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Sans had felt like this before, many times actually, but every single time it returned it always consumed him. There's no real words to describe exactly how it felt, and as many times as Sans attempted to describe it he never was truly able to find the words. You've probably heard it described as 'emptiness' but that is a somewhat diluted description. It feels more like missing a piece of yourself, and wanting nothing more than to find it and cram it back in so the nauseating weight in your stomach will finally ease. However, even that doesn't completely cover it, so to his friends Sans just refers to it as 'feeling empty'.

Frisk was used to it, after living with Sans for almost a year now the skeleton had become surprisingly transparent with his emotions, especially after Papyrus had moved in with Mettaton.  So when Frisk left what used to be Papyrus' Room that morning and saw Sans lying face down on the ground on the living 
room floor, they could tell immediately that Sans was not in the best place. A small frown tugged at their lips as they descended the stairs. They took a seat beside Sans, who still hadn't noticed their presence. Frisk let out a gentle sigh and snapped their fingers a few times in Sans' field of vision. Sans jolted at the action, and guilt panged through the human's chest.

"Oh, hey kid." Sans' voice was raspy, it was obvious he was trying to pay attention to them, but moments later his focus was lost. Frisk snapped again to regain his attention.

{Can I get you anything?}  Frisk signed, concern painting itself over their features.

"Nah." Sans replied, before lying himself back on the floor. Unable to think of anything else they could do to help, Frisk opted to lay on the floor beside him, giving his boney hand a quick squeeze.

Sans let out a sight and squeezed their hand back, guilt flooding his mind. He was the adult here and yet this kid was taking care of him. Frisk didn't deserve to have to put up with him, yet there they were, lying beside him on the cold, hard floor in a weak attempt to comfort the skeleton. Aaaand of course he was tearing up, great. Just what he needed, to stress the kid out even more.

"I'm... going to Grillby's." Sans sputtered on impulse, jumping to his feet and heading out the door before Frisk could even process what he had said.

 

 


 

 

Sans attempted to normalize his breathing while he walked, hands shaking ever so slightly. He approached the pub nervously, freezing in place as soon as he saw the closed sign on the door. Sans internally face palmed, of course it was closed, it was a Sunday after all. He stood there for much longer than was socially acceptable, staring at the closed sign feeling like an absolute idiot. When his mind suggested knocking, anxiety rushed through him. Even if Grillby was inside, which was already unlikely, it's not as if he was particularly close with the bartender, definitely not close enough to excuse bothering him on his one day off. He stood there frozen at the bar entrance, his  internal argument raging on. Despite how absolutely wrong and selfish it felt, he forced his fist towards the door. Two gentle knocks to the glass door was enough to almost dive him headfirst into a panic attack. Sans immediately put all his focus into calming his sputtering heart rate. Of course when the door began to creak open, his panic fucktoupled. He repressed the urge to just run away, attempting to hide the fact he was basically hyperventilating.

And then the door was open, and Grillby standing there, his head cocked to the side questioningly. Sans took a deep shaky breath.

"He-hey Grillby, h-how’s it g-going?" Sans internally kicked himself for allowing his voice to shake as much as it did. He looked up to Grillby, looking for some clue of what his response was going to be. Grillby's eyes looked the other over, his expression unreadable. Moments later, he stepped aside, holding the door open for the shaking skeleton. Sans hesitated before pushing himself to step inside. He seated himself at the bar, Grillby closing the door and following soon after.

{Can I get you anything?} Grillby signed after stepping around the bar.

"N-no, I'm good." It was getting pretty difficult to hide the tremors that racked his small frame at this point, and the fact that Grillby had probably noticed them by now did not help.

{You're shaking.}

Sans didn't bother to answer, lowing his gaze to the floor in embarrassment.

{Do you want to tell me what's wrong?}

"N-no." Sans said, his voice cracking as his eyes began to water. Fuck.

Moments later Sans found the bartender seating himself beside the quivering skeleton.

{Please?}

Fuck. No. No no no no no. Sans immediately shifted himself away from the sentient flame, turning towards the door in preparation to bolt. At least until a hand caught his sleeve and the dam shattered.

