You walked over to the booth. The table was manned by… spiders. Actual spiders. You were going to question that later. For now, your stomach desired the cakes. On the table was a sign that had “Spider Bake Sale - Put money into web” written in lovely calligraphy. You took out a dollar out from your wallet and placed it gently in one of the spiderwebs that were hanging from the trees behind the table. A black spider came down and took the money, leaving a little note in its place. You took the note and read it. “Thank you!” You found it sweet.

You took the cake and went back to Frisk.

“Oh, you got web cake? Awesome.” Frisk took a large piece and threw it in his mouth before you could swat his hand away. He moaned in delight, rolling his eyes back. “Just as good as always. Muffet’s pastries are always amazing.”

You glared daggers at him, earning a smirk from him.

The web cake was funnel cake but with a purple-ish dough. You assumed it was red velvet dyed purple. You put a piece in your mouth. It definitely wasn’t red velvet. It was the regular dough you’ve always had but it had a certain… crunchiness to it. It was the best funnel cake you ever had even with the crunch.

You turned to the table, wanting to buy a donut when you saw another sign: “Muffet’s Pastries - Made of Real Spiders by Real Spiders”. Your smile fell. Your eyes darted between the food in your hand and the sign. Did you just eat something made of spiders? Were those spiders technically cannibals, selling their own kind as food? You put another piece in your mouth and chewed slowly, eyes staring hard at the sign. You finished it too, all while telling yourself it wasn’t made of spiders. You kept on telling yourself that.

The two of you walked into the center of the festivities - town square. Before the statues of the two children you still didn’t know the identities of was a large stage. A table with several microphones was in the center of it.

“Oh yeah, Mettaton’s hosting his radio show live today.”

“Really now.”

“Yeah. The radio show should be starting pretty soon.”

As Frisk mentioned that, your eyes caught onto the tall robot from the other side of the square. “Speak of the devil, there he is.”

Frisk called for him and he and his group walked over. The robot was decked out in a frilly red dress, his synthetic hair curled and his makeup overly dramatic. Lena was with him, dressed as a cowgirl, chaps and all. Napstablook was with them, floating by their cousin’s side.

“Good afternoon, beauties.” Mettaton sounded just like a radio show host, which he’d be doing soon. He posed dramatically.

“Good afternoon, Tonton.” Frisk posed dramatically.

The two of you exchanged greetings with the group.

“Hey, Napstablook. How have you been? I’ve been listening to your music.”

The ghost’s eyes lit up when Frisk mentioned that last bit. “Really?... Thank you… I’ve been well…”

“How’s New York treating you?”

“...Good… My roommates are really nice… My agent too…”

“That’s great. You mentioned in your interview they were human. I’m glad you’re doing so well.”

“Thank you again... Oh… I forgot to put my costume on… Give me a second…” Napstablook began to cry. You were about to ask what was wrong on instinct until you noticed the tears formed into tear-shaped bullets. It depressed you their magic came from their tears. The bullets flew up and gathered together to form shapes - a mustache, angry brows, a monocle, and quite the dapper top hat. “Today… I’m Captorblook.”

Frisk and you burst out laughing. That was a good one. You told the ghost your thoughts, which they nervously appreciated.

You then knew what the group’s theme was. “Okay, so you’re the kidnapper, Lena’s the hero, and Mettaton’s the damsel in distress?”

The three had stars in their eyes.

“Yes. You’re the first one to get it right on the first guess today. You get a gold star for that, darling.”

You were flattered by the compliment. “Thanks.”

Mettaton gave you a once-over. “Are you Pearl from Earth’s Universe, sweetheart?”

“Unfortunately yes.”

The robot chuckled. “It suits you. You have that whole strict thing going on, y’know.” You gave the bot a dull look, earning a laugh like a rich woman from him.

“Well, I think you did a great job. The creator would be very flattered you dressed up as one of her characters.” Lena smiled brightly at you.

“Heh, thanks.”

Lena turned to Frisk. “And are you dressed as the queen, Frisk?”

“Yes.” Frisk explained the theme of his costume to the human.

“I see. You look great too. I really like how you made the costume. Is this embroidery?” Lena pointed at the Delta Rune on his tunic.

“Yeah. I did it myself.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. Tonton actually taught me how to sew.”

Mettaton put his hands on his hips, proud of his teachings. “I certainly did. I used to make all of my costumes, starlight, not just this one.”

Lena was genuinely impressed. “Wow, that’s incredible. No wonder you were able to make this so well.”

“Of course, love. I must look my best. I’ll do whatever I have to so I can shine.”

The human could only shake her head. Mettaton snickered, giving her a cocky look.

A Monster came up to the robot and told him they were about to do a sound check.

“With that, I must take my leave. I hope you'll tune in, Frisky and his little assistant. I'll see you later, Blooky, Lee-Lee.” The entertainer blew a kiss to his cousin and fiancee, causing the two to blush. The robot snorted at their responses before leaving to do whatever he had to do.

“Oh… Uh… I'm gonna get some cotton candy… I’ll be back…”

“Oh, isn’t the Nice Cream man’s cart over there? Let's go together.”

Napstablook’s eyes lit up, a small smile forming on his features. “Oh… Okay… I'd like that…”

The human young man and the ghost left to wherever the booths they wanted to go to was. Now it was just you and your childhood friend. The two of you stood next to each other in comfortable silence.

“I ran into the queen earlier.”

You turned to her. She was looking at her fiancé, who was talking with someone with a clipboard. Burgerpants, dressed up as Elvis Presley, walked up behind him and tapped him on his chassis. The robot turned around and greeted him how he did everyone, as if not seeing a friend in years. The cat said something you couldn’t hear, pointing over his shoulder, and the two walked away together.

“A teacher covered for her so she could watch the conference live with us at Sans and Papyrus’s house. After Frisk said what happened with us after the engagement run, she offered me a job here on the mount.”

A gentle breeze stirred the leaves, picking them up and sending them away. You didn't have words to say.

“The arts-and-crafts teacher at the Academy's going to be on maternity leave soon. Plus Toriel was hoping to find someone to be a special education teacher. I'm sure Frisk informed you about the human children that are joining the student body.”

He certainly did. The king and queen were asked by the government to allow human children at the Academy since it’s an accredited school. They decided to create a “trial” student exchange program where twenty humans, one or two per a grade, would attend school at the Academy after winter break. If things worked out, the program would continue on into next year’s school term.

“Well, there's a blind second grader amongst them. There's already a mute in the same grade.”

“You mean Bluejoy.” You found out about her aphonia the other day. That was the reason she trucked that board around.

“Yes. I was asked to help them develop better communication skills and confidence. They're both very shy and have trouble making friends. I was asked to help the two along with temporarily filling Mrs. Baatholomew’s position.” Lena turned to you, looking at her feet for a moment. “I'd be staying with you in the guesthouse. I hope you don't mind.”

“No, Lena, I… I'm actually overjoyed for you.” You were telling the truth. The human finally had a chance to restart after all of the madness she and her fiance went through. Frisk was right. There was still hope.

Lena gave you a smile as gorgeous as the sun. “Thank you so much.”

“It's no problem. I actually was getting a bit lonely in that big house. I would like a roommate.”

“Wonderful. I'm happy you're fine with this.”

“By the way, did you see the thing your grandmother told you?”

“Oh, yes, I watched the broadcast. I…” Lena looked at her feet for the briefest of moments. “I don't think I can ever repay her for her kindness. I didn't think she'd want to see me so we didn't see her on the engagement run. I had a long talk with her yesterday. She was so happy to hear from me. I was too. We invited her to the wedding, of course. I'll be visiting her beforehand.”

You smiled big at her. Your heart warmed seeing how happy your friend was.

“Also, may I ask, was that your mother that was yelling at the press?”

“... Yes.”

Lena giggled. “I'm glad she hasn't changed.”

“Me too.”

The various workers on the stage were giving thumbs up to each other by the time Frisk and Napstablook returned. In his hands were a popsicle and cotton candy and in his mouth was another popsicle. Frisk handed you the popsicle, which you gratefully took, and handed Lena the cotton candy. You took a small bite out of it and swished it along your tongue. You were surprised by the unusual flavor. “Salted caramel?”

Frisk popped the one out of his mouth. “Yep. It's good, right?”

“Sure is.”

“By the way, watch out for the paper.” You were confused. He handed you no paper. Yet, you heeded his advice. “Napstablook brought the cotton candy for you, by the way, Lena.”

Lena turned to the ghost, who was shyly looking away. “Really?”

“Yeah… I know you like sweet things so… I thought you'd like some cotton candy… It's one of the few regular foods ghosts can eat…”

“Oh, that's wonderful.” Lena pulled a piece and put it in her mouth. She practically had stars in her eyes. “Oh, it's cinnamon-y. I love it. Thank you very much, Blooky- oh, I shouldn't call you that.”

Napstablook shook their head. “No, no, it's fine… I liked it…”

“Okay then, I'll call you Blooky for now on.” Lena beamed at him and the ghost’s cheeks burned a cyan color. You were glad the two were getting along so well.

“Hello, hello, everymonster,” a Monster on stage said over the loudspeakers, “We’re about to begin the special broadcast of Mettaton’s Glamourous Radio Show in a moment. Come on down to the square or you'll be square.”

Monsters started heading over to where you stood in droves.

“Uh… Hey, uh… I'm not the best with crowds… Can we move towards the back?”

Lena nodded. “Of course, Blooky. I'll see you two later.”

The four of you parted, Lena leaning the cotton candy over to Napstablook, who bit a piece off.

“Hey, Frisk, I'm going to walk around some more.”

“Alright. I’ll see you later.”

The two of you went your separate ways.

You finally bit into the last piece of popsicle and--- What the? You put your fingers in your mouth and pulled a piece of paper out. Frisk was right. For some reason, you decided to open the wet paper. You were greeted with a doodle of a rabbit giving a stick figure a hug, asking you to have a super duper day. A smile crept onto your lips. You secretly wanted to keep it but it was covered in your saliva, so you tossed it out along with the stick. The memory’s what counts.

As you walked down the main street, you passed by Papyrus. He was dressed up as a knight. A group of teenaged boys, all dressed as different comic book superheroes, were rapidly talking to him. “Oh c’mon, Papyrus. You promised you’d dress up with us this year.”

“I APOLOGIZE, TEENAGERS. THE KINDERGARTNERS ASKED FOR ME TO BE THEIR KNIGHT THIS YEAR BEFORE YOU GUYS DID.” A group of little princesses, including Dina, walked up to Papyrus. “SPEAKING OF WHICH, THERE THEY ARE. WE’LL DRESS UP TOGETHER NEXT YEAR.” The skeleton walked up to the girls. “NOW, LET US GO FORTH, PRINCESSES. WE HAVE GOOD-HEARTED JAPES TO HAVE AND CRABAPPLE TEA TO SIP.”

The girls cheered as the boys groaned. The princesses and knight went on their way, earning coos and squeals of adoration from passersby. The boys then discussed a matter quickly, something about teepeeing someone’s house, and ran off in the opposite direction. You hope it wasn’t yours.

You passed by Bunnette at her table, selling leaf-shaped sweets. You just ate so much but your stomach was finding a way to eat more and more as you passed more and more tables. “Well, look who it is. It’s a certain ambassador’s assistant.” She winked at you with a smile on her luscious lips.

You chuckled. “Hey, Bunnette. Can I get a bun?”

“Of course. It’s on the house, by the way.” The rabbit could see how surprised you were. “For doing such a good job at the conference. Next time you see the lil guy, tell him to get one too.”

“Of course. Thank you as always.”

“Anytime, hun. Have a good one.”

The two of you parted ways. This time, you were smart enough to blow on the treat before eating it. The bun tasted heavenly. As you blew onto your free treat, you had an internal debate with yourself. You told yourself that this treat should be the last one, that you'd get a heart attack if you ate anymore. You also told yourself that life's too short and it'd be a heart attack caused by wonderful food.

But then you passed by Sans’s booth. For some reason, the aspect of eating and digesting pumpkin-flavored “hot animals” made you gain space in your stomach. You could hear the EMTs shouting “clear” as they electrocuted your heart back to life. You wanted it. You needed it.

You walked up the skeleton, decked out in a hot dog suit, and asked for a hotcat, meanwhile still not having finished the bun.

After paying for it, he placed one on a napkin. “you want… cats-up with that?”

You snorted at the joke. “Yes, yes I do. No, in fact, give me the whole works.”

Sans raised his eye socket as if raising a brow. “Heh, if that's what you want.”

Sans proceeded to put ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, chili, five different kinds of cheese, hot sauce, mayo, seaweed, bonito flakes, ...Temmie Flakes(?), and a single dash of pepper onto your hotdog. You didn't mean that. In fact, you were wondering where in the world he got most of the toppings from.

He was about to pass it to you but you pushed his hand away. “Use the money as a donation instead.”

Sans laughed his head off. “Oh man, y’know, there's only one person who actually ate that and liked it.”

“Who, if I may ask?”

“One of those Temmies. She said the Temmie Flakes brought out the flavor.”

"Speaking of which, what are Temmie Flakes made out of?”

Sans shrugged. “Even I dunno.”

You could only let out an “oh” at his answer. You decided to leave then, saying your goodbyes. Sans fell right back asleep, practically face-planting into the table. Same ol’ Sans.

You walked down a bit more when you heard Mettaton’s show over the radio. You stopped at a conveniently located bench and relaxed into it, listening in on the show.

The host was the first to speak at that point. “... Now, enough about my sexy self. Let's talk about tonight's performance. We’ve been hearing you and Shyren collaborated on every part of the song you two will be performing tonight.”

The next speaker's voice was the prettiest voice you've ever heard, like a singer from the forties. It was elegant and incredibly pleasant to the ears as if you could hear it all day and never tire of hearing it. “You're right on the money. Shyren’s such a talented songstress. I'm surprised that she wasn't on the scene much earlier than when she made her debut.”

The next voice, Shyren’s, was haunting yet gleeful, like the voice of a benevolent spirit. You knew of the siren and her success as an opera singer already, so you knew the voice belonged to her. “Oh goodness, Gale. You're going to make me blush.”

There was a pause then the audience laughed.

Gale continued the conversation. “Anyway, we’ve spent months working on the piece. We’re so excited to perform it for the first time live.”

Mettaton let out a cheery noise. “Darlings, can we have some deets? I'd love to know more.”

“Well, all we can say is that, since it's the tenth anniversary of when the Barrier was broken, we wrote a song based on our woes below and hopes above.”

“Beautifully put, Gale.” Shyren’s voice instantly perked up. “By the way, we gotta talk about the composition Napstablook wrote.”

“Oh yes, how could I forget about my dear cousin’s contribution? Blooky’s the musical director for the performance tonight, their first time ever having the position. I'm so proud of them.”

The audience applauded. You were sure the ghost was a sputtering, blushing mess wherever they were.

“Napstablook is such a talent too. The music they composed for tonight made all the feathers on my head stand up. I hate it that they beat themself up, saying they aren't the gift they are. They’re certainly a treasure in my eyes.”

“They surely are. I'm so excited to hear this song. I must know, will it be available for download after the performance?”

Shyren excitedly said, “Yes. It'll be available on iTunes. Every penny made will be donated to help Monsters in need.”

Mettaton gasped. “Oh my, if we were in the studio, you'd get a confetti bomb but we don't have that available. Instead, please accept my gratitude. That's an incredible, wonderful thing you're doing. I hope a lot of money is raised.”

“We all do. Monsters gotta look out for each other, y’know.”

“Absolutely. What kind hearts you all have. Every Monster is giddily awaiting for the performance tonight. Let's have another round of applause for Shyren and Gale!”

The crowd did so gladly, cheering the two off thunderously.

“Now our next guest is a certain little human who worked his little tail feather off three days ago for us. You all know who I'm talking about. Come on up, Frisk Dreemurr!”

The audience roared. You didn't know Frisk was even going to be on the show. You wondered if he didn't know either.

“Welcome to the show, Prince Frisky.”

“Thanks for having me on, Tonton.”

“This is the first time in weeks I've seen you without that little darling assistant of yours.” Your eyes popped right back open. “Where are they?”

“Eating their body weight in snacks.”

You shoved a piece of the bun in your mouth. Frisk was absolutely correct. The audience laughed at his comment.

“Well, darling, if you're listening in, please come on over to the stage. I'd love to have you on as well.”

You got off the bench then and walked even further away from the stage. You wanted to explore more. Besides, you were enjoying the few moments of solitude.


The sun was now setting, bathing the mountain in a warm glow. You would have to head back to the Academy soon for the night portion of the festival so you were making your way back. You took your time, however. The breeze was nice. Everyone was packing up and preparing to head home - all except for Toriel. Toriel, dressed as a sorceress, was still selling her famous butterscotch-cinnamon pies. Something told you to talk to her.

“Hey, Toriel.”

The queen gave you a smile only a mother could have. “Good evening, my child. How are you?”

“I’m well. I see you’re still selling."

She passed a pie to a customer and thanked them for their purchase. “Yes, indeed. Do not worry, there is a special one in the fridge for tonight.”

You sighed in relief. You were worried for a moment that you wouldn’t get a slice of that delicious pie after being tempted by cinnamon all day. Toriel giggled at your response. Toriel turned behind her and picked up another pie.

“Do you need help with the pies? I’m trying to avoid Mettaton at all costs.” You heard over the loudspeaker earlier that the robot was going to hunt you down for not coming on his show. You didn’t want to face him at the moment.

The queen laughed. “Well, an extra helping hand sounds nice right about now. Come on behind here. Here, an apron, so you will not ruin your lovely costume.”

“Thank you.” You put on the apron and went behind the table. You began passing pies to the queen and the queen passed them to her customers. It was like a conveyor belt. The two of you worked perfectly to get the line behind her to die down. At one point, there were only a few customers on the line. You picked up one and held it out for Toriel to take. “I heard about you hiring Lena.”

The nanny paused for a moment before taking the pie and passing it to her customer. She took their money and dug into her cash box to get change. “And what do you think, my child?”

“I’m glad you did. You did something really good.”

Toriel passed the change to the customer and the queen thanked them for their purchase. “It is nothing. The girl has the talent and heart for the job too.”

You turned around and grabbed another pie. “She definitely does. If I may ask, why did you hire her? You’re not the kind of person to make such a rash decision like that.”

Toriel took the pie and gave it to the customer. After collecting the change, she turned to you, resting her hands on the end of the table behind her. “That is a good question, a very good one.”

“What do you mean?”

“Is it odd that I saw a bit of myself in her?”

You were about to get another pie but you stopped to turn to the queen. “What do you mean?”

“She reminded me of myself when I was young when I first got engaged to Asgore.”

You turned back to the pies and looked at them for no reason in particular. You could only let out an ‘oh’. You knew the subject of their past marriage was a touchy one. You didn’t want to press on it if Toriel didn’t want to.

“When we were all first trapped in the Underground, immediately after the Barrier went up, Asgore asked to marry me. He thought a king with a queen would bring some stability to the Monsters. It worked, somehow. Despite the hardships we had to deal with, we were able to bring back some joy to the people. When we were exploring the caverns, we held hands. When we built homes, I cracked puns and he laughed begrudgingly. Despite it all, we loved each other. Our love for each other back then spread throughout our kind, keeping tensions low and hopes high for a while.

When I turned to Lena while on those skeletons’ couch as my son told us that she lost everything, I saw fire in her eyes. It was unyielding, never flickering once, like how my eyes were back then. I saw myself when I watched those humans trap my subjects under the mount we stand on now. I saw myself when Asgore asked for my hand. I saw determination. I saw strength.

That’s why I gave her that job. She’s strong. We need strong humans like her - humans that won't give up on anyone - on this mount. We need strong humans like you and my son on this mount.”

You saw fire in Toriel’s eyes despite her graceful stance. She wasn’t the queen of Monsterkind for nothing. Toriel could warm your heart like how a fireplace warms a cold body. She also had the potential of burning you from head to toe if she wanted.

“Is that all you wanted to know, my child?”

“... Yeah.” You noticed someone approaching. You grabbed a pie and passed it to her. “Thank you.”

Toriel giggled. She took the pie out of your hands. “What for, my child?”

“For believing in her.”

The queen’s eyebrows rose for a moment before she beamed brightly at you. “My actions were nothing of high importance. She will do well here. She will do very well. Besides…” Toriel turned and looked over her shoulder. You looked as well. There was the subject of your conversation, sitting on the grass, reading a book to a crowd of small children. The king, not in a costume, sat next to her, reading along. He roared, holding up his hands like claws, and she shrieked and flinched away, feigning fright. The children squealed and giggled at the two’s acting. “She is practically one of us now.” The queen turned to you, looking in your eyes the way a mother would. “Just like you.”

Warmth rushed through your veins, spreading throughout your body in a flash. You felt your eyes water up a tiny bit, not enough for tears but enough to gloss your eyes. You weren’t sure you’ve ever heard something so accepting your entire life. You weren’t sure you’ve ever heard something so accepting towards yourself your entire life.

“By the way, we are going to need five more pies.”

You blinked the tears away. “Huh, what for-?”

You looked over and there stood Frisk in front of the table, grinning ear to ear. You gave him a dull look. “You’re not going to eat all that pie and I’m not calling the ambulance when you get sick.”

“Oh c’mon, I’ll share.”

“I’m not going down with you.”

Frisk laughed his head off. “I’m invincible. A couple of pies won’t kill me.”

You laughed mockingly at him, earning another chuckle from him. “Well, whatever.” You grabbed a pie and passed it to his mother. “You’re going to have a problem with all this pie later.”

“My delicious problem. By the way, thanks, mom.”

“Of course, my child. How was the costume contest?”

“Undyne and Alphys won.”

“I am not surprised. Their costumes were very elaborate and detailed. I am sure I never saw Alphys look so beautiful in a gown besides the one she wore on her wedding day. Undyne looked sharp as well. Who were they supposed to be exactly?”

“Uh… I think the two main characters from an anime called Revolutionary Girl Utena or something like that.”

“Ah. That makes sense. Here you go, that will be fifty dollars.”

Frisk took out his wallet and opened it. When he looked at its contents, his face fell. He looked up, a nervous smile on his lips. “Uh, can you give me a discount because you love me?”

Toriel put her hands on her hips, narrowed eyes on her son. “Frisk Dreemurr, what did I tell you about spending all your money on snack foods?” You could feel the burn all the way from where you stood. You weren’t getting involved with that.

As Toriel began to reprimand her child, you looked over the town again, from the statues in town square all the way up to the familiar brown building of the Academy. A breeze blew through your hair, wafting the crisp air into your nostrils. A leaf whipped up and landed on the quilted cloth that covered Toriel’s table. You picked it up and twirled it around gently in your fingers. You absentmindedly crumbled it into dust. You blew the dust off and the wind carried it high into the sky.

You really loved living on Mount Ebott.

Chapter Text

Night fell and the entire mountain was devoid of the fun and laughter from earlier. It was now time for the evening portion of the Dust Festival. It was now time for the more meaningful, the more purposeful part of the celebration.

It was two minutes before six as you sat in the living area of the cabin. You were out of your costume and in your favorite casual outfit. In your hands was that messily framed picture of you and your family. In your lap was your copy of ‘Hope and Dream’. For this part of the festival, you had to wear your favorite clothing and carry items that were beloved to you. You wanted to honor your love for your family and for literature.

Four beats were knocked on the outside of the front door. You already knew who it was. Only one person you knew knocked like that. You opened the door and, lo and behold, there was Frisk. He was no longer dressed as his mother but as his usual self. Hung around his neck was a golden heart-shaped locket and tied around his waist was a blue and purple striped sweater much too small for him to wear. Popping out from the hole in the neck of the sweater he wore on his torso was Flowey, who looked almost… vulnerable. You were becoming more and more concerned for the flower the more you encountered him.

Frisk was immediately surprised, giving you a onceover. “Wow, you… you can actually wear something other than suits.”

“That’s coming from the man who wears nothing but sweaters.”

Frisk chuckled as he rolled his eyes. “Anyway, let’s go to Mom’s.”

You turned off the lights and exited your home. You didn’t need to lock the door. One of the good things about living on the mountain was how safe it was. No one would break in, and if they did, it would be only to borrow tea or leave you a plate of spaghetti.

The three of you walked past Frisk’s home to a small cobblestone path that led further up the mount. The path was dark, lit by a fire magic-fueled lantern once every fifty or so trees. You made sure to stay right by Frisk’s side.

“I should tell you this before we arrive.”

You made sure to listen in as you walked, giving him your undivided attention.

“I'm sure it's obvious that I'm not Asgore and Toriel’s legitimate child. I mean, look at me.”

Frisk waved his hands over himself.

“I'm not their first child however. They had two children before they met and adopted me. Their biological child was Asriel Dreemurr and their adopted human child was Chara.

When Asriel was a little boy, Chara fell into the Underground. Asriel brought the human, injured from the fall, back home. The two became inseparable after Chara recovered, so much that the king and queen adopted the human as their own. The two inspired hope in the Monsters - hope that Monsterkind could be freed from their prison soon, hope that humanity and Monsterkind could repair their relations when the Barrier was broken.”

A little bit ahead on the left stood Asgore’s home. It was a quaint cabin not befit of a king but perfect for the gentle-hearted owner. You were sure it smelled of the flowers he cared for and the tea he drank. It was dark, meaning Asgore was probably already at Toriel’s. The darkness seemed to almost drag you in, as if wanting to drown you in it. You wished the lights were on in there.

Frisk stopped walking then. You stopped as well.

“One day, Chara fell mortally ill. Knowing she was on her deathbed, Chara turned to Asriel and gave her final request: to see the golden flowers of her village one last time. A couple hours later, the human passed on.

Asriel fulfilled his sister’s request, of course. He was the prince after all. He had to have his honor. Plus he loved her dearly. Chara was family. He’d do anything for her. So he took the human’s Soul and… I've already told you about what occurs when a Monster takes a human’s Soul.”

You nodded. Asgore and Frisk told you about the ability and how it could have swayed the course of The War on your first day on the mount. The three of you continued on your way to Toriel’s home.

“Well, ‘that’ happened and Asriel, carrying her body, was able to make it out from the Barrier. It's unknown how far he traveled but when he arrived at Chara’s village, he wasn't welcomed. The humans there thought Asriel murdered Chara. They mercilessly attacked him. Yet, Asriel did not return any blow he received. He was afraid, yes, but he had no reason to hurt these humans.

He fled back into the Underground. When he arrived to the throne room, Asriel fell over and turned into dust immediately, in front of his parents.”

You felt awful for the king and queen then. You never knew they had children before Frisk. You never knew how awful the deaths of their children were. You looked over at Flowey. The flower looked genuinely sad, as if in mourning. You wondered if Flowey knew either of the two. In the distance was Toriel’s home, the light slowly approaching you.

“The anniversary of their deaths is tomorrow, the same as the anniversary of the Barrier’s Shattering.”

You stopped walking then. You were mortified by that fact. The parents would be genuinely grieving this evening. You weren't sure what you could say when you faced the two in a moment.

“The statues in the square are of Asriel and Chara. The people unanimously agreed on it. They didn't live to see the beauty and wonder of the Surface. So the artisans made it so that they would always be together, always watching over Newer Home and the human world. In fact, if you stand between the statues, you can see miles and miles of land and water. It's incredible. I recommend you try it next time you're in the square.”

You made a mental note to do so.

“Do what you want with this information. I just needed to let you know about it before we came in. My parents will be talking about it and though they say they’re alright with discussing how they died…”

You stood in front of Toriel’s front door now.

“I don’t want to see them in pain. I’m an outsider in all of this and you are too. I think it’s only right I’d be the one to tell you.”

Frisk knocked on the wood front door. Toriel’s home was a cabin similar in size to her ex-husband’s. In fact, you realized then that the queen’s home was almost exactly the same as the king’s. You zipped your lips tight about that observation. You looked down for a split second and noticed the mat that said “Wipe your paws” in script. You found it to be something very “Toriel”.

“Come on in,” the nanny shouted from the other side.

Frisk opened the door and used the mat to wipe his shoes before walking in. You followed suit. Frisk and you took off your shoes and put them by the door before walking into the home. Toriel’s home was as cozy as it was the first time you came in. The air smelled of her famous pie along with berries and bread. It was delightful. The fireplace, lit by fire magic, warmed the entire cabin. Everything seemed to have a certain glow of warmth, as if this was where home really was. You always enjoyed visiting the queen because of this.

There on the couch was Asgore. The king was nursing a large mug of tea when he noticed you two. “Ah, howdy, you two.” Asgore put his mug on top of a doily resting on the coffee table. Frisk and you greeted the king. You noticed he was wearing a sweater that had “Mr. Dad Guy” emblazoned on it. You found it very “Asgore”.

Toriel came out of the kitchen with a loaf of bread, piping hot and still in the pan. She placed it on a quilted mat and sighed in relief. She turned to the both of you as she took off her baking mitts. “I hope you two have had a wonderful Dust Festival so far.”

“Yes, we have, mom.”

Toriel placed the baking mitts on the table. “I am happy you did. The pot pie will be cooled off soon. Go ahead and sit at the table. It's already been set by Asgore which-” She narrowed her eyes at Frisk. “-would have been done by a certain child if he came on time.”

Frisk nervously smiled. “Sorry, Mom.”

“You should be apologizing to your father, not me.”

With that, Toriel walked back into the kitchen, a fire burning in her step. The queen seemed more agitated than usual.

Asgore got up off the couch then and waved the queen’s comment off. “There's no need to apologize to me, my son. I am happy to help your mother out any way I can…” For a moment, he had a frown on his lips, his figure almost drooping. The king seemed more depressed than usual.

Frisk’s expression fell as well. “Let’s sit down then. We have a lot to do.”

The king sighed, weary eyes and an almost forced smile focused on you two. “We certainly do.”

The three of you sat down at the white-painted wood table. Frisk and Asgore sat together on one side. You noticed that Flowey had already hid inside Frisk's sweater. You knew not to say anything about the flower's presence. You were about to sit opposite of Frisk but the human gave you a look. Oh, you thought, Frisk doesn’t want for Toriel and Asgore to be in front of each other. You heeded his warning. You could understand the queen’s sentiment of having to sit in front of her ex-husband. You sat right in front of the king. It was a bit of a tight fit, seeing how his legs were so large, but you were able to sit somewhat comfortably.

Already on the table was a pot pie and the bread Toriel just put down. The pot pie looked delicious, the crust perfectly flaky. The bread wafted of raisins and fresh berries, making the air smell sweet. You were practically salivating.

“Hey, uh, is there significance involving the food choice tonight? I don’t think I’ve ever seen Toriel bake bread before.”

“Yes, there is.” Toriel came back in with a cinnamon-butterscotch pie, topped with whipped cream for the special occasion, and an apple pie. You could hear the requiems playing at your funeral already, your mother weeping over your casket. Your tombstone would say ‘Death by Pie’. It would be an excellent death. The mother sat the pies onto the table before running back into the kitchen. “The bread especially.”

Toriel returned with a pitcher of something that reminded you of sangria (white wine was used rather than red wine) and four gold cups. You were concerned immediately about your alcohol tolerance.

“Don’t worry, Monster Cider wouldn’t get a fly drunk.” Frisk gave you an innocent look, though the smirk on his lips told you otherwise. He was definitely poking fun at you, his knowledge of your intolerance still hilarious to him.

You narrowed your eyes at him and he snorted.

As Toriel put the drink and cups on the table, Asgore informed you of the drink. “When we produce our famous alcohol, we make them in gigantic vats. The plant we use to make the brew foams up, so much that forty-percent of the vat ends up in bubbles. From there the liquid at the bottom, where all the alcohol is, becomes Monster Ale and the foam at the top becomes Monster Cider. We save the Monster Ale for other holidays, such as Soulance, since it’s for… more cheery events.”

“Plus it’s potent. I can only have one mug of it and that’s saying a lot.”

You gave your human friend a dull look, earning a chuckle from him.

“You should not be having any, young man.” Toriel sat down gracefully next to you, giving a scornful look to Frisk. “Not until your birthday.”

“Okay.” Frisk said it innocently enough but you knew he was crossing his fingers behind his back. If it wasn’t Monster Ale, it was going to be something else. You knew of the stash of spirits and liquors over his fridge.

“Now, let us dig in, shall we?”

The four of you dug into the pot pie. It was a vegetable one, no snails much to your surprise and joy. It was scrumptious, one of her best in fact. You were sure she made it especially good for the festival. Once everyone was done with the entree, Toriel began to cut into the bread.

“Is that fruitcake?” You were curious about what the loaf was.

“Yes and no. It is a lot like the barmbrack Irish humans have on Samhain, just more… carrot cake-y, if that is a word.”

“Oh. Sounds great already.”

Toriel smiled graciously at you. “Thank you, my child.”

She cut it into pieces and gave one to each of you. Frisk passed you the pitcher and you took it gratefully. You filled it the way he did - to the top - then passed it to Toriel. After everyone’s glasses were full, the queen requested you bring the items you brought along to the table. You got up and did so. You placed the book and picture frame gently on the table. In front of Frisk was the locket and the sweater. In front of Asgore was an expertly-crafted rapier in its sheath and a child’s drawing of those golden flowers you’ve seen all over Newer Home. In front of Toriel was a yellow knitted blanket folded up and a green-and-yellow striped sweater on top of it.

The four of you sat in silence for about a minute. As the clock over Toriel’s fireplace ticked on and on, your pulse quickened, your hands sweated. You were finally getting nervous. You weren't sure what you could do to help the rulers tonight. All you could give them was words, which you truly didn't want to give. You would prefer to do an action, not just words. It would be more meaningful.

Frisk started it off. “Now is the time for remembrance for all of those we lost and all of those we found. Everything comes and goes but everything returns to dust. Tonight, we honor those who are now dust and use their lives to bless those awaiting the return.”

Asgore, Toriel, and Frisk rose their glasses. You followed suit quickly.

“For those in dust.”

The four of you then drank the cider. It tasted like sparkling apple cider, crisp, light, and fizzy. You could drink it all day if you had the chance. The four of you then placed your cups back on the table, you doing so carefully.

“Now, we honor those we wish to honor, whole and dust. You should start.” Frisk gave you an encouraging nod.

You gulped then started. “Well, uh, I chose to honor books and my family and friends. I guess I should start off with the books, shouldn’t I-”

Asgore smiled patiently at you. “There’s no need to be nervous. It’s just us.” Asgore was right. Though you were before the royal family of the Monsters, you had no reason to be weary. They were a relaxed group, desiring for others to be just as relaxed as they were.

They were normal. You could be normal around them.

You sighed then continued, taking his advice to heart. “My dad’s one of the curators of the Metropolitian Museum, specifically for the literatures of various time periods. He’s always loved books. In fact, my house is filled with them, bookcases all over the place. My mom and brother were never into them but when I read my first one, it was… love at first sight. The weight, the smell - I could find home in any novel. Out of all of them, my favorite is ‘Hope and Dream’ by D.R. Winters. It’s a classic, great even now. The copy I’m holding is my dad’s copy of it. It’s old as heck and ripping at the seams but… it’s still good.

I want to honor literature so that every person can carry a piece of home no matter where they go. May those in dust do so.”

Toriel beamed at you. “That’s wonderful.”

You could only look in your lap. “Thank you.”

You picked up the picture frame and glanced at it briefly. You then remembered you were forgetting something. You dug into your pocket and pulled out the one printed picture you have of Ricardo and you. The two of you were at a basketball game at your college. You both had face paint the color of your school’s team on your cheeks and tees with your school emblem on your torsos. You remembered you had a good time that night. You lost your voice for the full day after and you had a killer hangover but the memory was worth it. You placed the picture right next to the picture frame.

“Now, I’ll talk about my family and friends. I’ll start with my family. My family is huge, and I mean huge. I have at least fifteen cousins, and I say at least because there’s probably more I haven’t met yet. Every Sunday night, all of my family in New York comes over my place for a huge dinner. Mom makes all kinds of casseroles and my dad makes his garlic string beans. Aunt Zelda brings her disgusting profiteroles and Uncle Forrest brings the Coors. We’re loud and crazy and stupid. Everyone in the neighborhood treats us like we’re barbarians, which is true, but after everything, there’s love.

All there is is love.

We’re the family that has that crazy Thanksgiving dinner. We’re the family that takes that humongous Christmas photo with the ugly sweaters. We’re much more of a family than any family I’ve met in New York City. And we’re damned proud of it. May those in dust watch over them always.”

Toriel requested if she could see the picture of your family and you passed it to her. She looked at everyone and giggled. “You all look so different yet I can tell you are all related. There is this certain energy in your eyes, even in the droopiest of lids.”

Asgore peeked over. “May I ask who everyone is?"

"Oh, of course. That’s my mom, Barbara, my dad, Geoff, my little brother, Jacob, and my Gigi, Gina.”

He smiled gently. “Lovely. Your family is just lovely. I’d love to meet them one day.”

Your heart fluttered, a smile curling on your lips. You were glad the royals liked your family.

“Now regarding my friends, I don’t have way too many. The dweeb over here is one of them, of course. Lena and I are slowly reconnecting. Then there’s you two and the skeleton brothers and Alphys and Undyne and… Okay, now that’s actually a lot.”

You all laughed at your realization. You really did have much more friends than you thought.

“Out of everyone, however, my closest friend is Ricardo Santos. And out of everyone, Rickster needs the most blessings. He’s a good kid, really. Sure, we’ve both done crazy things in college. The worst thing was going to a frat party the night before our statistics final. We still regret it. But, he’s always watching my back and I’m always watching his. We talk every night. Every Christmas, he’s at my place to celebrate. And I have you know we both passed that test - barely.

He’s going through alot right now. He took out loans from a sketchy bank and now he has to pay off all of these loans at an jaw-dropping pace. He’s not from this country - he’s from Brazil - so he believed anything he could find to help with his university debts. He wants to be a doctor and help poor families in Rio get the care they need for no cost. Good heart, really; he was just tricked by bad people. He had to put everything aside to pay off the debt. He can’t go to med school until he gets this stuff with the banks settled. I wish I could help him but I can’t. So I must leave this in the hands of those in dust.”

Toriel requested to see the picture of Ricardo and you obliged her again. She gave him a good look. “I can tell already he’s a good child. He has got kind eyes. You said his name was Ricardo, correct?”

You nodded.

“I hope I can meet him one day, along with your family. All of them seem to be to be some great people to be around. I am happy you have such caring people in your life.”

“I agree.” You could only stare at the king, who was also beaming at you the way a proud father would. “You’re a good child. You deserve to be around good-hearted people.”

Your face practically burned from the compliments from the two. “T-Thank you…”

Frisk motioned to the bread on the plate before you. “Now you can eat the bread.”

“Really? Awesome.” You practically shoved the slice in your mouth, earning hearty chuckles from everyone at the table. It was as good as you expected it to be. The texture was that of a scone but it definitely tasted like carrot cake as the queen said. The assorted berries gave it a certain tartness to it as well. It was perfect. You could eat it all- Ow! You bit on something hard, nearly breaking your molar in two. You went into your mouth and pulled out a single gold coin that had the Delta Rune engraved on it. You hadn’t a clue why it was there.

Toriel sighed happily. “It seems you will have good fortune this year, my child.”

“Good fortune?”

“Yes. There are objects in the cake that are said to predict your luck for the year.”

“Oh, so like king cake.”

The queen nodded. Good fortune, huh? You hoped that’d spread to Ricky and your family. You wiped the coin off with a napkin and put in your pocket.

Next was Frisk’s turn. “Let’s begin with this sweater. This sweater is the sweater I wore when I fell into the Underground. It went through so much. Travels, battles, injuries. Hopes, dreams, acts of good will. Out of everything, I learned what true determination was when I wore this sweater. I learned to fight as hard as I could, to love as hard as I could. And those values are something I will carry for the rest of my days. May those in dust watch over every Monster I met when I wore this sweater and every Monster I met when I took it off.”

Asgore nodded, looking proudly at his son. Any father would be proud if his child said what Frisk just said.

“Now onto the locket. When I walked in your home in the underground, Dad, I found this on top of one of the beds in there. I would later find out it belonged to… them, Chara. I could never figure out how to open this locket. I know it’s openable but---I’m getting side-tracked. Anyway, when I first found this locket, I felt something warm come from it. I don’t know why but I felt like it protected me during my very last moments down there. That’s when the real danger began. That’s when I had to make the hardest decisions of my life so far. It was as if they were looking out for me, keeping me focused and on the right path. I get the feeling that I wouldn’t have been determined enough to do anything I did after acquiring the locket without it. May those in dust continue to watch over us.”

Toriel nodded, looking into the distance sadly.

Frisk then ate his slice. He nearly jumped out of his seat when he found something. He pulled out a piece of cloth from his mouth. “Ah man, a year of bad luck?”

“Seems so, my child. Be good, alright?” She seemed worried.

“As always, Mom.”

Toriel and Asgore looked at each other with shared sadness and acceptance in their eyes. You already knew who they were going to talk about - their deceased children.

“You should go first, Tori- Uh, Toriel.”

“If I must.” Toriel’s eyes creased as if she should be smiling but she was frowning. She turned to you with those almost hollow eyes, hollowed by the losses she experienced. “My child, you must know that Frisk isn’t our first chi-”

“Frisk told me about Asriel and Chara already.”

The king and queen looked at their son who had a hard look on his features. You knew it was a tough decision for him to be the bearer of bad news to you. When his mother put her much larger paw over his much smaller hand, Frisk’s face softened. Asgore put his hand on top of Frisk’s other hand. The king nodded, as if agreeing with his son’s decision. The human nodded back.

Now was the time to do what you had to do. You put your hand on top of Toriel’s and Asgore’s, earnings looks of surprise from both of them. “And I am so… so sorry for your losses.” You felt your voice wavering, tears welling up. You were trying to keep your cool but… you couldn’t. You couldn’t imagine what it was like to lose a child, much less two of them in one day. You couldn’t help them in their misery. You felt helpless almost, being unable to say the right words or do the right thing.

“All is well, young one.” Asgore looked at you the way a father doting on his child would, a gentle look that seemed to pierce right through you. He rubbed your head softly, like the way he sometimes does to Frisk, like the way your father sometimes did to you, each tousle of your hair settling you inside. “Asriel and Chara died hundreds of years before you were even thought of. We’re no longer grieving - just wishing the two were here.”

You then noticed that there were two extra chairs at the table. You thought for just a moment that if the two were alive they would be sitting there. You thought for a just a moment that the two truly were there, listening in on your conversation.

You nodded then, rubbing at your face quickly to get rid of any tears that were trying to spill despite yourself. “Thank you.”

Toriel rested her hand on your hand that laid on the table. It was warm and tender, reminding you of the way your mother would hold your hand when you were little. Your heart swelled at the touch. “We should be thanking you for your condolences. We… We haven’t received any in a long time.”

The mother sighed hard and glanced at the green sweater morosely. She unfolded it and laid it out on the table with care. You noticed there was a little patch of fabric sewn onto one of the sleeves.

“This was originally Asriel’s sweater but when Chara fell into the Underground we gave it to her. In human years, Asriel was the same age as her. She was young and innocent and, out of everything, happy while she lived with us.

I have seen human children before. When I grew up on the Surface, I played and bathed with human children in secret. I knew what they were like. Chara wasn’t anything what they were like. She was a nervous child, nearly skin and bones when she first fell in. When I would get upset, she would raise her arms over her face as if protecting herself. When I did something that any mother would do, she would question it, asking what she had to do in return. I have no idea what happened to that child before they fell but… it was not good.

Chara eventually became the healthy, happy child I remember fondly. At one point, she outgrew the clothes we originally gave her so we had to give her some of Asriel’s hand-me-downs. When I gave Chara this sweater, she was absolutely overjoyed. I’m sure she knew it was Asriel’s. There is even a patch here -” Toriel pointed to the patch you noticed earlier. “- I sewed in when Asriel accidentally tore a hole in it. Yet, she was thrilled. It was her favorite thing to wear. She rarely took it off. When I would try to wash it, she would hide it from me. I am unsure why she loved that sweater so much but she adored it…

When she was dying, that was the only time Chara gave the sweater to me willingly. She just slowly took it right off, folded it up, and held it out for me to take. I have seen her look resigned before but then… but then…”

Asgore carefully placed his hand on top of Toriel’s, causing her to gasp. For the first time since you've met the two, she didn’t push him away, no hard looks, no glares, no snippy comments. The queen stared at the king with a pleading, thankful crease in her eye. You knew not to question it, not to bring it up. Time would tell what the action meant to them.

“... I’ve always kept good care of this sweater. It reminds me of Chara, the charming little thing she was. May those in dust watch over Chara and not be tricked by her deviousness.”

Asgore chuckled. “She certainly was the charmer. She reminds me of you, Frisk. You’re more of a flirt than she was, however. Chara was more quiet, almost bashful around strangers. You, however, can just run up to someone and ask them on a date.”

Frisk nodded. “I’ve heard plenty of her schemes. Did Chara seriously hang all of Toriel’s socks on clothesline all over the spires of the castle?”

“Yes and I still do not know how she did it. She was daring, to say the least, a tomboy even more. The spires are hundreds of feet tall.”

Toriel then folded the sweater and put it to the side. Next was the blanket.

“This was Asriel’s baby blanket. We waited a very long time to even consider having children, didn’t we, Asgore?”

The person the statement was directed towards looked just as surprised as you were.

“Y-Yes, indeed. We were both so busy making sure all of our people were fine that we never had time to think about heirs. We were always running around doing this and that. Once the Core was finished and explorations of the caverns ceased, we were able to slow down and settle.”

Toriel nodded. “... I can remember the day he was born. Some women don’t start to fully love their child until much after the birth but I, oh no, I fell in love with Asriel the moment I first saw him. He was the sweetest boy I have ever met even from then. He nuzzled right up to me. Oh, and when he opened his eyes for the first and I saw those big brown eyes… He was perfect to me, even his name. Just perfect.

Asriel was a good boy, selfless above all. He truly cared for people from the bottom of his heart. Sometimes, he’d come home from an outing in tears because one of his friends had a bad day. Even if he stopped crying, he’d still care. Plus, the number of times we’d have someone in our home because Asriel dragged them back with him. Sometimes it was because they were injured and he wanted to give them first aid, which was as good as first aid a small child could do. Sometimes it was because they were lost and needed directions. Sometimes it was because they just asked. I think we can all agree that he would have been an kind king.”

Asgore shifted a bit in his chair to relax his overly uptight position from before. “He definitely would have. Asriel would have been a very kind king, loved by all. Well, that’s wrong. Our people already loved him then. I would overhear the maids cooing over him, wishing their own children were as sweet as he was. The guardsmen would genuinely cheer him on when he did something ‘cool’ with his magic. He was adored by all and he earned that adoration. I don’t think we could have been prouder parents.”

