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The Sans of Time

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The year is [REDACTED]. Your name is Sans. Sans the skeleton. Or at least that's what you've been repeating to yourself over and over since entering the underground.

You work for a scientist on the surface, a brilliant man who, although you've never actually met face-to-face, trusts you enough to send you alone into the potentially dangerous realm of the monsters to wait for a time anomaly to walk in through the hole in the barrier you made to get in, but years before. That was how it had to happen, as much sense as that makes. 

The ruins were cold and, for the most part, empty. Occasional croaks came from dark corners that you avoided. Nothing of event occurred as you made your way to the door you had been given directions to. You had most of the clothes you had been told to wear on already, just missing the gloves. You were absolutely prepared for anything. Nothing could surprise you.  

Except the snow and wind, chilling you to the bone

"there. this old halloween costume will help me blend in with the monsters." you pulled your jacket on over the costume, shivering, "at least until I find a better disguise." The gloves came on easily. Like a glove you might say. And you probably would, with the awful sense of humor you have. 

Your inner monologue on the state of your sense of humor was interrupted by another, louder and more heated, outer monologue. Someone- Something else was in the forest. 

"...AND THEN SHE TOLD ME TO COME BACK WHEN I WAS READY! OBVIOUSLY SHE SEES MY GREAT POTENTIAL AND WANTS TO SEE WHAT I CAN DO!" You spotted a large skeleton, more tall than wide, in- was that a crop top?- talking to a strange bird. 

"BUT HOW CAN I SHOW HER I'M READY? I WOULDN'T WANT TO BE TOO IMPRESSIVE. UNDYNE MIGHT THINK I'M A SHOW OFF. NOBODY LIKES SHOW OFFS!" The bird flew off. 

"WELL FINE, LEAVE! I DIDN'T EVEN WANT TO TALK TO YOU! THE GREAT PAPYRUS HAS PLENTY OF PEOPLE WHO'D WANT TO TALK TO HIM! FURTHERMO-" He spotted you. Uh oh. "HALT, INTRUDER!"

"uh, sup?" you say, attempting to break the ice. 

"HAVE YOU SEEN ANY HUMANS AROUND?"

You've been practicing for this at least, "hmm... nope. just plain old ordinary skeletons like you and me, pal." He stared at you glaring slightly.How was his face able to do that? You knew monsters were made of magic but he's literally made of bones, right? You sweat nervously, "what?" 

He- no, it- squinted at you, "SOMETHING IS STRANGE ABOUT THIS. I DON'T KNOW WHY... I FEEL LIKE I'M MISSING SOMETHING."

Shit. Shit Shit. "don't know what you're talking about. everything looks normal to me, chum, buddy, bro." You were rambling and you were sure you'd been caught. What did they do to humans that they caught? 

The tall skeleton turned around and mumbled surprisingly quiet to himself. Oh no. This was it. He- no it, you silently corrected yourself- turned around. "OH MY GOSH! ARE YOU MY LONG LOST BROTHER?" It lifted you off the ground. 

That... was unexpected. "...yes? i'm gonna say yes. sure." 

"I KNEW IT! EVERY GREAT HERO HAS A LONG LOST RELATIVE OUT THERE SOMEWHERE!" It seemed... so happy. "COME BROTHER, I'LL SHOW YOU WHERE I LIVE! OH THIS IS GOING TO BE SUCH FUN... I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY OTHER SKELETON IN THE UNDERGROUND, I CAN SHOW YOU MY COMPUTER AND MY PUZZLES-" You tune it out. 

Well, this isn't so bad. At least you have a place to stay now. 'The Great Papyrus,' huh? 

Chapter Text

Panic then dread. You woke up from a nightmare tangled in a web of blankets and drenched in sweat. Reality comes back in a flash. The Underground. You're okay.

Since the day he found you in the woods, Papyrus had been taking care of you. He gave you a room (thank god, with a lock. you don't have to wear that goddamn costume 24/7) and really you couldn't have found a better roommate. You were actually enjoying having him around. You try to help around the house, but it's hard to keep up with him and half the time you end up in a trap. It's only been a week or so (kind of hard to tell without the sun), but you've already started warming up to the guy. If everyone down here is like him, you think that maybe it'd be better with them on the surface. 

Back on the surface, you didn't really have anyone you were close with. No family nearby, no siblings, the closest thing to friends were your coworkers and people you avoided talking to online. Down here was like getting a second chance, not that you really thought about it much. 