An ugly sob ripped itself from Sans' throat, immediately followed by dozens more. Blue tears cascaded down his face as his body shook.

Grillby was in shock for next few moments, staring in horror as the skeleton's calm and collected facade ripped apart at the seams.

"Sans?" Grillby spoke, his voice quiet and airy, crackling and popping as he addressed the skeleton. When Sans curled in on himself even more, the bartender reached out a hesitant hand, turning the skeleton to face him.

".... Do you... Can I hug you?" Grillby asked, doing his best to cater to Sans' comfort zone. The skeleton answered with a small nod, quickly burying his face back in his arms.

Sans heard the floorboards of the bar creak as Grillby climbed to his feet, and a moment later warm arms wrapped around him. And god, did that feel nice. After a few seconds, he squirmed in the bartender's arms, and when Grillby pulled away, he jerked himself around, shoving himself back into the other's embrace and burying his face in the crook of the bartender's neck. Grillby quickly adjusted his grip to support the skeleton that was now quivering in his arms.

Sans gripped tightly to the other man, hiccup-like sobs racking his body every other second. He was so embarrassed to be falling apart like this, which certainly didn't help to calm him.

Grillby sat them both down, Sans on his lap, the skeleton's head still buried in the crook of his neck. The bartender decided to just let him get it out, he wasn't going to figure out what had upset Sans when he was in this state anyways. He began to rub circles onto the skeleton's back, murmuring comforting words as the smaller of the two sobbed.

As Sans began to calm, his embarrassment caught up with him, and as soon as his hiccups were far enough apart to allow him to speak, he muttered an apology into the bartender's shoulder, too afraid to lift his head and make eye contact.

"Can you tell me what's wrong?" Grillby asked, hoping the skeleton was calm enough to give him an answer.

"I...." Sans attempted to begin, trying to figure out how to word his story. He pulled away from Grillby's shoulder, still refusing to make eye contact, and instead focused on his own hands.

"I... feel I'm not good enough to take care of Frisk... Hell, they're taking care of me most of the time." he adds a dry chuckle completely void of any humor.

"I've told them they don't have to live with me, that they can go live with Tori, or Papyrus, or any of our other friends but... they stay with me? I can't do this Grillby they deserve so much better than me but..."

Tears were running down Sans' face again, but he was thankful the sobs did not return.

"I don't deserve them Grillby.... They put up with me without a word (ha ha), but they're just a kid, they shouldn't have to take care of me."

Silence hung heavy in the air as Grillby processed the other's words, trying to figure out what would be the most helpful response. Sans still refused to look anywhere but his hands, letting out small sniffles every few seconds.

"You're right Sans." Grillby began, and he felt Sans tense up immediately.

"Frisk is just a child, and is in no position to be taking care of an adult. However, I feel you underestimate yourself Sans. I've seen you around that child and you are amazing with them."

Sans' face flushed with that statement.

"Really. Anyone could tell how much you love them, and it's obvious they love you just as much."

"Well then... what should I do?" Sans asked meekly, looking to Grillby out of the corner of his eye socket.

"You do have other friends to lean on, Sans. Papyrus, Alphys, Toriel, and my door is always open. Let's start with that, okay? Next time you're feeling down, promise me you'll reach out to someone other than Frisk."

Sans was reluctant to, but nodded anyways. After a moment he let his body slump against Grillby's again, a wave of exhaustion rushing over him. Warm arms wrapped around his boney frame, giving him a gentle squeeze.

They stayed like that for god knows how long, surrounded by comfortable silence. Eventually Sans was the one to interrupt the calm with an awkward cough, pulling away from Grillby's torso.

"I... better go... the kid is probably worried sick about me." the skeleton muttered. He climbed off the bartender's lap, and looked towards him.

{Remember your promise, okay?} Flaming hands reminded him.

"Y-yeah." The small skeleton said with a nod. "And Grillby?"

The bartender looked to the skeleton, glad to see he was definitely in better shape than he had arrived in.

"Thanks." Sans murmured just loud enough for the other to hear before slipping out the door

 


 

 

Sans had felt like this before, many times actually, but as he stood in the frigid snow outside Grillby's, he knew he was going to be alright.