“Indeed… May those in dust adore Asriel as much as we always will.”

Toriel bit into her piece and she flinched immediately. She pulled out a toy ring from her slice. Her eyes were as large as saucers. She then began to laugh it off. “Oh goodness, marriage, me? Oh, these fortunes are never good to this old woman. Every year I get the same thing, no matter who cuts the bread.”

You wondered why as well but you didn’t dare question it. As Toriel wiped off the ring, Asgore held out the sword for you to look at. You gently took it from him and carefully turned it around to look at it. It was even more beautiful up close, the detailing on it expertly carved and painted. Alas, it was fake, probably a toy. When you took it out of its sheath, you were met with a slab of wood that would have been its blade. The blade was singed in some parts, cut up and scratched up in others. It’s seen better days, well used by its owner.

“Ever since the unification of Monsters, there was always a Dreemurr as ruler. One of the most important things a Dreemurr has is his battle training. For millennia, Dreemurr men trained their sons how to fight on the battlefield and become masters of their magic. Of course, the fathers must be the one to train their kin. It’s not that we don’t trust anyone else to do it. It’s just our pride as royalty. Plus, it’s wonderful father-son bonding time. Wrestling around in the mud, smacking weapons around; good ol’ boy stuff.

Despite his timidness, when I gave Asriel this for his twentieth- well, you’d consider it his tenth birthday, I saw the eyes of my father in him. Asriel’s grandfather was a mighty king, considered a warlord amongst the Monsters. He was courageous, strong - an incredible tactician. Asriel almost mirrored his grandfather in his actions as I trained him. He picked up on techniques quickly and executed them with precision and poise. I barely had to teach him much before he was fighting the Royal Guard trainees. Despite his youth, he was able to take down even the strongest of foes. And don’t think they went easy on him because he was the prince. I demanded they fight their hardest against him.

I could tell when he first knocked me down, the way he stood, the way he put his sword back into his sheath, I could see he was going to be something great. He would have been great…”

Asgore exhaled hard, blinking several times before continuing

“May those in dust spread his tact and gentle nature to all who need it.”

Asgore took the sword back and carefully placed it on the table. Asgore just as carefully handed you the drawing of the flower. You were right. It was a juvenile drawing of the flowers you’ve seen all over Newer Home.

“While Asriel loved the outdoors, Chara loved the indoors. She loved learning. She loved reading. Sure, Asriel loved a good adventure novel or two but Chara… She always had a history book on her person. And none of that… What is it - main-ga?”

Manga,” Frisk corrected, “Alphys’ll kill you if she heard you pronounce it like that.”

Asgore groaned. “Oh, whatever.”

Everyone at the table laughed. You’re sure the king’s former scientist forced him to watch anime with her at some point.

“Anyway, Chara was very interested in learning everything. When they fell into the Underground, it was at a time very few human beings could read. Chara was one of those lucky few. She had an impressive vocabulary for her age as well, on par with scholars. But she wanted to learn even more.

Asriel would always have to drag her out of the castle’s libraries. Sometimes he failed. Sometimes he won with a compromise of allowing the human to read while on the adventure. It was adorable; the children had a certain thing they always did. Chara would state a fact then Asriel would always say ‘That’s cool; tell me another’. It would go on for hours as they went to do whatever they were doing that day. Sometimes, Toriel and I would chime in when they were accompanying us to do whatever we had to do.

Even on her deathbed, Chara was stating facts and Asriel was asking to hear more...

One day, Chara picked up drawing. She would draw everything. The one thing she loved drawing were these yellow flowers. Chara was always a fan of flora but it was a flower Toriel nor I had ever seen before. It was from the Surface, she claimed. The true name of them is lost in time. They’re said to be very similar to Ireland’s gorse flowers, an earlier variation of them. No one knows why Chara loved those flowers so much but… she loved them. In Newer Home, we call the flower Chara’s Flower in honor of her. Whenever I see these flowers, I think of Chara and her love of learning, her love of discovery.

May those in dust spread the seeds of knowledge and love on their travels on the wind.”

With that, Asgore ate his slice. Surprisingly, nothing was found in the slice. “Hmm, that’s different. I usually get one.”

“Weren’t you the one who said that that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing?” Frisk smiled an encouraging smile.

"Absolutely. It seems I will have control of my fate this year.”

The clock on Toriel's fireplace rang, indicating the hour. It was almost as if every clock on the mountain was ringing, the chimes resounding throughout. The world knew: it was time.

Asgore turned to you. “Now it’s time for the final moments of the festival. Let’s be on our way, shall we?”

Chapter Text

Frisk, his parents, and you were in front of the Academy, awaiting for someone to arrive. Stars freckled the night sky's cheeks. The neon blue gates of Newer Home glowed under the sky's chin. It still made you feel small and large that you could see the night sky as she really was. She was a beauty.

A white light came from your side. You turned and saw the tip of Frisk’s pointer finger glowing white. With that finger, he drew a line in the air before him. Wherever he drew, a white light glowed behind the trail. He drew a star as wide as his shoulders. The lines filled white, becoming a floating star. The star then fell softly into Frisk’s outstretched arms.

The freckles of the sky splattered across your eyes. You hadn't a clue what that was but you wanted to see it again.

Frisk snickered at your expression. “What? It's just magic.” He placed the star on the ground, the object being able to stand upright.

“That's the point. It's magic. I don't know how to do that and it’s cool.”

“Hm… Well, I guess I should tell you about it. It would be important information. Plus, I need to make a couple more of these anyway-”

“Which you should have finished this yesterday, Frisk Dreemurr.” The Queen shot her son that heart-stopping glare she had a talent of making.

Frisk scratched the back of his neck nervously. “I know…”

The queen groaned. “You are a prince, Frisk. There are some things you must absolutely do, else your honor will be tarnished.”

Frisk sighed. “I know…”

Toriel sighed as well, a soft smile returning on her lips. “Still, I am sure you will do an excellent job tonight, along with Sans.”

“Thanks, mom.” Frisk began to make another star. “You know I have the ability to use magic, correct?”

You flinched. He was referring to you. “Obviously. You can use fire magic, the magic of the royal family.”

Frisk cocked a brow. “Heh, you took note. Nice.”

“I wouldn't forget that for the world.”

“I wouldn't either…” He finished the star then placed it on the ground next to the other one. He then went back to making the next one. “Anyway, that is purely Monster magic. Monster magic is easy to learn and powerful once mastered but there's one issue with it. It's based on the Souls of Monsters, which are made up of…” He finished and placed the new star down, going back to making more. As he talked, he made more and more, steadily increasing in speed.

“Love, hope, and compassion.”

“Yep. So a Monster can throw as many bullets as they want but… There's always room for love, hope, and compassion. There's always a way for the opponent to dodge the attack. The more determined the Monster, the harder it is to dodge.”

“I see.”

“Human magic’s different. Not every human has love, hope, and compassion so-”

“Magic attacks from a human don't need an opening.”

“Bingo. Because of that, human magic is considered to be much more powerful, much more deadly. Like how Monsters have specific kinds of magic based on their families, humans do so as well. Those are called Abilities. Abilities are determined by a specific person’s Soul. Cyan ones usually have Abilities that freeze movement. Orange ones usually have accelerators-”

“Then what's yours?”

“Well… Isn't it obvious?” Frisk held out the star he just finished. “I can create anything I want.”

Your jaw dropped. “What the-?”

“Yeah, right? You just ‘know’ how to use magic but you don't know your Ability when you first gain your magic. You need to ‘figure it out’. When I 'figured it out', it was much after the Barrier was broken. I wished I knew how to use it in the Underground. It would have helped so much.”

“No, no, I mean… Isn't that kind of… You know, a god-like ability?”

“Oh, there are a plethora of limitations. First and foremost, it's limited to bullets and inanimate objects, so no people, animals, or plants, unless they're fake.”

“Oh.”

“Second, when I do make bullets and inanimate objects, if I have to make multiple, I have to make every single one by hand. Third, I can't move them magically. I have to physically move them.”

“But isn't that detrimental, considering the purpose of bullets is that you can create hundreds at a time and can be moved by your own magic?”

“That's my point.”

You lowered your eyebrows and frowned. “Then… That's actually a pretty odd ability.” That was the nice way of putting it.

“Yeah, red Souls are the rarest to find and have the strongest magic of all humanity, yet they have the most severe limitations. Now, this doesn't mean I can't defend myself. I'm a self-certified bullet-dodging extraordinaire. Plus I can make weapons. Those are bit harder to do but they’re worth it in the end. They look wicked. I'll show you one of them one day. Hopefully, you'll only have to see me use it for fun... Also, who says only I can move whatever I create?”

“What do you mean?”

“he means monsters can move them using their own magic.” You turned around and there were Sans and Papyrus. Sans was in a blue hoodie and shorts combo you were sure you've seen somewhere before. Same old pink slippers too.  “‘sup, kiddos.”

Papyrus was also wearing something like armor that you swore you've seen before. It was certainly an odd combination, especially for the occasion, but it was definitely something the skeleton would wear. “GOOD EVENING, YOUR HIGHNESSES AND HUMANS."

The four of you greeted the skeleton brothers.

Sans glanced down at the sea of stars Frisk made. “you didn't finish?”

“Obviously.”

The stout skeleton shrugged. “can't blame ya. i’d take a two-year paid leave if i was given the task.”

Frisk snorted.

Toriel butted in. “I have you know, Sans the Skeleton, that this child would not finish a race if the finish line was… star-ing at him in the face.”

If you were a mile away, you could've probably heard Asgore and Papyrus groan from there. You, Frisk, and the two Monsters laughed at their shared pain.

“good one, tori.”

“Thank you.”

“now,” Sans’s eye combusted cyan, “let’s get these stars in the sky.” Cyan magic engulfed the sea of stars Frisk just created on the ground. Sans then swung his left hand up, the bullets flying into the dark sky above you all. Just as quickly as the action occurred is just as quickly Sans’s eye sockets returned to normal. You always found a way to be amazed at the magic the Monsters can use. “that should be it, right?”

Frisk looked up at the dark sky. “Yep.” The human pulled a walkie-talkie out of his pocket. He pressed the button on the side and talked into it. “We’re ready, Napstablook.”

“Oh no…" The ghost's nervous voice buzzed out of the device. "...Okay… Shyren’ll let you know… when to start…”

“Perfect. Break a leg.”

“... Thanks… You too…”

With that, Frisk put the walkie-talkie back in his pocket. With bright eyes and a smile from ear-to-ear, he turned to the taller skeleton. “Okay, Papyrus, time to lower the barrier.”

“OF COURSE. THOSE BRIGHT GATES WOULD RUIN THE LIGHT SHOW.”

You turned to Frisk, confused. “Light show?”

“Yep.”

You weren't sure what you were expecting. A light show - definitely not. Still, you expected to see weirder things while on the mount. You shrugged. “Alright.”

As Papyrus lowered the gates around the town with his magic, small, floating speaker-shaped bullets appeared, coming from the road down to town. Over the speakers, an announcer’s voice rang all throughout Newer Home.

“Good evening, Monsterkind. We’re about to begin our annual memorial march for the Dust Festival. As always, make sure you have your lovely golden flower firmly in your hands so you won't drop it. The magic used for tonight’s show cannot show up on photography or recordings of any kind so we ask that you not attempt to do so. Be careful while on the leaf-covered roads in town. You can possibly trip and fall. Once you've arrived town square and have put your flowers in the fountain, make sure to stay off the leaf-covered roads. You'll get roasted if you don't.

With that all said, let the march start!”

Frisk turned to Sans. “Well, it seems it's our time to shine.”

“our? you're doing all the work, which i’m pretty dang happy about.”

“Don't undermine yourself. You have half the workload, y’know. Don't get lazy now.”

Sans rolled the pinpricks in his sockets. “yeah, yeah.”

Frisk held out his hand and Sans intertwined his phalanges with the human’s. It was a bit awkward since the human was over a head taller than the skeleton. Yet, they made it work.

Papyrus held out a potted golden flower to you. Chara’s Flower, huh? “HUMAN, DON’T FORGET YOUR FLOWER.”

You were about to actually. “Thank you, Papyrus.” You took the pot out of his hands and held it firmly. Luckily it wasn't heavy.

“WHY, OF COURSE.” Papyrus picked up his own flowers and stood next to you. One for him, one for his brother.

Asgore and Toriel stood in the front of the line, both carrying golden flowers in beautifully sculpted pots. You and Papyrus were next, the skeleton chipper as ever. The skeleton held two flowers, one in each gloved hand. He must be strong. Frisk and Sans were behind you, still holding hands.

“Okay, last question for tonight, I swear.”

“That's going to be a broken promise.”

You shot a glare at the human, earning a snicker from him. “Whatever. Anyway, why are you guys holding hands?”

“You'll see. We don't want to ruin the surprise.”

You heeded their advice. Frisk’s walkie-talkie buzzed and he answered it.

“Frisk, do you copy?” It was Shyren’s voice.

“Loud and clear, my gorgeous siren.”

Papyrus blushed while Sans, Asgore, Toriel and you rolled your eyes. A flirt as always, it seemed.

“F-Frisk, you're going to make me stutter during the performance.”

“And it'd be my absolute pleasure to be the reason why.”

Shyren laughed her head off. “Okay, okay, slow your roll, Frisky. I'm here to tell you that Blooky’s ready to rock and roll. Get ready.”

“Excellent. Good luck, Shyren.”

“You too. I'm counting on you to rock my socks off.”

“Heh, well I'm counting on you to make me fall for your voice harder.”

Shyren scoffed. She sang playfully, “Goodbye, Frisk!”

Frisk laughed. “See ya soon, Shyren.” He put his walkie-talkie back.

As he did, Toriel turned to you. “I have you know, I did not raise him to be that way. He was just as flirty when I found him.”

“BUT HE’S REALLY GOOD AT IT. NOTHING IN THE DATING MANUAL COULD PREPARE ME FOR HIS SMOOTH WORDS.” Papyrus was practically sweating- Wait, Papyrus went on a date with Frisk? Papyrus has a dating manual? You weren't going to question it.

An acoustic guitar riff resounded throughout Newer Home through the speakers. As if it was a cue, the six of you began to walk down the road into town. As you curved around the slope of the hill, slowly getting farther and farther from the school, you noticed that Sans and Frisk’s interlocked hands were surrounded by a glowing white and red sphere, the colors swirling around each other like flames, never mixing. As you observed, a quicker beat, similar to the internal beat you were walking to, was played on the piano.

Step by step

We walked on

The dust of

Our brethren

When you made it through a fourth of the trek down, Shyren’s haunting voice echoed throughout the town, sending chills down your entire body, opening your pores.

You noticed a white light from the corner of your eye that was facing the town and sky. You turned and inhaled slowly through your agape mouth, completely in awe. The white light wasn’t just a white light. It was magic, flowing through the sky and forming images over all of Newer Home. The magic created animations similar in style to the wood carvings on the proscenium arch in the auditorium.

The first set depicted various Monsters walking, stepping on dust, that flew away in the wind behind them. Your eyes wandered to the front of the line of the animations. There were Monsters being cut down by humans and turning into dust, their dust flowing to the line behind them. Your heart fell.

Enclosed in

On all sides

By the power

Of seven

The next verse came, the animations changing with it. It was of the Monsters running under Mt. Ebott. When all the Monsters were in, seven humans on different sides of the mountains raised their staves. Seven beams came from their staves, their target at the top of the mountain. The beams then spread over the mountain like a bubble. The images then were pushed away into the heavens above, leaving a pulsating light to cover the sky. Frisk mentioned that the Barrier was like a pulsating light, like watching a car drive away over and over again at the dead of night. This… This was a representation of the Barrier.

Banged, burned, fought

Leave, we tried

Underground

Is where we bide

The next verse began with the magic producing actions based on the lyrics. “Banged” consisted of jagged lines, representing banging in comics, randomly appearing all over the sky. “Burned” was a sweep of fire. “Fought” was various lines, like a sword cutting through something, all across this representation of the Barrier. But after all that, the Barrier still stood.

The image of the Barrier was swept away, like a hand sweeping away a mess. A large, grand castle then appeared, joined by rocklands, marshlands, snowy hills, and something like a mausoleum with each syllable. This is what the Underground looked like, you assumed. You found it incredible, all of this under the mountain you currently walked on. In fact, it was more incredible that the mountain was hollow.

Falls fell down

Winters blew

Springs sprung on

No sun or moon

A goosebump-inducing soprano joined in for the next verse. You knew that there were only two singers tonight so this must be Gale. Her voice was gorgeous - the refinement of years and years of training evident. It reminded you of the spring and fall, petals and leaves gently dancing in the wind.

As the lyrics described, autumn leaves swayed, snowflakes floated down, flowers bloomed - all in the sky. The sky turned almost pitch black after the last bud burst open and you noticed an orange glow coming from the town square. It was possible that was the only light on this side of the mountain currently. That was your destination.

"The caves will

Go empty"

Inscribes our

Beloved Rune

Shyren sang the actual verse while Gale sang a bit ahead at some parts, as if Shyren was walking along and Gale was daintily skipping ahead. But at one point, Gale stopped skipping and paced right along with Shyren, their voices a perfect harmony. Gale was the spring and fall and Shyren was the summer and winter. You didn’t know if the two were chosen for the roles or they volunteered to do so but whoever did what chose an excellent duo.

Lines depicted the cracks of cavern walls, Monsters of all kinds standing along them. As the lyrics said, one by one, the Monsters disappeared.

A child

Fell down there

And rose up

To fill the role

You knew immediately who this part was about: Frisk. You turned to him and your eyebrows rose. He was completely in the zone, gaze concentrated on the sky. He waved his free hand like a conductor would their baton. Instead of guiding the members of the orchestra, he was guiding the bullets in the sky to the music… Bullets. Was all of this bullets?

You turned to Papyrus, asking in hushed tones, “What… What are they doing?”

The skeleton replied just as quietly, which stunned you due to the usual boisterousness of his voice. “It’s a special kind of magic my brother and I discovered after we came to the Surface.” Papyrus raised his head high, proud of the feat. “Its boring name is combination magic but its cool name is Combos.”

“Combos…” You looked into the sky again. What was depicted now was a small child falling down a hole then landing. As the child got up and wiped themselves off, you turned back to Papyrus, a smile on your lips. “Cool.”

Bond by fate

He was filled

With Determination’s goal

“It is indeed, human. It’s the combined power of two or more people’s magic. It’s extremely powerful and extremely awesome. That’s how Frisk is able to move his bullets magically - with Combos!”

“How… How many bullets are up there?” You realized that Sans and Frisk probably put all of the bullets in the sky in advance since Frisk couldn’t make them instantaneously like Monsters can. He had to draw each individual one. And Sans had to put each individual one in the sky, like how he did earlier.

“Probably a hundred thousand or so.”

“A hund-” You quelled the volume of your voice. You shouldn’t be talking right now anyway. “That’s… That’s insane.”

Toriel turned to you and whispered, “We all think it is. But that is how Frisk is. His imagination and Determination has no bounds.”

Imagination and Determination, huh? You turned to the human again, staring as he conducted the sky to do his bidding. At the end of the verse, he glanced at you and winked, giving you a quick smile before going back to his task by doing a quick swipe with his hand, like erasing a chalkboard.

My darlings, if you count the stars in the sky

They wouldn't equate to the tears I've shed

For you I'd do anything to be back by your side

Even if I have to send children to the Styx

As you reached the edge of town, the apartment buildings coming into view, there was now a crowd of Monsters, all carrying golden flowers, ahead of you. Their heads were all looking up into the sky.

You looked up at the sky and you were star-struck - literally. Thousands of stars appeared in the sky, much more than you’ve ever seen on the mountainside. They began to twinkle and fall like shooting stars, like tears, across the stratosphere. You had to stop to just take in the breath-taking beauty of this. You wished your family could see this. You wished Ricardo could see this.

You looked over at Frisk’s shoulder and there was Flowey, peeping out of the neck hole of his sweater. The flower’s eyes were lost, stargazing at the light show in the sky above you all. He looked like he was genuinely enjoying himself. He looked… innocent, the wonder in his eyes like that of a child.

This was Gale’s solo, which she absolutely conquered. Her voice vibrated through you, shaking your very core. You felt every word. You looked over to your right and you saw Mrs. Baatholomew with who you assumed was her husband. She took off her glasses to wipe at her eyes. She felt the lyrics’ power as well. You looked back up in the sky, each word sending shivers down your spine.

Young and old

Perished so

We may feel

Sunlight again

The two singers now sang together in sync, their melodious voices reverberating across the entire mountainside. You wondered then if the people in Newfoundland and the human side of Mt. Ebott could hear the music. Of course, they could, you told yourself. You were sure very few would complain. The music could appeal to even the most tone-deaf of ears.

You managed to lose the group while you were distracted by the display in the sky. You saw Asgore’s enormous figure in the crowd much ahead of you and you tried to get back to him and Toriel but you bumped into someone. You almost dropped your flower but a foot pressed at the bottom of its pot, keeping it steady enough so you could regain your grip.

The owner of the foot was Undyne, who was sporting a motorcycle jacket you found rad. She had twenty golden flowers in a bouquet under one arm and Alphys perched over the other, like a bird in its roost. You were sure Alphys was on Undyne’s shoulder because the fish wanted to show off her strength. You weren’t sure why Undyne was carrying so many flowers. Mostly everyone else was carrying one flower.

You mouthed a “thank you” to her and she nodded.

Alphys noticed you and waved nervously. You nodded, acknowledging her. You then stared at the flowers again before glancing back up at her. She gave you a forced smile before looking ahead. You shouldn’t inquire about the flowers tonight.

“‘Dyne, watch out, tree.”

“Gotcha, Alph.” Undyne ducked a bit so that Alphys didn’t hit her head with a tree branch.

“Thanks.”

“‘Snothing, babe.”

You decided to walk with the happy couple. At least you’d be with Monsters you knew.

Steadfast hearts

Beat as one

'Til we're freed

From our dungeon

You saw Bunnette with her sister and her family. The rabbit smiled at you and you returned the gesture. Her nephew pulled on her skirt and pointed ahead and the rabbit nodded at him. With her free hand, she waved at you and went further up into the procession.

You saw Burgerpants with a lavender-furred cat and a crocodile did up with makeup. Burgerpants noticed you and gave you a thumbs up. The lavender cat then talked to the orange cat. The lavender cat raised her eyebrows when Burgerpants responded. She tugged on the crocodile’s shirt and informed her of something. The crocodile gasped. The two ladies then waved at you enthusiastically. You waved back. They must be Bratty and Catty. Burgerpants was right; he was in good company.

This is a

Undertale

Hopes and dreams

Buried beneath

Undertale - The title of the song, probably. It was perfect to you, self-explanatory. There was no riddle or rhymes to try to see how the song fits with the title. It made sense. This song was about the tale of those who were under Mt. Ebott - the Monsters. It was their undertale. You knew then to look for the track on the internet and download it. Did Shyren say it was available on Bandcamp or iTunes? You don’t remember. You chastised yourself for your bad memory at the current moment.

Even so

We believed

Liberty

Would be achieved

You bumped into someone else. You turned to your right and found Mad Dum- Dumble. Their name was Dumble. You kept on forgetting that. You didn’t see the floating mannequin at all.

“Watch where you’re going!” he heatedly whispered at you.

“Sorry,” you whispered back.

The two of you paced along in silence before the ghost broke it with hesitation in their voice. They looked ahead for a moment. “I, uh, I know this is a bad time and all to mention this but… I consulted that ghost Frisk mentioned back at my check up. It’s been helping a lot. So, you’re gonna hear this once, and only once, you hear me?”

You nodded. You knew what he was going to say.

“...Thank you.” You beamed at him.

“It’s no problem.”

Dumble then sputtered some angry gibberish and floated on ahead. They were quite the odd ghost but they deserved to find some stability. You were glad they did. You hoped they’d be able to completely fuse with their body.

Don't forget

Our sins, transgressions

Against those six

Sacrificed so that we may see the stars

You arrived in the town square now. People were in line to put their golden flowers behind the statues of Asriel and Chara. As you inched up little by little, you got a chance to look at the two. They died when they were young, you figured out. There was a saying with the Monsters that children wear stripes. The two were clad in striped sweaters. Asgore and Toriel were right about one thing. The two children were happy, holding hands with big smiles on their faces. You were sure they were happy, wherever they were.

Breath in the breeze

Feel the Sunlight

On your skin

See what those in ashes never got to

Finally, your turn to put your pot down came. Behind the statues was a set of stairs dedicated to being a fountain and sprinklers during the summer. It was practically a meadow’s worth of flowers, thousands of them in every place your eye could see. You put it down gently right next to a pot probably painted by a child. You gave the statues one final look. Rest in peace, you two. You quickly got up and cycled along with the crowd to leave.

Just then, a hand tapped on your shoulder. It was Sans. You stepped off the line and stood next to him and Frisk, who was still conducting. Sans pointed over to the front of the statues. He dragged Frisk over to that area while you followed. The area was closed off for the performance so there was a place for the three of you to stand. Now, you stood to the side right by Chara’s leg. Probably all of Monsterkind was before the statues, awaiting for the festival to end wherever they could fit. This… This was incredible.

As the final moments of the song were about to begin, Frisk muttered, “The finale. Let’s end this with a bang, Sans.”

Sans’s eye ignited into cyan flames. He rose his free hand towards the sky. “you owe me grillby’s for a month for this.”

“Half a month and we got a deal.”

Sans peered at the human for a second before looking back up. “... Deal.”

This is a

Undertale

Hopes and dreams

Seeing day bright

Frisk and Sans began to wave their free hands in perfect sync to the music. You looked up in the sky. The sky was full of stars again, huge ones. As the stars landed, they exploded into very tiny stars that gently sprinkled over the town. You held out your cupped hands and caught one of them. It was warm, like someone’s touch. You would be grinning so hard if you weren't taken aback by the beauty of it all.

This was a pretty damned good finale.

Steadfast hearts

Beat as one

As we bask

In morning light

With a swipe of their arms, the stars burst into dust and swept away in the wind, some twinkling out. As the piano, expertly played by Napstablook, reverberated the very last notes of the song, you made your decision. You didn’t care how much money you had to spend. You just needed to play this song on repeat for hours. It was going to be high on your list of tear-jerkingly beautiful songs. You would fight people who said it wasn’t a masterpiece but it was. This song was a masterpiece. The light show was a masterpiece.

Everything was a masterpiece.

Monsterkind agreed with you. Everyone responded with applauses of all sorts. You clapped too. Everyone deserved all the praise they were receiving.

Finally, you got to see who was performing the music. Gale and Shyren were right in front of the statues, taking their bows. Shyren was a creepy-looking anglerfish in person but she was nothing but sweet. She deserved every bit of success she has as an opera singer - her alto range was out of this world. She had a golden flower in her anemones, brightening up her ghastly features. Gale was a beautiful nightingale, thick eyelashes and an alluring gaze. From what you knew, the soprano was a beloved Monster singer for many, many years before retiring when she came to the Surface. You understood why now. Her voice gave you shivers.

Shyren and Gale turned to Napstablook, waving for them to come over. The ghost did and floated over, greeted with thunderous applause. The three then bowed together.

You looked down and noticed Bluejoy was by your side the whole time. You waved to her and she waved back. She seemed very excited. She held her wing up and you waited for her to write whatever she had to write on her board. She turned the board to you. “Isn’t my mom cool?”

You looked at Gale again and then put two and two together. Gale is Bluejoy’s mother. You found it adorable.

“Yes. Your mom is very, very cool, Joy.”

The young bluebird looked joyous like her nickname entailed. She then ran over to her mother, greeted with a smile by the nightingale. The two then walked off stage. Bluejoy was waving her wings around to her mother. You recognized that as bird sign language. Only Monsters with wings could learn how to do it since the movements were meant to be done with your arms rather than hands. It’s hard to learn and replicate so this was why Bluejoy had to carry that dry-erase board around. But with her mother, she could sign all she want. And her mother signed right back to her, rapidly waving and flapping her wings as the two headed on their way.

Asgore took the places of the three performers on the makeshift stage and Monsterkind silenced. He spoke the way he did when he made announcements on TV: commanding but still a sense of tenderness to it. “Before we close the Dust Festival for this year, let’s give a big round of applause to everyone who worked to make this whole day possible. There’re so many wonderful souls who took time out of their day to make today such a special day. So, let’s give thanks.”

The audience applauded again, some Monsters whistling. Everyone really liked the Dust Festival. You did as well.

“Ten years tomorrow Monsterkind came up from under the mountain we stand on now. Ten whole years. I always say that as long as the sunlight is beaming on our backs, we can achieve anything. Seeing everyone here, I can see that is true. Ten years of hopes and dreams being fulfilled. Ten years of new lives born and new roads taken. I’m still blown away. There’s a whole generation of Monsters who’ve never lived in the Underground.

There are those who will always remain in the Underground - those in dust. Today is the day we honor those who never got to see our Newer Home. We all have someone we wished that could have seen the Surface. Asriel would have loved the rolling hills, the neverending forests, the flowing creeks. Chara would have loved the literature and rich history we missed while Underground.”

Asgore turned to the statues behind him, glancing at both of their faces before sighing and going back to his speech.

“Now, it’s time for us to offer our good wishes to those in dust. For those in dust.”

Everyone in the audience replied back, “For those in dust.”

Toriel then joined him on the stage. The two walked to the opposite ends of the stage and summoned fireballs in their hands.

Asgore turned to Frisk. “Frisk, why don't you do the Burning of the Ashes with us this year?”

Frisk’s whole body lit up like a firework. “Really? Can I?”

He looked at his mother for approval of the idea. “Of course, my child. We both know how strong your fire magic is now. Soon, you will be a master of it.”

Frisk then ran up to the front of the stage, a pep in his step and a goofy grin that probably hurt his cheeks to show off. In his hand, he summoned a fireball. The audience applauded the act. You still found it cool he could do such a thing. Frisk scratched the back of his neck with his free hand.

“Frisk, since you're up there, you may do the honors.”

“Thank you, Your Majesty.” The human straightened his back and held his head high, like how he did at his conference. “We now offer these leaves to those in dust. Let them give us, who still remain whole, their blessings and guidance.”

The three knelt down and put their fireballs into little grooves in the stairs before them. You noticed then that the grooves had leaves in them. You noticed then the grooves let out into the street. You knew what was about to happen before it happened. The fireballs ignited the leaves in the grooves and, like wildfire, combusted the leaves down the grooves rapidly. When the fire made it to the streets, all the leaves you previously stepped caught aflame. The fires quickly ran up and down the roads, decimating all the leaves into ash. When the act was done, the audience applauded again.

“And that is it,” Asgore said as he joined his son’s side. He ruffed Frisk’s hair gently, earning a giggle from the boy. “The Festival of Dust is now over. The Dreemurrs wish you all a wonderful evening. As always, as long as the sun is beaming on our backs, we can achieve anything. Have a wonderful evening.”


Frisk and you were slowing making your way back to the Academy. Most of the crowd was already gone, the only Monsters remaining were those who can use wind magic since they were responsible for cleanup. A wind elemental nearby blew some ashes away into the wind. You sneezed.

“Bless you.”

“Thanks.”

“You get seasonal allergies?”

“Not in the fall. The ashes are making my nose runny.”

“Ah, that makes sense.”

The two of you continued to walk down the road for a while in comfortable silence.

You decide to break it. “That was awesome.”

“Hm?”

“The music, the light show. It was one of the most beautiful performances I've ever seen.”

Frisk smiled at you. “Thanks.”

“How… How did you do that?”

Frisk looked around, as if looking for someone, before speaking again in low tones. “Okay, so I lied a bit earlier regarding my magic.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. It's a long story to why I did. I hope you never have to find out…”

You nodded. He didn't need to tell you anything that made him uncomfortable. You respected his decision to.

“Regarding my bullets, you see, I just can't create anything regarding those.”

“Really?”

“No. You see, when I unlocked my magic, I never used it while I was in the Underground. The reason why was because I never had any use for it. I didn't want to hurt anyone. Even then, if I did have to, I wouldn't know how to.

Then when I came to the Surface, all of these security issues came up. Plus, you heard what Asgore said regarding training his son. He trained me too. Whipped my ass into shape too… So I had to learn.

Even still, I couldn't create my own bullets. Then I realized something. I couldn't. I literally couldn't create my own bullets. I'm such a pacifist that my magic revolves around the idea that I won't hurt anyone with my own magic. But when I was seeking options, I realized that I didn't need to rely on just my own imagination. I could take inspiration from other people’s action, other people’s magic.

I can only copy the bullets of other Monsters I've seen use magic. I can't create my own unique bullets.”

You were shocked. There really were a lot of limitations to his magic. “Alright, but why are you hiding that fact from everyone? That sounds innocent enough.”

“Because… Well… I can't tell you that part. All I can say is that if you see star bullets not made by me, you're not on earth anymore.”

You were absolutely befuddled by his statement. However, the deathly serious look on his face convinced you to agree. If I see stars, be afraid.

“Thanks for being so understanding. You're my assistant but there're some things I can't tell you yet.” Frisk looked at his hands, warily. The dark circles under his eyes had deepened since the first time you met him. “Some things I hope I never have to tell you…”

You put an encouraging hand on his shoulder. “We all have our secrets, Frisk. You don't have to tell me anything you don't want me to know. I respect your decisions.”

Frisk smiled sheepishly at you. “Thank you.”

“Anytime-” Your stomach growled. Your face flushed because you know Frisk heard it.

“Oh my god.”

“Drop it, Frisk.”

Frisk’s smile turned into a shit-eating one. “You're hungry already?”

“Drop it, Frisk.”

“You're gonna end up like a Moldsmal soon. All you can do is wiggle.” Frisk wiggled the way the Monster mentioned did.

“Screw you, Frisk!” You began to chase after the human. How dare he mock you if he was eating just as much. Then you heard it: the human’s stomach growling. You have him a look. “Oh my god.”

“Don't you dare.”

“You're hungry too?”

“Are you serious?”

Your smile curved into the way a Cheshire Cat would. “You're gonna end up like one too. We’ll wiggle together.”

Frisk looked around as if trying to find someone. When he couldn't find who he was looking for, he gave you the finger. The actual finger.

You gasped as if you were offended. You said like a condescending child would, “Ooooo, you gave me the finger! I'm telling!”

“Don't you dare!”

The two of you ran around town square without a care in the world. As you chased him around a pillar, a breeze past by you. A little bit of dust whirled up with it. You stopped for a second. May those in dust chase us always, watching over Frisk and his people.

Chapter Text

It was a minute to eleven and you were cozy in your bed. You always stayed up until “that” happened - that noise you've been hearing every night since you first went to bed on Mt. Ebott. You were no longer afraid. The sniffling came and when you got up to open the bedroom door, it left. You’d close it and go back to sleep, no longer frightened. It was just a part of your daily routine now, like brushing your teeth and combing your hair.

You turned over onto your back, looking up at the ceiling. You were surrounded by complete silence. After today, you greatly appreciated the lack of noise. You needed to desensitize yourself after the long festival. Besides, you had a lot to think about.

You'd be getting a new roommate in less than a month. You were happy you wouldn't be alone in this big house for much longer. Plus, it's someone you knew, even just a little. You were sure Lena’d be a good roommate, if not great. She had such cleanly habits when you knew her as a child that Woshua would be best friends with her. Plus, her sweet personality would be refreshing after a long day of work. Luckily, you didn't have to share a bedroom or bathroom with her either. You enjoyed your space.

Seeing her and her fiancé at the festival was delightful… Festival, festival, dust, dust. You turned over on your side and frowned.

You were thinking of Asriel and Chara, those poor children of Asgore and Toriel’s. They didn't deserve to pass away so young. They didn't deserve to pass away the ways they did. Chara died from illness while Asriel died from assault. They were innocent, pure… You couldn't imagine what it felt like to die in such a way. You couldn't imagine the fear and peril they felt during their final moments.

You looked over at the neon red lights from your alarm clock. The display blinked to 11:00 pm at the very moment you looked at it. You flipped over on your back and…

The sniffling came an hour early this evening. That was odd. It always came at exactly midnight. It was louder as well. No, it didn't even sound like sniffling anymore. It sounded like a child bawling their eyes out, like how Dina did when that French dignitary called her that awful racial slur. Maybe it wasn't that noise. Maybe it really was a child crying outside. Maybe a child got lost on the way home from the festivities and was looking for help. You moved to get-

You couldn't move. You really couldn’t move. You commanded yourself to get up and you couldn't. Move… Move… You tried doing something meager, wiggling your fingers and toes, and you couldn't. You figured out what was going on quickly - sleep paralysis. This wasn't your first time dealing with the condition. You’ve dealt with it before. You have memories of waking up and not being able to move when you lived in New York.

Still, it didn't mean you weren't afraid now. Every little light you could see was whirling into creatures of nightmares. You kept on telling yourself that it was your eyes just messing with you but the noise - oh, that noise. The bawling turned into shrieking. It was as if you descended into hell where it should have felt like heaven.

Thump, thump, thump. Your pulse was beating in your ears. You could feel every pore on your body slowly opening, every hair on your body stand up at action. Your limbs fell cold, sending shivers all over your body. Then your chest jerked up from the mattress. You didn't do that. Your body was frozen stiff. There was no way you could have moved your chest. An excruciating pain coursed through your chest, as if your heart was being pulled out from you, as if your very life was being taken away from you.

You closed your eyes shut, hoping it’d end. You opened them and your heart dropped.

You saw fire, everything on fire. The forest was on fire. Cottages were on fire. Golden flowers were on fire. All after you were angry exclamations calling for your death. Your throat was burning from breathing so raggedly. Your body wanted to give out but you couldn't give up. You had to bring your sister back to the Underground. You had to make sure she was given a proper funeral with you and your family. You had to---

Wait. You looked down at the child in your furry arms. The child looked like a cherub, plump rosy red cheeks and thick, long eyelashes on closed eyelids. It was as if they never died. You childishly thought that was true. Then the child opened their eyes and your blood fell cold. They were red, red like roses, red like blood. Their eyes were never red. They were brown, like the dark chocolate bars they loved eating. This wasn’t her. This was a… monster.

The creature smiled and opened their mouth, a black sludge coming out of their orifice. They grabbed onto the sides of your face and pulled onto your hair. Your head pounded hard where their fingers dug into your fur. They swung their body left and flung you onto the grass. The monster climbed up onto you ever so slowly until they were above you, their tiny hands holding your wrists down.

They spoke but their words fell on ears deafened out by white noise. As the shrieking grew louder and louder, as the white noise buzzed louder and louder, as your heart thumped louder and louder, you were trapped, unable to move. At one point, the monster chuckled and cocked their head a bit to the side, as if they were as innocent as they originally looked. But their smile grew more and more grotesque, like the Cheshire Cat would at foolish little Alice.

“Oh, silly goose, don’t you know who I am?” They leaned into you until all you could see was their blood red irises. “Howdy, my name’s Chara.”

Your chest fell back onto the bed and the door to your room slammed shut.

You screamed. All you could do was scream. Nothing made sense. You weren’t sure what was reality and what wasn’t. You turned over and screeched some more into your pillow, grabbing it with shaky hands and latching onto it for dear life.

You needed to center yourself...

You couldn't.

You remembered you had to open the bedroom door as you always did. That’d work, right? That always worked. You launched yourself off the bed and fell, unable to stand. You were embarrassed with yourself. Your legs were as steady as a newborn gazelle’s. You crawled over to the desk across the room from your bed. With that, you pulled yourself up with the support of the sturdy wood. Once you were stable, you swung the bedroom door open.

Nothing was there. Nothing was ever there.

You couldn't deal with this right now. You threw on a random jacket and the first pair of shoes you saw and ran out of the house. Whatever that was just now was the most horrifying experience of your life. You didn't want to be alone. Your psyche couldn't handle being alone. But you knew who would be awake right now: Frisk. Flowey mentioned he was up all hours of the night reading usually. He’d be up. He'd listen.

You closed the front door to be greeted by a blinding bright light from your right. You squinted your eyes shut on instinct.

“... What?” You opened your eyes and there was the person you were going to visit, flashlight in hand. “What are you doing up?” Frisk didn't look happy to see you.

“I…” You didn't know how to explain it. You exhaled hard, your heart still beating fast from the horrifying experience earlier. “I had a night terror just now. I was- I was going to go visit you and… I'm… Is this a bad time?”

“Yes, it is; it really is but…” Frisk’s face softened. “I guess you can come along. I don't have much time.”

“What do you-” You noticed that Frisk looked like he was ready to go mountain climbing, a backpack with climbing gear on his back and tough boots on his feet. Wrapped around his arm was Flowey who was heaving, practically hyperventilating. His petals were nearly white, his vines wilting. “Flowey, are you alright-”

“Back off!” You took a step back. Flowey looked guilty for shouting at you. “Oh no, I'm sorry- Ugh, no, I would never say that.”

Frisk used his finger to gently rub Flowey’s petals and cooed softly to him. “It's alright, Flowey. We’ll be there soon.”

“You…” The almost white flower gasped out a breath. “You better…”

Frisk smiled, though he still seemed concerned. The human looked at you with a hard expression. “Be prepared to climb.”

“Climb? Why?”

“What are we on right now?”

“A mountain.”

“And what do you do on a mountain?”

“... Oh.”

Frisk started walking towards the forest. “Stay close and keep quiet.”

You followed without any resistance.

The two of you walked through the trees. The only sound was the grass crunching under your feet and Flowey’s labored breaths.

“What I'm about to tell you, what you're about to see, you can't tell anyone and I mean anyone.” Frisk stopped walking and looked you dead in the eye. “Alright?”

You nodded.

“No, I have to hear you say it. It's fine if it regards me but this…” He looked down at the sickly flower. “This involves someone else.”

You stared straight into the slits of his small eyes, trying to make eye contact with the pupils there. “Alright. I won't tell a soul.”

Frisk smiled wearily at you. He looked more tired than usual. “Thank you.”

You walked a bit more ahead to a clearing. You could see Asgore’s home. The lights were still on. You hoped he and Toriel would have pleasant dreams tonight despite what the next day would be.

“As you may know, Flowey’s a Monster without a Soul. His existence is an existence that, spiritually and magically speaking, cannot exist.”

“Oh, screw…” Flowey wheezed. “...you.”

“Glad you still have energy, buddy. Anyway, the only thing that’s keeping him alive is the magical energy under Mount Ebott. Centuries of magic usage under the mountain left behind a nearly endless amount of energy in the soil in the Underground. No other being in the kingdom needs to sap that energy except for Flowey. When the Barrier fell, he would have to be left behind while the rest of Monsterkind came to the Surface. However, I… I couldn’t stand for him to be the only Monster remaining down there. So, I dug him up into a pot and brought him on the Surface. As I mentioned before, everyone deserves a second chance, even him.”

Back into the forest you two went, continuing your trek up the mountain.

“Of course, the soil in the pot’s magical energy can be depleted. And once a month, it does. And when it runs out, Flowey dies.”

Your eyebrows practically flew off your face. “He dies?” You look over to the flower. He could barely stay on Frisk’s arm. “He’s dying right now?”

“Yes. And he will tonight.”

You stopped walking then. You were paralyzed just from hearing that. “B-But-”

“But he’ll be fine.”

You were confused now, even more than usual. “What do you mean he’ll be fine? Flowey’s going to-”

Frisk stopped walking then. “C’mon, have a little faith, will ya?” Frisk turned to you with a small smile on his lips. “He’ll be fine. I promise.”

“I…” You sighed hard. “I guess I’m gonna have to take your word for it.”

“Good.”

“But how will he be fine? I don’t…”

“That’s something I can’t explain with words. Even I don’t understand it either. You have to see it to believe it.”

“If you say so…”

“And here we are.”

You were bewildered at how fast that trip went. You wondered if your head was still clouded from earlier. You were now in the rocky part of the mountain. There was a naturally-created slope that led further up the mount but it was closed off by a wire gate. A sign on the door of it had in big letters, “KEYCARD REQUIRED. DO NOT ENTER WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION. THOSE WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION WILL BE PUNISHED BY THE LAW.”

“We don’t have authorization to go up here, do we?”

“Nope.”

“Do we climb now?”

“Heck no, are you nuts? Flowey’ll be wittered up by the time we get up there if we do that.”

“Oh… Go to… hell… Fri-” Flowey coughed hard.

Frisk comforted him again. “Don’t talk too much. You’ll be in more pain.”

“I… I know…”

“Anyway, it’s just easier to ascend from the road ahead.”

“Then how do we get in?”

“Easy.” The human had a smirk on his lips. “We blame someone else.”

Frisk dug into his pocket and pulled out a purple Newer Home ID card. On the front had a picture, unlike yours, of a fire elemental Monster. He swiped the card in the slot by the door and the light on the slot turned green. “THANK YOU HEATS FLAMESMAN. HAVE A JOLLY DAY,” an electronic voice buzzed out. Frisk pushed the door of the gate with no trouble at all.

“Who’s Heats Flamesman?”

“A Monster who’s name I’ll never forget. Also a Monster who has a habit of dropping his ID card. C’mon, let’s head on up.”

You shrugged it off and followed him.


After a thirty-minute walk, the three of you arrived at the entrance to a cave. You looked out to the scenery to the right of you. You could see a neighboring mountain range, deserts far and wide, and a nearby city’s skyscrapers. It was stunning. You would appreciate it better if it wasn’t nearly midnight and you could see more details of what was there.

“There’s no time for sightseeing. We have to hurry.”

You ran to catch up with Frisk, who was waiting for you in front of the entrance. Frisk and you then walked in. The tunnel was narrow, the two of you nearly touching shoulders as you walked side by side. When you exited the tunnel, you were greeted with an empty cavern. It looked as if nothing significant was ever here.

“What we just walked through was where the Barrier once stood.”

You were stunned. This is where the Barrier was. “Cool…”

“Wait until you we head into the castle.”

“The castle?”

“The castle’s connected to the exit to the outside world. Asgore did that so if any intruders were to come in through that way, they’d have to pass by him first.”

You nodded at that. You knew that strategic placing of the castle could also be interpreted as cowardice but Asgore was anything but that. He wouldn’t run away from his duties as king.

“The castle is stunning. You’ll love it, really.”

Frisk and you walked out of the cavern through a massive archway. When you passed under it, you looked at the top of the arch. The Delta Rune was carved into it for all to see. Rock became plaster and stone became tile. The two of you continued on your trek down the unlit hallway and made a left into one of the most gorgeous gardens you’ve ever seen. From wall to wall were those golden flowers growing strong and beautiful. The moonlight shined through the holes that acted as large windows on the right side of the room. It was as if the liveliness of the flowers was on hold, asleep like the rest of the world.

“Here we are. This is the throne room. This will be our first stop for tonight.”