You know that he'll probably be pounding on your door to drag you off to work soon, so you get dressed. You found out pretty quickly that you only really need to wear the mask and the socks to fit into your new life thanks to Papyrus' wholehearted belief in you, but your new home in the underground is surprisingly cold (how does it even snow down here?), so the gloves are a blessing.

You stand up and move to your window. Outside darkness spread across Snowdin and, true to its name, snow was piled high all over. At first, the darkness made you feel trapped and hopeless, but as long as you're on your mission you can keep going. You are filled with Determination.

Right on time, Papyrus' gloved fists are hitting your door (why does he wear gloves? does he feel temperature? you cannot ask without risk). "SANS, GET UP. IT'S TIME TO RECALIBRATE OUR PUZZLES."

"coming, pap." 

Five minutes later you were running out the door to keep up with the tall skeleton's massive strides. You were back on the first puzzle you both calibrated yesterday. It was still not triggered, like usual, but you took it down and started making a new one anyway. You took care NOT to touch the trigger mechanism this time. Last time it took an hour to get you out of the "net puzzle" you had set up. You had since stopped making real traps in favor of puzzles like Papyrus'.  

"SANS ARE YOU OKAY? YOU SEEM DISTRACTED." 

"oh, yeah." you smiled underneath the mask, despite knowing it doesn't matter to the face he sees, "just didn't get much sleep."

"WHAT?" the skeleton seemed puzzled (budum tss), "DO YOU MEAN THOSE NAPS YOU TAKE ALL NIGHT?"  

"yeah." you honestly have no idea how Papyrus has so much energy after running around all day.

"MAYBE YOU JUST NEED A BETTER SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT. YOU SHOULD TAKE LESS TIME NAPPING AND PUT A LITTLE MORE -BACKBONE- INTO YOUR PUZZLES." 

You notice a conveniently shaped lamp. You don't know why, but you think you should move that back towards your sentry station sometime. An awkward silence filled the air.  You tried to laugh it off, even if it is a bit late, "maybe. either way, I'm bone tired right now." 

 Papyrus reacted to the pun in the usual way people react to puns, screaming and anger,"SANS, NO."

You grinned, "sans yes. and you just made one yourself." 

"YES BUT THAT'S DIFFERENT. I'M ACTUALLY FUNNY." 

"heh. yeah. you're the coolest."

"OH, BROTHER! SPEAKING OF ME BEING THE COOLEST, I WAS INVITED TO A COSTUME PARTY BY UNDYNE AND I WOULD LIKE TO BRING YOU AS WELL SO YOU CAN MAKE SOME FRIENDS. I ALREADY SAID YOU WERE GOING."

"uh... thanks pap."

"WE CAN MAKE OUR COSTUMES LATER, I WANT TO BE A MEMBER OF THE ROYAL GUARD. IT'LL BE GREAT."

"you're the greatest, pap."

"I KNOW I AM! OTHERWISE EVERYONE WOULDN'T CALL ME THE GREAT PAPYRUS!"

You resist the urge to tell him nobody calls him that but you, but you just laugh halfheartedly and say, "yeah."

 

Chapter Text

A whole month underground. Papyrus seemed to overestimate how long it would take to build him his "battle body"before the party, seeing as it's apparently another few months away. He hasn't taken it off since you finished it but holy shit does he look cool in that fake armor. It's kind of cute how excited he is. He's like a dog, the way he gets excited over life. You wish you had his enthusiasm.

Lately you've been feeling homesick. Not so much missing the people, but the routine and familiarity of surface life. You've been getting lazy with your puzzle construction and calibration. Papyrus has noticed, but he doesn't seem worried about it, rather, he seems disappointed. It hurts to see him that way, but you can't build up the determination to get out of bed some days.

Days passed and you made friends with the regulars at a restaurant in town, Grillbys. You needed food and they liked your jokes. The perfect fit. Grillby didn't even seem to mind you taking all his condiments home with you. He seemed to be okay with alot of things. 

You woke up hours ago, your thoughts swirled aimlessly in your mind. The ceiling screamed at you, the air filled with silent ringing. Urgent pounding on the door downstairs snapped you out of your haze. An unfamiliar voice, "Papyrus! Are You Home?" a pause and more pounding "It's Imperative You Talk To Me Immediately!"