Frisk walked over to a spot in the middle of the room and knelt down. Flowey slowly crept his way off of his arm. When Flowey was amongst the flowers, Frisk got up and walked back over to where you were.

“How… How much time left?...” Flowey looked as if he was breathing his last.

Frisk looked at his watch on his wrist. “Thirty seconds.”

“Great…” Flowey looked up at you and Frisk. For the first time, there was genuine kindness in his eyes. “Thanks… As always…”

“Of course. You’re my friend too, Flowey.”

Flowey looked like he wanted to cry, genuine fear in his eyes. “I’m scared... I’m really scared.”

“I’m scared too. But you’ll be okay. I promise.”

The golden flower Monster nodded his head. As he was about to get one more nod in, he stood perfectly still then he fell over. You held your breath. Frisk wasn’t breathing either. The whole world fell silent then.

Flowey was dead.

Then, something rustled under the flowers in that spot. A white head popped out of the flowers, gasping for air as if that was its first and last breath. The white head got up, petals fluttering up with it, revealing a Monster the size of a child wearing a green-and-yellow-striped sweater. The Monster turned to you two with big, brown eyes drooping worriedly.

“Howdy, Frisk.”

“Good evening, Asriel.”

Asriel? No, it couldn’t....

“Oh, who is this?” The Monster tilted their head the way a curious baby animal would, their floppy ears moving with them.

“This is my friend. They had a bad dream so I thought playing with you would help them feel better.”

The Monster frowned. “Oh no, that’s really bad.”

It couldn’t be…

The Monster walked up to you. With a small smile, they looked at you with gentle eyes. “Howdy, I’m Asriel Dreemurr.”

All the blood fell from your body, pitting in your stomach. This… This was Asriel Dreemurr, the dead biological son of Asgore and Toriel. He should be dead. He should be very dead, turned into dust hundreds of years ago. How was this possible? This couldn’t have been possible.

“Um… Are you okay?”

You flinched, rattling yourself out of your thoughts. “Y-Yes. I’m okay. I just-”

“I know I’m supposed to be dead.” Asriel’s eyes fell, his figure drooping almost. You felt guilty already. “I died six centuries ago and I was dead for a very long time. One day, I woke up and I was a flower and I’ve been technically alive since. I… I can’t feel anything when I’m a flower. I-” The little goat’s eyes began to swell up with tears.

“You… You don’t have to explain to me anything, Asriel.” You got down on your knees and patted his head gently. “Okay?”

He nodded vigorously, rubbing the tears away. “Okay.” He wiped his eyes with his arm before looking up at you with a grateful look. “Thanks.”

“Of course.” You introduced yourself to the goat. “I work with Frisk as his assistant.”

“Assistant?” Asriel looked ecstatic. “That sounds like fun. What do you do?”

“Well, I type up and edit his papers, put all his research together, and travel with him to conferences. Lots of other stuff too.”

The kid frowned. “That sounds boring.”

You chortled. You seriously needed to laugh. “Yeah, it is. But it's rewarding in the end. I get to help Frisk help a lot of Monsters. I don’t think I would have any other job.”

“Also, I pay them well," Frisk added.

“Oh yeah, that's a big plus. I get paid thirty-five dollars an hour.”

Asriel’s eyes were as big as saucers. “Thirty-five dollars? Do you know how many chocolate bars I could buy with thirty-five dollars?” The child spun around with his paws on his cheeks, completely in awe of the simple fact you stated. “Rivers of chocolate - rivers! Like in that movie you showed me a while ago. Uh, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, right? Yeah, it was that. Chara would love it since she loves chocolate, y’know…” Asriel stopped his happy charade and looked out into the windows.

Frisk walked over to him and patted his head. “Everyone misses her - I as well.”

“I know. I heard what Mom and Dad said about us. I can't believe Mom still has that blanket. I thought that Dad would’ve thrown the sword away, maybe give it to you. But… they didn't…”

“They kept those things because they remind them of you and your sister, because they love you.”

“I know… I still feel bad about everything.”

“There's no need to feel that way. As long as you're happy, they will be happy.”

Asriel looked out into the Underground. You did as well. The ceiling of the caves was covered with geodes and raw gems, acting as a moon. There were much smaller gems that twinkled like stars. You saw those marshlands and snow fields you saw during the light show earlier. It was breathtaking.

Since the Underground was mostly abandoned, the only people there are people on tours usually. However those end at 5 pm. You, Frisk, and Asriel were the only people for miles and miles under the mount. You were glad Frisk took Flowey out from here. Anyone would go insane being under here by themselves like this.

“Now, let's play for a while before heading over to Chara.” Frisk took off his backpack and placed it on the ground.

“Did you bring my DS?”

“Of course. Also, I got that mitt you wanted.”

Asriel's eyes lit up. “Really, really?”

“Of course. You're my brother, Asriel.” Frisk booped the goat right on his nose. “My brother deserves the best.”

The goat knitted his brows together. “Ugh, stop that, Frisk. I'm the older brother, y’know.”

“Says the shorty over here.”

Asriel growled. He hopped up and tackled Frisk to the ground, petals flying up into the air upon the impact. The goat then began to punch Frisk lightly in the chest, the whole while the human laughed his head off. Soon Asriel’s punches began softer and softer until he could no longer attack from him, joining the human in his laughter. Asriel flopped off of him and rolled right next to him, roaring.

You couldn't help but smile at the sight. The two would have been wonderful brothers if Asriel was actually alive.

“Hey, get over here.” Frisk waved you over with a wave of his hand. “Bring my backpack too.”

You picked it up and threw it right at the human's chest. “Get it yourself.”

The air was shoved out of his lungs when the bag made contact with him, yet he laughed the whole thing off. He and Asriel got up off of the flowers as you sat to join them. Frisk opened his backpack and pulled out a variety of toys - baseball and mitt, a board game, playing cards, and a Nintendo 3DS. “What do you want to do first, Azzy?”

“Uh, I wanna play Fire Emblem first. I want to check all those Streetpasses you got for me.”

“Okay. I went to Belgium so you might get a lot of Dutch passersby.”

“Belgium? Where's that?” Frisk explained where the city was and the conference to Asriel as the kid turned on the video game console and tapped on the screen using the stylus to start up the game.

“By the way, Mettaton’s engaged.”

The child whipped his head at your friend so fast you thought his floppy ears would smack him in the eyes. “Really? To who?”

“A human lady.”

As the loading screen came up on console, Asriel crawled a bit more to Frisk. “A human?...” The kid went silent for a moment before smiling bright. “Are they going to have babies?”

Your friend and you chortled at that. “No, no, humans and Monsters can't have children together, Azzy.”

“Really? Ah, that stinks. That'd probably be a cool baby, y’know.” Asriel picked up the console again as the opening cutscene began to play. “Like a cyborg or something. It'd be called… Humanbot.”

“Humanbot?”

“Humanbot.”

“Would they be glamorous like Mettaton?”

“Of course. They'd like pink and wear dresses like him and you.”

Frisk rolled his eyes. “You're only jealous because I can rock a dress. I have the legs of an Adonis, y’know.”

“I don't know what that is but I know you don't have those.”

You were confused. “I thought you wore a dress only once for Undyne and Alphys’s wedding. You wear them often?”

“Once every blue moon or so. I can't do it now since it’s going to be bitter cold soon.”

“So, are you genderfluid or-”

“Nah, I'm a boy. I can just appreciate a woman’s clothing options is all.”

Asriel gave him a dull look. “You put on makeup too.”

“And I love doing it. I wonder if Mettaton will ask me to wear a dress to the wedding. It'd be such a good excuse too. I'd be the prettiest flower boy ever, especially since my contouring skills have improved so much.” Frisk cupped his cheeks and giggled. “Oh, I'm excited.”

Asriel turned to you. “How do you put up with him?”

“He pays me to put up with him.”

“Oh. That makes sense.”

You looked over at what the little Monster was doing. You recognized the game as Fire Emblem:Fates. His Medieval-armored avatar, Azzy, was currently in a battle between an enemy group in traditional Japanese costumes. “So you have Conquest.”

Asriel’s eyes lit up. “You play this game?”

“Nah, my brother asked me to get it for him for Christmas last year. He likes older video games, especially the ones for the 3DS. It was hard to find, especially since it's ten years old.”

“Yeah…” The kid’s ears drooped. “I don't have a lot of time to play so I still haven't beaten it yet.”

You weren't sure what that meant but you were sure you'd find out soon enough.

Frisk elbowed his brother’s side lightly. “Show them your wife.”

Asriel dropped the console into his lap and wrapped his ears around his eyes as if shrouding his vision in embarrassment. Your heart skipped a beat. That was one of the most adorable reactions you've ever seen. “Noooo, Frisk,” he pleaded.

The human had a smirk on his lips. “Oh, c’mon, you were so happy when you finally unlocked the dialogue to marry her and now you don't wanna show off.”

“But it's embarrassing.”

“Ah, c’mon, you don't have to tell them about your crush, y’know.”

The kid nearly shrieked in horror. “Frisk!”

“Oops.” Frisk didn't look the slightest bit sorry.

The child groaned while going back to the game. He walked into his castle and up to a young female character with blonde hair. “So, uh, in the game, you can marry someone and recruit your future child together to join your army. This is my wife, Elise.”

“And why did you choose Elise, Azzy?” Frisk gave him a mischievous smile.

“Because she reminds me of this girl I had a crush on. Elise’s hair looks like her ears.”

You and Frisk gave each other shit-eating grins as you echoed out an “awwwww!” for all of the empty Underground to hear. Asriel groaned again while you laughed at his embarrassment. Asriel moved his avatar off to start another battle.

As he began to look around the battleground, observing the enemy, you began curious. A child being interested in strategy games like the Fire Emblem series was rare. You questioned Asriel about his interest in the game.

His avatar started a duel with a soldier character. “I like planning stuff. Dad has this big board that he made battle strategies with. He would sit me on his lap as he planned stuff sometimes. He said it was duty as future king to know how to do that kind of stuff and to execute them e… efficiently? Yeah I think that's the word he used. I always thought it was fun and cool.” The character struck the enemy down with one strike.

“Your dad mentioned you were a good tactician earlier.”

His eyebrows rose. “Really?”

“Yeah. He's very proud to be your father.”

Asriel had an unwavering smile. “Cool…”

After an hour, Asriel saved his game. He turned off the console and passed it to Frisk. “Can we play I Declare War next?”

“Of course.” Frisk beamed down at his brother. “Anything for you, Asriel.”

Chapter Text

For the next hour, Frisk and you played various games with Asriel. You felt so young again, playing card games with the two, playing Connect Four with the two. It was as if you had been transported back to the days of old, when you would jump over the chalk lines of the hopscotch court, swing on the swings. It was a ride of nostalgia you thoroughly loved.

Right now, you three were playing catch. Asriel wasn’t the best at catching the ball. He had a mean throwing arm though, tossing it with such vigor to Frisk. The human caught every ball despite his wimpy tosses. You weren’t surprised by the latter. He was a stringbean after all. You caught every toss he threw. Ball catching was programmed into your mind since your schooling years playing sports.

You tossed a long one and Asriel ran backwards to catch it. He missed a bit, the ball fumbling out of his paws again. “Ah man, that was close.”

“Asriel, let’s head over to Chara now.”

The kid turned around with a glum look on his face. “Okay.”

The two cleaned up the mess they made and Frisk put all of the items back into his backpack. He closed it up and threw it on his back.

The three of you then exited the throne room into a long corridor. To your right was stained glass windows, the Delta Rune soaring high on them. The lights from the geodes outside shined into the hallway, giving it a cold, lonely glow. The hall felt endless in length. You felt that this was a significant location in the past, as if the turning points in many people - Monster and human - occurred here. You glanced at Frisk, wondering if this place was important to him as well.

He stopped for a moment to look out the windows. “It’s a lovely evening, isn’t it? Birds are singing, flowers are blooming. It’s a perfect evening for a leisurely stroll.”

Asriel turned to his brother. “You sound like Dad right now.”

“Do I?”

“Yeah, a lot actually.”

“Hm… I guess being around Asgore has changed my vocabulary. Next thing I know, I'll be saying ‘Howdy, I’m Frisk’.”

You turned right down another corridor then made another one to an elevator. Frisk pressed the button to call for it.

You were curious. “Electricity still runs down here?”

“Of course. How do you think those tours go on?”

You nodded, realizing his answer was quite true.

Asriel asked, “Hey, why are there tours anyway? Why do humans want to see the Underground so much?”

“Well, it’s like how all the Monsters on the Surface want to go out into the human world and explore - because they’re curious. We’re literally inside a mountain right now, in a civilization. There’s no other place like this in the world.”

“Oh, that makes sense.”

The elevator dinged and its doors opened. The three of you walked in, the doors closing right behind you. The elevator moved without having to press a button inside. As the elevator descended, Asriel tugged where he could reach on your pajamas. “What’s up, Asriel?”

“Uh… Nevermind.” He seemed reluctant to give up on whatever he wished to tell you.

You felt the elevator start to move left. You were scared immediately. Elevators aren’t supposed to move left. You inquired to your human friend about your observation.

“Oh, yeah, the elevators down here do that. Wait until we get to Hotland. The elevators down there move all over the place.”

You prayed your stomach would cooperate with you.

After another minute, the elevator stopped and the doors opened with a ding accompanying it. The three of you exited and headed straight down the hallway. The walls, the ground, even the leaves along the path - everything was black and white. It was as if time stood still here. You wondered if it'd be the same for the rest of the kingdom.

“This is New Home, the old capital of the Underground,” Frisk informed you, “There were two capitals down here in total. The first one is Home, now known as the Ruins. We’ll be heading there.”

“Is that why Newer Home is called Newer Home?”

“Yep. We’re hoping we don't find a need for a ‘Newest Home’.”

You laid your forehead in your hand. You walked right into that one.

The three of you walked down the corridor and turned to another elevator. Frisk pressed the button for it and the doors opened right away. The three of you stepped on and descended.

“We’re heading to the Core now.”

“The Core?”

Asriel filled you in. “It's the power plant of the entire Underground. All of the electricity, heating, tap water - all of it was processed there. It was never completely finished so normal Monsters can't go in there usually. Dad said it’s dangerous.”

“Still is. The only good thing is that we use the electricity from outside the mountain to power the Underground now. Not a lot is needed anyway. The Core constantly overheats so without Monsters to literally chug ice to cool it down, it'd, well...”

Asriel waved his hands up, making an explosion noise with his mouth.

You could only imagine the disaster an exploding power plant could bring to the Underground. “That's insane.”

“But hey, it worked out. No explosions, right, Azzy?”

“Nope.”

The elevator stopped and the doors opened. The three of you stepped out and walked down the blue corridor. Everything was metal: the walls, the floor, the doors. Every once in a while, the thick coral wires that ran along the walls were exposed for all to see. The group made a turn into a dark room.

“This is where I fought Mettaton.”

You looked around. “In here? This isn't very…”

“Mettaton-y?”

“No. Not at all.”

“Yeah, I thought so too. But this is actually a part of a stage that rises-” Frisk pointed at the pitch blackness above you all. “-all the way up there to a huge arena. You're actually standing on one of the stage lights.”

You looked at your feet. You were indeed standing on a light. You stepped right off it. You couldn't take any chances, especially after what occurred earlier.

The three of you left the room and turned left to another elevator.

“How many elevators are we taking today?” You just had to know now.

“One more, I swear.” Frisk called for the elevator.

“Dad really likes elevators,” Asriel said, matter-of-factly, “He used to always tell me that before the elevator was invented, he had to use the stairs when heading from Hotland to Newer Home. You don't wanna know how many flights of stairs that was.”

You nodded at that. You'd appreciate the heck out of elevators if you had to walk the distance you just descended.

The elevator arrived and the three of you walked in. Asriel pressed the down button on it this time. He turned to you two and posed like a hero. Both of you clapped at his deed. The elevator moved right, much to your dismay. Frisk snickered at your visible discomfort, which you shot him a glare for.

After a minute-long ride, the doors opened and you were met with another corridor. The group headed straight ahead to a bridge overlooking complete and utter darkness. As you walked across, holding onto the railing “just in case”, you looked over the edge. Just what in the world was all of that?

“Be careful.” Frisk and Asriel were already at the end, waiting for you to come. The human had his hand on his hip. “You don’t want to know what’s down there.”

You continued on your way over to them, not looking down again. You were positive Frisk was right. After you rejoined them, the three of you walked past a set of glass double doors into the lobby of what looked like a resort. Lingering in the air was the light smell of grease from a fast food restaurant and something that smelled uniquely… Mettaton. In front of you was a water fountain that’s seen better days. A pipe was jutting out of it. If the water was on, all of the water would have ended up on the carpeting.

“This is the Mettaton Resort - MTT Resort in short. And yes, that fountain has always looked like that.”

You frowned. “Why?”

“Well, quoting Burgerpants, this place was a labyrinth of bad choices. Yet, the Monsters loved it.”

The three of you exited through another set of double doors into blistering heat. You immediately shed off your jacket and threw it over your shoulder. “Jeez, it’s hot down here."

“Well, we are right by magma.” Asriel seemed unaffected by the drastic rise in temperature “Of course it’d be hot.”

“Magma… Magma?”

“Yeah. That’s why it’s called Hotland. Get it?”

You nearly slapped yourself as you put your hand on your face. The king of Monsters was certainly awful at naming pretty much anything.

The three of you descended a small set of stairs and turned left to an elevator. The shaft looked like a horned Monster. You found the design detail adorable. The three of you got on the elevator and Frisk pressed the first floor - left button. You weren’t sure what that meant but next thing you knew the elevator was taking you on a roller coaster ride. The elevator descended and ascended, flung you left and right. You weren’t sure what was going on but you didn’t like this one bit. Meanwhile the human and Monster stood perfectly still. They were used to riding this monstrosity. Lucky, you thought.

The elevator stopped at one point and the doors opened, releasing even more hotness into the air. The three of you exited. Frisk and you fanned yourselves as you walked past an imposing building.

“That’s…” Frisk’s finger glowed white as he made a semicircle in the air. “... Alphys’s lab. The doors are locked so we can’t go in.” The semicircle filled white and morphed into an open fan. Frisk then began cool himself down with it. Lucky bastard.

The three of you descended another flight of stairs to what looked like one of the walls of the cavern. There was a river here, the water cooling the area off a bit. On the river was a gondola with a risso shaped like a happy dog with a cloaked gondolier inside.

Frisk greeted them like an old friend. “It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?”

The gondolier sung, “Tra la la, it has been awhile…”

“Thank you as always for being here.”

“Tra la la, I’m always down here… rowing along. Will you be joining me?”

“As always. Down the special route.”

The three of you got on and sat down. With that, the gondolier used their oar to push off and row on down the river.

“You’ll get a good tour of the Underground while on here. Check it out. We’ll be in Waterfall soon.”

The boat made a turn and the air changed from hot and dry to warm and moist. To your left was endless waterfalls. You could see to the very right was heaps of electronic waste piled high in the waters. To the left was marshs with waters that glowed neon blue. It was beautiful to you.

As you were about to pass by a waterfall, Asriel tugged on your shirt. “Can I tell you a secret?”

You leaned in as Asriel cupped his hand around the outside of your ear. As you passed the waterfall, the crashing of it the only sound you could hear beside his voice, he told you, “I’m sorry about the crying.”

You were completely stunned. You pulled away. “Wha-?”

He put a finger to his mouth. “Ssssssh! It can’t be a secret if you just blurt it out, y’know.” You leaned back in. Another waterfall came by. The water crashing by filled your eardrums. “There’s not much I can do to stop it. This’ll happen as long as you live here. The bad dreams will only happen when Flowey gets sick though.”

You pulled away again as you passed the waterfall. “How would you know that?”

He waved his paws towards himself, asking you to come back in. You did as he asked. “That’s a secret I’ll tell you later, okay? It’s hard to explain right now.” Another waterfall approached and Asriel continued to whisper in your ear. “But I promise that something awesome will happen if you stay. In fact, next year on this day, I’ll have a big surprise waiting. You gotta stay strong so you can get it.” Asriel pulled away with a big smile on his snout. “Don’t forget, okay? You'll regret it if you do.”

You didn’t respond right away. All of this new information and new questions whirling in your head prevented you from doing so. At one point, you did nod your head.

“What’re you guys whispering about over there?” Frisk didn’t seem too interested. He probably wanted to bug Asriel to relieve some boredom.

“It’s not a secret if I tell you.” The goat stuck his tongue out at him.

“Yeah, Frisk.” You followed suit with the juvenile action.

The human scoffed. “And I thought you were more mature than that.”

You gave him a look. “You threw a hissy fit when I beat you at Connect Four.”

“But that was called for because you cheated.”

“I didn't cheat.”

“Yeah, you did.”

Asriel looked up at you with curious eyes. “How do you cheat at Connect Four?”

You shrugged. “That's my point. You can’t. So quit being a sore loser, Frisk, and accept the fact that I am the reigning champion of Connect Four - always have and always will.” You sat the way a powerful monarch would.

“One of these days, I'll beat you. I'm determined to do so.” Frisk looked dead serious about it, a playful smirk on his lips however. “No, you won't. Not on my watch. Even if I have to come down here with you every time you have to, I'm keeping my title.”

Asriel practically bounced off his seat. “So you're gonna come and play with me and Frisk next time too?”

“Uh---” You hadn't thought about it. In fact, you weren't sure why Frisk even let you follow him much less tell you about Flowey and Asriel. “It's up to---”

“Yes, they can.” The human beamed, doting on his brother. “If that's what you wish, Azzy.”

The little prince had shooting stars dancing across his pupils when Frisk decided that. He moved from your side of the gondola to his and jumped into his arms. “Thank you, Frisk, thank you so much.”

Your human companion hugged him back. “Of course, Asriel. Anything for you.”

The boat made a turn and the temperature dropped quickly. You threw your jacket back on in a flash, shivering. You turned to your left to see snow on the path nearby the gondola - actual snow.

“I was just as surprised as you were when I discovered there was snow down here, especially so close to actively flowing magma.”

“Speaking of magma, isn't it dangerous for that to be freely flowing under a mountain? Isn't there fear of an volcanic eruption? Also, the fumes from it must be highly toxic.”

“Well, surprisingly enough, the lava down here is relatively calm. It runs like rivers down here. The only thing that would cause an eruption would be the Core exploding but it's inactive now. Also, regarding your last point, Monster bodies are composed of magic, so they have different health risks than humans do. Noxious gases don't work on them. Some Monsters can even bathe in it. So they're at no risk.”

“But we're at risk.”

“That's true… All I can say is for you to hold your breath when we’re there.” Frisk gave you a hesitant smile when you shot a glare at him.

Part of the path was close enough to touch so you reached out and touched the snow on it. It was cold and watery like the snow above. “How is it possible for it to snow?”

“Even I don't know. Same goes for why it rains in Waterfall. But I can tell you that there's little bits of magical energy in the white stuff. We’re not sure why. Personally, I think it's the weather cycle occurring, the magical energy left on the snow evaporating with the water. Of course, there's more to be discovered. The Underground is a big anomaly, after all.”

The boat turned in a zigzag before continuing straight. As it rowed on by, you noticed a big house with Christmas lights adorned on its roof. “That's where Sans and Papyrus used to live. Nice place, really. They were both Royal Guards so they were paid pretty well. Plus, Papyrus kept the place tidy. But of course, a stray sock and a pet rock slipped in between the cracks.”

Asriel turned to Frisk. “A pet rock?”

“Yep. It ate sprinkles.”

You turned to Frisk. “Sprinkles?”

“Don't ask.”

The goat and you nodded at that.

The gondola then passed by forests full of pine trees. They reminded you of the trees you passed by as you walked up the mount a couple of hours ago. You were still shivering, your arms crossed and your teeth chattering.

Frisk tossed you his coat. “It's bitter cold 24/7 in Snowdin. Put it on. I can't have you catching a cold or something.”

“Why? So you can have someone to bug all the time?”

Frisk snickered. “Of course.”

You hesitated to throw the coat across your shoulders, nor daring to put your arms in them. You preferred handling situations yourself. You could feel the human’s warmth. It was relaxing to say the least. “... Thanks.”

“Anytime. Besides, I gotta test out my moves on some subjects? How do you feel? Is the power of seduction wooing you?”

You snorted.

“What?”

You looked up at him with a big grin on your face. “You sound like Papyrus.”

The three of you busted out in laughter. You wondered if Asriel knew who Papyrus was or he was laughing just to laugh. Regardless, you were happy the boy was having a good time.

As the gondolier rowed you down a dark tunnel, the temperature began to rise again. You were soon able to return the jacket to Frisk. As he put it back on, he informed you of your current location. “And we’re here at our destination - The Ruins.”

The gondolier sang, “Tra la la, this isn't my usual route. Tra la la, this is a special one just for the princes... because they love to visit the city of the dead.”

“The city of the dead?” You wondered immediately what the Monster… human… River Person meant by that.

“The Ruins became a cemetery but not in a literal sense. This is where the Monsters were first buried Underground. As the Monsters had to adjust to their new lives, all of the hopes and dreams for the future were destroyed or, well, died. This anguish culminated all here in the old capital. It’s a city of dead hopes and dreams."

The gondola turned to the port and anchored. The three of you stepped off the boat and thanked the gondolier for their services.

“Tra la la, I had fun as always. See you very soon, princes and friend.”

The three of you then headed on your way. The Ruins was a ghastly purple color, as if spirits were supposed to pop out at any corner. Red leaves were piled neatly in some places on the ground. You walked and walked until you arrived in a dark room, the only light coming from a crack in the ceiling, shining on a lone patch of grass.

“This is where I first met Flowey. I fell for the friendly neighbor schtick too. Everyone does… This is also where I dug him up before I brought him to the Surface.”

You then noticed a hole amongst the grass and a trowel laid nearby it.

The three of you continued out of the room into a corridor that led into a room littered with golden flowers. The flowers were starting to grow up the walls as if they were stretching towards the moonlight above, as if they were trying to escape.

“This is where I fell into the Underground.” Frisk pointed up at the opening above. “If you exit the cavern above, you're about two miles away from the center of the human side of the mountain.”

“I've always meant to ask but how did you survive a fall from that high?” The top of the hole seemed to be hundreds, maybe even thousands of feet high above you all. A ten-year old falling from such a height would have been flat as a pancake.

“Even I don't know. Was it my determination to live? Was it luck? I don't think I'll ever know the answer… Anyway, this is also the grave of Chara Dreemurr.”

The two of them walked right on top the flowers. You couldn't move. Chara… What you saw hours ago distorted your image of the child. You originally thought Chara was a kid with a hard life that fell down the rabbit hole into a warm and happy home. But that… “That”... You weren't sure what to think anymore.

“Why are you just standing there?” The question shook you out of your thoughts. Frisk beckoned you closer. “Don't be shy. She wouldn't mind meeting you.”

Chara is a relatively popular name, just spelled in different ways. You've read of a supermodel with the same name, Cara Delevingne or something like that. What you saw was probably another child. You needed to stop assuming things. You kept telling yourself that.

You practically tip-toed over, your mind protesting your every step. You didn't want to crush any of the flowers here. It was as if nature gave the human a memorial. You didn't want to ruin her hard work. The three of you sat down before a child-sized lump in the field. There was no marker to show this was a grave. You wondered why this was. Chara was a princess after all. You would have expected for her to have a grand memorial.

“Howdy, sis. How have you been? I hope things are nice wherever you are.”

“Good evening, Chara. It's been awhile, hasn't it?” Frisk pulled out a chocolate bar from his pocket and placed it on the lump. “It's getting harder and harder to find this chocolate. The Monster that makes it is only getting older and older. We’re all sure he’ll be joining you very soon. I'll see if I can get the recipe off of him. But, well, you know how he is - stubborn, very stubborn.”

“Oh, and we brought a friend.” Asriel informed his sister of your name and how the two knew you. “They're super nice and smart. You should've seen earlier when we were playing Connect Four.”

“They also love literature as much as you do.” The human turned to you. “Right?”

You took the nudge. “Yeah, I studied English literature when I was in college. I don't think I could ever get tired of reading, y’know. Next time I come, I'll give you a copy of my favorite book. It's set in World War II era England. This woman, Diane…” You spent the next couple of minutes giving an overview of the book. “I… I think you would like it. Asgore mentioned you like history.”

For the next half hour, the three of you talked to the deceased human. You rambled more and more about your favorite novels, Asriel seemingly bored about it until you mentioned an adventure novel, when he practically hopped over to you, shooting questions at you regarding it. Frisk was mostly quiet, resorting to nodding and grinning rather than vocalizing his responses. But when the grins faded, something negative was left in its place. Was it woe? Was it anger? You weren't sure. You could never be sure regarding the human, which is one of the few things you disliked about him. He was always the reader, never the book.

Once it was over, Frisk picked up the chocolate bar and opened up the wrapper. He then pulled the treat out and broke it into two, giving a piece to you. You were about to inquire about why he hadn't broke off a piece for Asriel but then you remembered that he couldn't eat it, that he was just as dead as his buried sister before you three. The thought of that ran through your head until you put the chocolate in your mouth. As soon as the bittersweetness of cocoa hit your taste buds, your sadness left you.

You just had to know what this was. “Holy- This is really good.”

“I know, right? There's nowhere else that still makes Schokolade ohne Kakao but a certain chocolatier in Newer Home. It's a recipe that was used back before the Monsters were trapped Underground, before chocolate was even thought of. Of course, it wasn't called chocolate… I forgot what the name was.”

Asriel stated, “Tabula Rasas.”

“Oh, right, because it's supposed to taste so good, you forget all of your worries.”

You swallowed the last bits of the candy. “Whoever came up with that is a genius. That slogan is definitely true.”

“Well that's good you're not worried anymore, whatever you were worrying about.” Frisk put the piece in his mouth and his eyes rolled back, his eyelashes fluttering. Chocolate had that way with people. He then put the wrapper in his pocket and looked at the little prince. “Now, let's get you that new soil.”

Asriel then walked around the field as if trying to find something as hard as he could muster. After two minutes of searching, he pointed at a spot. “Here.”

“Alright.” Frisk took off his backpack and pulled out a large water bottle full of dirt and a trowel. He then dug up the spot, tossing the dirt into a small pile. He poured out the old dirt in the bottle and refilled it with the fresh dirt. Once done, he pushed the old dirt into the hole, filling it back up and put everything back into his bag.

Asriel noticed the confusion on your face. “It's for repotting Flowey.”

“Oh.”

“Frisk lets me choose which spot he digs up though.”

You glanced at the human for the briefest of moments. He certainly was a good brother, wasn't he?

Frisk threw his backpack over his back. “We’ll be leaving now, Chara. We’ll see you soon.”

Asriel waved. “See ya, Chara.”

Goodbye. You smiled gently at the grave.


The three of you were back in the throne room. Asriel stood before you both, a miserable look on his face.

“It's time, Asriel.”

“I know…” The prince walked over to a spot amongst the flowers and sat down. He looked up at you two with pleading eyes, as if begging for salvation, begging for freedom from this seemingly endless cycle. A shiver ran down your spine just thinking that. “I don't want to go back to being a flower.”

“Neither do I…” Frisk was genuinely woeful.

Tears fell from Asriel’s eyes, a sniffle accompanying it. That didn't sound like the ones you heard at night. Your body froze at the realization. The little prince wiped at his eyes but he couldn't stop crying. “I'm scared, Frisk.”

“I am too. You'll be okay, Asriel. I'm sure of that.”

The goat nodded. “You're right. You're always right.” He wiped his eyes one last time and the tears dried up. After a tiny hiccup, Asriel looked at you both. “Thank you for being a good friend, Frisk.”

“Anytime. You're my brother and dear friend, y’know. I’d do anything for you.”

The prince smiled at that, a giggle accompanying it. “And the same for you... I'll see you soon.”

“As always. See ya.”

Asriel then gave you a smile as big as the moon and waved at you. Mid-wave, he jolted, his entire body freezing. Then he fell backward. When he hit the floor, as if an hourglass crashed upon the floor broke into a million pieces, the first prince’s body scattered into a child-sized pile of dust.

You grabbed onto Frisk’s forearm, needing the support. This is what the death of a Monster looked like. You were horrified. It wasn't as graceful as the analogy you learned the day prior. It wasn't gentle like the leaves crumbling into dust. It was mortifying like someone you just met dropping dead before your eyes. You couldn't speak or think. All you could do was hold onto your friend.

He put his hand over yours, the only reason you noticed being because of how warm and clammy his hand was. His hand was shaking, gripping onto your weakly. He was just as terrified as you were. You found a comfort in that, which you instantly shamed yourself for having.

The pile of dust shook and you gripped his forearm harder. A second later, a golden flower burst out of it, gasping for fresh air. The flower turned to you, those familiar lines for eyes and mouth. “What are ya just standing there for, looking so scared and crap?”

It's Flowey. You were so relieved Flowey was back.

Frisk and you walked over to him, never letting go of each other. The human bent down and looked at you and that’s when the two of you let go. He offered his now free arm to the flower. Flowey wrapped his vines around it until he was perched on Frisk’s shoulder as usual.

“How are you feeling, Flowey? Nothing unusual to report?”

“I feel great, just great. Also nothing weird to report. Just trying to figure out why your assistant is here and all.”

“Memory lapse… Hmm, not too unusual. Anyway, they're here because we ran into them while leaving the house.”

Flowey frowned. It seemed he didn't remember that happening. “Hmm, did I badger you about being quieter while sneaking out?”

“Surprisingly no.”

“Hmm… Then yep, I don't remember a thing.”

“Alright. I'll be writing that down later.”

The three then exited the Underground the same way you entered. Once you got outside, you inquired about the time.

“3 or 4 am, I'm guessing.” Frisk turned to the flower. “You want to see if we can clean off of the graves at the top?”

“Might as well even though we already know it's been cleaned. If we’re up right now, might as stay up until the sun rises.” You weren't sure if he was being sarcastic or not. But it was good ol' Flowey, so you were perfectly fine with his sass right now. It showed he was fine.

Next to the entrance was a naturally crafted staircase that led further up the mountain. The two of you walked up the rocks, slowly descending upward until you reached what looked like a proper cemetery. There were six graves, each covered by thick pieces of granite the lengths of adult-sized coffins. Engraved on the granite slabs was one heart, like the one you've seen on the key to your house. It represented a Soul most likely. The graves looked as if they were recently cleaned, the dust swept away by a broom or something. On top of the granite slabs were bouquets of golden flowers.

“Well, you were right again, Flowey. They've been cleaned again.”

“Of course I'm right. It was glaringly obvious this was going to happen again.”

You turned to the two. “May I ask who these graves are supposed to be of?”

“The Six Souls.”

You cocked your head to the side, a confused look on your face. You told yourself to stop cocking your head like that. The little prince you just met had already affected you enough. He didn't need to affect your habits.

“You don't remember from the lyrics of that song earlier?” Frisk sang the part of the bridge he was referring to, “Don't forget our sins, transgressions against those six sacrificed so that we may see the stars.” You were pleasantly surprised to hear that Frisk could at least carry a ditty. Not the best voice you've heard but it wasn't awful. He shrugged. “Or something like that. In order to break the Barrier, there was an requirement of seven human Souls. Before me, there was seven humans who passed before I did. One was Chara but her Soul was lost before it could be used. Six humans died while they were in the Underground and their Souls were used to break the Barrier.”

You were terrified then. Six humans had to die in the process of breaking the Barrier. Of course, knowing the Monsters, you were sure if there was another way then they wouldn't have chose the death option. Still, it scared you.

You frowned too. “How… How did they die?”

“That's where a lot of trouble occurs.”

“What do you mean?”

“Asgore... He claimed to have not only call for the deaths of the humans but also executed them himself."

Your blood ran cold and nausea swept over you like the wind. No... The kind gardener who greeted you like a cowboy would and asked if you wanted tea. The fatherly goat who knitted sweaters and wore dorky outfits. The kind king who asked for you to be casual with him and wished good tidings upon you and your family and friends. He couldn't have. He couldn't have done such a thing...

Frisk gave you a hard look. King Asgore Dreemurr, the monarch of the Monsters, called for the deaths of humans. King Asgore Dreemurr, the monarch of the Monsters, executed six humans...

You needed a drink right now. You didn't care how bad the hangover would be. You just needed something alcoholic now.

"Only the Monsters know about this so... you know." Don't tell anyone.

You could only nod your head.

"Thank you... Once I got my masters, I wanted to fact check this. People could lie about doing horrendous things, y’know. The problem is is that Asgore refuses to let anyone see the bodies, not even me or Toriel.”

Your eyebrows knitted at that. “What?”

“That's why I said. And when I did let my curiosity get the best of me and I looked into one of the coffins, he was furious. I've never seen him so angry before. It…” Frisk placed a hand where Flowey’s vine circled around his forearm. “It honestly scared me. He didn't look like my dad then. He looked almost crazed... guilty... But I can tell you one thing that I'm certain about.” Frisk looked at you right in the eye. “I did catch a look at one of the bodies - the Blue Soul - before he discovered me. Their body had no evidence of fire magic being used or his weapon of choice even touching them.”

You were stunned then.

“Why… Why would he lie about that?”

“Even I don't know…” Frisk looked at his feet. He looked depressed again for the millionth time this evening. You hated it when he was sad. “I wish Dad would tell me or at least someone. He always does that. He always keeps things to himself…”

“Same reason why he cleans off the graves every month.” Flowey was staring at the gravesite before you all.

Frisk turned to the flower, saying an octave higher than usual, “Flowey, you know good and well that he might not be the one doing it.”

“Frisk, you know good and well that he probably is the one doing it.” The golden flower put his leaves on his stem, as if he was putting his hands on his hips. He pointed a leaf at the human. “Don’t be an idiot. It’s so obvious. He even leaves golden flowers here and who’s the only Monster with a garden full of ‘em? Him.”

You were beginning to realize that the kindly king had many demons he had to fight. Those with the biggest smiles suffered the most depression after all. Before the three of you left, you silently wished the six children were resting peacefully and Asgore’s worrying thoughts rested peacefully as well.


You woke up to the sunlight in your eyes. Usually, the curtains in your room would be closed so you were immediately curious as to why it was disturbing you. In front of you wasn’t that wall with the bathroom door on it. It was a bookcase. You looked down in your lap to see a quilt you’ve never seen before. Then it hit you. You shifted your body left and fell flat on your face.

You weren’t in your room. You were in Frisk’s office.

The human was at his desk, reading a book, with two mugs next to him. “I was wondering when you were going to get up.” He didn’t look up from his book. He didn’t have to. The sound of you falling off the chaise was probably enough indication of that.

“What?... How did I?...”

“When we got back, you didn’t want to go back to your house. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so worked up about something so I let you stay in the office until you were ready to head home. I wanted to get some reading done anyway. I went into the kitchen and when I came back you were out like a light. Even when I threw that blanket on you, you didn’t move.”

“Why didn’t you wake me up?

“Well, you weren’t snoring. I’d kick you out pronto if you did.” He obviously didn’t notice the glare you were giving him. “Also… You looked so happy to be asleep. I’ve never seen someone smile in their sleep, not even babies. I just couldn’t wake you up.”

You were partially embarrassed. You liked your privacy, especially when you were most vulnerable. Frisk seeing you in such a state made you unnerved. Still, you were grateful he let you sleep here for the night. You were refreshed as always, this time with a peace of mind. “...Thanks.”

“Anytime. If I had a nightmare, I’d probably jump into your bed and beg you to make me a warm cup of milk.”

“Oh screw you. And don’t even think of doing that.”

Frisk snickered at that. “Fine, fine, I’ll try to contain myself.”

“More like you better.”

He snorted that. “Anyway, today’s a settlement-wide day of observance so you have the day off.”

“Really- Oh yeah, today’s the anniversary of the Barrier being broken.”

“Yes, however, we aren’t celebrating this year.”

“And why is that?”

“Would you party right after attending a funeral?”

“...That makes sense.”

“Nothing will be open in town so you’re stuck here for today. Flowey’s still asleep so I’m going to wait a bit to eat but if you want to eat some cereal or something, go on ahead.”

“Speaking of Flowey, do you mind explaining what… ‘that’ was last night.”

Frisk closed his book then. “There isn’t much I can say. I’m as in the dark as you are about it. All I know is that when Flowey dies, Asriel comes out to play until sunrise. At sunrise, he will then return to dust and become Flowey again. Asriel can, however, go back earlier than that, as you saw last night. Neither of them will explain to me what’s going on. They just demand I keep on doing this.”

“What’ll happen if you can’t bring Flowey to the mountain?”

“His death will be permanent probably.”

Your blood ran cold. “Oh.”

You took the full mug on the table and drank from it. You pulled the mug away in an instant. The tea was cold, as if sitting for hours.

Frisk chortled. “What did you expect - for it to not be cold?”

“Yeah, I did… You know what? I'll make some iced tea.”

“Iced… Tea…?” Your friend looked dumbfounded.

“You've never had iced tea?”

“No. Never heard of it either.”

You crossed your arms. “Frisk Dreemurr, you're an American. Every American has had iced tea once in their lives.”

“Well, it seems I'm not American enough.”

“Get up.”

He cocked a brow. “Huh?”

“Get up. I'm teaching you how to make it.”

You practically dragged Frisk out of his chair and into the kitchen. You plopped him in one of the dining chairs and ran to the cabinets to grab a pitcher and some tea bags. As you taught Frisk how to make the beverage, you wondered if Asriel ever had the drink. You wondered if Flowey could drink anything. If he could, you hoped the little prince could taste the sweet drink wherever he was. And if Flowey could drink anything, you hoped the flower would enjoy it.

Chapter Text

It has been a week since the conference in Belgium and three days since the Dust Festival. All of the visitors have long gone their separate ways. All of the residents have long gone back to their usual schedules. You did as well; back to editing papers on Frisk’s chaise.

You were eating some brunch while browsing FaceSpace on your phone. You scrolled to an article from BuzzFuzz involving a ‘I <3 Monsters’ rally the day prior. You immediately clicked on it. You loved BuzzFuzz and enjoyed reading the stories posted reading the movement.

I <3 Monsters is a social media movement accidentally started by the ambassador after he posted a picture of him and the skeleton brothers on Chirper with a hashtag of the same name. Humans jumped on board and started posting selfies of them with their Monster companions and neighbors, telling happy stories and wishing good tidings. Now, millions of humans and thousands of Monsters started a social justice movement, spreading good cheer and supporting the Monsters all the while.

When the media asked Frisk about what occurred, he simply shrugged and said, “Whoops.” He honestly didn't mean to start it but he’s pretty pleased with the results. It's a simple, polite way to show support for the race. When supporters went to protest, it was all peaceful rallying as well.

The one in the article was also peaceful. There was a picture of humans all wearing periwinkle shirts with the hashtag screenprinted on the front, sitting in various famous sites all over the country. They were protesting against the use of the p-word in the media. You scrolled a bit down to a picture of a protester with a sign that said, “You wouldn’t call your mother that. Why call a Monster that?” You flicked down again to another sign that said, “P is for positive.” You liked them all, especially the first one.

As you were about to put another piece of your meal in your mouth, Frisk barged right into your home. He looked exhilarated, a grin that cracked his face in two despite his labored breathing and windswept hair.

“Frisk, what the-”

He ran up to you and grabbed your shoulders. “You're not going to believe what happened.”

“Uh, wha-”

“You know that bill that I sent to Congress, the one regarding hate crimes against Monsters?”

“... Uh huh.”

“It's law now.”

You dropped your fork. “What?”

You didn't think his grin could get any wider but he found a way. “Actions that can harm the welfare and wellbeing of a Monster are now against the law.”

It took you a minute to realize the context of that. Papyrus would be able to get the police involved with the harassment from his co-workers. Undyne and Alphys would be able to sue their landlord.

Frisk finally got Step One achieved.

You jumped out of your seat and hugged him, laughing uncontrollably. His grin was contagious, spreading onto your lips. “You… You did it.”

“No, we did it. We all did it.”

You let him go then, but not after one last clap on the back and inquiring about the next big step.

“Well, we have a lot more to get done, the biggest being the one involving citizenship. Once Monsters are considered American citizens, every protection of the law that applies to us will apply to them. That'll involve amending the Constitution so I’m sure it'll take a long while for that. It took seven years just to get this one passed…

But enough about that. We’re not going to get any work done today so you have the rest of the day off.”

“Really?”

“Of course. We’re going to party today. This is a big victory, ya know. Get the aspirin ready. You're gonna need it.”

You rolled your eyes. “Oh, ha ha ha.”

“I'm going to go make an announcement in the school. Go spread the news.”

“Of course.” Your food could be reheated. You needed to tell everyone about this.

With that, Frisk ran out of the house, a spring in his step, and jetted it to the Academy. After putting your plate in the fridge, you followed right after.


The whole mountainside was alive with good cheer. From the youngest to the oldest, every person knew this was a historic day. Asgore left the grounds early to go make his official announcement to his people, ecstatic for the good news. Toriel had this unwavering smile that made your whole body warm every time you saw it. Papyrus stopped by, proclaiming he’d make his special spaghetti for the party at Frisk’s house tonight, much to everyone’s hidden worry. Sans, however…

“Sans!” You were walking down the hall on the third floor of the Academy when you spotted the skeleton.

He nearly jumped out of his hoodie. Sans faced you and your visage fell immediately. He was sweating a lot, a nervous expression on his face.

“Oh, are you alright?”

“uh, yeah, you just spooked me is all.”

“Sorry about that. I was just excited. That law being passed has made everyone so happy that I just couldn't help myself.”

“uh… yeah…” The pinpricks in his eyes darted all over the place before he gave a half-hearted “woo” accompanied by a shaky fist pump. The security guard immediately shoved his hands back in his hoodie’s pockets. It’s as if it was hard for him to breathe, every inhale and exhale harsh and short. The thing that alarmed you was the faint clicking coming from under his clothes.

Your cheerfulness was swept away as your eyes swept over him. Something was wrong. “Are you sure you're alright? You don't look so g-”

“fine. i’m fine. i’ve never been finer. i should be locked up for how many fines i have that's how fine i am.” He said that so fast you were surprised you could even make out what he said.

You snickered at the joke but it didn't relieve your apprehensions. “You know, you shouldn't push yourself. If you're not feeling well you can c---”

“no, no, no. i don't need to call out.” He wasn’t allowing a debate.

That startled you a tad bit. “Uh, okay. Sorry. I don't know if you know but Frisk is holding a party tonight and you're invited.”

Sans looked completely baffled. “huh? why?”

“Because of that bill becoming law; you know, the Anti-Hate Crime Against Monsters Act or whatever it's called.”

The stout skeleton nodded. “right. right...” He looked away for a minute, wiping his forehead with his arm and muttering something you couldn't hear. You were sure the security guard, no matter how lazy he was, heard the multiple announcements… Right?

When he looked back at you, you were filled with anxiety. He didn't seem fine at all. “i’ll, uh, i’ll be heading back now. s-see ya.”

You blinked and he was gone like a ghost. You weren't sure what was wrong with him. You thought that he may be having a bad day. Sometimes, rainstorms are unpredicted. Then a brilliant thought popped in your head: maybe you can do something to cheer him up. Yeah, that's what you’ll do. You know how Sans liked his burgers from Grillby’s and his ketchup from the market.

You headed back to your home to retrieve your wallet.

You were sure he’d love this. He might feel better by the time the party started.


You knocked on the door to the security office, those two beats you and everyone else always did. You were expecting the skeleton to question who was there but there was none. You thought he didn't hear you so you repeated the action. No answer. That’s odd, you thought. Sans always loved knock knock jokes.

Maybe he wasn't in there. You did run into him in the halls, which was rare since he was always in his office. You walked to the flower hall, now devoid of flowers since they were also burned during the Dust Festival. Alas, no Sans. You entered the gym. No punny skeleton.

You decided to give the knocking one last try. No response once again. You looked down at the door knob and decided to try turning it. You could just leave the food there and head back. He didn't need to know it was you who bought him lunch.

The door opened. You were sure it'd be locked but life’s full of surprises.You felt bad that you were invading his personal space. He always opened and closed it right behind him whenever he left it for a reason. Hopefully the burger would be a good enough gift to apologize for breaking in.

You opened the door wide for all that were not there to see. The only light was the lights from the large monitors in the back of the room, giving the contents an electronic blue tint. You tip-toed cautiously in and immediately stepped on a piece of garbage. And another piece. And another piece. Okay, you thought your brother’s room was gross but this, oh this took the cake. Piles of garbage and clean laundry were stacked on either side of the small room. Surprisingly it didn't reek. In fact, it smelled only like ketchup. You silently thanked the skeleton for not being a complete slob.

Luckily, there was a cleared path that led straight to the desk under the monitors. In the desk chair was the slumped over figure of the skeleton you were looking for. Sans was asleep, softly snoring. You walked as quietly as you could over. As you did, you just couldn't keep your eyes off of the screens. Every corner of Newer Home was displayed on tiny monitors circumferencing a huge one displaying a map of the Academy. Every five seconds the Academy’s map would switch over to the next floor, in an endless loop.

You put the bag down on one of the few clear spots on the desk. Your eyes wandered as if following a trail. Random papers, unopened ketchup packets, pens, two whoopee cushions, car keys, then finally a notebook. It was open under Sans’s arms. Thanks to his big skull and hoodie, you couldn't see what was written on it. You found it a good thing. You didn't want to snoop more than you already have.

As you peered over him, you noticed the sweat on his skull was practically pouring now. Plus, that clicking noise. It sounded like chattering teeth. You were curious now. You noticed from the exposed vertebrae of his neck that his bones were rattling, like he was shivering. Maybe you should have bought him some chicken soup instead of the burger. Sans looked ill.

You needed to know if he was alright.

You moved to put your hand on his shoulder blade. Before you could even fully press your hand on the cotton of his hoodie, your body suddenly jolted, as if something grabbed your very essence.

You immediately had a recollection of when you first watched Star Wars. You were the Millennium Falcon. Whatever grabbed your Soul was Han Solo, preparing the hyperdrive on the ship. Within in a millisecond, you were flung at light speed, the blue lights around you speeding past you like thin, sharp lines. What stopped your journey was the hallway wall adjacent to the security office door, which you crashed right into. Your cranium slammed right into the cement. Your vision blurred and whirled, like taking a ride on Hell’s version of the teacups.

You were about to get up but you couldn't. As your vision cleared, you saw a black figure with something cyan and yellow flashing, spinning your head even more. You blinked hard three times and, like windshield wipers clearing the windshield, your vision cleared.

It was Sans. He was staring at you as if you murdered his family - hateful, pure darkness radiating off of him. The hairs on the back of your neck stood up. Sans slowly raised his left hand, your body rising up the wall. Nonononono. You clawed at the wall, your half attempt to stop this from happening. You didn't know why he was doing this but you wanted off this ride right now.

You felt it in your Soul. He was trying to kill you. He was actually trying to kill you.

“Sa…” You couldn't even speak. The air in your lungs was taken out of you every inch you rose. “Pl… ease… Sans…”

Your pleas fell on deaf ears. Sans wasn't going to release you.

You knew no one was on this floor besides the two of you. You confirmed it a moment ago. Yet, you clung to hope. You inhaled as much as you could and shrieked for help, for someone to help you.

But nobody came.

You felt your vision blur again, your body go limp. You felt you could pass on at any moment. But you didn't want to die. No, you refused to die. Being at death’s door and wanting to run back to life's, you were filled with a feeling you couldn't put your finger on. For a brief moment, your vision was covered in blue.

Once again, your vision returned to normal before you could figure out what was going on and you fell down on top of something soft. You hurriedly breathed in the air, the soft scent of clean laundry and flowers filling your nostrils. Soon, you were shifted and laid out on the floor.

You heard a familiar voice calling your name, lightly shaking you. You were seeing a brown and navy blue blob in triples across your eyes. After blinking away the blur, you locked eyes with Frisk, who looked incredibly worried.

“Frisk?... What are you-”

He sighed loud in relief. “Oh thank god you're alive.”

“I… Wha...”

“You've had a bad time. Are you okay?”

“Yeah?...”

“Well, that's better than nothing. Here, let me sit you up.” Frisk gently pulled you upright and moved you so your back rested on the wall you were on just a moment ago.

A shiver ran down your spine at the thought. You almost died. You seriously almost died.

Frisk got up and stood in front on you. He held out his arms as if he was protecting someone… He was protecting you from…

You moved just a bit and there was Sans with his hand still out as if he was casting magic. There was no light in his eye sockets. He was hyperventilating.

The human spoke to him gently, trying to soothe him. “Sans, you don't need to fight anymore. It's okay. It's over.” Little by little, Frisk stepped quietly over to him.

“B---”

“There's no need to be afraid. You'll be okay. Papyrus’ll be okay. Everyone you know’ll be okay.”

“But the---”

“There’ll be no more of them. I promised you this and I meant that.”

Sans looked over at you and he flinched so hard that he fell on his coccyx. “I--- I-I-I-”

“My assistant is fine. They'll be okay. Just please…”

Frisk got down onto his knees and held his arms out as if asking for a hug. The skeleton’s breaths slowed down every inhale he took. The pinpricks glowed brighter little by little. The sweating stopped, the rattling ended. Sans was fine - sort of.

Frisk got up and offered him a hand. The skeleton didn't take it, shakily getting up on his own.

“did i… did i seriously-”

“Yes, you did.”

Sans put his skull in his hands. “oh my god. how could I have…?”

“Because you refuse to ask for help.”

Sans slowly pulled his hands away from his face, a glint of anger on his brow. “what do ya mean by that?”

Frisk stood firm, unaffected by the look he was receiving. “You know what I mean.”

Sans walked away a bit and the human turned towards him, never losing contact off his form.

“Sans, where are you going?”

He shrugged. “dunno. just away from everyone.”

Frisk grabbed his forearm. “Please Sans, don't do this.”

The skeleton’s tone turned dark. “don’t do what?”

“Don't walk away from me. Don’t walk away from the help you n-”

He pulled his arm of his grasp. “i don't need help.”

The human’s tone was firm like stone. “Yes, you do. I don't mind you doing that to me when you have an attack. I deserve it. But nearly ending the life of my assistant? Sans, I just can't let this slide anymore. You're… You're-”

Sans snapped his body in Frisk’s direction and roared at him. “say it. just say it. tell me i’m looney. tell me i’m unfit to work here anymore.”

Frisk didn't respond at all. He stood tall and poised over the stout and fuming Monster before him. “You're not looney, Sans.”

Sans slowly stood down, glancing at the tiles at one point and then at you. You saw deep sorrow in his eye sockets for the briefest of moments, practically half a second. It was something that could have been dismissed as your imagination but you knew your eyes weren't playing with you. You saw that. He made a sound similar to clicking his tongue when he pulled his pinpricks away from you.

“And you're not unfit to work here. You just can't do this by yourself anymore. You have so much on your plate, monitoring all of Newer Home 24/7 and working as a security guard here. No one would be able to handle that large of a workload, not even Toriel. I understand you don't want to seek treatment and I respect your decision but you’re harming others now and I can't allow this to go on unchecked.

I'm going to put wanted ads in the human-” Sans’s eye sockets rose at the word. “-papers for the position starting tomorrow.”

“humans, humans, humans. why are you hiring all of these humans? are monsters not good enough for ya now?”

You felt very small then.

“Because you know that a Monster won't be able to handle you when you get like this. If my assistant was a Monster, they would have been dust the second you flung them into the wall.”

Sans shuttered at that. You looked above you for a split second and you froze at what you saw. There was a huge crack in the wall, the epicenter about the size of your body. You gulped as you turned back to them.

“i’m not working with anyone much less a human so get that thought outta your head right now.”

“Yes you are.”

Sans leaned in and growled, “you can't make me. you don't have any power over me, 307.”

You hadn't a clue what that meant but whatever it was made Frisk’s calm expression twist into rage. He stood tall, like a commander over a cadet. “Yes I do, Sans.”

Frisk rolled his shoulders back and raised his chin high. That was when you remembered it. He wasn't just a human child of two kind Monsters. He was the child of royalty. Frisk was a prince. “I, Prince Frisk Dreemurr, current heir of the throne of the Kingdom of Monsterkind, declare that you, Sans, cannot work by yourself any longer. If you refuse to cooperate then you will lose your position as security guard and moderator of the citizen identification system.”

Sans almost stepped a step back. “you’re not serious.”

“I'm a man of my word, Sans. I'm sure the king and queen will agree with my actions should I have to do so.”

“why do you always have to be a dickwad to me? okay, sure, i flung ya around a couple of times. i’ve been apologized for it. why do ya suddenly gotta be-”

“Because this isn't just about you, Sans. It's never been just about you.”

The skeleton’s anger left him for a moment. “what’d ya mean?”

“Everything's a domino effect. Every time you have an attack, someone will be affected by it whether directly or not. My mother has been worrying about you since the first one. My father too. And I can't even begin to imagine how Papyrus feels-”

And just like that, Sans flared up. “i thought i told you not to bring up papyrus.”

“He’s a part of this, Sans. You got to understand how he feels. He has a huge burden on his shoulders-” Frisk couldn't catch himself in time.

Sans looked like he couldn't believe what he just heard. “so i’m a burden now.”

“N-No, that's not what I meant. Sans, I-”

“screw you. i’m outta here.” With that, Sans “took a shortcut” out of the corridor.

All there was left was silence. You could probably grab the tension in the air, left in wake of what just occurred. You wondered how many times this has happened, how many times the two argued.

Frisk sighed hard and rubbed his temples. After wiping his face, the stress rubbing off with the action, he walked over to you. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah, I guess.” The human pulled you back up on your feet. You stumbled a bit and he put his arm under your armpits to balance you.

“Still dizzy?”

“Very much.”

A second later, footsteps came from the flower hall. A concerned Toriel walked into the corridor, a hurried pace that was still full of grace.

“I heard shouting just a moment ago. Is everything---” The teacher’s hands flew up to her snout. “Oh my god.” She ran over to you with a look that reminded you of your mother when she was worried. “My child, are you alright? What happened to you?”

“It was Sans, Mom.”

Toriel looked as if she heard something horrifying. “Oh no.” She began to pace back and forth, chanting that over and over as if it was a prayer to relieve the situation. “Where did he go?”

“You already know.”

“Is he still having an episode?”

“No, just aggressive as all heck.”

She stopped then. “Oh goodness gracious. Papyrus already went in for his shift an hour ago as well. It would bad for him to take his brother home now.”

“He'll be fine. A couple of bottles of barbecue sauce will calm him down.”

Toriel sighed. “I wish you would not say it like that.”

“Sorry.”

The queen sighed again. “He cannot work by himself anymore. I have told you this since the first time this happened. You cannot keep covering for him.”

“I know. I told him today. Had to make an Royal Decree and everything too. That’s probably the shouting you heard earlier. My apologies, by the way. I didn't mind if it was me he was attacking but…” He glanced at you before looking back at his mother.

“He should not be attacking anyone…” Toriel’s figure drooped, a frown on her snout. “I wish he would tell us what was causing this. He is a good boy; a bonehead, yes, but still a good boy.”

“Well, everyone has skeletons in their closet.”

The queen found a way to snicker at that.

“Don’t worry, Mom. He’ll be okay, I’m sure of it. He just needs to accept that everyone needs help every once in awhile.”

“You know I will even if you tell me not to.”

Frisk smiled softly at that. “I know…”

“Now, let me heal you, my child.” Toriel began to scrutinize every inch of your body, looking for any wounds. She didn’t find anything, not even one where you hit your noggin; just a papercut from the day prior. Even still, she made sure to treat it as if it was a gunshot to the heart. You looked at her hands and an orange light flickered under them. You felt a small sting but then all there was left was warmth, like drinking a hot cup of tea or having a hot water bottle on your belly. Within a matter of seconds, she pulled her hands away and gave you a big smile. “All better now.”

You looked at your hand and the cut was gone. You had stars in your eyes. “Holy sh-” You caught yourself from cursing in front of the queen. “Holy moly, that’s… that’s incredible.”

“Well, fire magic can be used for cauterizing open wounds of all types. We all get paper cuts.” She giggled and you did too. “Sometimes, the wounds reopen so make sure to put a bandage on. Now, what are we going to do about Sans, Frisk?”

“Well, we should hire an extra hand in the security office. I don’t entrust anyone but Sans to run the ID System but we can always use another security guard.”

“You are right about that. I do not trust any other person but him to moderate it. If you are going to hire another security guard, you unfortunately cannot hire a Monster. The only Monsters able to handle a Boss Monster is a Boss Monster. All of the ones by trial already have jobs or aren't on the mount. And you know how the ones by right are.”

“I'm already one step ahead of you. Sans wasn't very happy about that part.”

Toriel rolled her eyes. “This is why I argue with him.” She rubbed at her temples.

Frisk put a supporting hand on her shoulder. “Things will be alright. Have faith.”

“I do. I very much do.” The queen turned to you. “May I inquire about what happened?”

You gulped. “Of course. Well, I ran into him earlier. He seemed pretty nervous…” You realized that he was having symptoms all the way then. You felt like an idiot for not realizing it. “So I bought him Grillby’s and some ketchup. I thought it'd make him feel better.”

The two beamed at you. The human said, “I'm sure he would have appreciated it. You know he isn't normally like ‘that’ at all.”

“I know.”

“Then I'm guessing he used his magic on you.”

“... Yeah… I-I don't mean to be nosy but-”

“We are just in the dark as you are, my child. He refuses to see anyone about it nor tell a soul. He will not even tell Papyrus and you know how he dotes on him.”

“I personally believe it's post traumatic stress disorder,” Frisk commented, “However a psychiatrist is a much better judge than I am.”

“I see… Was he having a panic attack back there?”

“We’re not sure either. We’ll all seen people have them. Many of the symptoms he experiences are similar to them. But hurting others? That's definitely not one. So we call these attacks episodes to define the difference.”

“Oh… Okay… Was this my fault? I mean, I know you said it might not be a panic attack but I did try to touch him and I know you're not supposed to touch people without permission during one and-”

Toriel took one of your hands and held it tenderly. “No no, this was not your fault. This was no one’s fault.” She glanced at your connected hands then gazed at you with sad eyes, as if they could well up with tears at any moment. “I hope you are not afraid of him after this.”

“No, I'm not.” Yes, you were fearful of that occurring again. But you knew the skeleton. You knew it wasn't his intention to hurt you. Why would he look so mortified when he saw what he did to you? Because he regretted it, because he didn’t intend to do it. “That Sans wasn't the Sans I knew. The Sans I know is a person with the best puns I've ever heard and always pops up when you need to hear them. I can tell them apart. I'm not afraid.”

You've never seen Toriel look so relieved. “I am glad you are not afraid. I will be taking my leave. Frisk, you made a decree so you know you must follow through with it.”

“Of course. I'm prepared to be torched alive if I don't.”

The queen snickered. “I have raised you well. Your dignity is on the line. Uphold to your duty, my child. For you,” She glanced to you with a gentle look, “You did what you thought was right. Regarding what you want to do with the skeleton, that is up to you. I know you will make the right choice.” With that, the queen left the same way she came.

“Where's Sans right now?”

Frisk turned to you. “Take a guess.”

“... When should we stop by? I need to talk to him. He probably thinks I'm scared of him now.”

“Give it ‘til the night time rush. Let him blow off a little steam.”

You nodded. You decided to rest for the remainder of the afternoon. Frisk cancelled the party as well. It wouldn't be the same without the pun extraordinaire.


It was eight o’clock and Grillby's was nearly full to the brim with patrons, the usual jolly clamorous crowd. From what you heard, the tavern is exactly the same as the one in the Underground. Literally. The owner somehow uprooted the restaurant like a tree and brought it to the Surface. You remembered a regular mentioning that someone had to pay off their tab and they paid it off in full by doing that impossible feat.

When the two of you came in, everyone cheered.

Frisk shouted, “You guys must be celebrating that new law, am I right?”

Everyone in the pub raised their drinks and cheered again. It felt good to see their reactions. Things were really looking up for the race and you were glad to have a hand in helping them.

The two of you sat down at an empty booth.

“Where’s the skeleton?”

Frisk pointed behind you. Sans was at the bar, face down with a shot glass coated in a brown residue inside next to his face. Your heart practically broke just seeing him in the sorry state.

The human across the table rested his chin on his palm. “So do you have a plan or something?”

Nothing - you had come up with absolutely nothing. Even as you tried to think about it now, you drew a blank. “Uh… Yeah.”

“Oh c’mon, don't lie to me. I know you haven't a clue what to do.”

Shit. Was I so easy to read? “Uh… I'll come up with something.”

Just then, a green-flamed fire elemental came to the table. She was dressed like Grillby, minus the glasses. A perky, highly feminine voice greeted you the way the waitress always did, “Hi, welcome to Grillby’s.”

“Good evening, beautiful.” Frisk winked at her.

The fires on her whole body burned brighter for a moment. “Already?”

“You should know me by now, Candy.”

Candescence - everyone calls her Candace but Frisk exclusively calls her Candy - put her hands on her hips. “Whatever, Frisk.” She rolled her eyes though a soft smile crackled on her face.

“How's life treating you?”

Candace folded her arms and peered at the ceiling lights, as if they would give her an answer. “Grad school’s good. Still happy and unhappy about working here.”

“Happy because you get paid and it's home and unhappy because it's the service industry, am I still correct?”

She sighed dreamily, her hands cupping her cheeks. “That's the only thing I like about you. You're the only boy who remembers every word I say.”

“That's hardly the truth, Candy. Don't sweeten me up more than I already am.”

That got a giggle out of the elemental, her flames flying a bit higher as she did. “One day I'll come up with something good to respond with. It'll be great and you'll be a mess and the whole bar’ll be rolling on the floor.”

Frisk placed a hand over his heart and feigned swooning. “Oh goodness, you might just set my heart aflame just by promising that.”

Candace sighed and put her flaming hand on her face in defeat. “I walked right into that one, didn't I?”

“Yep. Speaking of walking into stuff…” Frisk motioned to Sans.

“I came in at two and he was already there. You know how he is - a slug. He's just been sitting there, occasionally getting a shot of barbecue sauce then going back to lying about. My uncle always appreciates that Sans is a lazy drunk. Most of the town’s the jolly drunk but the jolly drunk’s too rowdy. But him, he just sits there in his own little world, no trouble whatsoever. Will Papyrus be making sure he gets home or are you the cleanup crew?”

“Cleanup crew.”

She nodded. “Alright. Will you guys be ordering anything? You'll be able to participate in Karaoke Thursday if you do.”

“Sure.” You ordered your usual.

Frisk ordered The Burg, a hamburger with the works on it. Frisk let you have a bite of his last time you guys came and it was heavenly. Well, everything at Grillby’s was heavenly.

“Alrighty. I'll be back in a moment with your drinks. You know how Karaoke Night works already. And Frisk.” Candace had a playful crinkle in her eye. “If you want to capture my heart, you have to serenade me.”

“Oh, c’mon, Candy baby, you know I'm not any good.”

“Oh, c’mon, Frisky baby, I've heard you sing before. You're no Gale or Shyren but you're better than most of the drunks here.”

The other patrons begged for Candace to give them a break and she swatted them off playfully. One of the best things about this pub was that everyone knew each other and everything was in good fun.

“Anyway, I’ll be back in a sec with your drinks.”

Candace walked away towards the bar, leaning over to tell Grillby the order. As you saw him nod and walk into the kitchen, your phone began to buzz in your pocket. Your ringtone was playing just loudly enough for the two of you to hear it. You answered the call, greeting the caller the way you always did.

“Oh, heya, kiddo.” It was your father. “I just got home from work.”

“Really? Wow, the museum must have had you there pretty late.”

“Yeah. There's a new exhibit being installed soon so I had to go over some things with the builders. Anyway, I wanted to phone in because I heard about that new law that was passed today.”

“Yep. Frisk and I are at Grillby’s celebrating right now.”

“Oh yeah, that place with the burgers you're always raving about.”

“And don't forget the fries. They have that zing Shake Shack doesn't get right.”

Your father chuckled. “Well that's good. You deserve to celebrate every once in awhile. As usual, your family says hello.”

“And Jake says ew I’m guessing.”

He laughed again. “Well, I'll leave you to it. Tell Frisk and all the Monsters my deepest congratulations.”

“Alright. Talk to you soon, Dad.”

“Alright. Bye.”

With that, you hung up. Your drinks had arrived while you were on the phone. Nice. You took a swig of the water while Frisk took a sip of his lemonade.

“So what are we going to do about our skeleton?” Frisk looked up at you.

You sat there at a loss. You knew what you wanted to tell him. Things were going to okay, no matter what he chose to do. There's always someone looking out for him. He wasn't alone. You just didn't know how to say it.

Then you looked at your phone. You remembered why you chose Living on a Prayer for your family’s ringtone. When things weren't okay, they'd make it okay whatever way they could. They were always there for you. You were never alone when you thought of them. They were always living on a prayer, taking every day with hopeful steps making their stride. They were hope.

No, it wasn't just your family that was hope. That song was hope. And every karaoke system in the United States had that Bon Jovi song. You knew what to do.

“I have an idea.”

“Really now.”

“Yep, and I have to get drunk to do it.”

Just then, Candace came back with your orders. She placed the plates in front of you two. You were salivating already. “Okay, is there anything else you guys want?”

“Yes, I'd like two Heinekens.”

The fire elemental immediately shot a glare at Frisk, not even questioning you. “Frisk, what’d I tell you about having other people order for you? I'm gonna get in trouble again. Can’t you be patient or something? You don't even have half a year left until your birthday.”

“They're actually just for me.”

Candace sighed, relieved. “Oh good. I thought I would have to torch him again.”

“Besides, you know me, Candy. I'm a Blue Moon man, not mouthwash.”

You stuck your tongue out at him.

“I'll be right back with your beer.” Candace walked away and in a flash she had your beers. She opened them for you and put them on the table. “Do you want a glass for that or-?”

“I'll be drinking it straight from the bottle.”

The human waved his hands, feigning wonder. “Oooooo, you're living on the edge.”

“Oh shut up, Frisk.”

He stuck his tongue out at you.

Candace snickered and went back to help a table across the room.

You immediately guzzled down the first one. When you slammed the bottle back on the table, a satisfied sigh coming from your mouth, you already felt the buzz. The only reason you ordered Heineken was because it was strong and you needed to get, as Ricardo described it, fucked up as fast as possible.

As Frisk munched on a fry, he smirked at you. “I enjoy the fact that you get drunk so easily. Plus, you make such rookie mistakes. Seriously, you're gonna get sick if you don't eat some of your food.”

You were going for the next one. “I gotta get drunk quick. I'll eat… later.” Your speech was slurring already. Maybe he was right about your alcohol tolerance being so low.

“But you'll be sick.”

“Then I'll call out tomorrow or somethin’.” You shoved the bottle in your mouth and swallowed a gulp of it. “You don't mind, do ya?”

“I totally mind. But if you're gonna call out sick, you have a price to pay.”

You swallowed a bit more of the beer. “And what's th-”

Before you could even finish your question, Frisk snatched the bottle out of your hand and put it to his lips. Due to your lack of soberness, your reactions were two seconds behind. He had already started guzzling down the alcohol when you stared at him agape. Then you tried to take the bottle back but he had already leaned his head all the way back. And when you rose up from the table to reach all the way over, he dove over to lay down on the seat. When he came back up, with a pop, he pulled the now empty bottle away from his lips.

He then gave it back, a shit-eating grin on his face. “You weren't going to finish that anyway.”

You were flabbergasted. You couldn’t believe he just did that. “I--- I t-thought you said it was mouthwash.”

“Mouthwash has alcohol in it too and I wanted some since I cancelled my party.”

A Monster at the bar shouted that karaoke was about to begin and to just go up and get started.

“Now, get up there and serenade me.”

As you got up out of your seat, you said, “You're lucky I'm not a snitch.”

“You wouldn't have a job tomorrow if you were a snitch.”

You were about to head on up but you turned back to him and gave him your mother’s favorite finger. He deserved it too. He drank your beer. He didn't ask either. He just took it from you. Also, he needed some sweet revenge from when he gave you the finger after the Dust Festival.

He gasped in horror. “Ooooo, you gave your employer the finger.”

“And you, Mr. Underage, drank my beer.”

Grillby added a little stage nearby the jukebox when he started business on the Surface. When you got up there, the crowd cheered you on. There was a small tablet in front of you near your feet to choose the song you wanted to sing and display the lyrics. You poked at the screen until you found the song. You weren't ready to hit play just yet. You needed to get that thing that's been nagging you off your chest.

You grabbed the mic and began to jabber.

“Heyyyy everybody, how’re ya doing tonight?”

The patrons whooped in response.

“Of course ya guys are doing great. That law getting passed is everyone’s excuse for drinking tonight, am I right?”

The whole pub whistled and hollered. Everyone was certainly happy that things were going well.

“One of the many things I love about you guys is that you’re real hopeful. You guys could look at a speck of hope and cling to it. There's not many people out there that can do that. There were people out there who thought that that law wasn't going to get passed but you guys, oh you guys told them to back off. Because you guys were hopeful and you didn't want some loser to rain on your parade. And look what happened. Good shit happened.

And there's a certain Monster in this room right now who ain't hopeful.”

The patrons all booed. You booed along with them.

“He ain't being himself and that fucks me up - really fucks me up… I hope y'all like Bon Jovi because I got something to tell that person and only that legendary band can get my point across.”

You stared right at Sans’s sullen figure. You knew he wasn't asleep. You knew he was listening hard.

“Look man, I'm sorry. I know, I know, everyone's told me it wasn't my fault but… I should still apologize. It's the right thing to do. Or something like that. Also, I ain't afraid of ya. I've never been afraid of any Monster and I'm not starting with you. Well, except for the queen. You all know how she is when she's mad.”

A Monster who was literally just a humongous mouth - you think their name is ironically Loudmouth - shouted, “Yeah, flaming” and the whole pub fell out. You laughed too.

“You light up my life with bad jokes and good coincidences. You ain't supposed to be drinking and moping at a bar all by yourself. You're supposed to be… hopeful. And you're not hopeful now. ‘Makes me sad you aren't.

I don't know how to say it but… You're not alone. There's always someone looking out for ya, whether it be your bro or the queen or Frisk or even lil ol’ me. Plus we've all been through tough shit. I don't think I've ever had a real bunch of good friends but look at me now.”

You chuckled lightly.

“Things will change, man so stay hopeful… or something like that.”

You decided then to press the button to begin the song. The intro was long so you'd have enough time to finish what you had to say.

“This song is my family’s anthem. It was our prayer to keep our heads high when everything was low and, well, went to shit. We held our heads high as the sky and things ended up okay. So I hope this will help you understand that things will be okay too, that it's okay to ask for help, that you're not alone in your struggles.”

You hiccuped.

“All we can do is… Live on a Prayer. If you accept these words in your life, you’ll get up on stage with me. Don’t gotta sing. Just get up, you hear me? Alright. Let’s get ready to rock!”

The electric guitar did its final strum and the lyrics began. You didn't need to look at the tablet. The words were engraved in your soul.

Tommy used to work on the d-

People booed as soon as you opened your mouth. You were a horrid singer and the drunkenness made it even worse. At least you had the right pitch… or so you thought.
“Oh fuck off! You guys’re just as bad!” You hiccuped again and continued on with the next verse.

Gina works the diner all day working for her man
She brings home her pay, for love, for love

You caught Frisk dying of laughter, banging his fist on the table. You ignored him. You were still pissed about him drinking the beer that you still have to pay for. And beer’s expensive.

She says, we've got to hold on to what we've got
It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not
We've got each other and that's a lot for love
We'll give it a shot

You looked at Sans. His head was still on the bar. You knew he was up and, if he did fall asleep, he was up now. You were probably startling old women miles away. He would definitely be listening.

Woah, we're half way there
Woah, livin' on a prayer
Take my hand, we'll make it I swear
Woah, livin' on a prayer

Your favorite part of the song - the chorus. You could throw your whole soul into it and not look stupid. Well, you didn't care. The buzz was giving you a lot of confidence. After singing it, you thought that doing an air guitar would look wicked and you did. Not an ounce of regret. That’s the power of alcohol.

Tommy's got his six-string in hock
Now he's holding in what he used to make it talk
So tough, it's tough

Your eyes swept over the audience. When your eyes caught onto the skeleton, you stopped for a split second. Sans’s head was up off the bar, his gaze set on you. You got his attention. Good. Very good. Your plan was working somehow.

Gina dreams of running away
When she cries in the night, Tommy whispers
Baby, it's okay, someday

Your voice cracked when you got to the last line like a pubescent boy’s would. Sans hollered at that, throwing his head back and slamming his hand on the bar top. When he looked back at you, he looked pleasant, as if things were good with him.

You had to keep going.

We've got to hold on to what we've got
It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not
We've got each other and that's a lot for love
We'll give it a shot

You looked him dead in the eye as you sang the hook. You needed to shove that into his thick skull. You needed to show that things were going to be alright if you just kept on going.

Woah, we're half way there
Woah, livin' on a prayer
Take my hand, we'll make it I swear
Woah, livin' on a prayer
Livin' on a prayer

Sans slowly got up out of his seat and walked to the stage, the lights in his eyes not there, as the guitar solos blared on the speakers. The alcohol removed whatever nervousness you would have had if you were sober. You didn’t know why but you applauded him for doing it, for being brave enough to come up here. The other guests cheered as well, whistling and woofing of all kinds.

When he was next to you on the stage, he looked up at you with kind eyes. “sorry about earlier… and thanks.”

“For what?”

“for not giving up on me.”

“I’d never give up on you. Neither would anyone else. Now you better finish this with me or I’m gonna look real stupid.”

Sans began to lower the other mic stand to his height. “one step ahead of ya.”

Oh, we've got to hold on, ready or not
You live for the fight when it's all that you've got

The first word didn’t even come out of your mouth. You were too stunned by the fact that Sans could sing pretty damn well. Well, he did have all kinds of tricks up his sleeve, whether it be joy buzzers or hidden talents.

He winked at you and you winked back. You knew what you had to do.

Woah, we're half way there
Woah, livin' on a prayer
Take my hand, we'll make it I swear
Woah, livin' on a prayer

The two of you went completely in. You weren’t sure whether Sans was as drunk as you were then but you guys were able to harmonize in a way. Well, it was more like the skeleton’s vocals were covering up your nails-scratching-against-glass vocals. Still, it was somewhat pleasant to the ear. Plus, you guys were feeling it. It was as if you guys had that crazy ‘80s hair, leather jackets, and electric guitars on stage in front of millions. It felt incredible. You giggle and snorted at the thought. He would look pretty funky in a pair of star sunglasses anyway. Plus, he’d finally have hair.

Woah, we're half way there
Woah, livin' on a prayer
Take my hand, we'll make it I swear
Woah, livin' on a prayer

The whole restaurant joined in then. Of course, since most of the patrons were just as drunk as you were, they sounded horrid. It was more like screaming then actual singing. You felt better, knowing it wasn’t just you.

Woah, we're half way there
Woah, livin' on a prayer
Take my hand, we'll make it I swear
Woah, livin' on a prayer

Everything felt right. The awful karaoke rendition of the ‘80s hit, the crowd joining in with you, Sans and you being friends again. It was good. This was good. You hoped this goodness would remain for the rest of you and the skeleton’s days.


“sorry for being a jackass earlier.”

“Like I said before, you’ve already been forgiven.”

The bar finally quieted down to the regular noise it had after your “riveting performance” just now. You felt just a bit closer to Sans now, heart wise. Well, anyone would be bonded in some way after drunkenly singing ‘80s rock hits in a pub full of other drunk customers. The skeleton had joined you two at your booth, sitting right next to you too. You were finishing your food as the two discussed some matters.

“so, uh, about the security guard thing… i’m cool with it.” Frisk and you smiled big. “but, and i mean but, not butt like booty- ” The two of you snorted. “-you gotta let me be there with ya when you give the tour around the school. if i don’t like ‘em, i’m throwing them out.”

Frisk rested his head on his wrist. “Actually, that’s what I had planned from the beginning.”

Sans was shocked. “really?”

“Of course. Sure, they need to be a certain way but you have to like them too. You’re going to be working with them for hours on end. I wouldn’t hire any guard without your observation and input first.”

The skeleton’s permanent grin seemed to grow a bit wider. “... you’re a real pal, you know that.”

“I’ve heard that a lot recently.” Frisk looked right at you when you said that.

You finished off your last fry. You replied sarcastically, “I’m sooo sorry I wanted some clarity about our friendship situation.”

The two heartily chuckled at that. It was as if their argument earlier never happened. You were pleased with the results. After the rain, the sun always comes back.

Candace came with the bill. “Here you go, you guys. You know how this works. I’ll see ya next time you come in. Also, nice job up… there…” She couldn’t hold back her laughs. She had to grip onto the ends of the table as she crouched down, trying her hardest to control herself. When she was reduced to a few small giggles, she wished you all a good night.

You opened the bill presenter to see how much damage you did to your wallet. Surprisingly, there was no bill. In fact, it was just a note: “Thanks for cheering him up. It's on the house.” You whipped your head towards the bar. The flaming bartender looked at you, wiping a cup as he did. You weren't sure if it was because of beer goggles but you swore he was smiling. You returned the gesture and turned back to your table.

“And trending.” Frisk had his cell phone out, looking at the screen.

“Huh? What's trending?”

“I recorded a video of you bringing the house down just a moment ago - still hilarious by the way - and posted it on Chirper. You already have ten thousand rechirps.”

“Wha?”

“Yep. It's trending on there. Next thing you know, Ellen’s gonna call you to be on her show.”

You slammed your fist on the table. “What the hell Frisk.”

“Aw, c'mon, what's the worst that’s gonna happen? Your mom finds it?”

“She is going to find it because she follows you on there.”

Frisk’s hand flew up to his mouth instantly, trying to cover up the full out laugh he just let out but you heard it quite well. Sans was snickering as well.

“Sans, get up for a minute. I'm going to kill him.”

“really? okay, lemme just get my camera out first - evidence to give back to the queen and all.” Sans then began to pull out ten whoopee cushions, five joy buzzers, seven prank packs of gum, and a long line of tied together handkerchiefs out of his pockets. It was as if his clothes were a black hole. With one last enthusiastic dig into his hoodie pocket, he found his cell phone.

You were absolutely befuddled by how he had so much stuff in his pockets. “How the hell do ya manage to carry all of that?”

“i don't know, magic maybe?” He gave you the jazz hands.

You burst out laughing. “Yeah that's true. Now…” You grabbed the handkerchief rope and swung it menacingly. “Time to murder you.”

“You can't kill me with napkins.”

“Yeah, I can. I can shove them down your throat or something.”

“Yeah, that's true. Also, I should be running.” With that, Frisk flew out of his seat and out the door.

“Don't run away from destiny, you jerk.” And you followed right after.

Things felt good. Things felt really good. After tonight, you'd have to hope that the punny skeleton got the help he needed, even if it's as small as having another guard on duty. You hoped that the new guard would be a good person, patient too. He needs someone patient to keep him company.

Chapter Text

It was the winter solstice - the turning point of the year, the turning point of five lives - when the next human joined the faculty.

Everyone was surprised by how fast humans responded to the wanted ad. In fact, two inquired the day it was first printed. Unfortunately, both struck out. It wasn't that they weren’t nice people. They definitely were. Open-minded too; neither received pins. They just weren't right for the job. The first was too scary, which Sans didn't mind but Frisk did. You had to remind Sans that you all weren't looking for Frankenstein, which he joked about having to be frank with you regarding his opinion. The second was too lenient, which Frisk didn't mind but Sans did. You had to remind Frisk that you weren't looking for Dora the Explorer, which he retaliated by bringing up how she wagged her finger at a thief every episode.

You hoped that the third was the one, who was coming in today. Jonathan Summers, 28, Chicago, Illinois. Gathering from his quick phone conversation with Frisk, he was well-spoken with a good sense of humor. Just like you, he also never met a Monster in person.

Third time’s the charm, right?

The front door to Frisk’s house was knocked on at exactly five minutes after eleven. You were told in advance to treat the interview like a survey, minus the tape recorder so you were seated at your usual spot with your notepad in hand.

“Come in,” Frisk shouted.

The door was opened and there stood Toriel, Flowey in hand. “Flowey was at it once again.”

He sighed disappointedly. “Again, Flowey?”

Flowey pressed his leaves onto his stem as if he was putting his hands on his hips. “Look, you have your own agenda and I have mine. Mine - since I have to explain it again for the millionth time - is to get a human Soul. So that's what I was doing: sticking to my agenda.”

“Why can't you do something more, I don't know, less murder-y, like knitting or something?”

“Because that's boring and I don't have hands.”

Frisk shrugged. “Fair enough.”

Toriel glared daggers at the flower before peering at her son with that motherly look she gave everyone. “I will place him in the kitchen as usual.”

“Thanks as always, mom.”

Toriel breezed by and came back just as fluidly. “I will be taking my leave. I wish you luck, Jonathan. I sincerely hope you will be joining the faculty here at the Academy.” The queen gave the human at the door a gentle smile then glanced back at her son with a certain twinkle in her. Toriel was getting a good vibe from him. Good. That's very good.

“Thank you for everything, Toriel.” His voice was definitely deep but also smooth, like velvet. “And I hope so as well.”

With that, the kindergarten teacher went back to class. The human stepped inside and closed the door behind him. After that, he looked at you both, back straight and shoulders rolled back.

Summers was built like a fortress, fortitude and citrine skin crystallizing over every edge of his muscled body. His onyx eyes were sharp and his square jawline was even sharper. The one reason you knew his hair was obsidian was because he still had his eyebrow hair. He was bald, most likely his own choice. Yet, within those stone walls were softness. His lips were plump and his nose was button. Even though his eyes were like a commander’s, they gleamed like a child’s. Plus, that dorky smile and that magenta bowtie made him seem to not be the hardened man he looked like. And the positivity that was radiating off of him; he was like the sun on a gloomy day - a deus ex machina in the most despairing of situation.

He might just be the one.

Frisk got up from his chair and held out a hand. “Hiya, I’m Frisk. Welcome to Newer Home.”

“Thanks, man.” The two shook hands. “It's an honor to meet you.”

Frisk swatted the compliment off. “Oh it's nothing really. I do just as much work as any person does.”

You wanted to remind him of his reasons for hiring you - because he was going nuts from the sheer amount of work he’s doing - but you kept your lips tight.

“This is my assistant. If you end up being chosen for the position, then you'll be staying with them.”

“Nice to meet you, Jonathan.”

“The pleasure’s mine.”

You two shook hands. His hands were toasty, his grip firm. After everyone was seated, the interview began.

“Alright, so I'm going to tell you some things from the get-go. First off, I request that you be casual and a hundred-percent honest. It makes things easier and, to be truthful, I hate when I'm all regarded and crap. Besides, you’re older than me. So you can be relaxed around me on my home turf, alright?”

“Alright-o, Frisk…?”

Your friend snickered lightly. “You can call me Frisk.”

Jonathan wiped a nonexistent bead of sweat from his forehead, letting out a noise of relief. Frisk and you chuckled at his response. You were starting to like him. He was ‘chill’, that sense of humor your friend and employer mentioned apparent.

“Second, I will tell you about the job itself. My apologies for not being able to tell you about it over the phone. Privacy issues and such.”

“No, that's fine. I understand.”

“Awesome. So, I'm not going to be your actual boss.”

Jonathan looked quite shocked. “Really?”

“Nope. You'll be meeting your boss and touring the school with him later today. He's a skeleton - nice, punny guy.”

“Like Papyrus?”

“So you called him for a ride.”

“Yeah. Real nice fellow. He seems to be a pretty cool guy.”

“Right? A guest came by before and described him as a cool glass of water on a summer day- oh, well that's ironic.”

Summers chuckled at that, his ivory grin beaming as bright as the sun of his namesake.

“Anyway, Papyrus’s older brother is your boss so that won't be the last you'll be seeing of him.”

“Really? Oh cool. He was mentioning how he wanted to have a sleepover to show off his action figures. I thought I was way too old for one of those but he… Does he make you feel young? Because I felt super young when I'm with him.”

“He has that way with people. It's rare to find someone who hates him either.”

“That's good. I can't imagine people thinking that.”

“Absolutely agreeing with you. Sans is a nice, chill guy too, pretty popular around the town. You'll see why. However, like everyone, he has his issues and that's what I'm here to discuss with you now.” You were surprised Frisk changed the questioning. He saved that part for last during the two interviews prior.

Jonathan sat up straight in his chair, ready to listen, like how a soldier would to his squadron leader. You wondered if he was a veteran. He definitely had the figure of a soldier. Certain things about how he carried himself and his choices in personal upkeep seemed to hint at that.

“You’ll be working as a security guard. That is your main job. However you will have another job and it's just to, well, look out for Sans. He's dealing with some personal demons and it's affecting him quite a bit. I believe it might be PTSD but I could be wrong. He refuses to see anyone about it nor tell anyone about what could be causing the issues. Do you have prior experience with the condition such as a family member or friend having it?”

“An uncle. He works in Sierra Leone and a bombing occurred nearby his office. He's fine now but he does still need to take medication for it.”

“I see. Do you have experience dealing with panic attacks?”

“Yes, both parents get them. I've had my fair share of them myself.”

Frisk frowned. “Oh, I'm sorry about that.”

Jonathan wiped at the back of his neck. “It's fine. Haven't had one in years.”

“Oh, that's good. Do you have experience dealing with mood swings?”

“Uh… Sort of? Well, I think I'd notice when one’s happening.”

“Alright. Finally, do you have issues with roller coasters?”

He looked befuddled. “No... I love them.”

“Wonderful. You see, the things I mentioned happen rarely. It happens once every couple of months at the least. The issue with this, however, is that he has… random, un-triggered acts of violence along with these other things.”

Jonathan started to look concerned. “... Can you elaborate?”

“Certainly. Sans has the ability to use gravity magic. He can literally grab you by your soul and fling you around using it. That’s why I asked about the roller coasters.” Jonathan’s eyes were as wide as saucers. “He's only attacked me and my assistant. We are becoming concerned that he might start hurting the students or faculty. Unlike us, regular Monsters aren't able to handle Sans’s magic attacks. I'll explain more about this later. And well, a student getting caught in the crossfire of that will… most likely be fatal.”

“Fatal?”

“Yes, unfortunately. Humans have tougher bodies than Monsters so you should be fine if it occurs… Maybe.”

“Maybe?”

“As I mentioned, he's only ever attacked me but he recently attacked my assistant for the first time and we hope the only time. We can't predict what could happen to you if he comes after you. Vomiting is the least of your worries. He could kill you. If I hadn’t found Sans when he attacked my assistant, they’d-”

You reached over and put your hand on top of Frisk’s clenched fist. He flinched. He must've not noticed how worried he was becoming. Your friend peered at you with pure gratitude on his face. You never thought of that, how concerned Frisk was for you. Still, you wanted to reassure him that you were fine. When he calmed, you let go.

“Though this rarely happens - in fact, this may never happen again - this could still put your life at risk. If you don't want to accept this job, then I understand completely.”

Jonathan sat there for a minute, twiddling his thumbs as he was lost in thought. He didn't seem to be frightened by the description Frisk gave him. “...Alright.”

“Huh?”

He looked Frisk dead in the eye. “I'm fine with that. I'm tough. I can watch out for him without kicking the bucket.”

“Alright. Well, let's hope Sans likes you. If it was based solely on my opinion, you'd be hired already.”

Jonathan’s eyebrows rose. “Seriously?”

“Yes. I can tell from a mile away you’re right for the job. There's a certain fire in your eyes, not just to do a good job but to help out as much as you can. We can't have people here just doing their job. We need friends and you're in the shape of a great pal.”

A smile cracked on the interviewee’s face. “Thanks.”

“I'm only saying the truth. Now enough about the job, let's talk about you.”

A smirk made its way to his face. “Ooooo.”

The three of you busted out laughing. “Let's start off with the simple questions. You can legally work in this country, right?”

“Of course.”

“Perfect. Do you have a degree of some sort?”

“J.D. I finished law school about three or so years ago.”

Nice. Out of curiosity, did you take the bar?”

“Yup. Passed it barely.”

Frisk chuckled at that. “Out of curiosity again, what's your alma mater?”

“I was a Princeton man.”

“Princeton? Eww. I went to Harvard - undergrad and grad.”

“Harvard? That means we can't be friends.”

Frisk chuckled. “I guess we can't. What a shame. Anyway, my final question out of curiosity. You went to Princeton, have a J.D., and can practice law. Why are you here then? Shouldn't you be out there, locking bad guys up or something?”

“I can't find a job.”

Frisk’s playful smile fell. “What?”

“I literally can't find a job. I've applied at every law firm in Chicago and I keep on being turned down.”

“What? Are you serious? Is the job market that bad?”

“Oh yeah,” you answered, “Remember how I never used my Bachelor’s until I came up here? It's that bad.”

Frisk was stunned. “Geez Louise. I'm glad I've never had to flip burgers.”

“Or work retail,” Jonathan added, “The middle-aged woman is at her weakest when she's shopping and all of JcPenney’s clientele is middle-aged women.”

The three of you laughed again. That was something Ricky would say. Speaking of the Brazilian, you haven't sent him any annoying text messages as of yet today. You should go do that after the interview’s over.

“Now, my final question: before today, have you seen or interacted with a Monster?”

“Actually yes.”

Frisk raised a brow.