You put the mask on and slunk down the stairs. You open the door to a tall figure raising his fist for another barrage of knocking.

"pap's not home," you say lazily, not bothering to look at the monster.

"What Do You Mean Papyrus Isn't Home, H u m a n?"

His last word send a chill down your spine. You take a step back, "w- what? i mean... i'm a skeleton-"

Dark holes stared coldly into your eyes, "You're No More A Skeleton Than I A Man." You gripped the doorknob tightly. "Let Me In, Sans. I'll Explain."

Of course, being a scientist and a professional person, you did what any human would do in this situation. You slammed the door and ran to your room to hide. 

"nope nope nope nope nope," you repeated your new mantra as the door downstairs creaked open.

"Sans, Come Down. I'm Not Going To Harm You Beyond Necessary Measures." Steps on the stairs.

You dashed across the room to your window. You had your torso squeezed out just in time for cold claws to grasp your ankles. "Sans, Come Back Inside Immediately. You're Acting Like A Child." 

You squirmed against the monster. You heard a sound through your body, through your SOUL. You feel a strange pull at your chest. 

Space surrounded you. An absolute void. You saw the monster in front of you. "See What You've Done? We're In A FIGHT."

"please, just let me go!" you cried.

The monster stood silently for a moment, "Promise Me You Won't Run And I'll Grant You MERCY." 

You agreed and the void faded. You had more gold in your pocket than before. 

You were standing face-to-face with a tall almost-skeletal monster in a dark lab coat. "My Name Is W.D. Gaster. We've talked." 

Chapter Text

"My Name Is W.D. Gaster. We've talked."

You've heard that name before Suddenly it clicks, "you're my boss? B- but you're-" 

"Underground, Yes." he looks slightly embarrassed, "And Yes, I Suppose I Am Your 'Boss'." 

You feel the adrenaline dying down and you realize how badly your legs are bleeding. You choose the word that summarizes the rush of pain perfectly, "fuck."

Gaster flinches at the curse and glances down to your legs, "I May Have Went A Little Overboard. I Apologize For That." A change came over his face, "Where Is Papyrus?" 

"he's not home, i think he went to undyne's." 

Gaster softened, "Ah, I See." He glances back at your legs, "I'll Fix That For You At My Lab, Come Along. You'll Be Working With Me There From Now On." He takes brisk steps out of the room and downstairs. 

You stand alone for a moment, taking in your situation. What have you gotten yourself into? You shrug and head downstairs. Can't be worse than customer service. 

-

You limp through Waterfall and arrive in Hotland. You take off your jacket and clutch it against you. Your legs are burning from the walk, you've never been much of a person for walking places. 

You become more and more anxious as you get closer to the lab. What if the lab is a lie and he's going to capture you for the king? Nobody knows what happens to the humans, just that they will help the king open the barrier. What's Papyrus going to do when he gets home and you aren't there? What would Papyrus do if he knew you were human? Would he hate you? Would he stop believing in you? You almost bump into Gaster as he slides a keycard into a slot. 

The lab looked very empty. It had a single desk with neat piles of paperwork. A small computer sat between the piles. Stairs led upstairs and you could see doors on the wall ahead. The tall monster hangs his lab coat up and replaces it with another. 

Gaster looks back at you, seeming to realize he's not alone, "Ah, Yes. Sorry About The Mess. Put Your Coat On The Rack. I Will Return With Bandages." 

You do as he asks and stand awkwardly waiting for him. A yellow face poked over the railing, "D- Doctor Gaster? Is that you?" 

"not exactly," you reply, looking up, "i'm... the name's sans. sans the skeleton." 

"Oh, um, I'm n- not sure how you got in, but only authorized p- personnel is allowed in here." 

You struggled for words, "I'm um-"

"Alphys, This Is Our New Scientist, He'll Be Helping Us With Our... Problem," he turned towards you, "Did You Learn Sign As I Requested?"

You nod, "but i'm not exactly an expert." 

Gaster nods and hands you a roll of bandages. He signs something to the monster upstairs- Alphys. Alphys makes a few jerky nods and comes out of view. 

"Bandage Yourself Up, We Have Some Work To Do."

Chapter Text

Gaster was strange, even for a monster.

At times he was the sweetest guy on either side of the barrier. He laughed at all your jokes and told his own. And hell if he wasn't considerate. One time at Grillby's, you tried to prank him with the ol' "unscrew the ketchup slightly to dump it" trick. He had just looked distressed and asked if it'd be rude to ask for a new order. You haven't attempted to prank him since, that cinnamon roll.