“It was on the bus two days ago. I live in a pretty upstanding town nearby Chicago: Hinsdale; gorgeous place. All of the houses are huge and the grass is always bright green no matter which side of the street you're on. Everyone’s a lawyer or a doctor or something in that area. Now, the problem is that, well, there isn't a lot of people in the town that look like me if you catch my drift. And a lot of times, I get stared at on the bus ride home.”

Frisk frowned. “Oh geez, I'm sorry to hear about that.”

“It's fine. I'm used to it. Nothing bad ever came out of it. Well, except for one thing. For as long as I've lived there, I've always ended up on the bus with this one old man. Now the usual glances would just come and go, but that man would always keep staring at me, to the point where I think it's glaring. He's an old soul. There's nothing I can do to make him change his ways. I've learned to ignore it.

But two days ago on the bus, I didn't feel that hot glare on me. In fact, I didn't feel any eyes on me. Everyone, even the driver whenever he made a stop, was staring at the back of the bus. So I put down my phone and turned around to see what everyone was so interested about. There were two Monsters in the back, a father and his daughter.”

“Oh, I think I know who you're talking about. Were they bears?”

“Yeah.”

“Awesome. Bearington’s a really swell guy. When he was living on the mount, he used to help cut down trees for the winter holiday celebrations.”

“That makes sense. No wonder he smelled like Christmas. Uh, anyway. The two of them were sitting there, the kid real excited. Now, I didn't mind them at all. They were doing nothing wrong or anything - just a family going about their day. Then I heard that old man call them that slur.”

Frisk frowned. “Oh dear.”

“It was just a whisper so I'm sure they didn't hear it. But I did. So you know what I did? I got up and sat right next to them just to piss him off.” Frisk and you fell out. “And I had the nicest conversation with them. They were going to a museum and the kid was so excited. The whole ride she was just going on and on about planes. Then another guy joined in. Turns out he’s a pilot. Then we all had this great time in the back of the bus.”

Frisk chuckled at that. "So I'm guessing you're pretty alright with Monsters.”

“Yeah. They're normal - pretty normal.”

“Wonderful. That's all I'm trying to get across to people, y’know. Now that all of that's done, let's head over to meet Sans.”

The three of you got up out of your chairs and left the house to head back to the Academy. As Jonathan walked ahead, Frisk grabbed onto your shoulder, stopping you.

He whispered, “Oh my god, I couldn't stop staring at his muscles.”

You could only stare at the human. “Oh my god.”

“No, no, look. Just look.”

The two of you peeped a look at the man’s back. Your friend was certainly correct about the observation. He had quite the sculpted physique as you noted before.

“Okay, so?” You didn't see what the big deal was.

“So? So? I wanna lick him up and down like caramel ice cream. He’s probably more ripped than Aaron too, and that’s saying a lot.”

“But Aaron’s kinda creepy and Jonathan’s probably straight.”

“... That’s true. Also look at that ass.”

You rolled your eyes and peeked a look at the Chicagoan’s gluteus maximus. Your eyes widened. “Holy shit.”

“Do he got the booty?”

You groaned, “He do.”


Frisk knocked two beats into the security office door. The three of you had just arrived in the school entrance, coming to drag Sans along for the tour.

Jonathan stood next to you, standing tall. “So… what’s Sans like?” he asked quietly.

“You'll see," you replied just as quietly.

“Knock knock," Frisk started.

“who’s there?”

“Iva.”

“iva who?”

“I’ve a sore hand from knocking.”

You could hear Sans chuckle from behind the door. As usual, the skeleton came out and closed the door right behind him. “nice one as usual, kid.”

“Thanks.”

Sans nodded at you and you returned the gesture. Then he looked up at Summers. “so you're jonathan the human.”

“Yeah I am. You're Sans the skeleton, right?”

“always have been. i mean, i've been sans the royal guard, sans the comedian, sans the hot dog vendor a coupla times.”

Jonathan snickered at that. “Well, I've been Jonathan the Law Student, Jonathan the Retail Worker, and Jonathan the Unlucky Ladies Man.”

The four of you chuckled at that last one.

“Well, let’s get on with this tour. We’ll explain more about your security guard duties as we walk along. Do you want the boring version of this or…?”

“I’m cool with the not boring version.”

“Sweet because doing the latter is the bane of my existence.” As Frisk spoke, he pointed at the locations he’s talking about. “So this is the security office over there. That’s your headquarters pretty much.”

“i’ll explain more about that later.”

Jonathan nodded.

“Over here is the gym. Since pretty much all of humanity is afraid of playing ball with the students, we only have intramurals. The Faculty Game is usually an sold-out affair and you'll probably have to take part in it."

“watch out for tori. she dribbles balls like they’re asgore’s head. you’ll see what i mean.”

Jonathan knitted his eyebrows but he nodded again.

“The hallway down there leads to the locker room. There’re bathrooms there no one knows about so if for any reason you have to blow the doors off, do it there.”

“that bathroom and i have been through many battles and i’m sure you’ll have your fair share of ‘em.”

Jonathan had a smirk on his lips as he nodded again. “To be honest, I almost had to run in there after meeting that flower earlier.”

“wait, hold up, were you…” He's grinning as if trying to hold back laughter. “were you that scream earlier?”

“... Yes.”

Sans laughed so hard that he had to hold onto the wall for support. “oh my god. that was the girliest scream i’ve heard in years.”

“Well, I think anyone would scream like a little bitch when a demon flower tries to take their soul.”

Frisk and you joined in on the laughter. You couldn’t imagine the tower of a man screaming like a little girl. No, in fact, you could imagine it. You were really imagining it. Just that made you have to hold your gut.

“Well…” Frisk snorted one last time. “I’m glad my mother found you in time. That would have ended badly.”

“Speaking of which, I have a question regarding her. Why is she a teacher anyway? If I was royalty, I definitely wouldn’t want a job.”

“She’s always loved teaching. Besides, it’s her duty to aid her people any way she can. Why not do something you’ve always loved but never had the chance to?”

“That’s true… Hell, I understand that a lot. It’s cool, y’know, being able to turn a hobby into a career.”

“i feel that. being able to nap all day is a dream come true.”

Jonathan chortled at that. The four of you walked up to the next floor. Before there were no students there but now there was Dina and another kindergartner sitting on different benches in the lobby. Dina looked upset, rubbing her arm.

“Dina, are you alright?” Frisk looked concerned.

“Sorta.” She was as quiet as a mouse.

“May I ask what happened?”

“Ruffhauser threw bullets at me.”

Frisk frowned. “Oh no. Why are you out here then?"

“I threw ‘em back.”

Your friend sighed. “Dina, you shouldn’t hit people, even if they hit you first.”

The little dinosaur looked away. “I know.”

“We’ll talk to him. How about you head back to class for a bit? Tell Mrs. Baatholomew that I sent you, alright?”

“cheer up, dee. don’t be too dino-sore about it.”

A smile cracked on her face. “Okay.” With that, Dina left with a bit of that usual pep in her step.

Now to deal with Ruffhauser, the yellow Labrador Retriever puppy who has always had trouble making issues. He’s always out here for some reason or another. Of course, his little behavioral issues will probably stop at one point in his life. He’s still young. He’s still moldable. For now, all everyone can do is discourage him from doing things like that.

When he noticed you were all looking at him, the pup pulled his yellow baseball cap over his eyes. You never knew why he always wore it, especially backward.

Sans closed his eyes. “ruffie.” The kindergartner groaned and crossed his arms with a huff and pout. “what happened? why’d you hit dina?”

“I dunno.”

“what’d you mean you dunno?”

“Well, Dina was talking to her friends about stuff.” He was twiddling his furry thumbs. “So I wanted to show her something cool with my magic and, uh-”

Jonathan nudged you as he kept on talking.“Huh--- Uh, what’s up?”

“Huh--- Uh, what’s up?”

“What’s up with him?”

“He has a problem with hitting his classmates, sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. His parents think he might have too much magic in his body compared to others his age, so his is a lot more powerful--- You don’t understand a word I just said, did you?”

“Sort of. I know that Monster bodies are made of magic rather than the squishy stuff we’re made of. So I’m guessing having a bit too much of anything is bad, huh?”

“Yes. He has issues controlling it.”

“Okay. Is he always doing this, trying to show off?”

“Yes, particularly to Dina. He messes up most of the time, however, hurting her instead.”

“Oh.“ Jonathan smiled big. “I know what’s wrong with him.”

“You do?”

“Well, not the too-much-magic part; the dino problem.” Jonathan walked up to Sans and Frisk. “Hey, uh, do I have permission to assist? I think I know how to solve this problem.”

Ruffhauser tilted his head the way puppies do, his ears flopping and one smacking him in the eyes. He quickly put his paws up to his face. You heard him let out a minute “ow” as he rubbed the pain away.

Frisk looked at Sans and the skeleton shrugged at the human. “Sure. The floor’s yours.”

Jonathan sat down next to him on the bench.

Ruffhauser knitted his brows, his eyes full of skepticism. “My mommy says I shouldn’t talk to the humans on the tour.”

Frisk reassured the little one. “Mr. Summers here might be working with Sans so it’s fine to talk to him.”

“Really?... Okay.”

Jonathan smiled gently at Ruffhauser, his eyes full of patience. “So, I have a good feeling as to why you’ve been hurting Dina.”

The puppy looked up sheepishly. “Really?”

“Yeah. It’s ‘cause you like her.”

Huh?

Ruffhauser nearly leapt out of his skin. “N-N-No, I don’t!”

“Yeah you do. It’s so obvious.”

“Pssh, no it’s not!”

“So you do like her.”

Ruffhauser put his face in his hands and overdramatically groaned. The whole time, Jonathan sat there, unaffected by his small tantrum. When he realized that Jonathan didn’t seem to care too much, he stopped. “Yeah…” Ruffhauser said it barely above a whisper.

“Huh?” Jonathan cupped his ear. “I can’t hear you.”

“I HAVE A CRUSH ON DINA!”

Jonathan leapt back instinctively, the bark too loud for his eardrums. After blinking a bit, the human smiled wide at him. “Told you so.”

The puppy huffed and puffed. “Ugh, I thought it wasn’t so easy to see.”

“Totally was. I bet you’re always thinking about her, huh?”

“Yeah.” Ruffhauser looked at the tile, swinging his feet as he talked about his crush. “She’s always so nice to everyone and she always wears cool striped dresses and her bow looks really cool on her and, and--- every boy’s had a crush on her.” He looked up at Jonathan, big eyes and all, his tail wagging excitedly. “There’s a second grader that likes her. Ain’t that neat? None of the second or third graders like us. They say we’re babies.”

“I understand. My first crush was like that too. She was the cutest girl in class. Everyone liked her.”

“Really?” Ruffhauser looked back at the tiles. Barely above a mumble, he commented, “Dina’s really cute too.”

“Whenever you see how nice she is, how cool she looks, you feel weird inside, right?”

“Yeah… I turn red like my favorite ball and all nervous.”

“And whenever you see her like that, you just wanna show her your magic, right?”

Ruffhauser rapidly nodded. “Uh huh, uh huh. My magic’s super cool, y’know. Dad says that when I’m in first grade, that’s when we start learning how to do wicked stuff with our magic, he says I’m gonna do great.”

“But when you want to show her how cool your magic is, you accidentally do much more than you expected, right?”

Ruffhauser’s ears drooped. “Yeah…”

“You know, you probably lose control because you get too excited to show her, right?”

The puppy looked up at him, pure wonder in his big eyes, as if he’d never thought of that. Frisk and Sans looked at each other, stunned. They probably never thought of that either.

“And no one knows why because you never told anyone about your crush on Dina, right?”

“Nope. Not even Mom and Dad.”

“Then that’s probably why. Why don’t you tell your old man when you get home, okay? I know I would always tell my paps about my crushes. It’s too embarrassing to tell mom, right?”

“Yeah. She’s kinda scary when she’s mad. Plus, she gets all yippy. She’d tell everyone at work about it and that’s not good because Dina’s dad works there too and if he found out--- Oh man.”

“Yeah, I getcha. So I think I know how to solve your little problem.”

“And how do I do that, mister?”

“Easy. Tell her.”

Ruffhauser scooted away from him in a flash, almost falling over the bench. He was drowning in disbelief. “I can’t just tell her.”

“Sure you can. It’s not hard.”

“Yeah it is.”

“Not if you follow someone’s example.”

The puppy cocked his head to the side. “Huh?”

“The Summers’s family always says, ‘if you don’t know how to do something, then see what other people did’.” But everyone says that.

“... Uh, well, let’s see. Dad usually brings steaks home for Mom when he wants to make her happy but Dina can't eat meat.”

Jonathan looked confused for a moment but then he realized what he said. Dina’s family doesn't eat meat but they do eat bugs, but you didn't want to gross out little Ruffie with that fact.

“Frisk always flirts with people but he’s never successful.”

Jonathan looked up at Frisk with a shit-eating grin. Your friend simply looked away as if that fact wasn’t even the faintest true.

“Mrs. Undyne always noogies Mrs. Alphys but no one ever likes it when she noogies people.”

Jonathan cocked a brow at that.

“Mr. Dreemurr tries to give presents to Mrs. Dreemurr but she always glares at him when he does. That glare could kill bajillions of people.”

“Huh. I thought they…” Jonathan turned to Sans and Frisk for some help.

“Toriel hates him.” Frisk said.

“a lot.” Sans continued.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen the queen so scornful towards anyone but him.” You stated.

“Oh.” Jonathan then turned back to the puppy. “Is there anyone else you can think of?”

“Uh… Oh, oh! Mettaton came Home a couple of weeks ago.”

“That robot that was all over the news then, right?”

“Uh huh. I mean, I think all the pink is icky but all the girls like him.” He leaned in a bit. “Don’t tell my mom but my dad has a toy of him, like back from the Underground. He’s a big fanboy of him.”

“I wouldn’t tell a soul.”

“Cool… Thanks.”

“Anytime. So what’s up with this robot?”

“He’s really smooth. I saw him give his fiancee flowers one day.”

“Really now. Did she like them?”

“Like them? She loved them. She gave him a big hug and a k-kiss.” You could see from under his fur that the puppy was blushing. You found it adorable. Kissing was practically taboo for a kindergartner.

“Then get her flowers and tell her how you feel.”

Ruffhauser nodded. “Okay… I can do this… You can do this, Ruffie. Where can I get flowers?... Oh I know - the office. There’s always flowers in there.” The puppy hopped off the bench and waddled into the office. He quickly looked around until he saw the vase on the desk in there. There were white carnations in there. He reached for it but his claws couldn’t even graze the vase.

You walked over to help. You plucked one out and handed it to him.

“... Thanks."

“Anytime.”

Just then, you heard a door from down the hall close shut. The two of you stepped back into the lobby. Dina, along with Mrs. Baatholomew, walked side by side down the corridor to where you all were.

“Make sure to smile big and wide.”

Ruffhauser glanced up at Jonathan and gave him a small, nervous smile.

“No, bigger, bigger.”

The pup smiled wider, looking even more nervous to the point of awkwardness.

“No no, like you’ve seen a mountain of your favorite things.”

Ruffhauser’s smile settled in a big, gentle smile.

“Perfect. That’s the Summers’s smile like I’ve ever seen it - big and bright like the sun.” Jonathan gave him a dazzling one with a thumbs up, almost like he was doing it for a commercial, like’s he done in hundreds of times. You found it very dorky, very "him".

“Get ‘em, tiger- well, uh, doggy?”

The puppy chortled and walked over to the teacher and student.

Mrs. Baatholomew tucked up her glasses, her hand on her humongous belly, her look of mild discomfort. “Dina mentioned that Frisk told her to leave and come back. What is this about?”

Frisk beckoned the teacher over to his side. “You’ll see,” he said lowly.

Ruffhauser walked up to Dina, his hands behind his back. “Uh, hi Dina.”

The dinosaur distastefully replied, “Hi Ruffhauser.”

“Uh- I… I’m really sorry about before and all of the other times I hurt you with my magic. I never wanted to hurt you. Uh, and…” The puppy looked up at Jonathan for support. The man smiled at him and gave him another thumbs up. He nodded and continued. “I… I only wanted to show you how cool my magic is because I wanted you to think I’m cool, because I… I like you.”

Dina gasped, stepping back a bit. “Whaaaaaa?” Ruffhauser gave Dina the carnation and she gasped again.

You could only look at Jonathan and he gave you a knowing look back.

“I think you’re really nice and pretty and your magic’s really neat and uh… stuff. Plus, I always think your bow is really cute on you. So, uh, what’d ya think?”

Dina looked at the flower in her claws then at Ruffhauser before she shook her head. “Mommy says to never date a guy that hits you, even if it’s not on purpose so, uh, no.”

Ruffhauser looked utterly defeated, his ears and lids drooping. “Oh.”

“But if you wanna be friends, I’m cool with that.”

The puppy had a small glimmer of hope in his eyes. “Really?”

“Yeah. I actually always thought you were pretty cool too. The way you wear your cap is awesome, like the teens upstairs. Plus, I’ve always thought your magic was the coolest I’ve ever seen. Well, not as cool as Frisk’s or Sans’s or Papyrus’s or… okay, well, a lot of people, but yours is the neatest I’ve seen of all the other kindergartners, even better than the stinky second graders.”

Ruffhauser gave her the happiest smile you’ve ever seen the dog muster. His tail was wagging hard. “Thanks. Uh, I don’t like pink and princesses so I hope you don’t mind me talking about blue and cars.”

“I don’t mind. I think cars are neat. Manty and all my other friends are coming over on Saturday. If you wanna come, you can.”

“Really?”

Dina smiled at him then, nodding affirmatively. “Yep.”

With that, the two walked back to class. Before he walked into the kindergarten classroom, Ruffhauser turned back to you all and returned that big smile and thumbs up Jonathan had given him before.

The arts-and-crafts teacher tucked her glasses back up her snout. “I would have never guessed that-”

“ruffhauser had a crush on dina? oh yeah, that came out of nowhere.”

“Agreed. We would have never guessed.” Frisk rose a brow at Jonathan. “Speaking of which, how did you realize all of this in the first place?”

“Years of observing it with my own family. I have triplets for younger brothers. Boys always have a habit of hitting girls they like, most of the time on purpose. I’m glad it was just an accident involving the little guy. I had to teach my bros about not doing that soon as one of them started doing it. They swam in girls their entire time after that.”

You all chuckled at that. As you laughed and laughed, out of nowhere, Mrs. Baatholomew grunted and doubled over, her hooves flying up to her stomach. The four of you immediately inquired if she was alright.

“I…” She slowly stood up as straight as she could, her face clearly expressing her pain. “I’m fine. I think it’s just the Braxton Hicks and all.”

“the wha-?”

“Oh, they’re pre-contractions to the real ones. They’re supposed to happen for days until the day of delivery.”

“... where did you read about that?”

“Oh, from a book I got from a human bookstore. That little shop in Newfoundland is so cute.”

“mary, i don’t think i should be the one to tell you this, since i’m a dude and all, but… i don’t think monsters get braxton hicks.”

Mary’s eyes were as wide as saucers.

Frisk looked shocked. “Mrs. Baatholomew, how long has this been happening?”

”Since this morning and I---” Her face fell. She was frozen. You all were. “Oh my god.”

Oh my god, indeed. The arts-and-crafts teacher was in labor.

“... i’m gonna get toriel.” With a blink of an eye, he was gone without a trace.

Jonathan nearly leapt out of his skin. “Holy---”

“Yeah h-he does that.” You weren’t as frightened by his disappearing acts anymore You were much more frightened by the current situation. You had zero experience with this at all. Hell, the only baby you've even held was your brother when he was born ten years ago. What was going to happen? You didn't know and you hated the fact that you didn't have the slightest clue.

You looked over at Frisk. He usually had a plan. He looked just like you: frozen. Holy crap, even Wonderboy over here doesn't know what to do. We’re screwed.

The ewe was breathing hard, her eyes full of unfallen tears. “I-I-I can’t-” The teacher lost her balance.

Jonathan dove to keep her from falling over and hurting herself. He slowly lowered her to the floor, softly sitting her upright. He inhaled and exhaled slowly before talking softly to the teacher. “Mary, may I call you Mary?”

“Huh-” She probably hadn’t realized the human was there. “Y-Yes, of course.”

“My name’s Jonathan. I don’t know much about how to deliver babies but I do know you and your child are going to be fine. There's a lot of people here that are going to help make sure of that.”

Mary’s breathing slowed just a bit, a look of relief on her features. “Okay.”

“Good. Breathe with me, alright? That'll help with the pain you’re experiencing.” He began to do breathing exercises with her, getting her to slow down her breathing.

You were taken aback about how he was able to handle this crisis so calmly. No, that's not true. You noticed the sweat on his forehead, his shaky hand that he made sure to keep firm around Mrs. Baatholomew’s. It was a facade. He was just as terrified as everyone else. But he was keeping his cool, but he was keeping his patience in the midst of this chaos - all to make sure the soon-to-be mother didn't get upset. He was so selfless, willing to sacrifice his comfort to aid others, whether it be an trouble-making child or a pregnant woman in labor.

If Frisk or Sans told him that he didn't get the job, you were going to raise hell. He's perfect for the position.

A second later, Toriel and Sans came down the hall, the queen practically running while Sans walked at a normal pace, which pretty much was running to the lazy man.

Toriel knelt down next to her co-worker. “Mary, have your contractions been coming in succession?”

“Yes, once every twenty minutes now. Tori, I’m completely in the dark. Am I going to have to go to a hospital?”

“Is your Soul in pain?”

“N-No. Just my body.”

“Then it is not necessary.”

“That's good… Oh, I'm such an idiot.”

“No, you are not. Sans explained what happened. It was just a simple misunderstanding.”

“But I should have noticed. It was so obvious I was having contractions. Why did I even buy a human pregnancy book in the first place?”

“You know how pregnancies go. We always have our mothers to aid us. I know the recent passing of your mother has really taken a toll on you, especially on your knowledge of what's going to happen. Plus every birth is different. There really isn't a way to compile everything into a book.”

Wait, Mary’s completely in the dark. She really doesn't know what's going to happen. This was much worse than it seemed.

“That is why I am going to make sure you have a safe and swift delivery, alright?” That fire glowed bright in the queen's eyes.

Mary began to weep. She hugged the nanny tight. “Thank you, Tori.”

“It is no trouble. Mothers of all walks of life must stick together. Now, I must know about your original arrangements for the delivery.”

“At home.”

Toriel frowned. “There is no time. You will have to deliver here.”

Mary immediately shook her head rapidly. “No, nonononono, I can't just-”

“There is no time, Mary.”

“But---”

“tori.” Sans sat down next to the woman. “i have something to tell you.”

“W-what is it?”

“looks like mary’s-” Sans looked at the nanny with the biggest shit-eating grin you've ever seen him muster. “-about to have a little lamb.”

No one could speak. That pun… That pun was so well-timed. You couldn't bring yourself to laugh. You just couldn't. Still, that helped melt you inside. You were able to move now, able to help.

Toriel was flabbergasted. “Sans, this is certainly not the t-”

Mrs. Baatholomew was in stitches, laughing so hard that she had to take off her glasses to wipe her eyes. Sans gave a sideways look at the ewe then back at the nanny. The kindergarten teacher then looked as if she realized something. She then smiled and nodded, as if giving him permission to continue.

She joined in. “Indeed. Your baby must be running out of womb so they have to come out.”

Mary laughed again, kicking her feet as she did.

“yeah, she must be having contractions too. all she’s been shouting is ‘shouldn't, wouldn't, and couldn't’ for the past hour.”

As the woman in labor chuckled out loud at the joke, Toriel turned to Frisk. “Call Mary’s husband.” Her voice was low, probably to keep appearances.

“Of course.” Frisk got up and pulled out his cellphone. He dialed a number quickly and the phone up to his ear. The young man went down the hall leading to the Courtyard as he began to speak to the caller.

“okay, okay, mary, what's the difference between you and a supermodel?”

“I don't know, Sans. What's the difference between me and a supermodel?”

“none if your husband knows what's good for him.”

That joke made both of the mothers, old and new, laugh. You couldn't help but snort either. Jonathan snickered too.

“Speaking of which, I should have mentioned to-”

“Don't worry. Joe’s on his way from the office.”

Frisk came back to the lobby with Asgore now following him. The king immediately ran up to the woman, inquiring if she was alright.

“I'm fine now that Sans has been making me laugh.” The soon-to-be mother gave the skeleton the most grateful look you've seen in awhile. “Thank you.”

“you shouldn't be thanking me yet. i have a whole book of ‘em and, lemme tell you, you're gonna hear all of them.”

“I look forward to th-” The ewe let out a long, loud groan, her face scrunched up in very visible pain.

Toriel was concerned. “We need to move now. But how?”

“That's why I'm here.” Asgore put one arm under Mary’s knees and one around her back. “I'm going to lift you. Ready?”

“As ready as I can be.”

The king hoisted her up off the floor, as if there wasn't much effort needed. “Tell me where to take her.”

Toriel seemed shocked, almost impressed. She blinked away the emotion, acting as if she was never unfazed, and returned to her regal demeanor. “Well, definitely not my or your home. They're too small for something like this. The nurse’s office wouldn't be good either. I don't want to startle any of the children. Speaking of which, Sans, see if you can find a teacher in the lounge to watch over the kindergarteners.”

Sans was already gone when she could finish her sentence.

“What about the guesthouse?” Everyone turned to you, surprised by your suggestion. You were surprised you even spoke. “Uh, the living room is huge and, if we need more room, we can just move things around. Plus there's tons of blankets because of all of those beds.”

“Perfect. We’ll go there.”

Sans returned in a blink of an eye. “marco’s watching the kids.”

“Excellent. Now let's move out. Frisk, can you be a dear and-”

The elevator in the wing you all would be headed dinged from afar. “already done.”

Asgore, with Mary in his arms, went down the hall, Jonathan and Frisk right behind him.

Toriel turned to Sans and patted him on his head. “Good job, bone boy.”

Sans cocked a brow, a dreamy, pleased look on his face. “heh, thanks, lady.”


You woke up in your room… Wait. You woke up in your room. What in the-?

“heh, you won second place. not as good as first, but hey, at least you didn't end up third.” Sans had put down a glass of water on your nightstand when he said that, notifying you of his presence in your room.

You rolled back over, tucking the covers over with you. “You already know the ketchup’s in the fridge.”

The skeleton chortled. “wow, you knocked out that bad? no wonder toriel was freaking out about how there's no carpets in your living room. the hardwood must've knocked your memory out too.”

You flipped over, facing him. “Huh?”

“you seriously don't remember? you know, mary having a little lamb and all that jazz.”

You jumped out of bed then. “Holy crap, what happened?”

He rose his brows in acknowledgment. “there it is. you guys fainted when mary started pushing; at the exact same time too, like falling dominoes. don't feel too bad about it. there's usually a lot of fainting during monster births.”

“... Why?”

The skeleton shrugged. “censorship purposes or somethin’ like that. anyway, the baby’s been born. frisk woke up about five minutes ago while johnny’s still sleeping like the newborn.”

You noticed there was a white silky hair stuck in your eyelash. You pulled it out and looked at it. “Who put me up here?”

“asgore.”

You beamed then. No wonder you felt so snug. He really was just a big ol’ dad to everyone.

You got out of bed, grabbing the glass of water and chugging some of it down. “Thanks for the water by the way.”

“no prob.”

You took the glass with you as the two of you exited your room.

Frisk was looking over the balcony that faced the rest of the home. “Oh hiya. Just woke up?”

“Yeah. We seriously fainted?”

“Mhm. I don't think I ever hit the floor that fast.” He ruffled his hair, however, he was just worsening his bed head.

You looked over the balcony into the living room. Mary was now holding her baby, cooing gently to them. Her husband, Joseph, was by her side. You remembered that he came in just before she had to start pushing, right before you fainted.

“It's a boy.” You turned to Frisk. Sans was between you both, looking over the barricade with his skull leaning on his palm. Both looked dotingly at the newborn in their own respects.

“Really?”

“Yep. They just named him too.”

“What is it: Jesus?”

Sans and Frisk could only look at you before they chortled together.

“holy shit, that was a good one for once. did hitting your head knock some comedy in there too?”

“Oh, shush.”

The skeleton snickered at your quick dismissal. Just then the door at the end of the hall opened. Jonathan came out, very dazed. When he locked eyes with you three, he joined you all.

“and you won last place. what a shame. better luck next year.”

“Huh? What happened? Why'd I wake up in there?”

“We all fainted,” Frisk clarified, “The baby’s been born.”

“For real?” Jonathan looked over the barricade, a smile quickly coming to his lips. “Awwww, they're so cute.”

“You know, the four of you can come hold the baby.” Toriel, blankets covered in dust folded over her arm, peered up at you from the living room.

The four of you dashed as quietly as you could down the staircase into the room below. Mary looked a mess, but a happy mess. Her glasses were on the coffee table that was pushed out the way in a rush to create more room for the delivery. Her husband tucked up his pair back onto his nose.

“Are you Jonathan?” the ram inquired.

The man in question stood up a bit straighter. “Yes, I am.”

“I just want to say thank you so much for helping my wife and son earlier. We’re all so thankful for your kindness. Things wouldn't have gone as smoothly as it did if it wasn't for you.”

Jonathan wiped the back of his neck, a dopey smile on his lips. “Oh, it's nothing at all. I'm just glad everything turned out so well.”

Joseph turned to Sans. “And thank you, Mr. Funny Bones.”

Sans looked surprised. “huh? what for?”

“For keeping Mary laughing. Everyone knows how much she loves your jokes. I'm sure she would have been very anxious if you didn't pull out your comedian card.”

The skeleton wiped the back of his vertebrae, his permanent grin curved into one as dopey as the human’s. “it’s no prob. i was waiting for months to say ‘em, you know. i have a million more from where that came from.”

Joseph chuckled. “Well, I'm sure we’d all like to hear them. Now, come, you have the honor of being the first to hold little Matthew.”

Sans was astonished. “r-really?”

“Of course.” Mary looked up, beaming at the skeleton. “I think he'd like to meet the skeleton whose jokes he's been laughing at for months.”

Sans walked cautiously over to the new mother. She gently passed the lamb over to him. You could tell this wasn't the first time he's held a baby. He held little Matthew with confidence. Still, his skull was headed with sweat. For a few moments, all Sans did was stare at the lamb. You all did too. He was just the cutest little thing, even from birth.

“hey, maaaatthew.”

Everyone in the room burst out laughing. Toriel covered her snout, trying to muffle her laughter. Asgore, who was seated the dining room table, had to put down his knitting needles as he chuckled heartily. Then you heard the faint sound of a baby giggling and everyone stopped in a heartbeat. You looked down to see that Matthew was laughing his little head off. Newborns usually only had enough energy to cry when they were hungry so soon after birth. But the little tyke was just giggling and giggling as he'd been doing it all of his life.

Sans’s pinpricks dilated, his smile big. “i guess you like my baaaad jokes just as much as your parents, huh?”

Matthew giggled again. Maybe he just liked the way Sans was baa’ing at him or maybe he really did understand the joke. Still, it was the cutest thing you've seen all day.

“well, i’ll give ya a private performance after we’re done playing hot potato with ya. i got a ton of material and i think your floppy little ears are gonna love ‘em, aaaalright?”

The newborn lamb giggled again. You don't think you've seen Sans look at another person so lovingly; well, except for Papyrus, but that was Papyrus you were talking about. Papyrus was his one and only brother and the two were inseparable.

Sans then held out the newborn to Jonathan. “here.”

The man was surprised. “Uh, can I?”

Mary smiled at him. “Of course, silly goose. You were there when Joe couldn't be. We’re very thankful for all of your help.”

Jonathan carefully took the baby out of Sans’s arms and held the baby carefully. Frisk and you looked over his wide shoulders as he held Matthew. “Wow. Uh, hey, kiddo. My name’s Jonathan. This may be the only time you see me but I just wanted to say thanks for being born.”

“uh, what are you talking about?”

Jonathan looked at the skeleton. “Huh?”

“dude, there's no way in hel-heck you wouldn't be hired after those stunts back there.”

“Huh?”

“How about I spell it out for you.” Frisk put his hands on his hips and smiled up at him. “U - R - hired.”

“What?”

“so are ya gonna give him the usual ‘everything was a lie’ spiel or am i gonna do it?”

“Nah, we can both do it. So you see, Jonathan, I was supposed to lie to you about a lot of things.”

The human pouted. “You were gonna lie to me?”

“Yeah. The tour you were supposed to go on today was supposed to be a test to see how you acted around the Monsters.”

“the kid over here ain't just an ambassador. he’s the judge of humanity for us.”

Frisk dug into his pocket and took out the two pins used for the tours. He held them out for him to see. “We have a system called ‘pinning’ where I give a guest a pin for their every misdeed against Monsterkind, whether it be an action or a word.”

“each pin represents something but usually my bro explains that part so i sorta don't remember what it was. yadda, yadda, you didn't do anything to earn them.”

Frisk laughed as he put the pins back in his pocket. “Really, Sans?”

“‘course.”

Your human friend could only shake his head. “Anyway, the completely unexpected happened twice today.”

“we usually don't have kids confess their feelings and pregnant women go into labor during the tours. of course, we can add them. hey mary, go get pregnant again.”

The ewe rolled her head back onto the back of the couch. “Please tell me you're joking.”

Everyone in the room chuckled.

“But you handled every situation to arise with a calm mind and caring heart.”

“seriously, no one would've guessed that ruffhauser has a crush on dina.”

Toriel's eyes were bugged out. “Little Ruffhauser has a crush on Dina?”

“I called it from months ago but no one wants to listen to little old Asgore.”

The queen shot a piercing glare at the king, causing him to shudder and quickly go back to knitting the yellow square he was creating.

Frisk then continued, “Also, regarding the way you rose up to help Mary when she was in need, when I wasn't sure what to do.”

“basically, he's saying you did good and you are good. you didn't have to do anything that you did today but, well, you did."

“Plus, you showed what you could do in an ordinary situation and an emergency. You kept your cool and, honestly, we need someone who can keep their cool during the worst of situations.”

“trust me, you need a lot of patience to deal with half the crap that can go down on this mountain: rowdy kids, moody teens, women randomly going into labor.”

Everyone chuckled at that last comment.

“You've proven you're perfect for the job so of course we’re hiring you.”

Jonathan had the happiest look you've seen him have today, as if he was about to burst out into tears. He then looked at the baby and excitedly told him the way people talk to babies, “You hear that? This won't be the last you see of me. I'll get to show you all kinds of cool tricks I can do, like playing the banjo and getting that girl you like to like you back.”

“you play the banjo?”

“I'm a man of many hidden talents. That's the way of the Summers family. It's like how pull out a decisive piece of evidence during a trial. You point your finger at the suspect.” He shifted the baby into one arm so he could do so, pointing at Frisk, who put his hands up defensively. “You roll your shoulders back. Then, you yell, ‘Objection!’, show the evidence, and hope the judge doesn't overrule it.”

“have you presented a banjo in court?”

“Uh, I haven't even done jury duty yet.”

Everyone in the room laughed again. You remembered when you first had jury duty. Your mother claimed you'd only get a small civil case but oh no you had to get the high profile criminal case. Luckily, you didn't get chosen.

After that, the newborn child was passed around to everyone. You were a tad nervous about holding Matthew but as soon as he entered your arms, he also entered your heart. He was even cuter close-up. And soft. Gosh, his fur was so soft, even softer than the softest of carpets. You hope he'd be the sweetest baby in the world.

Frisk was anxious as all hell. Turns out it was his very first time holding a baby. His mother guided him on how to hold him. “Head in elbow, butt in hand,” she kept on repeating until he got it right. Once he was confident, however, he had this big, lopsided smile that didn't come off even after passing the baby back to Mary and Joe.

Turns out also that Asgore decided to quickly knit a blanket for little Matthew. It took him three hours to finish it, which was a feat in your eyes because if you were given the task it would've taken you three centuries. The blanket looked so well-made too. It proved that Asgore certainly was the one making the sweaters for Frisk.

As the family began to head home, Joe helping Mary onto her feet after hours of sitting on the couch, Sans held Matthew again. He sat on the staircase, whispering to the newborn random jokes. The baby would giggle lighter and lighter until he had fallen asleep. You were pushing the coffee table back where it belonged when you heard the skeleton say something that would leave you smiling for days to come.

“i hope you laugh a lot. your family’s a bunch of jokesters, y’know, even from back in the underground. when i used to do stand-up at the mtt resort, they would always be in the audience somewhere. when your mom became friends with tori, she was in bliss too. your moms and pops are always laughing, always happy. so i hope you laugh a lot. it’s a family tradition, y’know. i should call you guys the haaaatholomews instead, huh?”

And that evening, as you texted Ricky about the madness that occurred today, earning plenty of ‘wtf’s from your dear friend, you hoped that Sans would laugh a lot too. How can a comedian not laugh at his own jokes? He deserved happiness, peace of mind. And you were sure Jonathan, warm like a summer day, could help melt down the icy walls Sans built around himself.

Chapter Text

School was let out for the winter holidays the following day. The whole mountainside was animated with good cheer like the rest of the world. It turned out that the Monsters celebrated Christmas without realizing it for centuries so, when they came to the Surface, they were pleasantly surprised. Children from the smallest mouse to the largest lion now giddily awaited for the Yule, wondering what presents they’d receive from Santa, who you found out was usually Asgore at the fairs. It was unseasonably warm this year, like Christmas in July but the other way around. Though it wasn’t going to be a white Christmas, snowy Hanukkah and every other holiday that should have snow-covered hills instead of hot sunshine, everyone was still jolly as Saint Nicholas himself.

Frisk, the skeleton brothers and you went down to the mall a couple miles away from Newfoundland to do last-minute holiday shopping. All of you split up as soon as you arrived, Frisk going off with Sans and Papyrus to the other side, not knowing where to go. You had different plans. You knew exactly where you had to go: Target.

Oh, Target, the red superstore you were always in for some reason or another, whether it be to do a beer run during college, to buy household items while on your own, or to purchase Christmas gifts while on the mount. You don't know where you’d be without it. That red bullseye was always there when you needed it most. Ricky has made fun of you on multiple occasions about your frequent visits to the store, claiming you’d marry it if it was possible. Of course, you’d retaliate by claiming he’d do the same for Cinnabon. He loved those cinnamon rolls more than his mother and that said a lot.

You were on the phone with the Brazilian as you rolled your cart down the aisles.

“Hey, Ricky, what do you think I should buy Asgore?”

“Something for knitting.”

“Like what?”

“Why would you expect I knew one thing about knitting?”

You didn’t either. “What about tea stuff? He loves tea.”

“Well then get him tea meant for a king... or something.”

“So no tea from Target.”

“Yeah, no tea from Target.”

“Hmm… I did walk by a Teavana earlier. But what kind of tea would he li-”

You hadn’t realized you somehow wandered into the children’s department. An archery set to your immediate right caught your eye. Of course it wasn’t real. Target wouldn’t just sell live arrows or anything of the sort. It was a toy. The arrows ended with suction cups and the bow was plastic. The bow reminded you of Asriel’s toy sword…

Asriel. That’s who you forgot to buy a gift for - Asriel. Should you even buy one for him? You didn't know him too well and you didn't want to assume that he would even want a gift from you. Maybe you could ask Frisk regarding the debacle.

“Uh, hello, earth to Bookworm.”

You flinched. “Oh, sorry about that. I zoned out for a sec.”

“Uh… Okay.”

“Hey, would a ten-year-old boy like an archery set for Christmas?”

“Archery? Is he athletic?”

“Yes. Quite.” He couldn't catch balls for the life of him but Asriel could run around for hours.

“He’d love it then. Shooting shit is awesome, y’know.”

“Oh yeah, like how your uncles used to let you shoot cans with their guns, right?”

“Hell yeah.” You could practically hear the smile curl on his lips.

“... I’ll get it for him.”

“Who?”

“Uh, this kid named Ruffhauser. He’d love it. Yeah.”

Ricardo could never know about Asriel. No one could. Ruffie would have to take the heat for this. Besides, the pup was athletic anyway.

“Uh, okay. Anyway, you’re leaving tomorrow for New York, right?”

“Yep. Your flight hasn’t come yet, right?”

“Yeah. Still in the gross ass airport. I’d get a hot dog or something but it’s so expensive in here. Ten fricking dollars for a hot dog - ten dollars. This is Texas, not New York.”

“I know, I know. Get Starbucks or something.”

Ricky let out a noise of disgust. “Are you calling me a basic bitch? Because I’m not a basic bitch. I’m a beautiful bitch.” He said that last part as if he was the prettiest of princesses.

As you threw the set into the cart, you busted out laughing. God, he always found a way to make a fool of yourself in public. You enjoyed it nonetheless.

You decided to go find Frisk now. He texted you that he was in Target as well, in the medicine aisle. “Anyway, I got your present in my bag.”

“And I got yours weeks in advance.”

“Aka, it’s in the shopping cart too.”

You shamefully looked at the cart. “... You know me too well.”

“Of course I do. Anyw-” For a moment, Ricky stopped talking. You heard chatter from his end. “My flight has just arrived.”

“Sweet. Have a safe flight. Call me when you touch down, alright?”

“Of course. I’ll talk to you soon.”

“Alright, bye.” You turned the corner as you hung up and put your phone back into your pants pocket. It was so warm outside that you didn’t need a coat. You found it a bit uncomfortable having your phone in your pants rather than in a jacket. You were so used to having to protect your stuff from pickpockets. Thieves were practically nonexistent in this area of the country however. You would have to learn to cut loose a bit. Not locking your door was heresy in itself.

Down that particular aisle was the man you were looking for. He was holding onto the shelf with one hand and putting his head in the other. Oh no. You headed down immediately, putting your cart to the side as you joined him by his.

“Frisk, are you alright?”

“… Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine.”

You pushed some of his hair out of his face. He looked pale. “How about we check out and head home?” You blinked. When did that little house on that mountain become your home?

“You’re…” Frisk stood up straight, wiping the sweat off of his forehead. “You’re right.”

“Alright. I’ll call Papyrus now. Let’s get on line.”

He nodded shakily. “Right…”

You led him back to his cart and grabbed yours. Something was wrong but you knew he would be fine. He was invincible. A little cold wouldn’t bother him too much.


It was now the day of your departure back to New York: Christmas Eve. Christmas was your favorite holiday. Your family always went all-out on Christmas, socks over the faux fireplace and all. As you zipped up your bag, you wondered what goofy sweater you’d have to wear during your week with your family. Would it be reindeer like last year? You giggled as you remembered that Ricky refused to put on the antlers your mother bought for everyone.

As you closed the door to your room, saying goodbye to it for the week, you thought about it: Ricardo had been coming over for Christmas for literally years now. In fact, he has been coming up to New York to spend the holidays with your family since you two were sophomores. It was insane - literally insane - to you. Regardless, you were glad the Brazilian was practically family now. He was a good friend, really.

You gave the house one more once-over before you left. You locked the front door for the first time in weeks. You weren’t brave enough to leave it unlocked while you were gone. What if someone came in and didn't just take the occasional spice or bit of milk? What if they went into your room and, goodness forbid, look into your sock drawer? Scandalous! Just the thought made your face hot.

Before you walked away, you put your hand on the wooden door and leaned your head against it. And you thought.

You have done some wonderful things while living in this house, you thought. Things you thought you’d never do; you became braver, kinder, more patient. You protected the small and big. You worried for strangers. You put up with plenty of things that was just plain nonsensical. Yet you loved every second of it. Every morning when you sat on your chaise, opened up your computer, and began working, it wasn't work anymore. It was a haven, a think tank for good-willed individuals as you and Frisk worked to inform humanity of the Monsters.

You were slowly but surely becoming the person you only dreamed of being. You never thought you'd be able to do these things but you proved yourself wrong many times. All you had to do was stop assuming things and maybe you'd be just a little bit closer to perfection.

There was plenty of more room to do even more things, to learn more about yourself. And you couldn't wait to do so.

Ringggg, ringggg!

What in the world is that noise? The whole time you were out there, just standing in front of the door like a weirdo, the phone in Frisk’s house was going off. He was probably still asleep. Flowey probably wanted a break from being an alarm clock.

You decided to just answer it and take a message for him. That'd be a bonus gift from you.

You walked right on in. Frisk never locked his door just like how you learned to do for yours. Just before the black phone on his desk stopped ringing, you put the receiver up to your ear. “Hello, this is the Academy. We’re closed for the winter break but if you’d like to leave a message, you may do so.”

“Yes, hello.” You were greeted with one of the most pleasant voices you’ve heard in a while. It was like the sound of a piano, the low notes rumbling onto the strings inside the instrument. The British accent was a plus as well. “Is Frisk there?”

“Unfortunately no but, as I mentioned, I’ll gladly take a message for you.”

“... Oh dear. That’s rather unfortunate.”

You noticed a certain dread in the voice. It made you frown. “May I ask for your name?”

“Biscuit. My name’s Biscuit.” This is probably a Monster. You knew how the name game for them was certainly odd.

You could practically hear the fear in their voice. Your eyebrows furrowed with concern. You immediately inquired if the caller was alright.

“Not at all. In fact, I have an emergency.”

All the blood in your face fell. An emergency? That was the first time you’ve ever heard those words uttered. Out of all the fiascos that occurred here on the mount so far, none were considered real emergencies. What could be classified as one in that Monster’s eyes?

“My mistress, the head of the spider clan, has been hospitalized, seeking emergency medical treatment.”

A shiver ran down your spine. The head of anything falling ill was definitely an emergency. “May you please explain what happened?”

“Why of course. I'm sure you know my mistress owns a delightful little tea parlor here in New Orleans. Quite popular amongst the locals and adventurous eaters, if I say so myself. Unfortunately, my mistress has trouble with some... radicals. She was heavily assaulted the evening prior and her injuries are grave.”

“You… You don’t think that…”

“Yes, we’re all positive. She could… She could fall down.”

Your body froze. This is the first you’ve heard of something like this occurring - a Monster potentially on their deathbed. You gulped down the tension growing in your body. “I-Is there a chance she won’t?”

“Yes, and that’s why I’m calling. We, like all Monsters, don’t have insurance and her bills are expected to be quite high. Four broken arms are expensive to treat, you know.”

You were able to hide the hiss that came out of your mouth. You couldn’t handle breaking an arm, but four? You would have to ask the doctors to just kill you right th- Wait, four arms… You decided not to question that part.

“They may discharge her before she should if she doesn’t come up with some way to pay off the bills. We’re sure that she won’t be able to survive without the full support from the hospital.”

“So you’re asking for monetary help.”

“Begrudgingly yes. I don't doubt your knowledge of the pride of our clan. My mistress doesn’t know I’m even calling. She would bite my head off if she found out… But I must. She is my mistress and I must protect her. Frisk is the only person I can think of who will help without erupting controversy.”

“... I’ll tell him right away.”

Biscuit exhaled, relief audible all the way from your end of the receiver. “Thank you very much. You are our savior. What is your name?” You were surprised they asked but you did inform them of your name. “Ah… That is a wonderful name. I will not forget you and your kindness.”

With that, the call ended. You dropped your suitcase and searched around the house for Frisk. After entering the kitchen and briskly leaving, you concluded that he wasn’t on the ground floor. That meant he was upstairs. He probably slept like a log, that’s all. He had off from work like you.

You went up the spiral staircase, lined every inch with old books you organized during the spring cleaning you had over a month ago, to the next floor. There were three doors down the hallway, illuminated by the daylight from the twin windows. You knew the first door led to his bedroom. That moment was the first time you were going inside so you were a tad nervous. You walked over to its entryway, the floorboards squeaking under your weight.

When you approached the door, you knocked on its wood gently. “Frisk, are you there?”

Flowey's voice came from behind it, asking if it was you at the door.

“Yes, it is.”

“Oh, thank all that is bad and evil. Get in here, pronto.” His tone sounded as if he was concerned about something. You felt the same now.

After wiping your now sweaty palm on your jeans, you turned the knob and opened the door to see your friend wheezing in his bed. Your face instantly flushed and your eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. You immediately ran to his side.

Flowey had every right to be worried. Frisk looked very ill.

“Christ, Frisk, are you alright?” You put your hand to his forehead. No, he wasn’t alright at all. He was on fire.

“... Not really…,” Frisk weakly answered.

You turned to Flowey, who was on the nightstand, overlooking the ailing human. “How long has he been like this?”

“Since he woke up, which was about twenty minutes ago.”

“Has he eaten?”

“No. He hasn't gotten up and even if I, for some odd reason, wanted to help, I couldn't. No opposable thumbs, remember?”

You sighed. Flowey wouldn't be able to take care of him at all. You would have to get Toriel or Asgore to be by his side.

Frisk tilted his head to face you. Just looking at him made you miserable. “What… What was that call… downstairs about?...”

“It was someone by the name of Biscuit." You paused. You didn't want to inform of the last bit. But Frisk was your boss. He had to know. So you took on the role of his assistant once again. "They said it was an emergency.”

His face fell. “... What happened to… Muffet?...”

“Muffet - is that their mistress’s name?”

Frisk nodded slowly. “... What happened?”

You reiterated all of the information to your sick friend. When you finished, he looked out the window above his bed. He let out a small groan before slowly rising up from the bed.

“Frisk, what are you doing?”

He started to push his feet out from under the covers. “... Heading to… New Orleans… What’d you think?”

You were stunned and terrified by his tenacity and carelessness. You slapped your hand on his collarbone and gently pushed him back onto the bed. “No no no, mister. You can’t go all the way to New Orleans in this condition.”

“But… I have to…”

“No, you don’t. You can send someone else down there but you cannot-”

“There’s no one else…”

“Huh?”

Frisk looked you right in the eye. He looked so tired, so ill, yet you saw a flash of red under his thick lashes. It was a fire like how his mother’s did when she had to do something - when she was determined to do something.

You wouldn’t be able to stop him, would you?

“There’s no one else that can help her but me.  I… I have to go.”

“... I’ve never seen you look so ill.”

“I know… I know… But this is my job as an… ambassador… I was going to be sick for the holidays anyway. Might as well do something good before I’m… bedridden.”

“You’re already bedridden.”

He pouted. “... That’s… true…”

“... I’m calling my mom.” You turned towards the door as you pulled out your cell phone.

He rose up from the bed, confused. “... Why?...”

“Isn’t it obvious? I can’t just leave you looking like Casper the Friendly Ghost hundreds of miles away from Newer Home.”

“But…”

You snapped your head back at him and barked, “Frisk, if you don’t put your clothes on right now, I’m telling Toriel.”

Frisk could only stare at you, taken aback by the fire that sprayed out of your mouth. Not another word came out of him as he slowly got out of bed.

You quickly dialed your family’s house phone and put your phone up to your ear. “Hey, mom. It’s me. I’m going to be late for Christmas this year. Something came up.”


Somehow, the two of you got off the mountain undetected. Frisk couldn’t tell anyone about what was happening. They'd either discourage him or force him to stay. He did get caught by Papyrus but he lied to him, telling him that you were going to the airport and he was just dropping you off. The naive skeleton believed him.

The two of you were in the airport, waiting for your flight to come in. There was a plane that had two available seats in coach leaving today. It was a Christmas miracle. Frisk just had to survive a flight now.

You swore you were going to break your fingers if you didn't stop crossing them for good fortune.

The ill human coughed again, sounding like he was hacking up a lung. You would need another miracle if you were going to get through this.

“Frisk, how are you doing?” You rubbed circles into his back until he stopped. You were trying your best to help.

“Much better. That aspirin helped a lot. I can see straight now so that's a plus.”

You had to put an arm around him earlier in order to help him walk. How did Papyrus really believe you were being jolly ol’ buds, skipping down the street? Also, how did Frisk skip along with you as you attempted to convince him? 

“Can you please tell me more about the clans? I just don't understand why Biscuit specifically needs your help."

“Well, as you know, the Monsters are divided up into what is known as the Six Clans.”

“Yes. Land, Sea, Sky, Uncategorized, Boss, and Spider.”

“I guess seeing the statues in the auditorium helped, eh?” He elbowed you lightly. At least he was able to be a bit chipper. You found a bit of comfort in the gesture. “Well, the spider clan is a very odd clan. First off, they are the largest of all six clans. Unfortunately, we can never have a true census of how many spiders there are. We tried and it didn't work out. So we’re forced to only have one spider included on the census - Muffet.”

“Because she's the head.”

“Bingo. It's easier to do that, but I can assure you that there are at least twenty thousand spiders.”

“... But there are fifteen thousand Monsters in total from all of the other- Holy shit.”

“Yep. Though they're the largest, they're also the poorest clan.”

Your eyebrows knitted. “Poorest?”

“There are very few spiders who can actually work. They simply don't have the bodies made to do many forms of labor. Spider Monsters are usually the same size as the actual animal. So there are about, let's say, ten or so spiders who have to feed twenty thousand mouths. That's why they run all of those 'bake sales' - because they genuinely need the money.”

“Cripes.”

“Unfortunately, it's always been like this, even from before the War began. There's plenty of issues beyond those two things as well. The biggest is that they're prideful.”

“Yes, Biscuit had mentioned something about that. But why?”

“You know how many humans are afraid of spiders. Well, it's the same with Monsters. Many are afraid of them. They aren't called creepy crawlers for nothing. After a while, they developed a certain joy of seeing people wary of them. It's the sort of ‘yeah you better be scared’ mindset, if you catch my drift.

Their ego inflated quite a bit once everyone was sealed Underground, to the point of near-nationalism. Did you know they were originally part of the land clan but they requested to be separated because, and I quote, everyone wants them to be as far away as possible from them so might as well grant their wish?”

“Are you serious?”

“Yep. Asgore allowed it because he wanted to end conflict amongst the clans. You know he's a peacekeeper. The Boss Monsters by right were pissy about it though so that's why they ended up being a separate clan as well.”

You were rather surprised by the information you were hearing. The Monsters were good folk through and through but you never did know about the harder topics amongst their society. It was interesting to say the least.

Perhaps humans and Monsters weren't so different after all.

“Plus they have very taboo practices.”

“Like what? Voodoo?”

Frisk chuckled. He was laughing. That’s good. “No, cannibalism.”

You nearly choked on your words as you tried to shout at him about what he just said. “C-cannibalism?”

“Yeah. Money's super tight and they don't want to ask for help. So instead of fighting over food, they, well… Yeah.”

You put your hand over your mouth. You felt like you were going to be sick.

“When I found out about it, I was just as disturbed as you are.”

You thought back to the Dust Festival, to that funnel cake you got from the booth run by the spiders. “Made of real spiders by real spiders” the sign on that table proudly said. You thought it wasn’t true and now it turned out it absolutely was. You had to know. Did you eat spider Monsters that day?

“No no, they weren't Monster spiders.”

You let out a breath you didn't know you were holding.

“But there were actual spiders in there.”

Yep. Now you wanted to die. Just right there. If a higher being could strike you down right now, you'd appreciate it very much, no matter where you ended up.

“We had to tell Muffet to stop selling pastries with her friends in them at the fairs. Cannibalism's against the law and we don't want the feds coming after her. So she now sells pastries with other spiders in it.”

“... That funnel cake was still very good.”

“Yeah, it certainly was. I only eat the pastries Muffet makes for her bakery. Trust me, I had to learn the hard way.”

You grimaced. Poor Frisk.

“Anyway, so not only are they creepy but they eat each other. Plus they're broke as all hell and they won't accept donations because of their pride. So no one likes them and, when they do try to help, they end up giving up on them.”

“So where do you come into play?”

“Well, they can't ask anyone else for help because?”

“No one likes them and they don't want help.”

“And though the king and queen are nice and all, they are from what two clans?”

Obviously one of them was the Boss Monster clan but now to figure out the other. You learned that the original four clans was based on location on earth. For example, Undyne looks like a Betta fish so she's part of the Sea clan. Papyrus and Sans would be part of the Uncategorized clan because they're skeletons but it's unknown what they are skeletons of. So if that's true, since Asgore and Toriel look like goats, then they'd be part of the land clan, since goats are land mammals.

You told Frisk your answer.

“You're absolutely correct. So you gotta understand that-”

“The King and Queen are from both clans that dislike the spiders. Even if they wanted to help, the spiders wouldn't accept their aid simply because of the storm that’d brew from it.”

Frisk looked at you as if he was a tutor finally being able to get something into his student's head. “Yes.”

“But why you?”

“Easy. What is the one confirmed thing that is similar between you and I?”

You looked at your hands then back at Frisk. “Uh… We’re friends?”

“No, no, even simpler than that.”

A light bulb went off in your head. “We're human.”

He waved his hands, coaxing you on. “So what are we not?”

“Not Monsters…” It finally clicked. “We're outsiders regarding all of this political madness. They'd ask you because you'd be able to aid without any fuss arising with it.”

“That's right. They have no ill will against humans. I did leave a very good impression when I first met Muffet in the Underground, y’know. So that's why they asked me, that's why I'm the only one who can help.”

You nodded but you hung your head. You still weren't alright with any of this. There was a bad feeling creeping in the pit of your stomach.

Frisk grasped your palm and squeezed it. “Trust me, I wouldn't do this if I didn't have to but I must. This is my job, my obligation… Speaking of jobs, are you sure you're willing to come with me? You're not obliged to do this. You're off the clock right now.”

“Frisk, I didn't come here as your employee. I came here as your friend who's concerned for your safety and health. I have to go because there's no one else that can right now.”

He frowned. “But… Your family...”

“It's fine. Once I know you're safely back on Mt. Ebott and received an earful from Toriel - because there's no way she's not going to find out about this - I'll head to New York. This'll only take a couple of hours. I'll be there by Christmas morning.”

Frisk nodded sadly. “If you say so.”

Just then, an announcement rang out throughout the terminal that your flight would begin boarding soon.

“Alright. Here comes the hard part. Get ready, Frisk.”

He looked at the growing line in the terminal as if it was a arduous trek. “I know. Oh, I know.”


The two of you arrived at the hospital with no trouble. Frisk still was very pale, even worse from when he was on the plane, but he did make to New Orleans. The two of you walked up to the receptionist.

“Hiya, I'd like to see a patient.”

The woman behind the desk spoke dully with a Southern accent. She must've had a long day like how you two were having. “What's their name?”

“Muffet.”

She raised a brow and gave Frisk a dirty look. “... Who?”

“You know, six arms, five eyes, huge fangs for ripping people’s-”

The receptionist quieted him heatedly with a shushing noise from her vocal chords and finger over her lips. “Lower your voice, dangit. People ain't supposed to know there's a Monster even in here. They'd freak out.”

Frisk put a hand on his hip. “Really now.”

“This hospital ain't for Monsters but the head of the ER said we’d take… ‘it’ in.” She cringed, shaking her hands as if shaking off an insect.

You frowned. You didn't appreciate that the person referred to the Monster as an ‘it’.

The receptionist gave you two laminated signs that had “visitor” scrawled across it big and bold for all to see. “308 in the Maternity Ward.”

Frisk’s eyebrows furrowed. “Maternity ward?”

“That's the only way we could legally have her in here. To everyone here, she had twins and one of ‘em missing an eye, capiche.”

“Alright. Thank you very much.”

The two of you walked to the elevators and called for the next one.

“I'm guessing you know a bit about what that lady was referring to,” you said to your friend.

“Of course.”

A ding resounded and the metal doors in front of you opened. Surprisingly, there was no one there. Good. The two of you walked in and pressed for the third floor. The doors then closed shut and the elevator ascended.

“Well, remember how the South had the Jim Crow laws?”

“Of course.”

“Well, what'd you expect would happen if Monsters started living down here?”

You frowned again. 

“Don't worry. The laws are being outlawed as we speak. They were only instated to keep the general public calm. Remember, everyone was pretty terrified about my family and friends just coming up from under a mountain, even you as you told me before. The laws helped stop whatever riots that could've occur. Now, we’re just waiting for Louisiana, Mississippi, and two other states to get on board.

Besides, they're not really enforced, as you saw earlier. Seriously, businesses can't risk me finding out about Monsters being turned away. You know I'd raise hell. I might be friendly like Asgore but I am very much Toriel's son as well.”

The doors opened and you were now on the floor you needed to go. You looked at the directory and it said for you to head left to go to the ward. Frisk turned right and started to head down the wrong way until you took him by the hand and dragged him the correct way. Hw felt awfully warm again. He noted he might need to take another aspirin soon.

As you walked, Frisk spoke. “Muffet’s death would cause a political crisis, you know.”

“I would suspect that. The unexpected death of the head of anything usually causes some sort of turmoil.”

“Well, if you define some turmoil as most of the spiders being displaced.”

You paused for just a moment.

“Most of how the spider clan runs things are smoke and mirrors but I do know that there is a certain balance that is held thanks to Muffet being the head and all. So if she were to die so unexpectedly, the balance would be disrupted. With that disruption, they would lose everything.”

You continued walking. He shook himself out of your grip at one point. Good. He wouldn't be able to feel the nerves that were beginning to settle on you up close.

You arrived in front of the door to Muffet’s room moments later. Before your fist could reach the door, Frisk gently grasped it and pulled you to the side. “Look, you cannot say a word while you're in there, alright? Muffet’s a very hard woman to convince to take donations. I'm concerned that something you might say may completely end any negotiations with her. Not saying you aren't good at that sort of thing but…”

“I understand what you mean.” It's not the right time. “You do the talking and I'll sit there and look pretty.”

Frisk snickered. “Thanks for being so understanding.”

“Of course. Muffet's welfare is what's important.”

Frisk opened the door into a regular looking hospital room. For some reason, you thought it'd be filled with bats and cobwebs and the like. Once again, you told yourself to stop assuming things.

“Frisk, is that you?” It was the voice from the telephone.

A black spider the size of a tarantula came down from the ceiling and flopped onto the human’s shoulder. You somehow stopped yourself from shrieking. You did not like spiders. Ladybugs, alright. Cockroaches, after suffocating them with Lysol, fine. But spiders? No, no, and no.

Frisk cupped his hands and the spider crawled into them. He seemed completely unbothered by the occurrence. “It's been a long time, hasn't it, Biscuit?”

“Very much so. Have you been well?”

“... Sort of.”

“Well, I'll be looking at the good sorts then.”

“Bitsy, you little dog you…” If the spider’s voice was like the lower range of the piano, Muffet’s was on the higher end.

The head of the spider clan was much younger, much prettier than you assumed she’d be. Her five eyes seemed to always be creased as if she was always smiling. Unlike your childhood friend, whose eyes were kind just like her Soul, the spider’s gleamed with tomfoolery. Frisk was right about those fangs too - sharp and long - which unsettled you. Her hair was incredibly long and fine, splaying out across the pillows and various objects in the room such as how threads of a spider web did.

Muffet certainly was roughed up. While one pair of lavender arms and hands were able to daintily hold a tea cup and saucer, the other two were solitary at her sides, plastered in casts. Thick gauze was taped to her cheek. There were bruises up and down her arms as if someone had danced and jabbed their fingers across them.

Despite her injuries and unsettling appearance, you found Muffet to be a macabre beauty.

“Y-Yes, Madame?” Biscuit seemed nervous.

Muffet looked at the little spider, her eyes blinking from one to another as if it was a fan opening and closing. It was hypnotizing to watch. “Bitsy, you called him here, didn't you?” Her question slashed at the spider like a switchblade.

“Y-yes, Madame. You may have my head for doing so. However please understand that I am your friend and I simply cannot let you die such a disgraceful death.”

“I should bite your head off. You did something very non-Spider. However… You brought one of my favorite people to catch in my webs. Plus you are the sweetest of hearts. So you're excused.” Muffet giggled, her laugh sounding like an ahuhuhuhu.

“Thank you very much, Madame.”

“Of course. Now, bring out more cups. We have guests and we must entertain.”

“There's no need to do that, Muffet.” Frisk walked over to the side table and carefully placed Biscuit onto it before walking over to the spider clan head’s side. “I'm not in your parlor. Besides, if you wanted to trap me in your web, you already have.”

Muffet giggled again, covering her mouth with her hand such as how a refined lady would. “Goodness me. You're as romantic as ever but I know you're not here for my hand.”

“You're correct.”

The clan head inhaled and exhaled slowly, her almost juvenile joviality leaving her, replaced with mature gravity. “Well, pull up a chair. I'll take you down memory lane - for a price of course.”

Frisk and you pulled up chairs by her bedside.

“One grand in cash and you tell me everything.” Your eyes bulged the millisecond that processed in your head. You made sure to keep your surprise down a millisecond later. You did not want Muffet to notice.

The spider mistress had a smirk on her lips. “That's what I love about you. You're not stingy.” She said the word sourly as if it was a word of taboo to her. “Deal.”

Frisk dug into his pocket and pulled out a wad of bills held together by a rubber band. How did that fit in his pocket in the first place? No, the real question was how in the world did he have a thousand dollars in cash on hand? You... You weren't going to question it. He gave the cash to Biscuit, which the gentlemanly spider thanked him for and carried away to the other side of the room.

“Please, Muffet, tell me what happened.”

“You already know about my lovely tearoom. It's a popular spot here, wonderful reviews all around.” Muffet sighed and laid her hand on her uninjured cheek glumly. “Still wished it wasn't just the adventurous humans that bought my spider pastries. Even though I had to change the recipe for the general population, my donuts and cider are my pride and joy.”

“Yes, they are certainly delicious. Whenever your friends come up to the mount to sell your pastries, I always buy some or take a bite from someone else’s. They're to die for.” He was lying through his teeth but he was certainly excellent at doing it.

“And I thank you very much for the positive review. If you'd like to leave a review on Yelp…" Suggestion twinkled bright in all of her eyes.

“Of course. I’d be delighted to.”

Muffet giggled, satisfied. “Thank you very much. Anywho, every once in awhile, we get naughty guests in my parlor - guests that want to break everything they see, guests that want to burn the whole place down. It's hard enough having a business so far out from the city. An abandoned plantation was the only place big enough to fit all of my friends comfortably.”

“I know quite well. Still love the way you renovated the place. It looks as beautiful as the day it was first built.”

“Flattery will take you everywhere, young man. As I was saying, we have naughty guests that like to squish my little friends, ones that would like to very much squish me. The assaults were always attempted before. This was the first time any of them got a hit on me.” Muffet moved one of her wrapped up arms to look at for a moment before laying it back down on her side. “I'm lucky they didn't have the intent to kill or I’d be dust right now.”

“I'm glad they didn't either. You're my friend. I'd hate to see you go.”

“A friend of convenience; well, inconvenience right now.”

Frisk pouted. “Muffet, you know that's not true.”

“Certainly not.” Muffet sipped her tea and put her now empty tea cup on the side table. Biscuit ran up to the teapot on the table and carefully tipped it over to refill it. She then took the teacup back, giving him a nod of gratitude. “You only visit when you need something from me.”

“And you only call for the surveys.”

She brought the tea cup to her mouth and sipped a bit. “Excellent brew as always, Bitsy.” She put the teacup back onto the saucer then looked back at Frisk. “Touché.”

“Indeed. Now, tell me, how am I going to convince you to let me pay your medical bills.”

Muffet’s grin broadened like the Cheshire Cat’s - misbehavior and deceit carved into a crescent shape - and all of her eyes narrowed. “Don't play with me. You know quite well, prince.”

Frisk crossed his arms. “You're a firm believer in karma - that everything has a price.”

“What goes around must come back around. That's the cycle of life, yes?”

“Indeed it is… I have a bargain that you can't refuse.”

“Really now.” The mistress's eyes drilled holes into Frisk.

It worked more on you than on him. “I will pay all of your hospital bills if you attend the clan head meetings again.”

Muffet’s eyelids rose, dancing across her face. “You're sharp as a tack as always. No, more like a blade. You get right to the point, the slashing apart of dignity in front of strangers.” She glanced at you for a moment. You shifted uncomfortably.

“Don't beat around the bush. I know you haven't attended a clan head meeting since you came to power.”

The spider sipped at her tea for a moment before she practically slammed the teacup back onto the saucer. She exhaled hard. “Yes, you are correct.”

“As a prince, I simply cannot allow you to do this. I understand that you and your friends like to stay together but it is your responsibility as a leader to come to these meetings. They happen rarely but you need to attend each one.”

“Hmph, if I must… The deal is too disproportionate. You can come up with so much better than that.”

“How about I pay your hospital bills and pay for the damages to your home instead?”

She sipped her tea again. “Hmmm, I very much like that idea. Still, it's disproportionate on my side of terms.”

“How about as long as I live, you must come to the meetings.”

She took a long drink of her beverage. “Hmmm, sixty or so years… That's disrespectful. A spider always pay their debt but the debt left behind for this is much greater than you think.”

“Then how about as long as there's a relative of Asgore Dreemurr alive, you must attend every clan head meeting.”

Muffet put the teacup to her mouth but didn't sip any. She set the cup down on the saucer and placed it on the side table next to her. “Interesting, very interesting… You have a deal.”

“Excellent. I must take my leave. I'm not supposed to be here, you know.”

“Goodness me. Secret meetings with an older woman? How scandalous.”

Frisk smiled at that. “Take care, Muffet.”

“And to you as well.”

The two of you got up and put the chairs back where they belonged. Before you could leave, however, Biscuit called you all back. “Wait a moment. I have a gift.” Biscuit took a petunia from the vase from the side table and held it out towards you. “For you with the beautiful name and soul.”

You were surprised. You walked over and cautiously accepted the gift.

“This is all I can provide. A spider always pays their debt and the debt I owe you is immense. If I must send you ten thousand flowers, then I shall in order to repay you for your kindness.”

“No, no, it's fine. Seeing Muffet recover and getting back to work is the best way to repay me.”

Biscuit nodded his head. “You're right. Thank you for being so generous.”

Muffet giggled. “My my, Bitsy. Are you flirting with a human?”

The spider twiddled two of his arms as if they were thumbs. You found it a bit cute. “Uh, of course not, Madame.”

Muffet cackled once more. “I would have never guessed you were a playboy.”

“Of course not, Madame.”

“This is why you're my favorite friend, Bitsy. You're always finding a way to blow me away.”

“Anything for you, Muffet.”

You smiled as you closed the door behind you, leaving the butler and mistress to themselves. She'd be alright, you were sure of it.


Frisk and you were in the check-in area, talking with one of the people there regarding Muffet’s bills. The bills were high now and expected to be even higher by the time she was discharged. Still, Frisk reassured that he'd be able to pay it. If he could dish out one grand from his pocket, he could do other neat tricks with his money.

You were feeling parched. You looked around and your eye caught on a vending machine. Perfect. “Hey, Frisk, I'm going to grab something to drink. Do you want any-”

Frisk looked ghastly. He was gripping onto the tabletop, his knuckles white, to keep himself up. “Just wat-” He abruptly coughed into his sweater sleeve. How was he even wearing a sweater in 90-degree weather? Was he really that ill?

“Alright.” You headed over to the machine. You pressed the button for the water bottle Frisk wanted. He was able to hold down water so it wasn't a stomach bug luckily.

As you took out your wallet, you heard Frisk rasping again. It was louder, harder than the ones before it, almost like he was choking on his Soul. Then he stopped abruptly and something sounding like a sack of wheat hitting the floor resounded through the reception area. Then an uproar began, multiple people screaming for a doctor to come.

You looked over and your heart stopped. In the midst of the bedlam, there was your friend on his side on the floor.

He wasn't getting up.

You immediately scrambled over to his side, sliding across the tile floor as you attempted to sit down by his side. You frantically turned him over. Bright red blood was splotched around the corners of his mouth. Shivers racked his thin body, wheezes vibrating his chest. His skin was blanched as if the grim reaper was coming to take his soul.

No, don't think about that. Don't even think about that for a second.

You couldn't stop thinking about it.

Frisk wasn't invincible. He was just as human as you and everyone else was. That realization sent shivers down your back and tears into your eyes.

“Frisk? Frisk?” You kept on calling his name as if it was a prayer for him to open his eyes and talk to you and jab fun at you and just not being on the fucking floor in a hospital hundreds of miles away from the people that cared about him.

It wasn't working.

“Frisk! Frisk!”

Nothing was working.

You couldn't help him.

You couldn’t breathe. You felt tears pricking up, your face hot.

“Please! Frisk! Frisk, please! Frisk!”

Chapter Text

Beep… Beep… Beep…

Your eyes slowly cracked open. The harsh overhead lights shined right into them. You winced, wanting to shade them but was too tired to do so.

You were still in the hospital in a room in the maternity ward. How ironic. You were here only hours ago to see Muffet and Biscuit and now you were back here again for another patient. That's the only area the staff allowed visitors to stay late while having some privacy. They were originally going to place him in the children's ward - he wasn't twenty-one yet - but you had a fit about not being able to stay by his side. He always watched over you, moving you out of harm’s way some way or another. You had to return the favor. So they marched him into a free room in the ward, you right by his unconscious side.

You hadn't gotten up to do anything, even leave to go to the bathroom. Your body was on pause, your thoughts fast-forwarding to the worst thoughts possible every five seconds. You don't think you'd be able to sleep if you had gone to the hotel next door anyway, so you decided just to camp out here until he woke up.

Speaking of sleep, you were surprised that you had gotten any. You weren't in the most comfortable position, your butt having fallen asleep probably hours ago. The beeping of the EKG must have lulled you into slumber. It was the most soothing melody you've heard all day. There was a certain serenity in hearing his heart beating, knowing he was alive against all odds.

Frisk Dreemurr somehow caught one of the worst cases of pneumonia the hospital had seen in years. The doctors were stunned that he was even still alive, much less able to take a flight all the way to Louisiana, negotiate deals with a business associate, even stand up straight. If he had collapsed anywhere else in the city, he would have-

Stop thinking about death. Just stop. You're driving yourself nuts.

“Oh, sorry 'bout that.”

You then lifted your head off from the bed. The voice was unfamiliar. You have to watch over Frisk.

You turned to the door and your growing anxiety quelled in an instant. A nurse with the accent of the region had come in to do his hourly check on him. “Can you move yo chair for a second? I need to change the baggie.”

You moved the chair you had fallen asleep in away from the machines quietly. Frisk was still asleep, much to your pleasure. He needed the rest. The nurse quickly switched out the bags of saline solution and wrote down some information on a clipboard.

“I need to check his hands for a sec, just to make sure the resident didn't jab the needles in wrong. Can you leggo of him for a sec?”

You hadn't realized you were holding his hand the whole time, even while sleeping. You grasped his hand as soon as he was put on a cot and you refused to let go. You were that afraid of losing him, that letting go of him would let go of his connection to the earth. You reluctantly released Frisk from your grasp. He'd be okay. You kept telling yourself that. The nurse inspected his hands and nodded in approval. He put the clipboard back and was about to leave the room but turned back.

“Hey, uh, I have a question. Is that… Is he really-?”

“Yes. This is Frisk Dreemurr.” Every other nurse that came in before asked the same question. You were getting agitated having to answer it over and over again.

“Oh. Cool. I watch all o’ his conferences. Nice guy, y’know… I hope he gets better soon. It sucks to be sick on Christmas Day.”

You furrowed your brows. “It's Christmas already?”

“In a couple of minutes it'll be. I'll be leaving you to it.”

With that, the nurse left the room, closing the door quietly behind him. You turned back to your ailing friend with zero energy in your movement.

The exuberance and youthfulness that usually accompanied the ambassador was nonexistent on his frail, languorous frame. You had wiped the blood from his mouth and hands hours ago yet the stains were faintly visible. He had deep, dark circles under his eyes - almost like bruises. His lips were cracked. His hair was a wreck. Plus the pallor of his skin still perturbed you. You meant that Casper the Friendly Ghost thing as a joke. Now he was really starting to look like the character.

All in all, Frisk looked like shit.

You were an iceberg right now. Sure, you looked fine or so you thought when you caught a glimpse of yourself in a mirror while the doctors rushed him into the emergency room. Deep down inside, your emotions were raging. You didn't have one exact emotion. You were furious at him and worried about him and scared for him and a bit happy for him and---

You secretly, guiltily wished you hadn't come with him. You secretly wished you parted ways at the airport. You secretly wished you were sitting on the staircase with Ricky, drinking eggnog and reminiscing about the year apart from each other as the clock struck twelve and Christmas came. You secretly wished it was morning and you and your family were opening the presents, laughing at the gag gifts and oogling and goggling over the real ones.

You secretly wished you were home for Christmas this year.

But you couldn't.

You couldn't leave him like this. He needed you right now more than ever. Even if you got nothing in return for it, you had to do this.

So you chose him over your family.

You already told them your decision. Your brother had answered the phone, trying to mess with you the way boys his age did. You still feel awful for shouting at him when he kept on dragging it on. You took out the stress of the situation on him. You'd have to get him something extra to make up for doing that. You then had to tell your father that you weren't going to be able to come home for Christmas, that Ricardo had traveled miles upon miles only for you to not show up, that your ugly holiday sweater wouldn't be worn this year. He understood, claiming that this was a job obligation but you quickly clarified. You weren't here as an employee. You were here as a dear friend. Your father chuckled then, congratulating you on making a friend. He wished you a Merry Christmas. You wished him one too.

Despite determining yourself to stay by his side, you still felt bitter, oh so bitter. And you felt awful for doing so.  He would surely do the same for you in a heartbeat. Shoot, everyone on the mountain would do the same. Sans would tell bad jokes and Papyrus would moan and groan about them before handing you a plate of his special spaghetti and Toriel would give you a slice of her famous pie and Asgore would pour you a cup of his favorite tea and Frisk would be by your side the entire time.

So, for right now, you were an emotional mess. No mop or broom could easily clean this up.

You put your hand back into Frisk’s. It felt right - safe - being able to comfort him with this little gesture.

Your phone vibrated multiple times in your back pocket, the slew of merry tidings coming in like a wave. You knew what day it was now. You looked into Frisk’s eyes before sighing softly. “... Merry Christmas, Frisk.”

“Merry Christmas to you too.”

You nearly fell out of your seat.

“What, you didn't realize I was awake the whole time?”

You collected yourself quickly. “... No.”

Frisk scoffed whimsically. “C’mon, I know I got small eyes but really?”

You groaned lightly. Seeing that gentle grin that curved his lips cleaned up part of the mess in you. He’s gonna be alright.

He shifted his head to peer at the wall behind you. “Go in my bag for a sec.”

You grabbed his surprisingly heavy duffel bag out of the corner of the room and opened it. What you saw inside made you snap your head towards him, absolutely confused. “What’s all of this?”

“Isn't it obvious? It's all of your Christmas presents from everyone.”

“W-What?” Your voice wavered as you turned back to the bag. His bag was full to the brim with festively decorated gift boxes and gift bags. “Y-you're joking.”

“Everyone wanted you to open up their gifts on Christmas Day so they wanted me to give them to you before you left. You can see how that turned out.” Frisk looked at his hands, crestfallen. He sighed then looked back at you. “I hope this'll make your Christmas less crappy. I know that you really wanted to see your family but… well…”

“I…” Your lip quivered, your eyes watery. You hadn't expected any of the Monsters, not even Frisk, to give you presents for Christmas. You hadn't expected he brought them with him either. They were all too good to you. You wiped your eyes with the back of your hand. “I don't regret coming here with you - not at all. Just don't do something stupid like that again. You could've… You could've-”

“I know I could have died.” That sounded so apathetic. It was as if death wasn't a big deal to him, as if his life had no value. You could only stare at him, unsure of what to feel when that thought crossed your mind. Is that why he was always up to the wee hours of the morning reading books? Is that why he went all the way to New Orleans while he was deathly ill? Does Frisk know how valuable he was to people? Did he know how much you've grown to care for him? You weren't here for just any reason. He was quickly becoming someone like Ricky and there was only one person who had that spot: Ricky. You didn't want Frisk to think like that. It horrified you just imagining him thinking like that.

“I'm so sorry I scared you.”

You were startled out of your thoughts when he said that.

He looked up at you, genuine guilt on his features. “... Can I tell you something?”

“Of course. Anything, Frisk.”

He smiled at you gratefully, beckoning you over as if he wanted to tell you a secret. You joined him by his side again, taking both of your bags with you. You plopped them next to you and sat down in your seat, scooting so you'd be right next to him.

“I… I've never had a real human friend before.”

You frowned. “What do you mean?”

“Before I fell into the Underground, I never had a friend. It's never fun being different when you're growing up. Then when I fell in and broke the Barrier, I was too busy being a dignitary that I never had a chance to make any real human friends.”

Frisk looked at you with the most gracious look you've ever seen, like the Sun was shining after forty years of rain and all he wanted to do was thank it for coming back, for being there after so many years.

“Then you came along."

Your heart swelled. Tears threatened to spill from your eyes.

"To be honest hundreds of thousands of people applied for the job. I originally posted the job on the Internet, telling exactly what the position would be. I had to throw out all of the applications because it was just too much. So MK told me just to put an ad in the paper, saying it’d be a normal job at a normal school. Then a couple of days later, you called, calling me by my surname and being just so fun to mess with. And little by little, you brightened many lives, including mine.

Don't get me wrong. I love every single Monster, even if it's hard to do sometimes. I owe them everything. I don't know where I'd be if I hadn't fallen into the Underground. I'm surrounded by family and friends who love me from the bottom of their hearts. I have a warm bed and food to eat every night too. That's always a plus.

It's just that, well, I wanted to have someone to confide in that was like me - a human. A really caring human who'd rather stay with me on their favorite holiday rather than with their family..."

He waved his hands around, attempting to find the thing he was trying to get across.

"Look, what I'm trying to say is-”

“Thanks?” You cocked a brow, an unwavering smile on your lips.

Frisk sighed happily, beaming brightly at you. For the shortest of moments, the warm color returned to his face. “Yes.”

He took your hand into his, holding it as firmly as he could, which wasn't much since he was still in a fragile state. “That's why I'm so torn up about all of this. You're my friend. I would never wish fear upon you, especially over little old me.”

“If you want me to forgive you, then just heal up quick. It makes me miserable seeing you look like this.”

He nodded. “Alright. I'll do my best.”

Frisk’s cellphone vibrated, skittering across the side table due to the vibrations. He took it and looked at who was calling. His face fell immediately. “Crap.”

“Who is it?”

“It's Papyrus but I know it's not him. Dad throws a party every year at his place so everyone would be there.”

“Do you want me to be the bearer of bad news?”

Do I.”

You inhaled and exhaled deeply, hoping to calm you. “I'll put it on speaker so you can hear, alright?”

“Alright.”

You gulped and answered it, pressing on the screen to turn on the speaker. “Hel-”

“Frisk Dreemurr, where in the seven hells are you?” You were greeted with the blazes of ten thousand volcanoes screaming from the iPhone.

The aforementioned young man looked terrified. You were as well.

“Uh, Toriel?”

“O-Oh, it is you. My apologies for that, my child.” The kindly queen always found a way to frighten you by how quickly she went from candlelight to hellfire.

“It's fine.”

“Where is my son?” That didn't come out as a question.

You were ready to snitch on him right then, the chills running down your back trying to convince you to do so. You weren't meant for this lifestyle. “Do… Do you want the good news or the bad news first?”

“... The good.”

“W-Well, Frisk isn't dead.”

You could hear her shudder all the way from the phone. “Now I am even more concerned as to why you have to reassure me that he is alive.”

“Frisk has pneumonia”

Toriel exhaled worriedly. “Pneumonia?”

“Yes. He's in the hospital. He had the worst case of it the docs here have seen in years.”

Toriel's voice faltered for the briefest of moments. “Oh my goodness. Put Frisk on the phone.”

“Uh- He’s asleep.”

“Do not test me right now.” You felt all the blood leave your face. “I can hear the echo. Put my son on the phone this instant, even if you have to drag him from his bed.”

“M-Mom?” Thank god Frisk decided to take over. Your hands were shaking like a Parkingson's patient's.

The mother exploded, the heat of the flames she spewed coming out from the phone. “Frisk Dreemurr, you lackadaisical pile of flesh I call a son, did you think for a second I was not going to find out about you going all the way to Louisiana while you were - now I find out - deathly ill? I had to threaten to burn alive several people today and I should do it to you for doing such an stupid, stupid thing! How could you be so selfish? You are so selfish - so, so, s-so selfish.”

Toriel began to sob and the sound of something crashing upon the floor resounded from the other end. You could hear multiple voices run over to her, their footsteps echoing into the microphone, to comfort her. Many of the Monsters you've befriended over the course of the past two months were there, soothing her with affirmations that her son was going to be alright, that she needed to keep calm so that he wouldn't get even more ill.

Her son looked as if he was overcome with remorse. “Mom, I'm so, so sorry.”

After a shaky breath, Toriel picked up the phone. “I am sorry too. I… I should not have yelled. I should not have called you selfish… You're anything but that.”

“It's fine. I deserve it. Besides… You're the only mom to yell at me because you care.” Frisk’s lip quivered, his eyes misty. That comment made your blood run cold.

Toriel inhaled roughly, her breath shaky. “This had to do with your ambassador duties, am I correct?”

“Yes. There was an emergency with Muffet.” He retold the story involving the spider. You could imagine that the queen was nodding, listening intently. That's how she always acted when people told her things.

“And she is likely to survive, correct?” Her composure was nearly back.

“Yes.”

“How much money did you lose while negotiating with her?”

“One grand to get her to talk then all of her hospital bills and damages on her parlor.”

The queen sighed. “That is not as bad as I imagined. You know how the last time I was in your shoes went. Ten grand just to get her to talk then an extra to apologize for supposed rudeness. What did you have to do to get her to agree with that?”

“Make her do something of equal value. A spider always pays their debts and she wanted an even exchange rather than a donation. She’ll be attending all of the clan head meetings so long as a relative of Dad’s is alive.”

She let out a noise of surprise. “Incredible. You certainly are an excellent negotiator. I do not think any of us could work something out like that. Plus you solved a serious problem amongst the clan heads. Good work, my child.”

“Thanks.”

“When will you be discharged? I want you back home.”

“No one’s sure yet. Hopefully later today or tomorrow.”

“Okay… Be good, alright?”

“Of course. I'll try my best to not flirt with any of the nurses.”

She scoffed and chuckled right after. “Take care, my child.”

“You too." Frisk then looked into his lap with a smile from ear-to-ear. "I love you, Mom.”

The queen sputtered nervously before giggling lightly. “I love you too, Frisk. Good night.”

With that, Frisk hung up the phone and put it back on the side table.

“Well, that went well.”

“It really did. I still feel bad I worried everyone so badly.”

“Well, you're alive and you'll recover soon. Plus, you got what you had to get done. Ain't that a Christmas miracle in itself?”

“That's true. Speaking of Christmas…” He pointed at the bag. “Open those gifts up, mine first though.”

“Okay but only if you open mine.”

Frisk looked confused. You went into your duffel bag and took out his present, wrapped expertly by the gift wrapping expert you were. He gasped. “You got me a present?”

“Of course, you dork. My family just couldn't help getting you stuff either.”

You put it in his lap then dug into his duffel to pull out all of your presents. After all the presents were taken out, you looked inside. It was completely empty. “Frisk, did you pack a change of clothes?”

He grinned nervously at you. You shoved your face into your open hand in defeat. Now you had to buy him toiletries and wash his clothes. For free. What an adventure.

“My present is the red one over there.”

He pointed to the one he was talking about and you put it in your lap. After Frisk counted down to three, the two of you speedily ripped the wrapping off of the boxes. You wanted to wait to see his reactions to your present to him.

Frisk gasped, his eyes twinkling like the stars outside when he saw what you got him. “Holy crap, one of those handmade picture frames. This is absolutely adorable.”

“It better be. My brother and I made it.” Frisk could only look at you. “The box is huge, man. Keep on digging.”

He then pulled out a Chia pet from the box. It was in the shape of 54th American President, Barack Obama. “What in the seven hells?”

“That's from my dad. I told him that you had a flower in your house that was a bit lonely so he bought that.” Of course you didn't mention that the flower was actually a Monster and the aforementioned flower was going to now murder you. You didn't understand why your father didn't buy a Chia pet of the current president but you didn't want to bug him about his awful gift choice.

He dug around and pulled out a Victoria’s Secret gift card. He busted out laughing at that one. “Who came up with this one?”

“... Gigi.”

Frisk chuckled so hard that he ended up doubling over, coughing. You jumped up and rubbed his back as if it was an instinct now. “I-I'm fine. Thanks.”

“Anytime. That one didn't sound as bad as before. The antibiotics must be working.”

“They definitely are. My fever is almost gone. Anyway, I'll keep on searching this box.” Frisk pulled out Dating for Idiots: The Book You Give to People When They Just Can't Keep a Partner from his gift box and he snorted. “Are you kidding me?”

“I didn't tell my mom to buy it for you. She assumed this.” You crossed your fingers behind your back.

Frisk scoffed and rolled his eyes. “Why does everyone assume I’ve never dated anyone? I've dated around.”

“Frisk, a kiss on the doorstep doesn't count as a date.”

He chuckled mockingly for a good minute or more as you just sat there, confused as he roared and roared. After wiping a tear from his eye, he gave you a look that the Cheshire Cat surely gave Alice. “Do you really think I haven't?”

“No. Not at all, in fact.”

He snorted again. He looked at his surprisingly well-tended-after nails, admiring the shine. You don't think you've seen a man or woman have nails as pristine as his. “When I studied abroad I did all kinds of craziness. I dabbled quite a bit in dating. Just because my charms don't work on you doesn't mean it never worked on other people. And they weren't just little one-night flings, well not all of them.”

You had to pick your jaw up from the floor. “How drunk were the people?”

“Sober actually. We only drank together after the fifth date.”

“I just…”

He had the smirk of a conqueror who easily defeated an enemy. He came, he saw, he conquered. “You can't believe my flirting actually worked on people.”

“No. Not at all.”

“I'll tell you about my French rendezvouses when we've both had some liquor in us. For now, open up my present. You'll love it.”

As he took out the last part of your present to him, you opened the box in your lap. Inside was a thick and heavy hardcover book with ornate detailing etched in gold into the brown leather of the cover. In calligraphy was the title bold and proud for all to see - A History of Monsterkind. Oh, and there was gilt edging too? This was just seduction now. It was one of the most exquisite books you've seen and it was now yours. Inside of the book was your holiday card from him.

Dear My Dear Assistant,

I know quite well about your undying adoration of literature. This book, though old and outdated, may prove handy involving work. I hope you enjoy it.

Have the happiest of holidays, my friend.

Sincerely,

Frisk

Then there was another card in the other end of the book.

Dear Frisk’s Assistant,

WHY WON'T YOU GIVE ME YOUR SOUL? It's not that hard. You just say “Howdy, Flowey, soon-to-be overlord of humanity and Monsterkind, can I offer you my puny, pathetic Soul?” That's all it takes but you refuse to fork it over! How rude can you get?

Also, Merry Kwanzaa or whatever the heck you celebrate.

From,

Your Future God of Darkness - Flowey the Flower

That was definitely in Frisk’s chicken scratch so you could only imagine the argument that ensued while the human had to sit down and write out what Flowey dictated.

“That book's a collection of many aspects of Monster society: politics, origins, magic spells, even ghost stories. It was something that was sitting in my archive room for years and I thought you'd be a much better owner than me.”

“Frisk, this is so beautiful. Thank you.”

He dug out the last gift out of the box. “You're very welcome- Are you serious?” He showed the gift you personally got him: a collector’s edition of Hope and Dream. “Okay, so I mentioned I never read the book so you go out and buy the damn thing for me?”

“Yes! Now read it. D.R. Winters’s other novels are a bit odd but this one is classic. Just read it.”

“It better not be like The Great Gatsby. I abhor it.

“Trust me, me too, but you'll like this book. I promise.”

Frisk playfully rolled his eyes. “Fine. I'll read it.”

You then opened the gifts from all of the Monsters.

Toriel’s gift was the first one you grabbed, which was two cookbooks: 104 Great Casseroles and 72 Ways to Cook Snails. The latter made you want to cry. You only said her snail pie was good to appease her but now it was too late to take back the compliments. She really thought you liked snails. The next was Asgore’s: a moss green sweater that had “I'm Feeling Lucky” over a horseshoe knitted into it. You felt tears actually springing up. He made you a sweater. You felt like you were part of the royal family now. Then you giggled, realizing that the sweater was specifically made for the next conference, which would be held on St. Patrick’s Day. Asgore never ceased to make you smile.

Next came Sans’s gift, a book of puns. On his card, he wrote that your puns were awful and you needed to be trained. How rude. Still, you decided that you'd keep it on that little shelf in your desk for when you needed a good laugh. He always found a way to make you laugh even on the cloudiest of days. Then Papyrus’s gift, which was a surprisingly well-made clay figurine of himself, looking unnecessarily macho with eight pairs of sunglasses resting on his shoulders. On his card, he wrote that he'd like you to have a little piece of him to guard you during the night. You had a goofy grin spread on your lips. He was such a sweetheart.

Undyne and Alphys’s gift was in a gift bag. You pulled out a DVD of Mew Mew Kissy Cutie and another of Mew Mew Kissy Cutie: The Movie. Then you dug out a card. In near illegible writing was a plea for you to watch this anime. In the loveliest cursive was a demand for you to watch this anime, along with a threat of turning you into a kabob if you didn't. You decided, much to your inner grumbles of protest, that you'd watch at least an episode. At least you would have tried to watch it.