Other times though, he was the definition of cruel. You don't enjoy thinking about those times. He often forgets about others needs during these times. He experimented on you multiple times while under this mood. You still don't know what he did, but you could see the scars clearly.

Either way, Gaster was a new constant in your life. Your day starts early with Papyrus and his puzzles, you take a lunch at Grillby's, you head off to work with Gaster, visit Grillby's for a second time, and go home. You're unsure if Papyrus knows you're working with him, but you don't know how to approach the subject. Especially considering you're unsure what Gaster is to him. Gaster has called him his son, brother, nephew and a few words and signs you're unsure of the exact meaning to.

You still have your down days when you barely drag yourself out of bed, but it helps to have a reason to get up in the morning and it helps to see you have people who count on you. You've talked to Gaster about these moods and he told you he would always be there for you. You appreciate the sentiment, but you're sure he has enough of his own problems to deal with.

Alphys and you had even become friends. She was, in all honestly, a total nerd. But it's not like you aren't one yourself, so you get along. She's even let you see some of the anime she's found at the garbage dump. It's not a close friendship, but it's something.

You think you're happier than you've been in a long time.

Chapter Text

Your phone buzzed. [Sans, Come Here. Lab.]

You groaned and put your phone back down. Gaster was waking you up earlier and earlier for work. Papyrus had kept you up all night telling you about Undyne's training sessions (far as you could tell, they were just cooking lessons). You love them both, but those goddamn skeletons never seemed to sleep. The doctor was just going to have to wait. You yawned and pulled the blanket onto you again. 

[It's Imperative You Hurry. Otherwise I Will Have To Go Alone.] Goddamn it, Gaster. Manipulative jerk. 

You reply with a be right there and get dressed. You run a hand through your hair. It's getting long. You'll have to cut it sometime soon. You slip on your sneakers and head downstairs. You look around, taking note of what needs to be done when you get home. You see that Papyrus put another stickynote down next to your sock. You grin and file that as something to reply to later. You see that there's more spaghetti in the fridge. You shiver when you remember your first time trying his pasta. You love Pap, but fuck. 

Eventually, you leave for the lab. Hotland is awful in your jacket, but it's either that or get caught and put towards the Get-Us-Out Fund. You've thought about sacrificing yourself to help them, but you don't want Papyrus to be disappointed. He's too good for this world tibia honest. No bones about it, he's the best. Coolest guy in the universe. Fits that he'd live in Snowdin. Then there's snow  way he'd melt....... y'know, cause he's cool. You could stand to work on your jokes. 

The lab looms over you, interrupting any more bad jokes and furthering plot. The doors slide open and you walk in. Gaster isn't in the front room. You send him a text saying you're there. You don't hear his phone buzz. You look upstairs. No Gaster. You swap your jacket for a lab coat. You see the elevator doors are open. Welp, guess you'll have to go down. 

Ding. The elevator arrived a floor down, which is weird to think about because you're already underground. How far does the barrier go? Could they just dig under it? 

You saw a light on down the hall. A shadow moving. You stopped walking. Shit. This is some horror movie shit. Might as well call out for Dr. G.

"Gas? You in here?" Silence. "Gaster?" 

You send another text. [here, where are you?]

A buzz sounded off in the other room. Welp this is a horror movie. Might as well check.

 You go through the hallway and look through the doorway. "what the fuck is that thing, gaster?" 

Chapter Text

"what the fuck is that thing, gaster?"

"Oh! Sans! You're Actually Here!" Gaster gestured to the machine in front of him, "Please Meet My Favorite Invention."

You frowned, "is this a joke? this is a Christmas tree box taped together." You stared at the rectangular box with your annoyance clear, though masked by the face you've put on. 

"Sans," Gaster frowned, "This Is A Revolutionary Invention. I Would Appreciate Your Respect, Even With Its Less-Than-Satisfactory Exterior." 

You roll your eyes, "what does it do?" 

"This, Sans," Gaster took a breath (again, do they have to breathe?) before looking past you in a picturesque pose of scientific genius, "It Is The First And Only Time Machine In Existence." 

Oh fuck. "oh fuck." 

Gaster nodded, suppressing a smile, "This Is State Of The Art And I'm Going To Show You How To Use It."