You pulled out another large gift bag that was sparkly and bright pink. Oh you already knew who this was from. Turns out Divabot, Napstablook, and Lena all got you presents. How sweet of them. Mettaton’s was a DVD collection of all of his movies, so that meant at least forty hours of watching a calculator on a unicycle sit around and look fabulous… Great. There was no gift receipt either. Napstablook’s was two CDs. One was Blooktunes, the exclusive physical copy of their extended play that you've been wanting to get your hands on for a while. Two was Undertale: Vibrations Along The Walls, the soundtrack to that movie Mettaton was producing. And, holy smokes, a remaster of that gorgeous song from the Dust Festival was on the track list. You would have to email the ghost and gush about how much you loved their gift. Lena’s gift was the reason the gift bag was so big. It was a framed watercolor of the block your family and her grandmother lived on. She didn't miss even one detail, the quality of a photograph but in that whimsical style of hers. According to the card, she wanted you to have a piece of home with you whenever you felt homesick. This was such a heartfelt gift. You knew you'd cherish it dearly.

Surprisingly, you also got holiday cards from guests. You internally cheered when Burgerpants wrote to you that he got a role playing himself in that movie Mettaton was producing. He really was going to make it. Bratty and Catty were also along for the project and they wished for you to visit their shop if you ever visited Los Angeles, accompanied by valley girl-esque banter at the bottom. Dumble, in all capitals, wrote to you regarding their corporeality training, which was going smoothly. You could practically hear them in their ear-piercing voice complain how boring, boring, boring the whole shebang was but it was also peaceful, peaceful, peaceful? You were glad all of them were doing well.

The next set of cards was from various students and people from town. MK and Dina’s family wished you a happy holiday, the little dinosaur drawing a cat at the bottom in crayon because she wanted to. Ruffhauser’s family sent good tidings as well, the puppy mentioning that he went on a play date with Dina and her friends and he had the grandest little time. Surprisingly, Bunnette and her sister’s family sent a card. She wrote that you were welcome to come to her shop for your gift anytime.

Your stomach growled then, just thinking of those heavenly buns. You hadn't eaten since you were in the airport and that was well over twelve hours ago.

“You should go eat.” Frisk put down his phone.

“Yeah, I should… You'll be alright, right?”

He smiled broadly at you. “You don't have to helicopter around me. That's my mom’s job, who Sans says is going to be coming down here. I'll be fine. Besides, I can't eat anything so all I'm gonna do is mope around."

“Fine. I'll be back in a bit.”

“In a bit? You should go to your hotel. It's pretty late.”

“It's fine. I won't be able to sleep anyway.”

He looked in his lap, his smile growing smaller and smaller. “Then I'll expect you back here then.”

“Of course.” You grabbed your wallet and put it in your pocket. Still uncomfortable about the no jacket thing. “I’ll eat something outrageously unhealthy in your honor.”

“Don't get sick now. You'll end up right next to me.”

You snickered as you opened the door and closed it right behind you. He seriously was going to be alright.


 

The only thing that was open this late and on Christmas Day was a Chinese food restaurant down the street. You were eating your usual and texting Ricky, updating him on what happened. He wasn't sore about you not coming at all, which relieved you. He was more concerned about Frisk, wishing him a speedy recovery.

As you put a piece of your food in your mouth, you looked at the TV. What you saw made you drop your chopsticks. A train collision had just occurred. One of the trains was on the wrong track and collided into the front of an incoming one. The police said that the train driver liable for the wreck reeked of alcohol and was stumbling out of the train. Toriel or any other Monster wouldn't be coming down to New Orleans anytime soon. Or leaving either. Curse those travel restrictions.

You looked into the corner of the room to see a cobweb daintily hanging there. The webs made you think of Muffet and Biscuit. You hoped she would recover soon. She had business to attend to after all. And you decided that, hey, you'd give her parlor out a try if you ever came back down here. You wouldn't have any of her spider pastries however. That web cake was enough for a life-

ACHOO!

You sniffled. You knew what that meant and all you could do was groan loudly.

Merry fricking Christmas to me.

Chapter Text

“Not every student here has hands but most have feet so we do foot painting rather than toe painting. You will be getting much more than your hands dirty while up here on the mount, Lena.”

“That's fine with me, Toriel. I find the concept wonderful.”

“I certainly agree. In fact, I have a prime example of it. Many of the upperclassmen were here to make the sign on the gate into Newer Home.”

“Really? Oh, that's even cuter.”

Frisk recovered completely in time for New Years so the two of you came back to the mountain and celebrated with everyone. Toriel apologized immensely about your vacation being completely cut due to her son’s illness but you assured her you were fine with it all. You were able to get hammered on New Year’s so it was reimbursement enough. Jonathan arrived the same day to learn the ropes before school started up again so he and you did shots. You lost as soon as your lips remotely touched the second shot. Frisk documented it since he couldn’t partake - doctor’s orders. He mocked you as always.

School resumed the Monday after, which was today. Lena’s first day came with it. She walked around the school as Toriel gave her an overview of her daily tasks as the arts-and-crafts teacher. You were forced to accompany the two. Frisk gave you the task of doing monthly evaluations on the humans, which you had to start doing today. Of course, you moaned and groaned about having to do it. You had to wake up earlier and had to pretty much sit there and do nothing for the entirety of the day. Still, you zipped your lips and did your job. Besides, you were curious about how things would go in her classes.

“Also you must not forget about Bluejoy and the blind human girl… Oh, her name has slipped my mind.”

“Stella Winters.”

“Ah, yes. You are much sharper than this old woman.”

“I'm flattered, Toriel.”

As the two giggled, you wrote down your observation in your notepad: Tori and Lee get along well. This wasn't a surprise of course. Both were very kind-hearted and had a certain love for working with children. Toriel taught them while Lena created picture books for them. They just seem to click together, like a boss and employee that could be good friends in and out of the workplace. They probably will be.

The human student exchange program began today as well. Frisk hasn't texted you regarding his opinion on them yet so he must still be briefing them. That was the only reason you weren't completely miserable when your alarm went off three hours earlier than usual. He had to wake up early too. You could hear Flowey shrieking at him to wake up all the way from your room too, a new record on his part. You'll have to congratulate the flower on his achievement when you see him next.

“And here we are, the kindergarten classroom.” The three of you stood in front of the door, the War Board nearby. As the two discussed some last-minute matters, you turned towards it. It was relatively barren, all of the holiday-themed puns taken down on the last day of school. The Laughy Nanny and Funnybones will probably be filling the board back up in the near future.

You looked down and there was little Bluejoy trying to grab one, her wings just not long enough to swat one down. Every Monday around this time, she was always here getting a joke as if it was a ritual of hers. As you did every Monday around this time, you helped her by plucking it down and giving it to her.

Joy wrote on her board, “Thanks.”

“Anytime.”

She peered over at the human behind you and scribbled something on her board. “Is that Mettaton’s fiancee?”

“Yes. She’s going to be working here while Mrs. Baatholomew is away.”

Her eyes lit up. “Cool.”

“Indeed. I'll see you later, alright?”

Bluejoy waved and skittered down the hall back to class. You turned back to the two ladies. It seemed they were waiting for you.

“Come now, we have children to educate.” Toriel opened the door and walked in. “Good morning again, everyone. My apologies for having to leave so suddenly. Let us thank Mr. Paerrot for coming in while I was gone.”

A choir of children echoed their gratitude to the teacher. The parrot Monster left the room right after. You and Lena waved to him, him replying back with a fancy twirl of his wing before entering the teacher’s lounge. You didn't know much about Paerrot but you did know that he was an English teacher, specializing in plays, for the high school-level students and was quite the silent type.

“I do come back with wonderful news however. Everyone, we have a new teacher. You may have met Ms. Robinson when she came to visit the school before. She’ll be your arts-and-crafts teacher for the remainder of the year.” The queen beckoned her into the room.

Lena came in, big smile on her face. “Hello, everyone. I'm Ms. Robinson.”

The class giddily replied, “Hi, Ms. Robinson.”

Dina was starry-eyed, her claw tugging on her friend's shirt as they whispered to each other excitedly. Ruffhauser was bug-eyed, his tail wagging hard.

“For our first class, let’s bust out some crayons and do some drawing.”

You stepped in as the class started, staying in the back to observe.


Lunch began and the three of you headed to the teachers’ lounge. Toriel was quite curious about how Lena was doing so you decided to have lunch with her. As you strolled down the hall, you reviewed your notes from your observations so far.

Lena was practically a natural at her job. A bit nervous but she rolled into her routine quickly. The kindergartners loved her too. They were all so enthusiastic about drawing today. Dina drew her house and her family holding hands and the sun with a big smile on it. Ruffhauser drew a big white bone that was drawn in blue for “style” and his mom and dad eating it. The teacher said that every drawing was lovely and encouraged them to color even more. The children’s responses rotted your teeth.

After teaching two more classes by herself, she whisked Bluejoy and Stella Winters away from class to the art room on the third floor. This is where she would hold her special education class every Monday and Friday. Today's goal was to figure out how the two could communicate with each other. A blind person and a mute aren't a good combination, especially in a classroom setting. Bluejoy would never be able to talk to Stella unless they figured out something. You all sat there practically twiddling your thumbs until the bluebird suggested something. How about she write letters onto Stella’s palms using the end of her marker? Of course, Ms. Robinson asked if Stella knew how to read the alphabet not in Braille and she said she did. So for the remainder of class, the two practiced: Bluejoy drawing invisible letters onto Stella’s open palm and Stella saying the letters from A to Z aloud. The idea was fantastic and hopefully will be a success. You also noted that Bluejoy and Stella, though a bit wary, seemed to like each other already.

Good. This was all very good.

As Toriel was about to reach for the doorknob to the door, a voice called for her. It was Asgore, standing in the lobby with his hands behind his back and a nervous expression etched on his face. The queen groaned quietly and humored him with a bitter expression etched on her face. Lena and you stood by the office, glancing at each other every once in a while. You unsure of what was going to happen.

“Uh, good afternoon, Toriel.” He was sputtering like a little boy to his crush.

“Good afternoon, Asgore.” She said his name like venom was spitting out of her mouth.

“I… Well, since New Years is over and all, I wanted to-”

She crossed her arms. “Get to the point.”

Asgore nearly leapt out of his fur from the pure ice of her response. Reluctantly, he showed what he was holding behind his back: a clear container full of dried up herbs in them. “I overheard that you were out of golden flower tea. "Though we mass-produce it for the public, everyone does say I make the best. I thought I'd give you some of the batch I made for my home.”

Toriel was mystified, her eyes big but her frown deep. She could only look at the container and mutter out, “Thank you…”

“Y-you're very welcome, Tori… No, uh, Toriel. My apologies.”

Then the awkward silence. Of course it'd be awkward. No one would want to speak in a situation as uncomfortable as this. The queen's gaze darted towards you and Lena, as if begging for a bailout.

After he carefully gave her the container, he wiped the back of his neck. “I-I should go back to work.”

“Yes, you should.” She looked into his eyes then. The fire in them must have scared the king away because he jetted it after saying his goodbyes. As soon as you all heard the Courtyard doors open and close, the queen let out one of the loudest sighs you ever heard come out of her.

Lena walked right to the divorced woman's side. “What was that about, if I may ask-” Her face fell. “Wait, I really shouldn't. Neverm-”

“My child, it is fine.” Toriel smiled glumly at her. “I should tell you this story anyway. It'll be a long one so why don't you come to my home for lunch?”

Lena meeped in surprise. “Um… Alright.”

“And you too. This is something you should hear as well.” Toriel looked at you with expectant eyes.

You could only nod in response and follow the queen to her home.


Your childhood friend and you sat at Toriel’s dining table, the queen of Monsterkind across it from you. Both of you swore you could just eat the lunch you had prepared for yourselves but she was not having any of that. When you thought of the pie she could possibly have, you stopped fighting the idea. On the menu were sandwiches for the main course, that leftover pie you were praying you’d get for dessert, and golden flower tea for beverage. As always the sandwiches and pie were god-like. Each bite made you closer and closer to finding nirvana. The tea, however, was lackluster. Well, every good chef has one thing they're bad at preparing. For Toriel, it was the tea made famous by her ex-husband.

She brought the dainty teacup up to her mouth and sipped a bit before placing it fluidly back onto the saucer. Then she let out a slow, exasperated breath from her nostrils. Her regality left her body along the warm air of the exhale in that moment, no longer a queen, now just an old woman having lunch with two young people.

“As obvious as I make it, I cannot stand Asgore. All he does all day is plant flowers like a lackadaisical hippy. He is too soft, too lenient in his rulings as well. And those horrible things he has said and done…” She looked at her teacup as if her tea was the most curious color today. “He was a miserable welp before I met him and he only became more of one over the millennium. Do not say he is getting senile. We have not aged a day since Asriel joined those in dust. There is no excuse. I am so glad Frisk never pressured me into getting back together with the buffoon.”

Toriel sighed. “Still… I cannot bring myself to wish bad things upon him. He is not a bad person. Everyone loves him for a reason. I have studied ruler after ruler when I came to the Surface again and I still cannot find one that cares for every single Monster as much as he does. He is just too passive, too emotional for an effective ruler and husband. We would have been out of that mountain centuries ago if he had stopped moping around, got off his bum, and did something. I will give him credit for not just twiddling his thumbs while he sat there. He organized and centralized education while I was on the throne with him. When I left, he improved relations between the clans and got the Boss Monsters off their high horse. It kept him from having to think about the future that he so carelessly decided for himself and our people.”

She sipped a bit more of her tea then placed the cup back down onto the saucer. The steam from it seemed to curl and curl the way a mysterious smoke would, drawing you out of the reality you were in and into hers.

“My mother used to always say that in this world, there is only love and death, a beginning and an end. It is the driving force of this world, a balance that always readjusts itself so it stays fixed.”


The War had been raging for years and I was expected to just sit by and frolic about while all of my maids’ family and friends were being cut down. There were perks to being the daughter of the commander of The Old King’s armies - oh yes, you two would not know who that is. The Old King is the king prior to Asgore, his father. Excellent warlord; The War would have only been one battle if it was not for him, along with my father’s tactical prowess. There were disadvantages as well. My only “companions” were the other Boss Monsters by right and the ones back then were just snotty. I am a lady through and through but that does not mean I cannot love getting my hands dirty. They did not understand why I loved observing the cooks prepare dishes in the kitchens. They did not understand why I played with the maids’ children. They did not understand why I read all of the books in the libraries thrice.

I did not want to be like that Marie Antoinette, living lavishly while her people died. I wanted to be Florence Nightingale, working my damnedest to ensure the people I cared for were safe.

They never understood why I did such a thing. Regardless, you know me. I cannot sit still for even a millisecond. When a little birdie informed me my nursemaid’s son was cut down during battle, I knew I could not sit by. So I pulled the fuzz out of my eyes and became an army nurse.

My father was proud of my decision. My mother died when I was only a child. Monster flus were much more life-threatening then. He said I had my mother’s eyes, a healthy forest fire glowing in them. He would not be able to stop me regardless. Everyone has their flaws and I can be quite stubborn. He raised me to be strong and wise like the oldest of oaks so he knew I would be fine on my own.

I had treated thousands of patients before I reached my twenty-eighth year. Fire magic is very good for cauterizing wounds and there were hundreds of thousands of them to torch. My heart soon grew stony after seeing most of them recover and turn to dust the next day. One of the very few that ended up in the ward and survived the battles after was that Gerson. You will meet him soon enough. Thor needs his hammer and Gerson, despite his finest achievement solely being his surviving the War, is the Hammer of Justice. And that snapping turtle just loves to snap and crack just as much as all of the other veterans.

One day that same year, the head nurse told me that the youngest son of the Old King had his maiden battle and, like how most soldiers on the front lines ended up, was heavily injured. Due to my status, I was given the task of being his personal nurse. I was a bit nervous. I had never met any of the Old King’s children despite how close my father and him were. I thought they were either terrifying like the king or snotty like the other Boss Monster children. So when I opened the door to the bedroom of that dope, I… I was flabbergasted.

I absolutely disliked Asgore at first. I could not wrap my mind around how this jovial fool was even created. His older brother, Sternus, was just like his name: stern. I do not think I ever saw that man smile. Then there was the quiet Ozarina, the princess who was always mentioned in hearsay but never seen in person. So seeing that blonde dolt so jolly despite nearly losing his foot left me with a sour taste in my mouth. I thanked all that was good and holy that Sternus was the heir to the throne, not him. I thought then that Monsterkind would be lost if Asgore Dreemurr was ever ruler.

You already know how this story goes. Something about his gentle nature gripped me. He was fair to all, even to the tiniest mouse. When he was finally able to walk again, as I trooped him up and down the stairs, all around the castle courtyards, everyone would greet him warmly. When servants were nervous around him, he would politely request that they ease up. Plus birds seemed to love him. They would perch on his horns often, resting as he rested on our treks. Even nature found him kind. Then the way his whole body would rumble when he laughed made me blush. Then the way his eyes would twinkle like the North Star when he smiled made me smile. The usual lovey-dovey crap.

I immediately found it bothersome. He was engaged to another woman from birth. Monsters were the only people who married for love back then but royalty had to keep a standard. Plus he was just practically useless. He could only make tea and garden and I found it irking. I thought he was just like all of the other Boss Monsters by right.

I was about to dispose of my growing feelings for him until he offered to make me some tea after I had a long night. He noticed the circles under my eyes, my endless sighs. I had one sip and it was the most delicious beverage I've ever had. Then he took me to the garden he was growing in the woods nearby. It was even more beautiful than the palace gardens - fruit and vegetables and flora almost bowing towards him, thanking him for letting them touch the sun.

Then I began to really look at him. Even while limping, he had a certain energy in his step. He would hum a random tune as he did whatever he did. During the last Soulance we had on the Surface, during the tourney that is annually run on the Men’s Day, he told his opponents to not fight him like a prince. Of course, he would kick their butts so hard they did not have even a pinch of dignity left. His movements were swift, his magic swifter. Yet he would offer his hand, clap them on the back, and thank them for the duel.

He was also certainly attractive. People always joked that Asgore absorbed all of the good looks his brother was supposed to have.

I think after seeing him win that tournament was when I decided, well, in the most informal of terms, screw it.

I opened up little by little. I was making wonderful puns even from back then but I had enough energy to pull pranks as well. Chara was not the first to hang up socks for all to see. I found his socks, drowned them in tar, stuffed them with feathers and hung them outside his bedroom window. I even made a small one and drew his face on it (which was something akin to what my students can do) and put it on his pillow. The fool was so impressed by it, asking me how I did it and all. I… I still cannot comprehend what he is thinking sometimes.

But when I showed him my favorite bug hunting spot, he said it was the most beautiful place he had seen. When I introduced him to my pet snail, he took the liberty of naming it Snailio… Yes, he was just as awful at naming things back then. When I showed him my fire magic, he begged me to teach him. No, fire magic was not originally the magic of the royal family. The magic of the Royal family was based on bullet patterns. Their bullets were boring but their patterns were like artwork. When he showed me the results of his training, my fire with his patterns, it was the most gorgeous sight.

As the flames died, I realized I loved him.

As the flames died, I hoped he felt the same.

But then his brother was killed - slain by a foot soldier who just somehow side-stepped him quick enough.

Asgore became the heir to the throne overnight. There was no time for the dabbling young adoration brought. He had to return to battle.

I wanted to convince him not to go but I just could not let those words out of my mouth no matter how hard I tried. I attempted to as the servants helped put his gaudy gold armor on. I attempted to as he adjusted his cape, giving himself one last look in the mirror. I attempted to as I walked with him through the maze of antechambers. But not a sound, nothing.

It was not until we were at the towering doors to the outside that even a vowel came out. It was as if he knew everything. He turned back to me and told me that if he survived this battle, he would ask my father for my hand and he hoped that I did not mind. He never showed any signs of even having affection towards me before. He treated me how he treated everyone. Plus he told me his plans. It was not common for a man to ask permission from the woman to be wed then. He did not have to do that at all yet he did. The fact that he was willing to end his engagement to ask for my hand just… It shocked me.

I told him that I would very much like that.

He smiled one of those goofy smiles of his and left right after.

Now, his fiancée was a nice person, I am sure, but I always caught her bad side. She would give me snippy looks and bitter remarks. I did not understand why she was so jealous before then. We were both of the same status and both of our fathers were some of the Old King’s right-hand men. I donned the aprons of a nurse while she kept to her gowns and jewels. She was also very pretty - not beautiful but very, very pretty. When she came from behind that pillar after he left, I realized then why - because I was chosen to be the queen of all of Monsterkind and she was not. I was disgusted with her attitude so I summoned some flames and pushed them as close to her fur as I could get and threatened to set her afire if she did not shed some tears for that man. He practically marched into Death’s arms when he left the palace. Neither of us would be happy in the coming week because I was so sure that he would return to the castle in an urn.

She never talked to me again.

For the next fortnight, I was inconsolable. I would work during the day yelling at everyone. I would go into the courtyard during the evening to cry my eyes out. I was a flurry of emotions. But when he returned alive as ever, I was so relieved.

The battle was a massacre - most of our troops scattered in the wind. Asgore saw Death twice that day. The first was when a human tried to jump him from behind. The sun had shined on his armor, blinding the human long enough for him to attack. I thank that armor-shiner for their work even now, shining that breastplate for hours and hours. He was also struck by a soldier, his armor serving no use against the desire to murder. The only reason he survived was because of the fire magic I taught him to use. He was able to cauterize the wound good enough to carry himself back to the castle.

As he was heading back after the human troops claimed their victory and left, he found my father falling down and not getting back up. He asked my father for my hand. Father was very pleased with the suggestion. I would hopefully be safe and undoubtedly happy… That was all he ever wanted for me. So he agreed. When my father passed on, he collected his remains into his broken pauldron and took it back with him. He would later find that other girl’s father too, telling him of his decision and collecting his dust in the other pauldron.

The Old King decided that enough was enough soon after Asgore's return. Monsterkind would surrender the next dawn. We prepared to leave, taking only our dearest belongings with us. I took my dead mother’s ring and Snailio. Asgore took various seeds from his garden and his dead mother’s favorite necklace.

The human king and his armies greeted all of us the next dawn. As the morning sun shined on the Old King's armor, he walked up to the victor and bent the knee. The king responded by drawing his sword and beheading Asgore’s father right there in front of all of us. Then the damned despot put his Soul in a disgusting looking box and told us that we would be next if we did not obey.

Asgore told his people to not be rash. More death was unnecessary at this point.

The agreement was unanimous.

We were marched to the mountain we stand on now. For most of the trip, I was right by the king, cuffed by restraints. I was not going to just go along with all of this without stating my opinion first so they tied ropes around my wrists as punishment. They were a bit loose. I am still sure Asgore noticed. If he asked me to, I would have thrown that slave driver off of his horse and burned him to ash. He did not. So I kept my lips tight, my paws in front of me.

When we were all put into the mountain, when we saw those seven cloaked mages appear as if out of thin air, I knew it was the end. We would be imprisoned for hundreds of years for what? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

The Underground being devoid of hope is just sweet words to describe what happened when we were first put Underground.

First and foremost, Ozarina drowned herself using her bullets. No one was surprised. She was, in technical terms, a traitor. Oh, why are you both so surprised- Oh yes, please forgive me. It is a habit to never mention what she did. Ozarina fell in love with the human king’s commander. At night, she would disappear to exchange affection for secrets. How she got her hands on them - it is unknown to this day. But she told him our plans. And he killed our men with no reprieve.

No, Frisk does not know about this and we hope he never does. We want to erase her involvement with the humans from history. Monsters are filled with love and that right there was not love. That was abuse, the violation of the very definition of love. Asgore and I exchanged vows the next day to cover it up, to prove a point that we would not let our very being be destroyed by humanity. They took our homes, our sunlight, our dignity but they would not take our love, hope and compassion.

No one blamed her for what she did. She was in love. Love blinds people.

Love blinded me.

Her suicide caused a wave of them. We hoped there would be no more dust to collect but we were wrong, oh so wrong. Thousands died by their own hand within weeks. We started the Dust Festival then. Too many good people were dead and there were too many funerals to attend. We had to combine them all on one day if we wanted to move on with our lives.

The old capital quickly became a mausoleum so we started mass explorations of the world under the mountain. As we looked around, Asgore and I made sure to be loving in the public eye. I believe you call it PDA now? Anywho, we held hands and stole kisses and all of the gross things couples do until we did it without thinking. I was not the affectionate kind of person until I was with Asgore. I guess he taught me to be that way. Frisk too. He is such a loving child, hugging me and telling me he loves me out of the blue. Soon, people began to do the same.

People learned to laugh again, to love again, to live again. We all built homes, planted crops, dug for gold.

We survived.


The food was never touched, now cold as ice. There was no way either of you could eat as the queen told her story.

Toriel finished her tea, placing the teacup back on its saucer when she was done. “We would still be together, being the insufferable couple we were, if the Reaper didn’t take our children from us. I mourned heavily for Chara. She was an odd child but she was still our child. Asriel, however… Asriel was the child we created, the child I carried, the child Asgore held… Death consumed our love for each other. We loved each other too much so the balance had to reset.”

Toriel placed her hand on Lena’s, holding it firmly. “Lena, do not let your love fade, no matter what happens. There will be many endings but do not let those overcome the beginning of what could be wonderful things. This is your strength, your sword and shield…”

The Queen looked into her eyes as if all of the horrifying things she's seen over her millennium of life were flashing before her eyes. “Do not end up like this old woman.”

The human woman could only nod empathetically.

The warning bell in the Academy went off. Toriel got up from her seat in a rush. “Oh goodness, none of us ate, did we? We will have to take it out it seems.”

The two of you snickered lightly at the joke. It didn’t clear the air however, both of you settling back into the serious looks you had the whole time during the queen’s recollection.

“Toriel, I have a question.”

She looked at Lena with curious eyes. “What is it?”

“You still love Asgore, don't you?”

Toriel nearly dropped the plate in her hand. “... It is very complicated between us. Yes, I do still care for him but the things he has done…”

She walked over to the window. The wood of Asgore’s home was visible between the trees. “He has done things that I can never forget and forgive. I cannot be with him like this - maybe never.”

Lena joined Toriel by her side at the window, lightly touching her hand. “There's no rush to figure this out. Love is complicated, especially with exes who're so nearby. Time will tell and I'm sure no one will be angry with your choice in the end.”

The Queen was certainly surprised by her response. In the end, she smiled at her. “I guess even the old need some wisdom.”

“Wisdom is from experience, never from words.”

“Indeed… Thank you, my child.”

“O-Oh. Anytime.”

Toriel sweetly beamed at her. “Let us take our sandwiches and head back to the Academy.”

You put the sandwich in your mouth and ran out the door. You were going to be late for Monster school after all.


As you arrived back into the school, the three of you ran into Frisk.

“Hiya, mom. Hey, sexy.”

Lena’s skin burned almost immediately while Toriel could only shake her head at her child.

“How were the humans?” the royal inquired.

“Wonderful; very enthusiastic. I think they'll really enjoy being here.”

“Excellent. I only hope for the best involving them.” She glanced away, a frown on her snout.

Frisk pouted at the sight. He then ran right up to her and embraced her as much as he could, his head only reaching her chest and his arms unable to completely reach around her.

The queen let out a noise of surprise before laughing her head off. “My child, what is this about?”

He peered up at her like how a child would when they hugged their mother, innocent eyes and all while snuggling his chin into her soft chest. “Hmm, I dunno. You just looked you needed a hug.”

Toriel beamed at him, her eyes full of appreciation. “Thank you, Frisk.”

“Anytime, Mom.”

You didn't think she could smile any bigger but she found a way as she gently ruffled his hair lovingly. “Now I must get to-”

The sound of a violin making glorious music resonated throughout the hallway. Whoever was playing it was doing so with expertise, not a single note of the rich, smooth tune blundered. It didn't sound like a piece that should be played on a violin yet it was as if it was destined to resound from the instrument. The four of you were curious so you all internally decided to be late for class.

You went upstairs to the music room on the third floor. Frisk quietly opened the door and the four of you tip-toed in.

Surprisingly, it was Jonathan who was playing the instrument. He was entirely in the zone, eyes passionately closed, even dancing around a bit to the music he produced. The way the bow glided across the strings was swift as the wind, his fingers prancing across the strings of the neck like a gazelle, delicate yet determined. You were sure Jonathan wouldn't have heard you if you broke a vase in here. The big grin on his face showed he was too busy having a good time.

Sans was on top of the grand piano in the room, swinging his feet to the beat as he spectated. When he noticed the four of you were in there, he winked and motioned you to come over. Still the four of you walked on your toes over to the security guard.

After a final sweep across the strings, Jonathan put the bow down and exhaled happily. “How'd ya-” The security guard took a step back. “Wow, when did you guys get in here?”

“Only a moment ago. We heard you from the second floor so we were curious about the source,” Toriel informed in.

The Chicagoan put the violin down on the piano and wiped his neck when he turned back towards you all. “Woops. I hope I didn't disturb any classes.”

“Not at all. The class resumption bell has not rung yet. Besides, I am sure no one would find your musical talents bothersome. That was the loveliest tune I have heard in years.”

The human security guard smiled graciously. “Thanks.”

Sans hopped off the piano and put his hands in his hoodie pockets. “johnny mentioned he could play earth, wind, & fire tunes on the violin and i asked if he wanted to bet on that. so i’ve been proven wrong.”

“I've always wanted to be a musician. I can play any stringed instrument, promise. If it's an instrument I haven't seen before, give me an hour and I'll figure it out. I couldn't take the risk of not making it, however, so that's why I went into law. It's the Summers’ family trade.”

“still surprised you’re a funk kind of man.”

“I'm the product of a ton of funk and a ton of hard work, my man.”

Sans turned to Jonathan with a shit-eating grin on his teeth. “don't you mean a skele-ton?

All of you laughed out loud at the pun. You've heard it before but that doesn't mean it still wasn't hilarious as all hell.

Jonathan immediately stopped mid-chuckle when he noticed Lena’s giggle. The young man took his hat off and held it in his hands, his brows raised, his eyes totally checking her out. “Why, hello there, ma’am. I don't remember hearing about another human working up here.”

Frisk made a noise of surprise. “I forgot to introduce you two. Jonathan Summers, this is Lena Lee-Robinson. She’s taking over for Mrs. Baatholomew while she's on maternity leave starting today. Lena Lee-Robinson, this is Jonathan Summers. He's the new security guard here, working with our funny bonehead.”

Sans chuckled at that. “nice one.”

Jonathan’s grin was as bright as the sun, his eyes hinting the flirtation in his heart. “Do you live down in Newfoundland?”

“No no, in the guesthouse,” Lena stated. Does she not realize he was flirting with her? It's so obvious he is.

“Oh, my apologies then for not introducing myself. When you arrived, I was either on shift or asleep.”

She waved her hands reassuringly. “No no, it's fine-”

The class resumption bell went off, cutting the teacher’s statement.

“I should be going back to class.”

“Yeah.” Jonathan held out a hand. “It was nice meeting you, Lena.”

She put her hand which had her engagement ring on it into his. Jonathan noticed the silver band and his eyes enlarged for the briefest of moments before hiding his reaction with a smile. “It was nice meeting you too, Jonathan.”

Lena and Toriel said their goodbyes and just before you and Frisk joined them out the door, Jonathan pulled you back in by the back of your blazer, Frisk by his sweater, with the force of a typhoon and spun you around with the force of a tornado. Those muscles weren't for nothing. Jonathan was wide-eyed, panic lacing his voice. “Okay, was that rock on her finger just an accessory or-?”

“nope. she’s engaged.”

Jonathan groaned as loud as a thunderstorm and put his face into his hands. “Goddamnit.

Sans cocked a brow. “what, you got the hots for her?”

The human pulled his hands from his face and nodded. “Oh hell yeah.” He turned towards the blackboard in the room. “I always fall for either engaged women, married women, or married women with kids. Never a single woman or a girl with a boyfriend. Never.”

Frisk sat in one of the chairs in the room. “You have the body of a pool boy, Johnny. I'm sure you can get any girl you want.”

The four of you burst out laughing. He did have a point.

“Also, everyone has a crush on her,” you stated, “You should have saw the kindergarteners earlier. The boys were sickeningly sweet to her. Even the high schoolers were blushing.” You pointed your finger into your open mouth, making a gagging sound, which earned chuckles from everyone.

“Who's the lucky man anyway?”

Frisk, Sans, and you all said, “Oh, you'll see.”

Jonathan nodded. “Well alright then. Sans, you want me to play another?”

“'course. i'm going to be abusing the hell of this by the way."

"Well then get a whip because I'd love to play any tune you want, man."

The skeleton's grin grew just a bit bigger at the response. "...play… whichever one’s your favorite from them.”

“Well, I was created to Let’s Groove so I guess that song’s technically in my DNA.” Everyone chuckled as Jonathan picked up the violin. He put the chinrest under his chin and placed the hair of the bow against the strings. After a deep exhale, he began to play the classic funk song.

You weren't a huge fan of funk but you decided to give it a listen when work was done for today. It certainly had a good beat to it. Hopefully, this would be a beginning, a love for funk music waiting to happen. Of course, you hoped your adoration of rock music never ended - never died.

As you looked at Jonathan having a ball while belting out the song, as you thought of Lena smiling while she taught, you hoped that this was the beginning of something good. No, this was the beginning of something good. For now, all you could do was groove to the beat, which you decided to do. Frisk chuckled at the display but joined in. That's when you realized something that you'd mock Frisk about for weeks: he has no rhythm.

Chapter Text

The next time you saw Asriel came soon after.

It was worth trucking that huge box up the mountain. His reaction was priceless. The little prince’s eyes lit up like fireworks. His hands ripped the wrapping paper off of the present like shredders. Then the hiccup and the tears when he saw what you got him. He hadn't expected you to get him anything much less something he's always wanted for Christmas.

His parents didn't allow him to touch a bow and arrow after an incident he wished to not discuss. Of course, you didn't pressure him. This was about him enjoying himself while he could, not about making him feel bad. Still, he was absolutely eager to test the bow out.

He definitely was a work in progress regarding his archery. He never hit the targets, even shooting one right at Frisk’s mouth, which you all laughed off while the human attempted to pull the suction cup end off. You were sure that he'd get the hang of it soon.

As Asriel loaded another arrow, he looked up at you with those big brown eyes of his. “Hey, can you do me a small favor - just between you and me?”

“Sure.”

“Can you look out for Dad this month?”

You knitted your brows, befuddled due to not knowing where in the world that question came out from. But when you peered into his pupils… His were those of an anxious person - a person who was screaming for you to help the person they were scared for. You didn't want someone who was slowly becoming your second little brother to look like that. Not now. Not ever.

So you nodded your head.

You didn't understand why until weeks after your Underground visit. Asgore was happy as the sun as always for the remaining weeks in January. He greeted you like a cowboy. He asked whether you'd like milk or sugar in your tea. He invited you into his home many nights, lighting his hearth with his magic and offering wonderful stories from the Underground in exchange for stories from the Surface.

Then you saw him on that stump.

It was February 2nd when a blizzard came in. School was cancelled and you and the two other residents in the guest house were snowed in. When you woke up and could see your breath in front of you, you were troubled (not to mention the cold that was most likely infesting your throat). Jonathan made the sacrifice of going outside to check if the heater was working. When he came back, he was at a loss. It was definitely on and working, he claimed. So the three of you were not only snowed in but freezing your butts off.

As you disgruntledly got out of bed to go camp out in front of the fireplace for the day, your comforter wrapped around you for extra warmth, you noticed a figure from your window. The wind had incurvated the snow, hollowing it out just enough to leave that stump you sat on while interviewing Burgerpants free from the effects of the weather. Something slumped over it- no, someone- no…

You saw the hircine horns on his head. It was Asgore.

Of course, you would have ignored it if it was any other day. You sat on that stump several times and others did too. The king of this side of the mountain had every right to sit on it too. But it wasn't any other day. It was right after a blizzard. Plus you were already told by Toriel that snow removal wouldn’t be started until evening. There was no reason he should be out there yet he was.

You were supposed to do just a quick glance and head on downstairs but then you saw the glint in his eyes. It wasn’t the calm gaze of a father or the energetic gaze that Frisk and Asriel have. It was a tired one, as if he was exhausted with something that had been curdling inside him for centuries. Asgore was supposed to be the almighty Mr. Dad Guy, the second father every Monster had. Asgore was supposed to have smiles bursting like spring blossoms and laughs warm like summer sun. Asgore was supposed to sip hot chocolate and get the marshmallows stuck in his beard. Asgore wasn’t supposed to be seated on a stump in knee-deep snow and with the face of a defeated plebian.

Then you blinked and you swore that you saw six, maybe nine figures standing behind him, glaring him down - that's when you were petrified. The comforter slid right off of you too and you hadn’t noticed at all because you just couldn’t move, couldn’t stop staring at him.

Something was haunting him - so much that he was sitting out on a stump in the blistering cold. Then a terrifying thought crossed your mind: why did Asriel look so worried when he asked you to look out for him? What would cause a young boy such a high amount of concern over his father - especially since the young boy was deceased?

You realized the answer. The apparitions drew their fingers across their necks.

Your shivers weren't from the cold anymore.

The next day the paths and roads were clear thanks to the combined efforts of the royal family and many fire elementals. You were able to head back to work that day. You were able to ask Frisk about that answer that was making an illness crawl in your stomach to even think about. You ate breakfast as usual at Frisk’s house, trying to figure out how to bring it up. You edited papers, trying to figure out how to bring it up. You ate your casserole lunch, trying to figure out how to bring it up. And you were now walking down the hall in the Academy, trying to figure out how to bring it up.

There was no exact way to say something of that regard. You were able to bring up Papyrus’s harassment situation to Sans in a heartbeat but this… This was Frisk. There was a way to tell someone’s brother, hey, I'm pretty sure your brother’s getting bullied. There wasn't a way to tell someone’s child, hey, I'm not too sure on this but I think your dad might be-

“Okay, that's it. I've had it.” Frisk stopped abruptly and threw his arms up.

“W-With what?”

“You.”

“Excuse me?”

He then grabbed you by the forearm and dragged you halfway across the school into an empty classroom. He was certainly right about being his mother’s son. His hand practically burned into your skin through your button-down and blazer. He opened the door, shoved you in, and closed the door behind himself. Almost immediately, he assaulted you with questions. “Okay, are you alright?”

You were too taken aback by the whole situation to answer.

“You're starting to freak me out. I'm used to the comfortable silence but that wasn't comfortable silence. I don't know what's eating you but I'd very much like my assistant back.”

Your shoes looked so interesting. Absolutely interesting. You had shined them for the first time yesterday. You could see a lot of things in the reflection you rubbed into them. The overhead lights, the ceiling, the absolute misery on your face. “I… I don't know how to explain this…”

The familiar stripes of Frisk’s sweater came into the reflection as he clapped his hands onto your shoulders. You willed yourself to look him in the eye. “Then try. You can tell me anything.” The warm touch reassured you a bit, his small, hospitable smile coaxing you on.

Time to let it out. “I… I saw Asgore on that stump outside the guesthouse yesterday.”

His face and hands fell in an instant.

“I had a really bad thought. Please tell me I’m wrong, that he isn’t…”

“Depressed? Maybe suicidal? I’ve noticed it for years.”

Your frown etched into your face even harder. You hated it when your assumptions were right.

He exhaled long and hard, the joy from before leaving him and the seriousness of now entering him with the forthcoming inhale. “You already know about the Six Souls. You already know that he’s very secretive about several things, one of the most being them. Flowey is probably right about him feeling incredibly guilty regarding their deaths. He probably feels that he should be executed for his actions but no one blames him for what he did- well, no one but Mom."

He looked at his hands. They were shaking, no matter how much he attempted to hide it. “He tried to kill me too and even I don't blame him.”

He sighed and put his hands back at his sides. “He’s almost a thousand years old, cursed with eternal life. All of his family and most of his friends are long dead. His wife left him and hates his guts. Plus, he at least had a hand in killing six people, a decision he made when he was raging and mourning over the deaths of two of his three children.”

You stole a look at his hands. They were balled up into fists, knuckles white. “Children aren't dumb. We know when something’s wrong with the people we love. I-I used to have nightmares about it. I used to dream that he'd toss a fireball directly at his Soul and smile at me and tell me to take care and scatter into dust right in front of me. I used to dream that one morning i’d wake up to my mother telling me that he was dead and we’d have to wear all black at the huge funeral they'd hold for him. I used to dream that he was gone forever.

And let me tell you, I'm still terrified of that happening. I'm still terrified that he-”

The sound of glass breaking from afar shook both of you out of your conversation.

“W-What was that?”

The noise repeated, piercing through the empty halls. This time, more cracking was heard, as if someone was moving away bits and pieces of it.

Frisk looked grim. “I think I have an idea and I'm not happy about it one bit.”

The two of you exited the room and turned left towards the music room to try to find the source of this noise. Then you saw him, a human with something long and metallic in his hands surrounded by glass shards at his feet. Frisk pulled you into a blind spot before you could see more details. Before you could mutter something to him, he put his finger over his lips. Right. Being quiet right now is the best idea.

Crash!

Lower than a whisper, he said, “Remember when Toriel got upset about Mettaton bringing Lena here without authorization?”

Crackle.

You nodded.

Crackle.

“This is why.”

Crash!

You leaned your head out as little as you could, just enough to see what was going on without being detected. A scrawny-built man was breaking the glass from the display case in front of the music room with a metal baseball bat.

Frisk leaned over stealthily to peer at the intruder. “I'm going to go convince him to stop-”

The first words to fly out of your mouth were, “Are you insane?”

He could only look at you like you were asking the most unusual question. Then he nodded. “Yes. I am.”

He was about to go but you dragged him back to behind the wall. “No, you're not and stop saying you are.”

“I have to protect the students.”

“You have to call the police. And I mean the police from Newfoundland. Be a vigilante another day but not today.”

Frisk scoffed softly. You saw the way his eyes rolled under his heavy lids. “You can't stop me, you know.”

“So what, a dent in your head will? Frisk, don’t be ridiculous right n-”

And he flew right out of your grasp into the corridor. Shit.

“Excuse me, sir?”

The intruder was about to break another wall of glass with the bat but he shook so hard that he nearly dropped it. He quickly tightened his grip on it and stood somewhat tall.

“Can you stop what you're doing?”

The trespasser was stupefied. “Huh?”

“I'm not sure if you realize this but this is a school and schools have children.”

“O-Of course I know this is a-”

“So you know then. That's a shame.”

You could see the sweat building on the man’s brow. “W-What?”

“You're not going to get away with this. The authorities were notified the minute you stepped foot onto the mount, wherever you entered from. In a second or two, the security here will make an announcement notifying everyone all over town about your-”

“uh, is this working?” The voice of the comedic skeleton buzzed out throughout the intercoms in the Academy and rang throughout the entire mountainside. “hope it is. anyway, it's sans here, just letting ya know that the angel of death is soaring high. i’ll repeat for the geezers listening in. the angel of death is soaring high. i’ll update ya once it's landed.” Shuffling came from the speakers and the announcement ended.

The sound of hurried moving of furniture reverberated throughout the school, almost vibrating the building. You felt a chill run down your spine, your ears itching as the familiar pinging of magic use echoed from one end of the hall to the end you were in. In a matter of seconds, the doors and windows were barricaded by green transparent walls.

“W-What is this?” The armed man was wide-eyed.

“Well, I don't have to explain the next part then. After our security makes the announcement, they come to apprehend you. Then you'll be handed over to the police. But let’s end this on a good note, yeah? You don't have to do this. There's a kind, loving person under-”

“Don't give me that shit right now.”

You leaned your head over a bit more and you looked into the window of the classroom door. You could see little Bluejoy shaking in the corner of the classroom. She locked eyes with you and her grim expression brightened. You gave her a reassuring look and she smiled back. Good. At least you could keep a child calm.

“Don't test me!”

That pulled your concentration back to Frisk, who currently had his hands up. Your grip on the archway tightened. You felt an illness creeping into your stomach. No. This isn't happening.

“I'm unarmed. I can't hurt you at all and I have no intention of hurting you either.” How in the world was he so calm? The intruder looked ready to beat him to a pulp with that bat but he was relaxed as a summer day.

“I-I-I-” His hands were shaking, the weapon almost slipping out of them. “I d-don’t care. You all deserve to die.”

“Why?”

“Huh?”

“Why do we all deserve to die? Why do you think that people who just want to go to school, learn a bit, and go home back to their families in the afternoon have to die?”

The trespasser tried to speak but he stuttered and stuttered.

“Was it the media telling you that, marking my family and friends as lower beings and calling them slurs on national outlets? Or was it the protesters, spouting on and on about how Monsters aren't people, that Monsters should be thrown back under the Mountain? Or was it just you, who saw them rise up from under the mountain and thought they were a threat though it's been proven many times that you and I are much more of a threat than them?”

The intruder lowered his bat for a moment, looking at nothing in particular as if his whole life was shattered in a matter of seconds. Then he shook his head and rose it back up. “Shut up! You don't know anything!”

“You're right. I don't know anything about you. But I know that we can work something out. How about th-”

“Shaddupshaddupshaddupshaddupshaddup- SHUT UP!” He rose the bat over his head.

What you would have normally done was duck for cover but… Seeing Frisk and small children in imminent danger, you were filled with an emotion you didn't exactly know was. You couldn't just stand there. You had to help them. As you jumped out from the corner, your vision was covered in blue: every wall, every tile, every person blue. But your vision quickly changed back to normal.

In a flash, a navy blue figure came out from the hallway behind the trespasser. It was Jonathan. As swift as lightning striking, Jonathan roundhouse-kicked the assailant with the power of a heavyweight kickboxer into the display cases, the security guard's attack the lightning and the thud and clamoring of his body into the wall and onto the glass-covered tile the thunder. He didn't get up. In fact, the intruder wasn’t responsive at all. Holy crap.

“Are you guys alright?” Johnny asked as he lowered his forearms.

Frisk’s mouth was agape and his eyes were the size of a normal person’s eyes. “F-Fine. Great in fact.”

He was about to grab the baseball bat from the unconscious man but Jonathan yelled at him not to. “If your prints are on that, the police will have a fit.”

You looked beyond Jonathan and there stood the other security guard, his eye sockets wide. “johnny, i got another question.”

Your and Frisk's hero turned to Sans. “Shoot it.”

“... what was that?”

“The bat or…”

“no, the badass kick and crap. you looked like you were doing boxing or something, the way your stance was.”

“Oh, that's MMA.”

“... mm-wha?”

“Mixed Martial Arts. I've been doing it since I was in high school but I stopped when I had to start studying for the bar and all. Never picked it up again.”

The skeleton looked like as if the lights in his eyes would've been shaped as stars. “that was literally the coolest thing i’ve ever seen. you gotta show me more of that.”

Jonathan chuckled lightly. “Thanks. Not sure the next time I’ll have to use it but I can show you some things during the night patrol.”

“sweet.”

Frisk knocked on the door to the music room. “It's clear.”

The teacher inside opened the door and gasped when her eyes fell onto the crime scene. “Goodness, this never ends well, does it?”

“Unfortunately no. Let's get the kids out of there.”

The teacher then told the students to form a line and head down the hallway back to the second-grade classroom. As they marched on, a student stopped and tugged on the bottom of Frisk’s sweater. “Hey, Frisk, is the human dead?”

He practically leapt to check the unconscious intruder’s pulse. A look of pure relief crossed his features a second later. “Surprisingly no.”

“Oh. Okay.” Then the student headed on their way.

The intercoms all throughout the school buzzed out, “heya, everybody. just letting ya know that the angel of death has landed in its roost. i’ll repeat it again as i’m legally binded to do. the angel of death has landed in its roost. have a good one.”


The four of you now stood in the main entrance corridor, the police arriving a moment ago. Turns out Newer Home has a specialty unit involving human affairs everyone affectionately calls the K-9 Unit because all of the officers are... dog Monsters. Frisk greeted them as the three of you waited to the side, you sitting on the staircase with the unconscious assailant splayed out next to you while Sans and Johnny leaned against the walls at the bottom of it. Every time you picked a look at the perpetrator, you felt your whole body shake. He could have killed a child. He could have killed your friend. He could have killed you.

“Hi, Frisk.” The two Labrador Retrievers of the unit, dressed to the nines in their uniforms saluted him in perfect unison.

“Hiya, Dogamy, Dogaressa. It's been awhile, hasn't it?”

“Absolutely.” You found the two dogs to be heart-warmingly cute. It was like they could finish each other’s… sandwiches? No, sentences.

“The FBI’s going to end up coming again, aren't they?”

A Siberian Husky who looked too punk and too on edge to be a police officer walked up to him while closing a flip phone. “Of course. Just got the call a moment ago. They'll be here within the hour.”

Frisk sighed. “I hate when they come up here, Doggo. They always ask way too many questions.”

“They don't pet us either-” Dogamy started and Dogaressa finished. “-which isn't polite.”

“You know they gotta.” Doggo groaned out in a sarcastic, singsong manner, “It was an attempted violent hate crime and violent hate crimes go to ‘em.”

“I know… So he didn't hurt any Monsters.”

“Dogaressa and I confirmed it earlier.” Dogamy started.

“Not a speck of dust on him.” Dogaressa finished.

“Good… Any blood on him?”

The Labradors looked at each other glumly. “Unfortunately yes.”

The Husky groaned out, “Even Lesser Dog could smell it and he’s got the nose of a day old puppy.”

“Oh no. It wasn't his, was it?”

Doggo took out a lighter and started playing with it, flicking the fire on and clicking the lid back on to extinguish it. “Most of it, yes. From the shards of glass in his face and all… Speaking of which, I thought you were a pacifist.”

“You're correct.”

“Then how come he looks like Pinhead without the pins?”

“That'd be Johnny’s doing. He roundhoused him into the glass he was breaking.”

He raised a brow and let out a noise of surprise. “Impressive. One hit clocked him out too. You're trained to do that, right?”

Jonathan straightened himself up from the wall. “Yeah, back from the mixed martial arts days.”

“MMA? Yeah, that'll do the trick. That explains why you smell like the human.”

Frisk put a hand on his hip. “All of that without even doing a DNA test. That's why I always go to you first. You all are the best investigators on this mountain.”

The three dogs thanked him for the compliment, the other dogs in the unit woofing in gratitude. Doggo walked to the other side of the lobby, digging into the pocket of his loud-as-all-hell pants, as Frisk inquired about the identity of the intruder.

“He had his driver’s license on him,” Dogamy said.

“Larry Spitz from Indiana,” Dogaressa continued.

“Spitz?... Wow, I can already hear the bad pun coming.”

The two dogs giggled together, their faces close to the point of touching. You realized then that the… dogi were a couple, a very happy one at that. You noticed that there were kindergartener-style drawings of each other stuck in the front of their hats. Did they have a child? How adorable.

“How did Spitz get into Newer Home? We stopped allowing human visitors to come in without a Monster after that standoff with that guy from Cali.”

“A mail truck, unfortunately.”

“We found his scent on the truck that delivered today’s mail.”

Frisk glanced at his shoes, a frown coming onto his face, for a brief moment before concentrating back on the couple. “The King and Queen aren't going to be happy about that.”

“USPS has already apologized.”

“They are willing to take full blame for the blunder.”

“It's alright for now. I'm sure no one saw the guy slip into the truck. The mail’s always delivered here first anyway.”

“That fits the alibi of the driver. She claims she didn't see him at all until the very last second.”

“We smelled her scent on the barrel and end cap. He clobbered her then ran onto the grounds.”

Frisk hissed. “Has she been treated yet?”

“Of course.”

“She's in a hospital nearby Newfoundland.”

“Excellent as always. You guys did great today.”

The two bowed a bit. “Thanks.”

“Anytime-”

Suddenly, the assailant got up off of the stairs and made a run for the entrance doors. No one, not even you, noticed he had regained consciousness.

“Greater Dog!” Frisk pointed at the man. “Tackle.”

A towering, overly muscular yet still cute Pomeranian in uniform scrambled towards the target and leapt right on top of him, knocking him to the floor.

“Stay.” Greater Dog obeyed, wagging its tail and panting happily as the human under him panicked.

“G-Get off!” The trespasser began pushing at the pup's fur.

The canine looked at Frisk with expectant eyes as if he or she wasn't sure what to do.

Frisk firmly said, “Stay.”

The Pomeranian nodded and rested on top of the human as if he was the coolest of cool floors. The criminal attempted to shove the dog off but he couldn't no matter how hard he tried. After another push, he gave up, groaning and splaying out on the floor.

As you sat there watching everything, you suddenly felt a presence next to you. You turned and saw an Akira Inu sitting right next to you, big brown eyes peering at you while wagging his or her tail. You blinked once, thinking you were losing it. When the dog Monster was still there - decked out in riot police uniform, shield and all - you were filled with befuddlement. After a brief moment of silence, the Akira Inu woofed at you.

“he wants you to talk to him.” Sans now stood at the foot of the staircase, leaning against the railing. “lesser dog said he noticed you looked distraught. since he’s the emotional support officer ‘n’ all, he wants you to talk to him about how you're feeling. he won't tell anyone-” The skeleton winked at you. “-and he won't bark at you for saying how you really feel.”

You rolled your eyes at the pun, earning a snicker from the stout Monster.

“anyway, i’ll leave ya to it. c’mon, johnny, let’s watch the game.”

“Sans, we talked about this.”

“yeah yeah, not all black people like basketball like how not all monsters are as comedic as my bony self but you gotta know at least an itty bit about the sport.”

“... If it's a Knicks game, then I'll watch.”

“the knicks?! you don't root for the bulls? i thought you were a proud chicagoan.”

“I always root for the underdog. Besides, basketball nowadays is a load of bull.”

“a load of-” Sans’s grin was the shape of a shit-eating one, his eyesockets creased. “i see what you did there.”

You could hear Jonathan’s groan from a mile away. “You know that's not what I meant.”

“uh huh, sure. i think the game today is a colts game so we better stop horsing around if we wanna see the game from the start.”

You could hear the clap Jonathan’s hands made when they hit his face from a mile away. The two then left the corridor and went into Sans’s office. You were glad the two were getting along well.

You turned to Lesser Dog who was sitting patiently for you. You sighed. The outrageously adorable dog was right. You really didn't talk to anyone about these feelings you've been having, even after the Christmas Eve disaster in New Orleans. You needed someone to confide in right now. Why not Man’s Best Friend?

“Uh… Well…” You never were good at talking about your feelings. How did Frisk coax so many words out of you before?

Lesser Dog nudged you with his nose. Take your time. That's probably what the pup was saying.

“I… Well, it all started on Christmas Eve.” You then spent the next ten minutes talking about the incidents recently, mostly about your concerns for Frisk. You didn't want to talk about Asgore simply because it was a very private matter but Lesser Dog never asked- well if he did ask you wouldn't have understood it. “I'm just- I'm just so angry with him. I'm going to get a heart attack one of these days from just watching him from the sidelines. I… I don't know what to do most of the time involving him. He says he doesn't like worrying people but… Why does he do stuff like that if he knows it'll make everyone worry? It's so contradictory, y’know?”

The dog nodded his head as if he understood what you were saying. Sans was right. Talking to Lesser Dog about this did help relieve a bit of stress in you.

He yipped at you once you were completely done.

“He says for you to tell Frisk how you feel.” There stood the man in question, looking expectantly at you. “Well, I'm right here. What's up?”

“What's up? What's up?” The waves of anxiety you have been holding down for a long time came crashing out from your heart to hit the shores of your mouth. “I don't know, maybe I'm still kinda-sorta freaking out because you could’ve died half an hour ago.”

Frisk put his hands up defensively. “Where is this coming from?”

“From forever. Why do you do this?”

“Do what?”

“Throw yourself into danger. You would think that one near-death experience would teach you to not do that but oh am I wrong.”

“Look, I know I did something a little cra-”

“A little crazy - you define ‘that’ as a little crazy? Imagine what would have happened if Jonathan or Sans didn’t show up on time. You’d be in the hospital right next to that postal worker if that concussion didn’t kill you before you could reach it. Oh, and goodness forbid what would happen if that bat was replaced with a gun.”

“I knew I wasn't going to get hurt. That’s why I did-”

“What do you mean you knew you weren’t going to get hurt?” Your voice was rising in tone and your agitation was flaring more and more this conversation went on.

“I… Never mind. The point is that I'm fine and-”

“None of this fine, Frisk. None of it. You can’t keep this doing this. I’m going get a heart attack one day from this.”

“Why are you pestering me about this so much?!” If he thought his shouting at you would throw you off, he was wrong.

“Because I give a damn about you!”

He could only look at you, barely even able to blink.

“Did you really think I wasted all of my Christmas vacation to rot in a hospital by your side because it was ‘the right thing to do’? Did you really think I stood by as you talked down a crazed man who walked into a school with a weapon because it was ‘a job obligation’? Frisk, I care about you. I don’t want to see you hurt. I don’t want to see you dead. Forgive me if it’s illogical for calling you out on your dangerous behavior. Because I’ve noticed it for months now and I didn’t say anything and you won’t do anything unless someone yells at you about it-”

You blinked at that moment. Wow, Toriel is really influencing me.

“A-And I’m not the only one who thinks it, I’m sure. Toriel and Asgore would lose their minds if they found out what you did. And Papyrus would worry so much. And Sans would---” You thought back to your first day on the mountain. You thought back to what Sans mention after he put your Soul in the I.D. System. Sans would say you’re selfish.

Frisk darted his eyes around the room before he rubbed his temples. “Look, I don’t understand what’s up with you today but can we not do this now? The feds are going to be here any minute and I already got them on my ass and I certainly don’t need you to be right now-”

You thought you were angry before but that, that right there made all the blood in your body boil. You could hear your crazy mother telling you from afar to let it rip on him. You listened to her advice. “Excuse me? You’re gonna dismiss me like the school bell dismisses the students when I’m trying to stop you from getting yourself killed?”

Frisk began to walk up the staircase.

“And now you’re gonna walk away?! Who the hell do you think you are?”

He stopped halfway to turn back to you and shout at the top of his lungs, “Frisk Motherfucking Dreemurr!” With that, he stomped up the stairs like an angry two-year-old.

As he made the turn to go up the next flight, you walked up a bit so you could see him as you hollered at him. “God, you’re such a selfish prick!”

Once he was in the lobby, he slammed his hands on the overhead railing and leaned over it. “Well, at least I'm not a dull neatfreaking Nagatha Fucking Christie!”

Nagatha Christie? You were alright with being misgendered by a flower, having to put up with all kinds of ridiculousness, but being called a nag? Oh that is it. “Oh really? You know what? I got something for ya, you little shit.”

You stormed to the security office and swung the door open, not even caring to knock. Sans and Jonathan both turned you with absolute confusion in their expressions. Both had their feet crossed on top of the desk. The huge monitor in the middle was playing an NBA game, the players tossing the ball around across the court.

“Jonathan!”

The aforementioned man had a bag of potato chisps in his lap, munching on one as you stared at him like a raging bull. “Uh, yeah?”

“I got one question for you.”

“uh, what are those?” Sans pointed a phalange at Jonathan’s dress shoes.

He squinted his eyes at the skeleton. “The shoes my pops got for my birthday, thank you very much.”

You rolled your eyes. “No, it's regarding your sexuality.”

Jonathan dropped the chip in his hand. “Things are moving way too-”

“I'm not asking you out; I just want to know it!” Your fury was causing everything around you to burn down with you.

He nearly hopped out of his seat. “I-I like g-g-girls. I really, really like girls.”

You forced a smile on your lips and you saccharinely told him, “Thank you. That’s all I wanted to know.” Then you leaned out the door and shouted at the top of your lungs, “Frisk, Jonathan’s straight!” You didn’t realize how loud you could get. Your voice practically vibrated up the walls into the school for all to hear. That's the power of New York. Or maybe it's the power of being your mother’s child… It was both more than likely.

Silence greeted you at first. Then a scream of bloody murder rang out throughout the entire Academy and maybe even Newer Home. You’re sure every single person in the building was laughing their heads off. You were as well, having to hold onto the doorway to keep yourself on your feet. Okay, you were expecting him to come down and be pissy but this? This was completely unexpected.

You went upstairs to the source of the wailing: the hallway with Above in it. There laid Frisk on the floor facedown, kicking his feet like a toddler having a tantrum. You laughed again as he let out another shriek.

“F-Fr-” You snorted.

“Nooooooooo!”

You walked over to him and stood over him. “Get off the f-floor.”

“No!”

“G-Get off the fl-” You snickered before putting your hand on your face, trying to hide the fit of laughter that came immediately.

“No!”

“Get up!” You couldn’t keep a serious look at all, smiling big to stop your chuckles.

“No!”

You tried to lift him off the floor but ending up laughing so hard that you fell flat on your ass. You attempted to get up but your chuckles stopped you from doing so, causing you to land right back on your butt.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

You laid right next to him, letting out all of the giggles and snorts you were trying to hide without a care. Frisk joined in as well, laughing his heart out.

After what felt like hours of laughing, the two of you laid there in the hall, the afternoon sun coming through the windows from the Courtyard. You both were heaving, your faces red and hot.

You turned to look at him. He turned to look at you.

“I’m sorry for being a selfish prick.”

“I’m sorry for being a dull, whatever-the-heck Nagatha Christie.”

“I’m also sorry for calling you a nag. You’re not a nag. You’re one of the coolest people I know.”

“I’m sorry too. You’re not a prick. You’re one of the nicest people I know.”

He cocked a brow. “Oh, so you’re not going to take back the ‘selfish’ part?”

“Nope. You’re definitely selfish.”

“Well, you’re a neat freak then.”

The two of you lightly chuckled at that.

He stared at the overhead lights like how you stared at your shoes earlier. “Sorry for letting that get out of hand. To be honest, I was having a crummy day before all of this.”

“Involving As-”

“No no, even before that.” Frisk finally got up and shifted himself so that his back was against the wall under Above, his knees to his chest and his arms wrapped around them. He patted the tile next to him. You took the invitation, sitting the same way he was. “Don’t tell anyone about this by the way."

“Of course.”

He looked out the windows into the Courtyard. No one was there. “I got a letter from my mother yesterday.”

You furrowed your brows. “Why would Toriel send you a-”

“I mean my biological mother.”

You frowned. Oh. “Oh.”

“Yeah. Every couple of months, usually around big holidays, I get a letter from her and I got my Christmas wishes in February.”

You couldn’t understand what Frisk was going through. Your parents were your biological parents and you loved them from the bottom of your heart. But you understood how uncomfortable it’d be to get a letter from a family member you purposely lost contact with. Frisk asked Toriel and Asgore to adopt him. They didn’t take him from his parents. It was his choice. In fact, you assumed he was an orphan. You were positive that he'd make sure you'd always think he was an orphan if he wasn’t receiving those letters.

“Don’t get me wrong. My biological parents were some of the worst. But if I had to choose, I’d choose my mother over my father any day. She tried to be a good mother. She really tried. But she allowed too many things to get in the way - work, relationships, my father. Honestly, if she had left him and took me with her, I would’ve been okay. I wouldn’t have asked the two people I know call Mom and Dad to take me in. But she didn’t. And after learning what real parents are supposed to do, how they’re supposed to be, I decided to be selfish.”

You could only stare at him in horror. Did... Did he really think...? “Frisk, choosing to have a better life isn’t a selfish decision. Don’t ever say that.”

Frisk nodded, his eyes reminding you of Asgore’s yesterday. “Right… You’re right.”

“Don’t beat yourself down about it. What do you do with the letters?”

“Burn them.”

“Did you burn it yet?”

He shuttered. “No.” That came out so sheepish, barely above a meep. It broke your heart to see him like this.

“Then burn it. As soon as we get back to your house, burn it. In fact, let’s do it now.”

“No. Not yet.” His attention was now locked onto Asgore who was coming down the hall.

The king’s eyes lit up when he saw you. “Oh, howdy, you two.”

Frisk and you got up off the floor then, making sure not to knock your heads on the painting. You greeted him the way you usually do.

“Dad, I… I want to talk to you about something.”

“Oh, what-” Asgore frowned for a moment but he quickly grinned to cover it up.“... How about we have afternoon tea? I’m sure the both of you are hungry after that debacle earlier - by the way, wonderful job on working with the K-9’s as I talked with the FBI head. Dogamy and Dogaressa were gushing about how professional you were with them.”

“Thanks.”

“I am not going to ask about the argument you and your assistant had.”

Frisk looked away, shame on his face. “Thanks.”

You didn’t feel even a drop of shame. You didn’t know too many things about yourself but you knew that when you yelled at people, you yelled with no regrets. Wherever your mother was, she was probably applauding your efforts earlier.

Asgore led the way to the Courtyard. As the two of you walked behind him, Frisk leaned in towards you. Barely above a whisper, he told you, “Asgore’s not British in the least.”

“What do you mean?”

“He never hosts afternoon tea; claims it’s a waste of time.”

“Then why are we going out here for tea that isn’t there - especially in the freezing cold?”

“Because of what you told me earlier. Don’t think what you-know-who told you fell on deaf ears. I don’t know what would cause him such concern but I think a dead person telling you to worry about a living person can't be pushed aside. I’m getting to the bottom of this today.”


The three of you stood out in the middle of the Courtyard. You were freezing, the cold nipping at every part of your body. Your blazer was doing nothing to keep you warm. Frisk and Asgore looked completely unaffected. You could understand Asgore. He was covered in fur. Frisk, however… You couldn’t understand how he wasn’t shivering in that sweater of his.

“Dad, uh… I...”

“Frisk, you can tell me anything.” Asgore gave him a look only a father could give his son. “Don’t hesitate. I would never scorn you for saying what you have to say.”

“... I want to hire another gardener.”

The king’s eyes for barely a millisecond flashed something dark. He let out a deep sigh but continued to smile. “I might be a millennium old but I was never a fool. I know good and well you love the gardens I create, the flora I grow. You would refuse to learn how to earn your green thumb if you were lying. You know how capable I am. So this isn’t you telling me to retire. You’re not hiring a gardener, are you?”

“... Dad, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I’m worried about you.”

“And I’ll tell you again that there’s no need. You have nothing to-”

“I know you were on that stump yesterday.”

Asgore’s expression fell. That made all of the hairs on your entire body stand up, even more than they already were.

“There’s many things that you won’t tell me and I respect that but there are a lot of things that you won’t tell me that I need to know. In two months, I’ll no longer be able to wear the stripes on the sweaters you knit me. There has to be a reason you were out in polar temperatures sitting on a stump all by yourself. In fact, I already know the reason but you won’t tell me. You won’t tell anyone. And I have everything to worry about. You’re the only father I ever had. I’m so afraid that you’re-”

“Don't concern yourself with me!” Asgore’s voice boomed, bouncing off the bricks up for the heavens to hear. Flocks of birds took off into the sky, flying away from the ram. The intensity of his voice made you envious of the aviary creatures, you wanting to take flight out of here. The flash of fear on Frisk’s face indicated he probably wanted to as well. You never thought he could get that loud. You told yourself to stop assuming things, like how you assume he was the jolly man he is proving more and more as this conversation goes on not to be.

How ironic was this? The tables had turned and the positions have switched. Was Frisk’s stubbornness a trait he’s always had or was it something he picked up from while being raised by his adopted father?

Asgore turned to leave. “This is not up for discussion any longer. You’re going to go gray from thinking about-”

Frisk stood at attention, like a mere villager addressing his lord, “I, Prince Frisk Dreemurr of lands green and rivers blue, humbly challenge you, His Highness Asgore Dreemurr, the king under the mount, to a duel."

That got the king to stop right in his tracks. He let out a long chortle as he turned back to you all. “You know, everyone says that you adopted my and your mother’s wit but I always tell them that isn’t true. Your name has a double meaning. The first is to frolic and skip and leap, like Bambi and the like. The second is to shake people down quickly for concealed items. You have always exhibited both. You have the energy of a thousand youths but you have the eyes of a thousand marksmen and the tongue of a thousand blades.”

He walked back to his son then, a weary smile on his snout. “You know good and well about my position - that as king I can never turn down a challenge…”

When he was in front of the boy, Asgore’s joyous expression morphed into a stern one, his body standing the way a person in his position should, tall and proud. He looked like the king of Monsterkind for the first time. “State your wager.”

Chapter Text

“If I can knock you down then you must let me hire another gardener. If I cannot, I'll never speak of this again.”

“Define knocking down.”

Frisk twirled his finger and whistled. “On your bum, like what Undyne asked for during her challenges.”

“Yet you have never come close to it. This is a tall order you’re asking for.”

“I know but the other times I didn't take it seriously. I have an important reason now. I will knock you down.” His eyes reminded you of Toriel’s - determination blazing in them.

“If you say so.” The king of Monsterkind rolled his eyes and half-assed his reply. “Radada, I accept your request, ye challenger.” He gave him a half-serious look. “Let's get this show on the road, shall we?”

He snorted and bowed with a whirl of his hand mockingly. “Of course, Your Majesty.”

“Oh, now you're sassing me, young man.”

“Of course. Someone's gotta do it.” He ambled over to his father’s side as they headed into the snow.

“Your mother already does that well enough.”

“Her threatening to set you on fire isn't exactly sassing, Dad.”

He raised a brow matter-of-factly. “Well, I suppose that's true.”

Frisk chuckled at that and Asgore joined in, ruffling up the boy’s hair much to his protest. You couldn't help but smile. You were glad Frisk had a father like him in his life. Worrisome behavior, yes, but still a great dad.

Asgore summoned a line of fireballs and tossed them into the snow, moving them across the field to melt all of the frozen precipitation like a lawn mower cutting grass. Still cool. Magic, in general, was still cool to you. “I’m curious about what weapon you'll be using in order to take down the mighty king under the mount.”

“Yours.” Frisk shrugged. “Duh.”

The king looked pleasantly surprised. “Huh. I guess copying everyone else’s bullets just didn't work out for you, did it?”

“Nope. That's why I'm pulling out the big guns today.”

He tittered. “Don't let Toriel or Sans hear you say that pun. They’ll be on you about it for weeks.”

Asgore paced around the field, observing the grass sharply. Meanwhile, Frisk pointed in the air in front of him, his index finger glowing white. Your heart leaped. He was going to use magic again. You loved seeing him use magic.

“So you know how there's that group of Boss Monsters for emergencies?” He drew a line that was as tall as himself. Then he stepped on the tips of his toes to draw an arm’s length above him.

“Yes. Toriel mentioned it but never went into detail.”

“Oh. She must've told you during your observation period. I'll fill you in on the deets then.” He drew two curved, parallel prongs starting from his eye level and ending a bit shorter than the very top of the initial line.

“The group that we call the Boss Monsters’ League (it was initially called the Boss Monster Warriors but Sans bought a horn and kept on honking it, claiming we were in a BMW and cars need horns, so we had to change it) has ten Monsters in it - Dad and Mom as the heads with Sans, Papyrus, Undyne, Alphys, Mettaton, Muffet and Gerson, who'll meet soon enough.” He drew a hexagonal gem a bit under the prongs, pulling on the corners of the facets to make them three-dimensional.

Something felt off. You counted the names in your head.

“You noticed it.” He grabbed the middle line like a staff and shrunk the long end down to something the length of his arm, scaling the gem down to the size of a quarter. This whole thing was starting to look like he was photoshopping an image. But he was photoshopping with magic so it was incredible to you.

“Yes. You only included nine names. Who's the tenth?”

He sliced his hand across the end under the gem. “Take a guess.”

You hadn't a clue. “Uh, Burgerpants.”

He scoffed. “Oh, now that's just plain offensive. I’ll give you a hint: you're looking at him.”

You could only stare in pure awe at Frisk.

He grabbed the two prongs and twirled it around the middle part like he was twirling candy. “When I mastered my magical abilities, both my own and the family fire magic, I became so powerful that I have been affectionately classed as a Boss Monster. It was the only thing everyone could compare it to. From amongst all of the Boss Monsters, I am considered to be one of the strongest, a tier only my father has.

“... Wow.”

He held the short end up to examine the whole object from below. “Right? To be honest, I’m still squealing about it.” After a satisfactory nod, he drew three parallel curved lines on each side of the base.

“I would be too. That's a huge honor.”

He swirled one end of the lines. The lines looked like wings now. He then curved them into a cone shape. “Certainly is.”

You cocked your head to the side. This was becoming an object that was much more sophisticated than the simple shapes he's drawn before. “What in the world are you making?”

Frisk had the biggest grin you’ve ever seen on his lips. “You’ll see.”

With one last line being connected to the start of it all, the lines glowed bright as the sun. With a quick flick, the lines burst into a cardinal red saber. The blade was like a unicorn’s horn, the two prongs swirled around and around. The wings created a hilt that covered Frisk’s hand as he held onto the grip. The gem was the pommel, glimmering in the light. The sword was probably one of the prettiest things you’ve seen. It was like a work of art, a decorative weapon more than one for real usage on the battlefield. You knew however how powerful magic could be. You understood how powerful his magic could be. This wasn't something you would hang up. This could do a lot of damage.

“I guess by your gawking that you find this cool.”

“Do I. This is like a trip to a museum but… more awesome.”

Your friend chortled at that. “I already told you about my bullets, right?”

“Yes, you have the ability to copy other people’s bullets but there're several limitations regarding this.”

“Yep. I usually only make one and use it as a weapon. It's easier and less time-consuming.”

“And I'm guessing you draw the bullets a bit differently in order to suit your needs at the time.”

He looked as if you took the words out of his mouth. “Absolutely. I was inspired by Dad’s trident.”

“... Trident?”

“You'll see it during Soulance probably. His trident is made of one-hundred-percent magic - no iron, nothing. One day, I thought that it would make a really handy sword. Then I went on from there. It’s worked pretty well so far. You know I'd never use these for purposes other than fun ones so I only bust them out for tournaments and random challenges like this. I've done pretty alright in both.”

“Frisk, ‘pretty alright’ doesn't hold a torch to your ability in battle,” Asgore chimed in as he joined you all. The grass in the Courtyard was as if there never a flake of snow on it prior to just now. “You give Undyne a run for her money during the annual Soulance tourney. That's saying quite a bit considering she was the captain of my guard and I personally trained her. Give yourself some credit.”

The boy looked at his toes before smiling shyly. “Thanks.”

“I'm only saying the truth. Now let's get this started. We don't have much time.”

His expression shifted to a grave one. “Right.”

Frisk took his cellphone out of his pocket and passed it to you. Right. That made sense. It'd be only safe in your hands. Father and son walked side by side to the field, you spectating from the sidelines behind one of the many hedges here. It still surprised you Asgore could create beautiful landscapes like this. The tops of the bushes were perfectly straight. He really did have a green thumb.

“I'll assume you're the referee for this.” Asgore peered at you with expectant eyes.

“I guess so. What am I supposed to do?”

“Nothing special. Just keep track of time, which will be…?”

“Ten minutes.” Frisk was firm about it.

“Hm… Make it fifteen actually. The director mentioned that the postal worker involved regained consciousness so they want to question her while she can remember what happened.”

You nodded your head. You unlocked your phone and went to your timer app. Once you scrolled down to set it to fifteen, you gave them the thumbs up. Frisk moved his saber into his left hand and crouched a bit, his body radiating with determination. Asgore stood the way he always did - as if there wasn't a thing to care for. He had no weapon.

“Do I… Do I have to say something special?”

The son snickered and stood up straight. “No, not at all.”

“Oh, okay. On your marks. Get set...” You pressed on the screen and started the countdown. “Go!”

Before you could even finish the word, Frisk was gone. Your eyes darted all over the Courtyard - each and every window, the pillars, the trees, the bushes, the empty flowerbeds - but there was no sign of him.

Asgore was unfazed by this. “Playing hide-and-seek isn’t the best idea during a duel. Come out a-”

At the speed of light, Frisk reappeared in mid-air right in front of the king. He thrusted his sword at him, practically stabbing the wind, over and over and over. His father wasn’t the least bit bothered by his son's attack. In fact, he looked bored. He stood there as if nothing was happening, moving his head ever-so-slightly to dodge one, leaning forward to dodge another.

After an infinity of barely-missed attacks, he jabbed too hard, flying too far, his face spelling the words ‘oh crap’ in the most inelegant of ways. Asgore took the opportunity then and there. He clapped his hand onto the boy’s arm and tossed him aside like a weed he uprooted. Frisk landed right on his toes.

After getting up, he pouted lightheartedly and snapped his finger. “Ah, man. I thought that would work.”

Your mouth was agape. You were now questioning who in the actual hell your employer was.

“Oh, don’t beat yourself down about it too much. Your speed is probably the fastest I’ve seen of any of my former guardsmen - but not quick enough to defeat me.”

“Geez, never gonna give me a break, will ya?”

“I have to take this a bit seriously. I am a king after all. Or did you forget that when you decided to challenge me?” Asgore’s smile was sliding into a smirk, an actual smirk.

“Nope.” With a wave of a hand, Frisk summoned fireballs behind himself. You stepped back, the heat wafting off of the magic too hot, too close to you. “Never forgot.”

He launched them at his father. The king dodged them all, first leaning his torso then completely sauntering around them. You were surprised by how light on his feet he was despite his largeness. You reprimanded yourself for being surprised. He was the king of Monsterkind. Of course he’d be an excellent fighter. Frisk clicked his tongue after all of his bullets missed their target.

Asgore crossed his arms, his expression full of pride. “Did you really think you could use fire magic on one of its masters?”

The boy wiped at the back of his neck. “Yeah. I really did.”

“Well, I can tell you that is not going to be the way you knock me down. Now stop poking your lip out and come at me.” Was Asgore actually taunting someone?

He took the bait and pounced at him. Asgore moved right out of the way and grabbed his son by the leg. The human’s expression said it loud and clear that he just screwed himself over. Asgore swung him into the bushes on the opposite side of the courtyard like a pile of something he treasured but just loved to toss around.

Frisk groaned, obviously revolted. “Ugh, now I got leaves in my hair.”

“If you keep on slipping up like that, I’ll toss you in the trees next.”

He paled. “Oh, don’t even joke about that.”

Asgore laughed, his voice vibrating your body all the way from where you stood. “I love messing with you. Your reactions make it so worth it. Now…” He made a come hither motion with his clawed fingers. “Fight me like a real human, pretty boy.”

Frisk scoffed. “You say that like that’s a bad thing-” He jumped back onto his feet and made a dash at him. “-and I don’t appreciate that.”

As the clock ticked, the duel went on. As the clock ticked, the two danced, a deadly foxtrot it would have been if the two weren’t beaming as bright as they were.

That’s what you found interesting about this. That's what kept your full attention locked on their battling forms: how happy they were. They were so happy to be fighting. The exhilaration of centuries long past seemed to awaken in Asgore. You thought his smile couldn’t get any bigger, his eyes any brighter but you were dead wrong. The fires in the fire magic master were burning hot like the sun's surface. The lazy river of energy that usually flowed in Frisk was now rushing and raging like white water rapids. Yes, he was dead-set on winning but he was sure as hell having fun while attempting.

It wasn’t two combatants fighting at all. It was father and son having good ol’ guy time, rough-housing in the dirt while having the time of their lives.

They really do love each other, don't they?

At one point, Frisk shoved the tip of his sword into the dirt and used the weapon to hold himself upright as he regained his breath. Sweat was pouring down his face. He couldn't keep up with the overflowing resolve in his heart any longer.

You checked the time then: a minute remaining.

You looked up at your friend. His eyes were on you. He seemed to just know that he had little time left. He wasn’t smiling when he got back up on his feet. Asgore’s fell when he locked eyes with him. The sun was covered by clouds.

With every bit of Determination in his Soul, Frisk rushed at his father. He still missed every lunge he lunged. He tried and tried and tried but he kept on failing. Every miss made him more frustrated than the last.

You checked the timer - eleven seconds left.

Ten. Frisk stopped, panting hard.

Nine. Frisk let the sword slip out of his hand.

Eight. The saber hit the ground and shattered into crimson sparkles. A breeze swept the magic away like dust on the wind.

Seven. He put his hands on his knees.

Six. Pant.

Five. Pant.

Four. He dropped to his knees.

Three. Pant.

Two. Sob.

One.

Asgore bent down on one knee in front of him. “Frisk.”

Frisk raised his fist and punched the grass.

“Frisk.”

Frisk punched it again. “Damnit…”

“Frisk.”

Punch. “Damnit.”

“Frisk, my son.”

Punch, punch, punch. “Damnit, damnit, damn-”

“Frisk!” Asgore put his hands on his quaking shoulders.

For a moment, the two sat there. The sun peeked out from the clouds, illuminating the child’s back and the parent’s front. Birdsong resounded as a flock of birds landed on the grass, pecking at the dirt for food. One landed on the king's horns.

“Look at me.”

He didn’t look up.

Please, look at me.”

Slowly, he willed himself to. Trails of moisture were now under his eyes.

“I… I have never seen such resolve to win before… to help me.” The father gazed right into his son’s eyes. “Thank you.”

He wiped his eyes with his arm. When he reached where the sleeve of the sweater his father knit him was rolled up, he made sure to push it up more.

“You lost the duel but I will accept your deal.”

Frisk nearly leapt out of his skin that’s how hard he shook. He was completely shocked. You were too. He… He actually did it. He won.

“I’m going to tell you right now however if whoever this gardener will be cannot garden, I will have them thrown off my mountain.”

“I’ll..." He wiped one last time. "I'll tell the candidates to bring a helmet then.”

Asgore chortled. “And a pillow.”

Frisk snickered, sniffling a bit. “Right.” He nodded his head. “Right.”

The king got up to his feet and offered his son a hand. Frisk took it willingly. When he was up on his feet again, Frisk wrapped his arms around his father as if he was a lifeline. The bird flew off of his horns and joined its brethren on the field. Asgore's eyebrows were high in the sky but after settling his heart, he quickly returned the hug. You could barely see your friend as he was engulfed in his father’s warm massiveness. Asgore probably gave the best hugs in the kingdom.

“hey.” The three of you looked up to see Sans leaning against the door frame of the doors that led back into the school. “just here to let ya know the feds are here.”

Asgore let go of Frisk then, rubbing his head. He completely ignored the protests his son was giving him. “Wonderful. Thank you for telling us.”

“no prob.”

The king was really rubbing the heck out of your friend’s head. His hair was sure to look like an old broom by the end of it. Of course, the lopsided smile on his snout assured you that the old broom look was what he was aiming for. “And excellent job with your swift actions today. You prevented something that could have turned awful.”

The short skeleton put his hands in his hoodie pockets, his smile a bit more natural. “nothing to it. just part of my job.”

Sans slid off the frame and headed back inside. He disappeared past the metal of the frames like a ghost. You were definitely getting used to his shortcuts but it still amazed you he could do such a thing. It was the kind of magic you saw before the Monsters came to the Surface - magicians doing mirror tricks such as that. So knowing that this time it wasn’t a fake window excited you.

“Now -” He finally stopped rubbing Frisk’s head. “- let's be on our way.”

Asgore walked ahead as you and Frisk walked in tow. Your friend was moaning and groaning about his hair, pulling out a bit of fur that got tangled in his locks. You pulled out a strand he couldn't reach then ruffled his hair. You had to. Frisk’s screech was well worth it.


“Hello, I'm Agent Lewis and this is Agent Brewer.”

Frisk offered a hand. “Welcome, and thank you for coming.” He shook hands with the two. When he shook Lewis’s, his face contorted in pain. You saw the death grip she had on him. “Anyway, what do you need from us today?”

“First off, we need the criminal. Brewer, cuff him and load him up.”

“Gotcha.” Brewer breezed by to collect Spitz who was still laying under Greater Dog. When he looked at the dog, who was gazing joyously up at him, he was clearly at a loss. “Hey, uh, what do I do?”

“Oh, my apologies about that. Greater Dog, up!”

The Pomeranian finally got off of the trespasser and headed down the flower hallway. You finally noticed the king was standing in the archway, watching Frisk expectantly. He put a finger to his lips. You nodded and turned your attention back to the agents.

Brewer handcuffed Spitz and began reading his rights as he pushed him out of the school. Meanwhile, Lewis pulled out a notepad and pen. “We need the names of every person at the crime scene. We’ll conduct questioning now.”

“Now? Uh, alright.” Frisk waved Sans and Jonathan over. As the two joined him, he turned back to the official. “Do you need to see the crime scene?”

“Later. The evidence will still be there… Am I correct?” She leered at him.

He was unaffected by the venom in her eyes. “Of course. Sans and Papyrus blocked the area off with magic. No one can get in that corridor at all.”

“Alright. Now I want your recollections of the incident.”

The four of you all told your side of the story. As Frisk admitted that he confronted Spitz, you peered at his father. Worry etched into his features. He looked at you quizzically. Is he lying?

You sadly shook your head.

Asgore could only look at one of the floor tiles, his frown digging deeper into his snout.

“Alright.” You turned your attention back to Lewis, who was aggressively writing in her notepad. What in the world was this woman’s damage? Was she trying to appear tough because of her occupation or did she wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Brewer seemed to have the same question. He was practically sweating next to her. “Now, I need to know about this system you use during incidents like this.”

“The intercoms in the Academy are connected to a much larger system set up all around Newer Home. We only use the larger system during Home-wide events or small threats. When the latter occurs, we have someone head into the administration office in the lobby to make an announcement. We use a code phrase, ‘the Angel of Death is soaring’, to signify that. If we say it's soaring low, then the threat level is low. We usually signify that as someone unauthorized has entered the mountain. If it's soaring high, then the threat level is high. We used that today since the intruder had an intention of hurting people. No matter what level it is, everyone must go into the nearest lockable corridor and put up their security systems. The security systems are based on green magic, known for its defense. It's just big transparent walls that block windows and doors. Nothing too extensive. Still, it works well.”

“Hmph, smart.” Lewis closed her notepad and put that and the pen away.

Brewer shook a bit in his spot. “That Angel of Death who-hah is a bit creepy, ain't it?”

“Well, it doesn't signify exactly death.” Brewer could only look at you. “Death, in this case, represents an ending more than anything. The Delta Rune is the symbol of a prophecy that the Underground will go empty, that things will end. Whether it be a happy or sad ending was unknown. But now that everyone sees that the ending was the former, the symbol still represents Monsterkind but in a different way - a new beginning on the Surface.” You learned a lot while on the mountain and you learned that the Angel of Death was much more than a judge. It felt good to be able to educate someone about the topic. You were no longer the outsider and this proved it.

You peered over at Frisk and he was beaming brightly at you. You could only turn away and twiddle your thumbs. Feeling another sun behind you made you mess with them even more.

The agent cocked a brow. “Huh. Never thought of it like that. That's actually pretty swell.”

Lewis coughed into her fist. “Anyway, let's continue. Was there any other kind of magic used today?”

“Well, except for Sans’s blue magic to transport Spitz into the lobby, then none.”

“Then why do you smell like burnt grass?”

Frisk visibly flinched. “E-Excuse me?”

“Why. Do you. Smell like. Burnt grass?” Lewis’s eyes were practically hissing at him.

“Uh, I was talking with my father in the courtyard upstairs before you all arrived. That's why Sans left earlier.”

She shifted her weight from one foot to the other. “I understand that the king and queen both are practitioners of fire magic. If that’s true, then that must mean that he attacked you, didn't he?”

He was stunned at first before shaking his head. “No no, my father would never attack me.”

“Then why do you smell like fire then? Was there something burning upstairs?”

Your knuckles were white from having to grasp onto something from the tension that filled the air. Outsiders weren't supposed to know about Frisk being able to use magic. The mere fact that any human could use it would cause a global uproar. If the FBI found out about his abilities, there's no telling what they could do with it.

The ambassador was silent, unable to respond. You hoped he continued to.

“Answer me. Why do you smell like-”

“Okay, I've had enough of this.” Jonathan slid to stand in front of Frisk. “Your questions should be directed at the crime and only the crime. Plus, you're badgering a witness despite clearly knowing he has the right to remain silent. If you keep on going down this line of questioning, he can file a lawsuit.”

Lewis scoffed. “What are you, his lawyer?”

Jonathan crossed his arms. “I could be.”

The federal agent let out a short, mirthless laugh. “Okay, so your police force is a bunch of dogs and your lawyers are high-strung security guards who watched a couple too many cop shows. How unprofessional can you get?”

“Well, we are much more capable of preventing a massacre then you seem to be. I think on every cop show the characters in your position are supposed to apprehend the criminal first, not pester a witness that just woke up from getting their brains practically knocked out of them.”

“Well, what you see on tv is never true. Don’t question our methods.”

“Oh then what, you’re going to lock Frisk up for something that has nothing to do with the case? Or are you investigating something else?”

Lewis put a hand on her hip as she scoffed. Her smirk was malicious as she leaned up at Jonathan. “What can a little security guard like you do, Summers?”

You felt your heart drop, your breathing hitch. The whole room went so silent that you could hear white noise lightly crackling in your ears.

Jonathan’s snicker broke the silence like glass shattering. Then it snorted again, and again, and again until he was laughing so hard that he had to wipe one of his eyes. As he threw his head back to let one more out and lowered his head to look at her, he had the biggest smirk you ever seen cross his lips. He was the source of the fire she was questioning about now. “Well, since I did study undergraduate and law at Princeton, I received one of the highest quality educations in the entirety of America, even the world. Plus, I have successfully passed the bar exam with flying colors.”

The agent’s smirk fell more and more as he kept on going off on her.

“My family is also lawyers, almost all of them. It's a Summers family tradition to go into law, plus do amazing at it. My mom’s a federal judge for the state of Illinois and my pop’s an international contract attorney for some of the biggest companies in the world. Even my little brothers are going to uphold the tradition, all of them applying to my alma mater and probably going to be accepted. So if any of the Monsters on this mountain ever need a human to consult about the law of the land, I and my entire family can help them.

Also, let’s discuss how incredible the K-9 Unit was today. They handled the investigation much more professionally than you and your partner have. While you strolled on in here, asking baseless conjecture and striking matches that shouldn't be lit, they actually did their work. They made sure the suspect couldn’t leave the premises or hurt anyone else. They made sure every victim in this crime got to a hospital as quickly as possible. They got most of the DNA evidence together within an hour of the incident. They did something other than be the ignoramus you were today.”

He put his hands on his hips and leaned right into Lewis’s face, his expression rightfully smug. “What can a little agent like you do, Lewis?”

Lewis crushed her notepad in her hand, practically growling. She threw her eyes up at her partner and gritted her teeth. “Why aren't you outside with the detainee?”

Brewer put up his hands defensively. “Y-You told me to come in here after putting him in the car while on the way up, remember?”

She put her head in her hand as she groaned. “Fine! I gotta do everything my damn self!” And she stomped away back to their vehicle.

As soon as the entrance doors closed, Brewer turned back to you all with a highly nervous expression. “I'm soooo sorry about Francine. I think her boyfriend broke up with her so she's super catty today. I can't really stop her since she's my superior and all and I’m practically a newborn baby on the force.”

“Well, you can turn off catty but you can't turn off racist.”

“Huh? What do you mean?”

“You know good and well she wanted to call me something other than a security guard. She either didn't have the nerve or was trying to be ‘polite’.”

Brewer pouted. “Oh." His shoulders slumped. "That makes a lot of sense now… I never thought she could get like that.”

“This mountain has a thing for attracting them.” Jonathan glanced at the ambassador next to him.

Frisk sighed. “It certainly does. It certainly does…”

The school bell went off, signifying the end of the school day.

“Uh, is that the final bell or-”

Frisk nodded. “Yes, classes are dismissed for the day.”

“Oh, okay. We need to get Spitz down to the detention center. Besides, I think we’ve caused enough trouble for right now. We-We’ll be back later. Probably. I think?” His eyes kept on darting to Jonathan.

The guard placed a relaxed hand on Brewer’s shoulder. “Dude, you gotta take a breath. I'm not mad at you.”

“R-Really? Because, since you're a lawyer and all, you know you have the right to sue us for discrimination and I can lose my badge just for being partners with her and-”

“Brewer, I'm seriously not upset about this.”

“R-Really?”

“No.”

“So you're not going to sue.”

“No.”

Brewer looked at his shoes. “Oh.” He smiled nervously when he forced himself to keep eye contact with the towering security guard. “Thanks.”

Nothing to worry about, man. Just get Spitz out of here.”

“also your partner. i thought you’d be the one brewing up a storm but i guess even i get proven wrong.” Sans winked at the agent half-heartedly.

Brewer pushed his brows together for a second before his face lit up. “Oh, I get it. Because I’m Brewer. Nice one. Anyway, I'll be going.” With that, the agent left the Academy, wishing good tidings to you all.

Sans peered up at Jonathan, not even moving his face. He whispered, “i thought you barely passed the bar.”

Jonathan gave him a look. “You’re right. They just didn't need to know that.”

Sans snorted so hard, his shoulders jumped. “you alright? i think anyone’s mood would go the dogs after something like…” He waved his hands around trying to find the answer. “that.”

The human rolled his eyes - that pun was god awful - before continuing. “I’m right as rain. Just a bit unsettled. I might be a patient person but people who are blatant like that just… urk me.”

“heh, you and me both. i never told you about a dignitary calling lil dee the p-word, did i?”

He gasped. “No, you haven’t. Do you think I’ll get a chance to beat him up?”

“nah. he got banned already. but i have a feeling he may return. he won whatever position he was running for.” Sans took out his cellphone and scrolled up on it using a stylus. Right. He has bones for digits. There was no way the screen would ever recognize his fingers. He showed the article he pulled